My “Weight Loss” Journey!
Throughout my childhood I ate pretty healthy, as my mom feed me a very well balanced diet that often included oatmeal, cream of wheat or raisin bran with fruit in the morning. Then I would have a sandwich or salad for lunch and a balanced dinner that included lean-meat, veggies & potatoes.
Also, my mom never kept a lot of junk food in the house and I typically drank water or iced tea, I was a never a big soda drinker. Occasionally, we would go out to eat and I would order what I wanted, however this was not an everyday thing and we hardly ate fast food, unless we were on vacation or what not.
Now of course as I got “older” my past good eating habits changed a bit and then some!
In my pre-teen years I discovered my love for food, which came from all my travels as my step-dad was in the Air Force and we moved every few years or so. At one point we were stationed in Belgium and during our short stay (1 year) I quickly fell in love with “bread” and “pastries” and had a ton while there.
Now, I did not gain any weight at that time as I was still a very active “young” girl (8-9 years old), however that is when my love for food offically started and slowly but surely as the years followed I gained weight and a few months shy of my 13th Birthday I discovered that I was approximately 20 pounds overweight (130+, when I should have been more aroudn 110+ for my age and height).
Now at the time I really did not think anything “negative” about my weight! In fact, it was not until my Dad said to me, word for word, “that if I wanted a boyfriend in the future I would need to lose some weight“, that the “negative” thinking started! =(
YES, I know, you are saying to yourself did I read that correctly, yes you did, unfortunately! I am sure you are thinking, just as I had at the time “How could a man say such a thing to his daughter”!?!?
WELL, my Dad did not mean anything bad by saying that, he did not mean to hurt me or mess me up in side (though he did and it of course affected me for years to come). It was just his way of trying to help me lose some weight as I was a bit heavier than I should have been and he “honestly” did not know any better! See my Dad came from a very broken home with an alcoholic abusive mother and a father that abandoned him at a very early age and he did not know really how to be a “Dad” or communicate with a little girl or woman for that matter, so he made a mistake, as I am sure several fathers or parents have done (even myself)!
As you can imagine my Weight Issues offically started from that day forth and continued through until today!
NOW back to before my 13th Birthday and my Dad’s little (more like BIG) comment! After that I was on a mission and officially started “dieting” for the 1st time in my life and also started running, riding the indoor bike and doing work out videos for hours about 5 days a week.
Now, I want to point out one good thing in the above, which is the day I discovered “running” for the 1st time in my life and it was all due to my Dad!I fell in love with it then and though I did not continue all of my life I eventually came back to it and am so happy I did now and will always “thank” my Dad for introducing it to me.
Of course, that did not last as my Dad once again went and put his foot in his mouth and said “now you only have about another 10 pounds to lose“! I about died and cried for a long time. I couldn’t believe he said that to me. I was devastated.
Now again, he honestly knew no better (though in a way he should have of course), but it is what it is and believe me my mom gave him a big talking too. After that I stopped dieting, stopped running, stopped biking, etc………I was really upset and felt like I would never make him (my Dad) the 1st man in my life happy…….so I GAVE UP!
I quickly gained back all the weight I had lost and eventually over my teen years more and then some. I would say I was typically between the high 130’s and high 150’s during that time. As I would go off and on diets and would start and stop running during those years. Below was a picture of me on Christmas Morning in 1993, I was 16 years old at the time.
I did not eat horribly or by the ton mind you but I did eat what I wanted when I wanted. This trend pretty much continued into my Adult Years.
I lived at home and ate what was in the fridge or what I could manage to buy with my part-time job pay check earnings until I was 20 years old. At that time I moved out on my own and officially started “grocery shopping” and such. Though I will admit in the beginning I would often do my grocery shopping in my Mom’s Fridge….=O
Seeing that I had a very limited budget in my “early” adult years I pretty much stayed the same weight as my teen years. Though I did eat OUT a lot more and also started DRINKING, which did pack on a few pounds in my early 20’s……..I would say I always hovered between 140 and 160 back then. As I also would yo-yo diet & exercise during those years. Below is a picture of me in 1997 when I was 20 years old, I am the one on the lower right hand corner.
THEN, I met my daughter’s father & ex when I was 23 years old and everything changed after that!
I met him while he was visiting a friend in Florida and soon after drove up to New Jersey to see him and not much longer after that drove up to “move in with him” and the rest is history………..
When I met him I was right around 138 pounds (low for me at that time) and after I moved in with him I gained about 8 pounds or so from eating out all the time as we did not have much of a kitchen at the time. I would say I was right at 146 pounds when I got pregnant with my daughter in 1999.
I was lucky as I only gained about 30+ pounds while pregnant and after I gave birth on October 9, 2000 I weighed in around 170+ pounds.
Over the year+ I last about half of the weight I gained while pregnant and even kept it off for a while, as you can see in the below picture of me & my daughter on vacation when she was about a year & half old.
Then things started to go down hill fast in my relationship and just before my daughter’s 2nd Birthday in September 2002 I left my ex and moved back to Florida to be near my family! That is when the BIG weight gain started, as my ex left me severally damaged (he was abusive on many levels) and I also had to go through a horrible custody battle that ended with me being 80+ pounds heavier! =(
I would like to point out that I gained the 80+ pounds by eating an extremely un-healthy diet that consisted of the following on an average day:
- Several servings (bowls) of cereal high in sugar
- Fatty bacon, egg & cheese breakfast sandwiches several times a week
- Large muffins or pastries
- Hardly ever ate any “fruits”
- Lunch & Dinner
- Cheeseburger, fries & coke
- 3 tacos & a large burrito
- Large portion sizes of pasta (lasagna, spaghetti, etc.)
- Frozen Pizza’s or Pizza Bites (unhealthy versions, not Kashi)
- Large salads with lots of cheese, croutons & fatty dressing
- Basically “large” portions of whatever I ate!!!
- Baked goods (donuts, cookies, cake & pie)
- Ice cream
- Soda (large glasses)
*I can say with 100% accuracy that eating out every day is not healthy, especially eating Fast Food daily and you will gain weight and sometimes very quickly if you do so!
My above eating habits were completely unlike my past (normal) eating habits and stemmed from a the physical and mental pain I experienced during my relationship with my ex (daughters father) that stripped me of my innocence and left me broken on many levels, which led me to being extremely depressed and in turn using food as a form of comfort (my drug of choice to numb the pain) !!!
I also believe that I subconsciously gained the weight to “shield my heart” from getting hurt again, as who would want to love a 240+ pound women!
I always tried keep a smile on my face during this time of my life (as you can see in the below picture), however on the inside I was very unhappy & desperate for a change!
Especially, since I did not want my daughter to live with such an unhappy mom or learn the BAD habits that I had tried so hard since she was born to avoid her from having as I did not want her to have the same “struggles” with food & weight as I had most of my life! So since she was old enough to eat solid foods I had always fed her a “healthy” and “balanced” diet full of lots of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, lean meats & dairy!
BUT, as we all know children learn by example and I was of course not setting a very good one at that time!!! =(
Over the next few years (between 2003 – 2005) I stayed extremely overweight weighing upwards of 240+ pounds (as you can see in the below picture) and despite my internal feelings on my weight and its affect on my daughter & I, I continued to struggle to overcome it!
Then finally in early 2005 my “turning point” finally came!!!
In the beginning of 2005 I decided enough was enough and set out to try and lose the weight I had gained over the past 3 years!!!
With the love and support of my family and friends I started making the changes in my life that set me in the right direction to lose weight.
Then in March 2005 I met my future husband, Steven, who quickly became a great friend at 1st and helped me find the courage to actually start living my LIFE again and stop hiding from it!
He helped me find the courage to return to the gym, which led to the rekindling of my love for running (a sport that I feel in love with in my early-teens) and his healthy lifestyles inspired me to start living the same way and fostered the love I have for healthy foods and cooking today.
Once I decided to take control of my extremely un-healthy eating habits, I overhauled my diet and “life” completely!
NOW, I will add that this was not easy, there were many ups & downs along the way and the weight did not come off overnight!
In fact, I would do good for a long time then I would take a month or two off (due to stress at home) and even a year at one point (when things were really busy and crazy at work).
It is during those “breaks” as I call them that I learned a very valuable lesson that……DIETING DOES NOT WORK!!!
See I would lose a lot of weight, 30-50 pounds, and then I would take a “break” for a month or two or longer and gain it all back and sometimes then some.
Anytime things got tough in life (at home or work), I would take a break and go back return to my “old” means of making myself feel better, which was of course EATING!!! Then would become fed up with myself (& my unhealthy ways) and would get back on the wagon and start the whole cycle over again. Below is a picture of me in 2006 after about a 50+ pound weight loss cycle.
This up & down cycle pretty much continued over the next 3 years (between 2005-2008) for me, until I FINALLY I said “enough was enough” and I decided to get serious, stop the dieting (up & down cycle), start working out regularly and make some PERMANENT changes in my life that would lead me to a healthy and balanced life! =)
See you have to change your eating habits and lifestyle completely in order to be healthy and stay healthy! Otherwise the weight will creep back on eventually, take my word for it I know this from lots of experience!!!
The only true way to lose weight, maintain your weight and be “healthy” is to CHANGE YOU EATING HABITS & LIFE STYLE COMPLETELY!!!
Yes, that means you need to change your old ways & habits and start anew, this doesn’t have to happen overnight, heck it took me “4” years, but you have to CHANGE in order for it to truly work and stay that way!
Now this does NOT mean you can’t ever eat anything “unhealthy” or “bad” for you again or that you can’t miss the gym either, quite the opposite! You can enjoy those things and take time off…….you just have to do it all in moderation, it is all about BALANCE!!!
Back in June 2008 I finally made all those CHANGES in my life. At that time I weighed around 215 or so pounds and I decided then & there to start doing the following on a weekly (regular) basis:
- Eat a “healthy & balanced” diet, limiting my “bad” choices!
- NO DIETING ALLOWED!!!
- Work out on a regular (weekly) basis!
- Run or do other forms of cardio 3-5 times a week for at least 30+ minutes
- Weight lift (abs, upper & lower body) 2 times a week for at least 60+ minutes
I followed this over the next year+ and finally hit my (1st) GOAL WEIGHT of 146 pounds in August 2009, in which I had lost a total of 100 pounds in all! =)
Check out my AFTER picture below and you will find a much happier & healthier person, who has finally found a Healthy Balance in her life!!!
I have finally let go of my past (late childhood, teen, early adult & adult) issues that led me down several wrong roads in life!
I no longer let issues from my past control my thoughts, body image or my self-esteem as I did back then!
I can finally say that my 20 year (starting at age 12 and ending at age 32) “weight loss” journey has officially ended and I now can start a new chapter in my life…………..FINDING A HEALTHY BALANCE!
*Also, check out my post about my Joy Fit Club @ NBC’s Today Show – Submittal in which I answered several of their questions in reference to my weight loss journey (100+ pound weight loss)! I never heard back from them but it was cool to be asked to submit my story and hey you never know maybe one day I will hear from them.