My name is Emily and I had a food addiction.
Who doesn’t right?! I had been overweight my entire life. For just about every emotion, food had always been something I turned to. I hated my body, but eating food made me think like a child: it was ok because it ‘tasted good.’
My story really begins as a child. I’m a twin and growing up I was always the fat twin. My sister was skinny and received all the attention I craved. I was never able to share clothes with my friends or able to pick out cute clothes in just about any store. However, my sister got to experience all of that while I just stood in the shadows. High school came around and I seemed to always get the same response: "you have a pretty face but I consider you more as a friend/sister". I interpreted that as a nicer way of saying “you’re pretty but you’re fat".
I married at the age of 21 and had my son at the age of 22 and then divorced by the age of 23. As a young mom I was raising a child by myself. I started turning to food even more to address my emotions. I loved food, I loved making it and of course eating it. I met my, now, husband shortly after.
I was about 260 pounds when we first started dating and he thought I was perfect. We always went to buffets and ate out all the time but I was happy. My husband and I married in 2011 and I hated every moment of what should’ve been the best day of my life. I hated trying on wedding dresses and how they never seemed to have my size. I had these beautiful dresses on and hated every single one of them because I looked and felt fat. I finally settled on a dress because I was over the whole process.
The day my husband and I got married I still didn’t feel beautiful. Never once did my husband make me feel I was less than perfect on any given day. He always made me feel beautiful but deep down I struggled with my own demons convincing me that he was just being nice. Shortly after being married in 2011 I was pregnant with my second son. My body hurt, I felt worse this pregnancy than I had during my first. I was huge and I let myself reach 315 pounds. I ate everything and anything I could.
After having our son, I dropped about 30 pounds but for the next 4 months I was constantly sick. I was in and out of the hospital for unknown reasons. The only thing I kept hearing was, “well if you’d lose some weight you may not have all these problems”.
On September 18, 2012, I went into the hospital and had my appendix removed but still for another month felt sick. Turns out, I was actually pregnant…again. Great right!
It was the best feeling ever to finally be pregnant with a girl. This time I walked more, took the stairs instead of the elevator but still gained a huge amount of weight and at full term I weight 320 pounds.
I had our daughter on June 9, 2013 and immediately after having her I started researching weight loss surgeries to see what was covered by my insurance. I met with my doctor and had to go 6 months on a monitored diet Then, on April 9, 2014, I had the Gastric Sleeve. My start recorded weight was 285 pounds and within the first year I dropped all the way down to 149 pounds. I was feeling great, I had more energy and food wasn’t my addiction anymore. My new motivation was running and chasing my kids.
October, 2015 came around we decided to move to Minnesota after living 20 years in Las Vegas. Adjusting to a new lifestyle, I started noticing I was gaining weight again. Unfortunately, I was back to my old habits of eating again. I gained 31 pounds back in 2 years. Then, I lost both of my parents in the same year (2017) within 3 months of each other and in a short amount of time after that, I probably gained 15 of those 31 pounds.
Fast forwarding to 2018, I decided this was going to be my year. I was NOT going to let food be an addiction nor was I going to let food define me anymore. I decided to start kick boxing 3 times a week and it was the best decision I’ve made in a very long time. I started seeing small changes in my body but I still wasn’t happy with myself. I still felt like I was 300 pounds.
So I decided to go way out of my comfort zone and do boudoir pictures with Sugar & Spice Photography.
I went in with a negative mind that these beautiful ladies were only going to judge my excess skin and I was not going to have a good time. But these women made me feeling like I was a beautiful, small, 180 pound woman. I found my inner beauty.
I found that my excess skin is just a reminder of how far I’ve come in my journey and really, it's just my form of an addiction battle scar. No matter your size, no matter what your body looks like, we’re only given one body. We need to love it the best that we can and know that our outer beauty does not define us.
Doing these pictures made me realize just how beautiful I really am and that I’m NOT 300 pounds anymore.
<3 Emily Tovar