I’ve been following blogs for quite a few years now and this year I had the delight of finding yours.
I’ve read your story on your weight loss and you are a true inspiration.
I’m 21 and at the age of 17 I first embarked on my weight-loss journey. I had weighed 207lb and within a few months I lost around 30lb. I felt great, looked better and my confidence began to grow. I kept it off for a few months. At 18, my weight began to rise again and was into the 190lbs. I started again to lose weight and got down to the lowest weight of around 170lb. But then I gained again. Lost again. Gained again. Lost again. Each time I would lose the weight with the help of Weight Watchers. Now at the age of 21 I’m at an even higher weight. At the beginning of December I weighed around 215lb and before Christmas I managed to lose around 8lb. But then came Christmas.
I can’t seem to find the right words to explain my emotional attachment to food. But since I was a little girl, food was my answer to everything; if I was good I deserved something sweet, if I was feeling sad I needed something comforting, when I was sick I needed fast food. My mum tried to help but it didn’t help that I was and still can be, an extremely fussy eater. My diet consisted of French Fries and Chicken Nuggets. Bread. Coca Cola. Chocolate and Sweets. No Vitamins. No Fruit. No Vegetables. No Goodness.
At dinner time I’d eat multiple slices of bread ‘to fill me up’. But after I always managed to find room for ice cream or sweets. Exercise was out of the Question.
For years I suffered, I was constantly unhappy, tired and had absolutely no confidence. Until that day when I was 17 and took the first step into that class with the help of my mother. In the first week I lost 8.5lb.
Granted when losing weight with the help of Weight Watchers I still had treats, but some days I’d find I would use many points on treats, and then eat nothing else because I’d wasted the points on junk. My emotional attachment to food is like a three headed dog that rears it’s ugly head when my emotions come out to play; it eats everything it can get.
Today I can’t walk up a small hill without gasping for breath or breaking a sweat. I feel constantly tired and depressed. Finding clothes is a nightmare. Most days I don’t want to leave home. Physically I always feel bloated and nauseas. I have constant stomach cramps and headaches. The years of abuse I’ve caused my body through overeating and emotional eating must be extreme. I’m afraid to even know what damage I’ve really done.
At the age of 17, I wanted to lose weight to look good. At the age of 21, I want to lose weight to feel good.
I want to be healthy and fit. But I’ve no idea where to begin.
I’ve thought about Weight Watchers again, but counting points can be… tedious. I’ve thought about using the ToneItUp Plan, the South Beach Diet, Skinny Bitch…. The list is continuous.
I also know I have to make a conscious decision and effort to incorporate more exercise into my everyday life and my 2012 goal is to walk 500miles (I hope too stay motivated on this one)
What I’m really, really afraid of is maintenance, when the time comes… the thought of never tasting fast food or chocolate or something junk food related again, simply frightens me. I don’t want to stop enjoying food, and to have eat food because I need to rather than wanting too.
Thank you for writing your wonderful blog,
It gives me hope.
P.S. My apologies for the long email”
You are fantastic- your honesty, your openness with me- this is the kind of interaction I hope for.
I hear you.
I started on Weight Watchers for the first six months of my 135lb weight loss and then I transitioned into calorie counting. Weight Watchers was a blessing in the ways it taught me proper portion sizes, the breakdown of food in terms of nutrition- fiber/carbohydrate, fat, protein. I learned to read labels and pay attention to what I was buying and biting. For these reasons, I would recommend Weight Watchers to many people as they start their journey to losing weight.
But somehow, for this lady, I found calorie counting to be more freeing. With the simplicity of numbers, I needn’t always pay attention to the balance of carbs and protein and fat. I needn’t worry always that I’m without my point tracker. Calorie counting was, and is, easy addition. It was more of a daily tally than a total quota.
Sometimes, I just want a calorie to be a calorie. Sometimes I want Reese’s peanut butter cups to just be 220 calories and not anything more nutritionally threatening. I want food to be food to be food. And while most of that food is wholesome, I like knowing that sometimes an ice cream sundae is the same as lunch, when eaten in the most loving way.
Food should be as wholesome, as whole and real, as you can make it. I want to fill my grocery cart, and thereby my belly, with the freshest, most pure ingredients. Because, I feel solid and strong and absolutely vibrant when I’m vegetable-centric. It’s sort of a self-righteous thing. The feeling of vitality, of pride, when you know that you’re eating well and making your body happy- that is indescribable.
The majority of what I eat- and the meals I make here on the blog (those are the foods that grace my plate)- is wildly satisfying in nutrition and num-numminess. Think of my body as a house (or don’t because that’s weird). Nearly all of the rooms are clean and tidy and decorated in my favorite style. I look around each of them, and I’m proud to say they’re part of me.
There is one room that is crazy messy and unkempt. It’s full of absolute, wild fun. Day glow and desserts everywhere. Essentially, an arcade with candy machines, a chocolate fountain, and a permanent cake-baker on staff. You still following me here? Figuratively speaking, this room is my indulgent, pleasure-beyond-pleasure, room- the part of my personality that lets her hair down and head bangs when she wants to. The room is not a shameful place I need to keep hidden. I don’t wish it would tidy itself, for cryin’ out loud. The room is just what I want it to be. It is the beautiful exception to my otherwise balanced home. I can’t spend all of my time in there because, well, I’d be on an unfortunate spiral toward ‘Intervention’ meets ‘Hoarders,’ but also because- that zany space would never remain as fun if I never left it. If I never took a breather.
If you’ve made it this far into the metaphor,
I try to eat well almost all of the time (filling my body, and those pesky metaphorical rooms, with healthy things). But I also eat recklessly. I eat with abandon and I eat sweets and treats that might make my mother cringe (I told her about dipping pretzels into a can of Pillsbury frosting and she grimaced). It’s just….I keep these salty-sweet moments contained in one part of my life. I don’t go into that metaphorical crazy-fun-delicious room more than a few times a week. And because of this balance, I can keep that room as messy as I want and then respect the clean parts of the rest of me. I can have both parts, and therefore, I can have my sanity.
The point of all of this
Sweets sweeten me.
I needed them them as I need them now.
As I always will.
Yes, losing weight is painstaking. It’s hard with a bolded, capitalized, and italicized ‘H.’ It will feel like a battle, a constant struggle, and that is the beauty of it- you will have overcome one hell of a war at the end of it. You will have shown yourself how heartbreakingly strong and brave you are.
But the thing I want you to take away from here is: It is not always this hard. Maintenance, uh huh, was scary to me at first. It was very difficult for me to grasp, mostly because while losing I told myself that I would eat seven cheeseburgers with fries in a row when I got to my goal. I viewed weight loss as a race with a decided finish line. I pictured food at the end of it. And once I got there, to that finish line, I was too scared to eat.
I learned, over time, as you will too, to find balance. You will never say goodbye to the foods you love- not fast food, not Little Debbie, nothing you don’t want to leave forever. You’re just saying, ‘See you later,’ for a little while. You’ll come back to them and then, you will learn how to fit them into your life, into your own metaphorical messy room (I’m done with the metaphor, I promise). And you’ll feel okay about all of it.
It just takes time. Trust that it gets better. Honestly, everything does.