Seasons of My Life Affecting Weight
Saturday, September 07, 2013
Sorry that I have been missing from SparkPeople so long, but things have been changing, and I haven't needed it like I did before. Since I was on here last (June since last post), I have moved to Venezuela. Today, I finally reached my first glimpse of ONEderland, being 199.8 this morning. Woohoo! Anyways, what I really want to talk about is seasons of my life and how that has affected my weight. I think it's important for us to realize how different life events/seasons affect us in this way. As a recent college grad, I have been through a lot of different seasons and can see how they affect me. For me, having this knowledge puts dangers on my radar where I know that I need to be careful. To begin my story, we are going to go all the way back to my childhood.
In fourth grade, I remember thinking that I was chunkier compared to my friends, but I figured in my head that I was still growing and as I grew it would continue to even itself out. Wrong. I wish someone would have been able to talk with me about how weight changes and what a proper weight for a grown woman was when I was this age. Then, I would have at least had the chance to be knowledge and not put off dealing with it when I knew from looking at others in my family that it would probably be an issue for me. Note: talk with children about weight and growing up (as a fourth and fifth grade teacher now, I want to cover this at some point during the year, talking about both ends of the spectrum of food and weight issues)
During middle school, I tried to be active. I tried out for the volleyball team twice and had my heart broken by not making the team after I had practiced all summer (plus only a few girls didn't make the team). I loved riding my bike and playing at the park, but that's not fun to do without friends and none of mine were interested, so I slowly became less active while still eating the same or more. In seventh grade, my family went on a two week vacation. During this vacation, I felt like I was very active, hiking, biking, and playing in the pool, but we also ate out many days. At this point, I wasn't wise enough to understand that while I was active, sitting and eating in the car and having chicken fingers with fries most days would affect my weight. I remember considering that thought but figured that it would all even out. WRONG! I gained 20 pounds in those two weeks. This put me higher than the weight I should have as an adult, but I didn't know that.
During high school, I continued to gain weight. I still had gym class every fall and loved to ride my bike, but otherwise, I was not active. I ate whatever I wanted, and now cringe when I think about how many chocolate chocolate chip muffins I ate for lunch during those years. During this point in my life, I was very aware of my weight and knew what I needed to do to change it. I contemplated exercising but knew that once I started working on my weight, I would become obsessed with it. I wanted to make sure that when I dealt with my weight, I was mature enough to not have it be a controlling factor over my whole life. At this point, I was working to build other important habits like reading my Bible and praying every day. I did not want trying to decrease my weight to become an idol that I put above God, and I knew it would, so I did nothing about my weight. I'm not sure when during high school, but at some point I reached 250 pounds, and this is where I stuck.
Then I started college. Simply moving away from home, where I ate food I knew and sat around, changed my weight. At this point, I decided I could not ignore my weight issues for long. During my freshman fall, I lost 30 pounds. I didn't really try to lose this weight. I just stopped drinking pop (why bother? was my opinion) and began walking to all of my classes and church. The next semester, I gained it back :(.
I spent my sophomore and junior years stuck around 250. I would try to begin exercising with a friend, and after a few weeks, they wouldn't wake up and go with me anymore. I tried eating healthier and got bored of the choices I had at my college. My weight was something regularly on my mind. I researched different options and found SparkPeople during my junior year.
The summer before my senior year, I decided it was time. I began using SparkPeople regularly as motivation to help me. For a month during this summer, I lived away from my parents and school for the first time. It was easier to lose weight when I had to buy my own food and didn't want to waste it on junk. I lost 10 pounds! When I went back home that summer, my self-control was not that great, and I just maintained.
In the fall (Fall 2012), I moved back on my own and was busy student teaching. During student teaching, I was on my feet all day. I also made the effort to bike and walk places around town rather than driving. I bought my own food and became responsible. In October, I began running. On November 30, I made the decision to try to complete a half marathon that May. I wanted to have that as motivation to keep going during the spring. Altogether, I lost 20 pounds that fall and was down at 220.
Then I spent two weeks at home for Christmas and gained 6 pounds back.
In Spring 2013, I went back to college to finish my last semester of classes. Since I was a senior, I had a shortened meal plan and only had one meal a day at the school cafeteria, which helped with my self-control. With the half marathon to motivate me and a free gym, I worked out on a regular, scheduled basis. I ran (intervals of running and walking really) three days a week and watched for signs of doing too much too quickly on my body. Along the way, I ran a 5K, 10K, and 15K. Finally, in May my goal of completing a half marathon was accomplished! By my graduation, I weighted between 206 and 210, which was a total of 40-45 pounds lost since the beginning and 10-15 that semester.
Then, I went home for the summer, and what always happens at home? Right, I gain weight and lose motivation. So I did, but this time, I had the knowledge that a life change that would certainly impact my weight in a positive way was coming up. I knew that I could quickly lose what I would gain that summer. I let myself enjoy foods that I was sure I would not be able to enjoy that fall, and then I moved to Venezuela.
So, that's where I'm at now. Just like I expected, this season of my life has made it easy for me to lose weight, and I'm not even trying. During the summer, I was back at 220, and after a month and a half here, I have reached ONEderland. Why would this be? There are several reasons:
-Food - my favorite treats aren't available here, nor would I want to pay for it since I have a very limited salary. Finding even basics like flour, chicken, and milk is a struggle (we have shortages).
-The Hill - I walk uphill both ways to school every day. Sound impossible? It's not. Both are on foothills/mountains in the area with a valley in between. The Hill up to my house is killer, and I have to carry my groceries up it. That's one way to make me not buy as much.
-School - Teaching requires lots of energy and being on your feet all day. I probably walk at least a mile every day leading my students around and pacing around the classroom.
I haven't really started to officially exercise here (although The Hill every day gets my heart pounding for 15 minutes), but this week I did begin Zumba with a few teachers after school. We had a lot of fun, and it was a great stress reliever. Soon, I need to start a small strength routine. I was doing really well at sit-ups and other things and need to get back into it.
The seasons of my life strongly impact my weight. I know that being on my own can be a wonderful thing because I control everything I eat and really do like being outside and active. Going back to my parents' house or a place with lots of temptations has not been good for me. Vacations are always a struggle. Being able to look back and see this leads me to some conclusions:
-I need to be careful and work hard to just maintain when I go home at Christmas and during the summer. I will also have to work hard to stay as active as I currently am at those places.
-Vacations are great times to be active, but I need to be careful with what I eat. In October, I am going on a short vacation and will have lots of food available. I know that I need to be careful.
-Sometimes I need something to motivate me. This past spring, I would not have made any progress without the half marathon as my motivation. During some seasons of my life, I may need something like that. Other times like now, just surviving and being careful works.
Think about the seasons of your life. How do they affect your weight? Your nutrition? Your activity level? When do you need to be careful? When can you be more carefree? When do you need extra motivation?
Right now, I'm being more carefree (well, really I'm just trying to survive here) and losing weight. I'm not at a point where I need extra motivation like my half marathon or SparkPeople, so you might not see me here too much. I'm keeping at it though and adjusting for this season of my life. In a little less than ten more pounds, my BMI will officially be out of the obese range and into the overweight range. I can't wait! I also can't wait for the day when I can walk up The Hill and not be so out of breath that I need to pause and look at the beautiful view. Later this year, hopefully, I will feel comfortable with beginning to run here and can work back to being able to easily run a 5K.
Oh, one other thing I've learned is that I have to take weight loss slowly. In the end, the best I can do is lose between 10 and 30 pounds a semester. I shouldn't expect it to be faster than that. Some weeks I may lose 4, and the next week may be none. That's ok.
I hope this blog post helped you think about the seasons of your life. I'm going to keep living and losing. Maybe one day, I'll reach my goal weight. Even if I don't, I'm not going to let that stop me from living a healthy, happy, and fulfilled life no matter the season.
Current Weight: 199.8