There is a great scene in the movie America’s Sweethearts where Billy Crystal’s character, Lee, is astonished by the weight loss of Julia Robert’s character. She has lost 60 pounds. He throws his arms and says, “That’s a Backstreet Boy!”
Well, starting in February of 2006 I set out to lose close to that amount. I had no idea what I was going to do, but I knew it was time.
Today, I clock in at about 140 at 5’7″. It’s a number of which I am quite proud. It’s only about five pounds heavier than the day I started high school. My pant size is in the single digits and I can usually fit into a medium. That’s more than two-thirds of American Adults can claim.
February 1, 2006, it was another story. I won’t get into the numbers, but I will say that I was tipping the scales into obesity. My clothes did not fit and were growing tighter every day. I had no idea what to wear each day and no desire to walk into a store and drop money to reward that expanding waistline.
For those of you who are curious, here is my “Before” picture:
I hit the gym timidly and awkwardly. I toyed with counting calories. I did not know what I was doing. Then, I utilized my powers of neurotic obsession to read and research. I became a walking encyclopedia of health and fitness. I tracked my food and workouts on caloriecount.about.com. Slowly, very slowly, I began to drop the weight… celebrating at each ten-pound increment.
Every day was a battle. It meant fighting a desire to eat junk, overdo it with sugar and flour and generally self-sabotage. Finding the motivation to work out got harder after the illustrious glow of novelty wore off. I began to head to the gym directly after work so that nothing could get in my way.
Ultimately, I got frustrated and nearly eliminated flour, sugar and carefully monitored my caloric intake. I upped my workouts, swapping long, slow walks for shorter bursts of intense circuit training. I went to a personal trainer. I could barely do a single crunch on the Swedish ball, my core was so weak. It was embarassing but I knew this was the only way to push through and become stronger.
As I sought out more ways to be active and stay off the couch, I inadvertently stopped watching TV and snacking. My mood improved, my looks improved and I was suddenly living a life designed to sustain good health and happiness.
Finally, on May 31st, 2008 (my official goal-date!!), I reached my goal weight of 140 lbs.
During my divorce, I lost a few more pounds rather accidentally. In September of 2008, I felt too thin. Maybe not by societal standards but definitely by my own. It took about a year but I wound up gaining it back and feel really good about my appearance now. You could even say I’ve accepted it… and am not just comfortable but happy in my own skin.
I spend as much time outdoors as possible and workout regularly(weight training, anaerobic cardio like tennis, yoga). I watch my diet like a hawk because of (recently discovered) food intolerances and because it is so easy to slip back into old habits.
… and I have a whole new lease on life. I’ve bought an entirely new wardrobe; you’ve never seen a happier woman hauling old clothes to Goodwill! I’ve learned how to take care of myself. I’ve learned that I am capable of so much more than I originally thought. Self-doubt is a thing of the past.
I still gain and lose pounds here and there, I’m only human, but at the end of May, I will have kept this weight off for two whole years. That’s a solid marker that I will be able to sustain the weight loss for life. I am very, very proud of this and plan to celebrate the anniversary… while hiking with a friend.
If you have any questions about this experience, please email me directly by clicking here. If you’re looking to lose weight, even a large amount, it’s easier than you think. Truth be told… I’m lazy, hate cardio and have a convincing and argumentative sweet tooth. If I can do it, anyone can.