Last summer I took a trip home to Kentucky for my nephew’s first birthday and to spend time with my family and friends. I had a great time but when I got back and went through the photos from the trip I nearly cried. I felt like I couldn’t recognise myself and I couldn’t help but wonder just when I’d put on so much weight. I was a big girl with a belly to match and (I’m pretty sure) three chins. I was huge–the biggest I’d ever been in my life.
At 185lbs (or 84kg) this was the heaviest I’d ever been. I looked horrible and felt even worse; I couldn’t take a flight of stairs without feeling winded after. My blood pressure was high, hypertensive, and giving me constant headaches. I was depressed about the way I looked and too depressed and demotivated to do anything about it. There were days when I couldn’t even bear to look in the mirror so I would just pull my hair back in a pony tail, skip the make up and brush my teeth with my eyes closed. It was that bad.
Finally, in October, I decided to do something about it. I joined a local gym and began doing a bit of cardio three times a week. I also started watching my portion sizes and calories. I got down to 174lbs (79kg) and then went home again for Thanksgiving. I gained every single last pound I’d lost back. Towards the end of the trip, feeling and looking like I’d regressed, I had a mini meltdown before a night out with friends. I couldn’t figure out what to wear, the bedroom was strewn with clothes and I was in tears worrying about what they’d think of me. My grandmother, who has always taught me to be myself and not give a thought to what others think, got very upset. “Why do you care what anyone else thinks” she asked repeatedly. At the time I didn’t know it, but my freak out was due to a serious lack of self esteem and confidence.
I came back to London at my original starting weight of 185. I slipped back into my depression, got seriously de-motivated and stopped going to the gym. Towards the end of January I decided that since I was still paying for a gym membership I might as well make an effort to go one last time. That night, as I entered the gym, one of the staff members started talking to me about my goals, what I was currently doing in the gym and so on. He booked me in for a trial personal training session the following week.
Thank God he did because I don’t know where I’d be if he hadn’t. I spent 6 weeks working with my trainer and those were some of the hardest, most painful weeks of my life. Not only did he have me doing intense cardio and assault courses, he had me weightlifting with free weights which I’d been scared to death of even trying. He put me on a strict diet, signed me up for My Fitness Pal and monitored my food and exercise. I weighed in once a week and was amazed to see the pounds flying off. I noticed definition in my arms and legs and I was overjoyed at how good I was beginning to feel. I even began running on the treadmill for ten minute stretches.
After the six sessions I kept going to the gym and using the same techniques my trainer taught me. I signed up to run a mile for charity and I did it in 10 and a half minutes. I was never more proud of myself. In June, I went home again. This time, I gained just under 2lbs back and that’s it. I was starting to learn self control with food and exercise.
After I came back I slacked off at the gym again. I didn’t gain any weight but I didn’t lose any either. It was a time of limbo for me–the trip home had been physically and emotionally draining and I didn’t feel like I had anything left to give. Until I registered to do a triathlon with work colleagues and committed to running 10k at the start of September.
I’m back in the gym with a vengance now and I’ve cracked my plateau of 158lbs (72kg) which I had been stuck at for over a month. I’m taking classes now to break up the monotony of the gym – Cheerobics, Body Conditioning and soon Body Balance and Cardio Blast… maybe even Step! I still go to the gym twice a week and run on the weekends. It’s not easy, but it’s not meant to be.
As of this week I’m at 156lbs (71.1kg) and still going strong. I still hope to be at 149lbs (68kg) by 15 September when N and I head off on a belated honeymoon. I fully accept that I might not get there, but I also know that if I don’t then I will shortly after.
Now for some happier “current” photos! (I won’t say “after” because I’m not finished yet.)
So here are the stats I started off at:
Weight: 185lbs (84kg)
Clothing Size: 18/20
Height: 5ft .5in
% Body Fat: 46% (holy moly!)
Blood Pressure: High/hypertensive
And where am I now?
Weight: 156lbs (71kg)
Clothing Size: 10/12
Height: 5ft 1in (I love that in losing all of that fat, thus releasing pressure on my spine and improving posture, I’ve gained half an inch. For someone short like me that’s a big deal!)
% Body Fat: 30% (I’ve got a fair amount of muscle built up in my arms and legs!)
Blood Pressure: healthy/normal
Where do I want to be?
Weight: 130lbs (58kg)
Clothing Size: 8/10
% Body Fat: less than 25%
I don’t care what anyone, family, friend, stranger or otherwise has to say about my body–I’m proud of the way it looks now and can see the end goal coming closer every day. It’s been a long year for me–a year of struggle and uphill battles galore, a year where I’ve come out on top, still smiling.