Today marks seven years I’ve been on Weight Watchers. (You can read my 5-year WW anniversary post here)
Seven years of journaling (for better or worse).
Seven years of a commitment to health and fitness (for better or worse).
Seven years of changing clothes sizes (for better and for worse).
During these seven years I have changed so much … physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m not the same person I was 7 years ago at 24 … and I’m not even the same person I was two years ago at 29.
During these seven years, I learned portion control and how to make good choices.
I began weighing and measuring my food and diligently journaling it.
I began a true workout routine (vs. going when I felt like it).
I lost 35 lbs, and went from a size 12 to a size 6.
Those were all the positives I’ve taken away from this experience.
But in time, wanting desperately to stay thin, in 2005 I got dangerously obsessive about food and exercise.
Though I never was anorexic or bulimic, I began restricting — obsessing over calories and fat grams. I feared gaining weight; that the body I had was on loan.
I began avoiding social situations where food was prevalent and ate the same things day in and day out so I’d know EXACTLY what I was consuming.
I talked about food and exercise all the time.
I began over-exercising to compensate for being “bad” (i.e., eating something fattening).
I shunned fat, and most indulgent foods. I was borderline orthorexic at times.
I began waking and eating in the middle of the night; I was hungry and on auto-pilot.
And then I began chewing and spitting, spiraling deep into an anxiety-ridden vortex.
I gained weight, 10 lbs or so. Those size 6s got tight. My size 29 Citizens jeans went into the back of my closet.
I was miserable, living a dysfunctional and disordered life in secret.
And so after nearly two years of agonizing and obsessing and still gaining weight, I decided I wanted to get better. In June 2008, I made the commitment to myself. I “came out” about my disordered eating past via blog and started seeing a therapist.
I gained a little more weight. I stumbled and had set-backs — breaking long, non-disordered clean streaks. I still struggled with over-exercise and anxious thoughts. I was ashamed. I emotionally ate.
Then I started slowly incorporating the foods I used to shun or chew and spit. This forced me to be cognizant of what I was consuming. I learned to choose pride over guilt. I stopped chewing and spitting, cold-turkey, March 20, 2009.
I relaxed my workout routines and put more of an emphasis on my life outside of my physical self.
I chilled out. I lived more. I loved more. I ate more.
I exercised less.
I gained a few more pounds, but, for the first time in a long time, though I still emotionally ate from time to time, I was happy.
I discovered I was pregnant May 4, 2010, about 13 lbs from my pre-WW weight. I made a commitment to my unborn baby and to myself that I’d do whatever I needed to do to have a healthy pregnancy and child.
I gained 25 pregnancy pounds, 15 of which were gained in the last trimester. Throughout my pregnancy, I continued to journal and exercise, but with greater attention to my body and what it was craving at the time (more, less, rest, etc).
December 18, 2010, I had a beautiful baby girl and my life changed for ever more.
One month post-partum I rejoined WW (I had to suspend my membership during the pregnancy) and have been making slow progress ever since.
Now, I’m one pound away from my pre-pregnancy weight and have about 12 lbs to lose to get back to a comfortable, realistic weight. I’m not aiming for my old goal weight (that would be an additional 10 lbs, which was too difficult to maintain). I don’t care as much about being thin now as I do being healthy. I want to be a role model for my daughter; I’m so proud of where I’ve come and hope she never struggles with these issues the way I have.
Ironically, I’m back in pre-WW sizes now … (and my pre-pregnancy jeans — they’re packed away for another time). But I have never felt better or calmer.
Weight Watchers has symbolized a very powerful journey for me. I’d be lying if I didn’t say success on WW led to my disordered eating issues … but I’d also be lying if I said WW is to blame for my disordered eating issues. Weight Watchers gave me the tools to live a healthier life and taught me so many positive things. It was me who took it to the extremes.
So today, on my seven year WW anniversary, I’d like to thank you–my readers–who have been with me on this journey through thick in thin, beautiful and ugly and back again. To my friends and family who have watched my transformation personally–thank you for sticking by me.
Tonight, I’m going out to dinner with some girlfriends. I’m craving brick-oven pizza and salad and you know what? That’s exactly what I’m going to order. I’ll enjoy some and take the rest home; that’s how I do things now. I eat what I want, but in smaller quantities.
And though I won’t make it to the gym (a prerequisite for a food like pizza before!) that’s OK. I’m leading an active life as a new mom; tomorrow the gym will still be there.
Because really, life is too short to say no to pizza!