Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Chelmsford, MA
Height: 5ft, 4.5in
New to Maintenance
I've really learned a lot reading though the threads here. I gain a lot of re-assurance knowing others have lost weight and have the same fears and same "fat feeling" as I do. Thought it was time for me to put up my story, as much for myself as for others. Sorry, it starts to babble at the end, but I thought I'd leave it in in case others can relate.
I always thought I was heavy as a kid, though I probably wasn't. I just wasn't athletic, always picked last on teams, etc. I preferred to read books, and also didn't get glasses until 6th grade, which might explain my sports difficulties. I remember being 140 pounds my sophmore year of high school, at 5'4". Soon after that, I just.... wasn't hungry. For about a year I ate less. Not a particular diet, but I dropped down to 117 pounds and a size 8. That lasted until I started college, and realized that I was an adult and could eat whatever I wanted. At home, my Mom was always on and off Weight Watchers, and my Dad went to the gym regularly and ate his Oatmeal for breakfast. I left this perfect world of skim milk and egg white omelettes with canadian bacon, and fresh fruit always available, to a world of lucky charms and soft serve icecream. My weight started to cycle: I'd gain weight during the school year, when food was abundant and I was sedentary - a campus 3 blocks long doesn't make for a lot of walking. In the summers I would work 2 jobs, with barely a break in between, and no break at work for a meal so I lived on 2 cheese bagels and a plum every day, every summer for 3 years, and the weight would slip off. I couldn't tell you what I weighed, but I think I was an 8 or 10 going into every school year, and a 10 or 12 by the end. I wasn't really worried about my weight, didn't have a scale, it just sort of happened.
When I left college for "the real world" in 1999 I had that "I am an adult, I can eat what I want" philosophy ingrained. Yes, they taught nutrition and exercise at my college, it was a required freshman class. No, it didn't kick in until last year. 1999-2003 my menu was filled with Banquet Pot Pies, Lunchables, Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch, and Pringles. And a lot of healthier stuff, like bean soup. I hadn't forgotten the good healthy food my parents made for me, it was just outshined by slick pre-packaged foods. We had free pop (soda) at work, and a can of Cherry Coke a day adds up. I was up to 172 pounds (2 pounds under the "obese" rating). Work got rid of the free pop and at my next annual physical I was down to 162. In the summer of 2002 I was single, and dropped a lot of weight; again without thinking about it. I was probably back to a size 12. How did I do it this time? I was no longer dating someone long distance, so I had time for ME on the evenings and weekends. I saw friends, I enjoyed life, didn't go to bars and restaurants as much. Oh, and I instituted a "no eating after 8" rule, because that was when I ate unhealthy snackies.
Then I started another long distance romance, and travelled a lot, and ate good food when we were together, and generally enjoyed life. I moved from Michigan to Massachusetts, and 2 doors down from a Dairy Queen, and started to telecommute. You can see this is a recipe for disaster. I realized that I couldn't keep eating DQ Blizzards 2-3x/week and not moving more than 100 feet/day. I started walking for a half hour on lunch, a mile and a half. Not exactly Extreme Cario, but it got me off my duff. After 3 months I had lost 7 pounds, and realized that I could DO SOMETHING about feeling fat. I tried the "special K challenge" (awful marketing ploy!) and maybe a couple other things, but just felt deprived. My friend Laura had done Weight Watchers on her own (instead of attending meetings) and loved it, and did very well. I finally broke down and got the info from her in December of 2003. I don't think I actually started until February, but I can't find my first journal. When I started working my first outside-the-home job in Massachusetts at the end of February I was at 155 pounds, down 9 from my start. I just wanted to get out of the "overweight" range into a "healthy weight" BMI of 24, which is 140 pounds. I gave away all my old size 8 and 10 clothes that I hadn't worn in 5 years and didn't want to move again. But as I progressed, the goal kept shifting. I made 140, and stuck there for a couple of months, while trying to get down to 134 - according to Weight Watchers that's the max ideal weight for someone 25 years old and 5'4", and I was 25 when I started the journey. I made it in time for my brother's wedding in September, and just days before I officially joined Weight Watchers at work in order to get the info on the new Core Plan. I now weigh 5 pounds less, because in order to earn lifetime status you have to lose at least 5 pounds. I'm 3 weigh-ins into maintenance, and at 6 weeks (if I'm no more than 2 pounds over goal) I'll earn Lifetime status. Surprisingly, at 132 pounds I'm a size 6, both smaller and heavier than I was in high school. Yay muscles!
I've been reading about maintenance since June, when I hit 140. It sounds hard. And scary. I've read "Thin for Life", and have been reading through the Skinny Daily Post archives. Between those, and the forums here, I've learned that Maintenance involves a lot of exercise, and dedication to monitoring your weight, and a regular eating routine, and no rewarding thrill of pounds lost. Sorry to be a sad sack, I'm really a lot more chipper in person & would definitely recommend Weight Watchers to anyone. After a year of it, I don't really want to lift weights and do yoga and use the elliptical anymore. I don't want to track my food. I've put in my time! I've paid my dues! I want to be free to eat whatever! *sigh* I am a little kid who thought it would be great to be a grown up because you could do whatever you want, and am slowly learning that adults have to be responsible too. I want to live a long, healthy life. I enjoy my new found strength and flexibility. I really enjoy feeling sexy, instead of frumpy. Yes, there's still the "phantom fat" that only I see, but really, for me, it goes away when I look in a full length mirror, naked, and see how all that hard work as paid off, how great I look. When I see the truth, instead of the spell my mind casts as I look down at my thighs.
Right now I am testing my limits, seeing where I have leeway, how much can I eat before I gain, how little exercise do I really need? I think my maintenance motivation will come back, that I'll rechannel my competitiveness from the scale to the weights, to bench more, squat more, have more defined triceps. I went to the gym this morning, then showered, and was fascinated and slightly horrified to see my pumped up pecs giving shape and size to my chest, and then my breasts on top of that. "Two part boobies!" I'd say the hours at the gym are working, and hopefully someday that will mean I can eat more than 1500 calories (29 points) a day to maintain. I miss those Dairy Queen Blizzards.