On: Weight Loss
Happy New Year! This is the time of year where many people make resolutions, often surrounding weight loss, so I figured it would be a good time to reflect back on my own experiences with weight loss over the years. I’ve only really been successful at losing weight twice in my life (not counting after I had my babies), other than that, all I seem to do is gain weight.
I’ve been conscious of my weight for as long as I can remember, possibly even starting in elementary school (research shows that kids as young as FIVE are already concerned about their body image!). The first time I really remember going on a diet was when I was in seventh grade, my friend and I decided to keep track of what we ate in a food journal, trying to limit our calories. I danced (ballet, jazz, tap) from second grade until I was a sophomore in high school. You always hear about dancers having eating disorders or whatever, but that didn’t really affect me too much. I was definitely larger than most of the girls in my classes, but still pretty thin (not that I realized that back then). When I stopped dancing, I did gain some weight, and I went on several other “diets” throughout high school, but overall nothing staggering. I thought I was so fat in high school (and again, I was definitely bigger than the “popular” girls) but looking back at pictures, I would kill to be that size again!!
When I went off to college, I actually LOST weight, when most people gain the freshman 15. I 100% give credit for this to my husband (boyfriend at the time). He was a year behind me in school, so I was up at college without him. I didn’t eat out a lot and had nothing better to do than work and go to the gym. I don’t think I lost a ton of weight, but I was in the best shape of my life. The next four years of college, though, I gained a5-10 pounds per year and left school 25 pounds heavier than I started. I also give credit for this to my husband. He was up there with me, so we ate out together a lot more and I went to the gym a lot less.
Once I started a real job, I was traveling to small towns where the only place to eat was Subway, Pizza Hut Buffet, or a local diner. We also had food brought into work ALL THE TIME, especially during tax season when we were working long hours and not able to go to the gym as often. Double whammy. In my first three years out of college, I gained FORTY pounds. Yikes.
Then I started a new job with less travel and stress and thought the pounds would just melt off. Well, they didn’t. Some of my old bad habits stuck around more than I thought they would, and one thing I’ve noticed is weight doesn’t just FALL off, you have to kick it out. Then, about six months after I started that job, I did a sugar detox, similar to the one I did a few months ago, only it wasn’t phased, and fruit was always allowed. I lost a total of 17 pounds in that month and the few months following. So there it is, the second of the two times in my life that I’ve lost any real weight, and it wasn’t even as much as I had gained in the previous three years! But to stay positive, I looked and felt great, and I was the healthiest I’ve probably been in my life (except that first year of college).
I think the major differences between that time and the sugar detox I did recently were my mindset and stage of life I was in during them. You already know I’m a major stress eater. I had so much less stress in my life back then it’s not even funny. I had no kids yet (love those girls, but kids are HARD WORK), my job was less stressful, and I had a lot more time and energy to work out. So I wasn’t as tempted to go as overboard on non-sweet things as I did this time (hello white cheddar cheeze-it binge). I also didn’t go right back to eating ALL THE SUGAR after the detox was over, I actually started eating it in moderation and kept the weight off.
Fast forward a few months, and I became pregnant with my first baby. I continued eating well and exercising during pregnancy, gaining a healthy 25-30 pounds, losing it within a couple weeks of giving birth, but no more. It’s like my body knew where I started at before pregnancy and wouldn’t budge below that. It was frustrating, but I still looked and felt good, getting back into working out pretty quickly, and eating moderately.
Then, about six months later, work started getting more stressful, add in a miscarriage and a toddler that takes a lot of time and energy, and my eating and exercising completely went down the tube. I gained 30 pounds before getting pregnant with my second baby, and gained about 30 more during pregnancy. Surprisingly, I again lost all the pregnancy weight within a month or so of giving birth, but no more. I actually fit back into my work pants when I started back at work, which was a pretty big win.
However, a combination of post partum depression, going back to a less than ideal work situation, and the rough transition from one kid to two took its toll on my resolve. I would constantly eat junk food practically all day, causing me to gain another 30 pounds and no longer fit into my pre-pregnancy pants. Not a great feeling.
So that’s where I am now. For those of you keeping track, I am now 85 pounds up from when I graduated college, and a whopping 110 pounds up from when I graduated high school. It’s embarrassing to put this all out there, but also a bit cathartic. I know what you are thinking, this post is titled “weight loss” but seems to be more about weight gain. Well, as I was typing this it started being about all of my ups and downs with weight, but I no one wants to read a post titled “weight gain” so I just kept the title as is. I have something in the works to once again try to heal my relationship with food and get me down to a healthy and happy weight. I’ll write a post about that in a week or two, something for you all to look forward to.