I want to share with you my journey toward losing weight and being healthier. A journey that started six years ago and that has changed my life.
Please don’t think I’m sharing this to say “look how great I am” because I’m definitely not. And don’t think I’m trying to tell you that I have all the answers because I don’t. I’m not sharing this to pat myself on the back in any way. I don’t have it all figured out. I’m not perfect. I’m telling you my story for two reasons. One, I often want to refer to things like “when I first started trying to eat healthy” or other things that allude to this journey but I realize many of you wouldn’t understand what I mean. The second reason is that something I have learned along the way might help someone else who is striving for a healthier lifestyle and in the off chance that this touches someone, I want to share.
This will take several days as I plan to share why I started this journey, what diet I used, what exercise I did, my struggles, what I hope to do in the future, and anything else I think of in the next few days.
So now for the background.
All through high school I was overweight. Not huge, but definitely overweight. The funny thing is, it didn’t really bother me. I was fortunate in that I didn’t feel bad about myself or hate my body. I was a happy young girl. While I do wish I had been a little more concerned about my health at that time, I am so profoundly grateful that I wasn’t so focused on my looks and worried about dieting. I know that is something that many high school girls deal with and I am so glad that I wasn’t. I’m sure that is crossed my mind a time or two that I wished I were skinnier, but I never dwelt on it or cared enough to do anything about it.
Then I left for college. I was away from home and able to eat whatever I wanted. Poptarts and Dr. Pepper for breakfast? Sure! Huge buffet for lunch? Sign me up! Ice cream every night? Absolutely! And not surprisingly, I gained the freshman 15 or 20. I don’t really know. Up until this point I cannot ever in my life remember stepping on a scale and so I have no idea what I weighed before I left for college. But I know I gained quite a bit just by the way my clothes fit.
I went home that summer and for some reason I did decide to step on the scale. I was shocked by the number I saw. Although I didn’t know what BMI (Body Mass Index) was at that time, I calculated it later (go here to calculate yours) and found that my BMI put me in the obese range. Not a teensy bit overweight like I thought, but obese. At that point, I knew that something wasn’t right but I still wasn’t super concerned. What I did think was along the lines of “I don’t understand. I don’t eat THAT badly and I don’t eat THAT much, so why am I still gaining weight?”. You know the definition of insanity? It’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I guess I was insane because I wasn’t changing my eating habits but wondering why I wasn’t magically thin.
I decided to go to the doctor to find out what was “wrong” with me, since I just knew I had some sort of medical condition and they would just give me some magic pills that would make me all better and lose tons of weight. Never did it cross my mind that diet and exercise were all I needed.
When I got to the doctor, he did indeed find out something was wrong – my bad cholesterol was too high and my good cholesterol was too low. At the age of 19 I was about to be put on cholesterol medicine. He recommended some vitamins and supplements to help with the cholesterol but he also told me I needed to go on a diet.
If you’re still reading, I’m impressed. Tomorrow I’ll tell you what diet he suggested and how it works.