My self-image was my birthright – my family had an obsession about “thin and attractive.” I first discovered this after I found a letter written by my mother to my father, who was out of town on business, about me when I was 2-3 months old. She wrote, “Robin is doing well, loves to eat and is a little piggy.”
In preschool I was not fat (or thin). The first time I remember needing to lose weight was for an orthopedic problem – my doctors insisted that I must take some of the pressure off my leg to relieve the pain in my knee. So, at age 6, I was put on amphetamines for the first time. I didn’t like meat much as a child and often felt nauseated when I ate it. But every other fattening food from cookies to cakes to candies was on my diet.
Because my weight fluctuated, over the next few years I was offered every imaginable “diet,” – Weight Watchers, Stillman, Atkins, Jenny Craig, Grapefruit diet – you name it and I tried it. At 13 my parents had me on amphetamines again – I lost a lot of weight, but kept getting sick with viruses and colds – plus they affected my behavior. One evening, I had a hysterical fit, yelling at the top of my lungs while dumping out all my dresser drawers, just because I couldn’t find something. I knew that was enough amphetamines for me – I gained every pound back to where I soon weighed 155 pounds at 4 feet 9 inches, and at sweet-sixteen. I felt unattractive, lonely, and depressed – and needless to say, I did not date. Reinforcing my poor self worth, I saw a doctor who told me, “Robin, if you don’t lose weight you won’t find a man. “
My next efforts to look great were with binging, purging, laxatives and a dieter’s tea. To this I added an exercise regimen that lasted anywhere from 2-4 hours daily. Bulimia ruled my life for the next 12 years. But I was still fat and ugly deep down inside. When I was 18, I went back to a low-calorie diet and got down to 115 and then down to 112 for my wedding in 1973. But, I was never slender, and was never toned. And I still felt trapped in a fat, ugly body.
My life changed in January of 1995 when an acquaintance, who was getting his PhD in exercise physiology at Florida Atlantic University, told me about Dr. McDougall’s program. This was a turning point for me. I began to eat healthy food, and immediately, I began to feel healthy – I could tell my body was getting what it needed and wanted. When I ate vegetables, fruits and grains, my cells felt like they were breathing deeply and filled with energy. As a lay person I read whatever I could about nutrition, but my own body was my research subject – giving me my most reliable information.
My weight now ranges between 99 and 102, and I am muscular and slender. I wear a size 0-1 which is appropriate for a woman my height. I don’t starve, count calories, binge or purge – and I do love what I eat. I exercise about 45 minutes to an hour a day – 30 minutes of aerobics and 30 minutes of resistance training.
There have been other important changes in my life: I now know that no cake, cookie, chocolate candy or even a big thick steak is going to take away any of my problems. I stopped weighing myself (haven’t owned a scale in over 10 years). I don’t need a scale, because I see myself as slender and I feel alive. As a child I was embarrassed by my looks – now I am just the opposite – I’m a singer/songwriter and performer — and I have no hesitation to strut my stuff in front of thousands of appreciative music fans, every chance I get.
Pictures speak a thousand words. My only comment is that you deserve the same physical health and fit appearance as Robin and you can have these gifts for free — in fact, you can’t buy them.”