My Journey

Some of you might be interested in my weigh loss journey, so I’ll record that here. I was born at a svelte 6 pounds and 13 ounces. My grandma used to tell me that they had the toughest time getting me to eat and that they would actually applaud when I’d finish a jar of baby food. Sometime between 6 months and 8 years of age, something drastically changed. I became fat and my brother became obese at about the same time. My sister was the only one who managed to stay thin, and I remember being so jealous of her.

I think my problem was that I spent a lot of time with my grandma. She was a little Bohunk woman who loved to bake. Every time I’d walk into her house, the first thing she would do is offer me something to eat. I grew to love cherry pie, donuts, dumplings and sauerkraut (with butter and sauteed onions on top, no less), ice cream, soda–if it was decadent or had a lot of sugar in it, I was a fan.

I was a chunky teenager and hated being the fatest of all my friends. In high school I tried to diet. I’d eat salads for lunch but could not control myself in the evening. My mom and I did Weight Watchers, the cabbage soup diet, and various three day gimmicks in order to try to lose weight, but nothing worked long term. Then I found something that did–stress. When I was anxious, my appetite disappeared. I went through a couple of periods of time in my earlier adult years when I struggled with eating disorders. I would probably have been considered EDNOS rather than full blown anorexic, but I purposely starved myself. I never needed counseling to break out of that mindset, I just needed the stress to subside.

After I got married, my hubby and I spent a lot of time focusing on fitness. He also had to work hard to stay thin, and a couple of pregnancies did not help our cause much, but after the birth of my youngest son I managed to attain my lowest weight in my adult life. Unfortunately, I did it by dieting, and that is never a long term fix. I loved food too much, so I’d always end up right back where I’d started and have to start over again, despite my oaths that I would never let myself go back. So most of my adult life has consisted of yo-yo dieting and up and down weight.

In 2012 we were on a fitness kick again and I decided that I really wanted to be a runner–something I’d always shied away from because I was asthmatic. We started running short jaunts on our daily walks and before long I was running a mile, then two, then 5ks and finally, I ran my first ever five miles straight. Two days later, I was struck with the worst shin pain I’d ever experienced. I tried to run through it and then I tried taking time off before I went to an orthopedic doctor who told me it was tight calves and to give up running. I had signed up for the Disney Princess Half Marathon that was held in February 2013, so my daughter and I went to Disney not to run, but to have fun since we were both injured. That was the end of my very short lived running career and my dream of becoming a half-marathoner.

I had also been a vegetarian during that time and my weight stayed under control fairly easily, but since I could not longer run, I gave that up and started eating and drinking what I wanted. I once again ballooned up to my starting weight of around 160. That was always my threshold and it was when I got to that point that I would start dieting again, but I had so many false starts before I ever made progress. I went to Disney weighing about 125 pounds and three and a half years later, in October of 2016, I was back up to 161. I started “dieting” again, resolving to get serious on January 1st. Somehow, from the middle of October until Christmas, I lost eight pounds. And then, three days before Christmas, my husband developed a blood clot that required a hospital stay and surgery. His weight had ballooned as well and he wanted to get healthy too. While he was in the hospital, I started shopping for “healthy” food. The problem was, I hated cooking so I wanted quick and easy frozen meals we could throw in the microwave.

I went the quick and easy route for a couple of weeks and then I started watching documentaries about whole food plant based (WFPB) eating. I was intrigued, but I always told myself that I could never be vegan. I knew I could be vegetarian, though, so I told hubby I wanted to go meatless. Since he was not inclined to cook for himself, he ate what I ate. After a couple more weeks, I started experimenting with vegan recipes and realized two things; 1) I enjoyed cooking when I was experimenting with new foods and 2) I could give up cheese and eggs after all. Best of all, when I started eating that way, the weight literally dropped off of me. As of today, my weight is back down to 126 pounds and I am wearing my size 4 pants again. I love not having to diet, and I can totally see this lifestyle being sustainable because I eat a larger variety of food than I ever ate when I was an omnivore. Oh, and hubby is down about fifty pounds since Christmas and is feeling so much better.

My goal now is to continue to eat healthy and to learn more about nutrition. On the fitness front, I want to maintain my weight (and possibly even drop a few more pounds of fat) while building more muscle and increasing my running stamina and physical fitness level. Mentally, I want to strive to be happy, healthy, and whole. My faith is a very important component in my life and spiritual talk will infiltrate my blog from time to time. Occupationally, I received my master’s degree in religious education from Liberty University in December of 2016 and began pursing a doctoral degree in educational ministry in February 2017, but after completing my first class, I began rethinking that pursuit and am now in the process of applying to a program to obtain my teaching license. I have been a paraprofessional in the public school system for two years and realized that I love being around kids. I am not returning to my job in the fall due to my impending move (and doctoral studies, which were very intense), but I am planning to substitute teach in the fall until we move.

So that is my journey thus far. I am eager to get going on running again and make this blog meaningful, helpful, and inspiring, if not for other, then at least for myself.

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