Although Joy’s story is certainly not over, here is the next part of Joy’s journey (provided in a weekly 8 part series) through better health and wellness! If you missed the earlier segments, please see Parts 1 – 5 on the website at “A Healthier You” (Testimonies):
I’d been up, down and now I was back at it again and this time with a vengeance! I graduated high school in 1979 and was a size 7/8, which by 1970’s standard was fat! Since I was in love with a good looking, muscled boyfriend most of my senior year and first year of college, I thought I was doing quite well. Remember, my worth was always tied to what a male thought of me. Then one day I looked at him and realized he was not the guy I wanted to marry, we broke up and I moved on.
Here are a few pics of us from 1979 and one of him this past summer. Of course he still has the same 31” waist and is in the gym 6 days a week. He’s also one of my best guy friends, and I’m thankful for that now (we’ve worked through our issues) … not so much back in the 80’s, but keep reading.
In 1981, at the ripe old age of 19, I started my career at Southern Bell. I thought I’d made it in the big time, and my 20’s were spent going out every weekend, drinking and dancing with my friends. I had a few really good relationships and put on a few pounds along the way. That’s what happens when you’re happy.
Then I ran into the old high school boyfriend (at a convenience store at the beach) who now was into body building and looked really ripped. I was of average size (10/12) and when he saw me his jaw dropped. To this day it is still burned in my brain. He said, “Joy? Oh my God! You sure have let yourself go!!!” I laughed it off, but it cut through me like a knife! If he thought this way about me, then others must too, right?!
It sent me into a feeding frenzy, and over the next few years, it sent my weight up. I know this now, but of course at the time … clueless. I was engaged three times, first two ended, and then I married the third one. HUGE mistake, divorced 16 months later and then another eating depression. See the cycle yet?
In 1991 I met my husband of 23 years. He’s the kindest, most loving man you’d ever want to meet. I was fat when he met me and fat when he married me in 1992 in beautiful Jamaica. I weighed 220 lbs. Now let’s see what I’ll do with someone who loves me in spite of being fat, and so the pounds began to climb. What I know now is he, unknowingly, enabled me to stay fat because he never once called me anything but beautiful! He loved me no matter what the scale said. I ate when I was happy, sad and stressed. Heck, I’d eat just because it was the second Tuesday of the month – LOL!
I had two stepchildren and while they were a blessing, they came with their own issues (their mother). Anyways, three years later, my stepdaughter came to live with us. She was 12, awkward and in a new town, new house, etc. Soon after, I lost 50 lbs. and then I found out I was pregnant. Unplanned, but oh so happy, I had our son the following summer, 1996. Now she’s 13 and her brother is 11 ( my husband spend every other weekend driving to pick up my stepson since he lived with his mother in Orlando). The next year, 1997, he came to live with us, and now I’m a full time mother of 3, working full time and putting myself last on the list as we moms do. By then, I was 285 lbs at 5’2”, was diagnosed with type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol & triglycerides, etc. Translation: Hot mess train wreck! I dieted, lost some weight, gained it back, lost it again … Yo-yo time!
See you here next Monday for more of Joy’s story to better health and weight loss!