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My sweet, doxie Charlie! Looking cute and innocent.




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I've struggled with my weight for a very long time. In hindsight, looking back at growing up food was always a focus point. Meals always included dessert or something sweet. I developed a sweet tooth at a very early age.

I was always the "big girl" in school. I'd developed faster than my other classmates so I was the chubby girl with breasts. All of the other girls were more petite and thin so I kind of stuck out like a sore thumb. I was teased by the girls and boys for my weight and everything else.

Finally from middle school through high school my weight started to even out as I became more active and the rest of the girls finally caught up with me in the boob department. I was more active walking a mile to and from school every day, joining the volleyball team and taking the required gym classes. When I left high school I weighed 150 lbs. Unbelievably, I felt fat at 150 lbs. Today that would be at the top end of the recommended weight range for someone my height.

In college I wasn't as active. I had a car so I would drive from home to the community college campus each day. My activity consisted of walking between classes. Naturally my weight began to creep up. I put on 10 lbs.

After a couple of years at community college I decided that I didn't know what career path I wanted to take. I quit school in favor of a job. Initially I was working part time and that quickly transitioned into a full time job.

Eventually I decided to go back to school. I went to a technical college that offered night courses in Graphic Design. So I began night school while working full time at my day job. My weight crept up even more between juggling a full time job and night school, I relied a lot on fast food for lunch and dinners which landed my weight at around 175 lbs.

It was at this time that I met a guy that I began dating. At first our relationship was great. I thought he was "the one" that I'd eventually marry. We even talked about it. Then things started to change. He started to make comments about my weight, my hair styles/color, the way I dressed. I remember one time in particular we were talking about getting married and he said that if I lost 30 lbs that he'd propose to me. Now my weight was the big elephant in the relationship. That proposition of losing weight to get a proposal was always there - hanging over my head.

The comments about my weight, hair, clothing became more frequent. It was, you'd look really great with that hair style or if you dressed that way. Always the comparisons to someone else.

I joined Weight Watchers and Bally's Fitness in an effort to lose the weight. It was always a struggle. My boyfriend could eat whatever he wanted and never seem to gain weight. I could not. He'd offer up foods that I shouldn't have eaten. That made losing weight even more difficult.

Rather than losing weight, the scale went in the opposite direction as well as my self esteem. The scale climbed to 200, then 235 and 250.

Our relationship grew more strained. I was unhappy. Unhappy with myself, my relationship, the way I looked and felt.

I would try to lose weight. I joined and quit Weight Watchers more times than I can count. I even tried Slim 4 Life (now called Slim Genics) and bought all their fat burners and required snacks. My triumphs consisted of achieving my 10% weight loss with Weight Watchers only to gain it back and then losing 30 lbs with Slim 4 Life only to gain it back when I could no longer afford to go an buy the required snacks. As long as I was losing weight, my boyfriend was happy and attentive. But there was never positive reinforcement. If I'd lost 1 lb, he'd always say that if I tried harder next week I'd lose 3.

In October 2001 I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease and had my first of 3 surgeries. I came out of that surgery with a colostomy. I was devastated and struggled emotionally and mentally. I was really depressed about it.

Ultimately I learned to cope with daily life as an ostomy patient and the ups and downs that go along with it.

Four years later I had a second surgery to repair a hurnia. Unfortunately that surgery didn't go well and I developed an infection that led to a third surgery. At that time I begged the doctors to reverse my colostomy if everything looked good. Thankfully they did and in June 2004 I was colostomy free but had some pretty nasty scars. I felt like Frankenstein's monster between the layers of fat that I had built up to protect myself from the cruelty of my relationship and the scars from my surgeries. In a word, I felt ugly and unworthy.

My boyfriend had stayed with me through all of that. Mostly we were just going through the motions and even ended up buying a condo together. In the end we were living more like roommates than a couple not even sleeping in the same room. Our relationship really fell apart afterwards.

For 19 long years, I'd stayed with him. During that time I'd lost sight of myself, who I was and what I wanted out of life. My self-esteem was at rock bottom. I was tired emotionally. Mentally I didn't know who I was anymore. I'd spent so many years trying to be someone else to make him happy. I'd finally grew tired of never being thin enough, never having the right clothes or hair, etc. I grew tired of him cheating (yes, he cheated, more than once & I put up with it because I didn't think anyone else would ever want to be with me). Fed up, I finally decided that I needed to value myself. In
December of 2008 I finally walked away from that unhealthy relationship feeling like I'd wasted 19 years of my life. Time I could never get back.

I took 8 months to regroup and refocus on myself (and yes I had a few foodie pity parties in that time). In 2009, I met another guy, my now husband, Gary. He is absolutely the light of my life. From day one, he accepted me - unconditionally, my weight, my scars both physical and emotional, my hair color/style and the way I dress. He understands what it is to struggle with his weight. He's a big guy too, once weighing over 400 lbs - he lost 70 lbs before we met. He understands what it is to struggle with food, emotional eating, exercise.

Today we're committed to living a healthier lifestyle and being more active. Up until July of this year, we were doing Weight Watchers but had to quit due to us having to get a new car for my husband and some things had to be cut out of our budget. Now we're walking 1.25 miles in the morning with our dogs and then another 3/4 mile minimum in the evenings. I'm working hard to get more fruits & veggies into my diet every day and I've completely given up my diet soda habit opting to drink only water or unsweetened iced tea. Oh, and obviously tracking my food and exercise (via Fitbit) here on Spark People.

It took years of what amounted to mental abuse from my ex and my own utilization of food to cope to bring me to where I'm at today. I realize that losing weight isn't going to be a quick process that won't happen overnight. I'm learning to be forgiving of myself and my faults and love myself as I am right now. Everything is a process and we each go through the process in different ways. It's one foot in front of the other making small changes daily that lead to a healthier life and the ultimate goal of losing weight.

I'm glad that I have my husband to share in this journey and to support and encourage each other along the way.

Member Since: 8/3/2013

Fitness Minutes: 21,647

My Goals:
* Lose 40 lbs (to start)
* Drink 8 glasses of H2O daily
* Walk 2x Daily
* Get in extra activity wherever possible

My Program:

Personal Information:
I live in Colorado with my husband, Gary and our two dogs; Charlie (mini Doxi) and Tipper (Pomeranian) and our cat, Ziggy.

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Read More About TONYARM - Profile Information moved here. (Updated September 13)

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    Happy Halloween! I wish you and yours a safe and wonderful Halloween. Play some tricks, give out some treats (don't eat them) and just have aspooktacular time! ~ Paula *~

    Q: Which school subject is a witch good at?
    A: Spelling!

    Q: What goes cackle, cackle, bonk, bonk?
    A: A witch laughing her head off!

    Q: Why is the air so clean and healthy on Halloween?
    A: Because there are so many witches sweeping the sky!

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    1634 days ago
    1707 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon WELCOME TO SPARK!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    Congrats on taking the first step into changing your life to a more healthier one by joining the site. Spark is filled with amazing people that will motivate, support and encourage you on your journey. There is so much to learn and discover here, take this one day at a time. A couple of things I would like to suggestion to make you Spark experience a great one.

    1. Make goals for yourself. Each month I make a list of what I want to accomplish that month and break them down to smaller goals to work with week by week. This way the BIG picture doesn't seem so big.

    2. Join Spark teams. There are tons of teams here and you will be able to find ones that fit to what you like or want in a team.

    The key to success here is to be active and you've already started by joining. You will find that everyone is willing to help you out if you need it. Spark friends are here for support, motivation and encouragement. Good luck on your journey to a healthier lifestyle! Again, welcome to the SP family!
    *~ Paula *~
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    1707 days ago
    Hi Tonya,
    Welcome to SP!
    This is a wonderful, supportive community. Members are helpful and knowledgeable.
    One of the best ways to stay motivated and accountable is to be active on your Spark Teams.

    Best of luck to you!

    1708 days ago