Monday, April 20, 2009

The Way Things Were

I suppose before I say anything else, I should tell you what brought me to this weight loss journey.

Like many people who struggle with weight as an adult, I was always a bit chubby as a child. I don't remember ever thinking about my weight until Grade 5.  That momentous moment happened care of a boy one year older than me. He walked up to me on the playground and said, "You know, you would be prettier if you lost weight." One small comment, and WHAMMO. Really? Am I fat? Ohh nooo! I went through a growth spurt not long after that, and was about a size 11 at 5'6 or 5'7. This is the smallest size I remember being after puberty. 

I remember in Grade 8 or 9 drinking slim fast every morning for breakfast. I thought I was so big! I was tall, broader shouldered and developed fairly early. My friends seemed like petite flowers next to me! When I was in Grade 10, my lunch was a bag of chips and a coke, and my friend and I would always weigh each ourselves after school. Sam was about 5'6, which was four inches shorter than me at the time. She weighed about 135, and I thought she looked great! Then amazon old me got on the scale and...159?? That can't be right! That's 24 lbs more! I felt like a huge whale next to my lighter friend. Throughout high school I felt fat. Even when we did body fat tests in P.E. and I came out as 24% (which is normal, btw), I felt too big. It wasn't until I was in university, that my friend Sarah, a fitness buff, explained to me that height makes a big difference in weight! Really?? It seems like such a basic idea, but I was clueless! Yes, she told me, you weigh more because you are taller. You are supposed to weigh more! When I think back to my 159 lb self always feeling heavy, I want to cry. I wasn't fat! Not even a little! Not then anyway. 

I should probably mention my eating habits at some point here. My biggest problem with food is I like to snack. As a kid I'd sneak cookies out of the kitchen and scarf them down five at a time. I never EVER just had one. I loved desserts, sweets and chocolate. I was always a binge eater. Eating chips, cookies or whatever in front of the TV was big. Mindless eating they call it. My mom always made us healthy meals with regular portion sizes, but it was the snacking that did me in. 

By the time I hit my one year at college after graduation, I had gained a little weight. Colour me happy when I got hit with mono and lost 10 lbs! What a great disease! Sure, I had the energy of a newborn kitten, but I looked great! 

I entered university with that slight weight loss still under my belt- so to speak. I met some very cool people, and had my best friend, Lara, with me. Three girls- me, Sarah and Lara- all struggled with weight. None of us was really overweight at all, looking back, but we decided to exercise and diet together. We would go to the gym near our dorm and walk at night with soup cans as weights. It looked pretty silly, but it was a lot of fun! We had sit-up contests and kept track of how many mins. we exercised every day. I remember buying jeans with a 32 inch waist and thinking that was pretty small. I think I may have weighted 170 lbs or so, but back then I never weighed myself. 

By my fourth year in university, I had some pretty bad eating habits. I would go all day without eating, and have a huge dinner (usually pasta). Partly this was because I was lazy, and partly because I never had much food around. I had student loan money to last the year, and I had to bus to the grocery store- a chore I loathed. I weighed myself just before a girls' trip to Hawaii, and I think it was about 195.  I felt like I was too overweight, but didn't have the energy to do much about it. 

When I finished that school year, I decided to start working out. Sarah made a mixed tape of music for me, and I did floor cardio and rode my dad's ancient exercise bike. For my birthday, I got a step and really enjoyed that once I got the hang of it. I managed to lose about 30 lbs. I felt fantastic and thought I looked great too. I remember being excited to fit into a large-sized shirt. For me, with my height and chest size, that was impressive! Of course, I gained some of that back a few years later...hmm...are we beginning to see a pattern here?

I think I was about 195 lbs when I met my now husband, Jason, and was just venturing to plus-sized clothing.  I wasn't thrilled with my weight, and started a workout competition with my friend Sarah. The loser had to buy the winner something after three months or so. I think I lost about 15 lbs. 

Fast forward and I moved in with my boyfriend, Jason. We lived together for a few years, and I noticed I was getting bigger and bigger! I weighed myself and discovered I was at an all-time high of  260 lbs! This number seriously scared me! I thought about what we'd been eating, what I'd been eating, and I was pretty horrified. I was eating the same portions as my 6'5 husband! We were eating whole boxes of cookies at one sitting! Half a 2L tub of ice-cream! I made cookies all the time and ate batter (sooo terrible, but sooo good!) and sampled 5 or so of the cooked ones. I was lucky I didn't weigh three hundred and sixty lbs! I decided to try a new step workout to motivate me. This was harder than my old workout, and involved a lot of lunges and this really high step. My face was always beet red after. But, slowly, this worked. I lost about 2o lbs. 

About six years into my relationship with Jason, he finally popped the question- Christmas of 2004. FINALLY. One of my first thoughts was, "Oh my god, I have to lose more weight!!" I desperately did not want to be a fat bride! I weighed about 240 lbs at this point. We planned the wedding to be in a year and a half, which gave me plenty of time to do so, I thought. Then my family got some devastating news. My father had a lump on his leg checked out, and it was cancer. Melanoma, to be exact. He'd waited so long to get it checked out, it had already spread into his lymph nodes. Now...this is the really hard part....when my parents told the doctor I was going to be married in 2006, the doc said basically, if we wanted my dad there, and in reasonable health, we needed to have the wedding MUCH sooner. This was such a shock. What does this mean? He might not be here in a year? A lot of tears later, we decided to move the wedding to that May. We changed the already booked dates at the chapel and the reception area. I had only 3 months to plan a wedding and lose some weight! 

I started exercising and eating less, but was only able to lose 20 more lbs in such a short time. Now, I may not have been a tiny little bride, but I had my dad there to walk me down the aisle (see pic) and dance with me. THAT is the most amazing thing, the most precious thing to me. We were really lucky and he had many months of feeling good before the cancer went into his brain and began to affect his body. We lost him March 10th, 2006. 

A  year into my marriage, I gained about 10 lbs back. My old friends "bad eating habits" and "no exercise" had caught up with me,  and I decided to try working out again. I hit our little worn-out gym in my building, rode my exercise bike and changed my eating habits. I ate a lot of salad and chicken, and stopped snacking completely. I didn't eat after 7 and watched my portion sizes. Over the next year I lost 30 lbs. This put me at about 200 lbs June 2007 (see pic). I was a size 13/14 and actually felt pretty good about that. Being tall, I still looked fairly slender at that size. (Small note about sizes and me: Since I am tall, and my body weight is fairly evenly distributed, it takes A LOT of weight either way for me to change sizes. This can be quite frustrating (or misleading, if I'm gaining!) since I must lose about 20 lbs to see a full size change! Grrr!) 

Of course, after that latest weight loss, I did my usual thing and stopped working out so much, baking more cookies, snacking more. Over the next two years I gained 20 lbs back. I am just lucky it's not the last 5 or 6 months I've stayed the same weight. 

Here I am...220 lbs and totally unhappy with my body, my energy level and my health. I need to do something!! 

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Your determination appears to have paid off. Your current pics are awesome!