Thursday, July 11, 2013

From the beginning of the journey...

I can’t put my finger on exactly when I started my journey to lose weight, but I can tell you I was concerned about my weight from a very young age. 12 or 13 maybe. I was “husky”. I felt overweight. When I entered high school, I started exercising and eating better. I lost 15-20 lbs in my freshman year. During my sophomore year of high school, I weighed 126 lbs, at 5’1 and looked (and felt) fantastic.
My friends Terra, Diana, and me the summer in between my sophomore and junior year in high school.

Back then, I walked everywhere. I walked to and from school. My friends and I walked to and from each other’s houses, sometimes miles apart. We were all in pretty good shape. . I was able to keep my weight in control, but I was very aware of my propensity to overeat and how easy it would be for me to put the weight I lost back on.  

Then I got my license. And a car. And suddenly, the walks we used to take became less frequent until they all but disappeared. And slowly, the weight crept on. By the time I graduated high school, I was about 150 lbs. And I felt it. I felt heavy and gross. I attempted to lose weight, but it never stuck. Friends and I attempted to join a gym, but we never went. I wasted so much money on that stupid gym.  I kind of gave up after that. I stopped paying attention to my weight, but I always felt fat.

When I got engaged in 2006, I decided I wanted to do something to lose weight for the wedding. A friend of mine (one of my bridesmaids) and I started trying to eat better and tried to get to the gym on campus a few times a week. But that didn’t last long. We were on a college campus and it was next to impossible to lose the weight with all the temptations of the campus dining hall and the lack of free time.

When I got married in 2007, I was disappointed I didn’t lose the weight I wanted to. I felt angry at myself, but it was what it was. I found a beautiful dress that flattered my plus-sized figure and I felt like a princess, despite my size. 
My wedding day. June 12, 2007

In 2009, my husband and I decided we wanted to start trying for a baby. I also was diagnosed with PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, which “is a common hormonal disorder in women that with interferes with the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries, or ovulation. It is the most common cause of infertility among women. PCOS occurs when a woman's body overproduces sex hormones, called androgens. The hormone imbalance prevents fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries from breaking open and releasing mature eggs. The fluid-filled sacs bunch together, causing many tiny cysts. Symptoms of PCOS include missed periods, abnormal facial and body hair growth, acne, and weight gain. PCOS may run in families.” (WebMD)

Aha! That was part of the reason why it was so hard for me to lose weight! I’m not blaming all my weight gain or inability to lose weight on the PCOS, but suddenly I had some clarity. It wasn’t all my fault. Of course, my behavior had a lot to do with it- my frustration about not being able to lose weight fueled my emotional desire to eat, which compounded my weight problem. It was a vicious cycle.

It was at that time that another friend of mine joined Weight Watchers and asked me if I wanted to join. I had done Weight Watchers online a few times in college, without much success, so I was hesitant. But I desperately wanted to lose weight because I knew it would be easier for me to conceive if I wasn’t so heavy. So in September 2009, I joined Weight Watchers and found Val, my leader. 
Doing a reading at the wedding of my friends Amanda & Will July 2009

From September 2009 until I got pregnant in February 2010, I faithfully attended my meeting. I had some success, but I also had to swallow the hard pill that fertility treatments and hormone imbalances can make it hard to lose weight. But I didn’t give up. I was frustrated, but I kept on going. I may not have lost a lot, I may have gained some, but I didn’t give up. I wish I had the records from that time, but my weight watchers tracker reset once I restarted after my return following the birth of my children.

Once I got pregnant, I had to stop officially working the Weight Watchers program, but the things I learned about healthy eating and exercise stayed with me. I followed the healthy guidelines and watched what I ate. I developed gestational diabetes during my pregnancy, which isn’t surprising given the fact I was carrying triplets. I am convinced that the knowledge I gained during my time at Weight Watchers before I got pregnant helped me control my diabetes. I was blessed to be able to control it through diet and monitoring of my blood sugar.  I gained only 17 lbs during my pregnancy (although I gained almost 20 with the fertility treatments). When I delivered, I was below my pre-pregnancy weight.  

 In September of 2010, I was cleared by my doctor to start Weight Watchers again, although with serious restrictions on my activity. My official Weight Watchers start weight this go around was 158, but my “real” start weight is 180. I was able to lose 22 lbs between giving birth to my babies and getting clearance to start the program. 
Holding my son in the NICU. September 22, 2010

The last 2 1/2 years have been a struggle to lose weight, even with the program. I have lost another 11.4 lbs in the past 2 1/2years, for a total of 33.4 lbs. It sounds so little when I write it like that, but that is the truth of it. I could choose to get frustrated at my lack of progress or I can accept it and aim to do better.

While I may have only lost 11.4 lbs, my body is completely different now than before. I am almost the exact weight (give or take 5 lbs) as I was when I got married in 2007. I wore a size 14 pants then. Now I wear a 6 or an 8. I am physically stronger. 
My son and me again, July 10, 2013

I had to wait a long 18 months after having my babies before being cleared to start exercising again. I need to remember that when looking at my progress (or lack thereof). Once I was able to start exercising, I noticed changes. Not in my weight loss, but in my body- this, in my opinion, is more important.
More than my body changing, my mind has changed. My brain is different than it was when I started.  Surprisingly, I am not upset about my lack of progress. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I am a little disappointed in it, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I wouldn’t trade my journey to be at goal right now. 

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because we know that the testing of our faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4

My journey is one of those trials. I have learned so much over the last 2 ½ years. I can’t even begin to describe it. I am not the same person anymore. I have found my voice.

I don’t know how much longer it will take me to get to goal, but I’m not in a rush. It will happen in God’s time. When I have learned enough, I will get there. I know even once I am there, I will continue to learn. We never stop learning. About our bodies, about our journeys, about life. 

I am currently working with my doctors to get my PCOS symptoms under better control. I am working with my Weight Watcher leader and my meeting room to keep my head under control, to have realistic expectations and to be kind to myself during this transitional time. 
I hope you join me on the rest of this journey of mine. And I hope this helps you in your journey too, wherever that journey is taking you.

God bless. 

Heading in a new direction...

Something clicked with me yesterday at my Weight Watcher’s meeting and I felt called to share part of my weight loss journey with you, as well as a few other stories that are still floating around in my head and will likely make their ways to your computer screens soon. Since I started this blog with my Journey to Motherhood, I think it is fitting for me to start this series of posts with my Weight Loss journey- where it started, how I got where I am now, and some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way. Some of those lessons I will delve into more deeply in posts to follow. If there is something you want to know about my journey, send me an e-mail or a comment and I will be happy to respond. I hope you are blessed by my thoughts.