Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Struggle

I do not want to write this post. In fact, it downright scares me.  In order for this post to mean anything at all, I have to lay it all out there.  I have to be open and vulnerable and honest with you guys and myself.  

But I have to do it. 

You see, this post has been sitting in my brain, simmering and growing.  It has crept up to the door of my heart and knocked. Persistently.  Maybe even annoyingly OCD like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.  

Knock knock knock. Amanda.  Knock knock knock. Amanda. Knock knock knock. Amanda. 

I have to write this post.  I have to. It's not going to go away.  It's time to move forward.  It's time to not be stuck anymore.  

For some of you, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  I know you will because we've talked about it. We've lamented together.  We've struggled together.  

Some of you will have a hard time relating.  That's okay.  We all struggle with different things.  

I am not writing this for anyone's sympathy or pity.  I simply want to share and in return I gain accountability.  Maybe some prayers.  Maybe someone else who is struggling with the same thing will be encouraged or motivated. 

Here it goes......
This month, I have been on a little journey: 31 Days of Revising Home.  I have tackled some projects around my home and also issues concerning being a wife and mother.  But I cannot take a hard look at those things without first taking a hard look at myself, the one who runs the day to day household. 

I have struggled with my weight my entire life. I would always hear, "You have such a pretty face," or "If you would just lose weight you would be pretty." In high school, I was "the big girl." In college, I gained even more weight.

College years:  I was at my heaviest weight ever.... 

Then I went to Hawaii for the summer on a Summer Missions program through the North American Mission Board and gained even more weight. I weighed 263 lbs. as a 19 year old.  

A semester later, I had accepted a Semester Missions position in New York City and was about to fly up there for eight months. That was January 2002.  A friend's mom took me to the airport to leave and as we drove, she very plainly asked me if I had ever tried to lose weight.  She shared with me her own struggle with weight since she was a child. I was blown away.  She was so fit and thin.  I couldn't believe it. No one had ever confronted me about it before. I had gotten to the point that I accepted that's "just the way God made me." You know, Big girls unite! She told me that she would be praying for me and I was encouraged that maybe, just maybe I could do it.  Deep down, I didn't want to be the big girl anymore. 

I lost 60 pounds in the eight months while I was in New York.  After I left NYC, I moved to Oklahoma City and there lost another 37 pounds.  Over the course of two years, I had lost 100 pounds. Now, don't get me wrong, it took a lot of hard work and perseverance.  I was extremely mindful of what I put in my body.  With God's help, I was very disciplined.  I didn't drink soda, worked out/ran/walked almost every day and watched my portions. I was not on a diet! Let me say that again....I was not on a diet. I didn't begin the journey with a specific plan in mind.  I just wanted to be healthy.  And "all things in moderation" worked for me. 

At my smallest weight ever: 163 lbs.  For my 5'10 frame, it was great for me.  My BMI was in the healthy range.  

The day J and I got engaged in 2004.

Give or take a 10 pound fluctuation, I kept the weight off.  I felt absolutely wonderful. I finally felt like the person God had created me to be.  Not just because I was thinner, but because I was healthy, I had a great outlook because of what I had accomplished.  The sky was the limit!

About 9 months after we got married in January of 2005, we found out we were pregnant with our first child. We were so excited and I was determined to have a healthy pregnancy and not undo all the work I had done.  I worked out and walked and ate healthy throughout the pregnancy and only gained about 30 pounds. 

Here I am almost eight months pregnant.  

This is only a couple months after the birth of our first child.  I lost all but 10 pounds of the baby weight before I became pregnant with our second child.  

Okay, so this is where things get rough for me.  After the birth of our first child, I really struggled.  There were a lot of factors, one being I had postpartum depression. It was pretty bad, but after about five months, I seemed to finally snap out of it for the most part, but I just wasn't the same. Being a new mom, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the "perfect" mom. I had started being a stay-at-home-mom after her birth and it was a big adjustment.  

If I'm honest, my struggle with food began escalating during K's first year.  I was dealing with a lot of things that I really don't think it would be wise to share. There's no need in rehashing the past. But it really threw me for a loop. I used food to cope.  It calmed me down.  It gave me energy that I so desperately needed. I was excercising twice a day so it kept the weight off for a while.  It hid the fact that I had increasing compulsive behavior concerning food. I couldn't control it. I felt like a slave to food. 

 K had terrible reflux, food allergies, and tonsils that were so big that she wouldn't even swallow her food and stopped breathing at night. She didn't sleep consistently through the night until she had her tonsils out a couple months before she turned two. I. Was. Exhausted.  

So, while pregnant with our second child, I gained fifty pounds. (I still had that ten pounds of baby weight that I never lost from pregnancy number 1 as well.)  I didn't have the time or energy to work out like in my first pregnancy. I was barely getting by doing the bare minimum at home. 

By the time A was born (one month before K's second birthday) I was just plain worn out.  I had about a month that K had started sleeping through the night, but I was pregnant and didn't sleep because of that then I had a newborn. So it was probably another eight or nine months before she consistently slept through the night.  

When A was about a year old.  The weight had begun to creep back up. 

To top everything off, I had a really bad case of postpartum depression this time. It was much worse than after my first pregnancy.  When A was about a year old, I finally got to the point that I needed some help.  Really, I didn't know what was going on with me.  I didn't understand that that was what was wrong.  I went to my OB/GYN and told him that I thought my hormones were out of whack. He ran a full panel and everything came back normal.  He told me it was severe postpartum.  It had never been treated so it just escalated.

I remember feeling like I was in a fog all the time.  Almost like I was trying to run through quicksand.  I just felt stuck.  I finally got some medicine and took it for about a year until I was better.   I initially lost about  35 pounds and that put me at about 205lbs. 

The last four years have been the hardest in my adult life.  I have struggled and wrestled with things.  Spiritually, mentally, and emotionally it has been difficult.  When I was at a healthy weight,I knew what it felt like to finally be healthy and love my body. I was on cloud nine.  So when I began struggling, I put a lot of extra pressure on myself to get the weight off.  That made it harder and the compulsive eating was terrible. I literally could not stop.  I would absolutely hate what I was doing and still did it.  Then it would upset me and I'd be mad at myself and then I would eat to self-medicate then get upset at myself again. It was a vicious cycle. (I did see a counselor about this and the compulsive eating isn't something I struggle with presently.  I just am an emotional eater.)

Since A's birth five years ago, I have lost 10 pounds and gained 20. Lost 5 pounds and gained 10. Lost 15 pounds then gained 25.  Over and over and over. But all the while my weight has crept up, up, up. And today, I am at my highest weight EVER. 

This has been the fight of my life. And somewhere along the way, I think I just gave up.  I was tired of struggling, of fighting a losing battle. I feel like I got down and then every time I would start getting back up I would get kicked down again. 

I pictured myself lying wounded on a battlefield, unable to to rise up.  With so many arrows in the sky coming at me it blacked out the sun.  I have not been myself for a long time. My weight has caused me to be a lot more withdrawn than I normally would be. Maybe even less friendly because in the back of my mind, I am absolutely mortified of what I have let myself become.  I am always shrinking back from the assumed judgement of others. 

But, I AM TIRED OF BEING THIS PERSON!  The real Amanda is trapped inside this body.  Guys, I want to be healthy. I want to be happy. I want to feel good about myself physically. I hold no illusions that I will ever be a supermodel, nor do I aspire to be.  This is much bigger than just a number on a scale. This is about my life. This is about being the best me I can be. About setting a good example for my girls.
I am so thankful that I have a husband who, at my highest weight ever, looks me in the eye and says he loves me no matter what size I am.  And he means it.  I have never doubted that.  But does he want me to be happy and healthy? Absolutely!  He sees more than anyone else the war I'm in.  He wants me to have victory. 
These family photos were taken just two weeks ago. They are precious and the photographer did a great job.  It is the first one we have taken in six years because of my weight.  I have had pictures of the girls done, but not of all of us.  I just didn't want to face it.  But, I decided to stop hiding and face the truth of the matter. This picture represents for me the girl I am about to leave behind. 

So, now that I've put all this out there, I am accountable.  To myself and to you all.  I have to stop treading in the same place and start moving in the right direction.  I hope you will pray for me!  

I've decided that every Wednesday will be "Weigh-in Wednesday."  I will report how my week has gone and my weight loss progress.  Next week will be my first weigh-in and hopefully I will have some good results to share. Be sure to subscribe to this blog and don't miss my updates.  Also, if you haven't liked Cultivate Create on Facebook, head on over and do so. I will check in more often on there about weight loss. 

So, what about you guys?  Anyone else want to take this journey with me?  A journey towards health and victory. Leave me a message below and show me you are in!  Have you already won your victory?  Please share!  I would love to hear about it!

*Update:You can read each week's weigh-in by clicking on the links below. 

Weigh-In Wednesday #1
Weigh-In Wednesday #2
Weigh-In Wednesday #3
Weigh-In Wednesday #4
Weigh-In Wednesday #5
Weigh-In Wednesday # 6
Weigh-In Wednesday # 7
Weigh-In Wednesday #8
Weigh-In Wednesday #9
Weigh-In Wednesday #10
Weigh-In Wednesday #11
Weigh-In Wednesday #12
Weigh-In Wednesday #13
Weigh-In Wednesday  #14
Weigh-In Wednesday #15
Weigh-In Wednesday #16

Love you guys!


  1. Well, that made me cry. My name is Gale Olson and I am Summer Stricklin's best friend that she was telling you about. I seriously felt like I was reading my own words and thoughts in your blog. Keep in mind, I don't have children yet but I have had some of the exact same struggles as far as bored and compulsive eating my whole life. I was the fat girl in high school and college as well. 2012 was the worst year of my life for multiple reasons (weight being the biggest contributor) and then in December of 2012, me and my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years broke up and I was at my lowest low ever in my life. With that being said, I weighed 310 pounds, Seriously, 310 pounds, I couldn't breathe I was so miserable and overweight. Life as I knew it was over. Then, friends and family slapped me with a dose of reality and reminded me of the inner person I use to be. Also, in January of 2013, I was diagnosed with PCOS (basically, my hormones were out of whack and I wasn't having normal periods) that cause me to gain the most weight in 2012 when everything had gone bad. In January, I got on the right meds and started a healthier journey towards me. Currently, I weight 240, so I have lost 70 pounds in basically 10 months. I have never felt better and been happier in my life. I still have a lot to lose but I am doing it one day at a time. Thank you so much for sharing your story and I would be glad to talk with you anytime about the details and maybe just share some words of encouragement. you can add me on facebook/galeolson or shoot me a text at 334-672-5812. Thanks again for sharing and good luck with everything. You have got this! You've don't it once before and will do it once again!

    1. Hi, Gale! Good job losing the weight! I remember the elation I felt when I was losing weight before and every pound gone felt like a ton was lifted. Thanks so much for your encouragement! Good luck on your continuing weight loss journey. I'm finding a lot of us gals struggle with the same thing!

  2. Hi Amanda, I don't know you, I followed the link from a friend of mine on fb. Wow can I resonate with your story. I've been overweight basically my whole adult life. I started gaining little by little starting with my senior year in college (was engaged and getting married the following year) and bouncing around the last 5 years with 3 kids. I came to my lowest point after my 3rd child at the end of last year. I was 243 (I'm 5'7") and miserable. I came to a place where I knew I needed to lose weight, but my end goal is just to be healthy....permanently. Thinking that way has allowed me a lot of grace in my life. I've learned a lot about myself and continue to learn from mistakes. As of yesterday I have lost 36 lbs and am at 207. I basically stick with weight watchers points plus plan, but I don't go to meetings, I just keep track of it myself. I have a notebook where I write down everything I eat and record my weight. This is the only plan that has worked well for me because you eat normal food and it's ok to have dessert, you just plan the rest of your day around it. I can live like this. I'm not going to jump off the band wagon because I'm depriving myself of certain foods. I'm a huge coke lover and was drinking them by the truck load, now I just have maybe one a week. And I enjoy it, but I've really come to love water....crazy huh? I also know that one day of bad eating (hey, it's gonna happen) won't un-do my months of progress. And if I have a bad day or weekend, I can always start fresh the next day, and I do. I don't have a specific end goal, I think 175 sounds good to me, but I'm just taking one day at a time. I'm proud of you for taking such a public stand, trust me, you're motivating TONS of women....this is something we all struggle with, no matter our size. -Jenn

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! That's awesome that you are down 37 lbs. I like the idea keeping a food journal. I have done that in the past and it helped. I appreciate you taking the time to comment and good luck to you as you continue getting healthy!

  3. Hi, Amanda.
    I share many of the same emotions/feelings you have towards yourself and food. I have struggled since youth with my weight, being at my heaviest currently (230 lbs.). When I was at my "skinniest", I was in college, but I wasn't healthy and I didn't do it the healthy way. I was not in a great where every girl who passed by, he would compare me to, and I began skipping meals, taking small bites, lying and hiding food, and the occasional "spitting". I was down to 107 lbs. at my skinniest and for a girl with natural curves, it looked terrible. I fluctuated between that 107 and 117, but never liked myself because I knew I hadn't really lost the weight and if I got back to eating, it'd come back. I'm still not happy with myself and I struggle to get into a good routine and change, finding that emotional eating is sometimes easier to cope with problems than talking to my husband (whom I know loves me no matter what size, just wants me to be healthy too). And it hasn't helped that we are having trouble with conceiving. I blame myself for the problems with my ex contributing to lack of ovulation, though I know deep down that God wants us to have's been a roller coaster of a ride and though I want to be a mom, the motivation is there, I just can't seem to get into the mindset. I almost feel like I'm trying to stay bigger because I wasn't happy back then being skinny. So, I'm sabotaging myself currently. I loved reading your post because it was very similar to my own story and nice to know I'm not alone in this 'battle'. I struggle especially with my soda habit and need to cut it out and drink water. I don't have a goal weight in mind because I'm trying to not think of it as a diet or a number anymore. I just want to be healthy. -Amanda

    1. Oh, my heart goes out to you because I an so empathize with what you are going through! I pray that you will have victory in this! We're walking the same journey. Cling to Him!

  4. I just now realized you have a blog after seeing the link on Pinterest. You have always been one of the most beautiful women I've ever known, inside and out. I've been there too and still am. I'm so proud of you and I will be praying for you. With Christ all things are possible.

    1. Thanks, Lucy! Thanks so much for your prayers!

  5. Never knew your struggles. I know you have to look in the mirror and see your beautiful face each day. You are blessed to have a husband who supports you. I will add you to my prayer list for this journey you find yourself on. God never intends for us to journey by ourselves. He will place people in your life to hold you accountable. God bless you as you move toward your goal, not necessarily of pounds, but in feeling good about yourself! Love Cindy Reed

    1. Thanks, Mrs. Cindy. I really appreciate your prayers!

  6. I am in no way whatsoever trying ti enable you or belittle your efforts, which make me in awe of you, but you are gorgeous, heavy or not. I've struggled with my weight from birth....I just have a huge appetite. Seriously, the first words in the baby book my mom started for me the day after I was born are "The nurses all say Baby Tammy is the biggest eater in the nursery" I was less than 24 hours old and already couldn't get enough to eat! Have always struggled with my weight. You're such an inspiration!


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