Really? No way! Maybe it’s broken. I’ve really let myself gain that much weight?
It took a few minutes for the initial shock to wear off. It was February of 2011 and I had decided to go with a few friends to join Weight Watchers. I obviously knew I had been gaining weight as my clothes were beginning to protest when I would choose to wear them on any given day. I could almost hear them complain about having to spend an 8 hour work day being stretched so tightly against my ever expanding form. But still, I couldn’t believe I had let myself gain that much.
To put it in perspective, I’ll back it up a little bit….or more than a bit. As a child, I was first a bit skinny, then I moved to being more average, and then the closer I got to puberty, the closer I got to the status of “chunky” or “chubby” or any other term that we use to spare a middle school girl’s feelings by not going straight to “fat.” High school was more of the same. I did start to have a semblance of an actual figure, so it wasn’t quite as bad.
Then college came. We’ve all heard of the dreaded Freshman 15, right? Well, by some act of God, I actually managed to avoid this. I lost 15 pounds when I went away to school. While I would love to take credit for it, I’m sure it had more to do with the PE credit I needed (as opposed to my pigging out on pizza and pints of Ben & Jerry’s at midnight….more than once a week). And for some unknown reason, I thought it would be a good idea to take a class called ‘Exercise and Conditioning.’ The teacher was a triathalon participant whose idea of a warm-up jog before class began was a 1-mile loop around campus. I wanted to die every Monday and Wednesday. Still, the class kept me active and helped me lose weight. I was at my lowest weight as an adult at 155 pounds and maintained this (for the most part) all through college. Despite that, I was still a size 14 and, when looking around at all the size 0’s around me, I felt like the fattest person in the world.
Moving on from college, I went to grad school. I lived in an apartment and found that to be bad for my weight. In a dorm room, you only have so much room for both you and your roommate to store food, so you usually don’t have that much lying around. But an apartment? With a full kitchen? That is a whole other story. And so the weight gain began. It only continued when I moved home and started working. So here I was almost 10 years later, at a Weight Watchers meeting, weighing in at 99.4 pounds more than my 155. I was horrified and I knew that I only had myself to blame.
On the other hand, I was motivated to lose it. At least for a little while. I did really well with the program for the first 4 months, losing 28 pounds. After that, I started getting lazy. Not so much that I gave up completely, I just wasn’t following it as strictly. For the next 4-5 months, my weight loss fluctuated between 26 and 31 pounds. During this time I kept telling myself, “as long as I’m maintaining, that’s better than nothing.” Then the holiday season arrived, and this is where I get ashamed. Beginning with Thanksgiving and going all the way to the end of December, I gained back almost 10 pounds. TEN POUNDS! In one month! And so I finally had to have a little talk with myself.
In January, I recommitted myself to the Weight Watchers program and, with inspiration from this blog, stepped up my exercise with the Couch to 5k plan. Since doing so, I’ve lost 17 more pounds for a total just shy of 37 pounds over the last year. I wish I could be proud of that…and most days I am. Unfortunately, there are times when the setback I had over the holdays haunts me and I berate myself with thoughts like “if you hadn’t done that, you could have lost so much more this year” or “your 17 pound loss is really only 7 because you had lost the first 10 once already.”
I still have a long way to go as my ideal is to be back down to the 155 that I was in college. And, now that I have this blog, I’m sure that I will be sharing some of my journey with you all as I continue. Until then, my hope is that my story can help inspire some of you. Not necessarily just in weight loss, but in anything that’s new to you. We can often fall when we’re doing something hard…but we only fail when we don’t get back up and keep trying.