My journey actually started Memorial Day weekend in 2010. Who starts a "diet" on a major Holiday weekend?!? Little did I know that Monday was going to be the first day of the rest of my life. Yes, it's a little cliche, but it's a lot true!
The week before, I had my big "aha" moment when I was volunteering in my son Jake's classroom. We were standing in line to go outside and Jake introduced me to one of his friends. The little boy looked at me, then looked at Jake and said, "your mom's fat." Jake looked at me, and said nothing. What could he say? Kids speak the unfiltered truth. The look in his eyes broke my heart, and it was then that I decided that I HAD to do something. I wasn't going to be the fat mom... my kids weren't going to be embarrassed to have me in their classroom... and I certainly wasn't going to have them picked on because of ME.
I've been overweight my entire life. The only "normal" picture I have of myself, was when I was in kindergarten. I was the chubby kid on the soccer team, and the fat girl on the swim team. When I got to college, the late night pizza and beer didn't do me any favors, and the freshman 15 turned into the college career 40. Soon after college, I was an obese bride, and then became morbidly obese when I got pregnant. I remember being at the doctor's office a year or so after I had my daughter, and I was told that I weighed 290. That was the last time I looked at the scale, and one of few times I went to the doctor after that, unless absolutely necessary. Even then, I would get on the scale backwards so I didn't have to see the numbers.
The only pictures I have of myself before... From 270's to my highest of 307
This has been my mantra since the beginning. I knew that everything about the way I lived my life had to change. So I did what most people do... I stopped eating everything I enjoyed and ate things that were "good for me." No more chips, pizza or chocolate. Goodbye cereal, pasta and bread. New additions included carrots, celery and cottage cheese. I also drank more water on a daily basis than they have in Lake Erie! After a week of eating all those foods that I couldn't stand, I Googled "calorie counting" and found SparkPeople in June 2010.
Little by little, things started to change, and I realized that I didn't have to eat celery and carrots to lose weight. I could still eat all the food I loved, I just need to use portion control. I'm an extremely picky eater, so this information was priceless. I could still have a hamburger with mac and cheese, but I didn't eat the bun and measured out my mac instead of filling the plate. Don't misunderstand me, over the last 3 years, my tastes have definitely changed for the better. Lots more fruits and veggies, but I still don't like carrots! I still eat pretty low carb, simply because I've found that, for me, the more bread, cereal and pasta I have, the more I crave it. I don't have that problem though with whole grains like brown rice, couscous or quinoa. I still eat cereal couple times a month, bread and rolls once in a while and, maybe a few times a year I'll have pasta. I'm not avoiding them, but I don't even WANT them like I used to.
I also knew I had to start moving. I had lead a VERY sedentary lifestyle, and walking down the street was all I could handle at 307lbs. It took just 5-10 minutes depending on the temps outside, but it was 5-10 minutes that I did every day. At that point there was also a lot of embarrassment, which kept me from venturing out any further. I was thankful that, at that point, it's all I had to do to start losing weight. I work full time, have a family to take care of and a household to run, I didn't have time to work out 2 hrs a day. Over time, I started incorporating other forms of exercise... videos, treadmill, elliptical, strength training, and in 2011, I even joined a gym. After a while though, I wasn't getting anything out of it that I couldn't do on my own, so in January of 2012, I quit. The manager said "you're quitting the gym in January!?!" Ahhh, yes I am, I can do this on my own, and I always have. *she said with a big grin*
I've always compared this journey to a roller coaster ride. Lots of highs and lows, and most of the time, you have to hang on for dear life for fear of falling off. Unfortunately, just like a roller coaster, the highs are followed very quickly by a low. I would hit these great milestones... I lost 100 pounds, YAY!!! I'm still not under 200, Ohhhh. I can fit into my husbands sweatshirt AND my kids can wrap their arms all the way around me when they hug me, YAY!!! (I cried when I hit that milestone) Let's celebrate by eating an ENTIRE pizza, ohhhhh. True story, I cried for a different reason after that. I can fit into restaurant booths and amusement park rides, YAY!!! I still eat fast food and park garbage, ohhhhh. See... up, down, around the bend and back again... oh, wait, I have to stay ON the ride... forever!?!? All of these things... the good, the bad, the extremely ugly, and the way in which you deal with it, is what makes this journey what it is.
I've learned so much about myself over the last 3 years. This isn't about eating right and exercising anymore, anyone can do that. For me, this is about finding MY inner strength to stay on the roller coaster and finish what I started. By finding out exactly what I'm made of, I've been able to find that better version of me. We all have that person inside, the one you want to be, but can't find the courage to be. I've always been pretty friendly and outgoing, as long as someone approached me. If not, I'd be fine with sitting at the table all night. Now, I'm the first one to walk in the door. I'm finally SO happy with who I am and who I've become.
All of that being said, the changes we've made as a family FAR outweigh the changes I've made for myself. Before, I hardly left the house even to play with my kids. I didn't want to go to the zoo or amusement parks, because within 30 minutes I'd be exhausted and sweaty. You can forget the lake, a pool or a water park, because that meant a swimsuit, yeah, like THAT was happening! Just over the last year even, we've taken family bike rides, participated in multiple 5k's, and had races up and down the street. We've gone to the zoo a dozen times, climbed Panama Rocks, and gone to amusement parks. Yes, we've also been to the lake, the pool, and even a water park. Not only am I thankful for this transformation, but my family's life has improved ten-fold.
I have to admit that I've been slaking a bit lately. I haven't been exactly worried about getting 5 workouts a week done, and I haven't turned down ice cream, well... ever! I'd like to be at goal by the end of the year, but I know if I'm not, I'll just keep working on it. This isn't a diet, this isn't a fad, or a phase. This is my LIFE, and because of the changes I've made, I get to live it the way I was meant to. Even if that means having a s'more or 3 at camp!
Over the last 3 years I've lost 140 pounds, and 63 inches from my entire body. I'm only 60 inches tall, think about that! I've lost 24 of those from my waist alone! I've lost a lot over the last few years, but I've gained a new life because of it. Don't let ANYONE tell you that it can't be done with hard work and dedication.
both of my kids fit into my old 28's.
the waist of my 14's just make it to the pockets of those 28's
My size 12 dress pants, and large top
One last thing, I wanted to thank ALL of my friends who have been there for me, old and new. Though all of the good, the bad, and ESPECIALLY the ugly. It's so hard to do this alone, and I'm so grateful I don't have to.