I bet nobody wants to go right after Meg, am I right??
I've struggled with my weight on and off since puberty. I was a skinny and active kid, but once I hit junior high my activity level dropped and my access to junk food increased ten fold.
I went on my first diet at age 13, dropping from 150 to 130 on a not quite dangerously low cal diet (after a boy in gym commented on my "thunder thighs") . By the time I was in highschool though, I had gone back to about 150 and was holding steady there. It was a fairly healthy weight for me at just under 5' 9" although I felt incredibly ungainly. I was busy with activities though and didn't worry about it too much.
In college, the freshman 15 became the freshman 35 and all of a sudden I was 185 and feeling terrible about myself. Enter low cal diet #2 and I quickly dropped back down to 135.
I proudly maintained my 50 pound loss for about 2 years. It wasn't really that difficult. I walked everywhere and kept an eye on my food choices, but was never too stressed about it.
Then came a messy trauma. I broke up with my boyfriend and he killed himself. My eating habits went totally to ****. I started a new relationship with a wonderful guy (now my DH.) It's a cliche of married life that women start eating like their husbands and gain weight. Well, my husband is 6'1" with a large build, eating like him was *not* a good idea. I stopped weighing myself and did a really good job of fooling myself that I wasn't getting as heavy as I really was.
I found it much harder to get things under control than I had previously. I periodically tried to lose weight but instead kept yo-yoing upward, eventually reaching 265 pounds. When I finally got on the scale and saw that number, I was in total shock, in my head I'd been estimating about 215.
This was about 5 years ago. The moment I saw that number on the scale I realized that this was nuts. It was time to get my life back. I was tired of being tired. I was tired of heel spurs and not being able to keep up with my friends on hikes. I was tired of feeling depressed every time I caught my reflection in the glass.
I knew how to lose weight. (After all, I'd done it before) I knew I needed to move more and eat less, so I did. I started walking an hour a day and journaling my food. I just kept on with it. I didn't cut back my calories as much as I had in the past. I didn't make any foods forbidden. I just made sure that at the end of the day, week and month that I'd moved more than I'd eaten. I added in new exercises, starting going to the pool. The first year I dropped about 50 pounds, the second I got down to about 185 and plateaued. I was feeling really good by this point. My heel spurs were gone, my borderline blood pressure was normal again. I felt normal. I maintained that weight for about a year, I was still technically overweight, but I felt good.
The next year, I got a little slack, I was paying slightly less attention to my eating and skipping work outs. I gained 15 pounds and freaked out. I focused my attention back on my diet and exercise and set a goal of 150 lbs.
The weight started dropping again and this time I blew right by 185. I think the break had really done my metabolism some good. I hit my goal weight of 150 just before my birthday last year. I started upping my calories gradually, but ended up losing another 13 pounds or so, settling in to between 135-140 pounds. From start to finish I went from a size 24 to a size 6.
So far so good. I've been in maintenance mode for about 9 months. The key for me is to pay attention. At least once a week I hop on the scale and look at the number. I buy fitted clothing (no elastic waists!) and pay attention to how they fit. I need these external checks to keep me honest. If I know I'm up a pound, then I'll cut back a little or squeeze in an extra work out. If I don't pay attention though, I can easily lie to myself and/or just be oblivious to the weight gain.
I didn't mean to ramble on so long here, but I've read a lot of posts lately about people who have had set backs on their journeys and I want to let people know that you can have a *ton* of set backs along the way and still get there in the end.