5 years ago on 2/3/05, Mark quasi-proposed to me. The details of that aren't particularly important to this post. The date is. That's when I finally stopped being complacent about my weight, appearance and fitness and dug my heels in.
I'd gained a ton of weight after a really hard year in 1997 and... well.. wallowed in self pity. I occasionally tried to lose weight but always told myself I was meant to be fat. The fact was that I felt shitty because my weight exacerbated medical problems and that I was depressed and couldn't see clearly. In 2003, I finally got a little clarity, and my depression lifted due to Wellbutrin and Xanax. I started to be able to realistically start taking care of myself and lost a few pounds here and there.
Then I met Mark and there was tumult and excitement and love and angst. And at the end of all that, there was a marriage proposal. One that made me retake stock of everything. One that made me get down to brass tacks about various aspects of my life, including my weight.
I went back on Weight Watchers, hardcore, using their online program this time. I found support on message boards and as on online member I got the information I needed to get and keep myself going. I weighed in officially on Mondays and was glad to be able to do that in the privacy of my home in the beginning. The first few weeks were hard. I kept telling myself, "it takes 21 days to make a habit" to keep myself going early on. And in as much time, my mutterings became reality.
By July of 2005, I'd lost about 30 pounds which was most of the weight I wanted to lose and was feeling like my old self - carefree, fun, pretty. By our wedding in October, I was at goal. 50 lbs gone. And let me tell you that while I worked hard for every pound, things got easier over time.
I brownbagged pretty much every single day which required 45 minutes to an hour to prep food each night early on when I weighed everything, but also saved us at least $15 a day if not more. I also had the added benefit of knowing what really WAS in my food which was becoming increasingly important to me.
While I weighed myself and my food religiously to keep me honest, at the end I could eyeball a cup of brown rice or 3 oz of chicken breast without the scale. I only relied on the scale if I felt nervous. And I counted WW Points and obsessed over dietary choices fairly religiously. (A cottage cheese cup from the deli for calcium at 3 points or a tall skinny latte for 2?) But this had all become second nature. I navigated the office "free food" mill - pizza Friday, anyone? - with a certain aplomb mainly by relying on my "cooler of good eats" and had gotten portion control down well enough to eat out without worrying.
In the end, it worked out in a way that was pretty much sustainable for me. I went back to eating fitfully and mindfully - making choices that were nutritionally superior and limiting my access to junk, while accommodating a bi-weekly buffalo wings and gin and tonics splurge at our favorite bar. I came back to exercise - a friend I sorely and desperately missed - and found a way for us to exist in the tight, cramped quarters of the apartment Mark and I shared. Exercising made a huge difference in how I felt and I tried to incorporate it into as many days as possible.
I kept most of the weight off until I got pregnant. (I gained about ten pounds with the fertility treatments probably due to the hormone shots.) Even while pregnant, I still kept trying to make good choices based on nutritional needs and worked hard to minimize the pregnancy gain. I did well, gaining the exact number needed for twins and after I gave birth I came within 20 pounds of goal.
I gained about 2/3s of the old weight back after Lehman Brothers went into the toilet in 2008. I was derailed by the largest bankruptcy in God knows when. Actually I was derailed because my world burst apart at the seams. All the uncertainty at the time drove me to stuff my face and numb myself.
Last year, before my birthday, I tried to restart and was actually doing well. I was trying to find control again, having lost my job at Barclays. (Although I'd been promised a position in the merger, it was not to be.) I was looking for work full time and doing freelance on the side and didn't want to turn 40 in the body I had then.
I managed to lose ten pounds but hurt myself and had to stay off my ankle. Then I got hired at DTV and life started anew. Work at DTV got nutso. Super nutso. I found myself working 14-18 hour days with no interest in anything but keeping my job. By the end of the year, I was dreading stepping on the scale. I knew I HAD gotten fatter. I'd gone from size 12s to 14s over the course of the year and the 14s were starting to get tight. I didn't have a single blouse that fit me well. I felt strangled in my body at times - shortwinded, ill - but I was working hard to succeed and couldn't take the time to exercise or treat myself right. When I finally looked, I'd gained close to 20 pounds in one year. And a lot of the old weight-related illnesses were back as well.
But the thing that really broke the straw was that I realized there are close to no pictures of me with the kidlets. A few shots here and there but they ALL make me cringe. I do not have a single picture with my kids that I am happy to display on my desk. Worse yet, Mark and I don't have a family portrait.
I remember being in tons of pictures in 2005 and not just wedding pictures. I felt good about myself and I smiled tons. I hammed it up for the cameras because I didn't have to sit a certain way so that three chins wouldn't appear. I could be active and move - jump even - and still look slim. It took me a while but I finally realized that I missed being in pictures.
And. I think it's time to change that. I want to be in tons of pictures with my kids - looking as fit as I can. Being as happy as I am.
Sooooo, now that I'm a little more comfortable at my job, I am going to make time to take care of me. I'm finally ready to work on fixing myself again. It's been ebbing and brewing, but it's here. I am TIRED of being fat I am tired of being worndown. I am tired of my body because it is not MY body. And I'm ready to work on it again.
It's a day to day thing naturally, but I feel optimistic. I have my cooler's worth of food (breakfast, 3 snacks and lunch) properly portioned and ready to go.
Tomorrow is the first day and Tuesday will be the second and I hope to keep stepping through the days with the same motivation I have now. I'm really hoping that by our 5 year anniversary in October, I'll be close to that healthy weight I fought hard to achieve and keep.
I'm hoping that this year I'll actually be in the Christmas photos instead of cheering in the sidelines.