Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Rest of the Story...

As you may now, I was asked to write a guest post for bridgetownbabymomma. Such and honor really. Man did I struggle. I am very proud of the final product, but I realized that I had never told the whole story here on my blog. The feedback I have received has been phenomenal, and I am so happy that I got the chance to share.

I am borrowing the photos from Jenn's post. Even though they are my pictures - she did the editing by adding the dates and weights to the picture - so for that, she gets all the credit. Hope you don't mind Jenn...

Everyone else...this is the rest of the story.

I have struggled with my weight for more years than I can count. Actually, to be accurate, I have struggled with FOOD for more years than I can count. When I was young and athletic and always moving, what I ate didn’t matter as much. Once I stopped doing sports all the time, everything changed. I was never thrilled with how I looked, and I knew that I could lose weight when it mattered most. I lost weight for my 1996 wedding, but promptly put it back on once Chad and I settled down.

In 1998, Chad and I decided to start trying for a baby. Nothing seemed to work – and when it did work, I would always lose the baby at about 7 weeks. A couple years into it, my doctor suggested that I might need to lose weight in order to have a successful pregnancy. She suggested 35, I lost 85 pounds. That Christmas, 2001 we conceived our son Isaac with the help of a fertility clinic. The pregnancy went great and believe it or not, I didn’t gain a single pound the whole time.

After Isaac was born, I don’t think there was any one thing that led to my overall weight gain. The weight went on slowly and steadily for a number of years. To be honest, I am not sure I really even noticed. We adopted Hope in 2005 and I was busy being a mom. I was barely aware that I wasn’t happy. Slightly aware that I was depressed, and eventually, I became totally aware that I was so out of shape, I couldn’t even walk up the stairs at Safeco Field to take Isaac to a baseball game. When you are a mom, you always want to be that cool, young, hip mom. I have never thought of myself that way, but I also never really saw what I had become.
Life plugged along and in 2008 I was offered a position at the company I currently work for. This was such an answer to prayer. From the day I was offered the job until the day I was scheduled to start – was 21 days. Just enough time to drop a few pounds before I had to buy a couple new outfits for work. I ordered this shake diet from – I love it! It was hard, but I dropped about 20 pounds over the 5 weeks I did that diet. Probably mostly water weight – but who cares! I bought a few things and started my new job. It was hard to stay focused on a diet, because at my work there was a constant stream of catered, delicious food. I wasn’t exercising yet…thank goodness my next motivation came a short time later…

Our family was planning a trip to Arizona for Spring Break in 2009. Chad’s entire family wanted to lose a few pounds before that trip, so we started a “Biggest Loser” contest of our own. We started in January, and the final weigh in was going to happen in Arizona. The prize was cash. Truth be told, the prize could have been a pile of poop and it wouldn’t have mattered to me. I am so incredibly competitive; there was NO WAY I was going to lose this contest. Sure enough, Chad won for the guys and I won for the girls.

Here’s what I can’t pinpoint – somewhere in the middle of that contest, I became so determined. I became so focused. I began to see that I was strong, but more importantly; I was finally able to acknowledge that I was fat. I am fortunate enough to work for a company that offers a gym/trainer benefit. They actually pay for me to have a trainer. I realized that it was quite possible that I would never again have access to these kinds of resources. If I was going to do this, if I was going to get healthy, now was the time.

So here I am. Almost exactly 2 years later. My weight before I started my job was 286 pounds. At 5’6” I actually weighed MORE than my 6’5” husband. Today, when I stepped on the scale, I was 171. That is a loss of 115 pounds. I have definitely had my share of rough times over the last 24 months. Sugar has been a reoccurring battle I have to fight. Pretty much daily. It’s my drug. I struggle with the same things many other people struggle with, namely time. Life, jobs, kids, husbands – they all pull us in so many directions. It seems impossible to find the time to get to the gym. The business of life also lends itself well to cruddy eating. McDonald's is so much easier… I have to wake up every single morning and CHOOSE to live this life I have chosen for myself. To be honest, some days I don’t choose it. I get tired. I get overwhelmed, I get sore – but I do know that I don’t ever want to get fat again.
What works for me nutritionally changes all of the time. Partly from boredom and partly because our bodies really do get used to something and then we just stay still. I am learning that in order to lose the last handful of pounds, I am going to have to reinvent my strategy as many times as necessary. My suggestion? Find what works (it’s different for everybody) and then be wise enough to recognize when it’s not working anymore. Realize early, that what you are doing is creating a life not a circumstance. The eating habits, and exercise routines are not temporary. If you want to maintain what you have accomplished, you will have to commit for life – not for a short period of time or in a certain circumstance.

The last thing I will say is… I know it seems like you can’t do it. From the beginning it seems impossible to take the steps; cut the calories; do the work. I totally understand that. Surround yourself with people who already know you can. Let them support you, carry you and talk you
through it. These people will be far more valuable than any diet or exercise plan. They can whisper in your ear, hold your hand and help you soar -until the day you discover for yourself just how strong you really are.