I think Iíve been on a diet for my whole life.
I canít remember a time, even as a child, when I didnít feel fat. In grade school, I lived in a fantasy world of books and my favorite activity was eating and reading. My weight fluctuated through high school and college, depending on my current diet. But I was always self-conscious about my size and felt like a whale compared to the other girls my age. After college I went to law school, where eating was the only fun activity that one could do while endlessly studying. I met my husband there, got married, and we both started practicing. I was one of a very few women at a my law firm and continuing eating in response to the stresses and pressure of large firm practice. Eventually we started a family and I dropped out of the rat race to raise children. I stayed home and baked cookies (and ate cookies) and began my Weight Watchers era. Itís embarrassing to think how many times I joined (and quit) WW. Iíd lose 20 pounds, quit, gain 25 back, lose 25, quit, gain 30 back ó and yo-yoíed my way up to 257 pounds.
Fast forward to 2001 ó my daughter came home from college and wanted to join a gym. So I went around with her to visit gyms and ended up joining one on a whim. Now you have to realize that I HATED to exercise, despised it, loathed it. My concession to exercise in my WW days was a neighborhood stroll with a friend. So the gym was an alien planet to me and I was clueless about what to do or where to start. I found a trainer there, signed up for five weeks of personal training, and told myself that I would do whatever he told me to do for five weeks ó that I could do ANYTHING for five weeks. Well, he turned my world upside down. He taught me a different way to eat ó frequent, small meals with lots of protein, all clean food. He parked me on an elliptical and forced me to do cardio. And he showed me how to lift weights to build muscle. I didn't follow a formal diet but tracked my calories, carbs, protein and fats in Fitday (my calories were in the 1200-1600 range while I was losing).
The weight started flying off of me. I couldnít believe the amount of energy that I had. And I loved getting muscles! I lost 122 pounds in a little less than a year, going from 257 pounds to 135, size 22 to size 4, 57% body fat to 16%. Iíve been maintaining since May, 2002 and still weigh 135 pounds today, though my body fat % has continued to drop (and my body shape continues to change).
But I didnít look the way that I had imagined after I reached my goal. Instead of tight and muscular, I looked like a balloon that had been blown up and popped with a pin ó all saggy and baggy and wrinkly. I felt like a failure ó I had lost all this weight but still couldnít wear shorts or a bathing suit. Puzzled and disappointed, I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon just to find out what was going on. He lifted a tremendous burden from me when he told me that it was ďskin ó all skin ó an enormous quantity of skinĒ. Without a momentís hesitation, I knew that I wanted to get rid of it and have had two surgeries to remove excess skin, with one more on the horizon to finish up.
Much to my surprise, Iíve discovered that maintenance looks a lot like losing to me ó that I donít really do anything different today than I did when I was losing the weight. I still eat the same way and exercise as much as I did the year that I was losing. My biggest fear is that I will gain the weight back. Weíve all read the statistics that 95% of people who lose weight will regain it. For me, the key to keeping the weight off is simply to keep doing what I did to lose the weight. Theyíre not kidding when they say that this has to be a lifestyle rather than a quick fix. Without a doubt, if I ever go back to living the way I did three years ago, I would very quickly go back to weighing 257 pounds.
But the bottom line is that it is so worth the effort! I feel like I sleepwalked through the last 15 years of my life and now Iím awake and alive. Iím full of energy, strong, and in the best health Iíve ever been in. The burden of ďfatĒ that had literally and figuratively weighed me down my whole life is gone. I donít want to be invisible any more. Iím still the same person inside as when I weighed 122 pounds more, but now Iím willing to be a little more outspoken, occasionally loud, sometimes outrageous, but always free just to be me without the constraint and embarrassment of being fat.
I think I've been around 3FC forever!
I know that I've re-registered at least twice and spent my WW years in the WW forums here. I found the old Body For Life forum and lurked there during the year that I was losing since it was the closest thing that I could find to what I was doing. MrsJim and Mel were my heroes.
When the BFL forum expanded to include all of bodybuilding, I jumped in and mainly post there now. I'm looking forward to participating in this new forum also so that we can all support each other as we keep the weight off for life.