I have started and stopped trying to lose weight more times than I can count. I would start with unrealistic, hardcore expectations of myself (work out every day, cut out ALL "bad" food, etc). I'd give up quickly when the weight didn't easily fall off, usually by eating two packs of Little Debbie's mini donuts.
When I started working full-time as a newspaper reporter while going to school full-time in 2008, I stopped finding time to grocery shop. It was just easier to stop at McDonald's for lunch and dinner and eat office donuts for breakfast.
I didn't even realize there was a problem until one day I couldn't button my pants. I didn't have the money - or the humility - to replace my pants, so I would wear them undone with a long sweater over top. Finally, I decided to take my head out from the sand and weighed myself - 196! I weighed as much as my father who is 6 inches taller than me!
I immediately started making time for the gym and for eating healthier. I lost about 10 pounds before going on vacation and giving up again. After four days of walking all over DC, I had GAINED two pounds? I let my discouragement overcome my good feelings about weight loss.
This all changed in 2011, three years after my initial gain. I was wearing a tight size 12 in all my pants. I had stopped enjoying making love with my husband. The entire time I was thinking Please don't look at my fat rolls, please don't notice my bulging arms and protruding stomach!
I never wanted to visit family because I knew they had to be disgusted with the way I looked, just like I was.
In March, I began counting calories again and working out sporadically. I lost 10 pounds over two months. Then my uncle and grandfather died in close succession. I lost my focus until the beginning of July.
That's when I found 3FatChicks! The community support here amazed me immediately. I felt like I had finally found people who could understand what I was going through, unlike my mother who said I "just needed more willpower."
I decided to start slowly this time. I didn't put on the weight in a week. It wasn't going to come off in a week.
I started by changing my eating habits slowly. I replaced my high calorie chocolate desserts with low calorie chocolate pudding. I replaced my tacos and pizzas (trigger binge foods for me) with salads and lean meats.
In late July, I added cardio and weight training. Again, I started slow. I did cardio only for the first week, and my endurance was embarrassing. I could only do 21 minutes my first night at the gym! Then I added weight training. By August, I was ready for a challenge. I challenged myself to go to the gym 6 days a week for the month. And I did! I was rewarded with a pair of size 8 blue jeans.
Since then, I've kept to the same routine. My calories stay in the 1,200 - 1,600 range. I occasionally treat myself to a meal out with family or coworkers. I still eat the foods I love, but I eat them in smaller portions. I try to exercise 6 days a week (30 minutes cardio, 30-60 minutes weight training). If I miss a day or two, I don't beat myself up.
I can't fully articulate the change losing 50 pounds has made for my life. I'm not afraid to dress in front of my husband. I don't avoid going out of the lake with our families (although now is not the season). I feel confident walking around campus or the office. I feel like ME, and that's the greatest gift weight loss has given me. The ability to feel comfortable in my skin.
I decided once I made it to 50 pounds lost that I wasn't done. I would like to get to a size 6, so I've reset my goal for 135 pounds. I've got 10.8 pounds to go! I think the greatest thing is that I am my own motivation now. I don't need to find inspiring before/after pics online like I used to. I just look in the mirror. What positive changes has weight loss meant for you?