Monday, October 10, 2011
My name is Nancy and I am a wife, mother of 2 daughters and grandmother of 3. I never had a weight problem as a child but when I turned 30 my weight gain began. I found that my usually attempt to stop the gain (exercising a bit more and eating less) no longer seemed to work and slowly the pounds began to add up.
When I was younger, sizes were more standardized and I wore a size 12. As I aged and grew in size I continued to wear a size 12 through the years. I found it sort of comforting in an odd sort of way that I was not outgrowing my jeans size as my waist grew. Aren't vanity sizes a wonderful invention? They let you imagine you have not really gained all that much weight.
However, in my 40's I was not so fortunate and had to buy a larger size. It was when I started to outgrow the size 16 that I said enough is enough. I found Spark People and began to use the online food tracker. I was shocked during my first attempt to log the food I had eaten that day. Did I eat all that food? Then came time to add in that bag of bite-size candy bars I had just eaten in one sitting. Too be honest, I could not bring myself to do it, but I realized right then why I had gained weight and was continuing to add on the pounds.
I decided to do something about it. The first thing I did was cut back on the junk food and began to eat more wholesome foods. After a few weeks, I decided to track my foods again and this time I actually did it. Doing so was one of the best things I ever did because I was then able to take a look at what I was eating and then evaluate where I needed to make improvements. I still found that I ate too much junk food in the form of chips, candy, cakes and donuts.
During this time, I as I neared that big 50, I read a magazine article that stated as we age we begin to lose muscle and, to my recollection, the article stated that once we were in the 50’s if we lost muscle it was gone for good. I did not want that to happen to me so I started to exercise. It was difficult at first and I tried many different things. Then my oldest daughter got a job that required here to travel and since she was a single parent, my husband and I decided to let our granddaughter live with us. She was 4 years old at the time and I decided to enroll her in preschool.
That was one of the best thing I ever did since we lived so far from town and school was 2 hours, I joined a gym to occupy my time while I waited. My weight loss journey began! I familiarized with the treadmill, elliptical and rowing machines. I even got adventuresome and went into the weight room. The time I was at the gym happened to be the weight lifting class was going on. I never joined the class but I watched and listened to what they were doing. I began to enjoy lifting weights once I knew how to use the machines and began to see the inches come off and I began to get some muscle definition.
At 49 years, I decided to go back to school and decided on a Culinary Arts program. There I struggled with my sweet tooth. We were allowed to eat the pastries and donuts and the lunch we prepared. If that were not bad enough, I became addicted to Brach’s Caramel Peanut Clusters and would often buy a bag for the drive home and before I got home the whole bag would be gone. It was only when one of my classmates commented that I ate way too many sweets that I realized I needed to change my ways.
So, after class I went to the school’s gym and worked out for an hour before I went home for the day. I lost 15 pounds those two years I was there, but the first year was gain and lose, gain and lose. My second year, I began to lose weight by no longer eating the foods we prepared and for lunch I’d have a huge salad loaded with lots of veggies. I also found a podcast for the couch to 5k program by Robert Ullery. He coached when to walk and run. I found that I could not run very far or for very long. A 60 second run left me breathless and gasping for air. I challenged myself and set a goal to be able to run to my neighbor’s mailbox. It took me almost a year to do so. But I did it!!!
For my 51th birthday, my hubby gave me an IPod Nano and I discovered this neat little tool called the Nike+ sport that measured my distance. I began to enjoy my weekly podcasts of the couch to 5k and started to see how much I improved in my endurance as well as distance. This is also the time I broke through that year long plateau and began to lose weight again.
It has been two years since I have been using those little gadgets and now I can run to my neighbor’s mailbox and beyond. I am at my lowest weight that I can remember but I still struggle with that sweet tooth. I still eat way too much junk food even though it is not nearly as much as I used to.
My journey here on Spark People has been an on and off, on again and off again, and now it’s the on again. I joined the team Tame the *Sweet Tooth* back in April of 2011 and there was no leader. I took on the challenge and became the leader and for some reason the membership exploded. This tells me there are a lot of us that want to be in control of that little monster that has a tantrum way too often when it does not get its way.
It is not easy, there is no quick fix and it takes a lot of effort and determination. But it is worth it! Please join me and together we can tame the sweet tooth.
Oh, I should mention that I am currently wearing a size 4 jean. However, if I look on a pattern, according to my measurements I am a size 12 again. Question for you: Do you think vanity sizes are beneficial or not?