With a busy week on the road, I thought this week would be a great one to introduce you guys officially to one of my favorite bloggers, and the first blogger that I EVER met in person. Hilary and I met and became instant BFFs at Fitbloggin last fall. Here’s a peek at her story. Be sure to follow her, you guys… there’s exciting things coming on TBW!
Hi! My name is Hilary and I blog at The Big Weight (TBW). I’m a 29 year old who hails from western Pennsylvania, and migrated to the Washington, DC metro area for work upon graduating from Penn State <3. On June 9, 2012, I married my husband Joel in a lovely ceremony on the beaches of Jamaica. Now, almost a year later, I am 7 months pregnant and am expecting our first daughter June 22. It’s been quite a year!
And now that all of that housekeeping is out of the way, you might be wondering why Kelly asked me to do a guest post here on the lovely NTTC. Well, I’m sitting here wondering the same thing. Still, thank you Kelly, and thank you to Kelly’s readers for having an open ear to my story today.
When I read about other people’s weight loss journeys, there often seems to be a concrete reason why they gained weight: a dying family member, an unfortunate childhood incident, being bullied – the why’s are endless. I don’t have that kind of story, which sometimes makes it difficult to understand completely why I overeat.
I know my issues with body image began right around the 4th grade. Physically, I was an “early bloomer” – far outweighing and outgrowing all of my classmates. I was always tall for my age, and by 4th grade I already had to wear a bra, which at the time, was complete torture. I towered over everyone in my class, and I felt like a total outcast. Fortunately, I was not bullied because of it, and my classmates really didn’t seem to make an issue out of my size compared to themselves. Still, I just felt totally out of place. As time went on and my figure began to take shape, I felt even worse about myself. Many of my close girlfriends didn’t start getting their periods or wearing bras until we were well into the 8th/9th grades. I was wearing sizes in the missy department, not that of kids, so I felt out of place because of that as well. Also, I began to feel undesirable – my girlfriends had boyfriends, and no one wanted me. These were the worries of my 5th/6th grade mind. Oh Hilary!
Here is what the saddest thing is for me about that season in my life: I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t even overweight. But I sure thought I was. In reality, I was a 5’8” 6th grader who looked about 3 or 4 years older than I was. Looking back on the pictures I have from that age is proof to me today that nothing was wrong with me. Yet, all I could see was my size in comparison to my classmates, and I began hating myself for it.
It wasn’t long thereafter that food became a source of comfort for me. I come from a family who was never forced to sit down and eat meals together. I wasn’t made to eat a well balanced diet, and my mom was totally okay with me eating sugary cereal for dinner, as I retired to my bedroom. Today I am such a picky eater, not liking many vegetables and fruits, and I can see why – I never had to eat them. Mom wasn’t big on buying them, and so those food groups were rarely a part of my childhood.
Once a week, mom would bake these Duncan Hines sheet cakes. I ate a LOT of DH sheet cakes in my pre-teen/teen years (so appropriate for NTTC J ). Once they were baked, she would sit them on the stove until they were done, and then she’d make another one. They were so simple to eat because the only thing I had to do was cut a slice and return to my bedroom to devour it. I would often go back for seconds and thirds. It was only a matter of time where the fuzzy line of simply having a poor body image and not being overweight, crossed into truly being overweight and still having a poor body image.
My parents scrutinized my weight constantly, telling me I just needed to have some “willpower”. Yet it didn’t stop mom from baking her weekly cakes, or bringing other junk food home for consumption.
Mom sold Avon, and I can remember one time looking through the books and finding a Richard Simmons weight loss plan available for purchase. I subtly dropped hints to her that I wanted to try that plan, to which she eventually grew angry with me because “it was too expensive” and she wasn’t buying it.
Later, at an annual physical for the upcoming volleyball season, my pediatrician reprimanded me for being overweight and suggested I go on The Zone diet. My mom worshipped the ground this doctor walked on, and so she agreed to buy the book. This was the worst diet for someone like myself. I was around 14-15 years old and was attempting my first diet with foods that I hated. I remember one of the few things that I could tolerate was a plain rice cake with a tablespoon of peanut butter. That compared to a DH cake didn’t exactly measure up in the taste department. I also was not allowed to cook at that age, so the Zone didn’t last very long (I would get yelled at for attempting to cook – there was no compromise on this!). Mom grew tired of buying special foods for me, and she simply didn’t want to make separate meals anymore.
Later on a family friend told Mom about this weight loss doctor in our town – Dr. Bob. The family friend had huge success on it and suggested I give it a try. So we went to a Dr. Bob information session and despite my age (16 at the time), I was permitted to be on the plan, which included me taking water pills. The plan was simply counting calories and recording it on a sheet, to which we’d have to bring back each week for analysis by the nurse/dietician/whatever she was. I remember losing around 25 lbs on this plan and felt great. However, it was short lived, and once again mom grew tired of buying special foods for me and shelling out the cash for the visits.
Eventually I went away to college and my weight really ballooned at that time. Endless food and booze options allowed my weight to skyrocket to 250 lbs by sophomore year. I felt absolutely terrible about myself at this time. I was uncomfortable physically, and overall felt depressed with the way I looked. With the help of some boy drama, I finally made up my mind that I was going to do Weight Watchers. So on January 12, 2004, my aunts, uncle, cousin and I embarked on a family weight loss competition. My aunt taught me Weight Watchers, giving me an old-school slider to count my Points. From January clear through August, I dropped 49.5 lbs. I exercised every single day for at least 45 minutes, and I ate my Points as carefully as I could. I never felt better and I never looked better. The compliments I received upon returning to school in the fall were so incredibly uplifting. And finally, I was able to wear decent, girlier clothes.
It was during my junior year of college that I took up running. My approach to weight loss during this time was very much the “all or nothing” mentality. If I wasn’t exercising and eating On Plan perfectly 100% of the time, then I would write that day/week/month off and try again. I pretty much hovered around 200 lbs for the remainder of college. By the time I moved to DC for work in 2006, the weight slowly began to creep back on until I reached a peak in 2011 at 263.5 lbs. Since college, I’ve only used Weight Watchers as a tool to remove the weight.
Before becoming pregnant, I was right around 235 lbs, but have since gained all that weight back plus more with the 7.5 months of pregnancy. I am currently somewhere in the mid 270s. Once the little lady arrives at the end of June, my goal is to get right back on the Weight Watchin’ wagon and begin to pursue my goal of 165 lbs.
I would love it if you have any words of advice or encouragement! Please share your story below, and stop by to see me over at TBW!