July 19, 2012 by AnnMarie
Here is an inspiring story from our fabulous member, Katy, on her weight loss journey. Anyone who’s struggled with food and body weight issues (and who hasn’t?) will certainly be able to relate and hopefully be able to learn something from her challenges and ultimate success. Thank you for sharing your experience, Katy!
Being overweight was easy–all I had to do was eat whatever I wanted, play a lot of video games, and avoid the outdoors. I was studying for my Bachelor’s degree, and I didn’t notice the gradual weight gain until I saw a photo of myself. I took an amazing vacation, but hated every photo with me in it. I was trying to remember an awesome experience, not wonder who that fat girl was blocking the view. I wanted my body to reflect how I felt about myself; at that moment, my body was telling people that I was abusing it with candy, soda, and junk food. I told myself that it was time to change. I steeled my nerves and got on my Wii Fit, which I had been successfully ignoring for years. The last time I had done a serious weigh-in was four years prior, when I started college. I had my eyes closed, but I heard what that awful, happy Wii Fit voice said, “You’re obese.”
I had never even considered the fact that I might be obese. Sure, I was chunky, but obese? The scale read 220 (I’m 5′ 3″). I wanted to cry. I wanted to buy the biggest bag of Skittles I could find and eat until my mouth was numb. I didn’t do either of those things. Crying and eating sounded like a great idea, but they had helped me become this super-sized version of myself–it was time for something new. I sat down with my computer and made a plan. I used a fitness website to figure out how many calories I should be eating, and what my goal weight should be. It sounded impossible, and some days it would prove to be close, but I was ready to try.
It was a long process. I had at least 90 pounds to lose, and without a fairy tale tv show to assist, I was alone on the journey. I didn’t have the resources or knowledge to vary my workouts very much, and to ensure I met my calorie goals, I ate almost the same thing every day. I kept a food diary in an attempt to be honest. It was monotonous. It was frustrating. But it worked. In the first few months, my body was shocked out of its fat; the pounds flew off as I repeated the same workout and ate the same foods. I spent two hours at the gym every morning doing cardio on the treadmill and elliptical. Every other day I would add weight training afterward to help my underused muscles cope with the new regimen. This was the first part of my plan–these type of workouts weren’t sustainable forever, but because I knew I had a large amount of weight to lose, I wanted to reach a more manageable number. For me, food became boring, almost an obligation. I’m a terrible cook so I was eating a lot of Lean Cuisines. I knew I couldn’t keep eating frozen, weight-loss brand meals, but I needed them to discipline myself: I had to reteach my body about serving sizes after years of snacking constantly. Sometimes I felt irritable and hungry, and my husband often opted to leave me alone rather than take his chances with my mood.
Slowly, I began to make adjustments to my diet. After I lost 30 pounds, I would eat a snack after dinner, mostly popcorn or vanilla ice cream. Because I could control my appetite, I could add in small amounts of food I really enjoyed without worrying that I might be hiding evidence of my binge later. I began to read the serving sizes on packaging, and then actually listen to it instead of laughing. I also added swimming to my exercise, sometimes I replaced the cardio, some days I did both. I actually had fun swimming, and my body responded to the variety in my workouts by dropping extra pounds.
I have loved food my whole life, and finally feel I’m learning to love it without guilt or regret. And even though I’ve never liked exercise, I found that there were activities even I enjoyed. My journey didn’t have an end–once I started taking care of myself, I found that I kind of liked it. Today, I weigh 160. It’s not the goal weight, and I know that. I might always be on the path to that ideal number because some days there’s a cookie I can’t refuse. But for me, it’s not just about being a number on the scale, it’s about being a better (but also smaller) version of myself. I’m still setting goals for myself, and now I’m learning how to be a legit athlete through boxing and cycling. I never tell people I’m on a diet because I never am–I’ve educated myself about food and nutrition so that I make overall healthy decisions (of course, there’s still some ice cream because I am not a robot). Two years ago, I just wanted to lose weight. Now, I’ve discovered a whole new lifestyle that balances love of food and my love (okay, maybe my like) of exercise.