"Anything is possible. It’s your choice whether or not you choose to make IT happen."

Visual change December 2009 – July 2012.

We as humans have dreams and aspirations. Many of us hope for a brighter future, many of us hope to find the will power to “survive”, while many of us dream to see the day something happens.  It’s many of these dreams and aspirations that help push those who are willing into a healthier lifestyle.  Many of the times, we have to find our own “a-ha” moment which makes everything become crystal clear.  We set a goal and we begin to work towards that goal.

I have been overweight my entire life.  I’ve been the heaviest kid in kindergarten all the way through high school.  My weight began to pack on because my very polish grandmother (who was severely obese herself) showed you she loved you with food.  And by food, I mean an over abundance.  I remember there being stacks of french toast, potato pancakes, deep fried eggplant, etc., all over the table for me to eat (not all at the same time, but different days of the week).  My grandmother had me “help” her cook these dishes, which in turn made eating them “fun”.  From a very early age I learned in a way to cope with food.  Food was a cure for my feelings.  Happiness, sadness, excitement, anger, frustration — you name an emotion and food was always there.  This “cure” followed me throughout adulthood and had me tipping the scale at nearly 400 pounds.

I knew I was overweight.  I knew the world knew I was overweight (and I could tell by the looks and the whispers when out in public).  But when you don’t want to see something and you aren’t willing to admit it, you pretend it doesn’t exist.  I didn’t like seeing photographs of myself (hence why many of my photographs at my heaviest have been shoulders up).  I’d get upset, I’d get angry but I mentally wasn’t prepared to do anything about it — so I ate to console my emotions.  The sadder I felt, the more I ate and it was a downward spirale.  Emotional eating was going to be my untimely killer.

Finally, one day in February 2010, the light bulb went off in my head and I realized that I truly needed to change.  I needed to get healthy.  I needed to find happiness (because I was a miserable, unhappy person for so long).  My weight was holding me back from things in life (I didn’t like going out). I knew these things were not going to happen overnight.  I knew my weight had not packed on in a week — this was years and years of damage and I knew it was going to take quite a while to get it off.  They always say it’s easier to put it on, than it is to take it off and that’s the truest statement of all.

I admit, I knew Weight Watchers worked because I was a member when I was 18-years old.  But like most Weight Watchers members, the week before I joined I made sure to have some of the greasiest foods I enjoyed because I knew I wasn’t going to have them for a while.  Not the smartest thing to do, but I did it and I don’t regret doing it because of where I am today and where I was then are two completely different spectrums.

When I joined Weight Watchers I followed the plan to a T — and I admit I was a bit grouchy for the first 2-weeks, but I needed to do it that way because I needed the structure.  I needed the discipline.  My first week I lost just under 10 pounds and was astounded.  Week after week I lost and week after week my food choices became healthier and wiser.  I avoided certain foods for a while because I knew mentally I couldn’t handle having them — so they stayed away.  I believed in the program and believed in myself, which is what pushed me to continue because every Thursday, stepping on that scale, it was a rewarding experience.

I found, I began to love myself.  This was a really odd experience for me at first because it was so foreign.  I disliked who I was for SUCH a long time, that to go from being miserable and really hating myself for what I allowed myself to become, to loving me and who I was becoming was mind boggling.  Becoming. It was a daily thing and I found new things I liked about myself.  And one day, I was able to say to myself and I was able to say out loud “I love myself!”

I love myself?  Wow!  Yes, I LOVE me!

My weight loss journey, courtesy of the Weight Watchers program and going to the gym, really brought a whole new ray of light to my life.  I enjoy life now.  I am happy.  I am healthy.  My doctors are pleased with me (and I no longer go really long stretches between seeing them because I didn’t want to be ‘nagged’ at).  I enjoy going for a walk at lunch.  I love the fact I can go to ANY store and purchase clothing.  I love being able to either pass down or donate the clothing that I have since grown out of (meaning they’re too big and not too tight).  I enjoy zumba classes.  I want to go to the gym. I enjoy seeing the scale go down at my Thursday weigh-ins.  I am also tickled by the fact that once I hit goal I will no longer have to pay to be a Weight Watchers member.

This is a lifelong journey I am on.  I will be following this program for the rest of my life because without it, I don’t have that structure that I need in my life. They always say old habits die hard and I don’t want to see that scale creep up to the numbers it used to be at.  I won’t allow that to happen.  Do I struggle at times?  Sure.  I am human and we all go through trials and tribulations, but it is up to me with how I deal with them.  Do I eat the foods I love?  Of course.  If someone told me I had to give up pizza and cupcakes I would have walked out the door.  But the difference between me now and me then was — 1 or 2 slices of pizza (tracked of course) are enough.  I don’t need a whole box with a side of bread sticks.  I can have A cupcake, I don’t need to sample each of the different flavors in the box.

Does emotional/stress eating creep up from time to times? It sure does, but I find ways to deal with it.  Depending on the stresser that’s causing it — I chew gum, I drink water, I go for a walk, I vent (to someone I can trust) or if I feel I have to have something because I am truly hungry, I try to make a healthier choice — an apple, a banana, or some grapes.  Or if it’s before I have my daily snack, I simply eat my snack earlier.  But nobody is going to push me into a Burger King drive-thru and eat my way through a Whopper meal because those things just don’t happen these days — and they won’t.