Settle in, y'all. It's a long story....
My battle with weight started when I was in either 1st or 2nd grade. Aside from dancing for four years, I had a pretty inactive childhood, so when I started looking a little chunky, I attended the GoodBodies program at the University of South Carolina. I attended for a few years and learned about health, fitness, and nutrition, but nothing ever really stuck with me, and I continued to gain weight throughout elementary school. I played rec-league basketball for one season at age 10 but got frustrated because I never fully understood the rules, so I didn’t come back.
At age 13, I went on Fen-Phen and lost around 70lbs, but I gained it all back because my lifestyle didn't change. Thank goodness I haven’t had the heart problems that others have experienced while on Fen-Phen; it was pulled off the market due to some serious adverse effects.
Sometime during high school, I dabbled in the Atkins diet. I think the most I lost was 15ish pounds, but of course it came back when I started eating normally again. The summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I started a new weight-loss plan under the care of an endocrinologist. This plan involved a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet as well as shakes, appetite suppressants, and vitamins and supplements. It was then that I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and started my lifelong relationship with Synthroid. I lost about 80 lbs by the end of my senior year on this diet, and it was definitely the happiest period of time in my life thus far. I was on the school dance team, was getting ready to go to college, and was finally getting attention from boys. My lowest weight was around 150lbs, but I was "skinny fat" - my muscles were weak and my metabolism was still sluggish. I went away to Clemson in August of 2002 without going through the “maintenance” phase of the diet, and of course I gained all the weight back and then some.
I went from eating low-carb dishes prepared at home by my mother to living right next to a dining hall and hanging out with a bunch of boys who didn’t care a lick about nutrition. I didn't drink then, but I sure did eat, and I still hadn't developed a habit of exercising, so the weight piled on fast. I remember going to the hospital for an outpatient procedure when I was about 20 and seeing the nurse write 230lbs in my chart. I was incredulous and motivated to change, but obviously not serious enough. I joined Weight Watchers meetings once during college and lost around 20lbs, but I never stuck to it. I fell into a deep depression and ended up pushing friends and loved ones away; the weight didn't necessarily cause the depression, but it sure didn't help.
The summer between my junior and senior years of college, I moved home to complete an internship and went back to the endocrinologist, getting down to around 185lbs. I felt awesome - I was getting ready to start my last year at Clemson and was dating a new guy. However, the relationship ended badly. I (stupidly) got back together with him, but had a we horrible relationship which only added stress to my life. I graduated with my BS in Health Sciences and went back to Clemson for a master's program.
Between the stress of graduate school and my relationship, my weight kept climbing. I finally got rid of the dude but still wasn’t on the right track with myself. I went back to Weight Watchers but still wasn’t 100% on board. I went through a weight-loss program through a local hospital but only lost 20lbs, again, because my heart wasn't completely into it. I was too stressed out and my depression was too bad for me to take weight loss seriously at the time. I changed antidepressants in an attempt to help, but my new one made my situation even worse. I ate too much, drank too much, and isolated myself from my friends. Finally, I wised up; I got my medication switched and started seeing a counselor, and the clouds lifted. I was getting back to my old self and began starting to patch up relationships I had let suffer. However, while I was working on my master's thesis, I binged on the worst foods imaginable to cope with stress. When I graduated with my MA in Professional Communication in August 2008, my weight had climbed to an all-time high of 270lbs.
Since then, I've been living at home while looking for a job. I've been trying to lose weight, seeing what works best for me and what I can stick with. I did Weight Watchers again for a long time straight out of grad school but had a hard time sticking to it, and the meetings never did much for me. I hit plateau after plateau, even after starting intense exercise regimens (like Couch to 5K) and restricting what I ate. I'd see a loss on the scale one week, then no progress for three weeks later. Looking back, I probably didn't follow the plan to the exact letter, but at the time, I felt like I was trying, and of course I got frustrated.
Currently, I'm under the care of a new endocrinologist and am on a diet prescribed by her for the short-term. While my eating habits are temporary for now, I've learned more about my body and what works for me during this diet (and through the blogging community!) than I have during any other weight loss attempt. The biggest factor that has changed is that I'M SERIOUS about it now. I'm more mindful of what I eat and more aware of how it affects me. I’m so upset that I’ve let so many years and so many weight loss opportunities pass me by, never really taking anything seriously or trying too hard. I’m paying dearly for it now, though, because I’m working on losing over 100lbs.
My biggest challenge for the present and future is developing the exercise habit that has always been absent from my life. Eating is easy enough to change, but actually getting my butt up and moving around is the most difficult thing to get used to, especially since I’ve never been great at doing it.
So far, I’ve lost 50lbs through a combination of my own efforts and my current diet. I’ll continue to record my efforts here, so I hope you’ll follow me and keep reading!
Settle in, y'all. It's a long story....