08 5 / 2013

Discipline is remembering what you want.
- David Campbell

Time goes by so fast. My last post was back from October 2012. It’s since been nearly 7 months. Well let’s catch up a bit…

I tried Eat to Live with my friend and found it entirely too hard to follow as close as it suggests. Cooking without oil was challenging… but the biggest bump was salt.

I absolutely love salt and I feel like food is so bland without it. I end up not even wanting to eat, let alone enjoying anything I cook without some kind of salt in it.

I told my doctor about Eat to Live. She said she had heard about it and that it has worked for some people, but she didn’t recommend cutting out oils entirely, just cutting back. She said your body needs them.

She also gave me the low-down on salt:

"You do not need to cut out salt entirely from your diet to lose weight. That is a myth. If you have heart problems, then cutting back on salt of course is recommend. But if you are cutting out salt for dieting, it is silly because although salt does make you retain water, it is very negligible."

She went on to say:

"If you cut out salt entirely, you will lose about 1-2 pounds. However, as soon as you start eating salt again, even just a little bit, which you will when you start eating normal foods again, you will gain it back immediately, so it is not "real" weight loss. Don’t worry about salt."

I ended up doing it my way. I used a little bit of olive oil in cooking, and I used Bragg’s amino acids as my salt substitute. But veggies were still the main food item. I also ate more fruit. I ate some Ezekial bread but kept it to a minimum. This worked out ok. I cut back on a lot of things I eat often: oils, bread, sugar, dairy.

I lost 9 pounds at first in a few weeks of loosely following ETL.

This was with a little exercise in my regimen, about 2-3 days a week, since I had just started the gym and was just getting over the “omg I’m gonna die” feeling on the elliptical.

After a while, I found ETL too hard for me to continue following. I didn’t get used to the food.

I just don’t like veggies enough and/or I don’t know how to cook with them enough… pick one! I DO love veggies when made the right way, but I just couldn’t eat enough of them. And that much beans really upset my bowels.

So, I ended up keeping about 6 pounds off solidly for most of the 7 months since I tried ETL.

I started exercising a few days a week, which was a HUGE change for me, and I got used to exercising again. I didn’t feel like I was gonna die on the elliptical.

Then I decided to take it up a big notch, and I started working out 5+ days a week at the gym, 30-35 minutes vigorously on the elliptical. I started this in about February and kept pretty consistent for several weeks with this routine.

I felt AWESOME. I gained a LOVE of exercise those weeks. I craved the gym everyday and I noticed that on the days I couldn’t go… I craved going and felt like something was missing in my life for that day.

Other things started to improve… my heart rate went down on the machine, I felt much more energy daily, less headaches, easier to get up in the morning, easier to sleep at night, and I had a bounce in my step.

I had tons of energy after I got home and was extremely productive and got everything from work, to cleaning to personal endeavors done and done.

Unlike before I’d be dead tired and not get much done after work at all. Then that’d make me feel depressed and start this whole spiral. My new routine was awesome and I loved it.

Then near mid-march, beginning of April, I had to break away from my precious routine to work on an important project with a friend who was very demanding of my time.

The project was very important to me too… so I went with it. I figured, it’s just temporary right? We’ll get this done and then I can get back to my routine.

Well, it went on for about a month straight. I had to give up ALL my spare time and break my routines, and couldn’t go to the gym after work everyday or on weekends… because I had to be constantly available to this friend who was very unorganized.

I was only able to go a few times that month. I instantly felt the effects. Less energy, more up and down moods, more depression, hard to get up in the morning, hard to sleep, headaches returned, I slowly gained weight back, etc.

After a while, when we got the bulk of the project done I said… that’s it! I need to get back to my routine. So that’s where I’m at now. The bulk of that project is done, and I’m slowly trying to get back to my daily routine. But it’s been very hard.

Side note: even with rigorous exercise, 5+ days a week for 6 weeks straight, I did not lose even 1 pound, which disenchanted me. Then I broke my routine, and have been battling with depression and these disenchanted feelings.

I WANT to get back to my 5+ days a week routine… but I can’t help but feel like I’m doing something wrong, or I need to do something else.

I’ve heard tons of stories where people lose weight from exercising this much. Why can’t I lose weight?

I went from almost completely sedentary for YEARS, then I exercise 5+ days a week and exercise my butt off with shit tons of cardio and lose absolutely nothing?

One thing exercise did do for me was help me maintain, not gain. So I at least know it helps me with that. As soon as I was off exercising regularly, I slowly started to gain.

Today… my project is almost 100% complete. It seriously should be complete in a few days. And I have slowly been getting back into my exercise routine.

Unfortunetly, I have gained back all the weight I lost on ETL, and I am back at 255 pounds where I started 7 months ago. Yay me.

So, my next endeavor is… getting back into my regular exercise routine. Do 5+ days a week regularly. Then I am also going to try a diet like Nutrisystem or Medifast. Something that is mindless… with little preparation and planning to fit in my busy lifestyle.

I realized that’s where I got caught up on in other diets: I suck at planning and preparing all these groceries and foods and recipes in order to stick to the diet.

I end up skipping meals because I’m so busy and forget to eat something or pack something. Breakfast is my hungriest time of day and I ended up skipping breakfast almost 90% of the time. And with my body… that doesn’t help jack shit. I think it may actually make me gain weight rather than lose.

I realized that I need to eat regularly, or I end up getting hungry as hell at the end of the day, or at the end of a workout, and then eat whatever is nearest me, including fast food.

My Goal Now

I just want to start fresh!

Get the weight off, then maintain it with exercise. Which I know I can do. I just need to get this weight off my bones. This weight that has been literally, weighing me down for years, in more ways than one.

23 10 / 2012

"There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps." - Peter A. Cohen

Well… it’s been quite the journey this past year and 4 months. As I get older time really does seem to slip by me faster and faster. Now I know what everyone was talking about when I was younger! It’s true, youth is wasted on the young.

A lot has happened this past year in the land of dieting. Let’s see… yeah… I haven’t been dieting at all. It’s funny how dieting goes for me. I try something because either a friend swears that it works, or I get suckered into some marketing.

Diets I’ve tried so far in my life.

  • Atkins: lost a ton of weight in a short amount of time eating mostly tofu and eggs (did it vegetarian), but I felt sick everyday.
  • Veganism - really, really hard and I found myself eating way too much bready things and substituting dairy cheese with gross oily vegan cheese.
  • Rose Elliot’s Low-Carb Vegetarian - awesome book, really like this writer, but low-carb is too hard to keep up with and I didn’t lose enough weight doing it. Also, most of the recipes had way, way, way too much cheese.
  • HTC (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) Diet: WORST diet EVER. Basically you take hormone pills daily and eat 500 calories from a very strict list of food combinations. I’ve never felt so sick on a diet before. It was hell.
  • Weight Watchers: I didn’t last long on WW. I’ve tried to do it twice but found tracking points too hard to do with a busy life. Also, I found myself buying WW approved foods at the store and not liking them and then feeling hungry soon after. I might try WW again one day, but really it allows you to eat way too much stuff with empty calories.
  • Calorie counting (using the “Lose It!” app and Livestrong MyPlate): This was great to see how many calories I consume when eating normally. I usually ate about 300 too many calories daily for my age/weight. Also too hard to keep up with this.
  • Eating meat: I’ve been a vegetarian for about 8 years, but recently decided to eat meat to see if it helped with my weight. I started with chicken and turkey, then mongolian beef at the Thai place, and then the occasional filet minon. Surely this didn’t “help” with my weight, it only gave me more food options to eat and more things to crave!

My eating habits lately.

So, 3 weeks ago, I weighed at 254 pounds. I’ve been hanging at the 250 range for the most part of this year, but didn’t go over 250 until now.

Keep in mind, that’s with eating whatever the hell I wanted: donuts weekly at work, cream and sugar in my coffee every morning, french fries a couple times a month, burgers, cheese and bread everyday, sugary foods like pancakes, pop tarts, cookies… you name it. I’ve been eating whatever the hell I wanted… with NO regular exercise. That was my “normal diet”.

However, this was kind of an experiment. I wanted to see the rate at which I gained weight eating at my normal rate by eating normally and watching my weight.

I actually don’t eat that much during the day. I have coffee with cream and coconut sugar (has nutrients where regular sugar doesn’t) in the morning. Often no breakfast (or I have a bagel or donut every now and again). For lunch I get something near work. Lately it’s been a gourmet sandwich. Then for dinner I ate whatever we had at home, almost always it had bread and/or cheese.

So really, I’ve been having only 1 to 2 meals a day, with one snack every so often. I’m not much of a snacker. Not because I was trying to eat less, but because of my busy daily lifestyle. For the most part, this made me stick around 250 pounds for months.

The big decision.

Two big things happened that made me decide to get serious about dieting and my health again.

One was going over 250 pounds. 250 was my ultimate limit. Going over that was a huge deal for me. 150 is my ideal weight, and I was now 100 pounds overweight.

Two was being out of shape. I haven’t been exercising regularly for 4 years now and it really started taking a toll. I noticed I could barely climb the stairs at work anymore without getting out of breath and feeling like I was carrying a ton of bricks.

When I started my job 4 years ago I could run up the stairs no problem. Also when taking the occasional walk with my boyfriend, I’d get embarrassed when I had to ask him to slow down or stop so I could rest a minute and catch my breath.

I knew I had to get serious about my health, or I was going to be a fat 30 something year old. Weight is much harder to lose as you get older. I am currently 28 years old, 5’ 6” in height, my BMI at around 55%. My body is over half of just fat!

Exercise.

The first change I decided to make was exercise, so I joined the gym! It’s been 4 years since I went to a gym.

I used to have this weird exercise fear, like I didn’t want to exercise in front of anyone, especially pretty fit people. I know, this is a stupid and irrational fear, but it was a strong enough fear (and/or excuse) to keep me from going to the gym for years.

Day one of the gym I broke my fear. I realized that no one there gives a shit. Everyone is just doing their own thing. There are all kinds of people there, young, old, skinny, fat, athletic… and it doesn’t matter. No one talks to or even really looks at you.

At first on the elliptical, I could barely get to 20 minutes without feeling like I was gonna die. My heart rate was SO high, over 190. The machine told me to slow down. I did some research on heart rate, they say the max is your age minus 220, so my max heart rate is 192. I reached 192 within a few minutes! So I had to take it slow the first 2-3 times at the gym.

Since then, I have re-discovered a love of exercise. I feel SO good after a work out. Now I can do 30 to 35 minutes and I feel better each time I do it. I can’t believe I avoided it so hard these past years!

My heart rate now cruises at 179 to 182 as the max. So only after less than a month at the gym, 2-3 times a week, my heart rate is better, I’m not as out of breath when I go up the stairs, and I can already feel/see a change in my body happening. Things can only get better from here on as I get used to making exercise more regular which is my goal right now. I aim for a solid 3 days a week, then working my way up to 5 days.

Diet.

The most recent change I started making was dieting again. My friend has been doing the Eat to Live diet by Dr. Fuhrman and has had good results. She did the 6 week plan once and lost over 40 pounds. She’d kept off about 30 of those pounds for months, even after going back to eating badly.

So I decided to give it a shot. I had already read the book a few months ago, but she convinced me to try it out with her for 6 weeks, which is perfect because it’s right before Thanksgiving.

The first few days I was really strict with it, but as I did my research, I slowly realized what things I eat that are deadly. There’s the *duh* bad foods like fried foods, sugar, and processed foods. Just cutting those out I KNOW I will lose weight.

Bread.

My number one enemy is bread. Bread is so hard for me to give up. Instead of completely giving it up, I have decided to cut back on it ferociously and ONLY eat whole grain bread, no processed bread at all. So, I only eat Ezekial whole sprouted grain bread. I don’t even eat it everyday now. Also, for whole grains I’ve been having oatmeal almost every morning. So much more filling than bagels and it’s pure nutrients.

Dairy.

The other thing to cut out is dairy. Cheese is my number two enemy because I love it so much, and I got used to having it ALL the time. Dairy is SO bad for you. All it is is fat. I’d much rather have almond milk anyways, it tastes better and feels lighter. I haven’t been drinking animal milk. The only hard thing is cheese, but I know I can do without it.

Sugar.

Sugar is bad bad bad. I’ve cut out sugar now and have been replacing it with dates in food items. Dates are awesome, so tasty and really sweet. Also eating more fruit! Which is something I wanted to do anyways. I use Truvia (a brand of stevia) for sweetener in things like oatmeal. In coffee, I dont use sugar at all anymore. I’ve grown to love it with a tablespoon of silk creamer (has a tiny bit of sugar in it) or almond milk.

Salt.

You are supposed to cut out salt entirely on Eat to Live, but I found cutting it out entirely is way too hard for me and I want to succeed. Instead I have been replacing it with Bragg’s amino acids. I still keep it very low.

After some research I found cutting back on salt is recommended, but cutting it out entirely is just silly because you only lose about 2 pounds from doing this, and that comes right back as soon as you eat salt again. They say you’ll get a more accurate weight loss average by still using salt, just cutting back.

Oil.

Cutting out oil entirely is hard too, however oil does go straight from your lips to your hips, so they say. So, instead I decided to only use a dash of olive oil on salads but mostly vinegar, also I use a little Earth Balance to cook veggies, and light Smart Balance on my Ezekial bread. I either poach or hard boil eggs now. So like salt, I’m cutting back A LOT, but not cutting it out entirely.

Things to eat more often.

Fruits and veggies.

EAT MORE FRUITS and especially VEGGIES. I’ve been SO bad at eating veggies and fruits these past few years. I’m making them a staple in my new diet. Eating them everyday now. Fuhrman says to eat about a pound of veggies, and 4 fruits. I’m working my way towards that.

Legumes.

Eat more legumes like beans and peas. Eat about a cup a day. They are full of fiber, and therefore make you fuller when you eat them. They are so delicious too and really beef up a bland salad by making it more of a meal than a side item.

Nuts.

Nuts have great oils in them and many other nutrients. Also, they make salads awesome. I keep them limited, and use natural nut butters. Fuhrman says to only eat 2 ounces daily, so I do either a handful of nuts, or a tablespoon of a nut butter.

Water.

DRINK MORE WATER. I can’t emphasize this enough with myself, but I’m trying. I have been drinking more water, but I will continue to increase that. More water is recommended in every diet. It keeps you hydrated, satiated, helps with salt consumption, and flushes out toxins.

Conclusion: where I’m at right now.

I am following Eat to Live as a guideline to better health and weight loss. I KNOW what makes me fat, so I am focusing on those things and cutting back or cutting them out.

I am exercising regularly and working on increasing it to a steady 3 days per week, then a steady 5 days per week. Starting with cardio to get my heart rate good and burn calories, then I will work my way into incorporating some muscle toning exercises once I’m more comfortable with exercising regularly.

No matter what any diet tells you… you MUST exercise to lose weight healthily and successfully. Slow weight loss is ok. 1-3 pounds per week is ok. You are still losing and if you keep it up, before you know it you will have lost 10 pounds, 20 pounds, 50 pounds, and more.

Remember: it took time to put it on, it’s going to take time to get it off.

So, that’s where I’m at right now. So far I’ve lost about 5-6 pounds. I am now at 247 pounds. I plan to have a steady 1-2 pound loss weekly, 3 pounds if I’m really good. :)

21 6 / 2011

"I have passed over from one side to the other. I am somewhere I never thought I would be. I look at myself in the mirror and I say: Is that you?" - Jennifer Hudson

I don’t want to seem cliche by quoting Jennifer Hudson, but she has contributed to my inspiration to start Weight Watchers. I’m a sucker for packaging and I gotta admit, their marketing works! She looks effing great.

Even when she was heavier, I always thought Jennifer was gorgeous. And I loved that a bigger girl could make it in Hollywood. I’m no Idol fan, but it was hard not to hear about Jennifer when she started making it big. She was everywhere.

The Story

When I first saw her weightloss photos I was shocked. She looked like a completely different person. And honestly, to me I always thought she had the physique of a girl who would always be “big”… naturally. She’s tall and has a larger frame. I did not see her becoming the size 2 that she is today.

However, truth be told, her weightloss story is anything but simple. I wonder if that makes her story more compelling, although of course Weight Watchers would want you to think that she dropped all the pounds with WW alone.

Jennifer was a size 22 before she had ever been on TV. Her dream was to make it in the music business and she knew that being a woman, she would never get there without dropping some pounds.

So she started dieting and exercising daily. And I don’t just mean 30 minutes on an exercise bike, I mean running for miles every morning. She dropped all fried foods, cut out fattening foods (she hasn’t had ice cream in over 4 years), and started eating healthier. By the time she was accepted into American Idol, she had dropped to a size 10.

When offered the part in Dreamgirls, she actually had to gain weight to play the role! So she slacked on her diet and didn’t exercise as much. While on-set, she said that she felt weird not running every morning and wanted to get back to it asap.

Shortly after, she became pregnant and stayed at a size 16 until after childbirth, when she hired a personal trainer and started Weight Watchers.

This story may be disappointing to those who want to look like Jennifer, and think Weight Watchers is the golden ticket. Simple fact: there is no golden ticket. It’s all about inspiration, determination and sticking with it.

To me, the important thing is not HOW Jennifer Hudson got there, it’s that she did. Today she’s 5’9”, a size 2 and 170 pounds and she says she feels like a supermodel.

The Reality

I’ve known other people in my life who’ve dropped well over 100 pounds with Weight Watchers, so I know if you stick with it, it does work. But it’s not about the program alone, it’s about changing the way you think about food and WW  helps you do that.

For the most part, the friends of mine with the most successful weightloss told me they simply started eating better and exercising more often. They told me not to look at losing weight as “dieting”, but to look like it as “being healthier”.

They also advised NOT to tell people you are dieting because you are labeling yourself for failure.

Instead, when you turn down something in front of people at a social gathering and are asked questions, simply say “I’m trying to make better choices.”

Many of us have a psychological aversion to the term “dieting” because it connotes giving up the delicious food that we love.

Being overweight, I’ve always felt embarrassed telling people that I’m dieting. Maybe it’s the judging that I’m afraid of, I’m not really sure. But looking at “dieting” as “being healthier” has been much easier for me to get myself started.

26 4 / 2011

The first step in recovery is admitting you have a problem.

In February I had finally admitted to myself that I was indeed very overweight and that I wanted to lose weight. Rose Elliot's book "The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet"  inspired me into thinking about making the second step: DOING something about it.

I was geared up and ready to start the veggie low-carb diet the beginning of March 2011. I bought tons of spices, many different cheeses and had everything ready to get started. Then a friend told me about the HCG diet.

Basically, you take this hormone called HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) a few times a day in combination with a VLCD (very low calorie diet) of 500 calories daily.

The hormone is naturally produced by pregnant women and basically what it does is tell your body to “eat” it’s own fat (the bad, unnatural fat cells). What makes it different from a “starvation” diet is that your organs don’t suffer, you don’t lose energy, and your body eats the bad fat instead of just consuming whatever it can to survive.

I was skeptical at first, but she told me about her success and huge weight loss with the diet. She had lost over 40 pounds in 40 days. Normally I wouldn’t believe in a “too good to be true” diet like this, but my friend insisted that it works, that it curbs your hunger, nearly stops cravings and boosts your energy.

I got excited about it. Did more research on it, read through Dr. Simeon’s manual (the guy who invented the diet in the 1950’s) and felt like I was ready to give it a go.

I had NO idea what I was in for.

The diet starts with two “load” days, where you start taking the HCG and basically binge on fatty foods to store up for the next 38 days of severe dieting ahead. My mistake, I messed up on these days.

I had a cold and was sick in bed the weekend I was supposed to start the diet with my friend. So I ended up starting 2 days later than she started the diet, but I was still recovering from being sick and so I had a hard time eating and loading up.

By the second day I had already felt the HCG taking effect and I quickly got to a point where I could barely even smell food let alone eat it. It was very strange because normally I would have no problem binging on the foods I love.

The first few days were pure HELL.

Despite what some articles say, this diet is far from easy. There is nothing easy about it. If you think it’s going to be easy you are sorely mistaken. However, if you are up to the grueling challenge, there is a huge payoff.

I’ve been on the diet 9 days now and I’ve lost about 9.3 pounds. That’s insane for any diet. And I know if I stick with it I’ll lose lot’s more. However, it’s been anything but a picnic in the park.

The first few days of the VLCD days (500 calories a day) were hell, the first day being the absolute worse. I was sick to my stomach yet abnormally fiending for food.

I was hungry/nauseous all day and night for 3 days (after the load days). I had no energy, felt weak, dizzy and lightheaded, yet I couldn’t sleep. I ate the VLCD approved meals because I was so damned hungry, but then I would feel like throwing up after just a few bites… and sometimes from just the smell of the food. This made finishing meals impossible, even though the portions were super small.

It was so bad I even felt like I was seriously going to faint a few times.

And on the 6th day…

I suddenly started feeling much better. This was my “big loss” day where I lost almost 4.5 pounds overnight! That made me feel great because I knew I was not suffering for nothing.

This was the first day I didn’t wake up super hungry and most of my cravings felt like they were gone. I felt more energized and awake throughout the day. I didn’t need any caffeine (before the diet I was a coffee fiend but couldn’t stomach coffee on the diet).

The following 2 days I lost 1.4 pounds each day, which meant I was on track, but I was still getting sick of food and having a very hard time eating anything other than fruit without feeling sick. So I did more research.

Doing a meaty diet [mostly] vegetarian.

I was a pescetarian for over 6 years before this diet (a vegetarian who eats fish) but this diet is based on meat so I decided to eat organic chicken. I got sick of whitefish the first 2 days and have not gone back to it since. Even the thought of whitefish makes me want to puke. The chicken is good, but I cannot stand any of the HCG recipes, so I thought I’d look into incorporating more vegetarian options.

I research the www.hcgdietinfo.com forums and found good articles from real gals doing the diet vegetarian. They seemed to be successful, and there seemed to be so much more options to eat.

So on day 7, I tried eggs (1 egg mixed with 3 egg whites) for lunch. I could not stomach finishing them (tasted like egg shells for some reason). Then I went out and bought a whey protein shake mix and had it with 1 cup with unsweetened almond milk for dinner. I lost 1.4 pounds overnight. So far so good.

Then yesterday (day 8), I had an apple in the morning and the whey protein shake for lunch. I was ravenously hungry 1 hour later. So when I got home, I ate 2 vegan boca burgers with a little bit of mustard, a dab of ketchup (not ok for HCG diet because of the sugar but it was so minimal I didn’t think it would count) and sauerkraut. I also tried to eat 4oz of romaine with icky homemade Bragg’s and vinegar dressing that I could not finish either.

I felt SO sick.

I literally had to lay down and just focus on not throwing up for about an hour. I felt horrible all over. Nauseous to the max. The thought of food I just ate, the aftertaste, the smell, all of it was torture. And worst of all, on top of the sickness I felt hungry!

This morning (day 9), I gained .2 pounds back. I have officially come to the realization that I do not want to do this diet anymore.

Day 9 and the hard lessons I’ve learned.

There are good and bad things about this diet. Which outweighs the other? That is up to you. The good thing is you lose weight really really fast. I cannot deny it. I’ve never lost this much weight so quickly.

The other good thing is that this diet can change you quickly. I feel like I look at everything differently now. I’m not craving the usual junk food like ice cream that I’ve craved on other diets, instead I am craving hearty foods like bean burritos, peanut butter, cheese, scrambled eggs, salads with almonds and olives and blue cheese dressing. Pancakes is probably the worst thing I still crave like mad.

The final good thing is that I feel like I can really commit to a diet now. One with slower weight loss where you can eat more foods and enjoy them. I didn’t realize not only how much I love food, but how much my body needs it to feel “ok”. This diet has really showed me what things I can give up and what I cannot.

Although I have not been on the diet long, it’s been a hard road of constant suffering and I am ready to move on. And although the 9.3 pounds of loss feels good (I can already tell physically that I lost weight), I’ve decided that it is not worth all this.

I’m currently trying to figure out how to get off of this diet and when. I’ll write another blog when I find that out. My mission after this… Weight Watchers and weekly cardio!

24 2 / 2011

She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say “when.”P.G. Wodehouse

This quote resonated with me because this is how I feel about the progressive weight gain I’ve experienced over the years. I slowly kept filling up my clothes until I began to pack away my favorite outfits. Things that I had worn and loved every day. Then before I knew it… I didn’t recognize the girl in those pictures, in those videos, I didn’t know that girl in the mirror anymore.

I’ve decided to start [seriously] dieting.

I haven’t tried to diet or lose weight for a while. The last time was in February 2010. I lost a good chunk of weight and felt great about it. But I was less weighty at that time, now I have a lot more to lose.

Back then, I remember worrying that I was getting close to being 200 pounds. I told myself that 200 pounds was outrageously fat for me, and that there was NO way I was letting myself get to that point. So, I had managed to stay under that for months.

Then I remember watching the scale slowly climb; 185, 195, 200… 215. I nearly fainted when I went to the doctor and they weighed me at 222 pounds.

A lot happened in my life in 2010, good things that kept me very preoccupied, and bad things that made me depressed. The simple fact is that I put watching what I eat, and weight loss aside. My scale sat in the bathroom for a long time. Dusty, unused and unwanted.

Then, a few months ago I finally weighed myself again. I was shocked to find that I was 233 pounds! I couldn’t help but think… wow you ARE fat. How did you let yourself get THIS fat? And more importantly… what are YOU going to do about it?

My inspiration.

A few months ago I started to read a book that a friend got for me. Apparently I had looked at this book a couple years ago and put it in my Amazon wishlist. The book was titled "The Vegetarian Low-Carb Diet" by Rose Elliot.

When I started reading it, I hadn’t felt that inspired to do a diet in years. The book is written so well, and it’s very step by step. In the first part she tells you how and why it works and what you should plan on eating. Everything sounded like things I could do, and best of all I could eat lot’s of cheese (always the hardest thing to give up, AMIRITE?). Fat grams were not an issue on this diet, only carbs and sugars were a concern.

I had experimented early with the diet and tried some of the recipes. I ate some huge salads with delicious toppings that were very satisfying. I was getting pumped to start and I ran out and bought all the groceries I would need for it.

The concept of a low-carb diet was not new to me. I tried the Atkin’s diet before, sometime in early 2007. I remember it worked really well, I lost A LOT of weight in a short amount of time and I looked the best I have since high school. I still look back at those pictures and yearn to look like that again.

But I didn’t stick with it for long. It was because I got sick of the food. The Atkin’s diet is based around eating meat. Being a pescetarian (vegetarian who eats fish), it was difficult for me to follow the diet because all I was eating was eggs, tofu, canned tuna, and salads. I hadn’t balanced my diet well enough and ended up eating mostly eggs and tofu.

After a couple months on the diet, I started to feel sick to my stomach all the time. Just the smell of eggs and tofu made me feel ill. And I never had energy. So I quit.

Looking back, my weight loss at the time was most likely because I was exercising too. Not much, but I did something every day. I did stomach crunches, the belly roller wheel and leg lifts with weights every morning and evening.

What made me push myself back then?

Well, I remember why. It was because of a boy. I know, silly right? There was this beautiful boy who I had a serious crush on. We had flirted back and forth for months, and he had just got out of a long-term relationship and was very available. But… I knew he liked skinny girls. So I thought, the only way I’ll have a chance with this guy is if I lose weight pronto.

So I did. I got down to about 175, which is the lowest weight I have been since *gulp* Sophomore year in High School, when I was 150 pounds. To this day, I still feel that 150 is my most ideal weight. I looked amazing and I felt great. But in the sake of thinking realistically, I know I’d be happy at 175.

To quickly end the story about the boy. We never hooked up. He ended up going for some skinny girl with boyish looks. And I remember feeling silly for multiple reasons.

I used to think that no matter how pretty my face was, without a thin body I would never get the guy I wanted. I’ve always had issues with my body-image. Even when I was 150 pounds I used to think I was fat. Looking back at old photos, I can’t believe I EVER thought that!

When it comes to love, size doesn’t matter.

Recently I disproved my silly old notions about finding love and that your body size has anything to do with it. I met a wonderful, amazing boy. My perfect match.

He loves me JUST the way I am. And he tells me everyday how sexy and beautiful I am. He calls me his goddess. I melt into a puddle every time he whispers it into my ear. He’s MORE than attracted to me for exactly who I am. He thinks I’m perfect.

So all you chubby chicks out there: TRUE LOVE IS POSSIBLE no matter what size you are.

You just have to be willing to wait for it and be open to it. Don’t close yourself off because you think you’re too fat. I did it for years and I’m sure I missed out on a lot of experiences because of that. I’m the fattest I’ve been in my entire 26 years of life, and I found the best kind of true love I think I’ll ever find. I feel like a beautiful, powerful, magnificent goddess every time I’m with him.

So what’s my inspiration today? Me.

I’ve chosen to diet for ME. That’s right, ME. I want to be healthy. I want to feel confident with my body. I want to wear lingerie and feel sexy in front of my boyfriend. I want to be able to go to the store, try something on, and have it fit. And one day, I hope to wear a bikini in Hawaii.

Change starts now. I am inspired and determined.

I think I’ve finally said “when”.

23 2 / 2011