Food has always been a thing for me. Growing up, junk food was easy to come by. Both of my parents love to cook, but even more than that, they love to feed. It wasn’t unusual for us to have cherry chip cake batter for dinner, homemade caramel rolls just because or fried chicken as a snack. And during my adolescent years, my parents owned a fast-food restaurant. Imagine all of the onion rings, chili cheese dogs, cheese balls, ranch dressing, pork fritters and root beer floats at your disposal. That was my life. Food was always there.
Until I went to college and moved away. I took control, immersed myself in health magazines, cut out fried foods and exercised. I shed some pounds and felt healthy. But I’m not one to do things in moderation — it’s all or nothing. So, not long after kicking off my lifestyle change, I became obsessed with counting calories and burning them off.
During the week, my routine was strict: eating mostly fruits and vegetables, and ending the day with at least an hour and a half of intense cardio. On weekends, I allowed myself to be a little lax with my diet, if I intensified my work out. And if I indulged too much one day, I’d punish myself with fewer calories or more sweating the next. It was a vicious and exhausting cycle. But the high I got off of getting a hunger pang and not giving in to it was as seductive as it was addictive.
Eventually, I stopped menstruating. The good part about that was — well, there were a lot of good parts — but mainly, as a sexually active woman, I didn’t worry about an unwanted pregnancy.
I was 36, dating and gaining weight with Greg. Happy hour at Durant’s or spin class was an easy choice. A weekend at the Royal Palms, eating fancy food and lounging in the pool with a cocktail, instead of training for a marathon suddenly seemed like a no-brainer.
I started menstruating again. My doctor gave me birth control but after a month I stopped taking it, citing headaches. Really, I was petrified it might make me gain more weight. I told Greg I went off, but we weren’t worried about pregnancy. Who gets pregnant a week after they go off of birth control, anyway?
Me. That’s who.
I ended up gaining 45 pounds. Pregnancy made me sick and tired. Vegetables and fruits made me want to gag. Grease is what I craved. I can tell you how to get to every Mexican restaurant in the Valley. I can also tell you that I don’t regret eating buffalo wings for breakfast. I did try to balance things out by walking during my lunch breaks, but mostly I just laid my head down on my desk. I worried some about how I was going to get the weight off, but really I was too tired to care.
Archer Porter Ensell was born at 9:06 p.m. on December 13, 2015. I still haven’t lost all of the weight and I’m OK with it. People tell me I look better, healthier than before. These same people once told me I’d never be able to imagine just how much I’d love Archer.
These are trustworthy people.