Motivation Articles

''I Thought I'd Always Be Fat''

One Member Shares What a Difference a Year Makes

One year ago, I went to lunch with a co-worker. When the waitress came over to take our drink order, I ordered a Diet Coke. The woman looked me up and down, snorted, then asked, "Diet?" in a very snotty voice. I just sat very still and said, yes. My co-worker kept his gaze down and pretended it didn't happen. I made a face, but then thought that maybe the slight was in my head. Maybe I'm being overly sensitive. Maybe she wasn't making a comment on my weight. When she came back with my soda and my co-worker's iced tea, she also brought a glass of water. As she placed my soda down onto the table she said, "Now drink your water. There's 'no refills' on soda." Throughout the meal she came by and refilled my co-worker's iced tea and gave me dirty looks. It was completely and totally humiliating. I didn't finish my meal or the soda. I wanted to. I was hungry. I just couldn't let her win.

Of course, by acting differently than I normally would have, I had already let her win. She wanted to make me feel bad, and she succeeded. I should've said something. I should've drank my soda and told her I'd pay for another. I should've asked to speak with her supervisor. Something. But I didn't do any of that. I just let her walk all over me.

You might think that was the moment I turned my life around, but no. The next couple of days came and went. I felt miserable about myself and stuffed my face with cookies, which made me feel even more miserable. I knew I needed to get control of the situation, but I had no idea how. My whole family is obese and I have been for most of my life. I didn't grow up eating well-balanced meals at home. We ordered out all of the time, sometimes more than once a day. Nutrition labels meant nothing to me. The only ways I thought of trying to lose weight were drastic. I had briefly tried Medifast, but I was so calorically deprived that I felt weak all of the time and was extremely moody. I had tried restricting what I ate on my own, but experienced similar results. In both cases, my diet would last a couple of weeks and end by bingeing when I just couldn't take it anymore. I hated myself for it. I figured that losing weight was something I was just never going to be able to achieve. I was always going to be fat—someone to be made fun of at restaurants.

The following week, I got an email from a good friend of mine. She was really excited about some website. I was still feeling lousy, but when she told me it was a weight loss website, I felt even worse. I thought about my friend, already skinny and perfect in my eyes, trying to lose weight. I mean, if she's overweight, then what does that make me? She told me all about SparkPeople and how awesome it was. She told me about getting SparkPoints for inviting people and continued talking long enough that I finally just said, "Fine. OK. You can send me an invite if you want." I had no intention of joining. What good would it do anyway?

It wound up being quite a serendipitous situation.

Out of curiosity, I did join when I got the invite. I started poking around on the website. I decided to give the Nutrition Tracker a try. I was shocked to see exactly how awful the foods I ate really were. I mean, I knew it was bad, but not that bad. I had always heard that food journaling was a key to weight loss, but I never really believed it until I tried it here on SparkPeople. Seeing everything that I was eating detailed in front of my eyes really helped me gain some perspective. From that point on, everything just fell into place.

A few days later I joined a Curves gym. My plan was simply to go to Curves three times a week and stick to the calorie range SparkPeople gave me (1,200-1,550 calorie per day) six days a week. I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted on Fridays, regardless of caloric content. Other than that, all I did was read the articles on the website to learn about nutrition, fitness and general health. I continued this same way for about four months, at which time I decided to join the YMCA for my fitness plan. From then on it was strength training and cardio at the "Y," though all other aspects of my routine remained the same.

As of today I've been active on the SparkPeople website for 365 days. Many things in my life have changed in the past year. It's actually crazy for me to even think about how differently I feel right now compared to just one year ago. Now, one year into this lifestyle change, I am happy to report that I've lost a total of 70 pounds and gone from a size 20/22 to a size 10/12. Is that crazy or what?

What I've found is that weight loss can be both the easiest thing and the most difficult thing all at the same time. On one hand, as soon as I understood how nutrition and fitness work, I was able to implement that knowledge and the weight started to come off. Eating the right things is not that difficult, nor is exercising a few times a week. I mean, if I had known it was all just a formula that anyone could master, I would've lost the weight years ago.

On the other hand, the weight loss journey can be really frustrating and miserable. It was so hard to be at the beginning of the process, with the finish line so far off in the distance. It felt like I'd never get to where I wanted to be. I hated how the first 30 pounds of weight loss weren't even noticeable to those around me. And then on the flip side, I hated when it became noticeable, as it became all anyone wanted to talk to me about. It was an emotional roller coaster. Even now I still feel some of that.

I still have about 25-30 pounds left to lose, and since I've gotten closer to a healthy weight (only 8 more to go before I hit a healthy BMI!), the pounds just don't come off like they used to. The process is worth the frustration though. There will always be highs and lows, but if you're willing to stay committed, it really does work.

If anyone who reads this happens to be having a hard day, just remember that anything that comes too easy isn't worth having. Don't stress if you ate McDonald's three times yesterday, if you ate a whole pack of Oreos just now or if you just ate your weight in Ben & Jerry's last week. Tomorrow really is a new day. That's not just a saying. Life isn't all or nothing. And neither is the weight loss process. You don't have to give up anything that you don't want to. You don't have to starve yourself. You don't have to hate yourself. You just have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on going.

Editor's Note: SparkPeople would like to thank Alexa (SIMPLYTHAT) for sharing her inspirational story with our members! You can follow along with Alexa's progress by visiting her SparkPage or subscribing to her blog.

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Member Comments

  • AHIMSA417
    This is just what I needed to read right now. Thank you, and best wishes on the rest of your journey.
  • Thank you! Youa re an inspiration!
  • Thanks for sharing your story. Congratulations on your success. I am so happy for you.
  • Thank you for sharing your experience. I needed to read this today; it gives me hope.
  • Excellent ,motivational story ! And by the way, YOU have the last laugh on that server. YOU have lost the weight and done SO WELL! YOU are an INSPIRATION TO OTHERS ! I thank you for sharing your story! And CONGRATS on your FANTASTIC WEIGHT LOSS!
  • This really hit me. Especially your experience with that nasty server. I have a somewhat similiar experience that led me to loose 53 pounds.

    I was at a quick trip getting gas and decided to go inside and get a treat for me and my boyfriend. While picking out two chocolate covered long john's a skinny girl, a little younger than me, whipsers " fat a***" as she walks past me. I was shocked. I couldn't belive what I had heard. I looked down and noticed what I was wearing: sweats. In a daze I took my donuts and purched them and shared them with Justin. The whole time eating my donut I thought about my experience and then told him what happpended. Before this I wasn't conscious of my weight. I became furious with that girl. Who did she think she was saying such hateful things. I thought about how when she started college how she might find how weight gain can just slip on you without you noticing. After thinkig sbout this soe more I came to the conclusion that yes I needed to loose weight, yes that girl needs to be taught some manners, and yes I was going to loose weight. For me.
  • Thank you for your story it was very motivating and I'm very happy for you that you have done so well. Maybe you should have gone back to the restaurant and sat in her section again and ordered a diet soda again and said remember me. What's so ridiculous about her comment is you could have been diabetic besides it was none of her business. I had a similar experience to you when I was heavier it wasn't a waitress but a sales rep in a clothing store. I was looking at a rack of tops and she said to me those won't fit you they are way too small. I was devastated today if someone said that to me I'd say how do you know it's for me and oh by the way I'd like to speak to your supervisor. People can be so prejudice and ignorant. You've done really well no matter what hold your head high you have every right to be proud of yourself. All the best to you.
  • It's so funny that you spoke of the noticing challenge. I had my spark last Dec and am working hard at losing the 70 lbs I need to. But I had your same experience. I wanted people to notice but no one really did until around 30 lbs. Now everyone asks about it.. It's pressure.. like what happens when I hit a plateau or what if I fail... It will be public.. I can't help the negative thoughts. Congrats to you for your success and for stating what so many of us have experienced.
  • Thank you, I am still searching for my a-ha! moment. I really struggle between the hard of being overweight and the hard of losing weight. Congrats to you. I also hate when people notice when I lose weight. My twisted thought process always tells me that it only means that they noticed how much fatter I was before! Weight is indeed a struggle! Congrats again, and thank you for sharing.
    I don't understand how a waiter/waitress could say something to you about your weight? I've been in that business for a long time and I would NEVER say anything to anyone about what they ordered to eat OR drink!

    Yes, I am overweight and I am probably more sensitive to the subject......I REALLY HOPE YOU DID NOT LEAVE A TIP FOR THIS SERVER! (that would send a message to the server about their "service")

    Congratulations on your weight loss!
  • "Life isn't all or nothing." Thank you for that.
    Wow! I might be sensitive today because I'm reading this at work and it made me tear up! Thanks for posting this. I'm at the beginning (again) of my weight loss journey and I'm frustrated. This was really insightful and encouraging. Small steps and lifestyle changes make a huge difference. I'm even going to email this to myself to read when I'm discouraged. Thank you again!
  • Touching and inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story.
    Thank you for sharing! It helped me today!

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