A Weighty Issue: Triumphs and Struggles

It took me a while to break the 130lb barrier!

As the scale approaches my ultimate goal weight, I become more and more proud of myself for the hard work I have put towards achieving it. It certainly hasn’t been easy. The struggle with my weight began eight years ago …

I was 19 years old and diagnosed with endometriosis, the treatment plan my doctor and I chose put me in a drug-induced menopausal state for six months. We had talked about how reducing the estrogen levels would give the endometriosis a chance to shrink, thereby eliminating the painful and frustrating symptoms I had been experiencing for many years. What we didn’t talk about is how reducing the estrogen in my body would effect my mental health. But hindsight is 20/20, so there I was 19 years old and going through menopause. I had hot flashes, mood swings and all the other wonderful things that go along with menopause. Then, I began to get depressed (a lovely side effect of the monthly injections I was receiving) and I turned to food to get me through the tough days — which seemed to occur more often than the good ones. In the end, the injections didn’t work. I ended up needing surgery to remove the endometrial tissue. By the time it was all said and done, I had put on 40lbs. For the next several years, I tried various diets, but never saw any real results. In part, this was my own fault because I have never been very good at sticking to diets and I wasn’t exercising. But too, as I know now, diets don’t work! And all the yo-yo dieting I was doing left me with an added 15lbs to lose. Then, I gave up dieting. But it wasn’t for healthy eating and regular physical activity. Instead, I went through an ‘acceptance phase’ where I decided that I was curvy (ok, I was fat … obese even), but I was ok with it. I told myself I liked the way I looked, that my body was beautiful and I that I was happy with it. I bought myself all the latest, most stylish clothes so that I could feel great about how I looked. But deep down inside, I knew I wasn’t happy about any of it. Yes, I knew I was beautiful, but I also knew I was unhealthy. One day, I just woke up! Some things in my life had changed and I finally felt motivated to do something about my weight. By then I was up to my highest weight: 185lbs (I’m only 5’2″). So, I set a goal of 125lbs. I cleaned up my diet and hit the gym 5-6 days a week. I kept up at that pace for a good 6 months and lost 45lbs. I was so proud of myself: I was getting fit and healthy and I never felt so great in my life. Then I hit a plateau, life got in the way and for the next 2 years I fluctuated between 140 and 155lbs. While I still wanted to get down to my goal weight, I had lost the energy to work out. I still tried to eat well, but between back to back classes & late nights I found myself hitting the drive-thru and eating junk more often than I ate my fruits & veggies.

All of this brings me to November 2011, 2 months after going gluten free. I finally had energy again and since I was already reading the labels of everything I ate for hidden gluten, I decided it was once again time to get serious about my weight loss goals. So, with a much cleaner diet I resumed working out. This lasted a few weeks … then I got into a car accident. I sustained some back injuries, one of which majorly effected my IT band so any high impact exercises were out the window (just when I had taken up running, of course!). My chiropractor suggested I do yoga as a way to be active and build muscle without worsening my injuries. And I’ve been doing yoga ever since. I love it! I love how customizable it is: it can be invigorating or calming, yoga really fits me, no matter what kind of mood I’m in! I have seen my body transform in many ways thanks to the yoga routines I do several days a week. Over these last 8 months, I have been doing 20 minutes of yoga 2-3 days/week (most weeks … I’m still not very good at sticking to workout routines), going on daily walks with the dog and keeping track of my calories by using the MyFitnessPal app. Today, I am happy to report that I am 3lbs away from my goal weight. And, I am so proud of myself. I have worked hard to get where I am and given up many brownies, cookies, french fries and milkshakes to get here!

This is where the pup and I take most of our walks!

But (there’s always a but, isn’t there!?) I’m still not where I want to be. I’m not being overly picky, nor do I have an unrealistic body image. It’s just that even though I’ve lost weight, I’m still not as fit/healthy as I could be. When I look down at myself, I still see a fair amount of flabby skin. I carry too much fat around my mid-section, the most dangerous place to carry extra weight, and my thighs jiggle a bit more than I would care for them to. I still want to lose those last 3lbs, but it’s no longer all about that. I want to be in better shape so I can be a healthier me! Heart disease, type-II diabetes and high blood pressure run in my family. I know that if I don’t do something to keep my health in check, I’m just a ticking time bomb. So, I’m upping my exercise routine. I still have to baby my IT band, so I can’t go absolutely nuts but I’m going to slowly work on incorporating running back into my routine. Here’s my plan:

  • 30-45 minute yoga sessions 3 days/week
  • 20 minute walks with the dog 7 days/week
  • 30 minutes of swimming 2 days/week
  • 30 minutes on the elliptical 2 days/week

I know it doesn’t look like much, but it’s a start. It will change as I progress and my endurance increases. The challenge is going to come when the fall semester begins (it’s less than 2 weeks away, yikes!), but I’m determined to get my body in better shape. My goals are simple: I want to whittle my middle and strengthen my heart. And I know I can do it!

Are you on a weight loss journey? Trying to get in better shape? … What are you goals and how are you achieving them? SHARE THEM WITH ME!! Let’s do this together (:

If you use MyFitnessPal, add me!! My username is: gototallycrazy

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