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Sex Love and Obesity Part 2

Last week in the first part of this series, Sex Love and Obesity Part 1, we talked about how obesity affected my self-confidence and self-worth and affected the decisions I made in love sex and relationships prior to my marriage.

I told you that finally at 24 I had met the “Master” I had been searching for, lost the weight he asked me to lose to be with him and got married.

Today, we’re going to talk about how gaining and losing weight ruined my marriage.

There should have been a happy ending at the end of this story. There really should have been. I lost the weight that he wanted me to lose and was at an all-time low adult weight of 225 when he decided that we should get married.

The first few years of our marriage were amazing. Our sex life was fairly active, we frequented BDSM play parties, planned trips with other couples that shared our interests in alternative lifestyles and I was on an emotional high because I had gotten the “Master” that everyone wanted.

In any community you have the people who are natural leaders. The ones who are followed without ever trying to lead. My Master was one of those types. Other women fawned over him, everyone wanted his attention.

This should have boosted my self-confidence and made me feel special.

But it didn’t. It made me more and more insecure than I already was. I looked at the other women that coveted his attention, and when they didn’t get it, I was certain that they looked at us and thought, “why in the hell did he pick her?” Why wouldn’t they think that? I asked myself the exact same question daily.

About a month after we had gotten married I was diagnosed with endometriosis and underwent a partial hysterectomy to resolve the issue. We had discussed this medical decision at great lengths before we made it. We talked about the impact it might have on my weight and the stall it might cause in my weight loss while I recovered. We discussed how it would take away my ability to have children, a decision I am still not sure to this day that I was in the right state of mind to make at 24. Regardless of these two very big issues, we decided that it was the best thing for me to do.

At the time we were active. We went camping, hiking and fishing on a regular basis. I had started my own internet-based business working both as a phone sex operator and doing web design and graphics design for other adult oriented websites. The fact that he wasn’t working on a regular basis was the least of our problems with the kind of cash I was bringing in. Back then adult industry jobs paid well.

From the outside looking in, other women in our community envied me. I had the man who so many others had sought after and didn’t get, I had an at home job that supported our champagne taste lifestyle.

But I still had zero self-confidence and zero self-worth. Although I didn’t vocalize it, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept waiting for him to realize that he could have chosen someone way skinner or prettier than me. I kept holding my breath waiting for it to all fall apart.

My weight loss had come to a screeching halt.

The nearly three months that I had taken off to recover from my surgery, and the sudden take off my business created a situation where I was almost completely sedentary again. For the most part, I sat in front of a computer designing websites, editing graphics and answering the phone anytime in rang, and my phone rang a lot.

In the three years since I had started my business, it had gone from making about $1,500 a month to making anywhere between $6,000-$10,000 – I was one of the most well-known phone sex operators on the internet, dispatch companies contacted me daily trying to get me to work for them and I was turning down jobs left and right because I was already working 15+ hours a day.

Before too long it wasn’t just that the number on the scale wasn’t moving, it was going back up. It climbed slowly, 240, 250, 260 and though he kept telling me that my weight didn’t matter to him anymore, I didn’t believe him. My weight had been such a big issue in the beginning of our relationship, it was impossible for me to believe that it didn’t matter now. He kept trying to convince me that if I wanted to, I could lose the weight again, because I had before. But the scale kept climbing and as it did so did my anxiety and stress level that he would leave me for someone else.

2001-2010 Weight Progression

Stress, anxiety and resentment lead me right back to emotional eating.

Stress and anxiety alone can wreak havoc on your weight loss. But couple that with resentment and pair it up with an emotional eater and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. I was working from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. Sometimes my phones were left on at night and I’d wake up to take calls. All I did was work, and all he did was sit around the house watching television and playing video games.

As a union sheet metal journeyman, he was in this last one in first one out circular pattern. The first year we were married he didn’t work at all. The second year there was a brief stint of about 6 months that he was gainfully employed. During that time, we had adjusted our life to our double household income, we moved into a rent to own house that elevated our rent, we bought him a fancy truck that had us taking on a double car payment. After all, with the sort of money we were making this was all doable. Only the next lay off came almost immediately and I spent the next year continuing to work my ass off to pay for everything.

I started resenting the fact that I was the one supporting us on a regular basis. I was angry that he was sitting around the house waiting for work while I was working over a hundred hours a week. But I couldn’t say anything. Remember, he was the Master, I was the slave. I wasn’t allowed to argue with him, I wasn’t allowed to speak in a way that could be offensive. I wasn’t allowed to express my overall displeasure with the fact that he was lazy. I wasn’t allowed to scream at the top of my lungs that it felt like I was being used as a sex industry worker to support him while he sat around and did nothing.

Since I couldn’t vocalize any of that. I ate.

Before I knew it, I had emotionally eaten my way back up to 300 lbs. I was upset with myself and still worried he would leave me for someone else when I discovered that all that time I thought he was playing games on the internet he was in a 3D world game environment where he was having cyber affairs and online relationships with other women.

Around this time a few things happened all at once. As the scale hit 320 I realized that things were out of control for me. I had become full-blown diabetic, and I had missed my best friend’s wedding where I was supposed to be the maid of honor because I was in the hospital with blood sugars in the 700s.

I started looking at trying to have bariatric surgery to fix it. But our insurance wasn’t covering it at the time and the $50,000 cash pay price on the surgery wasn’t anywhere near doable for us. This caused me even more resentment, because there was a point where I could have afforded that if I wasn’t tackling our finances on my own 75% of the time.

He continued to struggle to hold a job and had now developed a pain in his feet and legs that promoted doctors to prescribe him Vicodin. Our financial situation was in a constant down whirl spiral. I wasn’t making enough money to pay the bills anymore. To top it all off he kept lying to me about the affairs he was having online. Telling me he had ended them only for me to find out that he hadn’t.

I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel. I had pretty much reconciled myself to the fact that I was going to die from Obesity and if I was going to die from Obesity anyways I might as well just eat whatever the hell I wanted to before I went out.

I spent the better part of a year depression eating my way back to 420 lb.

Everything that was going on in our marriage had pretty much ended our sex life. I resented him so much at that point there was no desire left on my side of the equation. I buried myself in food and online vampire role-play games to keep myself occupied. I made sure that we slept at different times of the day to avoid being in bed with him.

I convinced myself that my re-gain was the reason that he was constantly cheating on me in the form of online affairs.

I convinced myself that the financial disaster we were in was my fault. I was certain that in a time of both economic crisis and technological advancement, my weight stopped me from moving that business to the next stage of technology and being a web cam girl instead of just a phone sex operator.

I still had absolutely zero self-confidence and still put absolutely no value in myself. Once again, I was convinced that losing the weight would fix everything, my love life, my marriage, my career.

And once again, I was horribly wrong.

Stay tuned next week for part three of this blog series.

Sex, Love and Obesity Part 3 – Why Losing Weight AGAIN Didn’t Fix My Marriage

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

The Truth About Why I Stopped Running

I’m an Obesity Rebel.

That means I don’t let this disease kick my ass any more. I make sure that I am always fighting back and that it never gets to have the hold on me it once did.

But the methods I use to fight back have changed a little over the nearly 8 years since I started this journey.

One of the keys to my success in weight loss was that I traded my love of food for a love of running. I started running in July of 2011 to deal with grief of losing my father.

Between July of 2011 and May of 2017, I ran a total of 41 half marathons, one full marathon and an average day of exercise for me included training runs that ranged from 5-10 miles a day. I ran a lot. In my mind I was the genuine Forest Gump of the weight loss community.

Running made me feel better.

It helped me deal with my emotions, whatever they were. It got me through the grief of losing my Dad, the grief of my failed marriage, and the grief of a couple failed attempts at relationships along the way.

Whether we realize it or not, when relationships end — whether because someone passed away, someone left, or because you walked away — it’s still a loss that affects our hearts and our minds, and causes a form of grief that we must deal with. I used running, and the emotional high it gave me, to deal with that grief.

Instead of turning to food to cope with my emotions, I ran. As a recovering food addict and self-admitted emotional eater, using my emotions to fuel my fitness became the pillar of my weight loss success.

Running also helped me build up my self-confidence and self-efficacy. Every time I completed a training run for a big event, I felt accomplished. Each time I completed a half-marathon, and hung another participation or finishers medal on the wall, I felt the pride in that accomplishment. The more I did this, the more certain I was in my ability to keep the weight off.

Keeping the weight off, being proud of myself and being at least mostly happy with my new body led to me develop more self-confidence and inner strength. I no longer had all those feelings of unworthiness that I had when obesity was kicking my butt.

I shared my journey with others through my blog, motivational speaking engagements and a newfound career as a Weight Loss Coach and Personal Trainer. And when I saw how my actions could inspire and affect others, I was even more motivated to run. Running was special to me. The love I found for running changed my life in so many positive ways.

And then, everything changed.

If you had asked me 11 months ago, when I completed my last half marathon, why I was taking a break from running, I would have told you that it was because I was suffering from overuse injuries that needed to heal. I would have told you that I had developed achilles tendonitis in both heels and that the pain made running not worth it to me anymore. I would have told you that I was worried I might injure myself in a way that would make it impossible to continue running.

While those all would have been good reasons, none of them were true. I had learned how to deal with my injuries. I was seeing a foot doctor that was helping me work through it. KT Tape had become one of my best friends and although my doctor did want me to slow down — meaning he didn’t want me running a half marathon every other weekend — he never told me I had to stop completely. He understood how important running was to me and my emotional well-being.

So, what was the truth then? The truth was, I had lost desire to run because it seemed to be the point of contention in an emotionally battering, circular argument that was going on in my relationship at the time. We were fighting in a way that was volatile and destructive and almost every time it happened it traced back to one of two things: my running or my career.

The fights were never about running in and of itself. It was about the time I spent doing it instead of paying attention to him and nurturing the relationship the way he wanted me to. It was about the money I spent doing it, even though my part of the bills were always paid. It was about the fact that I was going places he wanted to go, without him. It was about the fact that I could afford to go, and he couldn’t. It was about him not being invited, even though he couldn’t afford to go, on trips that were sponsored or that were all-girl weekend events with my friends.

It really fell apart when I got the opportunity to run in Paris

What I wanted was the sort of relationship where when I called and said, “I just got a sponsorship to go to Paris and run the inaugural Disneyland Paris half marathon,” the reaction was excitement, supportiveness, happiness for a great opportunity for me.

But that wasn’t how the story went.

That story will have to be a whole different blog. It’s too long to make you suffer through today.

What is important is that he REALLY didn’t want me to go to Paris. His big reason at the time, was that I was ruining his plans for a grandiose proposal. Once upon a time in one of those conversations you have in the pre-commitment stages of a relationship, I had confided in him that my ideal  proposal would be at the finish line of some big event. We’d discussed the Paris half-marathon when they first announced it. How much I would like to run it, how awesome it would be to go to Paris together. How perfect a finish-line like that would be for a proposal, in the years to come.

I had no idea when we had those conversations that I would get the opportunity to run that first inaugural Disneyland Paris event. I had no idea one of my friends would offer to let me stay in a hotel room she already had booked to make the trip more affordable for me. I certainly had no idea that BariLife, a WLS-centric company that makes vitamins, protein powders, protein bars and protein-based snacks would offer to sponsor my run. 

In no world did I think that my opportunity to go to Paris (for little, to no, out-of-pocket cost) would cause the man I loved, the one I was about to move in with and was seriously considering spending the rest of my life with, to throw a fit.

Like I said, he really didn’t want me to go. Or more accurately, he really didn’t want me to go without him. He moved in with me just a couple of weeks after I found out about the sponsorship. I refused to turn it down and pass up such an amazing opportunity, for no reason other than the fact that he wasn’t included in the travel plans.

I paid for that decision dearly, I couldn’t begin to count the number of fights we had about my decision to go to Paris. We fought about my running plans constantly between the time he moved in at the end of May and the time I left for Paris in September.

The fights were ugly, volatile, and made me feel bad about myself.

We were in this circular pattern and it was bringing out a very ugly side of me. I don’t do constant conflict well. I grew up in a household that was very hostile and volatile when it came to arguments. My mother and I fought a lot. This pattern of constant fighting and constant conflict, along with the financial strains that ensued after he was injured in a biking accident, just proved to be a huge source of never-ending stress.  

The more we fought, the more the ugly, defensive side of me came out. I’m good at fighting back with words. I did it for most of my childhood. It’s not something I’m proud of, but in a state of constant conflict I have a hard time controlling it.

He’d bring up how upset he was that I was going to Paris without him. I’d bring up that he couldn’t afford to go even if he wanted to, and that I couldn’t invite him because I was staying with someone else and a sponsor was paying for my trip. He’d make me feel bad by telling me how he wasn’t lucky enough to have friends that would let him stay with them for free, so he could do the things he wanted.

He’d make me feel guilty for not asking my sponsor to send him as well. He questioned why I went to them asking for a sponsorship for just myself when I could have asked for a sponsorship for us both. I’d explain that I didn’t think I could get a sponsorship that big. In short, he faulted me for not making my story more about him, so that he could go on this trip.

As a result, I started to lose my self-confidence. I started to doubt myself.

Was I just lucky like he kept telling me I was? Or had I worked hard to get to where I was, to build the sort of relationships and reputation that allowed for me to get such big opportunities?

The more we fought, the worse things got. That ugly side of me kept coming out — a side of me I didn’t like. I began to see signs of that little girl in side me who didn’t know how to disengage from an argument. The one who would just keep fighting and fighting. And his persistence at trying to strong-arm me into doing things his way had me in a constant state of emotional turmoil.

In this emotional state, I started turning to unhealthy habits as a way of coping. I relapsed into smoking several times. I started drinking too much. Then those things started becoming a source of contention. The more he fought with me, the more I would turn to the things he fought with me about.

To try to persuade me to do things his way, he would point out how my behaviors could ruin my career. He’d ask me what people would think if he told them about all the unhealthy things I turned to instead of food. He’d tell me I was a hypocrite, a liar, that I didn’t practice what I preached about living a healthy lifestyle.

I’d counter with the fact that I never said I was perfect. That I didn’t always make good choices to deal with my emotions. That what I told people is that I could help them lose weight, find the fun in fitness, learn not to use food to deal with their feelings — not how to live a perfect existence, free from struggles.  

I tried to take solace in the fact that I was still doing all those things. But my emotional stamina was dwindling, I was starting to believe all the things he said. I couldn’t take the constant arguing anymore, I knew I was getting close to the end of my rope when it came to my mental health.

To stop the fighting, I started making sacrifices.

Since the fights often centered on the things I consider foundational to the person I have become since my weight loss — my career, the time devotion to my blog, running — these were hard sacrifices for me to make.

I stopped blogging. I didn’t really have anything going on I was comfortable talking about or sharing anyways. I was embarrassed about how things in my life were going. I was ashamed of some of the things I was doing and afraid to talk about them. After all, he’d convinced me that talking about my struggles would ruin my career and reputation.

I couldn’t stop working, I couldn’t work any less than I was, I was barely making it financially as it was. So, I started running less. At first, I gave up all the Disney runs that seemed to be the major focus of his jealousy. I made a promise that after Paris and Princess and TinkerBell, which I already had plans for, I would try not  to do anymore Disney runs or trips without him.

That didn’t work either. Instead,  we’d argue about my wanting to go on a weekend trip with my friends to Myrtle Beach, Washington DC or Atlanta. So I stopped trying to travel for runs at all. I committed to only participating in local races.

When that didn’t end the fighting, I committed to only doing virtual runs, running around town with one of my best friends instead. But the fighting still didn’t stop. We just fought about other things. And soon the fighting was so bad that trying to add running back into the mix just caused me more anxiety.

So, finally, I just stopped running.

I don’t know if I should say that I lost my love of running. I just think running got a lot of negativity attached to it. Because of the problems it seemed to be causing, it didn’t provide me that release from my emotions because any time I was doing it I knew it was going to cause me more problems.

This all left me feeling like running had been stolen from me. It had been taken away and turned into the villain of my relationship. I gave away a piece of my heart when I decided to love someone, and he wasn’t happy with just a piece of it, he wanted the entire thing. I wasn’t allowed to love running as much as I loved him.

He had successfully accomplished that goal, whether he ever intended to or not. Running wasn’t helping me deal with my problems anymore, it was making them worse.

Looking back now, I realize that what I should have done was lace up my running shoes and run as fast and as far as possible from the relationship as I could. I thought that if I stopped running, we might stop fighting, and I might have that amazing love story I had been dreaming of since I was a little girl.

But I think that love story ended the moment I decided to go to Paris without him. I just didn’t accept it, and I wasn’t strong enough to walk away then. My heart was involved. Instead, I hung on for a year and by the time it was over I had two big holes in my heart: the one I left on the ground somewhere in Paris when I decided to allow him to steal the joy of running from me,  and then one that got left in my heart the following April when the relationship finally came to an end.

If I had it to do all over again, I’d go back to the moment he told me he didn’t want me to go to Paris, and I’d end it all right then. I’d lace up my running shoes, like I did the night my father was dying, and I’d run the hell out of that Paris half marathon, using running as my trusted method of dealing with grief. Except that time, it would have been the grief of a relationship that didn’t work out.

But I don’t have a time machine, a magic wand or a re-do. Instead, I must find a way to get past the fear and anxiety that swells up inside me when I think about running. I need to get past all the other reasons I convinced myself and others that I shouldn’t run. Because the truth is, I want to run again. I’m just scared it won’t ever be the same. And fear, my friends, can be one of the biggest obstacles you’ll ever face in your fitness journeys.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and Cooper Institute Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies. Her training and coaching services are offered exclusively through GoGirl Fitness Studio.

Did you miss the blogs about that amazing Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Adventure? Just want to reminisce with me about the most amazing run I ever did? Check out these past articles on Desperately Seeking Slender.

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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