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Archive for May 24th, 2010

I grew up with my Mom and my two sisters (my parents split when I was 12 and my Dad moved to Baltimore. I saw him every other weekend but the majority of my life was spent around women.) Women who were constantly saying, “I’m fat”, “I need to lose a few lbs”, etc – so it isn’t a surprise that by middle school I was already focusing on diets and starting a habit of binge eating.

My food habits have probably not been great for my body. At the end of high school when wanting to lose a few lbs my friends and I thought it’d be a great idea to take diet pills. Ephedra + not enough food + not enough sleep made me miserably cranky. That lasted only a few weeks before I was so worn out I fainted while driving and ended up in the ER. Luckily I was OK but my Mom was furious. Thankfully that has made me realize I will never use them again.

Once I got to college the first few months I really didn’t think about what I ate. Grilled cheese and fries for lunch, pasta for dinner, and easy mac after a night of drinking. I didn’t think that it was having an effect on my body at all. I laughed when people joke about the freshman 15 because I thought, well not for me! Yet, I somehow ignored that I did gain about 8lbs that first year. It was until sophomore year that I really started gaining. I think the combo of alcohol, unhealthy eating, and the complete lack of working out caused me to gain 15 more lbs in that school year!

At the end of my sophomore year of college I went home and felt horrible. I didn’t quite see the weight I gained until I decided to go with a friend to a weight watchers meeting. At just under 5’8 I was up to 161 pounds. I started college at 138. In under 2 years I had gained 23 lbs. I was shocked. All the sudden I noticed the difference in my clothing, my mood, my energy and wanted to change. I worked really hard that summer. I went to the gym 5 days a week and followed the points system pretty strictly and by the time Junior year started I was down to 141. Weight watchers is the only “diet” that ever worked for me. The downfall of WW for me is that I really only thought about the points – not about what I was eating and if it was the right nutrients for my body. So if I didn’t eat much during the day and then had enough points at night I’d eat a cupcake or candy instead of opting to eat veggies or fruit.

Junior fall I felt great. I was active in school and played club rugby (scariest choice of club sport ever) and tried to be a bit more careful about what I ate. People mentioned I looked great and it made me feel ever better. However, the alcohol that year (and the late night burgers and pizza) started taking a toll on my body. By the summer I was back up to about 147.

Senior spring was probably the worst. I went to the gym maybe once a week and if I did it wasn’t anything close to a real cardio workout. In 6 months I gained 13 lbs and was back up to 160lbs again.

The end of that summer I moved to Boston and lived with my cousin who throughout high school had an amazing body. She was an avid volleyball player and this girl had a 6 pack that rivaled! However, her 12pack of beer to herself every night in college caused her to pack on about 40lbs. We decided to give weight watchers a try. I lost probably about 10lbs that way before ending my membership. But that didn’t stop us from ordering take-out chinese or thai at least 3 nights a week.

I don’t know if the two go hand in hand but the spring/summer of 2007 I broke up with my boyfriend of about 4 years. The timing was messy (I was about to move in with him) but I just knew he wasn’t the one and I needed to work on myself. It was then that I started to think about what I was eating. I started bringing lunch to work, walking more and going for runs after my graduate night classes. I pretty easily lost weight and was back down to 142ish. I felt great.

It wasn’t until meeting B though that I actually joined a gym in Boston. (I can’t believe it. I can’t imagine my life without working out or having a gym membership. What was I doing with all my time!) At his request of running a 5k together I signed up for a gym and started running. I worked out pretty consistently and lowered my intake of alcohol quite a bit (partly to feel healthier and partly because I just don’t like drinking a lot – much to the dismay of many friends).

And finally it wasn’t until our break-up (and break-up diet) at the end of November 2009 that I lost more weight. Right now I’m down to about 134 depending on the day. I’m not sure I can feel or see the difference from my weight at 142 but others have pointed it out. In truth sometimes I still see the 161 lbs on my body in the mirror. I just can’t seem to grasp that I look that much different.

Through all of this I have always thought that I ate somewhat healthy. I’ll never give up my burgers or treats but I understand it’s better to do them in moderation. But, currently being at my lowest weight since high school I’m not eating any vegetables. Literally I can go days without eating vegetables.

The idea of figuring out what is really good for my body is a struggle. I’m slowly trying to back away from focusing so much on calorie counting (which means frozen meals and overly processed diet foods) so that I can focus more on eating simple, fresh foods.

It’s definitely another effort to put on top of training. I’m surrounded by friends who focus much more on calories (meaning eating things like fat-free cheese – I swear that stuff is rubber) or friends who eat everything and anything they want. Add on that’s it’s time-consuming to plan out meals, the time to cook and cost of buying fresh produce.

In the world of “fat-free”, “enhanced powders”, and “organic” – sometimes I find myself thinking I no longer have any idea what I should be really eating.

I know it’ll be worth it. Especially as I feel the difference it makes in my body. It’s just a bit overwhelming to think about.

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