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Weight Loss/Gain/Loss/Gain…. History

I guess the whole “Dear Body” letter stirred up the desire to share (or potentially publish a massive overshare) with the blog world, but I’ve never been one to extinguish the rare fits of personal writing I happen across. I present to you, my weight loss journey.

Childhood: I was a skinny kid, up until middle school or so. In 8th grade, I hit my highest weight ever. I still remember the moment like it happened yesterday. I went upstairs to the bathroom, locked the door as quietly as possible behind me, and slowly walked toward the scale. I was wearing jeans and a flannel shirt (ah, the late 80s/early 90s, how many crimes of fashion you reveled in) and I had a body wave perm in my hair. Afraid to take my clothes off lest I be interrupted and have to play it cool, I stepped on the scale. I leaned over, tentatively, since I couldn’t see the scale simply by looking straight down. Over my tummy, in front of my wiggling toes, I saw it. 180 pounds. I suddenly understood why I was the butt of so many jokes. I understood why I nearly passed out when we were forced to run the mile in gym class. I was 5 feet tall and I felt 5 feet wide.

In 10th grade, I joined the marching band. I might be one of the only people who can say band camp = fat camp. In one week away at camp, I lost 15 pounds. I was so disgusted by the food, and we spent so many hours out in the sun on the football field, that my body had no choice but to survive on its stores.Β I graduated from high school in the low 160s.

College: In college, I discovered the gym. I also discovered girls who openly talked about their eating disorders. And alcohol. What can I say? I got quite the “health” education. I joined a sorority, started dating a tall, dark and handsome writer (who is still tall, dark and handsome, but now counts beans rather than words) and my weight always floated in the 145-160 range.

college

Graduate School: When I moved away from my beloved to pursue my graduate degree, I first experienced truly living on my own. Rather than cooking for myself, I got a job waiting tables. My days were reduced to family meal at the restaurant, copious plates of fresh bread dipped in seasoned olive oil, a quick walk to my 4 hour grad class and a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts munchkins as a mid-class snack. I rarely had an opportunity to exercise since I was working 70 hours a week and in class for 20 hours. In 2004, halfway through grad school, I looked like this:

PICT0003

After I finished my grad degree, I settled into a desk job and, unlike most people, it actually helped me to lose weight. Well, the group of friends I made probably helped – I was friends with several girls and we’d get together for lunch every day and talk about diet and weight loss. I also joined a gym, moved in with the tall, dark and handsome writer and started walking to/from work. All told, I spent most of that first job around 135-140.

Engagement/aka Wheels Came Off: In May 2006, I was invited to London by the writer and his parents. The first night on our trip, the writer proposed to me on the London Tower Bridge. There were a lot of smiles, maybe a few happy tears, and many celebrations, which meant lots of food. That July, I decided it was time to get serious about losing some weight so I could start shopping for dresses. I began calorie counting and losing 1-2 pounds per week. Then, I started trimming down my calorie intake more and more while upping my exercise. I trained for, and ran, my first half marathon that November and by December, I was 114 lbs.

thinnest

I was eating two Zone bars per day, cutting them up into small pieces to make them last as long as possible. I ate small dinners, never had seconds, chewed so slowly I could make a cup of pasta last 45 minutes. I stopped eating every night by 9pm. Then 8:30pm. Then 8pm. I drank green tea by the gallon and weighed myself multiple times every day. As miserable as I was, I looked in the mirror every day, happy to see myself looking thinner than the day before.

(As happy as I thought I was during this time, I say I was miserable because The Huz remembers how it really was living with me – constant headaches and migraines, upset stomachs, tension, distrust, isolation.)

I found and ordered my wedding dress in early 2007 and spent the entire year waiting for its arrival in an absolute panic. What if I didn’t fit in it when it came in? What if my hips were too wide? In spite of my best efforts, I (thankfully) began to gain weight. Even though I was running every day and restricting my calories as much as possible, my body was screaming for nourishment. I binged on “forbidden foods” and ate in secret. I trained for, and ran 3 half marathons and a full marathon in 2007. I loved training, and the companionship of my running buddies, but I was always counting calories in the back of my mind. How many calories did this long run earn me for later? Had I run off my binge from the night before? I spent most of 2007 around 120-125.

In 2008, I got married, went on my honeymoon, adopted a dog, and moved into a new apartment. I started experimenting with new diet regimens – raw, food combining, heavy to light, light to heavy, all natural, all processed, intuitive eating, planned eating. You name it, I tried it. I fell in love with pilates, ran another half marathon and, still, every event was shadowed by my daily weight. You might not believe it, but I can tell you what I weighed on almost any day from July 6, 2006 to about two weeks before my wedding.

I participated in a psychology study in early 2009 on mood and eating disorders. I began keeping a food/exercise log and met with a therapist once a week. We focused on coping techniques and acceptance. I swore to only weigh myself during my appointments. As much as this challenged me, I felt so free. I wasn’t permitted to count calories and I had to note when I exercised to compensate for overeating. Throughout the study, which lasted 4 months, I gained only 2 pounds.

In March 2009, I moved to New York City. During my first week, I took a spinning class at my new gym. Five minutes into class, my foot flew out of the stirrup and the pedal came around and hit my heel so hard it broke off of the bike. I didn’t run, except one incredibly ill-advised 10k the following weekend, for over two months. I ate to bury my frustration and my anxiety. I was frustrated with my body. I was anxious about living in a new city. I resented my husband for getting to move back to his hometown and live close to his family while mine was far away. I was intimidated by every woman I saw in the street. I gained weight day after day. Eventually, I couldn’t stand to get on the scale and I hid it in the bathroom behind the sink. My clothes didn’t fit and I had to dig through old suitcases to find my “fat clothes.”

In May, I began this blog in earnest. I started documenting my meals, my exercise, and my feelings. I braved the scale for the first time in months. 131 pounds. Typing that, my first thought is “wow, I’ve got a long way to go.” But this is the fat talk I am battling every day now. Every day, I battle the voices that tell me to suck in my stomach, to buy new clothes because I’m too fat to wear my old favorites, to skip breakfast, to log an extra mile on the treadmill. Every day, I battle the urge to prescribe to a miracle fix and I yearn for the day I realize I have created my own fix. Every day, I pray for the strength to trust my instincts and I gently encourage the small, scared voice that says “you look pretty today” or “you deserve the wonderful husband you have”. I know I have a long way to go, but I hope someday to truly believe my journey is about finding acceptance with myself, rather than just my figure. And I long for the excitement of reveling in the love I deserve.

I’m feeling pretty worn out from writing all this, so if you’ve made it this far, please take a minute to say a little prayer for yourself. For the good you deserve to find its way to you. And if you wouldn’t mind, maybe say a teeny little one for me.

Much Love.

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49 Responses

  1. What a journey. It sounds like quite a battle and I know a lot of women (including myself) can benefit from hear other’s stories. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Really, thank you for sharing. I hope this is not offensive, because I mean it as a compliment. I think you are an awesome person, even though I only met you once and I don’t think we spoke, I read your blog and I think your pretty cool and have it together. I think it’s so crazy how together women can be in some areas and yet,struggle with the scale. I am far from perfect in this area myself and I apprecaite you sharing your story.

    • I’m not offended at all! I agree – so many women (and men) seem to have it together, but so many of us really do have intense inner struggles going on. I try to remember that when I see women walking down the street every day and I try to think positive thoughts for them. If they really do have it all together, the positive energy can’t hurt. And if they’re struggling with something, as I am, I hope it helps!

  3. I just started to write a really long comment but I think I’ll email you instead! πŸ˜‰

  4. Thank you for your story. I will pray for both of us. We should remember, it’s one day at a time… just today we can feel great about ourselves, know we are amazing, wonderful women. Let tomorrow take care of its self…

    V.

    • Hi Veronica,

      Thanks so much for visiting my blog! You are so right that we need to let tomorrow take care of itself. It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in trying to plan everything out perfectly and life just isn’t that predictable. We all deserve to appreciate the present and the joy it can bring!

  5. Thank you for sharing your story – putting stuff like this online is not an easy thing to do, so I admire you for being so brave!

    “For the good you deserve to find its way to you. ” – I’ll definitely add that to my prayer list – what a great thing to focus on. You ARE WORTH IT.

  6. thanks for sharing your story – i think most of us can relate to many of the things you’ve been through (i know i can!). just keep exercising, eating, and doing what is right for YOU!

    you go girl πŸ™‚

  7. Wow, what a story – it’s sad and happy at the same time. I certainly know the feeling of being a slave to the scale and obsessed with food/working out – I felt happy at the time because my efforts were paying off, but it was only a matter of time before I realized how UNhappy I was in actuality. And yet your story is happy too because after reading this and meeting you in person, it’s obvious to me that you’ve got it in you to recover and be at peace with yourself. Not everyone has that strength! Not that the struggle ever goes away completely, but I think your story resonates with (too many, unfortunately) other like-minded ladies, myself included.

  8. What a beautiful and honest post!! You are a wonderful writer. Your experiences resonate with many of us. Thank you for sharing your trials. May you someday get your peace with how wonderful and healthy and strong your body is. I feel so lucky to have found it πŸ™‚

  9. what a great story! thank you for sharing that, it means alot to people you wouldn’t even realize.
    thanks again :]

  10. Thanks so much for sharing! I’ve often considered writing a blog post about my ups and downs of weight issues. Mine’s been a slow and steady climb with now much time spent on the down side. Congrats for the accomplishments and use that to keep going even when you feel you’ve failed.

  11. What an extraordinary post. And an incredible journey. I hope you find your balance with your weight. We lose weight and exercise to get healthy. It’s amazing how distorted our thinking can become when we are in this process. So much of this journey to health is learning to accept and be proud of ourselves wherever our weight is. It sounds like you are well on your way to that acceptance.

  12. thanks for writing this…it is an important story to tell

  13. What an amazing post! You are such a strong woman and I know you will balance your weight and get into the ‘healthy’ body image mindset. It takes a lot for someone to write such an honest post such as this. I think you are wonderful and you’re well on your way to success…
    Have a great day and hope to see you soon!

    Best,

    Amie

  14. Thank you for sharing your story. It shows me that I am not the only one for whom weight is a constant battle. I ran my way to a slender body a few years ago but due to a new relationship two years ago I gained all the weight back. I have not run in more than a year (other than half-assed attempts to try to run again). I am harder on myself now being overweight than I was before – because I went from running half marathons to smoking and eating whatever. I desparately want to lose the weight but I think my own mind prevents me from doing so sometimes, because I get bummed out thinking of how much work it will take to lose the 50 lbs. I’d like to. I am inspired by your struggle, because I see my own reflected in it. Thank you for sharing, and giving me a bit of inspiration and motivation this morning.

    • Hi BeautyJudy – Just remember it’s a daily challenge, but it’s also a daily opportunity. Making a good choice, or being kind to yourself, even just once, is a step in the right direction. I have to remind myself of that every single day!

  15. I am new to wordpress, and this is the first personal blog entry I have read. It really makes sense to me; I get it (and I am sure so many other women do too). I want to thank you for your honesty because it means a lot to hear it so unfiltered and raw. I will be having a baby in a little over two weeks, and I have been obsessing about my weight the entire time…one of these days it will all make sense for me. I hope it does eventually for you too.
    Regards, Natalie

  16. What an honest and inspiring story.
    Everyone’s battle is different. The battle of self love and self acceptance.

    Thank you for sharing and I really enjoy your writing.

  17. Honey, you are beautiful at every weight and in every picture you have up there, and I pray that you will see it someday. My favorite weight is the one in grad school, but you will learn to listen to your body and find the right spot for you.

    I am on my own weight loss quest and have just recently dropped from 198 to 175 which is a weight I have not seen since I was in my 30s (I’m 56 now). I have done it through diet and exercise.

    Thank you for sharing your story and blessed be.

  18. Thank you for sharing, I can understand how draining that must have been for you to write that.
    That was extremely open and honest and something I am sure most women can relate to. Those ‘bad habits’ that you described are unfortunatly quite common among us and a personal struggle we each have to overcome in our own way. You are on the right path. Good luck to you.
    BTW – you are gorgeous in all of the pictures! I think you looked best in the 2004 picture. You look like Amy Adams.
    ~Stephanie

  19. I’m in awe. I couldn’t help myself but while I read your piece, I’m thinking how great your numbers are and damn, what I wouldn’t do to get to that weight. How pathetic am I?
    Thanks for sharing this and it is so easy for me to relate.

    Too many of us women judge ourselves by the scale or a size and it is no wonder with this crazy world we live in. Still, it is a daily battle to be healthy, think healthy and be happy.
    Best of luck to you (& me) and all who share this irrational anxiety…

    • It’s so difficult to get those thoughts out of our heads, but it’s really the only way – and every minute of every day is a new opportunity to think a positive thought about ourselves instead of a negative one!

  20. This was an extremely eye-opening and encouraging story. Thank you so much for sharing this!

  21. Thank you for sharing you’re story. It is because of stories like these that should make bloggers proud. Well written, and the truth behind it is what will move people, and motivate ourselves. Hearing what our peers, or what others can accomplish, or simply what they have gone through to get to the point where they are at is a phenomenal motivational tool. Many people will connect with this, even if it isn’t a weight issue, because we’ve all struggled through something, and if we haven’t – there is plenty of time to come.

    Myself, I’ve had plenty of battles – more than most for my young age. I hope many more people read this story, because I know everyone will get something from it.

    All of the Best, Matt

  22. I really, really appreciate you sharing this story. It reminds me so much of my struggles over the years and the different thought processes I had throughout it. I know it was probably hard to write, but you’ve helped a lot of people by writing it. Including me.

    Thanks.

  23. Wow. Kathryn, my sweet. I am so glad you came out and shared this! It must have taken a lot of guts, but I know from my work and from simply being a woman that this will resonate with many, many, many people. Congrats to you for being so conscious of your history that you reached a point where you could talk about it so honestly — so few people do — and for forgiving yourself and striving for a wholly loving relationship with that hot bod of yours. I’m really moved — beautiful writing, too.

    xo

    • Thank you, thank you!! I honestly was so afraid to record everything, but I felt so relieved when I hit ‘publish’ – I wasn’t keeping secrets anymore!

  24. Holy hell, I just spelled your name the wrong way. I suck — sorry!!!

  25. What a personal story. Your words are so relevant to so many of us. Thanks for sharing.

  26. You have no idea what your post just did for me….I am sitting here right now in the office and just stubbled across your blog. With all the same feelings that you have and the experiences that you have gone through as well it calms me a little just knowing that I am not alone. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for telling your story. You never know who is reading and I can honestly say that I am thankful for you. I will keep reading.

    • Heather, your words are so touching to me. I wish, for your sake, that you had not gone through the same things I have, but I am also comforted to know that I am not alone – and that we can all communicate in one way or another to share our stories! I do hope you’ll visit my blog again and I wish you much love and happiness!

  27. I just stumbled across your blog on a time I needed it the most. It gives me such a sense of peace and unity knowing that I am not along in my struggle.
    I can only imagine how draining but yet freeing this was to write. I think this is something I must consider also doing for myself.
    Peace and happiness to you and for all of us who continue to struggle with just being good enough with the way we are. There is no perfect you!!

  28. Wow, you definitely have come a long way in this journey. You are such a strong woman, and I know that you have all your best interests in mind. It’s just learning to find that balance and listen to what your body is telling you. Stay strong and keep with your positive attitude. Thanks so much for sharing! πŸ™‚

    xxoo
    Heather

  29. Thanks so much for sharing! I can tell you’ve come a long way and am so happy that your in the place that you are right now! Keep up the good work!

  30. Wow. This is the first time I’ve stumbled upon your blog, and this post is incredible. I appreciate your honesty with the struggles you’ve gone through and are coping with now. I believe you will find self-acceptance and self-love along the way. It takes a lot of reflecting and realizing how amazing you are (and admitting it without shame). It’s not easy, but it’s possible, and you deserve it, girl! Keeping you in my thoughts and only wishing you the best! If it’s possible to send positive energy to you through the web.. then this is an attempt hehe πŸ™‚

    I’m Katharina by the way.

  31. I really appreciated this post! I was also at my heaviest when I was around 13 or 14 and I was often teased for being “chubby” and “nerdy”. 10 years later and 20 lbs less, I still feel self-conscious and like the “fat kid” sometimes…Yikes! It’s a long road, but I’m trying to focus on what my body can DO for me (run marathons, give great hugs, carry heavy luggage), rather than how it looks on the outside.

  32. amazing post. although my path wasn’t quite the same, there are definite similarities – i too have gone through a loss/gain/loss/gain pattern. reading about your pre-wedding preparation is good for me. i think your hindsight is important as i too have some jittery feelings about dress fittings etc. i know i shouldnt be concerned all of a sudden…but this lofty vision of perfection in a white dress still wont go away. since when does my weight on a single day mean anything to me? its weird, right? i am enough. i am enough.

    ps even though its oversharing for you, its inspiring for others (me)

  33. […] labels to be too restrictive. I tried to hide behind them and they served as justifications for an unhealthy mindset and body image. I “didn’t” eat certain foods or “wouldn’t” participate in […]

  34. one of the best posts I’ve ever read — ever. really. it was like you told the story of my life.

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