After nine months of eating less and exercising more (well…exercising at all) I was down to about 153 pounds when I pretty much stopped losing. I’d go down two, up one, etc. And although I looked and felt better than ever before, I refused to believe that my body was destined to stay in the low 150s. I “knew” I had more to lose. So I started trying more structured (read: stricter) eating plans.
First, I tried Weight Watchers. My first week on WW I probably lost 3 pounds, and that was about it. I remember at one weigh-in that showed small gain I was asked what I was doing “wrong” and I said I didn’t know because I was eating the very fewest points “allowed” for my weight. The leader suggested I try eating more, which I see now was probably sound advice. I thought she was crazy and that was the end of Weight Watchers for me.
Then, my boyfriend’s trainer (I know I’m backing up a little from where Part One left off; it’s hard to remember exactly what happened when) put me on a strict diet and exercise plan. I paid him $100 to tell me I had to eat exactly X for breakfast, Y for lunch, Z for dinner, and nasty protein bars for snacks or I would never lose any more weight. It was years before I could look at a turkey patty or a sweet potato again (how sad is that?). That diet didn’t work, as life would get in the way with a plan like that. So I was back at square one, frustrated as hell.
Like I said before, amidst all this, my boyfriend broke up with me, seemingly out of nowhere. I can now imagine I wasn’t very much fun to be around at that point in my life, but when it happened, I was devastated. I still thought of myself as that chubby girl and I never thought I’d ever get anyone else to love me.
I think my sadness over losing that part of my life fueled my obsession with all things food/exercise. I began obsessively scouring the websites like WebMD and Weight Watchers.com, reading every diet/weight loss article I could find (P.S. they all become the same after awhile…”eat from smaller plates, choose brown rice over white, etc. etc. etc.”). At the same time, I would watch Food Network all day long, staring at food that I “couldn’t” eat.
After a while, I began exhibiting signs of a binge eater. I’d eat little in public only to stuff my face by myself, and occasionally I’d compulsively eat random foods (I remember in particular binging on my mom’s dried dates). I was ashamed at what I was doing, consumed by my feelings of worthlessness, but at the same time loving the attention I was getting from my friends and family due to my recent weight loss. This cycle continued most of the summer before I started college.
My mom realized something was very wrong when I had a mini-breakdown after work one day. I couldn’t find my gym access card and therefore couldn’t get into the gym to work out. The thought of missing a workout was so terrifying and upsetting that I broke down and almost couldn’t drive home, I was crying so hard. I told my mom, “I don’t want to live like this anymore,” and next thing I knew I was sitting in my doctor’s office getting a prescription for anti-depressants. I only took the pills for a few months, but I think they really helped me during that time, more than my HMO’s therapists ever did. By the end of a very eventful summer, I was about to enter college with a more stable mindset. Over time, I began to learn to accept and love myself the way I was (something I still work on to this day, to be honest).
I started college, and of course I was scared about gaining back the weight I had just lost. But at the same time, it was college! So while I always tried to make healthy choices in the dorms, I definitely ate larger portions and more desserts than I did at home. I also started drinking/partying with my new friends, and with alcohol comes 2 AM pizza nights and such. I tried to keep up with exercise, but between school and work, I’d say I only worked out 2 times a week consistently. So I gained some weight, which I would always lose when I’d come home for a break. It was an up-and-down cycle and by the end of college I was probably about 7 pounds more then when I started.
Here’s me on my 21st birthday, before we hit the bars. Trust me, the pictures don’t get prettier as the night goes on. You only turn 21 once right? (THANK GOODNESS)
And yes, for about a year I thought black hair and white skin went really good together.
By the time I graduated, I was ready to leave college behind, and ready to leave behind the pounds that came with it. (Not that Wingz Over Ithaca wasn’t worth gaining a pound or two…don’t get me wrong!)
Check back for Part Three of my story, which might be the hardest to write it’ll go to the present, and my health/fitness/happiness story is being rewritten every day.