Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I'm starting with the woman in the mirror

Almost 10 months ago I started a journey. I didn’t know it was a journey at the time but recently something clicked in my mind and I realized that what I’ve been experiencing has truly been a transformative process. This is the first in a series I plan to write about my journey with losing weight, starting to exercise regularly and perhaps most importantly, how I began to re-discover myself at the age of 33.

I never really remember being “thin”. I see pictures of myself as a kid with stick-like legs and arms but don’t have memories about how I felt at that stage. Which is as it should be. Childhood should not be about weight or self-perception. It should be about playing and laughing and crying and using your imagination. But like so many girls, that all changed for me in adolescence when I started getting breasts. That one thing changed everything for me, body-wise. Along with two mounds on my chest I started gaining weight everywhere. I assume it is related to hormones but I am not a doctor so I won’t speculate too much. It doesn’t help that I was not an active kid. I tried swimming and horseback riding but nothing clicked for me to engage in sports competitively. Instead I would prefer to curl up with a book in bed, childhood dog lying next to me. Stacey the Slug was a common family reference.

Weight continued to be a struggle through high school. And then, bam!, I arrived at college and everything changed. I’m not sure if it was the crappy food, starting smoking, copious amounts of beer, or (most likely) the enforced walking regimen to traverse the campus but the weight poured off and I lost 15-20 pounds and was suddenly a size 6. I discovered fraternity parties and boys. It was a lot of fun and I even managed to get a good education out of the process. I’m sure my parents were thrilled that their money wasn’t wasted. But the weight loss was not conscious and as such was never going to last.

Post-college I got a good job, moved in with roommates and continued to enjoy myself. The weight slowly started to creep on with lunch and dinners out frequently and drank plenty of wine. Exercise was something that other people did at the company gym. At the ripe old age of 25 I met DH. Like me, he was a smoker and enjoyed food and alcohol. Unlike me, he has basically been the same weight his entire life. We moved into together and I started planning my move to graduate school. A good relationship = packing on the pounds. DH proposed a few months before we moved to Charlottesville. A stressful first year at school coupled with wedding planning meant I lost no weight and probably put on a few more pounds. I did not actively try to lose weight for my wedding. DH loved me, I didn’t think my body was that bad and the wedding dress was already ordered in the appropriate size.

Flash forward to trying to get pregnant in Charlotte. January 2008 I went to the doctor to discuss before we started trying and to get a prescription for Chantix. He suggested that along with quitting smoking I should lose 15-20 pounds before getting pregnant. I joined Weight Watchers*, lost the weight in about 4 months and got pregnant immediately after we started trying. In 2008 Weight Watchers was a diet program for me. I had a goal – lose enough weight that when I got pregnant I wouldn’t be completely enormous. There was nothing I changed about my lifestyle and as soon as I got pregnant eating well went completely out of the window.

I gave myself a year to lose the baby weight but never really did anything about it. So at the end of March 2010 I re-joined Weight Watchers. At first I treated the program the same way…as a diet program. How did things change? Check back in next week for the second in this series. And please share your own struggles and realizations about weight and exercise in the comments section of my blog.

*I am not sponsored by Weight Watchers and am merely a satisfied customer.


Amanda said...

Well said. I have struggled (still struggling) with my weight and body issues since I was 20. I am the heaviest I have ever been and can't seem to find the proper motivation internally to fix it. I have gained and lost 20-30 lbs twice before getting pregnant both times with WW. I was a healthy weight up until college and active but have been cursed with a very slow metabolism and an affinity to use food as a stress reliever. Your an inspiration to me even if you don't know it and I hope in a year I can have the same triumphant news but know that I have to find it in myself to change and feel better about who I am body wise if its going to work.

And your a great friend, I'm happy that our children helped us meet :)

Miss Madison's Mommy said...

Is't it funny how when we fall in love we pack on the weight? Thanks for sharing your story, I can't wait to read the rest! I don't know if it's because I'm turning 30 soon, but I've never felt healthier, it's such a blessing :)

Glucosamine said...

thanks for shar4ing your love story. Pairs are made in heaven.