A little backstory…

Hello there!  Happy Wednesday!

Okay, so I mentioned in my first post something about my “healthier new lifestyle.”  I figured I would take some time this evening to explain what’s going on there.

I, like so many other people, am on a weight-loss journey.  But it’s more than that to me now.  I really want to live healthily.  I’m through looking for a quick fix, and I’m ready to put in the time and the work it takes to overhaul my life.

When did my struggle with my weight begin?  I was a skinny little kid, but when I was eight, I got spinal meningitis and nearly died.  It was a miracle that I lived, actually.  I was put on tons of steroids, and they caused me to expand quite a bit.  In addition to this, my parents’ divorce/my mom’s remarriage/moving to a new town all really took their toll on me, and I used food as a coping mechanism.  I became chubbier, and was somewhat chubby throughout middle school before dropping some weight as a freshman in high school.  That had been pretty effortless on my part; all of a sudden, I was slimmer.  It could have been all that unrequited love and 14-year-old angst, haha.

My weight slowly crept back up, and I’d gained around thirty pounds by the end of my junior year.  I decided that I was going to look awesome in my senior pictures, and I dropped all that weight in about two months.  I gained about ten of it back over the next year, but when I went to college, I worked out regularly and tried to eat healthily, despite dorm food.  I got married in 2005, and lost another ten or so pounds by the summer of 2006.  I looked great and finally felt like I was on the path to a healthy new life.  I thought I had it under control.  But over the next couple of years, I gained. And gained. And gained.

There came a point in time when I just stopped stepping on the scale.  I was in grad school, and my husband was quitting his PhD program because of some bad experiences there.  He went from being good-natured and optimistic to being extremely stressed and unhappy.  By my final semester of grad school, we barely spent quality time together, he was unemployed, I would soon be out of school and also unemployed, and we were just not happy.  It was hard.  We ate without paying attention to what we were eating, and our health took a backseat to all of our other worries.  One evening, after discovering that none of my clothes fit properly and finding some lovely new stretchmarks, I stepped on the scale.  My jaw literally dropped.  I didn’t know that was something that actually happened to people until I felt my mouth fall open at the number on the scale.  It was thirty pounds more than the last time I’d been on the scale, and about sixty pounds heavier than I’d ever thought would be acceptable for me.  I sobbed in bed that night, feeling completely sorry for myself, hating what I’d let myself do.  I vowed to be better.

Was I?  Not really.  Not for a while.  In May, Daniel and I both miraculously found jobs.  (Seriously…it could barely have been more miraculous if God had literally handed us our jobs.  He gets all of the credit for that.)  We were on the way to being happy again, and we started to care again!  We work together, and so we joined a staff development program that was all about healthy living.  The goal was to lower your risk for diabetes by losing 5%-10% of your body weight over the course of the 12-week program.  Our final weigh-in was today, and I was down 12 pounds, and Daniel had shed 14.  Woo!  The weight loss is not nearly as rapid as it was for me when I was younger, but I can honestly say I’m being healthy and sensible about it this time, and I’m in it for the long haul.  I’m not obsessing over every little morsel I eat, but my general approach is much healthier.  Overall, since February, I’ve lost about 20 pounds.  I still have a long way (50-70 pounds; we’ll see where I feel best) to go before I’m at my ideal weight, but I am ON MY WAY.  And it feels incredible.

So thanks for taking the time to read that.  I expect to slip up frequently, but now, when I do, I plan to pick myself right back up and keep on going.

And now, since this post has been oh so wordy, here are some pictures of my weight rollercoaster.

At my bridal shower, the summer after my freshman year of college. I was 19 and moderately fit. I also love my hair here.

Woo! Losing weight here. This was February 2006, and that's my friend Erin. We were going to a ball together.

I basically stayed away from cameras as much as possible for a while.  In fact, I’ve only recently felt comfortable enough to be a willing participant in a picture again.  There aren’t many pictures of me from the last few years because of it, so I’m skipping ahead quite a bit with this next one.

Halloween 2008. 22 years old.

Ugh.  This is one of the WORST. PICTURES. EVER.  I hate it, but I’m including it because it’s part of my journey.  The pictures from this night were a wake-up call for me – I had no idea I looked like that.  When I saw these, I realized that so much of the definition in my face, so much of what I thought made me a pretty girl, was just gone. I knew I was heavy, but feeling like I wasn’t even pretty anymore was like having the wind knocked out of me.

But that, as you know, is in the past!  I am slowly but surely regaining my confidence.  I want to be a happy, healthy, fabulous twentysomething, and I’m on my way.  There are good things ahead.

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