Our church, the Soul Factory, is on day 41 of a 90 day mandate that includes an emphasis on improving our health as well as restoring order to our families, relationships, and our finances. During today’s service people were asked to share what changes have taken place in their lives as a result of participating in the mandate. A lady shared with us that at the age of 44, she suffers from bulimia, and since the start of the mandate she has not thrown up her food. In response to her testimony, people stood on their feet to applaud her for her success as well as the courage to be vulnerable and transparent enough to share such a challenging, and sometimes taboo, struggle.
In the African American community, eating disorders is a subject that you don’t hear much about. After hearing the lady share her story, I was determined to talk to her and let her know that she is not alone. I recently shared with someone on Twitter, as someone that lives “outta da box”, body image is one area that I have allowed myself to be duped by mainstream America.
I found the lady in the foyer area of the church and began to share with her my story. Because I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic, I never thought I had an “eating disorder”. I wasn’t until about 2 years ago when I was talking to one of my best friends about my latest “Master Cleanse” experience that she helped me realize that I did in fact have an eating disorder.
I found it very convenient to take the concept of fasting and incorporate some “spiritual” goals to make my not eating acceptable. But what I found was that more than reading my bible or praying, I was paying more attention to the numbers on the scale everyday. My first Master Cleanse was for 21 days. I must admit that it was a very positive and empowering experience; I felt great, I didn’t watch any television, I was focused, but I came away with an unreasonable expectation about my weight. My lowest weight during the cleanse was 114. I knew that I would regain some of the weight but I became obsessed with my weight, weighing myself everyday, doing the cleanse every few months and severely restricting my food if I gained more than a few pounds.
Once I recognized the pattern, I was convicted to stop doing the Master Cleanse. My weight, 129, was about 6lbs more than my regular post-cleansing weight, and I reluctantly accepted it. Since that time I have been pregnant and recently had my fourth child. Pregnancy, and the weight gain that comes with it, can be very difficult when you already have body image issues and/or eating disorders. As much as you know why you are gaining the weight it’s difficult to change your mindset and accept those numbers as they increase each week. I managed to continue working out throughout all of my pregnancies (was actually in labor at the gym this last time) and taught my cycle class until the end of my third trimester earlier this year. I was conscious about my eating and tried to make healthy food choices and allow myself the occasional indulgences. I gained a little over 30lbs and I currently need to lose about 12lbs to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.
I am currently exclusively nursing my 5 month old daughter. Most people that know me know that as a Breastfeeding Educator, teaching people about the importance of breastfeeding is my passion. My nursing relationship is critical to me and I would never do anything to compromise my milk supply or my ability to feed my daughter. During this time, I know that I have to eat and challenges with food are at a minimum.
I am very disciplined when it comes to exercise. Homeschooling and life with 4 children makes it easy to come up with reasons (excuses) as to why I can’t work out but I make it a priority. Some mornings, after nursing through the night, it is too hard for me to make it to the gym before my husband leaves for work. When that happens, I shift my plans and workout in the evenings (something I don’t like to do).
I look forward to receiving the support to embrace a healthy approach to weight loss so that even after I am no longer nursing exclusively, I will not have the temptation to turn to my former vices. I hope that I can model and share with other busy moms, how to make the time to workout. I am also on a mission to prosper my soul and find the balance in my spiritual and physical health.
I am training to run a marathon in Februrary, so I have recently incorporated running into my workouts. Here is my plan for the week:
Monday: 20 minute easy run and strength training
Tuesday: 1 hour cross training
Wednesday: Teach Cycle Class
Thursday: 30 minute easy run, strength training
Friday: 45 minute long run
Saturday: Teach Cycle Class
This week’s blogging carnival is sponsored by SUBWAY. SUBWAY is giving away a gift card for $25 to one lucky winner who mentions the Commit to Fit Campaign and Jared on their Mamavation Monday post.