Yep. That's me. I was 24 in this picture and I was the healthiest I have ever been in my life. I suppose that's one of the reasons I wanted to start writing about my experiences of my weight loss journey and my weight gain journey...ugh.
Looking back, I've always worried about what I looked like and how others perceived me. It stems from those childhood woes of being picked on and from those constant ideas that I was a fat kid. By the time I reached high school all that had changed but emotionally, I hadn't. Honestly, I think I could have been a size 6 and some part of me would have believed I was a beast. Somehow I never got to the point where I was confident in who I was outside my body.
I suppose I started gaining weight around the time I was 20 or 21. The freshman 15 showed up later than expected. Of course, it was more like the freshman 25 or 35. Every time life changed my weight fluctuated. If I was single I was smaller and seemed to work out more. If I was attached, well, I got rounder and it just depended on the feeling of the day whether I worked out or not.
I remember stepping on the scale and the needle hit 200. The utter disappointment that fell over me was indescribable. That was the number that seemed to be unreachable and honestly, should have been. From the time I was in 9th grade I was pretty active and all of a sudden, or so it seemed, I had gained 35 extra pounds of flab. Something happened after that. I knew I had to do something and many things fell into place for me to get myself moving.
I joined a local gym and started with a simple workout program. I was consistent and determined and over time I lost the weight and I was reaching out to others, teaching aerobics and living in a way that I truly felt alive. I had a huge support network at my gym and at my job, since I worked with a lot of women, all of which were looking for motivation and a change too. For once in my life, I was losing weight the right way and I never really cared about the number on the scale. I felt so wonderful and so full of energy, I weighed only because people were constantly demanding a number. I really never thought anything would change because I loved my aerobics classes and how I was choosing to stay healthy. Finally, I had found a way to enjoy working out.
Panic soon set in. I remember the first 5 lbs. I gained back after consistently working out for 2 yrs. I cried and literally was in a state of panic. Things began to change and slowly everything was out of control, or so I thought. Good things were happening but in turn, it threw off my entire routine. I started a new job, had a new love in my life, drama was happening at my gym, and the list goes on. Through all of that change I lost my support system and I lost my focus. I never thought I was going to need a back up plan so I didn't have one. Slowly but surely the weight came back despite my efforts to keep it at bay. I never quit working out and trying completely but my efforts weren't enough. Over the past 4, almost 5 years I have gained more than 50lbs. That's about 10lbs. a year if you can't do that math ; )
Today I am heavier that I have ever been in my life and have about 50lbs. give or take, that I want to lose and need to lose. Whereas in my past life I've wanted to look great in my clothes and wanted attention from all the 'hotties', I now want this for myself and for my overall health. I'm now married so no more worries about what guys think or even other people. It simply comes down to feeling better and waking up every day and feeling alive.
I have serious lower back issues and knee issues and since I've been gaining weight they seem only to worsen. When I'm active they are much better but I know without exercise on a regular basis, those two injuries are only going to get worse. Not to mention, exercise helps prevent...EVERYTHING! There are no guarantees but it is proven to distract from almost, if not all, major illnesses. Having just lost my aunt to cancer it makes me think about that aspect even more. It's crazy how a few years can totally change your perspective on a subject you've seen the same way for years.
I've decide it is time to do SOMETHING. I've been completely lazy lately and haven't taken time to really take care of myself. I don't want to go to the gym and be "the girl that can't do anything" again. That's so frustrating and I always feel like I'm not doing enough since I was once the person that felt like she could do anything. I know I have to forget about before and get moving. I have to forgive myself and start taking care of myself... A.S.A.P. In the words of Kirstie Alley, "GOD!I'm TIRED of being FAT!!!"
The past 2 yrs I have participated in the Susan G. Komen 3-day event which is a 60 mile walk. Honestly, I don't know how I've made it since I was carrying about 40 extra pounds both years. My motivation came from my supporters and from knowing how sick my Aunt Glenda was. I had a goal and I had a purpose. Both years I've walked I was 5 miles shy of the whole 60. On day 1 of the first year I walked with a team that wanted to stop at mile 15 on the first day and so I stopped with them since I didn't want to walk the last 5 on my own. That's weird since I walked the ENTIRE second day, all 21 miles, by myself! Last year on Day 2 I was slowed down by massive blisters. I just couldn't walk anymore so I stopped at mile 15 on day 2. So both years I walked a total of 55 miles, give or take but I wanted to make them all. My will outweighs anything else and this year I am determined to make all 60! After losing Aunt Glenda in February, I have to. I'm in the process of making a patchwork flag containing pictures and memories of her and I plan to carry that flag to the end, to the finish line, as a symbol of a promise I plan to keep: To keep fighting to find a cure for breast cancer. I can't let my body keep me from something so important and well, I won't.
I have a long road ahead but starting this blog is the first step. I want to take care of myself and continue this journey in the right direction. That's exactly what I plan to do! I'm going to allow my body to do what my mind doubts it can.... and I will feel better about the direction I'm going. Support through friends at the gym or school would be great but right now I just have me and somehow that is going to be enough. I've never stopped seeking help, answers or motivation and I can't stop now. This marathon might take me to my grave with frustration but I'm still going to participate!