I know the year is nowhere near over yet, but when I look back on 2012 thus far, there’s no doubt that this has been a huge year for me. There have been lots of ups and downs, and a lot of changes.
One of the changes I’m most proud of is the fact that I lost 20 pounds and kept them off.
I was a relatively normal size and wieght when Brandon and I started dating three years ago, but I put on a good 5 pounds after we got together — it was more fun to spend time with him than it was to go to the gym, and the fact that he served up uh-maaay-zing home-made GF lasagna and pizza (neither of which I’d had in years), not to mention home-made cookies, was a party for both my tastebuds and my fat cells. And oh, did they ever party.
|Behold, the most addictive substance on Earth.
My weight kept creeping up, and I definitely didn’t like the way I looked — but more importantly, I knew I wasn’t as healthy as I could be. There’s a long history of cardiovascular disease in my family, and I knew that if I didn’t get myself back from the precipice of being clinically overweight, I’d be doing myself a huge disservice.
I had that epiphany while listening to one of the first modules for my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition
. In it, Dr. Walter Willett
from the Harvard School of Public Health discussed the correlations between high BMI and all manner of health problems, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and infertility.
And I gotta say: none of ’em sound fun. It’s crazy, I know, but I just don’t like the idea of encountering any of those medical issues in a dark alley. Or anywhere. And I knew that if I didn’t take corrective action soon, I was going to be increasing my risk for all these diseases.
I also had a key goal in mind: I used to love running, but I have arthritis in my feet from 27 years of undiagnosed Celiac disease — so I took a years-long hiatus from running in the interest of preserving my joints. In another lecture for IIN, Joy Bauer
, a nutritionist who works with NBC, noted that for each pound of body weight, there are 4 pounds of pressure applied to your joints. That’s when it really hit me: if I ever wanted to run again, I needed to lose weight.
So, when my weight hit a new high a few days before my 31st birthday, I knew I needed to act fast. I signed up for Weight Watchers online the next day after work, and I started the program on February 1st.
One thing I love about Weight Watchers is that you can eat unlimited quantities of fruits and veggies. Calorie counting never worked for me, simply because once you reach your daily quota, you’re cut off — and being that I’m one of the hungriest people alive, whenever I tried calorie restriction I’d spend hours battling with my empty, loudly growling, and very angry stomach. With Weight Watchers, though, I could chow down on carrots, apples, pears, pineapple — if it was a fruit or veggie, I could eat until I was full. I never got hungry on WW, which was fabulous.
Slowly but surely, the weight came off. I lost about a pound per week, and by the summer, I’d lost 20 pounds — and took myself from a size 10/12 (which I’d been for years) to a size 6. This was a huge deal for me, since I haven’t been a size 6 in decades.
Moreover, though, I now feel a lot healthier than I did before. My endurance is better, my muscles are stronger, and I know I’m doing my body a huge favor by eating loads of produce instead of snacking on crackers.
Then there’s the fact that I started running again, which was a glorious, marvelous, Chariots-of-Fire-should-totally-be-playing-right-now moment. I’d missed it so, so much, and being able to run again has been a huge release for me.
When I think back on where I was when I started this journey, I’m incredibly happy with how far I’ve come. Deciding to lose weight was, at its core, the most loving decision I could make for myself. Making the choice to treat my body well — to eat nutrient-dense food, to get back to the hard workouts that I used to love, and to control my weight — has helped me in more ways than I can put into words.