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A former competitive swimmer (ages 8-22), I was always in shape. I ate anything I wanted and never gained a pound. I had good self-esteem and I was (mostly) happy. I graduated from college in 1999 and entered the workforce. I was burned out from twice-daily swim practices for years on end; I was tired of everything I owned smelling like chlorine. Though I quit swimming, my life-long eating habits remained the same. Adult metabolism combined with no outlet for maintaining my weight and I started to pack on the pounds.

In 2000, I moved into an apartment with my college boyfriend, J. I loved to cook and J loved to eat. Together, we ate terrible things: ice cream for breakfast, bags of salt and vinegar potato chips for dinner, Hamburger Helper. In 2001, J proposed and we started to plan our wedding. It was at this time that I attempted weight loss for the first time in my life. I walked to Weight Watchers meetings and lost about 20lbs. Then, about 6 months before our wedding, J told me he didn't want to marry me, after all. I was heartbroken and food was the only thing that made me feel a little less sad. The WW Program I was doing at that time allowed me to bank points. I learned that a small Carvel Ice Cream Cake was just about the same as the number of points I could bank in a week. I convinced myself that one cake a week was within my Points Allowance. Wrong.

In 2004, I decided to get my crap together and went back to school to earn my Masters Degree. I was working full-time, interning 2-3 nights per week and attending school on Saturdays. Saturday nights were my only "free" night - and I used them to go out to dinner with friends and to go out dancing. We drank a LOT. I didn't date anyone for nearly 3 years. I wasn't concerned about my weight...I just didn't care.

I bought a house in 2006 - about two weeks after I started dating B, my current boyfriend. The house flooded twice that year. We've had a lot of struggles in our relationship. We've broken up a few times. B had a girlfriend that he lived with for most of 2010. I've struggled with depression. He has two children and doesn't want more. I'd always thought of myself as wanting children, but as time passes, I find myself more unsure of this. I want to get married; he doesn't. We love each other and have been able to come to agreement on nearly everything else, but it's a struggle sometimes to know that he doesn't want to get married. It seems that no one wants to marry me - and that's hard, but it isn't his issue; it's mine. I hate feeling so sorry for myself.

Today I look in the mirror and feel disgusted by my own appearance. I have tried this website before, but never really stuck to it. I've done Weight Watchers a half dozen times with little success. For nearly three years, I paid for an expensive gym membership and only set foot in there about once per year. Sometimes not even to work out: one time, I went there because our hot water heater wasn't functioning properly and, while it was being repaired, I needed a place to shower. About three months ago, I decided that I could no longer afford to pay for Weight Watchers and my gym membership and, since I hadn't really been benefiting from either, I canceled both.

Yesterday, my dad approached me with concerns about my health. He is blunt, but I know he means well. He offered to pay me $20 for every 10 lbs. I lose, another $100 when I hit a "healthy weight," and another $100 when I keep it off for a year. He never used the word "if" - he said, "when." I know he knows I can do it - I wish I felt the same confidence in myself. He doesn't want to know what I weigh; he doesn't want me to check in/weigh in with him. Despite this, I left his house feeling unsupported, fat, ugly...and pretty damn sorry for myself. Part of me wanted to take him up on the offer and the other is disgusted with the whole idea. Why can't I motivate myself? Why does he think he can motivate me with money when nothing else has worked?

Anyhow, I declined his offer...yet here I am. I need to get started, but I'm going to need a lot of support and encouragement. I'm not ready to share my struggle with most of the people I know. After all, I've started programs before with the idea that if I told them, they could help keep me on keep me accountable. When I've failed, it has left me feeling incredibly disappointed in myself. It's a stressor that I just don't need right now. I want them to see me as determined, strong and happy - I'm none of those things right now. When I'm happier with myself, maybe I'll feel more like sharing my struggles (and hopefully my successes) with them...

Member Since: 2/23/2013

Fitness Minutes: 175

My Goals:
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✓ Set up SparkPage
- Eat mindfully
- Track foods
- 30 minutes of exercise
- Blog entry to reflect on day

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I don't have a program yet. I don't really know what I'm doing!

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Read More About MANDA714 - Profile Information moved here. (Updated February 24)

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 current weight: 184.2 
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