Friday, January 10, 2014

Losing the Pounds!

Do you have a weight problem? Have you ever been on a diet? Are you a yo-yo dieter? If you have lost weight, do you have trouble keeping it off? Here's my unique weight-loss story...

Most people are surprised when they hear that I used to have a weight problem. At one point, I wore a Misses Size 16 - until my dramatic weight loss when I lost over 40 pounds!

My Early Years

I grew up as an "average-sized" child, but I did little in the way of fitness or exercise. At school, we did not have Physical Education classes, so recess was just to play. We played "house" and games, but running and physical activities were hampered by the dresses that girls were required to wear. At home, I often sewed and did craft projects while others ran and climbed trees.

Puberty took its toll with some weight gain, but I still managed to stay close to "average" weight even through high school. I remember being so embarrassed in high school P.E. class when the teacher asked our weight, and we had to tell her in front of the class!

After College

In my early twenties, however, the pounds started to gradually "creep" on. I was recently married by then and teaching full-time, so naturally I told myself I had no time to exercise. When I ate lunch at school, the cooks piled the appetizing lunch high on my plate, and I obediently ate it all. When they made those huge delicious hot rolls, they gave me 2, and I devoured both, of course

I ate breakfast at home, and I kept a bag of cookies at school to enjoy with chocolate milk when the kids in my class had a morning snack. After school, I was famished, so I had M & Ms and/or cookies with Coke or chocolate milk to hold me until dinner. I was just learning to cook, and many meals that I cooked were complete disasters! I often ate high-calorie snacks after dinner to compensate.

Yummy Snack!!

We were on a tight budget, so eating out was a treat. When the food came, I would usually "clean my plate"! We paid for it, so I reasoned that I had to eat it.

What size am I??

I sewed many of my clothes at that time, and when someone asked my size, I would answer, "I sew my clothes from a size 12 pattern". I would then explain that I allowed a little extra on the sides. The "little extra" that I allowed kept growing until I was allowing 1 1/2" on all 4 sides and taking a small seam. That "little extra" was making the pattern about 7 inches bigger than a size 12!!

When I bought clothes, I would immediately cut out the tags because I didn't want to be reminded of my size. By then, I didn't really like to see my reflection in a mirror.

If I talked about losing weight to others, I would hear comments like, "You're not really overweight. You're just a good size." I rarely weighed myself, and I did not reveal my weight to anyone! 

Me? On a diet??

I would go on fad diets from time to time, but I always went back to the old ways following the diet. Yes, I have tried the Grapefruit Diet! I lost 7 pounds and gained back 10. At times, it just seemed useless to try! When I felt that way, it seemed that I ate more "junk food" to destress and help me feel better.

Does any of this sound familiar?

How did I finally lose the weight? 

In January of 1977, I almost died and had major surgery. Following that surgery I lost 10 pounds. I had gained back only 3 pounds when I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was sick. It wasn't morning sickness; it was all-day sickness! I lost weight the entire pregnancy! 

At restaurants, I would order a meal, get nauseous from smelling others' food, and be too sick to eat when mine arrived. My husband enjoyed this too much - he gained 15 pounds during my pregnancy!

I tried to pin-point the culprit: sweet, spicy, anything with milk, raw foods, chocolate - It seemed that everything made me sick!!

I tried everything: 7-up, Coke Syrup over ice, saltine crackers - nothing helped! I even kept saltines on my bedside table to grab as soon as I awoke. Eventually I discovered that warm tea (no milk or sugar) helped to settle my stomach, and eventually I could tolerate a small amount of creamy peanut butter on the crackers. Some other bland foods were cautiously added. This "morning sickness" continued until 2 weeks before my son was born! 

My Doctor said not to be concerned; the baby would gain its own weight. He was certainly right - his birth weight was good for a baby born 1 month early! 

My weight was several pounds less at the end of my pregnancy than at the beginning!

After giving birth, I started losing more body weight without dieting. Those same foods that caused a major problem pre-pregnancy had somewhat lost their appeal, and I found my appetite had decreased tremendously. Also, I was so busy with the new baby, working full-time, and taking care of my home.

At Easter of that year, I bought a dress that was a REAL Size 12, and it fit! 

I decided I liked being smaller, and I started exercising, and my dress size continued to decrease. I developed a love for aerobics, and bought some fitness equipment to use at home. Eventually I had lost about 40 pounds and several dress sizes, and for my height, that was major! For me, being a size 4/6 is definitely preferable to being a size 16!

With my other pregnancies, I managed to keep my weight below the maximum allowed amount and lost it quickly (and more) afterwards. I did safe workouts during pregnancy and afterwards as soon as my doctor gave me the "Okay!" 

I liked the way I looked and felt, so I finally got rid of the "big" clothes. Even with some health problems that can cause weight gain, I have made the effort to maintain the weight loss through sensible eating while stay physically active. I have added Pilates and Yoga to my aerobic dance program, along with walking and a step counter, which is currently a Fitbit. Getting weighed no longer scares me! 

Favorite comments about my weight loss:

"Turn sideways and stick out your tongue. You look like a zipper!" (I love this!)

"You used to be fat, didn't you?" (No one said that when I was heavier.)

"Nancy wasn't really fat. She was just kind of 'chuffy'". (from my Dad)

"I think you are anorexic!" (I am not.)

"She's a fitness fanatic!"

"You don't even look like the same person. You look like someone who the FBI changed their identity!"

Wisely, my husband did not comment on my weight before or after the weight loss!

If you have struggled with a weight problem, don't give up! It is tough, but in the long run, it's worth it. Find the program that's right for you, and stick with it! 

I did it, and so can you!!

Time for the "Weigh-In"!

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