Beginning the Journey

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09-09-09. That is the day my new life began. There is nothing particularly special about this day. It was simply the day I finally decided to change my life.

At the time, I had been out of work for over a year and had zero prospects for a new job. My husband and I were unsuccessfully trying to have children for 3 ½ years with no luck, while all our friends had one baby after another. (No joke, at one point I knew 11 pregnant women at the same time.) Meanwhile, my very close-knit family was split by 1600 miles, as my parents moved to Texas. My brother followed them a year later, leaving me with no family within hundreds of miles.

Finally, I w8-08as tipping the scales at 250 pounds. For years, I refused to even step on a scale. I knew the number would be unbearable, so ignored the problem. But something had to give. My life was falling apart and there was only one thing I could control, that was my weight. So that’s what I did.

My primary goal when I began was to make changes I would be able to sustain the rest of my life. No easy, quick fixes for me. I was in this for the long haul for lasting changes.

I began my journey with small steps. Initially, all I did was track the food I ate. I didn’t change the types of food I was eating. I continued to eat the junk I was accustomed to. I just made sure my daily calorie count was under a certain number.

I was a typical American woman with a few, ok a lot, of extra pounds. I dieted on and off since my teenage years. It is the age-old story of weight loss. I would lose weight while on a diet, but because the diet wasn’t something I was willing or able to sustain forever, I would regain all the weight. I was tired of being on the yo-yo ride. I wanted to lose it for good, so I made small changes I was willing to live with. The weight loss was slow, very slow.

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Christmas 2010 ~ 50 Pounds Lost!

 

After a year and half, I lost over 50 pounds. I was in onederland and was feeling great about myself. I knew I was ready to take the next big step in my journey. I was terrified of this next step. I was never very athletically inclined. I was very clumsy. But I knew I had to begin exercising.

I discovered an online program I felt I could handle. I considered whether or not to actually jump in for a while before finally deciding to just do it. The first phase of this program called for a 30 minute walk every day, 4 kettlebell workouts a week and a cardio challenge on the weekend. It sounds daunting for someone who never worked out, and it was for me. On February 21, 2011, this morning-hating night owl woke up before work, stepped into the office and began her first workout. This began the second phase of my journey and my new love affair with being athletic. More coming soon!

The Story of Us (Me and My Fat) – Part Two – The Middle years (19-26) by Lindsay

220 Or more Lindsay

Welcome back friends! So we enter phase two of the story of me and my fat. I left off in Part One just as I’m heading to college. Ahhhh…. College…. And I thought high school was torture. The good news is, I made a few friends and was having fun with them. The bad news is that I had followed my boyfriend, M, down to the town the college was in and by the time I moved there, two weeks after he’d made the move, he’d moved another girl into his apartment and had taken his phone off the ringer. It wasn’t a great start to the year and I’m not going to lie… I lost my shit. I listened to sad records. I cried all the time. I participated excessively in drugs and alcohol. I rang his phone constantly (pre cell phone days). I ate and ate and ate and ate and ate. I ate pizzas, I ate ice cream, I ate obscene amounts of candy. I’d eat a meal in the cafeteria just to go back to my room and eat again. I made the Freshman 15 into the Freshman 35 (I was AT LEAST 220 when I left my freshman year of college). I was absolutely miserable.

I made the decision to move home after my freshman year of college, at which time M and I were back together (trust me, I know… hindsight is 20/20) and within a few weeks, he had me over to introduce me to his female roommate and promptly told me he was engaged to her. That was how we broke up for good… he told me he was marrying someone else. That night I was even more destructive than normal (as you can imagine, it’s a shock when your boyfriend of three years tells you he’s engaged) but I woke up the next morning a changed woman. I stopped all extracurricular partying, I stopped dating and I buckled down and focused on school. I took 21 credit hours a quarter, graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in 3.5 years and remained dateless and celibate for the next seven years of my life.

During the time I was working on my undergraduate degree, I lived at home with my parents. My father was in the midst of a serious drug and alcohol problem and life at home was stressful. I continued to eat to cope with my feelings… It might be fair to say I ate to avoid having ANY feelings. I was prescribed an anti-depressant my sophomore year and I would argue that a good chunk of why I stayed so secluded during these years was because I was over prescribed the antidepressant. I spent seven years of my life being academically very productive, but on a personal side becoming increasingly stunted. I had a few friends, but I didn’t go out much. I went to class, I studied hard and I watched TV. I was essentially a hermit. I was also in an obsessive diet/ binge/ diet/ binge cycle.

While I have no actual clue how high my weight creeped up during this time, I’m guessing it was around 280. I lived a dichotomous existence. On one hand I was SO proud of what I was doing academically but I hated myself. I would even go so far as to say detested. I got by but that was all I did. I did NOT live.

I moved to Southern California in the Fall of 2000 where I started a two year graduate degree program. Here is where I started to have hope of a life more than what I was allowing myself. I had my very first apartment, at age 22 and I made very good friends who I simply adored. Within my first six months, I started on Weight Watchers and proceeded to lose fifty pounds. I learned to cook, I went out every now and then and I put a sticky note on my mirror in my bedroom that said “DO NOT BE AFRAID TO LIVE LIFE.” That message sticks with me to this day. There is no room in my life, as it is now, to be afraid to live it. But back then, I just didn’t know any better. I had wants, dreams, desires… but I did not know how to go after them.

I had started putting weight back on by the time I graduated and moved home. Upon re-entry to my folks’ house, I started gaining weight at a rapid rate. My father was still in the throes of addiction, my mother was deeply depressed and my 14 year old brother was hanging on the best he could. I applied to hundreds of jobs during the post 9/11 recession and took the first one offered to me, six months after the move home. It took nearly another year or more after that to get an apartment and make the final move out of the parental home. I worked for a great company with an abusive boss and guess what I did to cope? I ate. And ate, and ate, and ate some more. To give you an idea, I would eat a coffee cake or a bagel and cream cheese and a large mocha each morning for breakfast. I worked near a mall downtown and I’d have mall food most days for lunch, consisting of a deli sandwich, side pasta salad and a cookie (or several) OR the greasy spoon Chinese food… always the orange chicken, chow mein and teriyaki chicken. Dinners were almost always McDonald’s, or another fast food. Massive amounts of fast food. And ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

I rang in my 26th birthday at my highest recorded weight, 319 pounds.

Things are really heating up here and the best is yet to come! Stay tuned for Part Three in the Story of Us (Me and My Fat).