You can’t please everyone – you can ONLY please yourself

Weight loss is a wonderful thing.  When you finally undertake the idea (or if you want to call it, challenge) of losing weight to get healthy – it’s a life changing event.   Anything is possible as long as you set your mind to it and that has truly become my motto.
One thing I’ve noticed during my 3-year long journey is that not everybody you know (personally or second person) or even people online are going to be your personal cheerleader.  It’s fabulous to have an amazing support system, but there are times where you feel like “the world is against you.”  In times like that, it’s best to remain as positive as possible and think of why you started your journey.  I personally started my weight loss journey for me and for me only.  No doctor, no family member, no potential future possibilities pushed me to join Weight Watchers.  I made a conscious decision because I wanted this for me and that was the first time in my life I’ve ever wanted AND done something for myself that had substance to it (that is excluding going to college – but with that choice I had a lot of help and guidance along the way).
Personally, when I was at my heaviest I was told that I was too fat.  I was too unhealthy for my age.  I should really consider losing weight.  I had “such a beautiful face” (why is this a universal term?).  I was in a road to devastation.  There were comments after comments because at the end of the day, almost everyone had one.
When I joined Weight Watchers there may have been a bit of skepticism as to if I was going to follow the program and/or give up.  But as I continued along with it and continued to lose weight I heard a lot of supportive comments.  You’re doing so well.  I’m glad you’ve decided to change for yourself.  I wish you the best. You’re looking great.  Oh my god, how much have you lost?!  Comments like that continued for about a year and it really helped in boosting my confidence.  I had family, friends and people in my Weight Watchers meeting rooting for me, praising me for my dedication and cheerleaders.  It really helped.
When I hit about the ~160 mark my “slimness” started to show.  My collar bones were prominent (as they should be) – and I was still over 200 pounds.  I started to receive comments like: how much weight have you lost?  What is your goal weight?  I think you look perfect as you are right now.
There are times when the smaller (and I am talking still healthy in terms of your attending physicians, your BMI chart [according to the BMI chart I’m technically still ‘obese’] and even your weigh-ins) you get, the “nastier” (that’s a stretch – but sometimes words can get that way) the comments can get.  Not for everyone, but for some.  The comments about you being too fat suddenly turn into comments about you being too skinny.  You look unhealthy.  You look like skin and bones.  You look like a skeleton.  You need to stop losing weight.
I am not saying everyone says these things and I am not saying that everyone will experience things like this on their journey.  But what I am saying is that as long as you are happy and healthy that is ALL that matters.  Everything else is mute.  If your doctors approve of your physical condition and weight, if you’re eating your recommended daily in-take of food, if you’re doing things the healthy way (exercise, etc.) and you are in a happy place – that’s all that matters.  All those other comments are just words.  Words we learn (or will need to learn) to let bounce off you.
Sure, I have moments of weakness where I can’t take the negativity. I am human.  I have feelings. But it’s up to me to choose how I deal with it.  And I know deep down in my heart those words will not push me to be nearly 400 pounds again.  My happiness and my journey cost more to me giving up and appeasing anyone.  And even if I did gain weight – that wouldn’t please anyone. It certainly wouldn’t please me.  So I’m focusing on me and I’m focusing on me only.  My health. My happiness. My journey.  I’m not unhealthy; I don’t starve myself (I LOVE FOOD) and my doctors are the happiest they have ever been with me in my LIFE.
I think we (me) sometimes need to remember that we were a particular weigh/size for so long that those who were around us have a hard time seeing the new us.  Even if that transformation took 3-years, it’s still a drastic transformation.  But in the end of the day – the only person you can aim to please is yourself.  So that’s all I’m going to do because I enjoy happiness too much to let anyone take it from me.

"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.

My most memorable NSV’s (Non-Scale Victories)

  • Being able to walk up and down the stairs, repeatedly, without gasping for air
  • Being able to sit in a restaurant booth and swivel chair (that are connected to a table) comfortably WITH room to spare
  • Went from a 5X shirt down to a Large
  • Went from a 30/32 pair of jeans down to a 12
  • Donated ALL clothing that is not in my current size to family or charity
  • Is able to make it through a 50 minute gym class without sneaking out early
  • A stranger at the RMV, when renewing my license said, “Great job sweetheart, you look amazing!” after seeing my license photo and me in front of her
  • I no longer completely shun doctors because I’m ashamed of my size
  • My doctor is no longer “mad” at me when I show up for physicals
  • Being able to shop at ANY store I want because I can fit into non-plus sized clothing
  • Blossoming into a positive AND happier person

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