I just realized that I've posted several things on the Living Maintenance section, but never got to the Introduction part... So, here I am in a nutshell...
As far back as I can remember I've never been comfortable with my weight. I was never the biggest girl in my class, but was never the smallest either. I was always self conscious about my appearance, whether it was about my poochy tummy or my non-existent boobies. I always felt like I should be skinnier than I was - I have a pretty small frame that just seemd like it was meant to be carrying less weight than I made it carry. This self conscious feeling was compounded by my 5'3" mom who weighed 105-115 pounds when I was young and constantly felt like she was overweight. She was always talking about how she needed to diet, had to lose weight, how disgusted she was with herself for getting bigger. Looking at myself through that vision said "wow, she is disgusted with herself for weighing 105, she must really be disgusted with me for weighing 110, 120, 135, etc..." I used to hide snack chips under my bed so I could eat at night when no one would see me. I said it was because my brother always ate my favorite things if I didn't hide them, that was a lie to make myself feel better.
I outgrew her when I was in junior high so we couldn't share clothes anymore - she commented on that a lot too. As an adult, I realize that she had her own body issues, ones that she still hasn't dealt with to this day. She is still unhappy with her weight, only now it is because she went from an unhealthy 82 pounds to an only slightly less unhealthy 97 pounds. She has an assortment of health problems, all of which I track back to never eating right. It worries me. I also realize as an adult that I'm 4 inches taller than her, so it makes sense I would outweigh her, even as a teenager.
Enter my brother's girlfriend, now wife. Cute, thin, smart, big boobs, great hair, loved to shop. The daughter my mother had always wanted me to be - they shopped for clothes, talked on the phone, shared clothes. I acted like it didn't bother me and told people how bad she was for my brother and treated her like poo.
As an adult, she is great for him - and I learn as a grown up that her thin was hard fought.
I let myself gradually gain weight all through high school and college, always telling myself 'when I weigh XXX' I'll do something about it. Never did anything about it. When I graduated college I was in a size 16-18, weighed somewhere in the 140 range - didn't really weigh myself, didn't want to know. Took a job I hated out of state for a year, came home just under 150, started working as a trainer for a fast food franchisee. I was on my feet all the time, but was eating fast food every meal. Lost back down to the 145 range, but ate nothing but french fries it seemed.
Enter alcoholic ex-husband, well at the time, he was soon to be husband who told me he had stopped drinking.
I ran all the time, lost down to 135 before our wedding - the on my feet all the time thing. Didn't have any healthy habits, just running flat out, never eating, stressed all the time weight loss. He commended the weight loss, but bought me 'fat clothes' anyway. Constantly talked about my SIL and the bikini he saw her in the first time he met her. Reality crashed in on me just before the wedding, but too late to cancel out... I focused in on the good things, well, I only told my friends the good things, lets put it that way.
I left him weighing back at 147 in 2001.
I wavered up and down from that 147 for a year, always staying just under that magic '150 will be when I change things'. Then, I crossed 150, the next 'I'll change then' because 155, then 160, 165. At 165 I started taking kickboxing and yoga four nights per week - never lost a pound. Did it to support my Starbucks twice a day habit... I kicked my constantly refilled at every restaurant stop Dr. Pepper habit for the same Starbucks habit. Luckily, the soda habit never came back. The kickboxing and yoga faded away.
Enter my now DH in 2005 (and his son, an infant when DH and I got together) - I was 174 when we got together. I dropped to 145 in the first few months by stopping the snacking (yes, I still hid food in my bedside table, even when it was just me in the apartment), eating more cooked meals, and having a vigorous new sex life. Hey, it was exercise!
We got married in Nov 2006 and I was 134 at that time. I maintained it for what felt like about a minute and a half... was back up to 145 in Jan of 2007. Hovered between 143-147 until this year when I decided I needed to do something. Was there a trigger event? Sometimes I say no, sometimes I say yes. I halfheartedly counted calories starting in August of 2006 when DH and I moved into our new house - didn't get really into it until May. DH bought me a dress for my birthday that was the right size for when we got married, but snug for May 2008. (He didn't see the ten pounds impact on my clothes because I didn't let him, he wasn't trying to be mean. He started dating me when I was 30 pounds heavier, he didn't care what I weighed.) He also bought us tickets to Les Mis, for this weekend actually, and I wanted to be able to wear the dress to that event. It is at the tailor right now getting altered, because it is now two sizes too big...
I've had other 'ah ha' moments this year - about my mother and her own weight issues, about the fact that she can't see me as smaller than my SIL. For years she bought me a larger size than SIL, because I was larger, then when it flipped and I was the smaller one she still bought me one size larger most of the time. That hurt my feelings, but I'm learning to let it go, and educating my mom to who I am now. SIL and I are actually both dieting and exercising at this point, she is likely always going to be bigger than me now, and she is dealing with that too. We are all working on our issues together. The most recent hurdle was convincing my mom I wasn't wasting away and making her tell me why a size 6 was too small a size for me to be, but not for SIL. Still don't think we are quite done with that, but, a work in progress...
I chose to marry a man with a child when I was always saying I never wanted kids - I love the fact that I can be a part of this wonderful little boy's life. I can see me in some of his behavior and it makes me feel good about who I am and the choices I've made. I want him to see me as an example of a strong, healthy woman.
I'm terrified of maintaining because I'm convinced I'll gain all the weight back. I've never been the engineer of my own weight loss in the past and I have doubts about my ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I've worked hard to craft menus that are workable, eat new foods (I discovered I love brocolli, tomatos, carrots, yogurt, almonds, a lot of things I would never have eaten before), build good habits. I exercise a lot now - so much that I know I will hit a wall eventually and that will drop a little, so I'm learning what I need to do now so I can adjust with the future. I have come to love the way I feel with exercise - never thought that would happen...
So, the questions:
1) This is the first time I've tried seriously to lose weight. Other weight loss efforts happened to me by circumstance, I can't take credit for them.
2) Am I where I want to be? Yes and no. I'm at goal, but not shaped the way I would like to end up. I'm shaped completely different than I was six months ago, but I know I still have room to improve.
3) How has my life changed since I've lost the weight? I feel like I am who I'm supposed to be, not who I've let myself be the last several years. I'm more confident, more comfortable in my relationships. I have to credit DH for a good bit of that - he always sees who people could be and encourages them to make themselves better without beating down or disparaging who they are that minute. He is a change agent in the lives of people around him, not just me.
4) What is maintenance like? Well, I'm only a week and a half in and I'm still scared to death. I started maintenance at 124.8, jumped to 126.1 after the first week, to 127.3 yesterday, but am back to 125.4 today. I'm researching some changes I made recently to my exercise pattern and realize that is the most likely reason for the change. So, for me, maintaining is about learning myself and my patterns. There will likely be more ups and downs, I'm going to learn how to weather them.
5) Do I exercise regularly? 6 days per week of 45 min cardio, either elliptical or stationary bike right now, want to add in using the weight bag in place of a couple of those I think. Three days per week of 50 min strength training on my Weider home gym. Yoga, pilates or ab video (10 - 20 min) every day before cardio. I might be a little over the top with the exercise right now, so it could settle down in the future to less total time, maybe not. I'm channeling my fear of increased calories into more exercise right now!
6) Concerns now that I'm at goal? I already answered that up there - scared I won't be able to maintain the changes I've made. Scared that I'll sit back down and let life happen to me instead of me controlling it. Scared that a hershey kiss will make me gain five pounds. Scared that I'll still be 'hands shaking, a little nauseated' scared about maintenance a year from now and won't learn how to live without the fear.
So, moral of the story, I've taken control of my life in the last few years. I left a dead end job I'd had for 12 years for a position I hoped would be permanent, but turned out to be a bad fit. I used it as a springboard to the position I have now, which is a great fit. I love my job today. I'm using my knowledge and skills to influence, not sitting back like I used to and doing just enough to get by. I've done the same thing with my weight - I'm making changes, not just getting by. This website was a big part of that process - I learned things here I don't think I would have learned anywhere else. I can rant here, I can vent here, I can learn here, I can support other people here with things I learn. I firmly believe that I can do this. I can maintain, I can improve, I can survive.