Six years ago, I was pretty happy with myself physically. I worked out with a trainer three days a week, and ran on the treadmill every day. I watched what I ate for the most part, but felt little guilt or effects when I treated myself to something sweet. Which I did often.
I was strong and felt great in a pair of jeans. (Truth be told, no woman really feels great in a swimsuit, even when they look fantastic in one).
Then I got hit with a hurricane of crippling health issues. I've shared that story before here. To say it was brutal is a complete understatement. I went from being an active, healthy mom to a bed-ridden depressant who medicated with food.
Getting diagnosed with Crohn's disease was only the beginning.
It was followed a few year or two later with a move to a new city. One that was harder to adjust to than any of our previous moves. I struggled to plug in and find my place. I cried often and felt totally alone. It was a devastating move for my kids, as well. You can read about that here and here.
All this stress led to a complete and total physical breakdown. Pounds piled on until it became too hard to exercise with any regularity. I felt horrible in my own skin and ate like my plane was going down. Over the course of four years, I gained nearly 40 pounds.
I hated how I felt physically. I hated how I felt mentally.
I looked at photos of myself and cringed. This was not the girl I knew. This was not who I was supposed to be.
Several times I tried. I did challenges with friends. I joined weight loss groups. I started and failed multiple times. In January of last year, I joined Weight Watchers (for the umpteenth time). I found myself succeeding on the program and dropped 15 pounds. For the first time in a long while, I had hope that I might actually be able to get control of my weight.
Spring break came, and with it a vacation out of town. When I got home, the number on the scale was higher than it had been when I left, so I told myself I would skip Weight Watchers that week, and hit it hard the next week.
I didn't go in the next week. Or the week after that.
A few months went by, and I put back on five pounds.
I was depressed and felt that I would never be able to really get the weight off.
In June of 2015, I decided to try again. The local company I chose was NOT cheap. They offered accountability with a nutritionist and personal training. I decided to pre-pay for six months (though I told myself that if it didn't take, I would be done trying and make peace with my fat self). It cost a small fortune; I ponied up $3,000 for six months and felt sick to my stomach that I'd just thrown my money away.
The nutritionist was there to give me general guidelines and provide accountability. I already knew what I needed to do: Eat less and move more. She was there to review my food logs every day and give feedback. I felt I had three choices. I could: a) not do it and continue gaining weight, thus throwing away all the money I had paid for this; b) lie on the food logs and have the results show up in our monthly weigh-ins, to which I would pretend I had no idea why I wasn't losing weight, thus making me look like an idiot; or c) actually do what she was telling me and try to lose weight.
I chose the third option.
It's been eight months since then, and I am down a total of 37 pounds.
I am three pounds away from where I was six years ago, and am planning to lose another 11-15 pounds total.
Words cannot describe how fantastic it feels. It is a hard-fought battle, and has taken discipline, effort, creativity, and vigilance. I have had plateaus (just came off a one-month plateau, UGH) but have found what consistently works for me.
I have gone from a size 14-16 to a size 6-8. I feel so much better in my own skin and have eradicated nearly all my Crohn's disease symptoms. I will continue to take the medication for that, but I feel SO GOOD. I feel healthy. I feel strong.
I feel like me again.
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: What I'm actually eating.