Hey there and welcome to Beth’s Journey! I’m a 27 year old foodie who has struggled with my weight for my entire life. I’ve been overweight since I hit puberty and then obese throughout highschool and college, tipping the scales at 250 pounds. I lost a significant amount of weight during my senior year of college doing Atkins, but then put most of it back on after graduating and transitioning into the real world (and eating bread again). Sitting at a desk from 9 – 5, trying to spend less than I was making, and being in charge of all my food/activity decisions proved to be quite a challenge and definitely lead to some less-than-stellar decisions on my part.
I decided to change my life once and for all on March 3, 2009 by joining Weight Watchers, which was the starting point for me to turn my life completely around. Since then, I have been working hard towards achieving a balanced, healthy life. Though I know this journey will never end, I have made huge strides and enjoy being active and eating a healthy, wholesome diet. I just hit my goal weight after two years, two months, and nine days on WW (but who’s counting!?), having lost a total of 58 pounds since joining this time around.
My story was also recently featured on the Washingtonian’s Health+Wellness blog and you can find the article here.
I’ve lost almost 90 pounds since my peak weight 6 years ago, but have really focused on transitioning into a healthy lifestyle with balance over the last two years or so. My diet and exercise routine has changed dramatically in the last few years and I am so much healthier and happier, inside and out! I used to eat a lot of processed foods when I first started trying to lose weight and have gradually transitioned to a much more whole foods diet. I also gave up all meat (except fish) as an experiment in conjunction with Lent in 2010, and have stuck with it and really enjoy this meat-free diet. I mostly eat mostly fruits, veggies, whole grains, seafood, beans, tofu, eggs and cheese (I could never be a vegan if only for cheese and eggs!).
In addition to making dramatic changes in my diet, I started working out and gradually worked up to 4 to 6 times a week. You can read all about How I Started Running because I never in my life would have pictured myself doing so voluntarily. Now, in addition to running, I do Bikram, ride my bike, do the Shred, and am pretty open to trying anything at least once! I have participated in 14 races to date, including two half marathons, and I’m signed up for a full marathon later this year! This is a seriously a 180 from my pre-WW life.
I started this blog because I wanted to have a place to share my story, showcase my recipes, and show that (unfortunately or not) the battle is never over.
I have been overweight for as long as I can remember. I can still vividly remember the sting in the third grade when my classmate looked at me a little funny, and when I asked what was wrong, she said “You’re fat.” It bruised my ego tremendously and I remember being so embarrassed and ashamed, even though I was only 8! Looking back, I was definitely a little chubbier than some, but not FAT by any means.
I can’t say the same for my life after elementary school. I put the weight on little by little, and by high school I passed the 200 pound mark. My weight peaked around 250 during college, but I was in denial about how out of control I had let myself get. I made every excuse I could think of, from “These clothes just run small” to “I am just big-boned” to “I don’t actually look like a size 20.”
I was in both of my sister’s weddings in 2004 and had to buy a size 20 bridesmaid dress for one of them and a size 14 with extra fabric for the other one to have a dress custom-made since they didn’t make one big enough for me. Seeing those pictures was a big wake up call for me, but I didn’t really do anything about it for another year or so.
I always thought of myself as heavy in high school, but when I look back at photos of myself from that time, it hurts to see how far I let myself go during college. I had a boyfriend during my first few years that had terrible eating habits, so we would just stay in, order food, chain smoke cigarettes, and pretend that it was an OK way to live. He graduated after my junior year and moved away, which was the first time in my life that I really started to focus on myself.
Around this time, my father had done Atkin’s and had lost about 70 pounds, and I was very impressed with the amount of food he could eat and still lose weight, because moderation had never been my thing. So, the summer right before my senior year of college, I decided to give it a shot. I started Atkin’s in August 2005 and lost about 10 pounds in the first month without exercising. Then I went back to school and stuck with it, worked out 5x a week, and lost around 40 more pounds, bringing my weight down to 180ish. My friends would always joke about how dedicated I was to my no-carb ways, because even when I was throwing up over the toilet from drinking too much, I would request my low-carb tortillas and would spit out the bread or crackers they shoved in my mouth. But, besides those late nights, I felt better than I ever had in my life and maintained this weight for my entire senior year.
Then came the real world. After I graduated from college, I waitressed for the summer and maintained a very unhealthy lifestyle from working in a restaurant, being surrounded by food all the time, and getting off work late and being at a bar. It was my first time on my own, where I was the person who called all the shots, so I ate whatever I wanted, didn’t work out at all, and maintained a lot of unhealthy lifestyle choices. I didn’t sleep very much, didn’t eat at regular times, and didn’t focus on my health in any way.
This lifestyle came to an abrupt end when I ended up having to have emergency back surgery in September 2006 from a herniated disc, and as I recovered, I slowly let the weight creep back on. My roommate Molly and I still talk about the disgusting amount of food we would eat… monster slim jims, pork rinds, toll house ice cream cookie sandwiches, chipotle burritos with sour cream and cheese, meals from taco bell PLUS taco crunchwrap supremes.. ugh. While splurging from time to time is normal, and necessary in my opinion, this was the norm for us; an everyday sort of thing. My stomach hurts just thinking about it! Needless to say, I ballooned back up and took off 10 pounds here and there, but never stuck with it.
My final wake up call came when I was seeing my doctor in late 2008 and she said “What is going on with your weight?” I was completely taken aback by the question. I had never had anyone ask me that directly before, and I honestly didn’t even know how to begin to respond. She asked me what I was planning to do about it, and suggested Weight Watchers. While I walked away from the doctors office feeling defeated, offended, mad, sad, and embarrassed, I later came to terms with the fact that she was only thinking about my health and wasn’t a personal attack in any way.
A few months later, I decided to make my new year’s resolution for 2009 to “get healthy”, though at the time I didn’t really know where it would lead. First, I quit smoking cigarettes and have stuck with it since then! I also started going to the gym again around that time, but wasn’t making too much progress with my weight because I wasn’t doing anything to change my eating habits.
After toying with the idea of joining Weight Watchers for a few months, I finally committed in March 2009. When I first started, I made a lot of progress by eating mostly processed foods (think 100 calorie packs, artificially sweetened yogurt, low-fat or fat-free anything, etc etc). Slowly, I started incorporating more natural foods into my diet and as my daily points allowance starting dwindling, using 2 points for a 100 calorie pack no longer seemed worth it when I could have an apple or cup of grapes for half the points!
I cancelled my Weight Watchers membership because my weight was staying stagnant for almost a year and I think I was getting a little too obsessive about counting points, but you can read all about my decision here. With the launch of the new PointsPlus Program from Weight Watchers, I decided to give it another shot to lose the last few pounds and rejoined in December 2010, just hitting my goal weight in May 2011. I now work for Weight Watchers as a Receptionist and I couldn’t be happier!
While the physical changes I have made are quite significant, the most important part is how much I’ve changed on the inside. I am so much more confident, willing to try new things, and am much better at putting myself first than I used to be.
Follow along with me as my journey takes a turn into this new world of maintenance!
Thanks for reading. 🙂