To be honest, there are times when I am incredibly ashamed to talk about my weight loss. I feel embarrassed that I had gained so much weight in the first place. Then other times, I feel almost defiantly proud, because a) it was HARD, b) I did it! I am a success story! And c) being overweight is so looked down upon in our society and I feel I SHOULD be ashamed. My weight loss story definitely defines a piece of who I am as a person and it’s an integral part of why I started this blog in the first place.
In 4th grade I discovered emotional eating. My teacher hated me and was mean to me. One of my dear friends moved away and I felt really lonely. I turned to food to make me feel better. This pretty much defined my middle school years as well and by 8th grade I weighed 150 lbs and was barely 5’2.
In high school I joined the swim team and the weight literally melted off of me. I think I lost 20 lbs in the course of 2 months or so. It was amazing. However, my senior year in high school I got sick and gained 30 lbs in 6 months from the drugs I was given. Wow, was this ever depressing! From this point forward, I was never able to get a handle on my weight and continued to gain.
The spring of 2003, I went to work for Semester At Sea as a hall director on the ship that sailed around the world. Yep, it was phenomenal! I started to lose a few pounds while on the boat.
After I got back and graduated from grad school I needed a job and found my way to Michigan. My first year was one of the hardest of my life. I was intensely lonely. I used to make a joke that the tv was my best friend. I was so far from home and didn’t know anyone here. I would wake up, go into work and have coffee then eat my first meal of the day at around 1 or 2 pm. I would be starving of course and would just keep eating throughout the rest of the day/night. By the time I had been here a year, I gained back all the weight I had lost while on the ship and more. This picture was at my highest weight.
About a month after this picture was taken, I started losing weight. I didn’t do it on purpose, work was busy, I was nervous – just a whole mess of things. But around this time, I also made some new friends here and suddenly I didn’t need to feed my feelings quite as much. My new co-worker also started insisting I eat breakfast and my eating world changed completely. When it was all said and done, I ended up losing approximately 86 pounds. I didn’t happen overnight. A bulk of it happened just by changing my food habits/lifestyle. Nevertheless, I plateaued after losing 60 lbs and then started to yo-yo. I also found that I had to literally barely eat to “sustain” this weight loss. It wasn’t until I started working out that I lost the last 25 lbs and started to realize that a) I didn’t want to starve myself and b) working out had more benefits than just the physical ones.
There are still times when I emotionally eat. The end of 2010 and 2011 were tough and I did find myself gaining about 10 lbs over the course of the year and half from this above picture. Some of it isn’t too bad but I wouldn’t mind losing 5 or 7 lbs. I believe once food has become a source of comfort, it always will be and learning to moderate this is important albeit difficult. I don’t think weight management is easy for anyone and I am sure it will always be something I deal with/work at. But I am confident that I won’t go back to the old days of being a “chubby bunny”.