I recently wrote a blog post describing my life right now, as an obese woman, including all sorts of details about the generally healthy lifestyle that I currently lead, and all the things that make me feel good about myself that have nothing to do with my weight. In the words of some sparkfriends, I exuded confidence in that post. For those that know me well, confidence has been something I've only acquired in the last five years or so. Many may have assumed from my recent blog that I am content with my weight. That is definitely not true. My weight has always been somewhat of a struggle. Making healthy decisions and trying to lose weight is almost always a thought in my mind. In order for you to better understand where I am coming from, here is a brief timeline of how weight issues have played out in my life.
As a child, I was not significantly overweight, but both of my parents have struggled to keep their weight under control. My parents fed us healthy meals and raised us with mostly healthy habits. One thing that in later years, I have realized might have caused some issues for me, was my father would always dish out our food and we had to eat whatever was on our plates. My issue with this is that I didn't really learn to listen to my body. Even today, I have to remind myself that it is okay not to finish the food on my plate, especially at restaurants where serving sizes are often more like 2 or 3 meals in one. However, they did instill plenty of good habits. We never drank soda. We always ate dinner as a family. We ate plenty of vegetables. We would go hiking frequently with my father and led a fairly active lifestyle.
As a teenager, I became more and more insecure about my body. I was the oldest of four girls. We shared a bathroom growing up and even though I was older and significantly taller than all my sisters, I compared my body to theirs. I am currently 5'7" and they are all between 5'1" and 5'4". For most of my high school years, I weighed around 150-160 pounds. In hindsight, this was a healthy weight for my height, but I always just felt large. I felt uncomfortable in my own body. I was also always "the smart girl". I was never disliked, but people didn't go out of their way to truly befriend me. I felt a little bit alone.
me and my sisters in high school
me and a friend at senior prom
When I went away to college, I wanted things to be a little different. I wanted to move away from my high school self. I went to undergrad in NYC. It was a great learning experience in many ways. At first, in large part to my own shyness, I would go to the school dining hall alone. I would try to get my food without talking to anyone or waiting in long lines. This ended up meaning that I did not go through the hot food lines. I went to the salad bar and got whatever looked the freshest, usually cucumbers. Then I would get chocolate milk because it was a novelty to have there. After a month or two of what I call my "cucumber and chocolate milk" phase, I was down to my lowest weight ever, about 145 lbs. Eventually, I grew more comfortable at school and made some friends. By the end of college, I let my weight increase again. The highest it ever got during this stage of my life was about 175 lbs.
After college, I got a job right away, and then with no explanation, I lost it again only a few months in. After that, I started subbing here, there and everywhere. I was living at home with my parents, and in lieu of paying rent, I cooked dinner for my parents. Weight-wise, this was a good time for everybody. I experimented with new foods like quinoa and ground turkey, tried to create healthier alternatives for everybody. My meals were so successful that my father managed to lose 50 lbs. Overall, I felt pretty good about myself.
In the next year, my career got underway. I got a job teaching special education at a school North of Boston. I moved into an apartment on my own for the first time. I started making some friends. Initially when my social life started up, I gained some weight. This was due to going out to eat a lot or going out drinking and dancing with my friends. These were things that even back in college, I never did. I got up around 190 lbs at one point. Then a colleague and friend of mine decided to join a gym. We ended up getting convinced to sign up for personal training. She and I split the time, and consequently the cost. This started the busiest and healthiest time in my life. I learned a lot during this time about maintaining a social life while also staying healthy. I would make dates to hang out with my friends at parks, going for walks, at the gym, etc. We would stll go out to eat, but I always ordered a salad, and maybe a glass of wine if I wanted a drink. When we went hiking and went out for frozen yogurt afterwards, I would top mine with berries instead of chocolate. I also got involved with a new hobby: reenacting the revolutionary war period. I really really enjoyed life during this period. However, I was still discontent with life. I wanted a husband and a family of my own. I felt like there was something wrong with me as I watched two of my baby sisters get married, while I went on date after date, yet noone seemed to want me. During this period, I weighed about 165 lbs.
New Years Ever 2013-14 was when life changed again. I had been communicating with a friend for years. We originally met when I was in college in NYC, approximately 2008. We'd chatted on and off for years, mostly online. That new years eve, I was feeling lonely. I sent this guy a message with this picture.
I asked him to come visit me. He couldn't make it that night, but soon enough, I asked again and we met up. We started dating. We went out to eat a lot. We also started going to breweries together. I had never been a big drinker, but when he told me that he only drank "the lightest beer on the menu" I wasn't having it. I had been raised to believe that you can't say you don't like something if you've never tried it, so I set out to introduce him to other varieties of beer. Going to micro-breweries together became sort of a thing for us. I occasionally convinced him to go for a walk or a hike with me, but it was definitely less often than I used to go.
June 2014-with my newborn niece
By the time Christmas rolled around the next year, I had packed on the weight again. I was up around 190 lbs.
He still loved me though, and proposed in July 2014. I kicked my butt in gear and tried hard to lose the weight, but it just wasn't easy. I only managed to lose a few pounds despite going to a twice a week bootcamp, doing Beachbody workout videos, and eating healthy foods. By our wedding, I weighed about 185 lbs.
Wedding Day with my sisters
After the wedding, I moved to NY. We continued going to breweries together, we went on vacations fairly frequently. My weight crept up and up and up. In the winter, I was up to 210 lbs. By the summer of 2016, my weight had skyrocketed to 220 lbs.
This is certainly not acceptable. I remember, shortly after the wedding, stepping on a scale and realizing I was obese at about 195. Getting up to 220 was insane. I started changing things big time. I took my diet down to the very regimented diet that I described in the last blog. I basically stopped drinking. I only drink about once or twice a month now. And it's worked to some degree. I am down to 210 lbs now, but that is not good enough. It is a battle that I am fighting every day. I am kind of at my wits end with how else to lose more weight now. It just seems to keep sticking to me despite keeping to a calorie restricted diet these days. I know I could be more active, but I am certainly not content at my current weight. My goal is to get out of the obesity range. For me that means, I need to get under 190 lbs, which means I have 30 more pounds to lose. After that, the long term goal is to get back to the "normal" weight range, for me that means under 160 pounds. I don't know how I am going to do that, but I am trying.