I have something to celebrate today! I've lost 20 pounds since mid-December 2012! (all 20 pounds of which I had gained after I got married in April 2011)! I thought I'd share my story in honor of reaching this goal! (Ignore the fact that I'm covered in deck stain in the 'Before' picture - I had a lot of trouble finding pictures of me before I lost the weight I'd put on - guess I wasn't keen on being photographed??) (ALSO, ignore the fact that I pose the same way in all my "selfies". I had no idea that I did that, but honestly, I almost never take selfies so that's probably why! LOL!!)
(In the before picture, I weighed about 140 and I put on an additional 5 pounds before I started to lose the weight! In the after I'm down to 125!!)
I used to hate cooking. Hated it. I always liked baking, but I never even wanted to think about cooking. In fact my family used to tease me that when I got married one day, my husband was either going to have to like cooking or like to eat out a lot!
Well, when I got engaged I found myself stockpiling recipes. I worked at a library then, so I had a lot of access to cookbooks, and on my break I would look through them and copy any of them down that look yummy. I sort of thought in the back of my mind, "This is really just for fun, you know you're never going to make any of these." BUT…the idea of cooking and cleaning and doing all those "housewifey" things was starting to sound… exciting and fun. I guess that's what love does to you - it makes you crazy.
After we were married, I spent a lot of time learning how to cook. My mom had taught me most of the basics when I was growing up (she is a super, amazing, wonderful cook), and beyond that, I had really never been very open to learning anything. I insisted that I was a horrible cook (I once melted an entire stick of butter in the microwave, but forgot to put it in a bowl first, so that was fun to clean up…), and I refused to really try to learn because I thought I was a hopeless case. But now I found myself wanting to be a good cook and impress my husband with my cooking-prowess, and I was shocked to find that now that I was really trying… I was actually enjoying it. I liked figuring out which combination of spices worked best on a dish and what sides to serve with what meat. It was fun. And overtime (and after lots of half-panicked phone calls to my mom, standing over a dish of something smoking), I discovered that I was actually not half-bad at it! I still don't always love to cook, especially on those really busy days, but most of the time it's something I really do enjoy now. Probably because I've learned that you don't always have to follow the recipe exactly, things usually turn out yummy anyway, and when you really think about it, cooking is a creative ability.
So skip to a year-and-a-half after we've said our "I do's" and guess what?? I'm cooking up a storm. Guess what else?? I'm 20ish pounds heavier than I was at our wedding. Ick. That sucks, let me tell you. It happened so subtly overtime, that I was up 10 pounds before I even realized what was happening, and then I tried to be careful and lose it back again, but 'nothing' worked and I kept gaining instead. That's a serious bummer. It makes you feel like it's worthless to even try to lose weight because "nothing works!"
About a year ago when I had reached 15 pounds over my wedding weight, I tried to start jogging again. I used to love jogging and did it several days a week before I was married. It relieved stress and helped keep me healthy. But I found that now when I jogged, I had pain in my left knee. I thought maybe it was a fluke - that I'd hurt it at some point and it just needed to heal… I did stretches, I lessened my intensity, and when that didn't help, I stopped jogging altogether and opted just to walk. Walking was better than nothing right? I was determined that I would still lose some weight even if I couldn't jog. I walked briskly an hour to an hour and a half almost every day. I did 30 minute work-out videos a few times a week. I was determined. Fast-forward to about 2 months later. I hadn't lost any weight. In fact, I was a few pounds heavier. I was a little more toned, so I can only assume it was muscle mass that I gained, but it was depressing. I thought there has got to be something wrong with me. Looking back, the only thing that I can think that was causing the pain in my knee was probably just because the extra weight I'd gained was putting more pressure on the already weak joint.
I thought that I was eating okay and that I was exercising enough to balance out what I was eating, but in actuality, I know that's what was doing me in. My mindset was that I was getting in so much exercise... That meant that I deserved dessert! That meant that I needed to eat a nice hardy dinner to give me strength! Man-oh-day, I was hungry!!! I needed food!! Well maybe some people have metabolisms that allow them to just kick up their exercise routine and lose those extra pounds without changing their diet… NOT ME! And doing all the work of exercise - spending all that time - and not seeing any of the results I wanted was depressing. So I stopped. I just put it on hold for a while and decided I'd stop worrying about it and try to figure it out later.
Over Thanksgiving of 2012, I went on a vacation with my family and after that trip - and eating out ALL the time - I reached 145 lbs. For my height (5'1.5"), this BMI calculator told me that I was smack-dab in the middle of "overweight". I felt horrible about myself. And I just didn't feel good physically all the time. I felt icky and bloated and just not like me. I thought about my future and what it might hold what it might mean to continue on the way I was, and I just didn't want to be unhealthy anymore. So after getting home from that trip, and spending a week or two feeling super low and down about myself, I decided that I was done feeling that way. I wanted to be healthy. It's important to me to be a healthy person and maintain a healthy weight. And the last drastic thing that I knew I could still change was what I was eating.
(In the first picture I probably weighed around 135, in the second I weighed about 138, the one in November I had hit my peak of 145, and the last one in December was just after I had started my lifestyle change but I hadn't really seen any results yet - you can really see how the extra pounds changed the shape of my face)
So I changed my eating habits. Drastically. It was difficult, and I have to admit, at first I was really kind of depressed that I wasn't getting to eat a lot of the things that I wanted. But I found that over time I really got used to my new diet and I looked forward to the things that I was eating. I never completely cut myself off from anything (even dessert!!) and I never really "counted" calories, so I didn't feel like I was completely sacrificing the foods that I really really really really REALLY loved to eat and would just die if I could never eat them again… ;) I started back up my exercise routine - and this time I didn't try to follow the workout videos - I just did what I felt like was pushing myself and working the parts of my body I wanted to see change.
And I felt the need to set 2 goals. The first was a main long-term goal that I felt was both doable but still very very challenging. I gave myself 6 months to do it in so I had a lot of time to make gradual changes that I knew I could maintain for the long-haul, and not just drop the pounds super quickly only to gain them right back again. Chad had gotten me Wii Fit Plus for Christmas (which was not him dropping a mean hint! LOL! I asked for it!!!) which lets you set weight goals and then makes it really easy for you to track them and see your progress. I love and need this to be able to gauge if I'm doing well or if I need to step up my workout and eating plan! I decided that my goal weight would be 119. This probably seems like an odd number. I was going to do 120, but then I decided, I'd really like to see the 'teens' again! I haven't been that weight since probably before high school! So why not?? At 119 I would be exactly in the middle of what is considered a normal weight for someone of my height. My second goal was a intermediate goal - get back to my wedding weight! We didn't have a scale at my house when I lived at home, but from going to the doctor and the other random times I was around someone with a scale, I know this was right around 125, maybe a few pounds more. So 125 was the number that I wanted to see again to feel like I was back to the old me!
(It's a little hard to see the difference here because the loose fit of the shirt in the after picture and also because I am sitting down in the before picture. Again though - you can see it in my face, I think.)
Well, I did it!! As of today, I reached my 125lb wedding weight! I lost 20 pounds! I can hardly believe that I made it this far because I honestly didn't know if I could do it, but now I see that I can and I know that I'm going to keep going and I'm going to see 119! I mean come on, that's only 6 more pounds! I can do that! And when I reach that, I'm going to set another goal! And then another! Even if it's not weight loss, but just to maintain it and continue to make myself a healthier person! I'm really excited to watch the progress continue to happen!
I've had a lot of people ask me what I'm doing, so I'm going to do another post soon with the changes I've made in my lifestyle, diet, and exercise routine! I leave you with the picture that I think showcases the weight loss the best because I'm only in a bathsuit:
(you can see the changes for sure in my legs - I lost several inches there. Also, where the suit was tight in the before picture, it's quite loose and hangs freely in the after. The only "bad" side effect of loosing weight... you'll notice I don't "fill it out" as nicely anymore ;)... bahahaha! oh well...)