I couldn't button or tie my shoes any more....My husband had to put my shoes on for me.
Over the past 7 years, I continually gained weight. No matter what I did, what I ate, or how I worked out, I just kept putting on weight. 5 lbs at a time, then 10 lbs at a time. The amount of shame I felt during this time controlled every facet of my life.
I didn't want to hang out with friends or go in public because I just knew that people were looking at me. When we would come back to Wisconsin from Colorado, I would physically duck behind aisles in Target, panicked, if I saw someone I had known in college or high school because I couldn't handle them seeing me this big. Sometimes there were cruel comments made by people in public, and you better believe that no matter how much time has passed since those comments, I still recall that sickening amount of self embarrassment every time I think about it. I don't feel those things now, but the pain is still there. The horror of having a manager tell you that you're heavy breathing really loudly (after walking up a steep hill at 7,000 ft elevation *eyeroll* [who WOULDN'T be heavy breathing then]) is something that stays burned in your mind.
One memory sticks out in-particular. I couldn't button or tie my shoes any more. Every time I would bend over, my pants would pinch my stomach unbearably and I couldn't physically get close enough to my feet. My husband had to put my shoes on for me.
One day I went in for a normal yearly women's exam. By chance, the Dr took a look at the back of my neck and noticed that the skin was darkened. From there she asked if she could look at my stomach. My eyes were burning as I inched up my shirt hemline. She was looking at the deep, bright red stretch marks that covered every inch of my stomach and it was torment to me. She sat down on a chair, took a breath, and looked me in the eyes as she said "sweetie, I'm worried that you might be diabetic, and if not, then pre-diabetic."
You know it's serious when your doctor calls you sweetie in an effort to comfort you, and her words shook my world and the tears overflowed instantly. From there I was sent down for lab-work. The results came quickly.
Good news- No, I was not diabetic. Bad news- I was dangerously close to being pre-diabetic. I was riding that pre-diabetic line as hard as you could ride it. I sobbed as I drove to my parents house, and sobbed into my moms arms. It felt like my biggest shame in the whole world was torn open and brought to light and it was horrifying.
The thing with shame is that it tricks you into thinking that you're doing a great job of hiding; so when those curtains come tearing down and the sunlight streams in and lights up the thing you were trying to hide...oh baby does that hurt.
Something needed to change. Immediately. That doctor's appointment had scared me so much that even though I hide myself away for three + years because of the weight gain, my fear and determination to not become diabetic was greater. I found a weight loss program that was upfront and transparent. Something that worked for me and didn't make me feel bad about not being able to crunch numbers well. I knew that the only way I would be able to do this is if this path/program met me with where I was at. I couldn't take that first step though. So my sweet Bryan took the computer mouse from my hand and finished clicking "sign up".
It's been a bumpy journey. I've discovered so much about why I eat the way I do- as in I'm a MAJOR emotional eater. I feel happy and I eat something. I feel sad and I eat something. Going through this process stripped away the darkness and helped me to identify the things that weren't helping me, one step at a time. Within the first couple pounds, I noticed that I was HAPPIER! I wasn't going to sleep at 8:00 pm any more, and my stomach didn't pinch so much when I bent over. That first time tying my own shoes...that was a moment I was proud of. I still get to treat myself, and I do so pretty often, because I love chocolate chip cookies so ridiculously much. The difference is that I don't eat 6 chocolate chip cookies when I'm sad anymore. Now I eat one every few days. I've removed the emotion from it.
Left: 55 lbs down - could now easily go on 3 miles brisk walks (previously I could only slow walk a 1/2 mile) Right-75 lbs down- could finally support my body weight to be able to do pushups *easily* (I mean, let's be real, push-up's are always kind of hard)
As I type this I have tears in my eyes. You see, I just stepped off the scale. After a few weeks of my weight either being exactly the same or going back up, this morning I hit a big goal...I've lost 87 pounds. TJ MAXX HERE I COME!
Before & After : -87lbs and counting!
I've gotten a lot of questions about what I've been doing to drop this weight, but before I answer that, let me be clear- there is no one stop shop. You've heard of all the crash diets- keto, atkins, drinking vinegar, putting your left foot in and shaking it all-around. The only holy grail is a lifestyle change, not a short term solution. Something that isn't just about impressing people with quick weight loss, but rather caring for yourself so much that you learn how to tell you-self "no", for the long run.
For me, that came in the form of Weight Watchers. From a girl who THRIVED off of eating cheeseburgers 3x a week and 6 cookies in one sitting, I needed something that met me where I was at and didn't just cut out the things I love (hellooo cheese) completely. I've been doing this for almost a year now. My entire lifestyle has completely changed and honestly, I don't ever want to go back.
The reason why this whole story is such a big deal is because from the bottom of my heart, from the tips of my toes, I BELIEVE that every single person not only deserves to feel beautiful but IS beautiful. I want them to know that I see you and you're worth it. Your story is worth telling. From a size 0 to a size 26 I've been every size under the moon and I have your back. Your imperfections are beautiful.
My journey is not yet done- it's had so many up's and downs. I am a work in progress and I am proud of that.
If you are hiding behind the shelving of Target in shame, angry because eating brings you comfort, or have stinging tears because you remember every single moment that someone inadvertently (or purposely) called out your body weight, please know that I get it. Whether you've taken a single step in change or have been going at this for a long time, I want to support you. I want to listen to you. I want to help you. I don't care if it's Weight Watchers, Noom, or working with a professional dietitian - whatever it is, I would be honored to wipe those stinging tears because I BELIEVE IN YOU.