When we meet a person for the first time, we see a snapshot of that person in the here and now. We notice if they’re fat or skinny, short or tall, happy or stressed, open or guarded. As we chat, we silently gather information and make assumptions about that person based on our first impressions.
Even when we know someone, we may not know their struggles or accomplishments unless they choose to share them with us.
Today I want to share my weight loss journey with you. I want you to know my struggles and successes.
That I’ve been in your shoes. And that I still work every day to maintain my success!
To keep things entertaining, I’ll throw in a few photos we can make fun of together.
The Wonder Years
Since I was about ten years old, I was conscious of what I ate. I wasn’t overweight, but somewhere I got the idea that girls needed to watch their food intake so they didn’t get fat. Like many families in the 70’s and 80’s, my family ate mostly convenience food. Kraft, Kellogg’s, and Wonder Bread were our food staples. As a teenager, a typical day was M&M’s and Diet Pepsi for breakfast, New York Seltzer water for lunch, and the family dinner.
My first pic is from 1990. I was 19 years old and had fantastic hair. I weighed about 115 pounds (BTW, I’m 5’3″). I hope you appreciate the vintage beer can. I think it really compliments my acid washed jeans.
In 1990 I also got married to my first husband. During that first year as a teen bride, I adopted my new husband’s eating habits and packed on the pounds.
The Hot Mess Era
Here we are three years later. Allow me to comment on this photo, if I may:
- I sincerely apologize for the cat butt hole. Removing it would mean removing my lovely abdominal area.
- I had no business wearing a belt.
- How did I make the slippery descent from Teen Cutie to Future Cat Lady? Three words: I was unhappy. My new lifestyle included emotional eating and alcohol. My weight guesstimate is 145-150 pounds.
Fast forward to 1995. I became pregnant with twins, which meant removing alcohol and soda from my diet. After giving birth, I remained in a normal weight range. Below is a pic of my boys and me in 2000 (husband number one and I divorced in 1998, so technically I lost over 200 pounds of mindless blubber.)
My kids are totes adorbs, aren’t they? I sense your relief that I switched the cats out for kids.
Fat and Happy
In October 2001 I remarried and a month later I was pregnant. I gained a few “man pounds” during the dating portion of our relationship, and another 60 pounds during my pregnancy. I only lost half of the weight I gained during my pregnancy. In other words, I lost the baby weight and kept the fat weight.
This picture was taken in 2003. A typical day included cereal or bagel for breakfast, Wendy’s for lunch, and a delicious Stouffer’s dinner, fresh from the aluminum baking pan. I never weighed myself, but I’d say my weight was in the 150-155 pound range. Note the drawstring pants. Grrr, Baby, very grrr!
Return of the Jedi
In January 2006, I’d had enough. I was dangerously close to joining the Lane Bryant Club. Instead, I joined Weight Watchers and also began running. During this process, I learned about emotional eating and portion control. It took me 8 months to lose thirty pounds. I weighed 118 pounds in December 2006 when this picture was taken.
I looked healthy, but I was exhausted. Prepackaged food was great for counting “points” but it provided me with no nutrition. In 2008 I saw a doctor for chronic constipation, abdominal pain and exhaustion, and was diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome. Years of eating fake food (fast, convenient, and prepackaged) had caused several food intolerances, anemia, and malnutrition.
A New Dawn
This diagnosis began my journey to healthier eating. I ate for nourishment. I learned how to cook food from the produce section rather than the frozen food aisle. And eventually, I began feeling better. In fact, I feel stronger and healthier at today 43 than I did at 23 (refer to Future Cat Lady picture).
This pic was taken during a half marathon in 2013. Although I appear to be flexing my muscles, I’m actually pointing to Flat Stanley pinned to my back.
And here I am in May 2014 with those cute little twins, along with my husband and youngest son. My hubby has an amazing weight loss story. I hope he chooses to share it with you. It’s super inspiring!
It’s hard to look at those fat pictures and stir up the feelings that go along with them. Weight loss is as much an emotional journey as a physical one. It’s a process of realization, growth, and self-worth. You will not be the same person you were when you started.
I’ve maintained a healthy weight for eight years. Every bite I eat is a choice to move forward or go back. Each workout, a challenge accepted.
Believe in yourself and know you are worth this process. It’s not easy, but guess what? You can do hard things!
Next week I’ll cover specific actions you can take to help you succeed. But first, I need to hear from you.
What are your goals? Your challenges? What’s the hardest part of your day? Leave a comment and let me know!