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December 18, 2011

the reason behind this blog.

confession: the main reason i've finally, finally started this blog is to talk about what i've done to change my life in the past year and a half. the biggest part has been unloading a significant amount of weight, both physical and emotional.

my highest weight was 293 pounds. i weighed this by the time i was seventeen.

i didn't just like food. i loved food. i loved, hated, and feared it, all in the same breath. a person doesn't reach 293 pounds because they just "like food." i binged. i binged until i sobbed and my entire body ached. i ate everything. then i ate some more. i ate to the point of physical pain, where lying on my bed in agony, crying, and rubbing my belly was my only source of comfort, aside from whatever i had just finished shoving into my mouth. then, i wouldn't eat for an entire day in an attempt to make up for it. i tried to make myself throw up; i could never do it. why would i throw up when i could eat another big mac, large pizza, burrito, cookie, bag of chips, bowl of ice cream? when i was seventeen, the highlight of my week was finding arby’s coupons in the sunday paper.

i wake up at 4:30 so i can go to the gym before work. days i don’t go feel like wasted days, not all of them, not when i’m especially over-tired, but for the most part, i feel as if i've failed if i don’t go. i know myself well enough that if i don't go first thing in the morning, i won't go.  the alarm buzzes and sometimes i'll steal an extra five minutes of sleep. but then i remember my goal, all of my goals, and i get out of bed and trudge through my apartment. i turn on the coffeemaker, the living room lamp, my computer, the morning news. this time is for me, no one else. i make a whole wheat english muffin with peanut butter or high-fiber maple and brown sugar oatmeal with blueberries. i drink water and coffee, and grab a banana for the bus ride. there is something very calming in being one of a handful of people on the brown line at 5:30 in the morning. everyone's going to work.

to me, the gym feels holy. a spinning class where you spend the majority of the class in the dark is holy. it's a gift to have an instructor tell you to "check in with yourself. why did you get up early to come to this class? what is your goal? our bodies are capable of so much more than we think. our minds get in the way. learn to train your fear." i biked 24.5 miles yesterday. i had 24 wasted days. i didn't even notice that connection until i was home vacuuming my living room, thinking about how sore my legs were. before going to spinning, i hadn't been to the gym in 24 days, since the day before thanksgiving. i've felt like i was climbing the walls. i have chronic asthma, which is at its worst in the winter. what i thought was just a cold turned out to be an upper respiratory infection that i waited to have treated. i waited eleven days to go to the doctor. i am an incredibly stubborn individual and i pay for it quite frequently. i finally went, was rightfully scolded, and prescribed steroids and a second inhaler which i've been on for two weeks.

today: i see a social worker who helps me with my food issues, and my non-food ones. his name is jim. i love the simplistic irony of the fact that two of the biggest influences in my life right now are jim and gym. when i told him i wanted to write about our sessions, i asked if he wanted me to use a different name. he said it wasn't necessary. "i like jim," he said. "me too," i responded. this man has saved my life; he's helped me save my life.

i'm turning 27 tomorrow and i want to start/maintain this blog from a place of relentless honesty. i don't know how to do anything without completely throwing myself into it. i will never attempt to speak for anyone else on here. these are my words, my experiences, both wonderful and devastating. it's taken me my entire life to get where i am now. i know first-hand how hard it is: losing weight, getting yourself to the gym when it's too cold/hot/early/far from home, taking care of yourself, in every sense of the word, gaining one hundred pounds, losing nearly one hundred pounds, not wanting to allow a man to touch you or look at you. but i also know what it's like to want to run, to reach for my gym shoes and not food, to get on the bus and go to a boxing class because it's been "one of those days" and if this is the best thing i can do for myself, i need to immediately do it. i know what it's like to feel healthy and to crave that feeling all the time. i know what happiness feels like; happiness is the exhaustion and calm you feel after a run, the joy after you and your body do more than you thought either could. i know what it's like to leave a therapy session just feeling lighter. i know what it's like to feel that none of these good things are possible. they are.

i'm slowly forgiving myself for what i've done to my body, my heart, my mind. i don't fear food as much as i did as a teenager. i work hard everyday at not allowing fear to rule my life, but it's hard. if it wasn't this hard, all of these tiny moments of strength and grace wouldn't be as special.

about a month ago, i asked jim, "who am i without all of this? if i actually unburden and unload myself and write about it?"

he said, "who do you want to be?"

the biggest gift in my life right now is being fully present and alive as i work on answering that question.


  1. Your unapologetic self expression is Amazing.

  2. Rhiannon,

    I have known you many years .. watched you grow and go through many changes ...
    you are a very strong woman, and have the faith in you to reach your goal. You have a close circle of those who care about you and will cheer you on or help you up when you are down.
    Kudos to you for venturing on to where and what you want / need to do!
    Congrats and best of luck to you through your hard journey !!