(2011 Waikiki Beach Cruzin!)^^
One of the most highly significant phrases I recall hearing as a child was that “life is about the journey Heidi, not the destination”, or “it’s going to be a long road to success kid”… Blah, blah, blah… Right? Yeah, that’s what I said too.
Lo and behold, any of my childhood mentors can now laugh and say “I told you so”!
My name is Heidi, I am facilitating this blog to document my journey to a healthier “me” , but also in hopes to inspire and encourage any other woman on her road to (what I call) Slim City. For instant clarification, the name “Slim City” is not to be mistaken for focus solely on “being slim”. This is absolutely not the case, as slim is not always in fact healthy.
Like many other young women of my generation - (1989…Though most would call me a 90’s baby) – I work a full time “9-5” office job at a fabulous travel agency based near Seattle, WA. Let me tell you, I LOVE my job! Stay with me, I promise that my job has something to do with the name of this blog.
Recently our office launched a series of vacation packages to Las Vegas…Sin City, as many would call it. I remember leaving a training class prior to the launch thinking, “I’m starving!! If anything has been a demon, or a ‘sin city’ in my life, it’s FOOD!”… If you know me, you know I am notorious for being the 5 foot nothing girl with a forever insatiable appetite. One does not gain the title of “hungry hungry Heidi” for nothing! This is my story…
I will begin by saying that I am fortunate enough to have two amazing families who love me very much, and I would be nowhere without either one. I was a child lucky enough to only very briefly taste the foster care system, and be quickly adopted into a family only to dream of. I was also granted permission to continue relations with my biological mother, who is now my best friend in the world and arguably my better half! Now, if you would have asked me 6 years ago what this had to do with my lifestyle, I would tell you nothing at all… but stick with me here…
Although growing up between two very different family environments has since proven to be beneficial, as a child I was very confused and lost. And of course we all know how mean your average elementary school kids can be… Throw that in the mix and you had a hot rebellious mess named Heidi!
Through elementary school I was able to scoot through causing trouble, though things changed once I got to middle school. I began letting the voids within me get the best of me and breaking rules/skipping school became more and more fun. To this day my adoptive mother will tell you the story of when my 7th grade counselor called to say that I was a “terror to other children, and either manically depressed or bipolar”… GREAT…
Well at that point I began to rebel in any way I could… My biggest weapon became…(you guessed it)…FOOD - Paired with probably too much alcohol consumption for a middle schooler. But we won’t get into that today.
My adoptive mother (Fanny) was always a very healthy eater… Born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland she is very well versed in more than one cultural opinion on nutrition and our meals were without fail, perfectly proportioned size wise, and nutrition wise…. In fact, healthy food was SO highly regarded in our household that I would beg my friend’s parents to take me to the store and buy me cookies, or chips, or any other fatty, sugary, processed food that I could hoard in my locker and binge on all day. For I knew when I got home that my meal would consist of some lean meat, plain green veggies, you know, the basic healthy staples that no teenager likes to eat. Might I add, I also drank about a 12 pack of Diet Coke per DAY. (Mind you, I DO thank my adoptive mother for this awesome diet now)
Now despite my binge eating and drinking habits, I was luckily a very seasoned athlete. Since the age of 3 I had been taking dance classes, and by middle school was dancing 30+ hours a week after school and on the weekends… This managed to balance my weight JUST enough. But then of course, there is Murphy’s Law… “If it can, it will” – And I broke one of the largest bones in my foot dancing in a competition in Chicago. I was instantly taken to see a doctor and put onto a flight home. I was told I would never dance again. With a high number of different awards and 5 scholarships (for dance programs) – Dance was supposed to be my career and now it was over.
(I am on the right hand side / 2004 / Porquerolles, FR…The weight gain began in my teenage years…)
After the disappointing news, my decisions became worse and worse… In fact so poor that my family came together and had no choice but to send me into the woods for 13 weeks high in the Uintah mountains (Central Utah) in the dead of winter (-20 degrees daytime/-40 degrees night time), then for 15 months to a therapeutic boarding school called Summit Preparatory School in Kalispell, MT… The only cool thing about this was my Native American heritage traces to the Blackfoot tribe in Missoula, MT… But that has nothing to do with this story… (I suffer from ADD too apparently)… ANYHOW…
(I am on the left… 2006 High school photos in Montana.. The weight gain continues…)
Once in “the fishbowl” as we called it, we were stripped of any outside entertainment or privileges…even ANY sort of physical contact whatsoever. And the punishments for breaking rules consisted of “work crews” (manual labor) or therapy assignments… neither of which you wanted. So… What else were we to do but sit in the kitchen of our dorm and eat endlessly? Better yet, the food we were provided was of course in bulk as no less than 30 girls were living in the dorm at once… So you can imagine, all white carbs, whole milk, full fat cheeses…. Nothing organic or natural… It was a downward spiral. We would look forward to eating all day, every day, it was like a vice. Upon returning to the dorm at night, girls would literally be fighting for the cheese and tortillas… and the ONLY microwave. The best part, you ask? When there were no tortillas, we melted cheese in bowls and ate that… GROSS! (Don’t get me wrong however… this place DID change my life for the better - These comments pertain only to the food)…
(2006-2007 high school photos…On my small 5 foot 1 inch frame, 145lbs was absolutely unacceptable..)
By the time of my high school graduation/graduation of the program, while I became a more whole, stable, healed individual – I was at my heaviest weight yet, and it did not feel good. Now, I was NEVER a very thin person… Since childhood I was always the “huskier” or stouter friend of the bunch and it became more and more bothersome over the years that I was never the “skinny girl” but rather the “cute” one, or the “husky” one.
When I returned home from my time in Utah and Montana the rumors began to fly about my weight. Every so often I would catch a fragment of a conversation regarding how much larger I had gotten over the 18 months that I was away and I would tell myself “I will start my diet tomorrow – I’ll show them”… Well tomorrow became the next day, and the next… and a few more days after that (okay about a year after graduation) I was blessed with the most beautiful gift of my life… My daughter Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backwards). Things did not work out between Nevi’s father and I as we were really just kids, and Nevi became my little right hand woman - my motivation to become a “mother” and not just a mom.
After having Nevi I was faced with a few medical hiccups which left everyone telling me to get healthy! I decided it was FINALLY time to start eating well, exercising, and creating some sort of a balance and schedule for my wild, unrefined self…I tend to be scatterbrained, and at times airy…Sometimes you just have to bring me back down to reality :)
Anyhow, I hope this gives you a semi vivid image of who I am and what I stand for… Stay tuned and join me on my journey to a healthier way of living… You OWE it to yourself! In the end you are the only person who can take care of yourself… You ARE what you put into your body, so feed it well!
2011 / 115lbs…And counting!