I remember being about 15 years old at Costco with my mom and they were selling this berry extract meant to help lose weight. The woman giving out samples swore by it for her son. Just a spoonful twice a day would help you lose weight like crazy. I remember crying, actually shedding tears at the idea that this magic drink would help me lose weight. Maybe I’d actually be skinny. She bought it for me and I took it every day for a few weeks and saw no changes. I was crushed. I had expected a miracle in minutes. I had been massively overweight most of my life. What I failed to realize was that I didn’t gain weight in days, I wouldn’t lose it in days either.
It was about 5 years ago, I was still working at the airport. I hadn’t had a doctors visit in a long time because my weight had gotten so out of hand that I purposefully avoided the doctor. Even if I had a cold it would inevitably end up with a conversation about weight. So unless I was EXTREMELY sick I avoided doctors like a plague. Which speaks a lot to how some doctors treat their obese patients. I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time. My house scale went up to 300 pounds which I hadn’t been in years, but the airport had luggage scales. I was walking by the industrial luggage scales and thought I’d hop on. It read about 421 pounds.
I was horrified, there was no way, I hopped on another one and saw 420 … I still couldn’t believe it. In my mind I had always convinced myself that I didn’t eat TOO terribly. I mean, I did eat a lot of vegetable and I didn’t eat a lot of chips. I did however visit BK every day for lunch when I worked at the airpot. I thought I was making healthy choices because instead of a burger and fries, I would get two burgers. I thought a healthy decision was a diet coke with my three rodeo burgers.
It’s funny, nobody knows I was a 400 pounder because I carried my weight well. Even long after the fact even close friends and relatives never realized I had hit 400 let alone that I had passed it.
Every morning I would eat a Muesli and some yogurt though, that’s healthy? I drank a lot of Crystal Lite instead of soda, how could I be over 400 pounds? I was mad at first. It wasn’t my fault, because my body did it on it’s own. I didn’t think it was genetics because I was the only morbidly obese person in my family, so it absolutely had to be something else. I tried blaming my body, my family, my life situations. Anything that can foot the bill got the blame for my obesity.
The last time I had hopped on a scale had been a few years prior. I saw 407 on the scale and decided to do something about it. I had signed up for a gym membership and went four days a week. I used to walk 1.5 miles to the gym, work out for 2 hours and then walk 1.5 miles home four days a week. I was never lazy when it came to movement, even at my heaviest which only furthered to convince me that there was something wrong with the way my body was processing. How could I work out so much and not shed weight like crazy? After a few months of doing this I managed to get down around 386 or so. It was so hard to lose this weight. What I didn’t realize was that working out so hard made me hungry and instead of making actual good choices I was making the pseudo-good choices that are so prominent in our culture.
I worked out today, I can have cake. I can have a salad even with lots of dressing. Eventually even with working out so hard, my weight was stagnating and along the way I lost my gym buddy which totally killed my motivation…that’s how I ended up at 420. I was 20 pounds past the line I had drawn in the sand years ago. “I’ll never be a 400 pounder.” I’d always adamantly say, and here I was staring at a luggage scale in the middle of a crowded airport having a mental crisis.
This is out of hand. I can’t control myself. Rather than have the fire lit under my ass to get back in shape I gave up. I was so crushed and discouraged that I accepted it. This is it…I’m going to end up 500 pounds one day… and then 600 pounds. Then I’ll die. That was my actual mind-set in that moment. Crushed acceptance. Literally crushed under my own weight.
It took me a few days to change my mind, but I decided I couldn’t give up. I had seen a nutritionist for years when I was a teenager, I KNEW how to eat right. My gym buddy had taught me a lot about cardio and resistance training and how to keep your body guessing for best results. I also realized something important. I need to find a way to workout where I don’t have any excuses. I was used to walking the mile to work and the mile home everyday, so my body didn’t consider it exercise.
I had made an appointment with my doctor and found out that my diabetes had come back with a vengeance. I was put on 5 pills a day to manage my sugar and protect my kidneys.
I did the opposite of what most people do when they want to lose weight. I canceled my gym membership. Going to the the gym was too many variables.
I didn’t like going alone.
It was a very far walk if I didn’t have a ride.
The weather always impacted my trip either too hot, rainy, too cold etc.
I was not eating right, even after all the hard work I put in at the gym.
So, cancel the membership find a way to workout without excuses. CHANGE, actually CHANGE how you eat. So I did.
I started going for walks around my house. There was a park on the block behind ours that was beautiful. So I made a goal to walk it 5 days a week. At least one full lap around. I even started bringing my dog, which was a great incentive because then he would want to go out every single day. Regardless of weather. I had a permanent workout buddy. So I started going to the park all the time.
I also made the effort to really change what fuel I gave my body. I knew this for years but it took me forever to enact it. Food is not for fun, it is fuel. Regardless of how tasty it is, it is still fuel. Good fuel helps the body, bad fuel doesn’t. So when we would order pizza I would only eat 2 slices (what I consider an average humans NORMAL portion) as opposed to my usual 8 slices. After my 2 slices I would still be hungry, so I would try to make vegetables or a salad. I could eat that until I was properly full. I used MY FITNESS PAL to log my exercise and food to really help me keep track. I even got a fitbit to motivate me.
I also started eating less more often, which is a GREAT way to lose weight. I started eating breakfast every morning and buying little freezer bags of veggies as snacks. I kept a lot of fruit in the house and started really getting into the swing of things. My goal was to get down to 350. It seemed impossible at the time but I was going to commit.
Low and behold despite my years of finding all the things to blame about my weight gain I was actually losing weight at a significant pace. I just hadn’t been doing it right, because I wasn’t fully committed. I had tried everything to lose weight. Pills, potions, crazy exercise fads. Nothing had worked. I had been over 360 pounds since high-school, I couldn’t remember a time when I wasn’t that big.
Shortly around the time I started going for the daily walks. I also started seeing a Social Worker for my depression, and I can’t help but think that they went hand in hand. I started slowly but surely shedding pounds. I went down to 380 again. Before I knew it I was actually at 370. It continued like this for some time until I was set to move to Missouri.
I weighed in at 335 right before I moved. Every picture I posted got an astronomical amount of likes. I was visibly different. Obesity is still obesity but I notice a difference when I gain or loose 10 pounds. So having dropped 85 pounds I looked completely different. When I first moved here thought I was even more depressed than ever before. I would work all day without eating. I ran around the building a lot and hardly ate anything. I would come home and go to bed hungry. It took me so long to adjust to not having family around.
My doctor said I was no longer showing diabetic or even pre-diabetic numbers. That I had successfully reset my body and made the changes to start properly healing. I’m down to 2 pills a day as a precautionary effort more than anything.
I had gotten down to 305. I looked great but I felt miserable. I had lost the weight in a negative way and instead of being happy and proud every time I got a compliment I just felt homesick.
August of three years ago I was 305, now fortunately/unfortunately I’ve gained a lot of weight back. I actually eat now which is good but I lost sight of my goals. I replaced veggies with chips and junk that I never ate so frequently. I got back from my most recent vacation and noticed I had gone back up to 355.
I had gone past the mark of my initial goal. I went from being depressed to being stagnant. Getting comfort from foods and junk. Eating a lot of chips and candy and stuff I never did before. So not only am I gaining the weight back, but I’m doing it with worse food than I ever did before.
So now, I’m back on track. I’m at 348 and my goal is to be at 345 by next Wednesday. I am holding myself accountable again.
The reason I share this story with you is because success is not a straight line. Success is a journey. Sometimes journeys get side-tracked. As long as you never give up on yourself you will never be disappointed.
I will gladly update you on my journey, and maybe I will share a classic post from my initial journey that started so many years ago.
Remember…you are the master of your destiny. It’s like the old saying, it doesn’t matter how many times you fall as long as you get back up. The next time I see 305 on the scale it will be with a smile on my face.