Weight Loss Journey: How My Co-Worker Helped Me Lose More Than 100 Pounds
What were some habits that contributed to your weight gain over the years?
Much of the weight I put on was due to negative self-image. At a young age, I felt bad about my body. I knew that there was a correlation between food and weight gain, so I associated eating with guilt. This led to closet eating and closet binge eating. It led to a mindset that one stumble was complete failure. I had to shed those ways of thought. I had to learn that being healthy isn't about hating your body--it is about loving and respecting your body.
What inspired you to first begin losing weight?
After an entire lifetime of being overweight/obese, I had assigned to the fact that my destiny was to be obese. I didn't think that I could actually be healthy or lose weight. I had tried every diet imaginable, and always had the same results--lose 20 pounds and gain 30-50 pounds back. I had lost nearly all hope. It wasn't until I got pregnant for my first child (after about 4 months into my journey) that I realized that I HAD to do this. I needed health, happiness, and a center-stage ticket to my life.
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What finally worked for you?
A co-worker invited me to join Weight Watchers with her. I decided to give it a try, though I didn't have any expectations for it. I had done the online program once before; however, I had never experienced the support of the meeting room. Meetings were such a huge part of my journey. The support of the group and the way that people opened up about their successes and struggles brought me to realize that I wasn't alone. It was HUGE for me to have a network of people who understood what I had lived and was living every day.
What was the hardest part of your journey?
There was a point in my journey—around 75 pounds of weight loss—that I realized that no matter how much I "changed" my body, I would always see imperfections. It was time to stop tearing myself apart. It was time to wear my body with pride—scars, stripes, and imperfections. It hasn't been easy to learn to embrace my body, but the effort has brought me so much clarity in reference to healthy living. A journey rooted in self-loathing is difficult to sustain; a journey rooted in self-love is fought with every fiber of our being towards a single, powerful purpose.
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What else changed besides your diet?
Over time, I started to add physical activity into my routine. I wanted to feel strong, so I took up weight lifting. Eventually I began running. Both of those activities made me feel powerful and became big parts of my journey.
How long did it take to lose 107 pounds?
I started WW in July 2010 with a starting weight of 266 pounds. I reached my first official goal of 155 pounds in November 2017. In that time, I had to take a few breaks from the meeting room to have my two beautiful children. Recently, I adjusted my goal weight based on muscle mass (via my doctor). My new goal weight is 162 pounds, which is a weight that I've basically maintained since June 2016. My most recent weigh in was 158.6 pounds.
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What advice do you have for readers who are looking to slim down?
The only required measure of success that you never give up on yourself. You don't have to put an expiration date on your journey. This isn't something that stops or ends. Work on creating healthy, sustainable habits over time, and your journey will grow you.
Is there one habit you wish you’d had that could’ve preventing your weight gain?
There are a few things that I'd wished I'd done on my way to 272 pounds. I wished that I had been more aware and less in denial about my weight and the issues that it brought to me. Today I have "yellow light" and "red light" weights. I know that when I reach those weights, it is time to take a look at any changes that may have creeped into my normal day-to-day life and make adjustments. I also wished that I had started physical fitness sooner. No matter how big or small the activity, exercise helps us in so many ways--mental strength, physical strength, clarity, stress relief, flexibility, motivation, self-love, confidence.
What’s been the best part of losing weight?
The life I've gained. Before weight loss, I was limited in so many ways. Some of my limitations were physical--bending over, sitting comfortably, crossing my legs, walking, running, purchasing clothes. Many of my limitations were put on by my mind--not wearing a swimsuit, not dancing, not allowing myself to get close to people and not feeling adequate. This journey has brought physical growth and health, but it's brought me so much mental health. It's brought me life. I live now; I live fully.