I was a skinny kid. Not like emaciated, people calling child services because my parents were starving me skinny…but I was thin. My two aunt’s, who were heavy, would always tell me “Someday you are going to wake up fat…it’s just in your genes”. Nice, right?
But it was true…it was in my genes…and one day, I woke up fat.
Well…not really. Although that’s how it felt.
In high school, I was always active. I used to walk to my friend’s house all the time. I went to gym class. I played lacrosse…and while my parents will tell you that I was actually pretty terrible…I practiced every day and I ran miles and miles. I just naturally stayed thin without putting much thought into it.
Then I went to college. Even though I was in New York City and I walked everywhere, I also ate horribly. Chinese take out for dinner. Deli sandwiches at midnight. Pie and ice cream at the diner at 2AM. Cookies from the vending machine for breakfast. I also wore a lot of loose dresses, so I was putting on weight without even realizing it.
By chance, I got a job working in a gym…a job that came with membership to the gym…and a boyfriend who was a personal trainer. (He was also an aspiring model and was once in an underwear ad…my God, was he hot. He was also dumb as a box of hammers. But he was awfully fun to look at. I think I’m getting off track here…)
Anyway…I started working out all the time. I took classes and spent lots of time on the elliptical and I did strength training with the boyfriend. I was doing it because I liked it and I wasn’t really paying attention to the progress I was making. Then, one day after a particularly sweaty class, I was walking down the steps wearing just shorts and a sports bra and I noticed my boss ogling me from the window in his office…a window specifically put in to allow him to ogle all the girls. I popped my head in the office to call him a perv and he said “My God…you are smokin’. All that work you are doing is really paying off.” See…perv. But I walked around on a cloud the rest of the day. Because I was, in fact, smokin’.
I managed to keep it up throughout college and I stayed pretty thin even after graduation. Then my first tax season hit and I stopped going to the gym. I also started eating three meals a day at my desk. I’m not talking salad either. I’m talking pizza and pasta and McDonald’s and Friendly’s ice cream sundaes. I didn’t notice the weight creeping up on me…until I caught my reflection in a window one night while I was standing at the printer. I was sort of puffy around the middle and it was really not attractive. I tried to diet and I was able to maintain my weight and not get any puffier…but I was no longer a size 4.
Skip ahead a bunch of years and various jobs and I wasn’t even a size 10 anymore. I was a 12 and creeping my way to a 14. I discussed it with a friend at work and she admitted that she’d gained a bunch of weight also. We decided that we’d start Weight Watchers together and we ended up with a group of six women in the office all following the program together.
I had amazing success. In a little under a year I lost 40 pounds. I still wasn’t a size 4…but I realized I wasn’t ever going to get there again. I was happy with where I was…I looked good and felt good and that was all that mattered. I bought a new wardrobe and I was committed to maintaining my weight. It was easy with the great support group I had.
Then two things happened. First my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. Then I got fired from my job, which was a crushing blow to my ego. I got a new job literally the day after I was fired, but I took six weeks off before starting. During those six weeks, I totally fell off the wagon. I was busy during those weeks and ate whatever was quick and easy…and because I’m an emotional eater, I ate a lot of it. By the time I went back to work I’d gained about 15 pounds. I had to buy all new pants.
That should have been the wake up call I needed, but it wasn’t. My weight has been creeping up ever since. I’ve managed to gain back everything I lost with Weight Watchers and then some. It’s ugly.
I posted a few weeks ago that I’d gone to my favorite restaurant and the chairs suddenly seemed smaller. At the time I was all “ha ha, the chairs got smaller” but it was the reality check that I needed. I got on the scale and the number I saw was so scary and so awful that I almost cried. I never thought I’d see that number. At least, not as my weight. Maybe as a bank balance…but definitely not on a scale.
It was a great wake up call. I can no longer say things like “It’s not so bad” or “I’m just chubby”. The bottom line is …I’m fat. I have no energy. I’m always in pain…either with my knees or my back or my feet. I don’t sleep well. I can’t cross my legs comfortably. It’s also taking a toll on my relationship. Not to overshare… but I have no interest in taking my clothes off in front of someone else when I don’t even want to see myself naked.
Even with the wake-up call, I was still lacking some motivation to actually start losing. Being the awesome friend that she is, when I told Ally of my dilemma she suggested a friendly weight loss wager…we will both attempt to lose weight and whoever loses the most by the time she visits me in May, wins. The loser then has to buy the winner dinner at my favorite restaurant…where the chairs will (hopefully) be larger.
Being freakishly competitive…I was very excited for this wager. It was just what I needed. For the first two weeks. Then I fell off the wagon again and I realized I needed more help. So I’ve also enlisted my friend Jenny Craig to help me. The structure of that plan and the need to eat their food is what I need to get myself on track. When I get on track I can ween myself off and switch to normal food…all with the assistance of a Jenny counselor. Hey…if George Costanza can do it, so can I!
I had my consultation last night and I had my first Jenny meal this morning…frost whole grain cereal, skim milk and peaches. Lunch is a turkey burger and a salad. I’m looking forward to it (because I’m already kind of hungry) and I’m pretty excited about this whole process.
There are before pictures, but I’m not putting those up here until there is something better to compare them to. I’m thinking a month or so from now I’ll have some progress to report. At least…I hope I will. Because I want one of those sexy wrap dresses that Sarah Rue wears in the Jenny commercials. And I want to be able to help move the couch without getting completely out of breath and feeling like I’m going to die!
Wish me luck!