Hi There My Healthy Obsessionners!
I thought I owe it to my dear readers to share the story behind my endless struggles with my weight. Here, I share with you my story. My life as a young girl all the way to adulthood. I genuinely believe that I am not alone and am confident that others will see themselves in my story as well. The goal here is to disclose that I too, have had a twisted relationship with food. For I sincerely hope, that reading my story will inspire, motivate and arouse in you something that will encourage you to take that first step, regardless of what YOUR story is.
So here it is...my struggle with weight loss:
Anyone who’s struggled with their weight knows that dealing with this challenge is not as simple as keeping your portions small and exercising regularly. Being young and naïve I, like many young women, thought that the only way to look like the slim girls my age was to abstain from food completely (or eat very, very little). Sure enough though, this irrational way of thinking had an opposite effect. Because over obsessing about how I’m going to limit my food intake is so unrealistic and unachievable that instead of eating less, it drove me straight to overeating. In fact, it made me lose control and eat even more than I would have, had I not been trying so hard to find a quick fix for my losing weight.
Retrospectively, my life always revolved around food. All I can remember is that I am either thinking about what I’m going to eat or what I had eaten. Of course, these questions are always followed by some heavy (and by "heavy" I mean "emotionally heavy”) thoughts of guilt and remorse. Feelings of the sort did nothing more than increase my insecurities and self-loathing. Needless to say, I hated myself for allowing myself to feel like this and not doing anything to change my life and eating habits. And to make matters worse, I also hated myself for another indulgence: spending money. I would spend so much money on clothes and make-up in order to make myself prettier. But in reality of course, this didn't improve the way I felt about myself. These were temporary fixes that made me feel good on the outside, but did very little on helping me feel good on the inside. Often were the times when I’d stop and think: “why me? Why do I have this problem? Why can’t I be like all the other skinny girls around my age?”
Now I know that I didn't lose a tonne of weight like a lot of other people triumphantly did (i.e: like those who lost 50+ lbs). But I want to emphasize that my struggle is just as valid. For I am sure that though their stories are different, somewhere along our lives, we have shared similar struggles. And though I really wasn't terribly overweight as a teenager, I nevertheless had a lot of issues with body image growing up, so bad that they led me to become overweight and unable to feel pretty, healthy and free.
Ever since I can remember, my mother would be telling me NOT to eat “too much” in fear that “I might get fat”. As the years went by and I got into my mid-teenage years, the warning got a little more urgent, as the phrase changed to “don’t eat too much or you will become more fat…”. I admit, I love food and I ate A LOT! I was an inadequate hungry teenager with a lot of emotional insecurities.
Looking back at it now, I can’t help but think what a cruel thing to say to a child! In defense of my loving mother however, these pressuring thoughts were passed on with concern for my well being in mind. My mother herself was overweight, which undoubtedly brought upon her many insecurities and anxieties. Plus, she was a young mother (my mom had me at 17 by the way) and couldn’t possibly foresee the effect this sort of talk could have on the future mental and physical state of a growing young woman . So even though I regret that it had to be this way, I take full responsibility for what resulted to be my lifelong struggle with weight loss.
After a childhood battling with my image and the size of my waistline, I inevitably grew up. I started my inquiry about the hows and the whys of nutrition and weight-loss, and tried many things which left me with not much more than an educated experience about the challenges of weight loss. Throughout the years, I managed to come across many articles, images, books, and stories about weight loss, health, and nutrition that would have affected me on a personal level in one way or another. These had influenced my way of seeing things, understanding things and acting upon things (i.e.: "health and nutrition” – THINGS!)
Weight loss fluctuations did take place throughout my 20’s and 30’s for many reasons, not related to dieting. For instance, going through a very tough divorce, my preoccupation with starting a safe and loving life for my kids took over my life. Sure, the weight inevitably came off as the number one priority in my life at the time was ensuring a good life for my boys. In fact, I still can't help but wonder whether these years were an example of how the less we preoccupy our minds with what we look like, the less we eat, the less we weight.
A few years went by and a period of more stability started to settle in our home. That is when as a single mom, I decided to go back to school to get my Bachelor’s degree. Indeed, this was a very busy time in my life. This is also around the time I met my current husband. A wave of happiness, assurance and great emotional stability started to root itself in me.
As a working single mom and a full time student, my days were spent either in class, at the library studying, working or taking care of my kids in the evening at home. But to my credit, I did ultimately manage to balance work with play. In fact, the weekends were devoted to “me time”. This is a time I spent with my fiancé and our friends, mostly out dancing for hours on end every weekend. Sure, I had no weight issues during that time. With such a busy schedule, who the heck has time to overeat? But those short periods went by so quickly and I went back to my old overweight self not long after.
Then one day in early 2014, I was talking to a close colleague, who seems to be struggling with her own share of body image and weight issues. We were both sharing how we’re so fed up of the way we feel (heavy, unhealthy, and un-pretty) and how we’d really like to turn our life around and make a lasting change in our eating habits once and for all. My colleague challenged me by signing up for Weight Watchers and said that she was going to give it a try since she heard many good things about the program, and knows first hand a few other people at work who’ve lost weight (and kept it off) through the program.
And so she joined. I, on the other hand, was very skeptical about the whole Weight Watchers thing (though admittingly, aside from the Points system, I knew very little about it). Nevertheless, I decided to be a good sport and join with her (online only) as at the time they had a 3 months special for online users. Soon enough though, I realized that no matter how motivated you are or how simple the program is, it is just not easy to do it on your own. Besides, my friend kept telling me how she loved the meetings and how much of a difference it makes to be around other people that are going through the same struggles as you. So I dropped the online thing and joined the meetings with my friend.
At my first meeting, I made it clear to my coach that I don’t believe this is going to work because looking at the list of foods that she had handed me, I thought to myself “I’m already eating all of this right now…how can I possibly lose weight by continuing to do what I’ve always done?”. But the WW leader insisted I listen to her and asked me to keep track of every single thing I ate and drank, by logging in my entries on the WW app. And so I did. I though I had nothing to lose but to try it out.
The first week back for my weigh-in, to my HUGE surprise, I realized that I had lost 2.4 lbs!! “WHAT? How can that be??” ….and that’s when my weight loss journey began, and where my learning process began, and my life changed; forever.
I have to say, it didn't take long before I realized how much more motivating it is to be in a room full of like minded people, who share your struggles and wishes to become more healthy, more pretty. In fact, my biggest realization still to date, is that I found that there is a tremendous power in groups. I was hooked. Though I struggled a lot during the week to make healthy food choices and stay on plan, the truth is, I enjoyed the meetings so much, that I simply couldn't wait for the next Wednesday to come so I can attend my Weight Watcher meeting once again at the Maxi Grocery Store close by the office. I have to say, it is quite likely that it is this sort of attachment that I felt to my meetings, that really helped keep me on track and succeed in my weight loss endeavors.
All my awareness and senses developed soon after. I have become a convert. I soon realized that I can eat great food from natural sources (which in its own is a very healthy habit to adopt), and still lose weight. Weight Watchers taught me how to make “wiser” choices that were very filling in the short term and more nutritious in the long term. I learned to choose fat free, sugar free, ( fat free & sugar free are a personal choice...low fat, low sugar can work too) and always go for fruits and vegetables to satisfy my hunger pangs. I also learned to satisfy my sweet tooth with healthier choices such as dates instead of chocolate for instance. And when the urge was too powerful to handle, I learned to treat myself to whatever sweet (or salty) thing I was craving, by limiting my portions firstly and accounting for them in my daily food diary.
And so, slowly the weight came off. And I loved all the compliments I was getting from my colleagues at work and the way my figure looked in new tighter clothes. Four months into the program, and I had lost about 10 lbs. I had too much fun dressing and feeling free that I couldn’t even tolerate the idea of letting go of my good habits for something not worth all my efforts (like a Tim Horton’s salted caramel chocolate dip donut for instance (God how I miss you!!).
And so I continue everyday, consciously choosing every morsel I bite into because I have also learned that this is a lifelong journey…this is not a short term goal that I was going to be able to do for a while and stop when I reached my objective. I had a choice to make: be fit, healthy and happy or unfit, unhealthy and constantly obsessing about how unhappy I am with my body. You know which one I decided to go with…and yes, these are the main (and ONLY) reasons I keep at it every single day of my life: fit, healthy, happy!
After having lost 22 lbs, a new chapter in my life began…and My Healthy Obsessions is a reflection of all that has followed thereafter. So dear readers, thank you for joining me on my journey to better health, to see what I did and continue to do to stay slim, healthy and happy! If I can in any way help influence you or teach you a thing or two (even if it’s a simple recipe), then I’ve accomplished my goal to help inspire, move and touch someone’s life in the direction of good health.
So please take advantage of all the posted recipes, articles and stories I purposely put on here for you. Read them, look at the pictures and do whatever it takes to make it happen, for you FIRST. You will not regret this move. And slowly you'll realize how much you love your new self and your new life, for it will change...forever, for the better!