Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Q. What is your weight history like? How old where you when you first 'went on a diet'? Have you lost and regained? How is this time different from others?
A. I was a normal, healthy weight all through my growing up years. Never really thought about it much. My Mom did a pretty good job of making sure that the family ate healthy. We didn't have many treats in the house, rarely ate fast food (that was mostly a budget issue, I'm thinking), and I don't ever remember having soda pop, unless we were away from home.
When I was 16, I had jaw surgery. I had to have my mouth wired shut and could only drink/eat pureed foods and milk shakes for 3 months. To this day, milkshakes are NOT my favorite. The day I got the wires taken off, I weighed 98 lbs. I had planned to go to Cedar Point with my friends and had been dreaming about all of the junk I was going to eat. And so I did...pizza, chicken nuggets, nachos and cheese, fries. I puked a lot that evening. That was the first time that the act of eating ever really made any impression on me.
I liked my body as a teenager and into my early 20's. Gained a few pounds here and there, had to buy bigger clothes, but I always seemed to gain the weight in the 'right places', so I didn't worry about it too much.
Got married in my early 20's, which didn't last very long. To combat the stress of my husband leaving, I started running. I guess the creeping weight gain was starting to bother me at that point. When our divorce was final, I had to work 2 jobs to pay off the debt we had amassed because (big surprise), Mr. Wonderful didn't take any responsibility for it. So, for about 2 years, I was an emotional wreck, not really thinking about caring much for my body, or paying attention to what I was eating or getting exercise. The running went out the window at that point.
Oh - I should also add that from the time I was 16 until about 30, I smoked on and off (bad stress management tool).
I met my husband at my second job. We started dating, moved in together, got married, and started getting fat together. We used to watch the X-files on Sunday nights and eat an entire roll of Pillsbury Cinnamon buns together. I went back to college and was working part time. Sedentary, sedentary, sedentary. Fast food, out to eat, eat on the cheap. Graduated from college and started working full time. Hubby had always been kinda big, and was gaining weight, so we both decided to go to a personal trainer at a local gym. I can't remember if that helped us much - we're just not athletically inclined people. We both enjoy and gravitate toward sedentary activities and anything that involves eating. There are good cooks in my extended family. Every family function centers around eating. And having cake. And lots of other desserts. And we've got some food pushers to contend with. Sometimes, in fact, my husband takes on that role, and I have to tell him, "Don't be a food pusher."
In 2000, after having been married for a year, my husband and I separated. I won't go into the details of that, as it's not important for purposes of answering this question. That was when I realized that I was pretty fat and unhealthy for my young age (that's how 175 lbs looks/feels when you're 5'4"). I started learning about nutrition, started back to running to manage stress (actually took a running class at the community college), and lost 30 pounds over the course of about a year. I felt really good.
Hubby and I got back together, bought a new house, and were both working full time. I quit running. Quit paying attention to what I was eating. Quit smoking (for good). Started packing on the pounds again. Hubby and I did Atkins. Lost about 20 lbs on that. But that program is just not sustainable long term. We also tried Weight Watchers with some success. Then, in 2004, at 140 lbs, I got pregnant with our first daughter and totally bought into the "you're eating for two" lie. In fact, being the overachiever I am, I ate for 2 sets of grown adults for nine months. I figured that since I planned on breastfeeding, and I had read that breastfeeding helps you lose baby weight quick - I was good to go. EHhhh - wrong answer.
I gained 50 lbs, and gave birth to my beautiful, healthy, 7 lb. 9 oz. daughter.
Between delivery of my first daughter and getting pregnant with my second, I lost about 35 lbs of that weight. Then gained 40 with our second daughter. Left my full time job that I LOVED to be stay at home Mom. That's also another story all together.
Between the second and third daughter, I lost 30 lbs. of that 40. With my 3rd daughter, I started out weighing 180 and was 201 lbs. at delivery. I could not believe my eyes when I saw that number on the scale, and I never wanted to see it again.
For the next year, I felt so overwhelmed, trying to manage everything (perfectionistic with neurotic tendencies here), and take care of everyone BUT myself. Started managing stress in much more unhealthy ways than running. Caffeine, alcohol, staying up too late to try to maximize my 'productive' time, medicating myself with comfort fooooooood, watching lots of TV.
Last year, we had professional family photos taken. I was so disgusted at how big I looked. I wondered, "Why hasn't anyone told me that my clothes are too small??? I look stupid, trying to fit into them!" Then, I did something that I never ever in a million years thought that I would do. I went and bought clothes at a "Fat Lady" store. Mind you, I actually felt small being in that store, as only the smallest of the sizes fit me. But listening to the way some of those women talked in there was really depressing and defeatist. I thought, "Oh, I do NOT want to be one of these people."
This morning, I weighed in at 176 lbs. I've started running again in the last 2 months and have made many other positive changes thanks to Sparkpeople. My 'fat lady' clothes are one size too big. At 41, I'm losing weight at a considerably slower rate than I have in the past, but that's okay with me. I want to stop the madness!
I am learning how to be a healthy person living a balanced life. Trying to change a lot of my thinking. I do not want to be obsessed with losing extra weight and let the success/failure of that dictate my satisfaction with myself. I want the pursuit of an increasingly healthy lifestyle to be my focus, and if the pounds shed in the process (which I'm sure they will), all the better.