A little background on myself…
I’m 40 years old, born and raised in Georgia. I was never naturally a “toothpick”, but I was naturally a 10/12, which worked well for my 5’2″ frame (I’m ‘big-boned’ for my height per my doctors). When I was in high school, I was always active – marching band, flag corps, dance corps, and I even ran the local lap with the cross country team from time to time (had a few friends on it who invited me to work out with them).
When I was in 10th grade, I took something my father said way too seriously — he and my mother had been through a fairly messy divorce when I was in middle school, and I had opted to move in with my father shortly before I started high school — “Allison, you’re fat like your mother.” I took what he said way too seriously and started losing weight.
No, not losing weight, shedding it. I stopped eating other than the occasional milkshake or salad from the school cafeteria. I dropped from a size 12 down to a size 6, at which point my father started complimenting my “weight loss” results. From all that non-eating, I wound up spending a good later portion of the summer before starting 11th grade in bed, sick. I knew that I was dehydrated because I wound up ‘bribing’ my younger sister to bring my glasses upon glasses of water because I was always thirsty. My father took me to the doctor once, who said that I must have been fighting the flu and that I should be getting better soon. I remember passing in and out of (what seemed to me) consciousness as I lay in bed. After a morning in which I twice passed out — we’re talking I ran into the wall and slumped to the ground — my father decided to take me to the hospital.
After going to Smyrna Hospital where I kept getting asked if I could possibly be pregnant, and I kept cracking jokes about “If I was, it would be the next virgin birth” (hey, give me a break, I was sick, ok?), I was transferred to Scottish Rite.
The initial tests showed that I had low blood counts (the count that’s normally 12 — hemoglobin? — was down to 2 or 3). After a couple of days of tests, including getting a marrow sample from my hip (tip: do not look at the tool they use before this procedure!!), a scan where they inject a small dose of radiation (where they stick you under what looks like a communion wafer so they can watch the flow of blood through your body), my first OBGYN appointment, and an upper and lower colonoscopy, they discovered that I had stomach ulcers.
Oddly enough, I had never had any symptoms of the ulcers – no odd bleeding, no stomach discomfort…
So, I was put on Zantac for a couple of years, as well as on birth control pills to regulate my periods (to control any unscheduled blood loss.
So, my junior year I started off on flag corps, then switched to pit percussion during the rest of the season because I had to eat at regular intervals, and my band director wouldn’t let me as long as I was wearing my flag corps uniform — plus I think she was worried that I would get sick again.
My senior year I was back up to a size 8/10 by graduation time.
My freshman year of college I went to Georgia Southern University, and was constantly walking everywhere. I marched flute, I walked to all of my classes, as well as the laundrymat and library. So I was walking at least 1-2 miles every day. Yet I still started to gain weight. I remember the first time I noticed was February 1996 – I noticed because I had gotten those ‘wrinkles’ on the insides of my knees. I was doing stomach crunches, yet still starting to gain.
I got up to a size 18/20 within the next year(ish), and now I’m a 26/28. My metabolism was basically killed from my starving myself 10 years ago, and even eating right doesn’t dent my weight by much.
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