Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Time to Pay It Forward!! My Life Struggle With Wanting to Be Skinny

There is nothing worse than feeling horrible about yourself and then read someone's blog about losing weight, I know I have been there many many times.  I thought that since everyone's mind is on the yearly resolution I would open up a little bit about my journey with always feeling like I needed to lose weight and always feeling fat since about age 15.  This post might be shocking to some who have never known this about me, but in the spirit of paying if forward I felt I needed to share my journey and hopefully help someone in theirs.  I think I can remember only one time in my life I have felt good about my weight and that was in my 2nd year of college, living in CA, I had a great tan, was playing college Volleyball and finally got in decent shape (for me) Before and after that I struggled.

I was always the tallest kid in my class until about Freshman year when finally most of the boys started catching up.  The girls however remained shoulder level and below. The last time I was referred to as a bean pole was 7th grade, the same year I decided to change back to my given name "Courtney".  Before my name change decision I was walking around with the name Cori, had braces, short hair and wore a brown Izod shirt that all made for a pivotal "lump in the throat" moment when a cute boy said "HEY CORI ARE YOU A BOY OR A GIRL"?  Apparently he did not see my Normandy Rose Jeans I was wearing with the cute rose on the pocket or my ice cream cone earrings!  Regardless, it was at that moment I decided my birth name Courtney would resurrect and everyone would follow suit in calling me that, which appeared to be a harder transition for some than others.  In fact, at our recent family Christmas my cousin who I have seen at least 2x a year for the last 30 some years just found out I go by Courtney not Cori, I gave him permission, along with my Uncle Ron who when I was 3 took Cori and changed it to Correta and still calls me one or the other, to use his exception card.

Wonder Which one is Me!
RHCC 8th Grade Youth Group Girls
Being tall is much more acceptable in the 21st century.  Back then the youngest of three girls and the one that passed both of them up in 8th grade and kept growing and widening, tall was just well, wow!  My two older sisters were thin, beautiful, popular, on school homecoming courts, cheerleaders and were always going on dates.  I don't want to paint a picture that I was some hideous oger as I had my fair share of friends, felt stylish and such, but compared to them I felt well, very athletic.  Thankfully, I used my height to play sports and enjoyed the successes that came along with this gift of tallness and a decent shot, and was a big help to my mom who was 5'2, when it came to grabbing the fancy dishes from the cabinet over the refer.  My mom would always tell me to "stand up straight" which I'm sure I was thinking "uh maybe I'm not standing up straight because I want to look people in the eye like you tell me to"easy for you to say in your small princess frame.  My Dad, an amazing athlete in his day, I know was a little down-struck when out popped the 3rd girl, but later appreciated that I still got the athlete gene he was hoping for.  I was going to be Tyler.  It was not uncommon for us to hear "hey fellas" from Dad, must have been that same 7th grade year and my hair cut and the brown shirt that through him off for a second.  Mom corrected him a few times when he would comment on my height saying "Well she's a big girl"  "TALL MICK" you don't call a girl "BIG".  Not sure that concept ever sunk in with my dad, a coach and later referee of women's college basketball where all he saw in the key was a bunch of "Big Girls".  I think it's just a guy thing, and I don't fault him at all for that.  He loved his house full of girls very much and still makes us feel special and would give the shirt of his back for all of us.

I think where I went wrong with my metabolism was Freshman year when I discovered the vending machine that sold toffee covered peanuts and there was just enough time to down a package before volleyball practice started every day.  It didn't help that my dearest friend in high school was TINY, medium height and could eat a whole pizza if she wanted with nothing to show for it, not that she did, but you know those people.  Loved her, but hated that she looked cuter in her black stirrup pants than I did.  As sports became everything to me and my focus turned towards college potential and striving to be quicker, faster, jump higher and compete at a higher level, I soon began to notice my weight more.  I was 5'10 (with bxball shoes on) and about 145 which next to the 5'4 guard who was rail thin and fast, made me feel like a girl headed for roller derby. The thing is, I was never really fat fat, just heavier and bulkier and not skinny (ok the thyroid disease didn't help) or fast enough for my expectations and never would be.  While at the mall my size 0 sister, in college at the time, tried to convince me how great it must be to have such strong legs and that it was all muscle!! well maybe so, miss "I can eat whatever I want in the the food court" but I'd  much rather be skinny and weak at this moment in time and be able to find ONE pair of jeans that fit these muscular thighs!! She I'm sure meant well.

LO Basketball 1988 Jr. Year
After my Junior season in Basketball I began to go down a path that would take me on a life changing journey.  I started skipping breakfast, eating a roll at lunch and after dinner would drink a ton of water and then head to the bathroom to throw it all up.  I remember Thanksgiving that first year feeling so guilty for throwing up a meal that my mom worked so hard on all day but realizing that it was worth the guilt to look better and to be faster.  It got easier and easier to do, and I also figured out that I could eat what I wanted and not worry about the calories and look like a normal girl enjoying pizza or dessert with my friends.  The frustrating thing for me was it wasn't working as fast as I had hoped, so I began days of no eating at all, and then bingeing  and then heading to the bathroom.  I would get so frustrated if I was in a situation where I couldn't make it to the bathroom right after a meal and then had to absorb all those calories.  That would send me back to eating nothing the next day to make up for it and of course working out harder.  Year 3 living like this, while jogging, I felt like my heart was working extra hard. It felt like it was just at the surface of my skin.   It was at that moment I began to panic wondering if the damage had already been done, if it was too late, what if I was actually killing myself.  I was thick into it though, taking laxatives, admiring thin and admiring anorexic people that could actually make it work!  Thinking if she could do it, I can.  Thoughts like "well I know she is unhealthy and super skinny but at least she is skinny"! And SADLY even thinking on the "bright side", well if I do die, at least they will pick up the casket of a light person. There were other signs of my body reacting to lack of nutrition and starvation- my complexion turning when it was normally pretty smooth and my eyes not being has bright and just not having a lot of energy.   I took my eating disorder and my secret to my first year of college where I played basketball.  It wasn't what I dreamed of back when I thought of playing in college and I was completely burnt out of basketball and trying to be someone I wasn't or maybe couldn't.  I finally wrote in a journal entry that we kept for our coaches, kind of a goal setting book, that food was my enemy amongst other symbolic things, my way of crying out for someone to notice before I killed myself from starving, I was scared.  My coach did notice thankfully, and sent a letter to my parents.  I was confronted by my parents who were sad, scared, worried and not sure how deep I had gotten into this, not sure what was next, on their knees praying.  They were all very supportive and concerned, my sister (the size 0 ) said the right thing this time around that saved me.  She wrote me a letter and I remember what clicked with me the most was when she wrote... "every time you look at the toilet and are ready to throw up, you know that is the Devil looking right back at you".  She was right, this was a battle that only God and my faith would get me through.   I was found out, I didn't have to hide anymore, I didn't want to die and I knew that I was sinning and de-valuing who God made me be every time the thought came to throw up.  Thankfully, that was enough to stop the cycle.   It took a while before I didn't think about that as an option but over the years still struggled with weight obsession.   The lasting results of my disorder was a trip to the Dentist where he found 10 cavities from all the acid that decayed my teeth, thankfully that was the only side effect.

In my younger 30's I was pregnant 6 times in a matter of 3 years (yes that is another story) which added on the pounds.   I don't think I have ever had healthy eating patterns in that I would gain some weight and then think ok I need to cut way back and then starve myself by skipping meals.  I've realized that I've NEVER really been completely comfortable with where I have been on the scale since 8th grade!  This last year in November I decide once and for all before I hit the big 40, I only have one life, I'm only my kids mom once, my husbands wife once, I want to be happy about things and not worry about food so much and have it be the enemy.  I had heard of so many people's success stories with Medifast  and mainly from my friend Jules who is a Take Shape For Life Coach,  and I thought the eating every 2 hours sounded like a wise approach for me rather than being so focused on each meal and getting busy skipping meals etc.   I was so excited that this program actually was working and attacking that pesky muffin top hanging over the jeans.  I chose to go on it at the worst but maybe the best time of the year Vacation and the Holidays!  But I found I was so disciplined and wanted this once and for all that I just made better choices than I have ever made during this time.  Looking back I really don't think I missed out on much..(ok, I could've died to have more mashed potatoes and spinach dip).   I figured if I can make it through past those hurdles I can do the rest of the year making wise choices and not making unhealthy choices.  I started November 11th,  and up to today I have lost 22.5 lbs eating throughout the day!

I feel awkward a little sharing my story but I know that there are many others out there who struggle with all kinds of addictions and spent tons of money trying to get over them, failed, got back on track, failed and feel miserable and guilty at times.  I hope that the picture of the Devil tempting you comes to your mind when you are in that situation of temptation.  I pray that you will understand that God has a greater purpose for us than to be stuck in the trap of addiction.

I know that losing weight isn't the end all be all or a certain size isn't what places value on someone, but if it is something that is unhealthy or holding you back in some way whether physically or socially and it would make you feel better as a person, then it is so worth getting to a place you feel confident.  I don't know if I will ever completely NOT think about weight because I have thought about it for so long, but I do know that food itself isn't the enemy and the porcelain god will never win again.

“Even though you meant harm to me, God meant it for good, to achieve his present end.” (Genesis 50:20)

“For I know the plans I have for you. They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11


  1. Wow Courtney. That is so beautiful, heartfelt and touching. It takes a woman with the confidence of God to be able to reveal such intimacy in a blog. It brought me to tears to know that you suffered as you did in high school (and onwards). All I ever saw was a beautiful, popular, athletic, amazing girl who I aspired to be like. 

    When we got in touch through FB years later and I learned that you wrote music, sang, played and had released an album as well, I must say that my flesh kicked in and I had a flash of "Man! She is so perfect. I wish I could do and be all that she is!"  God just reminded me , and continues to remind me, that He has plans for all of us and that they are as individual as the person, but every now and again I still get the blues over what someone else is that I am not. 

    I am so glad that the devil didn't win this battle and that, through your blog, he, who is already defeated, will lose his grip on other lives. 

    Our Sr Pastor, when talking about not taking offense, always says "EVERYONE'S battling something." This post is such a good reminder. People would just have seen an amazing person, but there was an incredible battle going on underneath. 

    You are even more amazing then I ever could have imagined. Thank you again for sharing. 
    xx Dawn

  2. I've only known the beautiful, talented, and witty & hilarious Courtney...and through your story, I now have a glimpse of the authentic, sincere, just as talented, and even more beautiful Courtney. Your transparency endears us more to you and as you said, "by sharing your journey helps someone in theirs" may not be the same story but it sure ministered to me. Thanks Courtney:)

  3. That is an amazing story Courtney! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. May you have a blessed Birthday!

  4. Oh Court! Reading this brought me to tears. You are one of the most amazing people I know. I've learned a lot from you, and feel very blessed that I can call you a friend. Thank you for sharing such a personal story! Loves!

  5. Court, you are so brave to share your heart. That takes courage. God will use this chapter in your life to reach others because you have been obedient to His prompting.
    Let Him continue to make you complete...

  6. Dear Courtney, Thank you so much for sharing this will all of us! May God use this special testimony to minister to others who are struggling with the same or similar things in their lives. His grace is sufficient for us and His power if perfected in every weakness. Thank God that He has helped you through this and may He daily show you who you are in Him that you may never settle for anything less or see yourself as less than who you are in Him ever again. You are a beautiful Christian Woman, wife, mom, friend to many and glory be to God that you are using your life for His glory! Again for sharing this with us!

  7. Courtney,
    Although you and I have never met face to face, I have found your writings so inspirational and are a gifted writer and an amazing woman! I first heard of you through SONG, and our common have an incredible family, and you have such wisdom to share. Keep up the great work you are doing:)

  8. It is an honor for me to be considered your friend! I have the highest respect for you. Thanks for your transparency. God will bless your good work! :)

  9. Thank you all for your sweet and encourging comments. It felt so refreshing to good to bring some of those thoughts out into the light. It also feels great to be successful at losing weight in a healthy way. Hopefully this post will do what it was meant for to open the eyes of parents and others about the danger and quiet killer of eating disorders even in the most loving normal home.