I would say my weight issues started when I was 13 or so. I was always athletic and trim as a girl. I had a muscular build (big thighs, big upper arms) because I was a tomboy. I was always playing touch football, wrestling, basketball etc with the boys. Plus, I am the youngest of 6 and I was raised in the country where you biked where you wanted to go and you weren’t scared to climb trees. My parents briefly divorced when I was 13 (a year long divorce) and I moved with my mother to “town” where I didn’t have to really do much of anything because things were a lot more accessible. Plus, I LOVED my carbs (I live in Maine, in the heart of potato growing country), breads, sweets etc. I always burned it off because I was active when I lived in the country. Not anymore after we moved. That came to a halt. So, I started slowly gaining during my teenage years. I had some depression and later on, I was a single mother to 2 by the time I was 23, left an abusive marriage which I ended in 1992. Food was a great comfort, or so I thought. My weight hit 180 by the time I met my now husband when I was 28 in 1997.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? It is easier to say what it didn’t affect in my life. It didn’t affect my constantly sitting, my constant eating, my back pain, my acid reflux, my extremely low self esteem. It touched every part of my life.
I know I was an embarrassment to my kids when they were teens. I was high 200s when my last child graduated high school in 2011. I HATED family gatherings. Loathed them. Not because I didn’t love my parents and siblings but I am the youngest of 6, 5 girls and 1 boy..each and every one of them small.. Id see pictures of us together for a family shot and I’d be mortified. I’d literally want to hide in shame.
My husband never complained, never said he didn’t love me. His only concern was my health because he’d see how Id suffer. He never said anything negative to me. He’d met me when I was already heavy and he loved me anyway. I couldn’t understand why he would love ME. I’d try to push him away and he always stayed by my side. He was and is, my rock.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? In March of 2014, my kids were grown and the year before, I got my CDL (truck driving license) and went on to team drive with my husband, full time. I grew up in a really remote area of Maine and I was experiencing places and foods that were new to me from all over the country..all these fast food restaurants that I had only heard about and never tried! It was a real fat persons dream come true. So, the more of that I ate, the bigger I got until I hit 315 lbs (I am 5 ft 2 inches tall). Combine that with sitting for 18 hours a day and you have a real recipe for disaster. I also watched an episode of “My 600 lb life” and I said to myself, “I’m halfway there!!!” and cried.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? My husband was heavy as well (he’s 6 ft 7 and was 355 lbs) so we decided together that we had to do something. We ate the healthy options on the road (grilled chicken, Subway, salads at McDonalds instead of the fattening burgers), drinking water or Gatorade light instead of soda. We looked for healthier options for us (chili at Wendys, whopper jr at Burger King without mayo etc) because when you’re on the road, your stomach is at the mercy of where you can stop the truck. I will say that I wasn’t exercising yet. It still hurt too much. I also logged EVERYTHING on myfitnesspal.com and weighed all my food and count my calories.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? By May 2014, we each lost about 25 lbs each and by that time, my husband got a local trucking job so we were able to stay home. I finally felt well enough to exercise, starting with 10 minute walks, 3 to 4 times a week, building up to just about an hour at a stretch. Walking is what I do now, mainly. The winters are cold here so I go to the gym, when I can. When I can’t walk, I adjust my calorie intake accordingly. My clothing sizes have changed slowly. I started at a size 28 and it took a while to get to to 24. I jumped for joy when I hit size 22 and now I am in 20s, patiently waiting for 18s!!!
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? Hardest part? I hate to view any part of this as hard..just different. I gave up soda (allowing myself an occasional diet sprite once in a while), almost totally eliminated pasta (ok, from a carb addict, that WAS hard). I just cant justify the calories pasta contains in a little serving to what I get out of it, which is basically, empty calories. I still have it maybe once every 3 months or so. I really dont deprive myself of anything. On weekends, I bump up my calories a bit so I eat at maintenance or a little below. When my father died in September, I caught myself thinking about what I could eat that would comfort me and I realized, food wasn’t going to make my sadness disappear!! I handled that better than I thought I would.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? I haven’t hit that place yet where I want to give up. Maybe momentarily or in fleeting thoughts I do when I see a doughnut or cake or something but nothing really sticks out in my head. I just remember how I could barely grocery shop without being in pain (I was very close to needing a motorized cart) and that snaps me back to reality.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? Just small ones. All in all, my weight loss has been flowing nicely. Id have maybe a small one but I tell myself my body is adjusting and to have patience. I know what Ive eaten and burned for calories so sometimes my body just needs to catch up. And ladies, that time of the month always puts weight on us from bloating so dont think that it is 5lb of fat.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? I started in March of 2014 until now (Jan 2015) and I am still a work in progress. I’d like to lose 50 lbs more because I like myself with some curves. As of today, Jan 5 2015, I am down 96 lbs.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Oh my, yes. Having a space between the steering wheel of my pickup and my tummy. Tying my shoes. Painting my toenails. Washing my kitchen floor on my hands and knees.. Climbing stairs without wheezing. Sitting sideways in my recliner. Crossing my legs. Parking wayyyyy across the parking lot and not dreading the walk..And more energy in the romance department with my husband is the best NSV yet 🙂
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? Oh, dear. It was awful. I am a grazer, not the type to fill my plate 3 times. I always snacked on snack cakes, candy bars, chips. If I didnt have sweets in the house, Id almost panic. Always drank soda. Having a large whoopie pie and a tall glass of milk before bed was not uncommon. Waking up at 2 am and heading to the fridge for a glass of soda happened often. Id wake up just NEEDING something sweet. Now, I have my breakfast, my lunch, sometimes an afternoon snack, supper then I ALWAYS allow myself a TV time snack. I eat way more fruits and veggies..I measure and weigh everything when I can. If i know I will be having a larger evening meal, I adjust my early day calories accordingly.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I am much more active now. Im not an exercise superstar by any means but I do try to get moving by walking at least 3 times a week. I take stairs when I can, I park far away from the store, I go through every aisle in the grocery store whether I need to or not for the extra steps. Little things add up.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- NEVER say “I can’t have this”. That sets you up to fail. Have it but adjust your eating accordingly. On weekends, I eat at or below my maintenance calories so I can have what I want, like a piece of cake. Believe me though, when I say I do have days when I go over my calorie requirement. I’m human and I keep telling myself that.
- Get yourself one article of clothing that you absolutely love one size too small to motivate you. For me, it was a pink, jean jacket. I loved it. I got it one size too small but before I knew it, it fit! Now it’s just about too big. And THROW OUT, DONATE OR WHATEVER… YOUR FAT CLOTHES!
- Get a digital food scale. You will be surprised the difference between what a 1/2 cup of oatmeal looks like or what a tablespoon of peanut butter looks like and what the serving size in grams is on the package.
- Dont drink your calories. I never drink juice. Im a chewer. I need to chew. Liquid calories? No thanks. I’ll eat the fruit.
- Dont feel intimidated by going to the gym where you feel like you’re the biggest one in the room. I can guarantee that some of those people who look awesome in spandex didn’t always look that way. You have just as much right as anyone else to be there and don’t you ever forget it!!