Growing up, I never had issues with my weight. I wasn’t super skinny, but I also wasn’t overweight – I was at a happy medium between the two. Even though I was at a healthy weight, I wasn’t really active. I’ve never been one for sports and I’m not the athletic type at all!
I think this caught up with me near the end of high school. I gained 30-40 pounds in a very short time frame – less than a year! Yikes! What happened? Well, the lack of exercise didn’t help. I also spent more time at my boyfriend’s house and his family didn’t eat as healthy as mine. And to top it all off – I spent about 9 months on antidepressants. A lot of them have weight gain as a side effect – and my body certainly did gain!
Once I was doing better, I stopped taking the antidepressants and within a month or two, I stopped putting on any weight. So, I think the antidepressants had a lot to do with it, but the problem was compounded by my unhealthy lifestyle – my body could maintain the unhealthy lifestyle pretty well but not the medication I was taking that kept saying “come on, just another bite of that ice cream won’t hurt anyone”!
For a while, I think I was in denial even though I’d gone up several dress sizes. But I just couldn’t fathom the idea that I was fat, not after spending my childhood at an average weight. I just didn’t feel fat! It took a while for my mind to catch up to the reality of my body and when it did, it sucked big time.
I lost a lot of my confidence and my self-esteem dropped right off. I adored winter because I could hide myself in big sweaters and pants, but stressed about summer. I didn’t go to the beach – I would have been too embarrassed to wear a bathing suit. I passed up on a few social events – my boyfriend’s work Christmas party, for one – because I thought I looked awful.
I tried many things – I went to Curves, tried Herbal Magic, drastically cut back my food intake. But none of that lasted long and I got easily discouraged when the pounds didn’t just simply melt away.
I know now that I was being unrealistic in my expectations. I don’t know exactly what sparked the major turning point. At any rate, I was fed up with being overweight, unhealthy and self-conscious. I wanted to believe people when they said I looked pretty. I wanted to fit back into my old clothes.
In June 2008, I started small – eating chicken and several servings of veggies at dinner instead of pizza, pasta, burgers and the other junk I used to eat. I wasn’t sure such a small change would do anything (although I was probably cutting an easy 300-400 calories out of my day with the change). So, I added exercise whenever I found the time and motivation, even if it was jumping on the elliptical for 15 minutes twice a week.
But it started working! By the end of the summer the scale was down 10 pounds! I started making more changes – I stopped eating cereal and switched to oatmeal which left me fuller for longer and for less calories and sugar; I started exercising 4-5 times per week; I added some strength training. By December 2008, I was down more than 20 pounds from where I started! It took me 6 months, but slow and steady wins the race right?
Well, when January rolled around, I decided to kick it up a notch and started being active and moving more every day, even if it was only going for a 20 minute walk or playing some Wii Sports. At the end of the month, I joined a weight loss blogging community. I was inspired – seeing so many success stories was amazing!
I started weekly weigh-ins, rather than my usual sporadic ones, and these helped so much! I was able to pinpoint exactly what worked and what didn’t. When I saw that I wasn’t losing weight very consistently, I got ideas from fellow bloggers. As counter intuitive as it seemed, I found out that the solution to my slow weight loss was probably that I needed to eat more! So I did, adding 150-250 calories per day as healthy snacks mid-afternoon and in the evening. I lost 1.5 pounds the first week I did this and 1.1 the second – finally, some numbers that started with a 1!
I met my goal weight in May of 2009. Over the past couple of months I’ve lost an additional 5 pounds just through being active and eating healthy and intuitively. I’m now focusing on improving my fitness and I’ve discovered a passion for running. I would say I’ve come a long way and overhauled my lifestyle, and I’m happy with the permanent changes I’ve made!