I started my weight problem when I was young. My parents divorced when I was in about the 4th grade and I coped with my feelings by consuming food. Food was something I knew would bring me and my family together. If I was visiting with my parent, it was typically out to eat, or going out for a treat. I developed my poor eating styles by seeing food as comforting and as a source of happiness.
HOW DID YOUR WEIGHT AFFECT ANY ASPECT(S) OF YOUR LIFE? Yes, my weight had several affects on my life. I had a hard time going out with friends to go do things such as hiking since I was always out of breath or needing a break. I had a hard time walking the dogs with my mom since I was miserable the entire time and panting. I was bullied all throughout school, and even in college. In the dating scene, people would tell me I was nice but “too heavy” to date, or they weren’t attracted to me physically due to my weight. I had terrible self esteem and it made me avoid a lot of social events since I didn’t like photos of myself and I hate shopping for clothing. Overall, it made me tired, and I didn’t get to enjoy the things I wanted to do.
WHAT WAS THE “TURNING POINT” THAT GOT YOU STARTED ON YOUR WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY? I was taking a health class and we had to write down our weight, age, and height. My teacher had to tell me I was “morbidly obese”. He went over all the health issues I could be facing in the future such as heart disease, diabetes, etc. this scared me since it was the cold hard facts. I was scared for my health since heart disease and diabetes is already prevalent in my family history. My blood work was awful. My cholesterol was high and my doctor would make remarks about my diet and how I needed to start making changes.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED? I got started by looking at health articles about other success stories. I wanted to read about how people lost their weight in a healthy manner and were able to maintain a lifestyle. I knew I wanted long term results that I could manage throughout my life. I unfollowed models and other people on social media so it wouldn’t cloud my image of how I wanted to look or feel that I had pressure to look a certain way. I instead followed people who were losing weight and not fitness models. I wanted real people who were working hard for their goals. I also looked up grocery lists and ways to change up eating habits. Essentially I did a lot of researching and reading about other people, food, and just how people were able to balance life but also be healthy and take care of themselves.
HOW LONG AFTER YOU STARTED DID YOU BEGIN TO SEE RESULTS OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS EFFORTS? It took me a while to see results since I didn’t lose weight quickly at all. I would say it took me several months to see a true change. I’m also 5’11” and carried all my weight in my stomach so it was difficult for me to see changes in my body even though the scale would tell me I had lost weight or if my clothes got looser. People would tell me I looked good and that was reassuring.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART? I had zero support from most of my friends. They would never go to the gym with me even though they would say they would. They would tease me for packing my lunch or for not wanting to go out to a party because I wanted to wake up early to go to the gym. I also has a hard time with nutrition since I was under the assumption that if I worked out I could eat what I wanted still. Which is obviously false.
DID YOU EVER WANT TO GIVE UP? WHAT KEPT YOU GOING? Yes I have wanted to give up SO many times. I have been frustrated with my journey more times than I could count. I was hard on myself if I didn’t see the scale move even though I was putting in hard work. what kept me going was knowing how much work and effort I had already invested that I knew there was no way for me to go back to how I was. I was too determined and stubborn to give up. My family is a huge support system for me and they always were there when I was having a hard time.
DID YOU HIT ANY WEIGHT LOSS PLATEAUS? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM? Yes many many times. I would change my routine, drink more water, add more veggies and eat less meat. I would just make some minor changes here and there and it would help me overcome my plateaus. I would try a workout class or do something new to change up my routine to trick my body and make it do something new.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO LOSE MOST OF THE WEIGHT? Overall it took me 2 years. I’ve lost more recently since I maintained at 188 for a little while. I was asked to be in a wedding and I wanted to continue my weight loss since I now had new goals and some motivation to stop maintaining and to start losing weight again.
DID YOU HAVE ANY NON-SCALE VICTORIES? Shopping was a huge victory. I stopped buying clothes for a long time since I was always afraid of nothing fitting me. I recently went since I couldn’t fit into any of my yoga pants anymore, the bands were too big and I knew I had lost a significant amount of inches so it was time to invest in real pants. I tried on pants and shorts and was amazed to be a size 2 when I started out being a 18/20. Literally cried a little bit in the changing room because I was in shock and my fear of shopping for pants had be overcome. I am also able to cross my legs when before I couldn’t since my thighs were too large. I have so much more confidence in myself which is a HUGE victory. I like pictures, and going out with friends. I actually get to enjoy hiking and canoeing. I can walk with my mom and enjoy being with her and enjoy our time together.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY DIET LOOK LIKE COMPARED TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? When I was heavier I ate a lot of processed foods. I didn’t cook at all. I ate out all the time. I don’t think I ever ate anything green to be honest. Now I cook all my meals. It’s a treat for me to go out to eat. I also no longer drink since I used to drink every weekend and just get intoxicated and eat terrible food on top of it. I eat 6 times a day instead of just three times. I track all my calories now to make sure I’m eating well and eating a balanced diet. I like to eat vegetables! I never knew I could ever say that.
HOW DOES YOUR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY COMPARE TO WHEN YOU WERE HEAVIER? I never stepped foot into a gym until I started losing weight. I despised working out or physical activity since I got tired easily and I felt gross about myself. I now workout 6 days a week and it’s something I look forward to doing. It’s a huge coping skill for me now.
MY WEIGHT LOSS TIPS & TRICKS
- Track your meals. I use myfitnesspal. It definitely holds you accountable and shows you what you’re eating, and I think it was a great way for me to get a better idea of what I’m eating and what changes I can make.
- Have a support system that loves you regardless of your weight. My true friends and my family members have loved me when I was my heaviest and love me now. Have people who support you for making this change and want to be there when you have your struggles.
- Learn to love to pack your lunch. The phrase “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is pretty much burned in my brain. I got a nice lunch box and containers. It’s an easy way to make sure you have good food to access at any point of the day.
- Treat yourself. I typically will get a new shirt, new running shoes, or makeup as a reward for getting to a small goal weight, or when I have been consistent at the gym, and maintaining my food diary. Make yourself feel good for all the work you do!
- TAKE PHOTOS. One regret I have is that I deleted a lot of old photos of me. Keep them and use them as fuel for your fire to change! Progress photos help me get out of funks and put fire under my butt because I’m proud of myself and want to keep making progress.