According to my mother, as a small child, I was a bundle of energy – I literally never stopped moving. That all changed when I learned how to read, and discovered books. As a child, I read obsessively, and just didn’t really enjoy moving very much. I can remember being told that I was overweight from a fairly young age, but I never really wanted to do anything about it. I was in pretty serious denial for most of my life. I can vividly remember being in 8th grade, and filling out the physical fitness assessment card – we were all supposed to weigh ourselves, and put the number on the card. I jumped on the scale with closed eyes, then wrote 85lbs on the card – which was what seemed like an acceptable number to me. We didn’t have a scale at my house, and I employed the same closed-eyes technique whenever I went to the doctor’s office – I literally have no clue what I weighed before the age of about 24.
I was overweight in high school, but I didn’t feel like a social outcast. I was on the swim team – and sure, I didn’t look as good as some of the other girls, but that was ok – I was just there to have fun. I had a boyfriend. I took dance lessons, and wore leotards. I wore clothes in sizes that ranged from 10 to 14 at this point in my life. I know I felt fat, at times, but I was never motivated to do anything about it.
The first time I ever felt motivated to lose weight was shortly after I graduated from college. I was at a strange place in my life – I finally had the eagerly awaited college degree, but I was living with my parents, and I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do with my life – or what someone with a BA in History could do, professionally. I was working part-time at a bank, and looking for a full-time job when I decided to sign up for the local women-only circuit gym.
I liked the gym – I liked doing the circuit, and I felt like I was accomplishing something. I went for a few weeks until the woman who ran the place pulled me aside one day and asked if I was ok, if I wasn’t working myself too hard, because I was so red in the face. Well, I’m a red-head, and I have very fair skin, and I flush very, very easily – basically, even the smallest amount of physical exercise will have me beet red. It’s not a bad thing, but this woman’s concern was so embarassing to me that I just stopped going to the circuit gym.
I still wanted to lose weight, though, so I began to look for other ways to do it. Counting Calories, Weight Watchers, any of those things all seemed like too much work, and besides, how would I even know where to begin? But there were these pills that were being advertised, and a friend of my parents had supposedly taken them, and lost 60 lbs, and so they seemed like a brilliant idea. Hello, ephedra!
It kills me that I took those pills and still didn’t weight myself! I have no idea how much I weighed when I began taking them, but I know that the lowest I got to was around 180lbs. And, I looked pretty darn good at 180 – or at least I felt like I did. Around this time, I began dating someone who had his own appearance issues, and projected them onto me, and my weight. I’ll never forget – we had been together for a few months, and the realtionship seemed to be going really well, when he initiated a conversation where he told me that, while he liked me a lot, I wasn’t someone that he could see himself getting serious with, because of my weight, and because his mother would not like it if he was with someone who was overweight. I was devastated, but was convinced that I could change his opionion – that my charming personality would overcome any physical concerns. I lacked the appropriate level of self-esteem to see that this person was damaging to me, and that if he was making this sort of decision based on what his mother would approve of, he was certainly not worth my time. I spent a year with him trying to squeeze myself into some pre-determined mold of what would be acceptable, and made myself miserable. When we finally broke up, I was determined to do whatever I wanted to do, whatever made me happy – and that included drinking a lot of wine and eating a lot of not-very-good-for-me foods. All the weight that I had lost, and probably a few extra pounds, crept back on. I can’t be entirely sure, because once again, I wasn’t weighing myself.
As the years went by, I eventually learned about the gym, and got myself a memebership. My gym attendance was always sporadic, though, and I know I wasn’t really losing weight, so much as I was just maintaining my current, overweight self.
In 2007, I was introducted to 2 things that would change my life. The first was Spark People, where I learned how to count and track calories. The second was Dan, my now-husband. Dan and I started dating, and, while I was going to the gym fairly regularly in our first year together, I was also eating out at restaurants all the time, as you are wont to do when beginning a relationship. We also had a faily active social life, and most of that activity centered around going out to bars and shows, and drinking. I climbed up to my highest adult weight of 250lbs by September of 2009. I knew I needed to do something.
I re-dedicated myself to Spark People, and counting calories. And I stopped making excuses about the gym. I managed to get down to 203lbs in June of 2010, and I felt great! Amazing, even! I know I wasn’t the skinniest girl on the block, but I felt good, and I felt like I looked good. Then…summer happened. We got engaged. Wedding planning stressed me out, and I started stress eating again. We spent 2 weeks with Dan’s family at the beach, where I ate and drank with abandon. I started a new job at the end of August. Somewhere, I lost the momentum, and I’ve been searching for it ever since. When I bought my wedding dress in February of 2011, I was 218lbs. When I got married on 10/08/2011, I was 225 lbs. And now, in June of 2012, I am 245 lbs. The decline has been swift, and it has been sharp, and I have felt powerless to stop it. But, I need to stop it. My first goal is to get back to my June 2010 low of 203. Losing weight sucks, and it sucks even more to have to re-lose the weight that you have already lost.