My Story

*** AUGUST 2013 NOTE/UPDATE:  I wrote “My Story” back in July of 2012.  While the story is still the same, I thought I should give a little bit of an update to those of you who are new to my blog.

The end of the post mentions that my weight loss slowed down.  Well, not only did it slow down, but it completely stopped.  For the entire end of 2012 I experienced a complete stall in my weight loss.  No matter what I did, I couldn’t lose a pound.  Lucky for me, I didn’t gain a pound either.  I was truly stuck at 188.

Then came the holidays.  Feeling super frustrated with my plateau, I went a bit crazy and ended up gaining TEN POUNDS through November and December.  When I got my butt back in gear in January of this year, I was back up to 198 pounds.  VERY DISAPPOINTING!

What’s even more disappointing is … as I’m writing this in August I am still up.  I have been fighting all year to get back down to that elusive 188 (funny how much I hated 188 for so long), but it still hasn’t happened.  I have completely changed my eating habits and I work out 4-6 times a week,  yet my body just won’t give it up.  I still keep this blog with the intentions of inspiring people, but I’m afraid I don’t feel like much of an inspiration at this point.

I’m not giving up, though.  As I said in the end of my original post — this really has become my new way of life, and I’m never going back to the old me.  No matter how much I have to fight.

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(Photo taken July 2013)

Now, for the original post….

—————————————–

I have to start by saying that I am a very private person.  Writing a public blog… sharing pictures of myself and my life… and most of all, sharing my weight with the world is very uncomfortable!

But as I’ve made it this far through my weight loss journey, I have been inspired, motivated and educated by so many blogs, it just seems selfish to keep taking and not give something back.

So with that in mind, I’ll share a little bit about me and how I got to this point.  Maybe my story will help someone out there, like others’ stories have helped me.

I have pretty much always had a weight problem. Right around third grade I started becoming what most people would call “chubby.”  I wasn’t obese, but I definitely had some meat on my bones. By the time I got into middle school I was definitely “overweight.”  This is when I started being very self conscious and embarrassed about my weight.  My worst memory of sixth grade (and there are ohh so many of them!) was having to be weighed in front of our whole class.  I remember sweating profusely, wanting to cry as I stood in line waiting for my turn to be weighed.  Our school nurse made sure to announce our weight out loud as she recorded it in her notebook.  I remember thinking death felt like a pretty great alternative when she announced I was 125 pounds to all of my classmates.  No one else had even cracked the 100-pound mark that morning, so you can imagine my humiliation.

The sad thing is, I knew I was overweight, but I really had no idea what I could do about it.  It sounds ridiculously obvious, but no one had ever taught me that I actually needed to be careful about what I ate and I needed to exercise.  I ate pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted… and I absolutely hated any form of physical activity.  I never put two and two together that those actions were turning me into a very overweight teenager.

Throughout high school and college, I continued to be oblivious to the consequences of my actions (or lack of action, as it were).  I was very unhappy that I had to wear “plus size” clothes, and I hated that I was often made fun of and boys never even glanced in my direction… but again, it never occurred to me that my actions were dictating my size.  I honestly felt I was just very unlucky.  Maybe God hated me or something and just decided to give me some really crappy genes.

Somewhere around 16 years old.

I would say that I didn’t have any hope, but that’s not really true.  I didn’t have any idea that I could even have hope, if that makes any sense.  The idea that I could some day be fit and healthy never seemed real to me.  I tried things like Slim Fast or the Atkins diet for a week or two and never saw results, so I decided I just wasn’t capable of losing weight.  I was an unlucky one.

I got married right out of college and boy did my eating habits get even more out of control. I married a food-aholic, and moved to a big city where there were so many new, fun food options at (literally) every corner.  It was so exciting to be introduced to new things like sushi bars and Jewish delis and real bagels and Indian cuisine. We spent the next three years loving life… and eating.  And eating.  We ate everything we wanted, whenever we wanted it.

I had gotten married in a size 18 wedding dress and before I knew it, I was finding it hard to fit into a size 22.  When I saw size 24 staring me in the face, I knew something had to be done.  If I got any bigger, I honestly didn’t know how I was going to dress myself! Were there even stores that sold sizes bigger than that? I really didn’t want to have to find out.

Around this same time I had also gone to the doctor for a routine visit and had weighed in at a whopping 265 pounds.  I saw that horrific number and realized I was now closer to 300 pounds than I was to 200! I cried.

Taken around 1999/2000.

I started searching online for weight loss information and came across a site called eDiets.  I believe the site still exists in a different form, but at the time it was pretty much just a calorie and fitness tracker.  I joined on a whim and started tracking what I was eating, keeping my daily caloric intake below 1800 calories, recording my weight, and exercising.

My first week I lost TEN POUNDS!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was so motivated by that huge, quick loss, I kept going.  I was very dedicated to my new diet and exercise routine and ended up losing 55 pounds in 9 months.  It was so exciting!  In less than a year I went from 265 pounds to 210, and I was back into my size 18’s.  This is a picture from a vacation we took when I was at the 210-pound mark.  What’s sad is I was feeling kinda “skinny” at this point!

Taken in 2001.

The best part was, I had finally realized I could actually lose weight.  I wasn’t cursed.  If I tried really hard (and yes I did have to try REALLY hard), it actually could happen.  This was a huge revelation for me.

A few weeks after that vacation I found out the best news I have ever received in my life: I was pregnant.  And as sometimes happens when people have a baby, my newly developed eating and exercise habits started slipping.  I stopped tracking what I was eating and only half-heartedly exercised, when I could find the time.  Losing weight became a very distant priority.

The next few years were full of ups and downs:  a cross-country move, a divorce and rejoining the work force, an eventual remarriage (to the love of my life) and lots of family drama in between. Without even noticing it, I had allowed my weight to go back up again.  A doctor’s visit became another reality check and when I saw myself getting close to the 250 pound mark again, I knew it was time to get back on track.

In early 2010 I joined Weight Watchers online with a starting weight of 237 pounds. I enjoyed doing the program online (especially not having to weigh myself in front of someone) and was fairly successful.  I lost about 20 pounds in 6 months.  It wasn’t stellar weight loss by any means, and I felt a little frustrated at how slow it was coming off.  I decided belonging to Weight Watchers was a waste of money and canceled my subscription.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise that I slipped back into my old habits and slowly but surely found my weight creeping back up again.  After returning from an amazing cruise vacation in early October of 2011, and seeing awful pictures of myself, I knew it was time … once again … to do something about it.  (Do you see a pattern here?)

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Taken October 2011.

A friend of mine was having great success with Weight Watchers and encouraged me to try giving the meetings a chance.  The thought of having to “weigh in” each week and then sit through a 30-minute meeting did not excite me at all.  But I had tried doing the program online already, with no meeting support, and knew I needed more.  I decided to give it a try.

I joined Weight Watchers in October of 2011 with an official starting weight of 229 pounds.  As I write this nine months later, I am officially 41 pounds lighter.  At 188 pounds, I am at the lowest weight I have ever been as an adult.  I have 33 more pounds to go until I’m at my “goal weight” of 155, and for the first time in my life I actually think that might be possible!

Taken July 2012.

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Taken July 2012.

I still struggle almost daily with the voice inside me that tells me it’s never going to happen.  As my weight loss has slowed down dramatically in the past couple of months, I can hear that little devil on my shoulder telling me “See!  It’s not going to happen.  Give up!”  But I refuse to give in to that little demon.  This new way of life is just that — a way of life.  It might take me a long time to get to my healthiest weight, but I know it’s going to happen.

7 thoughts on “My Story

  1. Thanks for sharing your story! I recognize so many of your challenges in my own life and, like you, I refuse to give in to that little demon on my shoulder. It’s tough and it’s taken me many years to get to this point but the hard work so far is worth it. Also like you, I tried WW for awhile (mostly online) and left. Now that I’m going to weekly meetings (I call them my weekly accountability group), I’m having much more success than past weight loss endeavors. Much success to you!

  2. Wow congratulations Jen!

    Thank you for sharing your story, it is incredibly motivating! Also, good for you for getting back on track each time! It is a really tough thing to do.

    I can’t wait to be alongside following you on route to 155!

    All the best! Christie

  3. Jen, thank you for sharing your journey. I was so happy to get to the end and read about your success, way to go! Keep it up and you’ll be at your goal in no time.
    Like many, I can relate to your ups and downs and attempting every diet out there. We all come from the same place and I think that’s part of the reason I love my Weight Watchers meetings so much. All of these people at the meetings with me actually understand what I’m dealing with and they understand how I feel deep down inside even if I don’t say it. There is a sympathy in the meetings that even the most supportive people can’t provide you with because they’ve never been in your shoes.
    Side note: I cannot believe your school nurse, I hope karma got her big time.
    Love the blog and I look forward to getting to know you better!
    Amanda

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