For almost as long as I can remember, I’ve been either on a diet or planning to go on a diet soon. I was a “normal” sized child until age ten, when my parents got divorced (and I rapidly put on about 60 lbs over the next two years that followed). My mom went back to work full time and took classes at night to get her degree, so I was often left alone. Food was a comfort, a babysitter and a friend. I remember that I didn’t eat junk food all the time, but I definitely didn’t make the best food choices (and was clueless as to what was “healthy”). I was also never the type who could eat anything- it always seemed like if I ate a doughnut I’d gain five pounds. From my early teen to young adult years I was chubby, out of shape and extremely uncomfortable in my own body.
It wasn’t until after college that I decided to actually make a change. I joined a gym, starting eating healthier and the weight came off consistently. I got down to a very healthy weight and for the first time in my life LOVED going shopping for clothes. It’s definitely much more pleasant to shop for clothes when you’re a size 4 or 6 (as opposed to barely being able to squeeze into a 16)! Unfortunately, it was hard to see my body as “thin” from years and years of only seeing it as fat. Even though everyone else may have looked at me and seen a slim, healthy woman, I didn’t see that. When I looked in the mirror I saw a girl with loose skin, a fat stomach and always thought I needed to lose ten more pounds. I went through some pretty drastic measures to try to lose weight, which totally backfired resulting in weight gain and the loss of my period.
I was a slave to the gym, calorie counting and trying to be thinner. Even though I had a lot of good in my life, it was one of the darkest, most unhappy times that I can remember. Luckily, I was able to pull myself out of my exercise obsession (switching from exercising a minimum of 3 hours every day- mostly cardio- to less than an hour a day, 5-6 times per week), but my issues with food were a lot tougher to overcome. When I quit my teaching job and spent all day at home studying for my personal trainer certification, the weight piled on. I gained 15 lbs. within a few months, due to lots of mindless eating and constant access to my pantry and fridge. I ended up joining Weight Watchers (for probably the 10th time in life) a few months before moving away from Maryland and lost most of the weight I had put on the fall before.
When I got to Colorado, I quickly gained the weight back. Even though I was hiking (all the time!) and working out, I went out to eat much more than I did in Maryland (and drank a lot more beer). Over the next year, I made half-ass attempts at weight loss and had very little success. I still felt “fat” and uncomfortable in my body, but started to care a little less about the aesthetics. I knew I was fit and able to keep up with my “thinner” friends, so who cared if I had more fat around my belly than everyone else? Losing weight in Colorado proved to be SO much more difficult, mostly because all of the eating out. I know that it’s easy to make healthy choices when you’re out to eat, but really- who wants to eat a salad after a hike (especially when all of your friends are eating burgers, fries and beer!)?