I had been overweight for as long as I could remember, though looking back, my weight didn’t start getting too out of control until college. Even so, I had always been a little chubbier than most and while I know every kid gets picked on about something, the scars ran deep from how much I was made fun of for my weight throughout my childhood.
When I started college, it was the first time I was in charge of making all the decisions about what I ate and what I did with my free time, and it was then that things started to slip wildly out of control. I shied away from the scale so I can’t say for sure, but during those first three years of college I put on somewhere between 50 and 70 pounds, tipping the scale at around 250 pounds.
I watched firsthand the effects obesity can have on one’s health when my father had a heart attack at age 40, and was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and sleep apnea, all related to being obese. I knew I was on a similar path if I continued with the habits I had developed over college, and I didn’t want that for myself or my future.
I decided to change that once and for all on March 3, 2009, when I joined Weight Watchers and changed my life for good. It took me a long time to lose the 58 pounds I had left to lose when I joined for the final time, but in retrospect I think the slow progress was necessary for me to be able to develop lifestyle changes and to develop habits that would really stick.
The hardest part for me in both losing weight and now maintaining my weight is moderation. I always knew what I should eat, but portion control did not exist in my world pre-Weight Watchers, nor did moderation in any form. I would either be eating wings, pizza, and nachos, or trying not to eat anything remotely unhealthy until I’d slip, consider myself a failure, and just dive into the unhealthy habits again.
Throughout my journey, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that slip ups and falling off track are inevitable and will continue to happen. I am not defined by the slip ups and considered a failure or a bad person; I am instead defined by how I bounce back and learn from those experiences.
I think the biggest surprise that has come from losing weight has not been how much I changed on the outside – that was what I knew would happen if I changed my ways. Instead, it was how much I have changed inside and been able to prioritize myself and my needs. I never used to put myself first or made time for what I needed to do, and it made me unable to give as much to others. I am my best self when I am eating well, exercising, and taking “me” time to reflect and dive head first into healthy living, which is my newfound passion.