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From my book, Battle Scars: My Journey from Obesity to Health and Happiness, Fifteen Years and Counting! Please feel free to share….

At twenty-one, I weighed in at well over 300 pounds and was on my way to the highest I’ve ever weighed in my entire life. Seeing that number now makes me cringe. I was not living a life at all. I pretty much wore the same clothes every day, mostly because I couldn’t find clothes to fit me or I was too embarrassed to actually go shopping. Everyday activities were difficult to carry out without sweating or breathing heavily. I had a constant feeling of embarrassment about the way I looked and felt. I would always pay close attention to how long someone looked at me. I felt that anything more than a glance meant that that person was judging me. I held my head down low. I avoided mirrors. I avoided most things in my life.

As I kept gaining weight, just putting clothes on everyday was difficult. I knew I wouldn’t like how I looked in the mirror. The thought of shopping and trying on new clothes was always quickly put out of my mind as something I didn’t have the courage to do. Again, I knew I wouldn’t like how I looked. As a result, I started to wear only one pair of pants, day after day. I couldn’t bring myself to buy another pair because it was too embarrassing to go and purchase pants in my size. I had a pair of black jeans that fit me, and they were dark; I felt that by wearing dark clothes I was somehow concealing my true weight. Wearing these every day also meant that I had to wash them frequently out of my fear of always sweating too much or having the clothing smell bad.

As the pants started to fade from the numerous washings, I resorted to dyeing them every week to give them their color back. I would wait until everyone in my house left for the day before I did anything. I hid the dye in my room, afraid that someone would find it and ask me what I was doing with it. As soon as the house was empty, I would fill the washer up and add the dye. The water would turn jet black. The first time I did this, I was really nervous that I was going to stain the washing machine in some way and everyone would know what I was doing. Because of this, I would run an additional wash cycle with bleach after the dyeing was finished to ensure that no dye remained. This was a ritual that I would perform for a long time, always secretly so my family wasn’t aware of what I was going through.

I had friends in my life, but I really didn’t want to be with anyone; I was too big and too embarrassed. I was starting to isolate myself further. I would turn down friends’ requests to do things; it was simply too uncomfortable for me to be around other people, always wondering what they were thinking about me in the back of their minds. My so-called life was a daily routine of work, watching TV, and eating. My life was about minimal connection. My life was going nowhere.

This was definitely the lowest point in my life. Some would say I had reached the end of my rope. I wasn’t seeking out anything to change my life in a positive way. I was just barely getting by. The feelings of despair and sadness were overwhelming.

Now I found myself really eating out of control. I began sneaking food in the middle of the night. Since my telemarketing job was mostly an evening job, I would get home from work and stay up several hours before going to bed. My family was long asleep when I was still up watching television. Once the house was fast asleep, I would quietly go into the kitchen and make sandwich after sandwich, sometimes eating two or three right before going to bed. It wasn’t that I was hungry; it was that I was looking for comfort, and food was always there to deliver.