I was a chubby kid from about the time I turned 10, but it was never a real issue until I finished college. During my last semester and after graduating, I was living in Michigan, bored and depressed, and decided to join Weight Watchers on New Year’s Eve, 2003 on a whim. I was having a hard time finding a job and was in a bad relationship, so I devoted all of my energy to weight loss so that I’d have something else to focus on. I lost 60 pounds in about 5 months and reached my goal weight just in time for my 23rd birthday in May of 2004. Although Weight Watchers worked for me and was pretty easy (ah, to be 22 again!), I swore that I’d never make myself go through that again. The weight was off for good.
|At my goal weight, June 2004|
Two weeks later, I moved to Chicago. I gained a little weight upon moving here, mainly because my office used to have free food around the clock, 7 days a week. I was working crazy hours and didn’t have a lot of money, so I took advantage of said free food. But even eating lots of junky cafeteria food, snacking and having ice cream every day (seriously, they spoiled us back in those days), I only gained about 15 pounds back. I was doing WW on and off a lot for a while, so my weight managed to stay pretty much under control. By mid-2007, right around the time I met Fella, I had put a total of 40 pounds back on.
|August 2007, leaving my office|
I was still happy with the way I looked so I didn't do anything about it until early 2008, when I had gotten back to my original weight, and when Fella encouraged me to join his gym and exercise with him. A gym? I had used the Recreation Center in college, but hadn’t really exercised since. But I got into it and, once again, dedicated myself to weight loss. I lost about 40 pounds with exercise and Weight Watchers by the end of 2008. I kept that off for about 6 months.
|Fella and I totally not looking at the camera in Colorado, 2009|
I think I would’ve been okay at this point if life hadn’t taken a really unexpected turn. Fella started getting sick a lot in early 2009. Toward the middle of that year he was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, but the stress of it all – him being sick all the time and, for a while, not knowing what was wrong with him – totally knocked me off the wagon. He’d get sick suddenly, and he couldn’t eat when he was sick. I’d often have cooked dinner for the 2 of us and rather than just save the leftovers, I’d split his meals with Jude. Meanwhile Fella had been on medicine for his condition, but he kept getting worse. I stepped in, found him a new doctor since his old one seemed unconcerned, and she recommended we meet with a surgeon right away. In the end, Fella ended up having 2 major surgeries in early 2010. He needed a lot of care, so my boss let me work from home for about 3 months last year to take care of him. Fella had lost so much weight from being sick that he needed to be fattened up. I could’ve joined him in loading up on fats, but instead I constantly cooked 2 meals: one light meal for me, one not so light one for Fella. A new gym opened up around the corner from us at about that time, so I decided to join so I’d be able to get out of the house a little bit each day. Throughout 2010 I got into a really good exercise routine, and I started losing weight and slimming down again. I was still about 20 pounds overweight toward the end of the year, but I was so happy with the way I looked then.
I kept the routine up in the beginning of 2011, but once we started the process of buying a condo and moving, I no longer had time to go to the gym (which is ridiculous looking back – I didn’t have an hour? Really?). On top of that, we were so busy, we were eating out a lot because there just wasn’t time to cook, and frankly, I didn’t have the energy for it. I guess that’s how the weight all came back. And then some. I know waiting 2 months to even unpack the scale was a mistake, but I guess I didn’t want to know. I can’t even remember the last time I weighed myself before this week. I was weighed a couple times at doctors’ appointments this spring/summer, but I just assumed their scales were off. But how could I have missed this? I take my picture everyday for goodness sake, and none of my pants fit me right now. I guess I was in denial, or didn’t think it was so bad.
This isn’t a self-esteem thing. I love myself and know I’m awesome at any size. But I do know I could look a little better. In addition to appearance, I need to keep my weight under control for health reasons. My mom and her sister are both diabetic, my maternal grandfather died of a heart attack in his mid-40’s, my mom has high blood pressure, and my dad had an angioplasty at the age of 50. There seem to be a lot of conditions I have a predisposition for, and the risks get higher if you’re overweight. I do get my numbers checked every year, and so far they’ve been good, but I want to keep them that way.
I know I can lose weight because I’ve done it so many times before, but I still need to figure out how to maintain it. I mean, why do I keep doing this to myself? Why put myself through all the trouble just to gain the weight all back? I’m trying things a little differently this time. Rather than rejoin Weight Watchers for, I don’t know, like the tenth time, I joined a site called Spark People. There, I can track what I’m eating and how much exercise I’m getting, but without those pesky membership fees. It offers many of the same features I found on WW, but rather than tracking points, you’re watching calories, fat and carbs. Counting points was pretty easy for me, but logging my food was the real benefit of it for me. That helped me see what I was eating, and just how much it was impacting me. Spark also has a pretty big online community and is constantly running little challenges, so those resources may be helpful in motivating me and supporting my efforts. As for exercise, I made myself go back to the gym on Tuesday, and I went again yesterday, so I’m hoping to get back into a good routine there. My overall goal is to drop 50 pounds, and I’d like to do that by May, 2012. I'll probably update periodically, but I promise this will be the only novel I write about it :) I appreciate your reading this very, very long post.