Well now. This is my first post, so I suppose I should make a mission statement or something of sorts. But first some background information? I am a 25 year old woman working in the entertainment industry in New York City. While the fast paced environment is great, I’ve allowed it to become my excuse for not eating healthy or working out. I mean, if I have no time, how can I? But I do have the time. And I certainly have the will. So let’s do this!
I recently started Weight Watchers on May 8th. I’ve only been to one meeting, but I am using the app to track my food each day. I’ve been really diligent, even when I’ve cheated and gone over my points, and I can already see the results. I recently read a few blogs from other Weight Watchers members and I found them really helpful and inspiring. I would like to try and keep track of my progress on this thing, mostly for myself so I can see how far I’ve come when I’ve hit my goal, as well as I hope maybe it will help inspire others. My mother did Weight Watchers back when I was in middle school and lost around 20 lbs from her already frail frame, so I’ve been aware of it for a while.
Weight Watchers has been great for me because it’s even more realistic than I thought. In addition to my totally reasonable amount of points that I’m allotted for the day (28 down from 29), I have 49 splurge points to use whenever I choose during the week. I also gain points from activity, which is monitored by my ActiveLink. Basically, they’ve made it as easy as humanly possible to lose weight. And I’m not even being paid to say that. I honestly wish I had tried this before, but I’m happy to start now.
My issues with food and my weight started VERY early on. My gorgeous mother is of East Indian descent and as a result is 5’2″ and naturally thin and small boned. For the majority of my early childhood, she was a mere 105 lbs. When we moved to Boston from California, she naturally put on about 10 lbs and never truly recovered from that. From the age of 5 on, my mother would obsess endlessly over her weight. Constantly showing me her stomach and complaining about how fat she was. Unfortunately for me, this behavior was passed on to me. Also unfortunately for me (or so I always thought), my father’s German-Irish caused me to naturally grow up a little bigger than my mother. By the time I was 10 I was her height and also 115 lbs. I had D cup breasts and looked like a grown ass woman. But being that my mother was the same weight as me and saw herself as fat, I grew to hate my body very early on. I remember at the age of 8, in the second grade, I had begun to put on my prepubescent weight and my father remarked “You know, Al, you’re getting chubby. You really should get on the treadmill.” 17 years have passed and those words STILL sting. I decided then and there that I wanted to lose weight, but I really didn’t know how. Despite my mother’s constant complaints about her size, we didn’t change our eating habits. My family loves food. We love food that tastes good, the kind of food that does NOT love you back. All I knew about weight loss was eat less = weigh less. And so began over a decade long battle with anorexia, binge eating, and bulimia. I played sports and was a fairly active kid, but I couldn’t seem to lose any weight. So I began to simply eliminate meals. At first, it was just lunch. My parents would see me eat breakfast and dinner so I couldn’t get away with cutting those out, but I COULD get away with skipping lunch. I honestly don’t know how I did it now, going six long hours without eating. But I did. But still, nothing changed. As I was by far the first to go through puberty out of my group of friends, possibly even in my grade, I noticed my body was much thicker than theirs. I had hips and breasts and they were all short, long, and lean. I always assumed that no one noticed, but then the teasing began. Not even from other kids, but from my closest friends and my brother. Whole crowds of my peers would gather around as my best friend called out “How did Allie get down the hill? She rolled down!” When one of my friends began to gain weight to also go through puberty, I made the mistake of asking her what she weighed, adding in “well you probably weigh the closest to what I do.” This was met with a chorus of “ooooooo” from the rest of our group. It was an insult to be compared to me. I was the butt of every joke. Even though I was an effortless A student, I had no self esteem to speak of. It never occurred to me that my friends were pushing all of their own insecurities onto me – I took them all inside myself and became THE INSECURITY MONSTER. I could tell my mother was ashamed of my weight too. For such a stunningly beautiful woman, it was embarrassing to have such an awkward chubby daughter. She’d make comments all the time about how much better I would look if I lost weight. But still no one told me how. So I stopped eating breakfast too. For 3 entire years of my life, I would subside on only one meal a day. And I kept gaining. By fifth grade I was 135 lbs, a perfectly respectable weight for my 5’4″ frame, but no one told me that. My mother brought me to the doctor for my annual physical and told him I kept gaining weight. She blamed it on me, he blamed it on me. He told her that maybe she needed to put a lock on the snack cupboard. She began to buy snacks that were only for my brother. I began to eat in secret. I couldn’t stand the constant judgement. I cut a hole in the box spring of my mattress and put candy in there. But STILL, no one told me anything about nutrition. By the time I was 14, I would go months on end with no period. I was 157 lbs, a size 12, and very self conscious. That year, a tumor was found in my left ovary and I had to have surgery to remove it. I was also diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – a hormone imbalance that causes the women who suffer from it to put on weight spontaneously and also a precursor to diabetes. I knew I needed to lose weight, but still had no idea how. Throughout my whole weightloss ordeal, all the blame and responsibility was placed on me. Everyone looked down on me for being “fat.” But now I know it was not my fault. Somebody should have been there for me, helped me make the changes I needed to, told me it didn’t matter if I was thin as long as I was healthy.
By the time I graduated high school and entered college, I was 147 lbs. Still not all bad. But I was attending NYU Tisch, a mecca for dancers, actresses, and – you guessed it – insecurity. I had never been on a date or been called beautiful. I had such low self esteem that I thought people didn’t want to be my friend simply because of my weight. Who would want to be friends with a fat loser?
For the first time, I began religiously going to the gym. I saw my body changing. It was great, but always very hard for me to lose weight. I also made friends with a darling girl who remains my sister to this day. She too had issues with her weight, so we began to be gym buddies. I became addicted to the weight loss – for the first time in my life I was seeing results! But I was impatient. So again, I began skipping meals. I would go to the gym on an empty stomach and only eat one meal a day. Usually a brown rice roll with tuna. Even though I had started to learn more about nutrition on my own, I decided to instead experiment with every fad diet out there. Instead of eating healthy and working out, I would starve myself and push my body to its limit. And I got results. For the firs time in years, I was back down into the 130s. People were complimenting me, I was gaining self esteem. But unfortunately after years of abuse, my whole self worth was connected to my appearance. I needed to be better. So I would only allow myself to eat as many calories as I had burned in the gym. This was the only way I could be certain I wouldn’t gain a single ounce – I rationalized. Then it became I could only eat half as many calories as I had burned. Then I could only eat if I had burned over 1,000 calories in the gym. It was torture. But damn, I looked great. I eventually starved and overworked myself down to a slim 121.6 lbs – my lowest weight in my adult life. But thanks to my ethnic genes, I still had D cup breasts, jiggly thighs, and the teensiest bit of a tummy. But it all was too much to keep up. I was making myself miserable. And it really wasn’t helping my self esteem. So I stopped. I stopped eating well, stopped working out, and I quickly gained 20 lbs back in one month. And I didn’t stop gaining. I tried going vegan to temper the weight gain, but it still didn’t help. I had gone from gym junkie to couch potato, heavy drinker, and partier.
Eventually I started living with a girl whose self esteem was just as bad as mine. We devolved into pot smoking losers. We’d sit on the couch, smoke pot, and order delivery. I had a brief stint where I began doing Medifast and lost weight and began working out again, but smoking pot and eating was so alluring to me. So that’s what I did.
When I moved out on my own in December 2011, I was in the middle of a deep depression. Unemployed and post break up, I stopped caring. I would get stoned and eat all day, making myself feel more and more useless. By the time I got a job in February, I was over 160 lbs, the heaviest I had ever been in my life. Having a job got me out of the house however, so that part was good. But I was still smoking pot and eating whenever I could. I started to try those diet delivery services, but I would eat additional food and not lose weight. I knew I was my own worst enemy. I stopped looking at the scale – I told myself it was because the number on the scale wasn’t a good indicator of how healthy I am. But really I was tired of feeling the shame and doing nothing about it. I began dating a really great and attractive guy, but I didn’t trust that he could possibly be attracted to me. I also used him as an excuse to eat more, after all if I was dating someone already, why did I need to worry about being attractive. After a month of avoidance I finally stepped back on the scale. 183 lbs. I had put on the “full time forty” and then some. That was a year ago, last June. Even seeing that number, I wasn’t inspired to lose weight. I lost hope. But then, something strange happened. In giving up, I let everything go. I didn’t think I would ever be able to lose the weight I gained, so I realized I needed to stop caring. I needed to fall in love with me, not the skinny me that I hoped to be, but the me of today. I started to gain confidence. I was promoted again and again at work and realized that I was really good at something. It didn’t matter what I looked like, in fact I dressed like a weirdo as it was a struggle for me to fit into any of my normal clothes, but I was doing so well. I decided to buy a new wardrobe and STOP CARING WHAT I WEIGHT I WAS. I’m smart, I’m funny, I’m pretty, and my body is pretty damn cool. I made the decision that I didn’t need to lose any weight, I needed to accept myself at this weight. So I did, and I haven’t turned back. If I hadn’t gotten to that heaviest point, I don’t know if I would be as happy as I am today. I could be over 180 lbs and still be successful. I attracted a wonderful man with my newfound confidence and he pursued me relentlessly. We are together still today and I could not be more thankful for the confidence he has helped me find, but I made the decision to be confident on my own. I accepted myself at my heaviest and I was thriving. I didn’t care if I ever lost a single pound. I loved me, every Botticelli-like inch. So it was in reaching my heaviest that I finally gained body acceptance. I know now that I can be happy no matter what I look like and I cannot express how unbelievable that feels. I AM NOT MY WEIGHT.
I made half hearted attempts to go to the gym, but didn’t keep up with it over this passed year. Even being diagnosed with a precancerous intestinal problem (gastric intestinal metaplasia) didn’t start the fire under my (ironically pancake flat) ass. But then recently, I was walking up the subway steps with one of my best friends who happens to be much tinier and I couldn’t keep up. I was so winded. And I’m only 25. So while body acceptance is one thing, this was unacceptable. I have a healthy mind with an unhealthy body. And so I decided to change that. On May 8th I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting. Here are my starting stats-
5’4″ 182.8 lbs
Arms: Left – 13, Right – 13
Thighs: Left – 25, Right – 25
This was on May 8th. I have already completed one month in the program, but wasn’t super stringent. I’ll post my recent results in my next entry!