Growing up I can never remember myself being “skinny”. Instead, I remember myself always having big hips, short legs and no chest (sigh). But at the same time, I don’t ever remember myself as being “fat” either. I was probably in the higher end of “normal” for most of my childhood and teenage years and that was ok with me.
Freshmen year in college I was always running and doing yoga. Looking back, I was probably in the best shape of my life despite being forced to eat terrible college food. I started to gain weight in 2007 when I was dating someone who I now realize had an emotional eating problem. As the relationship got serious, I started eating a lot more food and a lot of unhealthy food. Over the course of 2 years together I gained 33 pounds.
Those 33 pounds made me miserable. I didn’t recognize who I saw when I looked in the mirror. My favorite activities now included eating and watching hours upon hours of TV.
Eventually, I started feeling really bad about myself I tried to lose the weight. I attempted the South Beach Diet and did have success, until the robbery sent me off track and seeking comfort from food. Then at some point I started tracking calories on Livestrong.com (which used to be the Daily Plate). I didn’t have very much success with calorie tracking because I didn’t know how much I should actually be eating and what foods I should be eating and I had no luck find anything online that made sense to me.
After 2 years the relationship ended in January (that’s a whole other story, with a very happy ending) and I found myself moving back home to live with my parents. I remember sitting downstairs trying to sort through all of my things and make sense of everything and wondering how I got to where I was. I finally gave up and threw away a lot of my clothes and I accepted that I was now a bigger girl than I’d ever been.
One night in April when the Mr. and I were making dinner in his apartment kitchen I mentioned that I was interested in joining Weight Watchers at work. I remember being scared to tell him, I didn’t want him to make fun of me and I didn’t want to disappoint him if I failed at my attempt. He was wonderful about it and extremely supportive and encouraged me to join. So I did and I’ve never looked back.
When I first joined Weight Watchers they were using the Momentum plan which took into account calories, fat and fiber which resulted in a point value for the food. I had so many points per day and as long as I stayed within those I would lose weight. Well, I stayed within them and I lost weight and I just kept losing the weight. I was finally successful and I was finally starting to recognize myself when I looked in the mirror. I made it to my goal weight in August of 2010 and have been working to maintain since then.
In late 2011 Weight Watchers threw a wrench into my happy little routine and launched Points Plus. The good news was that I had more daily points to use, the bad news was that my “comfort” snacks would now cost me more because the new plan took into account fat, carbohydrates, fiber and protein and my “comfort” snacks tended to be higher in carbs. This change has encouraged me to move away from the processed snacks and instead focus on eating more whole foods. Overall, I have been successful with Points Plus. Success for a Lifetime Member on Weight Watchers is defined as never being more than 2 pounds above my goal (125 pounds). Wow, that is really awesome to type; I don’t feel like I give myself enough credit for what I’ve done. I instead focus on being a few pounds above my “happy weight” of 120 pounds.
I think Weight Watchers is a really great program because this program changed the way I feel about myself 110%. On top of that it taught me not only how much to eat, but what to eat to fuel my body. My journey isn’t over yet and honestly it never will be because sustained weight loss takes constant effort to maintain.
As I was posting pictures to show you I noticed that I had 2 pictures almost a year apart at the same place. It was strange for me to see how much a year had changed me, I still do not recognize the person in the 2009 picture! It’s crazy how much you can change in 1 year. I will be the first to admit that 30 pounds is nothing compared to what some people have lost, or need to lose. I have a friend who lost 110 pounds and she amazes me because I have no idea how she had the strength to keep going when it got hard, but she did and has been at her goal weight for 3 years now. If I had more to lose I don’t know if I would have been strong enough to continue losing after months and months. I’d like to think I would, but even losing 30 pounds was hard! I admire anyone who can lose weight in a healthy and sustainable manner because I know how much of a struggle that can be, but the feeling you get when you’re on the other end is totally worth all of the hard work and choices you have to make.
A lot of people ask me for the “secret” to losing the weight and keeping it off and I never know what to tell them because weight loss is such a personal thing. For me, I had to be ready mentally first, then I needed to find a program that would give me support and information so I could succeed. I found what I needed in Weight Watchers but other people will find different programs or methods that work for them and I’m supportive of any program that works for people as long as it’s healthy!
Weight loss is hard, but if I can do it anyone can. You just need to focus on one meal at a time and make the best choices you can during that meal.