I have SO many WHYS about my purpose for writing this BLOG that it’s almost overwhelming just THINKING about where to begin … and yet … here I go!

I was raised in a traditional Greek family much like we saw in the movie about the Greek wedding ….. complete with Nick, Taki, Gus, and George as family names and in CHICAGO too!  My dad was George, and he was very very strict so much so that today he would be in jail no doubt.  But back then we didn’t talk about those things ….. the SHAME in the family … even though everybody KNEW.  He controlled how I looked by allowing me or not allowing me to wear whatever I wanted, whether or not I wore any make-up, and how I combed my hair.   My mother tolerated way too much from him, and as we now know about eating disorders ….. hence the beginning of my struggles for control over my own self/body within my family of origin.  I remember thinking of myself as fat and ugly as young as 9 years old.  I wasn’t!  I remember thinking of myself as fat and ugly at 13 and at 16 and at 21 and all through my adulthood until I actually did get fat in my 40’s.  My Theia Sophia’s prophecy on my 16th birthday (I will NEVER forget the moment) about how “some-a day you a-gonna-be as big and fat as me” became a life-long dreaded possibility that eventually turned into an almost-truth!

I don’t recall how I learned that by making myself vomit after a meal, or by taking lots of “natural” laxatives and/or weekly colon irrigations, or skipping meals, or by exercising like a fool by running miles and miles after a dinner out, or  by trying crazy fad diets with zero nutrition could all help me be “skinny” which is what I wanted to hear people say about me.  I would beam from ear to ear when someone said “Oh you are so skinny ….. are you OK?”  “Thank you very much ….. yes, I’m fine!”  NOT!  I’d find myself at the doc’s office because I had zero energy only to hear him tell me “You have the most unhealthy gut and colon I have ever seen!”  UGH!  But that didn’t stop me because I had to prove to somebody that I COULD control how I looked no matter what.

The PROBLEM was, however ….. that when we are going through the eating disorder cycle, we don’t REALIZE why we are doing it ….. we don’t realize it’s about that control and I didn’t either.  I do remember coming home from work one day to hear on the news that Karen Carpenter had died, and yes we all knew she struggled with anorexia.  I gave it a LOT of thought and PRAYER ….. and by the grace of God I saw that I was in danger of hurting myself and that I needed to change my eating habits.  It wasn’t an overnight change, but with God’s help ….. I did.  Of course I don’t think I ever really ate “normally” as far as portions go, but I stopped the crazy stuff.  I kept myself in shape with healthy gym workouts and doing a lot of “juicing” which was easy in those days because fresh fruit and veggie stands were on every other corner in Florida at that time.  I watched how I combined proteins and carbs and veggies for optimum digestion.

I was able to keep this up for many years until I moved to Nevada where no fresh markets existed, and my lifestyle changed to almost-daily meals at the casino buffets.  UGH ….. makes me ill just remembering!  Boy oh boy did my body pack on the pounds!  Back to crazy yo-yo diets go-ist I!  UGH!  And then I reached my 40’s and OMGoodness!  Double UGH!  When I reached those peri-menopause years ….. the entire weight-management mission became most difficult to accomplish.  I didn’t struggle with hot flashes or night sweats.  Weight gain was my downfall, and no matter what I tried to do about it ….. I could not stop the pounds from adding up even more.  So what happened?  I got depressed of course, and hence my initial experience with mood disorders!  What I didn’t realize was that my self-management habit of drinking way too much wine was not at all helpful or approved by the FDA (HA HA) for depression, and guess what happened next?  Yep!  More pounds!  UGH UGH UGH!  Somewhere in my mid-50’s though my hormones balanced out, and life in general started to get better for me physically in regards to all of this weight chaos/struggles.

I don’t care what anyone says ….. it’s challenging to eat healthy when we are working full-time (and sometimes more than one job) and have loved ones to care for on off time.  And with that for women comes the thinking that we are the last ones to care for because most of us are just natural-born caregivers that we give give give to others while neglecting what’s best for us.  Let me hear an AMEN if you’ve been there!

I’m out of the vicious cycle now though and want so much to help others with similar struggles because trust me ….. it isn’t fun and it’s just downright BAD BAD BAD for our health!  So if even ONE person benefits from reading my story, my blog, and even takes one bit of advice to heart starting with a soul-to-soul with your primary care physician ….. I’ve done my job.

I didn’t learn about mental health issues until I went back to school in my 40’s.  You don’t have to wait that long to learn and get help because you have ME to take your hand and get you started NOW!  So ENJOY and thank you for reading, following, and sharing with others.  Sometimes we  just don’t know who needs us and/or what we have to offer ….. and might never know at that … and we’ll keep on keeping on anyway!