I wish I could say that my Weight Loss Journey began with a bang, that I woke up one morning with an “aha!” moment, and the energy to kick start my experience. Instead, my Weight Loss Journey began with a feeling of defeat. I had reached my limit. I set out to lose weight simply because I was tired. I was tired of being the fat friend. I was tired of buying new clothes for events because my current wardrobe didn’t fit. I realized I was hiding from social events or certain activities because I was insecure about my weight. I avoided physical activities because they hurt too much. There were times when I drove myself three blocks to school because I was too lazy, and the sciatica and back pain were too much for me to handle.
One night, I was lying on the couch watching TV when I saw a commercial for Weight Watchers. I called a friend and asked her to join, but I prepared myself for her to reject the idea. If she said no, I didn’t have to go through with joining, right? Without hesitation, she agreed to join Weight Watchers with me.
The next weekend, we entered the meeting center, which was full of post-holiday new members. I was overwhelmed with the overload of information. During the meeting, I kept asking myself, “Is this really what I want? Does this even work?” Even before I began the process of losing weight and getting healthy, I was doubting my ability to commit or succeed on this program. Over the course of the first month or so, I saw the weight drop. Propelled by my success, I stuck to the plan religiously, even allowing myself meals out and the occasional dessert.
While I learned how to change my relationship with food, I began to realize how badly I had been treating my body. In high school, I was an athlete: a girl who could sprint without breaking a sweat or taking a hit off her inhaler. Then, I was free from back pain and a numbing sensation in my legs. Now, I was unmotivated, out of shape, and frankly, I was lazy. As the weight slowly dropped, I found more energy and the drive to get myself into the gym.
Thankfully, as a graduate student, I had access to a free gym and dozens of classes. I joined a few and became a regular. Even if my posture was poor, or my crunches weren’t on the beat, I was proud of showing up to classes and being recognized by the class leaders. Over time, my asthma symptoms lessened; instead of going through inhalers every two weeks, I was stretching them over two months. My flexibility improved, and my back pain began to dwindle. If someone told me that my back and asthma problems would’ve improved by activity, I would’ve laughed! The idea of moving more in order to feel better did not make sense to me… until it turned out to be true.
I’m proud to report that my asthma is virtually nonexistent. My back pain rarely returns, and when it does, it’s usually because I haven’t been active in awhile. I’m by no means an expert on fitness or weight loss, but I’m happy with the knowledge I’ve learned along the way. I’m excited to see how my body works now that it’s in top condition again. Of course, pulling on the tightest, skinniest skinny jeans I could find is an excellent plus, too.
I didn’t do all of this on my own. Yes, the first step to beginning a Weight Loss Journey is admitting you need a change. That step you must do alone. The rest of the journey, though, doesn’t have to be lonely. With Twitter, The Sisterhood, and online forums, it’s impossible to be alone. Why would you want to be alone during such a challenging, exciting part of your life? Every day, I reach out to my Twitter friends and we share our triumphs, challenges, setbacks and excitement. Knowing I had a support system 24/7 really helped me stay accountable. Through this amazing group of friends, I learned about the Shrinkvivor challenge at The Sisterhood of Shrinking Jeans.
Over seven weeks, I competed with the most incredible challengers. We all worked toward a common goal: to be better, to work harder, to lose more. My biggest success was breaking my plateau and hitting my goal weight. Joining the challenge inspired me to break through that mental wall and reach my goal.
Since the end of January in 2011, I have lost 47 pounds, and dropped four pant sizes. What I have gained is worth so much more: freedom from health issues, an incredible support group of men and women with similar goals, and the ability to see a glimmer of my former self, but in a new and improved package.
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