Keeping Off the Weight Together
(From Tina a
nd Tim Morris, Joy Fit Club members)
Hi, my name is Tina Morris. I am almost 37 years old and have been overweight for the last 16 years. Growing up I was one of those kids that could eat anything I wanted and never had to worry about my weight. I could eat entire pizzas by myself (and I am not talking personal or small size, either) and I even had a restaurant cut me off because I was eating too much all-you-can eat prime rib!
I was probably best known for my sweet tooth, though. I could eat candy bar after candy bar and if there was a cake in the house it would be gone by the end of the day. I could also eat nearly a whole half-gallon of ice cream in one sitting.
Probably one of the things that grossed people out the most was that I would often grab a container of cake frosting and eat straight from the container! I often woke up craving sweets and it wouldn’t be unusual to eat spoonfuls of ice cream or frosting as soon as I woke up!
Anyway, my family always warned me that my eating habits would catch up with me as I got older. I honestly thought I would be one of those rare people who would be able to eat whatever they wanted and I would never have to pay for it. Well, it turns out the family was right.
Tim and I started dating when I was a junior in high school. Food was at the center of all our dates. We live in a small town and at that time we didn’t have a lot of different restaurant options to choose from. So, we almost always ended up eating either pizza or fast food.
I first started noticing my weight gain during my freshman year of college. I chalked it up to the “Freshman 10” and just figured that would be the worst of it and I could always get it back off fairly easy if I tried. By the time I graduated college I was definitely “chubby” and becoming self-conscious about my appearance.
Tim and I were married immediately after I graduated college and we had a small outdoor wedding. It was a beautiful wedding, but I can remember being really disappointed because I didn’t feel skinny enough to wear a formal wedding dress. Instead, I opted for a long lace skirt with a fitted jacket. The wedding was not a formal affair and the dress
I wore fit the mood, but I still wish I had worn the dress of my dreams.
The bigger I got, the less I wanted to socialize. It got so bad that I would purposely avoid people in a store who had not seen me since my weight gain. I did not go to my 10-year high school reunion because I was so humiliated by the way I looked.
Over six years of dating and 15 years of marriage (yes, that adds up to 21 years!), Tim and I have put the weight on together…with Tim’s peak weight being 360 pounds and mine 286 pounds. There were a few fad diets along the way, but nothing that we could stick to long term. We always talked about losing the weight but never did anything. We were always saying, “We will do it Monday.” Of course Monday rolled around and nothing changed.
Even though I loved to collect recipes, we rarely ate at home. We were always either too tired or too busy and I hated cleaning up the mess! We were eating out 5-6 days a week…sometimes all three meals!
Things eventually felt so hopeless for us that we even considered gastric bypass surgery. We had heard horror stories of people who had complications from the surgery so we never seriously pursued it. Plus, we knew deep down it was not a magic cure and that we still needed to learn how to eat.
The turning point for me was when Tim started coming home and complaining about how bad he felt or that he was having chest pains. He would even go so far as to say he felt like he was going to die. These kinds of comments had become so frequent they were happening on a daily basis. Even though I should have been afraid for own health, it took my concern for him to actually do something about it.
When my employer, RR Donnelley, announced they had partnered with Weight Watchers to provide At Work meetings, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make a change. I went home and told Tim that I was tired of talking about losing weight and I wanted to do something because I didn’t want to die and I didn’t want to lose him. I told him that I could go to the meetings at work and come home and share what I learned with him and we could do this together. What was it going to hurt?
I started going to Weight Watchers meetings in September 2006. I was really focused right from the beginning and Tim was following along pretty well, but he was not as gung-ho as I was. In December 2006 I had lost almost 35 pounds and Tim started noticing that I was losing a lot faster than he was. I really think he believed since he was a guy, he wouldn’t have to be as strict as me. After he started to notice the change in me, he really got on board.
I currently weigh 162 pounds. I would like to get down to 155 and concentrate on my trouble spots like tummy, arms and thighs. Tim and I have made some huge lifestyle changes over the last year to get to this point. Today, Tim and I cook together and make time to eat at home six days a week. And because I love new recipes, we try something new about three times a week.
We have gotten really good at adapting our recipes and eating healthier versions of our favorite food. We have never felt like we have been deprived of any food and still have a splurge every once in a while. But instead of splurging the whole day, we splurge on one thing and try to do it only once a week.
We also track our food on a log and exercise together. The food log really opened our eyes to how bad we were eating before.
I have heard conflicting opinions on this subject, but we weigh on a daily basis. We feel this keeps us reined in and focused. We also do not drink diet sodas very much and drink lots of water instead. I keep a PUR water pitcher on my desk so I have filtered water handy all day long.
We made going to the local farmer’s market part of our weekly routine this past summer and really enjoyed ourselves there. We also grew a garden ourselves this year (really Tim did all the work, I just ate it). We had lots of corn, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, and habaneras!
Tim worked so hard and babied those veggies so much. They were so beautiful and so much fun to eat! I am trying to talk him into growing asparagus and strawberries (for me) next year.
The holidays will soon be here again, and I will cook Thanksgiving dinner at our house like I have done for several years now. I remember being so proud of myself last year because I cooked dinner and managed to still lose weight! I still had my favorites by just scaling down the fat and did not feel deprived at all!
My sister, who is my biggest cheerleader (besides Tim, of course), and brother-in-law, are extremely health conscious and have suggested that instead of lazing around the day after Thanksgiving and eating leftovers we should go hiking! I think that will be a great new tradition!
Our family, friends and co-workers have been so supportive and we have come a long way with their encouragement and praise. Of course I could not have done this without Tim, who is the most wonderful husband and friend to me. I honestly could not have asked for a better husband and I am so lucky to have been able to do this with him…I am truly blessed.
We hope that our story will help inspire someone else out there to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Just remember you don’t have to make all the changes at once and you don’t have to be hungry! If you allow yourself to go hungry, your body will hold onto that fat and you risk wanting to binge.
Also remember you are NEVER alone in this struggle! I wish all of you the best…
By the way, I’m not going to miss my 20-year high school reunion in 2008!
My name is Tim Morris and will be 42 years old in a couple of months. I have lost 119 pounds. At my heaviest I weighed 360 pounds and have lost 106 pounds since September 2006.
I can remember growing up as a child and visiting the store to buy blue jeans with my mother. It was not a pleasant experience and I can still here the saleslady telling my mother, “The husky jeans are upstairs.”
I also remember trying out for midget football and weighing too much to play in the league that my friends played in. Instead, I had to play in another league.
In high school, I grew a little taller and got a little leaner during my freshman and sophomore years. I stayed that way through high school, but I refused to eat breakfast and lunch for fear of getting fat. I truly think this was the beginning of my bad eating habits.
I really started to gain weight after I quit college and went to work. I was active at my job, but still eating large amounts of food and not exercising.
The heavier I became, the more I avoided people because I didn’t want someone I had not seen for a while make a comment about my weight (which happened quite a bit).
I have many wonderful friends and family whom I love very much. But sometimes even those that love you can do and say things that can be very hurtful.
An incident that I will never forget happened at work. Now, keep in mind that I work for a great company in the natural gas industry and the people I work with are like my second family.
One morning before work, my co-workers and I were sitting around waiting to go home and all of a sudden the metal chair I was sitting on buckled, and down I went. Of course I jumped and laughed along with everybody else like it was funny. I took the chair and put it outside.
The next morning I walked in the building and there sat the chair with my name written on the back with a magic marker. I ignored it and just walked on by. I knew I was going to have to watch where I sat down from then on so I didn’t have that happen again.
Despite the hurtful things that have been said and done to me because of my weight, I have tried to turn them around and make my life more positive. I realized my friends and family wanted me to be healthy but they just delivered the message in an abrasive manner.
I also remember the concerned friends who have had positive things to say, too. The friends who have had health problems themselves and tell me, “Take care of yourself. If you have your health you have everything.”
Speaking of health, I lost both of my wonderful parents to cancer. My father had bladder cancer and my mother died from breast cancer. My mother also had the beginning stages of diabetes and struggled with her weight most of her adult life. The doctor told me several years ago that I would almost definitely be a diabetic if I didn’t do something right away to lose the weight.
Although diabetes has not set in, I did begin feeling awful in the mornings when I woke up and I was feeling bad while I was at work, too. My feet hurt, my knees hurt, my lower back hurt, and my chest hurt! Over the years I had tried many diets, but nothing worked because it was not a plan that I could live with.
Tina and I had to get in the right frame of mind and do something that would last the rest of our lives.
So, as Tina started following the Weight Watchers plan I decided to join her. Even though I didn’t attend the meetings, I followed her lead. I didn’t track my food intake in the beginning. The first day I did I was shocked by how much food I was eating. I am not always diligent about the record keeping, but when I hit a plateau I pull out my notebook and start writing!
The scales will soon start moving. We have also learned that we don’t have to eat until we are miserably full and we don’t have to go hungry. There is a middle ground and that is what we aim for now.
After I began to be more comfortable with my healthy eating habits, I started to concentrate on becoming more active. We started out walking every night with our dogs, but I developed some pain in my Achilles’ tendon and the walking became very painful. So I switched to bike riding and doing Pilates with my wife. It surprised me that I actually enjoy the Pilates. My advice would be to try something different and find something that works for you. I have taken small steps to get where I am today. So, I guess you could say I had to crawl before I could walk.
I understand now that I am responsible for my weight and myself. Nobody else decides what I eat but me. Never let anyone tell you that you can’t lose the weight or that you can’t be healthier because you can. It is never too late to make healthier decisions.
I have 50 or 60 more pounds to go and I will be challenged as winter approaches since I will not be able to ride my bike as much. The holidays will also be a struggle and I will allow myself a few indulgences, but I will also think about what I will do the next day to get back on track. Winter brings the urge to eat comfort foods. So I am going to rise to the challenge of finding healthier substitutes for those foods.
I am fortunate to have the love of my life by my side and we are able to share this journey together. She is my catalyst and my coach. If someone like me can do this anybody can. KEEP FIGHTING! You are not by yourself…ever.
A typical day of eating before I started making healthier choices was:
Breakfast 2 sausage McGriddles
Mid-morning snack 2 doughnuts and soda
Lunch Triple cheeseburger, super sized french fries, super sized
soda, leftover doughnuts from morning snack
Mid-afternoon snack Snack cake and soda
Dinner Fried chicken from KFC
Bedtime snack Potato chips and ice cream
Now I eat:
Breakfast ½ cup Fiber One cereal with sliced banana and ½ cup skim milk, coffee and large glass of water
Mid-afternoon snack Apple
Lunch Turkey sandwich on light wheat bread, All Bran crackers, apple and water
Mid-day snack Banana
Dinner Baked fish (Mahi Mahi, Salmon, or sautéed shrimp), brown rice, grilled asparagus
TV Time Barq’s Diet Root Beer in a glass with crushed ice and Weight Watchers ice cream bar. I now eat my nightly snack several hours before going to bed.
Originally posted 2013-03-28 07:19:28. Republished by Blog Post Promoter