So I was looking back at my last post, from oh so many months ago and all I can say is: Quit your friggin whining already!
Ok, so maybe that’s a little harsh. But I think it goes to show how much has changed in the last seven months that I can even feel a bit flabbergasted with that mopey lady I was on that distant summer day.
What’s brought on this change? Well…a year ago I looked like this:
I was at least 50lbs overweight, almost completely sedentary and just plain miserable with myself. I had been carrying around all this extra weight for more than 10 years. But that winter, the scaled had tilted at my highest weight yet. I was floored. I moped around about this for the next 3 months, wondering what on earth to do, if I could do anything at all.
So….what did I do? Well, let’s talk numbers for a minute. I stepped on the scale one day, probably around the time that the above photo was taken, and I realized my weight had crept up to 188lbs! Clothes that I’d owned for 6 years no longer fit. To add insult to injury, I had had the rare experience of actually weighing LESS after my pregnancy with L than I had before it. I had bought a few nice outfits after he was born to wear for special events such as his baptism. Those outfits no longer fit. And that hurt. Because it meant that I had lost some weight and not only gained it back, but gained even more than ever. This was a huge alarm bell in my head. And I realized that if I wanted to be around for my family in the future, I had some serious work to do.
This was a really hard step for me. For 10 years I had been overweight–no, lets be honest, OBESE–thinking there wasn’t much I could do about it, believing that I had tried to control what I ate, tried to exercise and nothing ever worked. I had to take a really hard look at the truth of those statements. Had I really done all I could do? Had I really learned how to eat properly? Had I really given exercise a chance or did I just try to workout for a couple of weeks and then when I saw no immediate results did I just give up? Yep. I always gave up. My brain wanted instant gratification and when it didn’t happen, I gave in. Convinced that I just didn’t have the ability to change. I spent an awful lot of time and energy looking at myself in the mirror and tearing myself down. “Fat, stupid, lazy, disgusting, Jabba the Hut, repulsive, idiot, unlovable, undesirable, sick, revolting…” These are the words I used to describe myself. And not to be flippant (because at that time there certainly was nothing to be flippant about): Fat lot of good it did me!
On Saturday June 16, 2011, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. I made him a dvd slideshow of pictures of us while we were dating and from the 10 years of our marriage. After watching that with him, I promised him and myself that on Monday I would join Weight Watchers. I had gained all of my weight during the year that we were engaged, In that year I had gained more than 40 pounds and had held on to it for 10 years. I was not going to continue the next 10 years that way. I didn’t even want to spend the next ONE year that way!
So, true to my word, Monday, June 18, 2011, I joined Weight Watchers Online. I have never made a better decision in all my life (besides the obvious choices that lead to my having a wonderfully supportive husband and beautiful and brilliant child of course). Disclaimer:I am not employed by Weight Watchers, nor am I representative of the company in any way. I do not endorse their program or receive any compensation from them for anything I say or write about them. I only want to share my story and because whenever anyone starts a weight loss program or loses weight the next obvious question from others is “what are you doing to lose weight?” that is why I am sharing what worked for ME. What path I chose in my weight loss may not be the appropriate path for everyone and each person must decide what works for them. Moving on…
When I started WW, one of the things I often said to myself was “I don’t understand why I’m so fat, I don’t eat that badly.” Boy was I wrong! It was crash course in portion control from the get go! Holy crap! I couldn’t believe that I was eating portions twice or even triple the size I should have been consuming. And is it any wonder? In our society where we want more for our money, extremely large portions at restaurants are not only expected but demanded. We are taught to clean our plates as children. We want quick and easy meals, time is so often limited. Often those quick and easy meals are also high calorie, high fat, high sodium, high preservative foods. While fast, prepacked, frozen foods, and fast food restraurants provide us with convenience, they also deliver us obesity, heart disease, diabetes and unhappiness. The media then sells us a bill of goods in the form of crash diets, diet pills, shakes, drinks, etc and we are told these will do the work for you and you’ll practically lose weight over night! WRONG! I learned very quickly that there would be no quick fix. That the only person who could control my weight was me and that if I wanted to lose weight successfully and keep in off indefinitely, it was going to take a lot of work, a lot of education on what healthy eating meant and time…time….time….
If all that sounds unbearable, it really wasn’t. Let me show you…
Here’s me just 6 weeks after starting the program and I had already lost more than 10 lbs! You see, all it took was one week on my “diet” (which I prefer to call a “lifestyle change”) to see that I actually WAS capable of losing weight! AND I was capable of exercising. Even if it was only 20 minutes a day 3 or 4 times a week. The change in my attitude and my body was almost immediate. I felt so much better, I felt confident in my abilities and I actually looked forward to exercising because it made me feel so good! Before I knew it, the pounds were just falling away.
Now, none of this was done without a lot of work. And it wasn’t always done very gracefully. I’m sure B would tell you that there were plenty of days where I was whiny and irritating, grumbling at him for eating buffalo wings and drinking beer while I was eating a boring and unappetizing salad. I struggled for at least 6 weeks to just manage my hunger, and it took a very long time to learn what proper portions were, and to develop a habit of grabbing fruit or fresh veggies for a snack rather than chips or crackers or other junk food. It hasn’t been easy by any means. But once I had a few tools in my toolbox, I found it was far easier than I’d ever thought it would be.
But it wasn’t all done on diet alone. Exercise has been a huge part of the process. I started out just trying to get outside and play with my son more often. We took lots of walks and went to the park. And then I discovered Zumba. Oh man, did that ever change my life! It has to be, seriously, the most fun I’ve ever had exercising ever! I started out just doing an hour long basics Zumba dvd. The one where they break down the moves and teach them to you very slowly. I was very glad that I was doing this in the shelter of my own basement and NOT in a class in front of others as I totally felt like the hippo on roller skates from Fantasia! And it kicked my ass! As an almost totally sedentary person, just LEARNING the moves was exhausting! But before I knew it, I was doing the actual workouts and keeping up. And it made me feel like this:
Happy, strong, empowered, confident. I felt like I could do anything. I still do! Suddenly I wasn’t looking in the mirror, saying all those horrible, things to myself. I wasn’t berating myself with loads of negative self talk. I felt awesome, strong, beautiful, fantastic for the first time in such a LONG time!!! Over time I increased the intensity of my workouts, I added kettlebells and free weights I have even started doing some of Jillian Michaels “shred it” workouts. And lived to tell about it! I’ve definitely come a long way from the tired, overweight woman who sat on the couch all day long.
This new journey in my life is the culmination of 3 long years of hard work. After I had my son, L, I was broken. Physically, mentally, emotionally. Illness, complications from labor, an unplanned and unexpected c-section and subsequent complications from surgery had left me completly broken down physically. Add to that post partum depression and years of untreated anxiety and I was a gigantic mess. I had spent 2 years trying to get my head on straight. A wonderful therapist and a supportive family and a crap load of hard work had gotten me to a place of inner peace and strength I never thought I could achieve. And this year, I chose to ice the cake, so to speak, by finally addressing the physical change. Losing weight, committing to exercise, was for me like reaching the summit of an extremely treacherous mountain. A lifetime of changes packed into 3 short years. And all resulting in this:
Who I am now. Someone who knows that change can, and does happen. Someone who will never again feel the oppression that depression, anxiety and obesity brings…or at least not for long. I have built and arsenal of knowledge that I can draw upon whenever life hands me a challenge. I know that I have tackled hardships in the past and will be able to again in the future. And I’m not done yet. I haven’t yet reached my weight loss goal of 148 pounds. When I set that goal for myself back in June, I never imagined that I would come anywhere near reaching it. As of writing this, I am 151.5lbs, 3.5 lbs from goal! So, what have I done, I’ve upped the ante and decided that I can reach 140 by my 11th anniversary in June. Shouldn’t be that hard, right? I’ve made it this far. I have a long way to go. It isn’t something that ever will really end. I will probably always have to struggle with depression, anxiety and controlling my weight. But I know I can do it. I know that for the first time in many long, hard years, I am looking down a path that doesn’t look dark and scary, but bright and brilliant. I’m strong enough to tackle whatever life has to throw at me. I’m so much happier, healthier and stronger, I have so much more to offer myself and my family.
It’s been a long road, and there’s a long road ahead. But I couldn’t be happier with Who I Am Now.