The year – 2006. The scene – 2 a.m. during spring break near a dumpster outside of an apartment building in Phoenix, Ariz. There I was, peering inside a dumpster, actually considering reaching in to retrieve a packet of McDonald’s Sweet & Sour Sauce that was accidentally tossed out. What was wrong with this picture? It all started in December. Looking over the annual family Christmas photo, I couldn’t help but notice that while most people tend to gain weight when they enter college, I had seemed to put on a freshman of life 15 after college. Having struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember, I made a doctor’s appointment to solve the weight-loss problem once and for all. To me being thin meant being beautiful and I was going to have surgery. As long as it put me closer to 130 pounds, they could remove a leg, I didn’t care. The doctor suggested that before taking such extreme measures, I try a liquid diet. And so I did. When I left for Phoenix to visit my best friend Marty, I had been getting most of my nutrients through a straw for four steady months. And guess what? It worked. Turns out, not eating solids is really good for your waistline. The downside? It wreaks havoc on your psyche — hence the 2 a.m. dumpster dive. For the record, I never went into the dumpster. I went inside Marty’s apartment and ate the McNuggets plain. But my desperation stemmed from the fact that those Chicken Nuggets were some of first solid foods I had eaten in months and — for God’s sake — I wanted my beloved Sweet & Sour Sauce with them. The worst part is that I continued the insanity even a few months after the dumpster incident before deciding that perhaps depriving my McNuggetloving self from solid foods wasn’t a great idea. I know I’m not the only one who has gone to such lengths to make myself feel beautiful. Liquid diets are just the beginning for most women. Serums, surgeries — we’ll try anything. What I learned from my experience: 1. Dumpsters smell terrible – don’t eat anything that comes out of them and 2. Our true beauty lies in the ability to feel confident in ourselves — no matter the shape, size, color of our hair or number of freckles. Soon after the dumpster incident I became serious with my now husband, a guy who’d known me since junior high. He’d seen me through thick and thin and didn’t really see a difference. He is just one piece of the puzzle – therapy and a lot of positive self-talk have also helped me to see what he sees. Today, if I want Sweet & Sour Sauce, I simply hit up the drive thru — a lot easier than the alternative and let me tell you, I look fabulous while doing it.
Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.