It would always start with one lie. “I will eat one cookie and be fine”. Everything in moderation, right? Then as I was eating the next cookie I would say “I am going to exercise tonight and that will burn those cookies off”. Before I knew it, I was eating number six cookie and saying “I am eating healthy and working out starting tomorrow, so I am going to eat like it is my last meal today”. Well, tomorrow came and so did the whole vicious cycle of me moving less and eating more.
As a child and through my teenage years I was active and the food and sweets were not as readily available as they are today. We ate 3 meals a day and not many, if any, sweets in between. I would have all 3 meals burned off before lunch time. Sodas were a rarity when I was younger. If we had any soda in the house, we were not allowed to just go pour a glass whenever we chose. I remember in the summer we would go to the city swimming pool on Saturdays and we would get a snack of soda and chips. I loved the taste of soda.
I remember at the age of 20, when I moved from parents’ home, thinking that I could have all of the soda that I wanted now. Seriously, who thinks about getting to have soda when they are moving away from home for the first time? Apparently, I do! Instead of thinking about living on my own and being in a new town, I am thinking about soda.
While in my 20’s a common days menu was pop tart or sugary cereal for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and I would either make pancakes or spaghetti for dinner or just eat a candy bar. Being in my 20’s there were more late night eating and drinks. Oh, my word, this still sounds delicious to me now. I will say that I did not gain a tremendous amount of weight. I was still young with a good metabolism, but with the lack of exercise, I did pack on the pounds. I did not move up in clothing size, but I was no longer toned and I was bursting at the seams.
There were very few times we ate at a restaurant or fast food place when I was younger. The portions today of the drink cups are more than 4 times the size they were when I was a child. There was one size of cup at McDonalds and it was 7 ounces. I would be insulted to be given a 7 ounce drink today. What is that, two swallows?
I was 24 years old when I had my first child. I was huge! I stopped looking at the scale when I hit 200 pounds. I would get on the scale backwards, so that I did not have to see the number. So, after Bryce was born (9lbs. 15 ½ ounces), I used the excuse that I had weight issues from having a baby. Here I sat 47 years later still trying to blame my weight on having 2 babies.
I was 60 pounds heavier than I was when I graduated from high school, but again I lied to myself and said “everyone gains weight after high school AND I had 2 babies, so of course I am going to be heavier.”
A local gym did their own version of The Biggest Loser. For a small price, I got access to the gym and a one on one trainer. There would be a winner. I didn’t care what the prize was, but I was going to win. I worked out once a day for 1 ½ hours and sometimes twice a day. I obsessed about every single thing I put into my mouth. At the end of 5 months I had lost 40 pounds, 16 inches off of my waist (not a typo), 7 ¾ inches off of my abs, 1 inch around bicep, 1 inch around calves, 11 ¾ around my hips, and 5 inches off of my chest. Yippee, right? Heck no! I came in 3rd and was mad. I looked healthy and felt great, but I didn’t win. I am very competitive. I left the announcement of the winner and went to Braums and ordered a double dip hot fudge sundae. That was all it took and the spiral started and soon I was back to where I started plus a few extra.
I believe I have tried every diet…Weight Watchers, Atkins, Keto, Mediterranean Diet, Whole 30, Jenny Craig, shakes, tea, pills…you name it and I have probably tried it. I seemed to be having success on one of those and lost weight before my wedding in 2017, only to end up having to have a very expensive MRI, because of some issues I had started having, just to find out I had a fatty liver that I could contribute to my diet. Once I stopped the diet, my issues went away.
When I was younger I played softball, basketball, and was a cheerleader. I was limber and full of energy. I loved to play sports and be a part of a team. Even when I was young and in shape I never liked to just do aerobics (yes, I am part of the Jane Fonda era), run, or lift weights, so after high school I had a hard time finding something that I enjoyed for physical activity and eventually just gave up.
I would say I was fine with how I looked. Liar, liar, pants on fire. I then started to convince myself that as long as I did not hit 200 pounds I was ok. Well, here came 200 pounds and he brought a few of his friends.
I tried to blame my thyroid. I do take medication for my sluggish thyroid and while that may make it a little harder, it was not the real reason. It was the Mcgriddle and sweet tea on the way to work, sweets that were laying around the office, fast food for lunch, and yummy meals full of carbs for dinner. Don’t forget the dessert I would need before bed. Sodas and sweet tea to wash it all down.
I really did not suffer any consequences from my extra weight until I was somewhere in my 40’s. The 40’s hit me and I felt old. If I bent down it took longer to get up and my knees would hurt when I did, my sleep was suffering, and I was out of breath and would start to sweat when I went up one set of stairs. The fat started to roll and sag like never before and made it hard for me to find clothes that I felt good in.
Many moons ago I remember seeing an episode of Oprah where she or a guest said that if you have weight issues, there is a reason behind it. This has stayed with me since that very moment that I heard it. I am no Psychologist, only married to one, but I don’t believe there has to be issues. I like food and I don’t like to exercise. Plain and simple. I love to cook and bake, and yes, the food that I like is fried, buttered, and sugared. I am the first to say “I am a food addict”, but I don’t believe I stress eat and I don’t have a trauma that causes me to have a food addiction. I eat when I am happy, sad, hungry, full, content, in a box, with a fox, in a house, or with a mouse. I like the taste of food. Mostly sweets, pasta, and bread.
In the fall of 2018 I decided that I had to do something. I knew I had lost weight 10 years earlier at The Biggest Loser competition and even though I did it in a healthy way, I knew there was no way that I could sustain that lifestyle while I worked full time. There would be no time left for my family.
I had been doing Intermittent Fasting for the previous 6 months and I felt great. Right off the bat or trying Intermittent Fasting I lost 10 pounds, but of course that was water weight. After 2 months of starting fasting, I could not believe how great I felt. My sleep was better, the aches had lessened, and the brain fog had lifted. I am not a doctor, so I will not suggest this for anyone and you can do your own research. I do the 16/8. This means I only eat during the same 8 hour window every day. I choose to eat only during the hours of 11am to 7pm. I don’t ever see a day that I will not do the fasting because of how good I feel. My doctor is a proponent of the fasting.
Water, water, and more water. When I had a trainer, he had told me that when you are trying to lose weight you should drink half of you weight in ounces. So, for me at 200 pounds, that means I would drink 100 ounces. I know this can be hard at first and you will feel like you are constantly running to the restroom and that is because you will be. Give it about 2 weeks and the constant bathroom visits will slow down. I also love how this makes me feel. It flushes my body and fills me up. Plus, my skin looks great when I drink the water.
The fasting and water alone just would not do the trick. I knew I had to change my eating habits and add exercise. I don’t even like to type the word exercise, much less do it.
In January of 2019 I joined a gym that was close to my house. I would go at 8:30pm after I cleaned up from dinner and the kids were all starting to wind down. I stayed for an hour and would be home and could shower and be in bed by 10:15pm. I went to the familiar treadmill and walked. Not far, but I walked. I didn’t walk far because I was unable to, but because I was bored and didn’t enjoy it. I would say lies to myself when I wanted to quit after 15 minutes. “At least I did some today. That is better than nothing”. No, that is not ok. I had to keep trying and working harder and I did. I have moments that I still try to lie to myself and I still don’t like it. I don’t get an exercise high or runners high. Y’all, it sucks! Plain and simple, it sucks! But, I know I have to do it.
When it came to food, I knew that I did not want quick fix, gimmicky, diet of the month. I wanted something that I cooked and the whole family ate. I don’t want to count calories, fats, carbs, sugars, separate foods in colored containers, go to meetings, or order food. These are all great if they work for you and what you choose to do. That is just not what I wanted to do.
I decided to eat what God gave me. Fruits, vegetables, fish, chicken, and meat. I seriously do not know how many calories I eat in a day. If I had to guess, I would say around 1,500. I am way less hungry because of the amount of water I drink and my stomach shrunk from Intermittent Fasting. I also try to do lower fat. The amount of fat I was doing on the previous diet is what contributed to my fatty liver. The only foods that I do not eat every day is white potatoes, rice, and grain. This is because after almost 50 years of being on this earth, I know that not only are those the things that pack on the pounds for me, they are also what I can taste and put in me in a quick tailspin. I can’t control myself when I eat those foods.
The easiest way to explain what I do, is no processed foods. When I go to the grocery store, I shop on the outskirts of the store. The processed and refined foods are in the middle.
This was/is hard. Y’all, I have had to pray to God to help me drive by a Sonic, so that I would not stop and get a cherry dr. pepper. I wish I was kidding, but I am not. I have had to have my husband and kids encourage me to go the gym. It is hard to come up with my weekly menu with foods that will satisfy me as much as a big plate of pasta or a bag of potato chips.
I am down 33 pounds from 1 year ago. My skin looks great from all of the water I drink. I sleep better and have no brain fog from the Intermittent Fasting. The aches have lessened. It is easier to find clothes that fit and I look better in them. My face is not swollen looking. Overall I just feel better.
Could I have lost more? Absolutely! I could have lost all of the extra weight that I need to lose. I didn’t work as hard as I could have. I let myself go crazy with foods during the holidays and vacation. I did not gain any back during these times because I stuck with the Intermittent Fasting and water intake.
I even had a few restarts along the way. It is ok. What would not have been ok is if I stopped and didn’t restart.
Guess what? I am still 33 pounds lighter and feel great.
Like I said in Please Don’t Let Me Be the Person I Was Last Year, I don’t want to ever look back on the year and see that I did nothing. That I just stayed stagnant. Let me say it again, I AM 33 POUNDS LIGHTER THAN I WAS A YEAR AGO! If you are 5 pounds or 10 pounds lighter in a year, you are still 5 pounds lighter or 10 pounds lighter. Don’t use the word “only”. If you say you “only” lost 10 pounds, it diminishes the success you had. Those 5 or 10 pounds lost are better than zero lost.
I am no doctor or dietician. I just know what is working for me. I have 40 pounds to go and hope to reach that goal next year, but if not, I will keep going.
For me it is more of a mental challenge than it is physical. I have had to quit lying to myself and placing the blame on age, thyroid, time, and other excuses.
I believe I have a better chance of keeping the wait off because I have taken it slow and not tried to get a quick fix.
If you also struggle with weight, today is your day. I know you can do this, because I am doing it. It is a slow process and the only thing that can make it slower is if you don’t start or you quit.