Going as far back as elementary school, I was always in the upper percentage of my age group’s weight range.
My parents did their absolute best raising me and my brother, Greg, but we’d pester them to take us to fast food restaurants. I’d get double cheeseburgers and fries. I was the one making poor choices. My parents would try to portion my foods but I would sneak into the kitchen and eat what I wanted.
When I went to middle school, I started getting made fun of a lot because I was bigger. I’d get depressed. Then I would eat more to feel better. It became one big circle. I hid the teasing from my parents, and my eating. I would take a whole bag of family-sized chips into my room.
But I’d play games with myself mentally. I’d leave a handful of chips and say to myself, “Well, I didn’t eat the whole bag.”
I knew to start living a healthier lifestyle I had to get to the root of the problem and fix it. I started talking with a dietitian and learned that the core of it for me was emotional eating. My way to cope with the teasing was to eat more. I had to learn to adjust my behavior.
So now if I’m stressed, I go for a walk. If I get a bad test grade, I go boxing and hit something. Exercise is now stress relief for me.
I did a challenge with my nutritionist. I gave up French fries – my favorite food – for a month. That segued into me giving up fried foods. At the end of that month, I went and got chicken fingers and a large order of curly fries – I felt so sick!
So now I’ve learned not to deprive myself because I’ll just crave more and more and eventually binge. I give myself one item a week that I can get. Sometimes it might be some fries, maybe a little thing of ice cream (no more pints!). I’m not denying any cravings I have. Because I did that in the past and then I’d binge and ruin all my progress.
My parents are so proud of the changes I have made. Obviously the outside of me is changing but my parents noticed something else about me too. I’ve always been happy and upbeat. But they’ve noticed the way I talk, even the way I walk, is different and more dynamic.
I hope you’re enjoying hearing about my journey and that it helps you achieve whatever goals you have. It isn’t always easy balancing everything – school, work, my health and having a social life – so next week I’ll share with you how I’m trying to do it all and stay sane!
Grant Grimes is a senior at Georgia Institute of Technology and works for Sodexo as the student promotions coordinator for Georgia Tech Dining Services.