Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rock Bottom

I've been there. I've been over weight.  A lot overweight.  I've been the 'fat girl'. I made a few weak attempts to get my weight problem under control, but it didn't work.  I had always been thin in my youth and even into college.  Sports kept me active most of my adolescent life and permitted me to eat anything and everything I wanted. I was stick thin and sometimes asked if I was anorexic.  Hardly, I ate like a horse.

Then my athletic routine changed. I was no longer a college swimmer.  I was a working adult.  I was a wife. I was a mom.  I always continued to work out and exercise, but not at the intensity I had been accustomed to.  Even though the intensity had dropped, my appetite did not.  Or I should say, my eating habits didn't change.  This was problematic.  Very problematic because I didn't take responsibility for my eating.

I couldn't blame it on pregnancy.  I exercised through both of my pregnancies and still ballooned up to 206 lbs. and 204 lbs. respectively while pregnant.  Just 10 weeks after the birth of my son, I began to train for my first marathon. Little did I know, I would not be losing significant amounts of weight training for a marathon.  I gained some muscle and lost some weight and was around 150 lbs.  However, I continued to eat beyond what I was burning off and eventually, five pounds became ten pounds and ten pounds turned into 20 pounds and before I knew it, I had gained 25 pounds.  I weighed 175 lbs. 

I had attempted Weigh Watchers after the birth of my daughter (first child) but failed miserably.  I couldn't stick to the plan.  It was hard. I was working full time, had a new job, was pregnant again within three months but suffered a miscarriage.  I was pregnant again within three months of my miscarriage with my son.  But more importantly, I was not committed to the plan.  I had not hit rock bottom yet.  I continued to struggle with my weight for five more years.

Then I applied for my federal job and it had a physical fitness component. I was within range of the requirements for height and weight, but on the high end.  I was a size 12 and 175 lbs.  I had to go to school for three months far away from my young children and husband.  While at school, there were only four females in our class of 24 students.  I was the biggest female by a lot!  It sucked.  I worked out every day in addition to our regular physical fitness program. I had no excuse.  At school, I was responsible for me, and me only. I only had to take care of myself. No laundry for family, no dishes, no cooking, no bedtime, etc.  I had no excuses. I only lost three pounds in three months.

Upon my return home, all of my responsibilities kicked in immediately, kids, cooking, cleaning, full time job, household chores, etc.  My new career was demanding and required a regular 50 hour work week.  However, I also could use three hours of that to work out and count it towards my work hours.  A dream come true!

However, it took me another year to finally hit bottom. I was beginning to bust out of my size 12 pants.  I couldn't take it anymore.  I struggled every morning to find clothes that fit and was tired of buying bigger and bigger sizes.  I joined Weight Watchers again with my Mom and sister for a support network. It was April Fool's Day 2004.  It wasn't a joke this time.  I was all in. I went to my meeting every Saturday morning at 7 am .  It was right next to Cub Foods. Afterwards, I did my grocery shopping for the week and was ready to go. No excuses.

I followed the points plan to perfection. I didn't cheat.  I exercised daily and did not use my exercise points to eat more food as allowed. I didn't want them. I wanted to be thin again and healthy.  I lost 40 pounds by 4th of July - just three months later.  It wasn't easy.  But as the weight came off each week, I grew more and more excited and more and more determined.  I learned my biggest obstacle was portion control.  My perception of portions was skewed.  I was eating way too much and too much of the wrong foods.  Weight Watchers taught me how to eat REAL food, not pre-packaged food or diet plan food.

I learned a great deal about myself during that time period and the months leading up to it. I was an emotional eater, I was an over eater and I was weak.   I took control back.  That was over eight years ago and I vowed to never ever gain that weight back.  I am proud to say I have not.  I am not 135 lbs. anymore but I am the same size - just with much more muscle mass.  My clothing is my gauge for my weight more so than the scale.

So why have I told you all of this? Because you need to know I have not always been 'thin' and 'in shape'.  I have struggled the same as most women have throughout marriage, pregnancy, career, etc. It is hard.  I will not lie. It's hard to be fat, it's hard to find time to exercise, it's hard to eat correctly, it's hard to put yourself first sometimes.  But the choice is yours. You must decide where the bottom of the barrel begins.  It is different for everyone.

J.K. Rowling