Detour · Food · Struggle

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice…

And so the perfect little girl was made.  

If we truly are what we eat (as they say), these days perfect “little” girls are made of coconut milk, stevia, and any food deemed “healthy” that typically only comes from the outer aisles of the grocery store.

As we gear up for the mother load of eating and drinking festivities we call the ‘holiday season’ here in the great US of A, we also face what is a huge issue for most Americans: 

Weight Maintenance.  

Heck, it’s an issue for me ALL. YEAR. LONG. So, to me, the holidays are like giving a load of crack to an addict, where dietary consumption is concerned.

My typical daily survival depends on Starbucks (full-fat) lattes and beer…and I wonder why I have a weight problem. I mean most of the time I drink Michelob Ultra…doesn’t that count for something? And when beer is switched out for (a much needed) glass or 2 of wine, it’s usually red. . .which could potentially reduce my risk of heart disease AND actually help me to lose weight, right? 

Puhlease

I get so sick and tired of all the diet studies they come up with telling you what is good for you and what is not. The latest and greatest health food almost always ends up being detrimental to your health a few years down the road, so why bother? 

Who are they, anyway? 

I say this, but do I really mean it?  No. Not quite. 

I, Claire Lyons, am a marketer’s dream (as my mother says.) Something new (food, drink, makeup, hair treatment, ear wax cleaner, etc.) comes out and I am ALL OVER IT, like white on rice. And so my yo-yo weight struggle (and product obsession) ensues. 

My mother is a ‘latest and greatest’ diet fad rebel and has been consistent in her rebellion since the day she was born. “At the end of the day, we are all gonna die somehow”, she says, “and you might as well die happy.” 

That being said, happiness to her is covered in chocolate with a side of butter.  Yes, food equals love in her world and these days, I am “loved” unconditionally. 

My grandmother is 95, but acts and feels like she’s 60. She drinks zero water and has had a (high-fructose corn syrup filled) glass of Pepsi every single day since PepsiCo began mass producing it in two-liter bottles. Can they explain that?? 

In my book, it all boils down to genetics. 

Before all you strong-willed health-nuts jump all over me, I am not naïve enough to think you can eat and drink whatever you want, not exercise, and still maintain your optimal health. While this would certainly be a dream come true for many of us, that is not what I am saying at all. Genetics define the composition of your body, but it is how you take care of your body that unlocks the door to good health. 

So the keys to the “healthy” kingdom are genetics, exercise, and all “unhealthy” choices in moderation. That’s my take on it, at least.

And it only took me 32 (almost 33) years to figure this out.

I, like a lot of young people in our country, struggled with childhood obesity. Once I hit my teens (actually way before that now that I think about it), the ‘fat jokes’ and ‘bullying’ started. In elementary school, I was almost always the biggest/tallest girl in my class, which is not a fun place to be, let me tell you. 

“Bullying” is not a new concept people, it’s been happening forever. 

And it does take its toll. 

Yes, at age 11, I began “dieting” after being humiliated by a nurse practitioner during a school-required physical. I was way off the grid on the ideal height vs. weight chart, and she told me I was obese.

I remember that day so clearly in my mind, as well as the awful feelings I felt as a result. The lady was playing connect the dots on my chart, and my dots connected far outside of those gridlines.

Obese

To this day, I deplore that word. 

I was eleven years old, and I was disgusted with myself. At that precious age, I should have been enjoying my care-free days on the playground, not dreading field day (or the effing monkey bars for that matter.)

But the seed was planted. My dieting turned into an eating disorder pretty quickly, and by the time I turned twelve, it was full-blown anorexia. Yes, right after my period started and puberty began, it stopped.  

It stopped, because I was starving my body. 

At the age of 12, I could tell you the calorie content of damn near anything…down to a stick of Wrigley’s Doublemint gum (remember those commercials with the twins?…Double the freshness, double the fun—of course I’m singing).  And yes, I would resist the urge to chew a stick of gum that was offered to me because it wasn’t worth the extra 10 calories. (My fun was evidently not worth doubling.) 

Did I mention that I was 12

I was too young to go to the gym on my own, so every morning I would wake up and do a series of jumping jacks, squats, and crunches in front of my full length mirror. Yep, I created my own personal aerobics routine to whatever upbeat music I could find playing on the radio (flashback to Real McCoy-Another Night, Another Dream and Jade-Don’t Walk Away), or I would put on one of my CD singles on repeat. (Mom wouldn’t let me buy any full album with a parental advisory label. The struggle was super real.)

I would then go to the kitchen to make my lunch for the day, which always consisted of exactly 18 pretzels (processed “health” food) and a main course of nothing really. I didn’t want my mom making my lunch any more because she might not measure things out correctly or (OMG!) put real mayo (which I convinced myself I no longer liked) on my sandwich or something. 

I went on to fix my daily breakfast; measuring out my 3/4 cup serving of Special K Cereal (processed carbs deemed “healthy” in the 90s, see what I mean?) and my 1 cup serving of skim (or so I thought) milk. It was only later that I found out that my parents would funnel 2% into a skim milk jug when I wasn’t around. 

Taste didn’t really matter to me at that young age, but that information on the label ruled my brain. We all know there is a huge difference in taste (and consistency for that matter) between skim and 2% milk. 

I hadn’t even hit my teens yet, and I was a prisoner. My body was the jail cell and the nutrition facts label was my correctional officer

Although I was in (my own) prison, I was feeling invincible. The weight was dropping fast at 5+ pounds a week,3 pounds on a bad week (for reference,anything more than a 3 lb. weight loss is deemed “unhealthy”–especially at that age). 

Then came the day that my weight dropped below 100 pounds, and my parents went into crisis mode. 

Crisis.  How is this a crisis?!  

In my mind, I felt as though I had won an Olympic gold medal. As I lost weight, I felt victorious. How could they not celebrate this triumph with me? Why were Mom and Dad so sad?

They are the ones with the problems, not me. They should be proud of me. I now fit within those gridlines, therefore I am no longer obese.

I am ideal.

Their concern did not make sense to me. I listened to that nurse practitioner. I heard her loud and clear. There was an issue and I fixed it. Why are the mad at me!?

Fast forward to today. After many years of therapy, I am doing okay. I am fine on the outside, but internally I certainly have my days. As I said at the beginning of this post, I still struggle. 

I drift from one extreme to the other; 

I am either on or off.

I am scared to be “too on,” so then I end up being “way off” and my weight balloons.

And so the yo-yo spins. . .


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To those suffering from an eating disorder (at any age), or any inner struggle for that matter, I more than understand what you are going through. 

It’s so important to build awareness–Everything is not always as it seems.

That girl you envy, that “perfect” girl you idolize…well, she is probably struggling with something just.like.you. 

Know that. And be easier on yourself.

We all have internal scars, but we are all beautiful in our own right. Beauty more than certainly comes from within. At (almost) 33-years-old, I am finally grasping this concept, more than just the words. 

While words help me, lyrics are even better.  

Yes, my love for music has been established on multiple occasions. These days, I rarely listen to live radio–Thanks to technology, I almost always stream Pandora or Amazon Prime Radio from my phone. But recently, toward the end of “one of those” kinda days, I happened to be listening to the radio in my car when this particular song came on; a song I had never heard. 

The lyrics spoke to me and made their mark.

Once I made it home that day, Google helped me find this song…or anthem as I shall call it:   

Scars to Your Beautiful (By Alessia Cara):

She has dreams to be an envy, 

so she’s starving

You know, “Covergirls eat nothing”

She says “beauty is pain 

and there’s beauty in everything”

“What’s a little bit of hunger?”

“I could go a little while longer”, she fades away

She don’t see her perfect, she don’t understand she’s worth it

Or that beauty goes deeper than the surface

So to all the girls that’s hurting

Let me be your mirror, help you see a little bit clearer

The light that shines within

There’s a hope that’s waiting 

for you in the dark

You should know you’re beautiful 

just the way you are

And you don’t have to change a thing

The world could change it’s heart

No scars to your beautiful,

we’re stars and we’re beautiful

And you don’t have to change a thing

The world could change it’s heart

No scars to your beautiful,

we’re stars and we’re beautiful

No better you than the you that you are

No better life than the life we’re living

No better time for your shine, you’re a star

Oh, you’re beautiful, 

oh, you’re beautifu-u-u-ul.

💜


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10 thoughts on “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice…

  1. Thank you for sharing. I would have never known bc I just remember going to the gym with you and u only wearing a sports bra and being so jeally
    Of your amazingly fit, tan, thin body. As someone who has struggled with weight – and currently is trying to lose 80lbs of baby weight, I walk with you girl. Obviously complaining to you about baby weight is horrible as I’m sure you would take my 80lbs for 3 babies – and so would I, but weight is weight and it sure is hard to lose. It’s a daily internal struggle and I appreciate your story. Your blog is awesome,
    Your home is beautiful, and it seems
    Like you have an amazing partner ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Girl! You are crazy…ha just goes to show that you never know what someone else is thinking. I swear . I remember wanting every piece of your wardrobe at school. No matter the reason, completely feel ya. Weight struggle is weight struggle, no matter the reason! Hey, at least you have an excuse and some precious triplets to show for it!! Me, not so much…haha. Thanks for the sweet words. So nice to reconnect with you through the blog. It’s a small world after all for sure 💜

      Like

  2. You are now and have always been my brightest, best and most beautiful reflection. I have always been so proud to be your Mom and as I’ve told you before and I’m telling you now, you are the bravest person I know. You will always be my sweetest, smartest, most beautiful baby girl, and my heart. I have always been very private with praise but I think the time has come for me to acknowledge publicly that you have transitioned into a strong, beautiful, caring, intelligent young woman and I couldn’t be more proud.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Your courage resonates. I (lightly) edit beautiful, brave thoughts. Your vulnerability and humor are gobbled up but all of us who are grateful to be reminded that we are not alone, no matter our struggle. And that there is always a reason to laugh. Keep sharing! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Claire, thank you for sharing your story! You have no idea how much you are impacting others struggling by telling your story. You are brave, beautiful and real! Love you, so proud of you, and so blessed to call you an only child sister 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Claire, this article? Followed by the exchange between you and your mom? I seriously just started bawling in my kitchen! Wow…Claire, you keep sharing your beautiful voice with the world. Not only do you have a gift of bringing joy, but you have a voice that really knows how to connect to the heart. You are HONEST and that is such a courageous and beautiful quality to have. My goodness! Thank you for being such a huge blessing to my heart! I don’t even have the right words…but thank you! 😊❤️

    Like

    1. Well this comment brought on a sea of tears and I am not a crier. If there is anything that will keep me writing, it’s the potential to brighten someone’s day, and I am so happy that includes a someone like you. 💜

      Like

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