This is a long post, but I think it’s therapeutic for me to get these words out. I’m about to discuss my journey for weight loss/getting healthy, which has really been sparked by the Biggest Loser competition at work. Brace yourself. 🙂
I’ve written a little about my journey to get healthy. I’ve always struggled with weight, for many reasons:
- I have a severe issue with food. I have sensory processing issues, and it makes me very limited on what I can [but really: what I want to] eat. Textures freak me out. I knew that I was picky, and I’ve always been given a hard time because of it, but I didn’t know how deep it went until work one day. This wonderful OT was filling in until we found a full-time person, and she saw me eating a Cutie (clementine/orange). It took me about 5 minutes to get one little orange ready to eat. She said, “do you have sensory processing issues?” I said, “HUH?!” I then proceeded to tell her how I “eat like a 5 year old.” I love chicken, but I can’t eat red meat. Ground beef especially makes me gag, and when I eat steak, I get anxious for how long it takes to chew it. I don’t like onions in dishes because of their “crisp,” but I love adding tortilla chips or sunflower seeds to salads so that there is something crispy in there. I’m allergic to peanut butter, and since I grew up not eating it, it freaked me out when I tried almond butter on toast (weird, I know). I’ve never eaten tapioca pudding, but the thought of it makes me nauseous. I don’t like fruit and chocolate together, but I love them separately. I love macaroni and cheese, but not so much when there are bread crumbs on them. I didn’t drink coffee, wine, or beer until I was 25 (that was the year of eating broccoli too, but only the top part). I could go on, but the moral of the story is: food is tough for me. I finally recognized my odd system just preferred processed, fast, easy meals. Well it took me a long time to realize that wasn’t conducive to being healthy.
- Until this last year, I didn’t realize I was somewhat gluten sensitive. I thought I just had IBS or something, because my stomach hurt ALL THE TIME. I figured out late high school/early college I was somewhat lactose intolerant as well, because straight-up milk set me straight to the bathroom (TMI?). I was a little relieved about that, because I’ve never been a fan of milk anyway. Luckily cheese and yogurt don’t seem to bother me because I LOVE those two things (well really, only lemon yogurt [see first bullet]). I went gluten-free for 6 months in May-June of 2013, and was amazed how much better my stomach felt, how fewer tension headaches I got, how less bloated I felt, and how much more energy I had. I also learned that there are a lot of “gluten-free” items out there that are still unhealthy. I quickly changed those habits. I know live pretty much 90% gluten-free, and it helps me stay away from things like cookies and doughnuts, which were big tempters in the past. My favorite restaurant down the street, The Flying Goat has an amazing gluten-free pizza, and it curbs that craving. Also, taking probiotics (at the recommendation of the health & fitness guru, my big sis, Jennie), and that has helped calm my stomach down.
- I grew up with some unhealthy things said to me in high school about my weight/appearance. I know my parents were trying to avoid me getting overweight, because they saw some unhealthy habits starting, but I just don’t think they knew the best way to go about it. I know that people handle these situations differently. Some go anorexic, some struggle with bulimia, and others (like me) go the opposite route. Getting past high school alive, I then went to college across the state to play softball. All of a sudden I had free rein at the cafeteria, and I went nuts. (Mind you, I ate the same thing everyday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but still – it was my choice). I slowly started to gain weight, and this carried on for the next 10-12 years. The thing is, I didn’t realize I was overweight. I had all these negative images and comments in my head of what I thought I looked like, so when I got bigger, I didn’t even notice. It seems so messed up, but it’s true. There were moments in my life where I’d lose weight (especially after a breakup with a boyfriend, or when I spent 5 months with Jennie in Hawaii), but I hardly noticed until later, when I’d look back at pictures and think, “huh, I look smaller.” But nothing clicked in my brain. I think food became an addiction for me.
- I don’t really enjoy exercising. In softball, we didn’t have to that much. You’d think I know more about lifting weights, but it wasn’t a big focus on my high school or college teams. Running always hurt my asthma, and whenever I joined a gym, I’d start off strong, and then just be paying for something I wasn’t using.
I can’t even pinpoint when I decided to get healthy. Because I feel like it’s been off and on since about 2009. I had just broken up with a guy I dated for 8 years, and couldn’t stand who I was. I joined Weight Watchers and lost about 30 pounds. I kept it off for a while, and then started dating my [now] husband. We went out to eat a lot, and I was so happy to be with him that as I started to slip back into my old ways, it took me finally getting on the scale to see the 30 pounds I lost was back.
My final internship to get my Doctorate of Physical Therapy was in Olympia, WA, and I knew I had 10 weeks to figure it out. I started Weight Watchers again, and I lost 30 pounds again. I felt great. Then I got a PT job, got a little stressed, and added about 10 pounds back. Well then I got engaged, and knew I wanted to feel good on my wedding day. I did a 9-day cleanse with Isagenix, and dropped about 13 pounds overall. The thing I liked about Isagenix was that after you do the cleanse (which is a cellular cleanse, which “resets” your pH to a neutral level, allowing you to release weight you’ve been holding onto because you eat mostly acidic foods, like I did), you’ve made some healthy habits. You drink 2 shakes a day, which are organic, all natural, and most things gluten-free… but the third meal of the day is a 400-600 organic/clean meal. I started learning about what that meant, and realized how crappy my diet had been, EVEN WHEN I WAS ON WEIGHT WATCHERS. You can eat smaller portions of bad food, but it’s still bad food.
I look back at my wedding day, and I feel like I look swollen and bloated. I do know that the few days before the wedding, I had eaten a lot of carbs and gluten, and it was also 102 degrees that day, but I just wasn’t where I wanted to be. Then came the honeymoon, new house, and new job (all within 2 weeks), and life got stressful again. Some days of eating bad turned into weeks and then months, and then all of a sudden I was back at that dreaded number on the scale. I was so frustrated, and couldn’t believe I let it happen again.
May of 2013 the scale was at one of the highest numbers I’d ever seen. I was honestly disgusted with myself and knew I needed a change. This started off a number of positive changes. I had the gluten-free change, I did a couple more 9-day cleanses with Isagenix (which always make me feel so much better), I started running, did a 5K, and finally started to see the scale go down.
I think my saving grace was “The Biggest Loser” competition at work. It started November 1, and it ends February 28. There are monthly winners ($10 x # of people entered for the month), and the grand prize is $1000. I have completely and totally immersed myself in the competition, and what do you know? IT’S WORKING. I worked my BUTT off in November, winning by .15% (or .5 lbs), and I got $230! It was seriously one of the biggest accomplishments I’ve done, and I am so proud that I did it. I lost 7.98% of my body weight.
December didn’t go so well. I had 15 Christmas get-togethers/parties, and a lot of temptation. I can proudly say though, that I didn’t start to “stray” until December 24, 25, and 26, when we had nice family dinners 3 days in a row. I decided to just be “normal” and eat as if I wasn’t on a “diet” (I hate that word by the way. It’s a freakin’ lifestyle change), and of course, I felt HORRIBLE. Bloated, stomach-ache, etc. Plus the scale at work said I gained 8 pounds. I know it wasn’t real “weight,” but it was enough to get my butt back on track.
I’ve been a member of the YMCA since mid-November of 2013, and it’s been getting good usage. I have an amazing workout buddy, BreAnna, that keeps me on track, and she’s teaching me weights/cardio stuff, and I’m teaching her pool stuff that I’ve learned as a PT. I like to mix it up, doing random weights/body weight stuff, running or walking hill workouts on the treadmill, and exercising/swimming in the pool. Boy, do I love being in the water. Sometimes we’re there for 2 hours and I can’t believe it. Of course, I have more energy, and I’m getting stronger. Low back pain is going away as my core gets stronger, and lifting patients at work is easier. I had a slight setback after my upper back/shoulderblade/rib went out after using the elliptical without arms (hey – I had a good book I wanted to finish 🙂 ), and it took some PT, chiropractic, and massage therapy to go away, but now I’m back in full swing.
My goal is to win for the month of January. So far I’m on track. I already lost back every ounce that I “gained” during Christmas week, and the scale keeps going down. I’m seeing numbers I haven’t very often in the last 10 years (and when I did see them before, they didn’t last long. For some reason, I would get to about where I am now and then stop). I don’t know what my “goal weight” is (I have something in mind), but it’s a place I didn’t think my body could get to. Now I’m gonna keep pushing and challenging it, because I’m curious to see what that version of me will look like.
I am doing WAY too much shopping lately, because clothes are actually fitting me well, and I am feeling confident to wear a lot more items I’d never dream of putting on. Plus, the encouragement and compliments I’m getting from people around me really are a positive driving force to help me keep going.
The competition ends February 28, and the winner is announced March 3. That’s the day after my 30th birthday, and I think it would be a pretty sweet gift to get :).
For some reason, this weight thing has been the hardest thing in my life. School was always easy (with a lot of hard work of course, but I was blessed in that area), and softball was so enjoyable, that I wanted to work at it (but there was plenty of heartbreak in that area, trust me). My dad told me once – if you could set your determination and hard work towards getting in shape and losing weight like you do for your academics, you’d be good to go. That’s always stuck with me, and I’ve always wondered why it wasn’t so.
I just pray that I can continue, and then keep the weight off.
Thanks for all your support, everyone. It would be so much more terribly difficult without all of you ❤