First off, I'd like to say thank you, thank you, thank you so much to everyone who responded so positively to my blog post last week. I appreciate all of the emails, comments, and Facebook messages of encouragement.
As promised last week, I have more to share with you about my life change, as I like to call it. This is quite embarrassing, so I'm going to treat it like pulling off a bandaid. I'm going to close my eyes, and do it quickly in hopes that it hurts less. Let me start by saying I've ALWAYS been very thin, and the picture of health. Occasionally, I would go on whatever the latest fad diet was to lose those 5 vanity pounds (that I usually put on over the winter holidays) so I could fit into my size 6 jeans comfortably, but I never really "had" to go on a diet. The picture below on the left is from August 2011. Bob and I took a trip to the Homestead for our 20th anniversary. When I saw that picture I cringed. I completely didn't recognize myself. I felt as though I was looking at pictures of a stranger. The picture on the right is of a trip we took to Washington D.C. March of this year for my birthday. You may recognize it from a previous blog post (with some creative cropping). What I didn't mention is that I almost passed out when we were there walking around. We had walked all day, I had just started a new medication a few days before, and that afternoon I almost blacked out. I was sweating profusely, felt clammy, and experiencing tunnel vision. I had to lay (I was past sitting) on the Mall lawn to recover enough to make it to the subway. I was so disgusted with myself. It was the first time I experienced being held back because of my weight and my health. That was my lowest point.
About 1 month later, and down only 1 pound Lily took the picture below at Easter. I was running around the yard with the kids trying to fly a kite. I was out of breathe after only a few minutes, and again disgusted with myself. Lily grabbed the camera when I wasn't looking, and snapped some very unflattering shots. When I look at that pic, I think of how tired I looked and was...ALL the time.
By this time I knew I needed a change, but obviously what I was doing wasn't working. A couple weeks later, I somehow came across a WeighWatchers ad with Jennifer Hudson in it, and was impressed. I vaguely remembered my mom being on a WW's diet when I was a kid, but that's about all I knew of the plan. I had a couple of friends over the years mention the name WW, and only had good things to say. I was feeling a little desperate because by this time my blood pressure was out of control (over 172/114), I was having headaches, my hair was falling out, side effects from my BP meds included depression, flushing, more headaches, etc. You get the idea. With nothing to lose (except some extra me), I signed up. Just to clarify, I'm in no way associated or affiliated with WeightWatchers, and this post is not intended to be advice, just my story. It's been just under 5 months, and I've lost 26 pounds!!! WeightWatchers forced me to be accountable for every single thing I put in my mouth. Every day you are allotted points, and each food is assigned a value of points. You have to record EVERYTHING you eat and calculate the amount of points you've used each day. Needless to say, you don't get a ton of points so you try to make each one count with things like fresh fruits and veggies. After 2 weeks of feeling like I was starving, I thought I NEED more points!!! Well, you can earn more points for exercising, duh! I realized in order to not feel deprived I had to exercise. At first, I would swap exercise points for a treat, like a cookie or brownie (just one!), but then it was like a game of seeing how many points I could accumulate from excerise. It's very encouraging that you start over each week with points. If you blow it on dinner out over the weekend, you just try to do better the following week, but that also means you have to keep accumulating those exercise points.
WeightWatchers has been the catalysis for all of the positive, healthy changes in my life. I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (organic preferrably), more chicken and less red meat, I understand the importance of portion control (I swear I can eat anything in moderation!), and I have become more active. I hate to excercise (like going to a gym if I can avoid it), so I hike, bike, mountain climb, camp, play tennis, dance, and any other fun activity I can find!
This is the vacation Bob and I took this year at the end of July. We biked for about 21 miles on the beach, and enjoyed being outdoors. I did some bodyboarding for the first time ever! So much fun!
This was taken last weekend while at the park with the kids. I have another 5-10 pounds I'd like to lose, but today I choose to focus on how far I've come and how great I feel. My blood pressure is normal, I'm not falling-down tired ALL the time (just the normal amount of tired), my hair is growing back, my mood has changed, and I can do the things I want. I'm learning to deal with stress, I'm making better food choices, and I exercise regularly (doing fun stuff!).
I think back to how unhealthy I felt earlier this year, and I never want to go back to that. I guess I'm sharing this very personal story with you because I was in dispair, but there is hope. I know I am not alone, and if my story can help encourage you to live a happier, healthier life then my brief moment of embarrassing photos has purpose.
Finally, I'd like to say I have a few more reasons to live healthy...