Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Journey

I always thought of myself as being overweight. Even back in high school, when I was chubby at best. I would wear baggy, or frumpy (as my mom liked to call it), clothing every day to school. Looking back at my pictures from high school, I don't know what the heck I was thinking. I looked fine! Here is a picture from my junior year of high school. You can see how uncomfortable and insecure I am with my arms crossed over my tummy. Nowadays I would kill to have a figure like that again, not to mention the nice skin.

I wasn't particularly active in high school, but I was in the Flag Corps and that had me getting in a bit of exercise. I'd never been serious in any other sports or jogging or roller blading or anything though. I would eat whatever the school prepared for lunch (french fries, pizza, chicken & noodles, etc.) and then would go home and eat whatever my parents had made for dinner. I would snack off and on, with little consequences. I still had that fat-girl mentality though so I went back and forth with different diets and different exercise regimes that usually failed within the first week. This is pretty much how I lived all throughout high school.

Then I went to college.

I started eating at the dining halls, keeping snacks in my room, and the only exercise I had was from walking to and from my classes, which were a 10 minute walk each way. This is also when I met my first boyfriend. We would spend a lot of time together, and I would eat what and when he did. This period of my life started me in a very unhealthy pattern. We would eat Taco Bell or Wendy's every day, sometimes twice a day! We would eat a box of macaroni for dinner. An entire box! For each of us!! We drank pop like it was going out of style. Normally, I would be fine, not hungry, content, etc., but then he would say he was hungry and he would get something to eat. I saw what he got and wanted some too because it smelled/sounded/looked good. So I was eating way more often and in greater quantities than I should have been. I started gaining weight.

I was gaining much more than the freshman 15. I don't remember what my weight in high school was, but I remember being somewhere around 190 in a 5'6" frame when I started college. Towards the end of the first year in college, I remember weighing myself, and I had reached over 200 pounds. I started crying immediately. I was horrified that I had let myself get over 200 pounds. I decided I would go on a diet. So I started eating grilled chicken every day. Every meal... To this day, I don't really care for grilled chicken because of how often I used to eat it.

I was trying to eat healthier, but wasn't getting in any activity and didn't really understand the Nutritional Information that was on the food labels. So I cut out pop, but started drinking a huge amount of chocolate milk. As is expected when you deny yourself something, I got tired of it and gave in. I did as I did in high school with trying different diets, but none of them stuck. I continued to gain more and more weight. Things got worse as my time in college continued. I was basically living off campus and eating fast food ALL THE TIME instead of in the dining halls! We would just go grab something to eat from whatever greasy place sounded the best at the time. I continued to stock the apartment with horribly fattening foods and pop and chocolate milk and chocolate and candy.

My dad, as well as the rest of my family, was beginning to notice the change in me. He would tell me about it, in a very blunt way, which did nothing but offend me. My doctor was telling me that I needed to change something, and soon, or I would be living a short, unhealthy life. I am a stubborn person, so instead of taking their advice, I did the opposite. I ate more. I was beginning to see how big I really was, but felt out of control. I didn't know what to do to stop it. This pattern continued until I went to Spain.

I studied in Spain for 4 months. During that time I ate, mostly, only what my host mom made. She would make wonderful meals for lunch, full of vegetables and chicken and seafood. We had water for every meal, except orange juice for breakfast, and we would have fruit for dessert every night. The problem was that she would make us a huge portion so that our tummies hurt when we finished eating. My roommate and I were too afraid of offending her to tell her that we didn't want to eat it all. We had tried telling her that we wanted to lose weight, but she refused to give us smaller portions. Then for dinner, we would have all fried foods: fried eggs, fried ham/chicken/fish, hot dogs, french fries, etc. So, even though we had a different variety of food, the portions were too large and the choices were not always healthy. I was walking a ton more than I ever did in the States, but even with all the walking, I still continued to gain weight.

I remember trying to go jogging with my roommate and another friend. I ended up injuring my knees so bad that I could barely walk for 2 weeks. I would wake up in the mornings and cry because my knees and my ankles were swollen and so sore I couldn't put pressure on them before I took my Tylenol. I didn't realize how much weight I had gained because I didn't have a scale to weigh myself on, but when I got back to the States, I did weigh myself. I had crept up to 260 pounds! I am the one on the left, obviously. I had to take these pictures off of Facebook because I was so embarrassed by them. I keep them, though, to remind me of how easy it is to slide to that weight.

After Spain, I went on a family vacation to Hocking Hills, Ohio. This is a place where you camp out in a tent or in a cabin. We opted for a cabin. They have caves and caverns and cliffs that you can go hike in, on, and around. That trip was one of the hardest I've ever taken. I'd sweat so much walking up the smallest hill. I would literally walk faster than everyone else, so that when I reached a checkpoint, I could stop and catch my breath while I waited for them to catch up. I was embarrassed by how out of shape I was. This picture is from the middle of June. It is hot, but I am so disgusted by my body that I refused to wear shorts. I was reluctant to take off the hoodie that I always wore, but the heat got to me. So here I am in jeans and a big, black t-shirt (my normal outfit). That summer of 2008 was the biggest I have ever been. I weighed in at a whopping 278 pounds! My health was failing me, and I realized I needed to do something about it.

Around this time, my mom had started doing Weight Watchers. I was skeptical of it, but was seeing amazing results in her. I talked to her about it and decided that this might be my last chance. I would put everything I had into this program, and if it didn't work, nothing would, and I would just have to accept being morbidly obese for the rest of my life. I weighed in for the first time with Weight Watchers on June 25th, 2008 at 275 pounds. I checked the recommended weight for my height, and accordingly, set my goal to be 160 pounds. I don't think I ever believed I would be that weight, but I figured that any loss was better than nothing. So I set my mind and committed fully to Weight Watchers. The first week was incredibly difficult. I had to weigh and measure everything. I quickly learned exactly how horrible the food I had been eating was. The normal meal that I got at Taco Bell once or twice a day equaled up to 31 points, without a drink, and without a dessert or extra taco that I sometimes got. That was almost as many points as I was allowed for a day. I started out with a BMI of 44 and a points allowance of 33.

So, after realizing how bad the food was, I stopped eating it and started making healthier choices. That first week, I lost a total of 8 pounds. The second week, I lost 4 pounds. The next two weeks, 3 pounds were gone. After that I started to lose 1-2 pounds consistently every week. The results were amazing! They are what kept me going when my cravings kicked in. From July of 2008 to December 2008, I lost 46 pounds. I was receiving compliments from friends and family and was even inspiring others to join WW. That winter, I got off track and stopped weighing myself and stopped tracking food, but tried to follow what I had been doing and managed to maintain my weight. In that February of 2009, I broke up with the guy I had been dating, after 3.5 years. This was very hard for me, but instead of going back to old habits, it renewed my strength and motivation, and I got back into WW with a vengeance. This was a very scary time for me because I was thinking about dating again, but I was still very large, and didn't think anyone would want me. I ended up joining a few dating sites and found that it was easier than I thought to find men who were interested in me. This was a huge confidence booster for me, and again, strengthened my decision to stick with WW. In addition to doing WW, I decided to start working out. I had lost a good deal of weight and decided to start out slow. I chose to do a C25k program. With doing WW and exercising, from December 2008 to August 2009, I managed to lose another 42 pounds. That summer, was introduced to P90x. I started doing that in September. I managed to lose another 12 pounds and hit a 100 pound loss by November!

I had gone from a size 22 to a size 8/10 pants. I had gone from a BMI of 44 to a BMI of 28. I had lost 14 inches in my hips, 12 in my waist, and felt amazing! After another relationship went back I let myself slide again. I stopped doing my workouts. I stopped tracking my food. Then the holidays hit. From November 2009 to March 2010, I gained 25 pounds back. I felt out of control, but this time, I knew what needed to be done. I set my mind once again and started tracking my points and doing the P90x and  Insanity religiously and have even completed running a half marathon.

After the half marathon, I took another hiatus. I let myself go into a slump that I am just now, in January 2013, pulling myself out of. I managed to maintain for quite a while, gaining and losing the same 20 pounds.

Then I got engaged. I was determined to lose weight for the wedding. I had a year, but still didn't lose the weight. I think I let the stress of it all get to me. I weighed about 190 on my wedding day. Then the holidays came and I decided that I was going to start doing well at the beginning of the new year (2013).

Well, now it is the beginning of the new year. I am one week into my resolution. I started at 197.4 and in the first week have lost almost 7 pounds. First week weigh in was 190.8. I also had the flu/recovery the first week of the new year, so I haven't been exercising yet, but focused on eating right until my body was well again. Today is Monday, January 7th, and I did my first workout of the year, Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30. It was hard, but not impossible. I felt great for the first two rounds and then lost some energy on the third, but I'm going to try again tomorrow and see how it goes. 

I have the support of friends and family and now my wonderful husband, Chris. I am in control again and this year I AM GOING TO HIT GOAL!!!! This is a promise I have made to myself.