Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Here goes nothing!

My name is Beverly. I am a wife and a mother of one soon to be eight-year-old daughter. I am 5’8” and have successfully gone from 320+ lbs. to a healthy 130 lbs. and have kept if off for close to two years. Here is my story…

I have been big all of my life. As a child I remember defending my pudginess on the playground by saying, “Its just baby fat!” while my faced burned with embarrassment. I remember sneaking food and always being very conscious of how much I was getting compared to others, making sure I never got less than anyone else. I used to catch a bus to local convenient stores with a friend where we would load up on candy with our allowances. We would pretend that we needed to get so much because we were sharing with all of our friends but when we got home we would eat every bit of it ourselves. I remember trying desperately not to stand out at school, hoping that the kids would simply forget I was there and not feel the need to make fun of the “fat girl”, but inevitably they always did. As a child and a teen I tried every diet imaginable. I was on Slim Fast repeatedly; I tried a high protein diet and even did Jenny Craig with my mom, just to name a few. Like so many others, I tried diet after diet hoping that this time I would find the miracle I was looking for, each time only finding failure and losing myself just a little bit more in the process. For a time in high school I starved my way down to about 180 lbs. (the smallest I had ever been) and felt pretty good until I started passing out and suffering panic attacks because I wasn't eating and my body had begun shutting down. During the year after I got married I quickly put on 50 lbs. and then I seemed to level off at about 230 lbs. Which is where I stayed for a few years. Even after I had my daughter I still never got below 230 lbs., of course I wasn’t really trying that much either. And soon, when I was able to quit work and stay home with her, I just gave up completely. That is when I stopped caring (or so I told myself) and didn't even try to watch what I ate anymore. The weight quickly piled on until I found myself at somewhere over 320 lbs. I stayed right around this weight for a few years just hiding and eating. I never wanted to go anyplace where others would see me. I couldn't find clothes that fit me in regular stores anymore so I lived in my husband's old sweats and t-shirts. I certainly couldn't keep up with my daughter so I just sat there (usually eating) while she played around me. Over the years I made a couple of half-hearted attempts to lose the weight but I had convinced myself that I would never be able to take it off on my own. I told myself it would take some miracle weight loss pill or surgery that would radically change the way my body worked forever. And since I couldn't afford these things, there just wasn't anything I could do about it. Denial is a wonderfully convenient but ultimately destructive thing. Then, when my daughter was turning five and about to start Kindergarten, (September of 2002) I found out that my mom was coming for a visit. We don't get to see each other very often because she lives pretty far away and I was always embarrassed to let her see how big I had gotten. When she came I automatically started to limit what and how much I ate, like she wouldn't know that I didn't normally eat this way! Just another form of denial, I guess. But by the time she left a few weeks later I realized that I had the perfect opportunity to really get a handle on my weight problem. Her visit had given me the jumpstart I needed and for some reason that was all it took. Things seemed to just click this time. I had seen some definite results from the changes I made, I had lost a few pounds, and I realized that it just wasn't as hard as I assumed it would be. That is when I really put my plan into action. I cut out soda and started drinking as much water as possible. I started using the treadmill I had bought a few years earlier during one of my many failed attempts to try to get my weight under control, but had just been collecting dust ever since. Now, don’t get me wrong, walking on the treadmill was slow going at first and anything but easy. But I forced myself to do it day after day, usually never going more than 30 minutes at a time, but always trying to increase the speed as often as possible. I even began checking out books on tape from the local library to listen to while I walked which helped take my mind off of what I was doing. I also started eating three meals and 2-3 snacks a day. Just making sure to watch my portions and make better food choices. I couldn't do anything radical because my family certainly wasn't going to diet with me so I still ate normal foods just less of them and I always added a big salads with my meals. This is also when I joined a website I had heard about from a friend. is this wonderfully informative, hugely supportive group of people who are all going through the same things as me. I became a part of the 100 lb. club, which is a group of truly inspirational woman (and even a few men) who all share the same daunting task of trying to loose 100 pounds or more. This group of friends is always there during good times and bad, giving and taking advice, encouraging and motivating and always cheering one another on. Soon the weight really began to drop off and I knew that this was finally "it". I didn't need pills or surgery; I was doing this on my own! I found that I didn't even miss all the treats and gooey desserts that I had so desperately craved before. And when a craving did hit I would repeat to myself a quote that I first saw on the boards at 3fc, "Never trade what you want at the moment for what you want the most." So I kept on day after day, sometimes slipping up but mostly staying on track. Sometimes having to force myself to make the right choices even when I didn’t want to, but always believing that I WAS going to succeed this time. And that is what I did. On November 3, 2003 I reached my goal. In a little over 13 months I went from 320+ lbs. to 150 lbs. Since then I have taken off a few more pounds and I now fluctuate between 126 and 130 lbs., which is where I plan to stay, my “line in the sand” being 135 lbs. I know if I cross that line it’s time to get my but in gear and go back to basics. I have also entered into the last leg of this journey, that of maintenance. I know it won’t be easy and it certainly hasn’t been thus far. My ongoing struggle with food didn’t just disappear as soon as I reached my goal. I know that this is something I will have to deal with for the rest of my life. But I am okay with that because I also know that I have the tools and knowledge to keep my body healthy and strong from now on. And that is exactly what I am going to do. I have finally taken control over my body and life and now the possibilities seem endless. One day I hope to be able to have reconstructive surgery to remove the excess skin that has been left due to years of abuse and neglect of this body. But for now that remains just a dream since we are in absolutely no position to afford such an expensive surgery. I’ve even briefly considered trying to get on one of those shows that do radical makeovers, but I'm not willing to be away from my daughter and can’t afford to be away from work for the six to eight weeks that is required. So here I am, trying to be comfortable in my own skin, and learning to live in a world so foreign to me. My plan is to take it one day at a time, and never stop believing in the power of me.


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