Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ
This is such a great forum! I've been lurking for a while and thought I'd introduce myself. My name is Anne and I'm 35 years old. I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I was the fat girl in the corner, quietly reading a book, and trying not to draw too much attention to myself to avoid harassment. I grew into an academic overachiever, eventually get my B.S. in physics and a doctorate in astronomy. I also just grew, up to 289 pounds at my heaviest. I never had much success at losing weight, and at some point decided to just be happy with myself as I was. I switched to an engineering career, married, and had a nice comfortable, sedentary life. While life wasn't perfect, I was generally content.
I don't know what changed or why. We moved back to Tucson from Los Angeles--a much happier location for me. I was under a lot of stress at work and was eating myself to sleep most nights. I also had developed a painful condition, uterine fibroids, which were at most only loosely related to weight. While I was otherwise very healthy, it did occur to me my next diagnosis might be preventable. I decided to make some changes to my life, eat healthier foods, pay attention to portion sizes, get some exercise, and find better ways to deal with stress. While I did count calories and measured my food, I never viewed this as a diet or weight loss plan, but merely as an attempt to lead a healthier life. If it worked, great, if it didn't, well, I was happy.
My body changed to fit my new lifestyle. Over a year, I lost more than 100 lbs. The closest thing to a 'light bulb' moment happened when I was about 30 lbs down, and I was walking from my cubicle at work, and I thought "This is so easy!" and at that moment I realized just how much burden I had put on myself by living the way I had. I was energized. In that year I went from barely being able to walk my dogs around the block to running a half marathon. I dropped from barely fitting into a size 24W to being a comfortable size 12. I also had surgery to remove the fibroids without having the dreaded hysterectomy, so I feel absolutely great. I've maintained my new weight for just about a year now, though I'd eventually like to lose another 20 lbs or so.
My weight ended up around 170, give or take. My weight loss basically stopped when I discovered endurance sports, right after the half marathon. I fell in love with racing, not that I'm very competitive. I find it hard to train for racing, as opposed to exercising for weight loss/maintenance, and lose weight at the same time. I run distances from 5K to marathon, do triathlon up to the half-ironman distance so far, and I'm training for my first cycling century ride right now. I swim, bike, run, and lift weights. I'm a bonafide athlete now, with the finisher's medals to prove it. Maybe slow and still on the chunky side, but an athlete none-the-less. To say I'm astonished with all this is an understatement, and I wonder at my new condition in life every day. I never expected I was capable of this.
Exercise is a no-brainer for me now. I love it (well, 80% of the time anyway), and I start to feel jittery if I take more than a couple days completely off. I still struggle with food though. I love to eat. I love to eat good food, and I love to eat crap. I want to eat when I'm happy, when I'm stressed, when I'm bored and when I'm hungry. The three most evil foods in the world are Reese's Peanut Butter cups, Cheetos, and Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey. I think all ice cream and all chips are sold in single serving packages, no matter how big they are. I also still find work very stressful and there is lots and lots of junk food available in my lab. Every day is hard, and some days I beat it, and some days it beats me. I still count calories and measure my food. I keep track of everything I eat every day, even the bad days. The accountability is important to me.
I've learned so much from this forum over the last couple months. You are all such an inspiration to me. I find it very reassuring to read about how you go through the same struggles I do, and find ways to overcome them.