I know exactly where to start. More than half of the people who talk to me about my weight loss ask the same thing: "What made you want to lose weight?", "What made you say 'enough is enough'", or my personal fav: "what made you decide you didn't want to be fat anymore?". Obviously there are a million reasons I needed to lose weight. I was less than 20lbs away from 300lbs... at the rate I'd been steadily gaining I was going to make it there within the next few years. I started to feel uncomfortable in all my clothes. Moving to southern Florida didn't help, but I wanted to wear pants less and less, skirts more and more. Pants (unless they're sweatpants) were SO uncomfortable and hot. I may have been fat, but I was not a hot mess. Sweatpants every day is not an option, so skirts it was. Ladies, imagine my life. I had to shave like every frieken day :-P However, no doctor had ever told me I had a weight related health issue and since I have always been confident in my appearance, losing it really wasn't on my agenda. I thought I'd be fat forever, and I embraced it.
But what was the AHA! moment? I wish I could say it was not that dramatic and there isn't one, but there is. I had just got home from spending Christmas in Tampa with my family and I was grocery shopping. In the parking lot a recruiter from the blood bank approached me and asked me if I had 30 minutes and would like to save 3 lives. Being a model member of society and all *cough*, I donate blood every few months anyway, he was with the blood bank I donate too as well, so I said "SURE, why not?!" Little did I know this was literally the first moment of the rest of my life.
Same process every time you donate. Fill out the form, answer the questionnaire. Answer some questions the nurse lady asks, sign on the dotted line. Finger prick, blood pressure check. Then she said it, "you're blood pressure's a little high", and continued pricking and draining me. I'd never had high blood pressure. I almost took pride in the fact that I was fat but still "healthy", and now this woman was telling me I had fucking eaten myself sick. Disgusting.
When I got home I googled my blood pressure results, 80/120, and found I had just slipped into the "pre-hypertension" category. That means your blood pressure is higher than recommended, but not high enough you need to be on any medication or anything yet. But it didn't matter. I was 23! I should not be worrying about if my blood pressure is rising, but I was, and I had done it to myself.
The next day I cleaned out my fridge, cut up my pizza and cookie coupons, and started the rest of my life. I was visiting my psychiatrist (you will hear me refer to him as my shrink from time to time. I am not ashamed to admit I see a psychiatrist, I think the world would be a better place if we all had a non-biased, educated, listener in our lives.) and decided to mention my weight loss plan. I admitted to him that I felt like an addict sometimes, telling myself I was not going to eat something and literally waking up at 3am and eating it. I would get so fixated on a craving that I couldn't stop thinking about it until I ate it. Unfortunately my cravings were not for celery and tofu. This is clearly not my shrink's specialty but he offered me this: Anything you do that makes you feel ashamed is messing with your self esteem. Shame is an emotion that needs to be recognized and corrected before it causes additional issues. He suggested I look into a support group, like Over Eaters Anonymous (yes, it exists). I was not too excited about that. Admitting some of the habits I was most ashamed of, face to face, to strangers, was not appealing, but I still went home and hopped on google.
There actually IS a chapter of OEA right in the city I live in. But I never got the balls to go to it. Instead I stumbled across sparkpeople.com and decided to make a profile. It's a fabulous website, similar to myfitpal.com and others. I put in my weight, what I wanted to weigh, and by when (it will not allow u to lose more than 2lbs a week so you set realistic goals) and then it tells you how many calories to eat and burn each day. You have the option of them designing a menu for you, but I need more freedom than that. This was January 2, 2012. I said I wanted to lose 85lbs(to take me to "wonderland" aka 199lbs) and the soonest it would allow me to choose was the middle of August. "Yea fucking right!" I thought, how the hell am I going to lose 85lbs in less than a year?! Here we are, half way through July, and I've lost 75lbs. I have 1 month to lose 10lbs and I will hit my goal. Sitting here writing this I cannot even believe it. It is attainable, I can do it, it is RIGHT there! However my final goals have changed. Although there will be a celebration when I get under 200 I now plan to get between 185-195. It'd actually be awesome to take it to 184 and lose a solid 100lbs.
I followed SparkPeople's direction. I not only tracked my calories, fat, fiber, carbs, and protein but I also put in effort to buy clean foods. I am not rich so do not let the world tell you it's "too expensive to eat healthy". I spend less than $200 a month on food, and I make at least 12 meals from scratch every week, plus I have snacks. When I was eating Domino's and Taco Bell every day I probably spent a minimum of $100 a week on food. Expensive habit. Now I try not to eat preservatives if I can help it. If a food has ingredients I cannot pronounce I try not to buy it. Think about it, if you can't even say it should you be putting it in your body?! I try to buy as few pre-made things as possible so I can control exactly how much of everything goes in it. Besides, if I buy a pizza, I get fat. If I MAKE a pizza, I get skinny, easy decision. Now as motivating as this all may be, don't be fooled into thinking I haven't slipped up. I am human, of course I have. Sometimes when I haven't had a single "cheat" item in two weeks I feel like I just HAVE TO have something bad. Like I am not living life for real if I deprive myself of all the delicious things in it. And honestly, I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Regular people eat shit once in a while. I want to make a lifestyle change I can stick with. I can't never eat grease again. Thinking that will make me quit a diet altogether. But knowing I can eat "bad" food every now and then makes it a lot easier to eat "good" food today. I've mastered only eating bad food occasionally, now I am working on self control once the flood gates open. It's not like I am having a slice of pizza, I am eating A PIZZA. And because I am always watching my budget when I see that I can get a large pizza and cinnastix for $16 or I can get a small pizza for $10, I can't help but get the more for less deal. But the problem is within 24hours I've eaten ALL the food, normally alone. I've been trying to teach myself to buy food for what it is, not the price. So even if the small pizza is not a deal at all, in reality I know it's smarter to only buy the small, so I only eat a small, because if I get a large, I'm eating it. Or I should say I would've eaten it. I've been pretty good controlling my "bad" food portions on "cheat" days. My advice for people who feel like you MUST have a cheat day: weigh yourself that morning before you eat, after you pee. Then eat yourself into a coma. The next morning weigh yourself again. Now think about how long it took you to lose what you just managed to gain in 24hrs. Remember this next time you want to cheat all day. I am done with cheat days. I still have them technically, but it doesn't mean I can eat all kinds of shit all damn day. It means I can have one high calorie meal or desert. So if I go out to eat and order pasta with cheese sauce and bread, I am eating a salad for dinner. I heard a quote recently that put this into perspective for me:
"saying 'ive already ruined my good eating for today, ill just eat like crap' is like saying 'i dropped my phone on the floor, so i'm just gonna smash it till it breaks'."
I'll end with that tonight! Thank you for supporting my journey! I don't imagine most of my posts will be this long again, but who knows, sometimes I just love to write and I have so much to talk about!
Looking forward to it,