Saturday, January 5, 2008

Healthy You Challenge Introduction

I've decided to join Scale Junkie's Healthy You Challenge . We're all supposed to give some sort of introduction, or tell our "story" so to speak, so here's mine!

I don't remember a time when I wasn't overweight. I remember having to weigh in PE every year, and being so embarrassed for the person behind me to see that the big weight was at least one 50-pounds bracket above where everyone else was. As a kindergartener, I weighed in at 108 pounds. I have seen pictures of myself as a toddler, and I was average sized. Somewhere between my 4th & 6th year, I gained a LOT of weight. I have asked my mom why she thinks that was, and she doesn't really seem to know either. The only thing I can think of is that we moved during that time, and we became neighbors to my grandma. I spent a lot of time there, and as we all know, grandmas like to feed their grandkids. I think I probably just did a lot of eating, and it wasn't monitored like it should have been... hence the 108 pound kindergartener.

My weight continued to slowly climb as I got older. I don't think there was a single weigh-in in PE where I didn't go up in weight. We stopped the public PE weigh-ins after 8th grade, thankfully. That's about when my weight stabilized for several years. I was at roughly 280 pounds throughout high school, give or take about 5 pounds. No matter what I did, my weight stayed right there. I could watch what I ate, or I could eat crap... it didn't matter.

After high school I went to college. I actually lost 30 pounds the first semester of my freshman year w/o even trying. I went from zero activity to walking at least 2 miles per day, and sometimes 4 miles. I lived in dorms that were about a mile from my classes, and the only way to get there was to walk! I also ate a lot of subway because there was one in my dorm. So the combination of those things kept me from gaining the freshman 15.

My junior year, I moved into my own apartment. I thought this would be good for me, weight/food wise, because I'd have control over what I cooked. The reality of it though, was that I had a very busy schedule, and I rarely cooked. I got fast food usually at least once per day. And not just a burger... I'd get the burger/fries/drink value meal, then get ice cream on top of it.

My friend Melissa had mentioned to me that she and a couple other girls had joined WW. She was new to the program but she enjoyed it. I didn't give much thought to joining... I didn't really care that I was gaining weight & rapidly approaching 300 pounds. But one day, for whatever reason, that changed. I was driving to Dairy Queen, actually, to get some of the aforementioned fast food, and Weight Watchers happens to share the same large parking lot. Instead of going to the drive-thru, I went to WW. And of all the times I could possibly go, I just so happened to go when a meeting was going to be starting in about 15 minutes.

I fought back tears as I entered. I was so terrified. I filled out my paperwork & was greeted at the scale by a friendly, petite woman named Jill. My weight was 296 pounds. I was given my information & took a seat in the quickly filling room. I got out my cell phone & texted Melissa. She immediately called me and said that she was just pulling into the parking lot... this was the meeting she always attended! It was meant to be.

Over the next 4 months, I had a lot of success with the program. I lost about 35 pounds, but when summer came & Melissa moved back home for the summer, I fell off the WW wagon. Without someone to go to the meetings with, my motivation was falling to the wayside. Eventually I just stopped going.

Within a few months, I had gained back everything I'd lost on WW. Over the next couple of years, there were probably 2 or 3 more attempts at getting back on track, but they ended quickly. In July 2006, I met my now fiance. In October we moved in together... and our health seriously took a backslide. We were eating out multiple nights a week, and when we weren't eating out, we were ordering in. We both put on 30+ pounds over the course of the next year.

On August 21st, 2007 I made the decision to return to WW once and for all. I won't say that my upcoming wedding (we're getting married this March 22) was my motivation, but I did know that I didn't want to look back on wedding pictures & hate how I looked. So while that wasn't my only reason for joining, it was a perk, so to speak. I went to a Tuesday evening meeting & just clicked with my leader. She reminds me a lot of my first leader that I adored so much, and I think that helps. I knew my weight had definately climbed over 330 pounds, since that is the max my scale weighs. Anything above that simply reads "error" when you step on it. Yeah, tell me about it... some error that is! By the time I joined WW though, my weight was at 327.6 pounds. Since my first meeting, I have not missed a single week. With the exception of the holiday season, it really hasn't been that hard. I've had just a small handful of weeks that I experienced a gain (3 of them being betwen Thanksgiving & New Years!), but I quickly made up that ground. Since August I have lost 38.2 pounds!

I am making a conscious effort this time to follow good health guidelines, not just "stick to my points". Yes, it's true, you can lose weight by eating junk, as long as you only eat the amount of points you're allowed. But you don't learn a darn thing. That was my mistake the first time on the program... I used all my flex points for alcohol, and a lot of my daily points went to eating as much food as I could for the amount of points I was given. Not this time though! It's really a mental change that is taking place in addition to the physical one. Without that mental change, I don't see the point. Sure, I'd wear smaller clothes & weigh less, but without evolving mentally, I'm none the wiser.

So this introduction turned into QUITE the post, so kudos to you if you read it all! I look forward to meeting some others that may be doing this challenge & reading your intro posts as well!


Krissie said...

Congrats on the engagement and upcoming wedding. That's the time of my life that I lost my weight before. It was really strange - I lost weight because I was happy and I felt like I deserved it instead of having a rock bottom and hating the way I was.
I loved reading your intro and look forward to learning more about you!

Wendi said...

I did read it all and I hope you the very best and congradulations on the weight you've already lost.

Scale Junkie said...

What a beautiful introduction post. I'm so glad you made the decision to go back to WW to lose weight for your wedding, thats a fabulous goal to work towards! You are going to be a beautiful bride!!

Saweetie-Carleen said...

Congrats on the upcoming wedding and all your success so far- I liked reading your story, Mine is somewhat similar- Glad you joined the challenge and look forward to getting to know you more!
Take Care

Kathy said...

Your story is so familiar and I'm so happy for you that you gave it another try. I don't know how many times over the past 38 years that I've started Weight Watchers and didn't stick it out. But this time everything clicked and I'm starting my third year. I think you'll find the blog and the circle of friends you'll make blogging will be a huge help. Blogging keeps me going. I'm so happy I met you and I hope we'll become blogging buddies. Don't worry how long it takes...I truly believe that you can succeed this time...and drag that future Hubby of yours along on the journey to healthier living. BTW...I found quinoa in our local natural foods market...they sell it bulk...but a lot of regular food stores have boxes of foods such as bulgar and just have to explore the aisles.

Heather said...

Im glad you joined the challenge!

Lidian said...

Hi Teale, What a terrific post...Congrats to you on your amazing success since August and on your upcoming wedding. You will be a truly beautiful bride! I am looking forward to catching up with your blog and linking you if that is OK...

I remember getting weighed at school in the 1960s and it was just as awful as you describe - I was usually the heaviest kid in my class, maybe there were 1 or 2 others too but it didn;t matter, seeing that scale looming. And the nurse always YELLED out our weights - thanks a lot for that!

Anonymous said...

Wow -- you're an inspiration :) Glad I found you and plan to read more...:)


Lynn said...

Thanks for sharing the story of how you got to here. It's nice to learn a little more about everyone I blog with!

Anonymous said...

I always get so excited when I hear that someone else has found what could be the 'secret'. Healthy eating! WW is a guideline to help teach good habits and portion control. It can also be the absolute reverse in that you can then be 'allowed' to eat as much crap as you have the points for. But you found the truth and that is what is going to allow you to succeed this time as opposed to other times.

I'm so excited for you!!!!!!!!

Lady Vea said...

Lovely to meet you and I thanks for introducing yourself on my blog, I look forward to journeying together! And congrats on the wedding!!

Swizzlepop said...

What a great intro! Good for you for rejoining WW but also for having tried it in the past. Even if you didn't follow all teh way the last time, you took the first steps. Congrats on your curren tloss as well and of course the wedding!
Keep up the great work, this is clearly your year to shine! :)