Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Up & Down, Mostly Up.


If you know me personally you know my weight has fluctuated A LOT in the last 10 years.

If I were a mathmetician I would lay it out for you with real numbers. I'm not. But I'm guessing I've weighed an average of 220 lbs most of my adult life. The high points have been 249, and the low points have been 154 (took some serious work, and I HATED this weight). I was 200 lbs by age 11. I was 216 when I started high school. I'll never forget that number jumping off the page at me at the doctor's appointment that cleared me to walk into Sandburg high school.

I was 249 in late September of 2000 when I sort of accidently went to a Weight Watcher's (WW) meeting with my friends Stumpfy and Alison. I left the meeting motivated for the first time in my life to lose weight. Up until that I night I hadn't weighed myself, nor cared to, in years! So, I followed my "points" for 3 years, and lost almost 100 lbs. At first, the program was easy as can be. I walked a few times a week, and ate within the points, and lost weight every week. I was way comfortable around 180. I graduated college at this weight. I wore sleeveless tops with ease for the first time in my life! Had some decent sized boobs still, HaHa. I was feeling good.

I got to California for graduate school. Felt fantastic. Wore a bathing suit without a cover for the first and last time in my life that summer of 2001. But, WW has these guidelines for your height and weight goals. They asked a perons my height to weigh 155 at the most. I just could not get there. But I wanted to so badly to be a "lifetime member." I worked out every single morning at 5am for an hour. I ate air-popped popcorn for lunch. I counted every point religiously, and eventually took a diet pill. Wham. The weight came off. I got down to 154, and as long as I took this diet pill and ate like a mouse, I stayed within the WW guidelines. Oh, and bye-bye boobs.

I also felt like I was on speed. I was like a superhero, writing papers, teaching 4 classes at CSULB, working out. The night before Thanksgiving 2001 I skipped dinner so I could eat a whole Thanksgiving dinner. I had never done this before. It's not what WW has in mind when they give you a point guideline. It was the dumbest move I could have made. It felt like the diet pill was eating my stomach that night. I called Theo in the middle of my late night graduate school course, and begged him to come and get me. I got home, and found red roses & candles all down the walk way of our apartment. Theo proposed to me that night, and I was so sick from my diet pill, I said yes, and fell asleep.

I almost immediately stopped attending WW meetings. Screw their reccomended weight! I stopped taking the diet pill, but kept up the same eating habits and work out habits. I "beefed" back up to a healthier 175. I proudly maintained that weight for 3 years. Pretty good, considering only 10% of people who lose weight keep it off for more than 3 years. I was a walking example. Other than the slip up with the pill. I was a proud success story.

That summer (o3') I remember eating 2 whole pizzas with Theo after we hiked up two spectacular waterfalls in Yosemite (8 mile mountain hike not for the faint of heart). I was clearly not holding back, but not gaining any weight. And physically, I felt like I could do anything!

That August (03') I had foot surgery to remove a disgustingly out of control cluster of plantar's warts from my foot. I could not walk for a month. I did not go to the gym. I gained 10 lbs. Then, the Army rather suddenly informed us we were moving across the country in 2 weeks. We moved to Madison, and found the Bally's gym (the chain we had a contract with) had closed 2-days prior. Wacky weird, right? I went a few months without working out, and Theo and I sampled Madison eateries. Brats, anyone? I gained 10 more lbs.

By December (o3') I was pregnant. By the 4th month of pregnancy I was an eating machine. I gained 70-some-odd pounds (on top of the 20 I gained before) pregnant with Ben. I craved whole deep-dish cheese pizzas and homemade chocolate chip cookies straight from the oven. Worth every pound. But yikes, Jamie? Get a grip!

Ben's born. I walked and walked and walked, and once I was not nursing Ben anymore I went back on WW counting my points. I lost more than half of the pregnancy weight. I was down to 200, and feeling so great. The week I put on my pre-pregnancy jeans I found out I was pregnant with Hunter. Cruel joke? Nope. My reality.

I hang on to the accomplishment: I only gained 45 lbs with Hunter. But I started out at a much higher weight than I did with Ben. I had much healthier cravings, like apples and reasonable quantities of cheese.

Hunter's born. Theo's in Iraq. I have some pretty good motivation to lose weight and surprise him when he returns. I did it, too. I ate great and walked 3 miles every day with the kids in the stroller. I lost every pound of that pregnancy weight before his plane landed. I felt great, again. A little sick of fluctating weight so much. Very VERY proud.

The way I see it: I have no reasonable excuse for my current weight. After Theo returned it was like the food Gods gave me permission to splurge twice daily. I baked like the domestic goddess I was meant to be. I ate and ate and ate... I baked enough for a whole city at Christmas, learning to make some new varieties of fudge, and to make cookies in my cookie press. Yum.

There are some pretty awkward moments after a spouse returns from deployment. Theo was reserved, and as a family it took us time to find our groove. I guess I went to food as a filler? Who knows. I don't know what difference it makes why I ate as much I did this winter. I also did not go on my walks. All that matters is here I am, back up to 249 this Monday. I have to admit, I'm disappointed with myself, and I am way sick of being fat.

This Monday morning I pullled out a journal and began counting my points, AGAIN. I have done this 3 dozen times since last fall. If you do that math you can see I start WW almost once a week. This time, I'm admitting it outloud to more than just my mom & Caitlin. I feel like telling everyone around me will keep me on track. I hate failing in front of people. And, I could use the encouragement for the peanut gallery, frankly.

I feel like I'm trying to lose weight for some pretty good reasons. First, nothing fits. And I have some cute stuff in the sizes just below my current weight. Second, I was out of breath at the top of my stairs last week, and it hurt and was embarassing for me. Third, my kids deserve a mother who can run with them. I need to be able to keep up with these kids. Fourth, or whatever number I'm on... I'm not this person. I'm not "fat" on the inside anymore.

When I lost weight I was fat girl in a small girl's body. It was freaky! I had to look in the mirror to remind myself what I looked like. Can you imagine walking around in someone else's skin? That's what losing weight is like. Your subconscious still pictures you as you have seen yourself for years. My stood in line beside friends I had known when I was heavy, and they didn't know who I was. My stepdad did not even recognize me (granted, he was intoxicated, but still, it took him 4 minutes to figure out who I was).

Today, I feel like a small girl in a big girl's body. I don't like this feeling nearly as much. I look in the mirror, and go, "oh shit, what the hell?" LOL. I put on clothes in the closet, and say to myself, "well, shit, this fit last week?" It sucks. And I'm done with it. Not that this large woman isn't beautiful. She is. She's just ready for a change.

For as long as I can remember I have been a ridiculously confident person. I don't know why? I just don't doubt myself that much. I don't really care what people think of me. I like myself. I accept who I am (there is so much to me beyond the physical, and I like all of it, even the maddening temper and cellulite). Don't laugh. I really do love myself. And I have a husband who reinforces my confidence almost daily. The day I took this picture I felt like my shirt could have fit a little better, and my pants could have been a tidge more comfortable. My husband said, "Momma looks very beautiful today," to the kids when he walked in the door.

So, I am going to make sure next time he says I look beautiful that I also feel beautiful. One step at a time. Begins with counting points. Begins with walking again, which we've done 5 out of the last 7 days. Begins with me putting it all out there for my friends and family to see. Now everyone knows what happened to my "diet." Now everyone knows what happened to all that weight loss you thought I'd done. Now everyone will know why I'll be losing weight again soon. How many people lose the same 70 lbs 4 times? Only 4, hopefully. Wish me luck.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am so proud of you!! It encouraged me to try again too!! I love you and you are always beautiful to me too!! xoxoxoxox mommy

Harrison's Homepage said...

You are beautiful ay any weight, you know. A very well written entry, by the way. Remember that creative writing class we took together? Fun times.

Amy said...

Thanks for this Jamie. First off, you are beautiful no matter what your weight. BUT I do understand what you mean, and your motivation to lose weight. I have been the same way with WW the past few months... I do it online and I'll get all geared up and do my points online for a day or two and then stop. Then a week later, I'll do it again, etc. So your eloquent blog is inspiring me to really stick with it. It DOES work for me, and although I have been exercising a lot, I haven't been watching what I eat and it shows. As you know, I was always thin, very thin, until after college (it started senior year after anti-depressants... I still attribute a lot of the weight gain to the anti-depressants, but I'd rather be fat and not depressed than the alternative) and now I still have a hard time excepting myself as fat. And I am tired of it. I needed some (more) motivation to start trying harder.

And I agree, WW weight/height guidelines are a little extreme. I'll be happy if I can get down to 145.

Wow... that was a cathartic comment:)

Leena said...

Jamie!
Loved this blog. Not gonna tell you how beautiful you are because clearly you know it, and three other people have taken care of it for me. Hell, I was your fricking girlfriend in college, I think that says enough right there. I don't date ug-os.
It is almost shocking how easy it is to fall into that lazy zone where it feels so good to eat freshly made chocolate chip cookies and NOT wake up early to work out. And you don't need to be a couple of hundred pounds overweight to know what it feels like to be out of breath at the top of a staircase. That was really the turning point for me, at least.
But as someone who has managed to stick with an exercise program for the first time in her life (3 months strong, baby!), I just wanted to send you a few words of encouragement. It's not gonna be easy, but you were dead on when you said NOTHING can replace that feeling of being fit and healthy. Good luck and know there are at least two people from the peanut gallery down under that are rooting for you!