I have always known I was overweight. There is not a specific time when it happened. It wasn’t because of puberty, having kids, or turning 50. It is just a part of my life that has always been there.
I grew up in a family of beautiful people who could eat whatever they wanted without gaining weight. At least that is how I viewed it. I didn’t fit the family mold. I gained weight just by looking at food. I remember one time when I was about eight years old, my grandma wanted to do an experiment to see if I ate the same food as my sister if I would gain weight and she wouldn’t.
When I was 16, some sort of miracle happened and I lost some weight without even trying. I was 5’10” and 145lbs. That is the smallest I had ever been in my entire life. And yet, I was so insecure I didn’t even appreciate it. I wanted to look like everyone else. I didn’t want to be tall and curvy. I eventually gained more weight throughout the rest of my school years. By the time I graduated I was weighing around 175lbs. I’m not sure why, but I can tell you what I weighed at most times of my life. I know that some people don’t believe the number on the scale matters and can go off of how they feel or how their clothes fit, but for someone like me, I need to have that scale as a way to keep me on track and accountable.
At 19 I was pregnant and expecting my first son. I gained 55lbs during my pregnancy. My doctor never once told me to be careful about my weight. For me, it was a free for all. I could finally be heavy and no one could say anything to me. I enjoyed pancakes and chocolate chip ice cream daily.
When I had my 10lb 10oz baby boy I thought the rest of the weight would just fall off. That never happened. I never lost the 55lbs I gained and I pretty much stayed at that weight for a while. By the time I got pregnant with my second son, I was still weighing 235lbs. My doctor told me at that time that I could not gain any weight. I agreed but could not keep the weight from coming on. He sent me to a nutritionist and made me feel bad every time I weighed in. I ended up gaining 20lbs with this pregnancy. When my 11lb 9oz baby boy arrived I actually did weigh less than before I got pregnant. I was feeling good and thought I was on my way to finally lose the baby weight from my first pregnancy.
I feel like I tried my best. I would lose a little here and there but would eventually gain everything back. I’m pretty sure I stopped weighing myself. I could see what I looked like in pictures but overall, I was living in denial about my weight. It was in 1998 (8 years after having my first son and 5 ½ years after having my second) that my then-husband suggested I try Weight Watchers. I was so scared. When I weighed in for the first time I was 304lbs. I was super disappointed in myself and knew the road ahead was going to be hard. I was committed to taking one day at a time.
After my first week, I had lost 5lbs. I felt encouraged. I didn’t feel deprived and was excited to get through each week and weigh in again. Within the first 5 months, I had lost 50lbs. It felt so good. I had been wearing a size 28 and was so proud when I put on an old pair of jeans that were a size 24 and they fit!
During this time, my marriage had fallen apart. I had been living in Texas at the time and decided to move back to California. It was truly one of the hardest times of my life. Several events happened that left me wondering how I was going to survive and worrying about my food was not something I had time for.
I eventually got settled with a new job and an apartment and decided to get connected with Weight Watchers again. I lost another 35lbs. But life as a single mom is very overwhelming. I eventually quit my diet again and was doing my best to just survive my life. My weight would toggle up and down 15lbs but I was determined to never get back to where I was when I started.
Later, I had met a friend at work who wanted to lose weight. I agreed to sign back up to Weight Watchers with her. Sometimes it is helpful to try and lose weight with a friend. They keep you accountable but it is also nice just to share the experience with someone. We both did well at first. She eventually quit but I was determined to keep going. I remember the day I got under 200lbs. When you get anywhere in the 100’s (I don’t care if it is 199.9) you feel like a normal person again. I eventually got down to 182lbs. I also remember the day I walked into a “normal” clothing store and tried on a size 14 skirt and it fit. I think I cried. At this point, I had lost 122lbs and it felt amazing.
In 2001, I again had a big life move that would throw my weight loss journey off. I had moved out of the area and didn’t sign up with Weight Watchers again. I felt that I had all the knowledge I needed and could do it on my own. I did well for a while but when you stop weighing into someone you start having more and more cheat days.
I met a boy and we would spend a lot of time going out to eat. I eventually saw the scale move back up to 192lbs and I panicked. I knew if I didn’t get control of this I was going to be over 200lbs again. I signed back up to Weight Watchers and started my journey again. This time I made my goal! I had gotten down to 154lbs. It was a total of 150lbs lost. It was a miracle!
The very next week I went on a cruise and gained 7lbs. I had gone knowing that I would eat whatever I wanted and deal with the weight loss when I got back. When I weighed in at WW that week I was berated by my leader. She couldn’t believe that I had gained that much weight in one week. I know how quickly I can gain weight so I honestly didn’t think it was that bad. One good meal and I am up 5lbs. But her words broke my heart. I was embarrassed and never went to that WW again. I never did lose the 7lbs I gained.
I would spend the next 16 years going up and down in my weight. I would try different diets, go back to WW, and eventually think I could do it on my own. In 2020, after my 50th birthday, I was ready to try again. I had gotten to 222lbs and I felt miserable. I was tired of going up and down in my weight and I really wanted to understand why I just couldn’t keep the weight off.
As of today, I am happy to say I am back down to 162lbs. I have spent the past year working hard to not only lose weight but work on my health. I have learned how much our brains play a part in our journey and how important it is to rewire it so that you are not fighting against your old ways of thinking. I have learned the importance of eating whole nutritious foods that feed your body what it needs to function properly. I have learned the importance of having a healthy body, mind, and spirit.
My desire is to share with you all that I have learned. This has been a lifelong journey and I am constantly learning and growing. I know that I am not the only one who has struggled and my prayer would be that my story might inspire, encourage or motivate someone and that they too could find the success they are dreaming of.