Each of us has a unique story of the source of our weight problems.
Whenever I tell someone new about my history of weight gain and loss, one of the first questions they ask me is whether or not I was heavy as a child. And the answer to that question is “No, I was just a normal sized child and a slightly above average sized teenager.” The next question they ask me is generally, “Well then, when did you gain all your weight?”
The truth is that I began gaining weight in college, mainly because of poor eating habits, having the freedom to visit Denny’s restaurant at 11:00 p.m., and total lack of movement. During college I lived freely and started down the road to obesity. My weight went up and down like a yo-yo, for there were periods of time throughout the four years that I had the sense that I should get moving, so I would occasionally run on the track or ride my bike around campus. Those meager activities kept my weight from spiraling out of control. When John and I married I weighed around 165.
The real pattern for weight gain started after the honeymoon. If I weighed 165 when we married, by our 1st anniversary I weighed around 180. This picture is taken around our first anniversary, where I am trying to hide the face that this suit was way too tight by holding my hands on my upper thighs. And by the 2nd anniversary was getting close to 200 pounds.
Why the weight gain after the wedding?
- Ate out at least five nights a week and many lunches every single week
- Worked at a desk job
- At night I watched television with a big plate of tortilla chips smothered with cheese sitting on my lap
- On the weekends I went to the movies, my lap full of an extra large buttered popcorn and a large Coke
- Stopped exercising or moving except for walking to the car or the vending machine at work
Week after week of that kind of sedentary lifestyle caused my weight to spiral up. I felt it happening. My work suits no longer fit and I had to buy some “tide me over” clothes. I was tired all the time. I started to become extremely dissatisfied with my appearance. But still the weight came on because as unhappy as I was with what I was doing, I felt powerless to stop.
I did join WW several times during the first three years of our marriage. One time I lost 22 pounds and was close to the goal weight they had set for me. Yipee! I thought. But did I keep going and get to goal? No. I quit going, started eating everything in sight, and gained those 22 pounds back. And the worst part? 10 more pounds came with it. So although I did try and lose weight during that time, I couldn’t seem to get it together.
So now you know when my weight started pouring on. I often wish that I had just stopped my poor eating habits and sedentary lifestyle at that point. I would have saved myself years and years of heartache, trauma, and pain. But I didn’t. The weight gain continued in the third year of marriage with my first pregnancy and didn’t stop until my third child was born.
Whether or not there was a point in your life that you can say, “That’s when it started,” or whether you have struggled all your life, you can make a positive change now. Although I wish I hadn’t been overweight for so long, I’m glad I didn’t wait any longer to improve my health and fitness. I’m glad that I’ve now had 14 years of maintaining a healthy weight rather than 24 years of obesity.
I’d love to hear where your journey started. Did you struggle as a child, did the weight come on in school, or was it after you were on your own that your struggle with weight began? Diane