My (in-process) weight loss journey

I have been on a weight loss journey since October 2009 – slow, but steady(ish). And I am using this post to come clean and hopefully get some advice. Consider this to be a confessional of sorts… one particular picture, I am not proud to share.

When I first started working, I was not used to living such a sedentary lifestyle. In college I walked probably 4 miles a day, and ate whatever I wanted (not healthy, but I was skinny). After going through a breakup, I got even skinner – and chopped off all of my hair. My active lifestyle in college kept the weight off without even me having to try – the nasty cafeteria food that I couldn’t really eat didn’t hurt either.

Flash forward 6(ish) months after graduation, and I had put a lot of weight on – and when I say a lot, I mean like 30+ lbs. I was not moving, at all.. sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day and then coming home and sitting on the couch (and eating whatever I wanted for dinner – specific example: I remember having cheezits and beer one Saturday night, for dinner – we aren’t in college anymore!) was a combination that was leading me down the wrong path. I got really heavy – I am only 5’3″, so even a few lbs will show on my small frame. I just didn’t realize how big I had gotten, and then BAM – these pictures were taken in October 2009. 6 months!

That week I was in Raleigh for recruiting at NCSU (side note: it’s Game Day – Go Wolfpack!! I will be watching at the Charlotte Alumni bar tonight!). That week was a wakeup call for me after seeing pictures.. I tried for well over a year to lose weight on my own. I successfully lost about 5 lbs, with eating “right” and “working out.” I put those in quotation marks because I did not take my healthy living plan seriously. I was writing down what I ate, but that didn’t stop me from overeating what I did write down. I had not invested in a food scale, nor was I remotely concerned about portion size. I was also not committed to a regular exercise routine; between juggling work and two graduate classes each semester, it was about all I could do to get my school work done at night, let alone get a workout in.

On December, 16th 2010, I joined Weight Watchers… all thanks to Betsy and her patience. I had been skeptical of WW – what sort of diet program lets you eat a 100 calorie pack of cookies OR a banana for 2 points? I know what I am going to choose. Betsy is a Lifetime WW member who is very passionate about the program. But I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it, until… I did. She always informed me about it and answered any questions I had, but never pressured me to join. But when I was ready, she stepped in and has been my backbone of support on my entire journey!

And so, I was ready. Weight Watchers revamped their program to the Points Plus program (ranked #1 best weight loss diet by US News and World Report), and this was a plan I could really get on board with. All fruit and most vegetables are ‘free’? Yes, please! The Points Plus system calculates points based on fat, carbs, protein, and fiber. The old Points system calculated points based on fat, calories, and fiber. While the Points Plus values for most foods went up, this was offset by the “free fruits and most veggies” as well as an increase in your daily Points Plus target.

From December 2010 until about April 2011, I had great success on Weight Watchers. I lost appx. 15 lbs with only 10 more to go. And then I hit the dreaded plateau. Until very recently was I not seeing ANY results on the scale from my weight loss efforts. Was I always consistent with my tracking? No. Was I eating horribly? No. Was I exercising? Yes (but not often enough, I think). I remain frustrated… but I know the only path I can keep going down is the healthy one, whether I am seeing results on the scale or not.

As far as workouts go, I had always relied on walking (which still to this day is awesome). Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home DVD’s helped with that initial 15 lb weight loss, and walking is an amazing form of exercise. I would go to an occasional Zumba class, or hop on the elliptical machine for 30 minutes, but mostly walking. I always envied runners for one reason and one reason only – that they could get places faster than I could walking. For those of you that know me, you know that I walk fast and with a purpose, even if my purpose is “meandering around” – I know no such thing.

So in August 2011, I decided to start jogging – #1 I wanted to get places faster and #2 I thought this might kick start my weight loss again. In fact, this picture was taken on the day of my first “jog.” This was after 2 weeks straight on the road for work (meaning 2 weeks of eating 3 meals daily out). I was not feeling so hot. As you can tell by the corn, I was in the midwest aka fried food capital of the US. I did not make good eating choices while I was there. But, my long hair is back!!!

I chose to start jogging up there because the roads were flat, I was able to jog for 30 seconds or so at a time, and have to walk again. On a 2 or 3 mile walk, I would do the jog intervals 4 or 5 times, and boy was this hard. When I got back to Charlotte, I realized the roads in Dilworth/South End were just as flat, and I could make my walk/jog intervals happen here too. It has been about a month and a half since I started jogging, and now I can jog up to 2 miles without having to take a walking break. Every day I just tried to push myself a little further, and a little further. My “go-to” run is 1.5 miles – perfect for a quick after-work workout. I am also incorporating more strength training in to my exercise routine (pushups, crunches, leg lifts, and this neck exercise to improve my posture). While the scale has not really budged (super frustrating), I can tell that I have lost inches. This picture was taken last weekend, and is the first picture that I have seen of myself where I feel like I have really lost weight – I know, it is all mental and I have just not seen it until now.

I never really understood people who have to work out every day, and granted I have my lazy days – but my body wants to get out there and jog almost every day. It’s crazy! I am not sure who this person is, but I like it. I have been sleeping better, my clothes fit better, I am losing inches, and the healthy activity that I have been practicing has been making me less inclined to put crap in to my body all the time. Am I saying I am a “health goddess” who only eats things that are good for me? Absolutely not! I would rather have a slow weight loss journey than not enjoy life through food. Case in point, my Target shopping basket yesterday consisted of: toilet paper, cheezits (reduced-fat, k?), 2 bottles of wine, Sprite Zero, and Cranberry Juice – am I going to make healthy living choices this weekend? Probably not.. but only every so often am I reunited with two of my best girlfriends! And so, we shall celebrate with champagne and other assorted alcoholic beverages.

I don’t believe that my weight loss journey will ever be over. It will be constantly evolving and in-process, and I am OK with that. I have finally made the commitment to living a (mostly) healthy lifestyle, and I know my body will follow suit and shape itself one of these days as long as I keep it up. I have decreased my Weight Watchers membership from the monthly pass (where you attend meetings and have online access) to just Weight Watchers online (where you can track food and exercise online, search recipes, participate in the message boards) in the efforts of saving money.

I have about 10 more lbs to go until I reach what Weight Watchers says is my goal weight, but I feel pretty darn good where I am right now. The last 10 lbs will come off with time, but I need to remind myself daily that the scale is not all that matters – eating a balanced diet, having a healthy body, keeping your heart healthy, and disease prevention is most important and the scale will fall where it may. This is and will always be a constant struggle for me… but putting it out there (and confessing to my original weight gain) may just give me the extra edge I need for my commitment to healthy living and weight loss. Consistency is key!

What types of struggles have you gone through on your weight loss journey? Please share any tips, tricks, success stories, or motivational speeches!