Body Image: Still An Everyday Struggle

2004-06-04_dustin-cahs-graduationContinued from Body Image, Yes I struggled during childhood and adolescence.

As I entered adulthood, I became increasing aware of my body image. It was my senior year, PE was still adaptive, but was more active and required a shower near the end. This continued to be a challenge but couldn’t be helped as it is a state requirement. Nonetheless, I mustered the courage to trudge through this struggle among many others of body image like disclosing my weight at Cap & Gown Distribution where I was 256#. After graduation, I had the grand idea of going to a new, more expensive gym. This so I thought would be the new solution. However, it was an epic fail as I ate out continuously and spent my graduation savings to nothing. That fall, I would be accepted for an assessment period at the state vocational rehab institute 60 miles away. While square meals were provided, the snacks and other needs would need to be provided by myself.

This was a true test of independence. It was difficult to manage. Papa John’s visited the school weekly for $6 Pizzas, the dining hall food was subpar and the canteen was open several times a day. Nonetheless, I consistently visited the canteen and had a pizza, yes the whole thing, and nearly fell ill as a result. I got to stay an additional week and came home and had a transitional job landed through the support entity a few months later.

Easter, Age 20 (Weight was around 280#)

The next spring, I learned in a letter that I was accepted in a year-long diploma program of study. That May, I went back to the studies there and struggled continually with the canteen visits and pizza offers. I also learned takeout and how to utilize public transportation  with access to McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Papa John’s, Domino’s a local Pizza Place, Subway and 2 Chinese Restaurants that were good. I didn’t really go for a few months due to financial constraints. A few months later this was relieved and I went hog wild with not a care in the world. I had no idea what I weighed. I began to incorporate soda, especially liters of Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper into my diet. After that Christmas, I became a little bit aware and followed the up and coming fads of that time. The Dr. Phil book, the 7 under 6 grams of fat stuff. The list goes on and on. I graduated the following spring. I came home to live, totally unaware of what my weight was. I had gained the so-called Freshman 15 and then some to over 20 pounds.

Another serious attempt was undertaken yet again where I would opt to purchase a one-year contract at the local gym, however I would not stick with it and result in not monitoring my calories and sticking to the sweets such as soda and the junk. I gave up the gym and in the fall of that year, I joined TOPS, short for Take Off Pounds Sensibly. I weighed in at 271# right before Thanksgiving. I was very well-liked at TOPS, however the food plan is up to you which can be  difficult at times. I continued the soda until recently and as a result gained 58 Pounds until October of 2019 when I was at my highest of 329. Waist sizes have increased to a 46″ and a T-Shirt Size, of 3XL to 4X, depending.

My Highest Weight (329#, 46″ Waist)

When I was at my highest on October 1, 2018. I realized that a initial photo of me in the same top needed to be taken before each weigh-in followed by a posting scheme on social media to garner support. As of this writing almost four months later, I have lost close to 15# from my highest weight at TOPS. During the last meeting we touched on the pros and cons on sugar and it was stated that aspartame is nothing but rat poison. This sickened me immediately as I drank over six liters of Coke Zero in just the past twenty-four hours alone. I got up and distracted the crowd by lifting the lid on the trash can and throwing the twenty-once bottle away. I no longer plan to drink any artificial sweetners and limiting true sugars. More will be coming in another post on my addiction and how bad it is and how I plan to overcome it.  Plans call for another charm at TOPS in seven weeks with 8 weeks no loss and to lose about 14 pounds in that time to have a weight around 300#.

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