All my life, I was chubby at best. I remember very clearly in 4th grade being different because I weighed 80 lbs and everyone else weighed between 60-70. Being overweight became my identity and I didn’t know any way to change it. I began to use food as a comfort until I finally topped out at 230 lbs in 2007.
After steadily gaining weight for almost my entire life, I was miserable. I hated shopping because I couldn’t find anything that fit. I was a size 18-20 and no longer really able to shop at “normal” stores. I got so used to being “a fat person” that it didn’t occur to me to change. This is who I was, it was who I had always been and it was easier and in a way more comforting than trying to change. I dreaded doctor’s appointments because I was always told I needed to lose weight and, instead of realizing that people were trying to help me, I took it as if they were out to get me and put me down.
Finally in 2008, we went on a school trip to the American College Theatre Festival which was held that year in Laramie Wyoming. It was about a 20 hour bus drive from Moscow Idaho, and I spent a lot of time that trip while my friends were out enjoying themselves, feeling bad about myself and not having the confidence to go out and join in. My insecurities held me back from doing a LOT of things I wanted to be doing. Instead of enjoying my college years, I spent a lot of time hiding and ashamed.
The bus ride back from Laramie gave me a lot of time to think. I knew one thing was certain: I was unhappy and I needed to change. Diets and weight loss scared the crap out of me and I always ended up feeling overwhelmed any time I even considered the idea, so that day I decided I was ready to go to the gym and start working out, but I was not ready to focus on my diet. So that’s what I did. I started going to our beautiful luxurious gym on campus that I can’t believe I had been missing! I could never afford one like that now! I was able to lose a little bit of weight, but I was still eating horribly. Lots of fast food, huge portions and tons of ice cream.
That summer, I finally became a little more dedicated. I decided to start small and start cutting things out of my diet that I wouldn’t miss–foods that weren’t doing me any good. I started with fast food–seriously, gross. I have added a lot of my former “off limits” foods back into my diet in moderation at this point, but this is the one I refuse unless there is absolutely no other option. Next was deep fried food, and then red meat. By the time summer ended I was just about at 200 lbs.
By the time I returned to UI for my senior year, I was feeling fantastic. I had lost about 20lbs that summer alone and I felt like I was starting to understand my food choices more and build confidence. Unfortunately, I quickly began letting others’ opinions dictate how I felt about my success. I listened to professors tell me it wasn’t enough, and let their words break my confidence. Before I knew it, my feelings of success and happiness became tied up in a number on the scale. I continued to lose weight, but that happiness and healthy insight was gone even faster than it had arrived.
The weight came off FAST that semester. I was dancing almost 20 hours a week, working out and spending way too much time focusing on every single thing I put in my mouth. Every time I weighed myself I would see positive results and it became this way of proving I was working hard I was doing enough. So imagine my surprise when I kept everything the same and it all came to a screeching half at 170 lbs.
Seriously, would not move.
I stayed at about 170lbs from January 2009-September 2010. In March 2010, I had tried everything. I was exhausted and frustrated. I had paid some idiot trainer at my gym to give me a diet that had me eating far too little and I STILL could not lose weight. Finally, I went to my doctor and was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease which is a fancy term for Hypothyroid. My dealings with finding the right medication and the ups and downs of thyroid disease are a very long story, but by August, my medications were stabilized and I refocused on my fast approaching wedding date. I decided to try the South Beach Diet after hearing a lot of success stories about it. I did start to lose a little bit of weight again.
But got to 160 and hit an other dead halt.
These days, I have changed my views on eating a lot. I no longer consider any food “off limits”, I no longer count calories, and I no longer have to measure every single thing I eat. Sometimes I do use counting and measuring as a tool to keep an eye on how much I’m consuming, but not as a way to live my life. I know what works for me food wise and I really feel like it’s all about being patient at this point. Since relaxing a little and not being so rigid, I have veeerrrryyyy ssssllllooowwwwllllyyyy gotten closer to my goal, but my body seems to kinda like where it lives right now.
So I’ve pushed the weight loss goals aside, and started to focus more on some other goals.
My weight loss is/has been a big part of my life, but the most important thing I’ve learned throughout this process is that there are so many MORE important things. These days, I care much more about leading a happy, healthy life, and treating my body the best I can.