It sounds cliche, but I don’t remember when I became overweight. By the time I realized I had a weight problem, it was already extreme.
My freshman year of high school I was under 100 lbs. I played tennis on my school’s team, competed in horse shows and taught tennis lessons during the summer. However, I had a very unhealthy diet and no sense of portion control. When I graduated in June of 2001 I was close to 180 and still clueless to the fact that my weight was an issue.
I went away to college in the fall. For three years I ate with reckless abandon. I didn’t exercise beyond walking to class. When my roommate went home on the weekends to visit her boyfriend, I holed up in my dorm room and binged on fast food and other junk. I was lonely and food became my friend.
Two and a half years later I had moved off campus to an apartment and started dating the man who is now my husband. My first “ah-ha” moment came while I was getting dressed: I couldn’t button my pants. That day, I signed up for the Curves near my apartment. It was a step in the right direction, yet I didn’t change my diet to match my goals.
I graduated from college in June of 2005 weighing around 205 lbs. Shortly after, I accepted a position coaching high school girls’ tennis. It was a fun season and I was sad when the it came to an end. At the banquet, the girls presented me with a framed team photo signed with a personal message from each of them. I was touched, but couldn’t enjoy it because I could only focus on one glaringly obvious thing in the picture. I was overweight.
I re-joined Curves and made a conscious effort to eat better. The pounds started to come off very slowly. I realized that I didn’t know what healthy eating meant and decided to try a few fad diets. One of them landed me in the hospital and the others just plain didn’t work. Meanwhile, my husband’s cousin’s wife (follow me) had joined Weight Watchers, was down 40lbs and looked great. During one of our conversations she mentioned that she was tired of going to meetings alone and was going to quit the program if she didn’t have a buddy. I reluctantly said I would go, but was honestly doubtful that the program would work for me.
I went to my first meeting in March of 2006 and was hooked. I liked the structure and the logic. The pounds start to steadily disappear and by June I was 20 lbs. (10% of my starting weight) lighter. About that time I began to incorporate exercise. I joined a more comprehensive gym, started taking group fitness classes and began branching out into strength training in addition to the cardio machines. I was extremely surprised to find myself looking forward to working out after work. It helped me relieve stress, cope with emotions and feel empowered.
I achieved my goal weight in July of 2007. In August of 2007, I became a lifetime Weight Watchers member. It was one of the proudest days of my life.
…but wait! There’s more!
I found out I was pregnant on February 1, 2009. Over the next 41 weeks, I gained 65lbs. I won’t lie and say I don’t know how it happened. I reverted back to many of my old eating habits and used being pregnant as an excuse to treat food as a free-for-all. I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl in October of 2009. Once I got the okay from the doctor, I started thinking about losing the baby weight.
In an attempt to save money, I tried to go it alone using the principles and strategies I learned during my initial weight loss. However, I quickly became overwhelmed. I kept telling myself that I knew what I needed to do, but I’d underestimated how difficult it would be get back into a healthy food and fitness routine while trying to take care of a baby. I made the decision to return to Weight Watchers in January 2010. I was ashamed to walk back into the meeting room, but overcame that quickly with the support I received. I set the goal of being back to my pre-baby weight by my daughter’s 1st birthday and achieved it ahead of schedule!