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Old 04-22-2009, 07:28 PM   #1  
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Default How did we get so big?

I first want to apologize up front if I offend anyone with this post. It really is just something that I have been thinking about for several years and in no way meant to hurt anyone's feelings.

This morning I weighed 201 pounds. As I was puttering around on my computer, I came across all of the spreadsheets that I make each time I start a new "diet". This only covers a span of about 3 years and my weight ranged anywhere between 214 (the most recent start date) at the high to 178 at the low. I noticed that I almost always started each new chart at right around 200 pounds. For me I guess 200 has always been the number, whether I have hit it or it is coming quickly, that I realize I need to do something.

This morning, I took a walk around my neighborhood. Two miles gave me plenty of time to think about whatever came up. I ended up wondering how people got so large. Much in the way I suppose skinny girls wonder how a girl my size got so big, I wonder how people bigger than me got to their size.

For a long time, I weighed about the same. I shouldn't have since I ate fast food everyday, snacked all day long and ate amazing amounts of chocolate or ice cream every night. I always knew one day it would catch up to me. Well a few months ago, after changing to a strictly sitting job, it did. I gained 15 pounds since September of last year. So here I am on the journey again.

I suppose my question is, at some point I can feel the excess skin under my chin push up when I'm sitting, get so horribly winded climbing the stairs in my house that I am basically forced into action. Don't most people have this same realization? Obviously, in my case, I haven't lost it for good. I never get to goal weight but I knock off 10-20 pounds for awhile anyway.

I know that some people have medical problems that cause them to gain or maintain large amounts of fat but I don't think that is really that common. I know too that some people have higher self esteem and maybe the extra weight doesn't bother them as much mentally as it does for me.

I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone but me and it probably sounds rude and I am sorry for that. I guess it just seems like it would be hard to get to 250-300+ pounds without that AHA moment. I have to say though, that those of you that start off that heavy how amazed I am at your accomplishments. I look at the 50-60 pounds that I need to lose and am overwhelmed by it. I do not know how I would manage if I had one or two hundred pounds to get rid of.
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:45 PM   #2  
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yea i went to the doctor the other day and she said my 'start' weight was actually 223lbs that's crazy to me, i was 135 3 years ago..... thats almost 100 lbs in 3 years... i take medication that has caused me to gain some weight but it was also the way i ate and no exercise.... i now go to the gym everyday and calorie count it's only been 2 weeks but this is my 'aha' time.... i'm getting to my goal and it's not gonna take me a year....
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Old 04-22-2009, 07:53 PM   #3  
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Well, in a way I can understand what you're talking about. As one of those people you referred to who weighed "250-300+ pounds", I can tell you that for me, it was definitely related to depression. I gained weight at a very difficult time in my life when I was in an unhealthy relationship and just didn't care about myself. It was kind of like a blur, or denial. It was like I couldn't (or wouldn't) see what I was doing to myself physically, mentally, or emotionally. The same time I started losing weight was the same time that I began coming out of this "blur" I was in and changing all aspects of my life, not just the weight. So, I just woke up somehow.

Now, that was when I weighed between 250-270. As for anything lower than that, well it's easier for me to ignore, or tolerate because when I weigh around 240, I am much less physically uncomfortable than I am at a heavier weight. I carry my weight mainly in my hips and thighs, so the last place I gain is my stomach, specifically my upper abdominal area. When I gain there, I feel pysically gross and moving around is difficult, and it's just plain hard to ignore. Your post was interesting to me, because I have often thought that maybe if the first place I gained my weight was the "uncomfortable" stomach area, would I let myself get this big? I will never know the answer, I guess.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:01 PM   #4  
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I do tend to gain in my upper ab area first and you are right, it is very uncomfortable. I hadn't thought of it that way before. Also, I suppose it is also true that if you are used to a certain weight, as I was to being close to 200, that is your normal.

See this is why I posted this. I needed insight into the minds of others, because for the most part, that is what this is, all in our minds.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:12 PM   #5  
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I have about 125 pounds to lose, probably a little more, and I can tell you that I think about this quite a bit as well. I mean, I've always been heavy, as are most of the women on both sides of my family, so part of it is that overweight has always been my 'normal'. But my sister and I have the exact same body type (and the exact same trouble losing weight) and she never got above 150, probably, whereas I made it 100 pounds past that before I said 'enough'.

Part of my problem is medical, I guess, in that I am super carb-sensitive, and I tried to be vegetarian for ten years. My diet was actually not that bad for the most part, but I kept gaining and gaining because I was eating lots of carbs. I can eat 1200 calories a day, but if I eat too many carbs, I will gain weight. It doesn't matter how low I go, calorie-wise, or how much exercise I do, carbs make me gain.

Anyway, that was part of it. But even when I was a 160 pound high school student I was pretty active, hiking and biking and a lot of aerobics videos. Once I got to college I stopped working out, and once I got to a size 18, I was too self-conscious to work out outdoors where people might see me and stare, so I found myself in a real catch-22.

This is a very rambly way of saying that the weight just sort of crept up over the years, in my case, and once I got to a certain point I was so mad at myself and embarrassed that I couldn't bring myself to do anything about it. I was so depressed the entire time, but my half-hearted attempts at dieting made no difference because I hadn't figured out the carb thing, so I always gave up.

The thing that was different about this time, I guess, was that I started swimming in a private pool, so no one could see me, and swimming burns a ton of calories. So the first 30 pounds came off pretty easily, and then I stalled and had to figure out the carb thing and give up vegetarianism. It was a huge adjustment, and I still struggle a lot. I've been at it steadily for almost three years and I've lost about 75 pounds. Most people can drop that in six months or less when they start at my weight.

But that's the way it is, and at least I know what to *do* now. I sure wouldn't go back, so the only way to go is forward. Getting to morbid obesity was a long process, so a couple more years of weight loss is not going to kill me. At least that's what I keep telling myself.

Last edited by thistoo; 04-22-2009 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:13 PM   #6  
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I think part of it is also what's "normal" around you. If the rest of your family, friends, and coworkers are overweight, then it's probably harder to have that "whoa, wait a minute" moment. I've lived in a lot of different cities/states over the last 5 years, and it was SO EASY to gain a lot of weight when I was living in Dallas, and so much harder to ignore my weight now that I'm in Portland. Most of my friends in Texas were overweight, never went outside, and ate burgers/fries/etc for every meal. It was easy to just do what they were doing, and I felt comfortable. Even pool parties weren't that big a deal. So I just never really had that moment where I was like, OMG, this has to stop.

As soon as we moved to Portland, all of a sudden my friends and coworkers were SKINNY. And everyone I pass on the street looks like an athlete. All the places we eat have smaller portions than the places we ate in Texas, and exotic salads and healthy quinoa bowls on the menu. Even after losing over 20lbs I'm still not thrilled about wearing a swimsuit at the gym. Here, I feel like my weight is a problem, and I need to do something about it. I can't be comfortable and obese in Portland, I don't think.

So yeah, I think part of it is the environment you're in, and what's considered "normal".
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:22 PM   #7  
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I don't know... I guess it was depression. I was 240-250 a couple of years ago and I gained most of that in about a year. I was just eating and eating (binging) anything I could every night, usually when everyone was asleep. =( but damn.. I gained the weight then so fast it left me with a bunch of stretch marks on my body I will have for the rest of my life now. I guess like Sunrose said, it's a blur. I'm taller so it didn't really hit me how much weight I was gaining. I also wasn't weighing myself, but I knew my clothes weren't fitting anymore, and I even had jeans that started to rip and I finally had to buy new clothes and didn't fit into the size 16s in regular stores... and had to go to fashion bug and buy size 22 pants. I was wearing 2x shirts... I can't believe I let myself get to that point

My realization point was when I started to like a guy and that gave me motivation to start losing the weight... I got down to 160 then. I did wind up dating that guy for a couple of years then but put my goal weight on the side...and gained back some weight. I kinda wish I knew of this site then, because it was a problem dating and always going out to eat and trying to eat like the naturally skinny guy ate. That relationship turned out bad and ended about a year ago and my weight is already creeping back on. I find myself binging at night again. I know if I don't get ahold of it now I can get back to 250 in no time.

and that's why I'm here... to find support to eat right and reach my goal for good and stick to it.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:40 PM   #8  
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I ate too much of the wrong stuff. Everyone around me was seriously large and we all were eating buddies. I just didn't care. No need to have an AHA moment if I could make myself comfortable at a large weight -- you can get belt extenders on airplanes, you can have 2 seats at a movie theatre, you can get clothes in any size online at any time of the day...people are adaptable, and everyone around you is encouraging and participating with you in your bad habits. There are lobby groups and political movements based on fat acceptance. While not socially acceptable, there is a movement afoot to accept your size, which is indeed healthy to do psychologically but might not be so healthy physically. So if there is support amongst your friends, and you belong to the political groups, and believe that your size is beyond your control, why change? The ONLY thing that used to bug me was summertime -- hot, humid, sticky, and you can't hide in your clothes like you can in the winter. And summer is coming up. Thank GOODNESS weight gain isn't permanent...

Last edited by kiramira; 04-22-2009 at 08:43 PM.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:03 PM   #9  
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I've been big my whole life. If you gain 10 to 15 pounds a year, you don't really notice it. I've never been "winded" or felt uncomfortable. I probably gained (on average) a little less than one pound a month from my junior year of high school until now. That's not a difference you would notice. For example, say you lost one pound this month... You're not going to notice it - same with gaining.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:54 PM   #10  
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I feel like I have something in common with a lot of the posters on this thread. I have been overweight since I was a baby. I was 240 lbs in the 11th grade, then starved down to about 175 as a freshman in college. Got married right out of college and my weight started creeping up, year after year. I was on diets left and right but still gaining. By the time I was 29 I weighed over 300 lbs. Finally found Atkins and it was a lifesaver; the first diet that ever worked for me. Lost 100 lbs, looked and felt great. In 2003 my always-rocky marriage started collapsing and I went back on Atkins induction and lost another 50 or so pounds, down to a size 14. The I was laid off and my ex demanded a divorce the same week ~ the rest is a blur (as a wise woman above said) and the next thing I knew it was Christmas 2003 and I was a size 26/28 again...by 2008 I was over 370 lbs.

There was no moment at which I realized I'd gained more than I ever had before. I really had no idea how much I weighed when I committed to this permanent lifestyle change August 14, 2008...I was shocked to learn how much I weighed. I gain weight all over, pretty evenly distributed, so no one body part problem stuck out. It sucked all over.

One lightbulb moment for me on this thread though ~ I do remember how uncomfortable all the fat/extra chin was when I would look down at my laptop before...that's all gone now WOO-HOO! I only have a double chin now when I grin, like 'normal' people...it's wonderful.

Physically why did I gain all that weight? Extreme carb sensitivity. Emotionally? Life-long depression...and I never knew I was depressed until 2008. 39 years. It's so different NOT being depressed. It's wonderful.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:58 PM   #11  
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Even at my top weight I was on my feet most of the day, doing a job, and coping with life. Like Mandi, I've always been overweight (yup, even as a kid). And probably like her, I never gained a large amount of weight in a short period of time. (Actually, after an illness which was partly weight-loss related I did regain some weight fairly fast.)

I admit that sometimes I read posts from people who are lighter than me, talking about how they can't do things (physically) and I just wasn't there. It was a step on a scale (after my own at 330 error'd out for years) to find out that I was over 400 lbs that started me losing. However, it's quite easy to slowly gain weight over the years without thinking too much about it.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:08 PM   #12  
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I've been big my whole life, I was big because I ate the wrong foods and I used food for comfort, celebration...my life pretty much revolved around food. But like others said that was my "normal". I'm 27 and I'm just starting to understand now that not everyone views food the way I did/do.

I was a size 20 but the time I was 20. Even though I hated being plus sized, I always told myself it was OK and I wasn't really that big. I denied my weight all the way to 270lbs. My "Aha moment" didn't come until recently because I basically was not ready to lose the weight before now.

Also from being overweight my whole life. I don't feel as disgusted with myself...not like my skinny friends who feel horrible about themselves if they gain ten pounds. I don't know how to explain it, but I just don't feel disgusted with my body. The big reasons I want to lose weight is to be healthy and improve my fitness level. I WAS disgusted that I was lazy and wasting away from lack of physical activity.

Anyway, I think always being bigger all my life aided me in thinking it was my "normal" and that's what lead me to getting to 270lbs.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:13 PM   #13  
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I have been overweight most of my life. I actually was thinking about this very thing today. 200 was my wake-up call many times. My weight would creep up to 200, I would freak out, get my act together, get my weight back down to 165-170. Still not where I wanted to be, but I would get lax around 165-170 and go back to my old ways. Along with being overweight, I have battled depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember but I managed to keep both in check. Several years ago, between working at a job I HATED, a ton of stress from work, going to school full time, my anxiety and depression sent me into a tailspin. Instead of freaking out when my weight got close to 200lbs, I just stopped weighing myself. I couldn't handle my weight gain with everything else, so I choose to ignore it. I worked with 160 people in which 80-90% were overweight, most obsese, so no one really noticed. I went from 165 to 240 in 9-12 months. I panic sometimes thinking what gaining 85lbs in less than a year did to my body. It scares me...the huge stress that I'm sure that put on my heart, my lungs, my liver, kidneys...I just hope my work now will help reverse the damage I have done. As terrified and ashamed as I was to weight 240lbs, it didn't stop there. I continued to gain another 15lbs on top of that to reach my highest weight of 255lbs.

I still battle depression and anxiety, along with many, many other health problems on a daily basis. I have made countless attempts to fix what I have done in the past...this time I will succeed.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:39 PM   #14  
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This is actually something that I have been thinking about a lot lately. I was actually underweight as a child, but around puberty starting packing on weight. My mother had her own eating/body image issues (she's very thin and a nose away from bulimia) and put them on me my whole life. I grew up with "No boy likes a fat girl." and "You have a pretty face, but..." My mom made me feel horrible everytime I put something in my mouth to eat so I started to eat in hiding and binged at a young age. I was diagnosed with severe depression at 14 after i attempted suicide which I thought was bc I was "fat" though I wore clothes barely in the double digits. It was the depression that caused the weight gain and not the other way around.

I crash dieted to get down from 165-137 in HS. When the weight started to creep back inevitably, I became obsessive over calories and exercising, and took diet pills (which my mom got me on since 13) which turned into using speed. I stopped doing pills a few yrs later and the weight came back on. In college I was up to 190lbs the highest due to all the binge drinking and late night eating. The next yr, i was down twenty odd pounds, healthy, but got pregnant.

Both times I had my kids, about 2 months later I ran into a bleeding/hormone problem that helped me gain almost 30 lbs quickly each time. (I barely gained pregnant). I became depressed again over it and started the whole binge/guilt cycle.

It's something I am trying to come to grips with even now. I had a horrible 2 weeks and reverted to old patterns. Food can be like drugs, especially when you have addictive tendencies. I am trying to get healthy for my kids by doing it the right way, without pills or drugs, without 4 day starvation periods, without being compulsive. It's hard. I never wanted to see how heavy I had gotten, but until I come to terms with my inner demons, I'll never succeed.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:48 PM   #15  
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I've always struggled with my weight, though I haven't been obese my whole life. I worked very hard at staying a "normal for me" size 14-16 for most of my adult life. Sometimes smaller, sometimes larger, but within a 40 pound range. When I started gaining, it was depression, (as it usually was when I started gaining). I became severely depressed when my oldest son was diagnosed with autism. I put on quite a bit of weight and finally caught it when I was around 250 and began the losing process again...I was going to cure my son from autism and I was going to lose weight. I vowed this was the last diet I would ever go on. I got back down to a size 14 and stayed there for a while. Then one day I realized that I could cure myself from obesity, but I could not cure my son. I somehow felt guilty and I sunk into the deepest depression I have ever experianced. It lasted 3 years and I refused to get help. In 3 years I gained an enormous amount of weight and didn't care. I already said I was never going on another diet...so I didn't. And like others, my location didn't help. The majority of the people in my community are overweight. My turning point happened after a severe panic attack where I seriously thought I was going to die, and right then and there, that very moment, I decided it was time to get my life back. Talk about life (and death) flashing before your eyes! So here I am working it, and now weigh less than I have in 18 years...yippee.

Last edited by Lori Bell; 04-22-2009 at 10:50 PM.
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