The first time I remember consciously thinking “I’m fat” was in the sixth grade. I remember sucking in my stomach to look smaller.
That began my long battle of worrying about my weight and attaching my self worth to the opinions of boys(that will have to be a post for another day).
I developed a big appetite during my growth spurt in elementary school- something I still struggle with in adulthood today. In middle school, I never actively thought about trying to lose weight. Any confidence or comfort I had in my body took a beating from being exposed to a larger pool of kids in middle school vs. elementary.
In high school,
I did not strictly track my weight or the foods that I ate. I developed an interest in going to the gym after going sometimes with my sister or my dad. By Junior year, I was going regularly. I worked out with the hope of getting my body to look a certain way, but it also felt good introducing some healthy habits and physical activity in my life.
Still, being a high schooler and feeling like you don’t fit the norm is yet another thing that is damaging to an already shaky confidence. On top of being insecure with my introversion, I learned to hate my rounder face and my stomach that had never been flat.
It wasn’t until the end of Senior year and after high school that I began actively trying to lose weight. I attempted fad diets like Atkins, extremely low carb, juicing, military diet,obsessive calorie counting, liquid, paleo – you name it. I even dabbled in expensive weight loss pills for a time (fun fact: pretty sure they just made you go to the bathroom more). I went to the gym regularly, took up running, and tried the Insanity program. In combination with these diets, I lost weight this way, but I always gained it back. These methods were simply not maintainable.
Shortly after high school, I was experiencing some issues in my home life and was in an emotionally abusive relationship. These factors led me to developing a more unhealthy relationship with food. I either ate my feelings excessively or was so stressed out and sad that I barely ate at all. I felt pressure to look better than I did knowing that my significant other had frequently wandering eyes.
Still, I had a pretty active job and my bad eating habits were able to continue without my weight being drastically affected. I think for much of this time I was somewhere in the 140-150 range.
Then, the first break up happened.
I was young and it was my longest relationship, so even though it was a tumultuous one, I was blindsided and heartbroken. Devastated, I rarely ate more than a handful of Wheat Thins a day. At the same time, I ran 3-5 miles daily to try and clear my head.
This “break up diet” got me down to my lowest adult weight of 125 pounds. This was the first time I felt more confident externally, but had zero confidence internally. Despite seeing physical results, it was not healthy in any way, shape, or form.
After only a month or two, my ex and I got back together. We eventually broke up for good less than a year later, but during that time together I went back up to a healthier weight.
This was an adjustment for me because I grew used to my small, albeit unhealthy body. My bad relationship with food hadn’t changed much once the break up diet ended.
Newly free from the dead weight of a bad relationship, I picked up a regular weight lifting routine at the gym. My best friend and new boyfriend came with me and it was a great motivator. I still struggled with how I looked, but I felt strong for the first time and liked the changes I saw in my body. It was then I started valuing being stronger over being smaller. I felt comfortable and happy in the 150 range while I was lifting regularly.
I maintained this weight pretty easily and was content there. A nagging voice in my head continued telling me I should do more-that had been my narrative for too long.
Then, I graduated college and got a sedentary office job-a pretty high stress one at that. It wasn’t long before I stopped being active entirely and began eating more junk. I struggled with the new routine and making time for myself.
I gained nearly 40 pounds
in less than six months passing the 200 pound mark. A year later, I’d reached my highest ever weight of 220.6 pounds.
I felt awful.
I stopped wearing real pants.
I stopped feeling cute no matter what I did with clothes or makeup.
I stopped taking pictures of myself or wanting to be in anyone’s photos.
I got insecure about my relationship.
I lacked energy or motivation to do things I enjoyed.
I knew something had to change, but had no idea how I would manage to do anything in this body that felt like a stranger to me.
In the usual “new year, new me” fashion, I decided to start working hard to lose the weight at the beginning of 2017. I utilised the gym membership I neglected and got the Beachbody App to save time by working out at home. I began a weight loss Instagram account (lady_in_weighting) as a diary for the work I was doing. It’s been a great way to hold myself accountable and document my journey.
By the time I left for my spontaneous London trip that summer, I’d lost 12 pounds! Did I keep it off, though? Nope.
I promptly fell off the wagon again and nearly ended up at my highest weight once more. By December of that year, I was 217 pounds again. That December, feeling shitty about myself yet again, I managed to make a life-changing decision.
I decided to try boxing.
A few girls at work and I found a Groupon for boxing classes and decided to give it a try. It was something I’d always been interested in doing, but too scared to try on my own. Little did I know, I’d still be a member at that same boxing gym nearly three years later.
That first class kicked all of our asses and I struggled to get through them for several months. Eventually, I got better. I never once had to drag myself or talk myself into going to a class. I genuinely loved it and felt like it was not only making me stronger physically, but mentally as well.
Since I loved the workout so much, I decided to get better about eating so my hard work wasn’t in vain. This time, I wanted to do it the healthy way. I was sick and tired of yo-yoing and fad diets. I wanted to lose weight in a way that I could maintain long-term…even if it took years to do it.
This meant no calorie counting (associating food with numbers just makes me miserable and leads to self sabotage), no starving myself, and no guilt around eating things I enjoy. I didn’t want to live that way. Instead, I focused on eating healthy 80% of the time. I prepped my lunches, added in more fruits and veggies, and stopped going out for lunch during the work week.
Of course, I slipped up at times-especially when I was all up in my emotions about other things-but getting back into the routine was less of an adjustment when it wasn’t a routine that involved starving myself and avoiding carbs like they were the devil himself. Going to boxing kept me mentally strong and motivated me to keep working hard towards my goals, even after slip ups.
That first year, I lost 25 pounds.
Then 6 pounds the following year.
I’m on year 3 of my journey and so far I’m another 8 pounds down. I’m down 41 pounds from my heaviest and 39 pounds down since I started boxing and gained a healthier outlook.
The initial momentum has slowed, which has been frustrating at times. Compared to all those years ago, my mentality has shifted in a positive direction, which is a success in itself. I exercise regularly, feel so much better in my own skin, and enjoy foods I love without experiencing as much guilt as I once would have.
I’m still working on bettering some of my thoughts around food and the habit of over-eating that’s long ingrained in me. Loss has been slow moving lately, but I know I’m on the right path. I know I will never end up where I was before because I’m doing things in a way that works for me. I continue working on listening to my body and making tweaks where I need to with my food and workouts.
During COVID, I’ve been doing Beachbody programs and running.I’m excited to get back to boxing and plan on returning next week!
I’m hoping to lose another 10-20 pounds overall, but in the end my goal is to lose a few more inches and to be stronger. If that’s only 5 less pounds from now, I will be okay with that. We will see where the rest of my journey takes me!
As for right now,
I’m no longer worried about taking up extra space. I no longer want to shy away from the fashionable clothes I always wanted to wear and didn’t purely because I didn’t think my body was perfect enough for them. I no longer want to miss out on the fun of life because I’m worrying about how my body looks. In reality, most people probably don’t give a damn either way.
Cheers to a freer mind, and continued progress in both mind and body<3
I’d also like to give a shout out to Title Boxing Ballwin and my pal Jess for being my boxing (and future long hike) buddy! Also Chris, for remaining a great partner despite all the ups and downs with not only my weight, but the array of (mostly bad) moods that came along with it.
I plan on sharing more focused tidbits of my weight loss in future blog posts, but I thought I’d provide a general groundwork to start with 🙂 What would you like to hear more on?
Have you struggled with weight? What are your favorite workouts? Did you reach a turning point where you realized something needed to change?