If you’ve been reading A Cup of Tay for awhile, you’ve seen me vaguely reference wanting to “get healthier” or “improve how I look” many a time. I’m not going to beat around the bush for this post, so here goes: I’m currently in the midst of my personal weight loss journey. Phew, that wasn’t nearly as hard to type as I thought.
Now that that’s out in the open, a little background. I won’t give you my whole life story (that’s the first post I tried to write that’s now in my trash bin) but to sum things up, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with food and my body image. Growing up, I was always a little overweight, and while thankfully it never led to teasing or dramatically impacted my life, I was always aware of it and bothered by it.
I always thought that as I got older and had more control over my circumstances, things would change. They didn’t. Even as I went off to college and was fully responsible for feeding myself, then got married and was responsible for all of the grocery shopping and the cooking, I wasn’t able to break the habits I’d formed: needless snacking, emotional eating, and a near-addiction to 99% sugar coffee drinks. (To be clear, we ate pretty healthy growing up. It was less about what I was served and more about what I chose to eat.)
I remember thinking when I was younger about some day far off in the future, like prom or my wedding, and thinking, “By then, I’ll be fit.” Weirdly enough, the magical Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Fairy never showed up. I wasn’t fit for prom, and I had a near crisis a week before my wedding when my dress wouldn’t fit. Brandon and I use the phrase “after our third child is born” to describe something that you say you’re going to do but you’re never really going to do. Losing weight and getting fit was one of those things.
Over the last year or so, I came to recognize that my greatest fear was not being able to take control of my weight. I wrestled with the thought that if I truly wanted to, if I were so out of shape that it was threatening my life, I didn’t know if I could actually lose weight. I knew how to eat healthy and how to work out but something wasn’t clicking. I didn’t know if I had the self-control. I wasn’t so much worried about where I was now but where I could end up.
Part of this was my mindset. I’m the type that’s VERY black and white; something either works or it doesn’t, it’s good or it’s bad. As you can imagine, this isn’t a very useful trait to have when it comes to getting in shape. If I go to the gym and am not sure if I burned enough calories to make an impact, I call the whole trip a waste and get discouraged. Yeah, not helpful.
Christmas break, I was at somewhat of a low. I knew I’d already gained a decent amount of weight since we got married in July, and holiday food (much of it cooked – and taste-tested – by me) had taken its toll as well. I knew I needed to take control of things, but I didn’t know how. “Eat healthy” seemed too vague – I thought I’d been cooking healthy meals for Brandon and I, but things were only getting worse. The world of calories and fats and micronutrients seemed so overwhelming, and my black and white brain didn’t know how to make sense of it. I was discouraged, and worried.
I was sitting on the couch at my parents’ place, watching TV, when Oprah’s big happy face popped up on the screen. She was talking about how she’d lost 40 pounds, and a sentence later she was yelling “I LOVE CHIPS!” and “BRING ON THE FOOD!” I figured any eating plan that lets you love chips and yell about it because you’re so darn excited was one I should check out, so I did.
I’d heard a lot about Weight Watchers, but didn’t know much about it. I knew there were meetings and that you were probably watching your weight, given the title, but I knew little else. After doing some reading, it all clicked: this was literally made for me. WW, if you’re unfamiliar, works on a points system. You can manually enter the health info for something you’re eating or use the app’s barcode scanner, and the app converts it into “points.” You get so many points per day, and if you stay within your points range and work out, you should lose weight. You’re encouraged to eat a minimum of so many points per day, which discourages any sort of disordered eating, and fruits and veggies are zero points to encourage eating lots of those.
My black and white and data-driven brain thought it had died and gone to heaven. I’d FINALLY found something that was trackable and concrete. I whipped out my credit card and got started that day, and haven’t looked back since.
For the first time in my life, I feel like I’m in control of what I’m eating and how I’m treating my body. As a diehard foodie, WW allows me to eat whatever the heck I want, as long as I budget my points right. I’m happy, I feel good…and I’ve actually lost weight. 15 pounds, in fact. This has been a really challenging journey so far, but I’m excited. I have a long way to go to get where I want to be, but my heart has already changed a lot – and it’s for the better.
Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this long post! If you have any tips for healthy yet yummy recipes, favorite workouts, or anything else, give me a shout in the comments section.