High School brought its own set of struggles, but I moved beyond them into the nightmare of college at the biggest party school in the nation – all in a flaming hot desert setting. Know what that means? Being surrounded by drunken sorority girls in bikinis. For someone with shaky self-esteem, it was a long 4 years, but somehow I made it out alive.
After college came a new full-time work life, and my weight crept up. Just a little at a time, but each year the scale would go up just a few pounds more. Did I do anything about it? Nope. I got married and had my first baby, and that’s when my weight began to be a constant source of irritation. I lost all the baby weight with no problem, but when I went back to work I added 10lbs. of flab. And then another 10lbs. I sporadically tried to exercise it off, and just couldn’t figure out why the scale was holding steady. Did I think to try changing my eating habits? Heck no, that’s crazy talk!
I started my second pregnancy at my delivery weight from my first. I nearly died when the scale read 197 on the day of my second delivery. At 5’2”, I was officially a petite Shamu. Again, I dropped the baby weight pretty quickly, but my body settled in at 173 and was determined to stay there. After a few years I managed to peel off 10lbs. through a brief flirtation with counting calories, but every second felt like torture, and I quickly slipped back into my love affair with fast food and trashy TV. I began to settle into a world of lies. These included:
- I’m a Mom of two now. I can’t be expected to look like my high school self.
- I look fine.
- Diet and exercise? Who has the time for that?
- There must be something wrong with my metabolism.
- Diet and exercise just don’t work for me.
- It will take too much time.
- It will be too hard.
- I’ll do it when I have more time/ more money/ husband is done with school/ when we settle down for good/ when the kids are both in school/ when it’s Spring/ Summer/ Fall/ Winter/ when I can join a gym/ when I can get a trainer/ when I get a walking buddy.
- I can’t. I can’t. I can’t.
Yes, a few more years went by, and I had settled into being constantly unhappy with how I looked and felt. I was moody and irritable, and getting dressed always meant at least 3 outfit changes before I found something I could tolerate. I refused to have a full-length mirror in the house. I avoided clothes shopping at all costs. My kids began to ask why I never wanted to have my picture taken.
In late July, as my 39th birthday approached, I started to really think about the next BIG BIRTHDAY, and what it meant to me. I definitely don’t think that life ends at 40, but I didn’t want to approach the next half of my life looking and feeling this same way. I flirted with the idea of Weight Watchers, but kept telling myself it was too much money, a silly concept, I didn’t have time right now, blah, blah, blah. Then it hit me. My light bulb moment came at church one day. I took my son to the bathroom, and as I waited for him, I saw myself in the full-length mirror. I was wearing an outfit that I had left the house feeling good in. What I saw did NOT look good. I was frumpy and lumpy. My clothes were baggy and ill-fitting. I looked sad. And right then and there, I decided it was time for some real changes. I did not want to be the person I saw reflected in that mirror. I went home and looked up Weight Watchers meetings. I counted out the birthday money I had been squirreling away. I began tracking my food and drinking 8-10 glasses of water.
I joined Weight Watchers that week, and while I don’t love the program, I do love the accountability it has given me. I needed that push of knowing I would have to stand on the scale in front of someone else and have them write that number in ink. I found the Fit Camp group a few days later, and it has made ALL the difference in the world. Knowing that there are other ladies who have struggled, and triumphed. Knowing that I am neither the heaviest, nor the lightest. Knowing that I am not the only one who wants to kick Jillian in the taco.
I’ve lost 14lbs. in 7 weeks, and I am feeling amazing. The first weeks were the hardest, and while I won’t say it gets easier, I will say it is not as hard. My mood swings are gone, I have more energy, my skin is clearer, I actually look forward to doing my workouts, and my sex life has done a 180. Plus, when your husband says “You look amazing”, well, it doesn’t get much better than that. I have 16 more lbs. to go, and I know it will take a while. I know there will be days when French fries and ice cream triumph over salad and Jillian. But you know what? I got this. And so do you.