The General Stuffs
My name is Chelsea. This blog is mostly about my experience with maintaining my 100+ pound weightloss and focuses on running and cycling, which I somehow find time to do between two jobs and being a grad student (I might be a bit type-A). You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I married my wonderful husband Kris on August 11, 2012. We’ve been together since 2007. We don’t have any kids, yet – just two furbabies that were previously strays. Our dog, Belle, was a stray pit bull that we rescued and I am a big advocate for the breed (and all dogs). During graduate school, we were in a part-time long distance relationship, even after getting married. While I was away at school, I luckily found an amazing friend to live with. With her and her rescue dog, River (a pit-boxer mix) around, I was never too lonely, even if I missed Kris and Belle. After moving back to the same city as my husband, “our” cat, Misty, decided to move into our house instead of being a stray.
Here are some pics!
The Beginning: How Did I Gain So Much?
As seems to be common among those who have lost 100+ pounds, I have pretty much always been overweight. I don’t have any of the old photos at my current residence, but I seemed to balloon after I started elementary school (around the age of 6 or 7). A lot of things contributed to this. I would like to add a pre-warning that this is going to make my parents sound terrible, but they really were not. They took me to doctors and nutritionists, but I always found a way to eat more somehow.
- I had a pretty bad understanding of nutrition from my education (this would be the longest lasting effect, as it went on into adulthood). For example, I once learned in school that pizza is the healthiest food because you can have ALL of the food groups on it (not if you hated vegetables like me, though, and only ate pepperoni pizza)!
- My parents lived apart for awhile, and were therefore unable to realize that although I was eating healthy meals (we ate almost exclusively home cooked meals), I was eating too much: I would eat breakfast, lunch, an after school snack, dinner, second dinner, and a bedtime snack. The living apart meant they didn’t realize dinner was occurring twice for quite awhile.
- I thought that if I got bigger, I would get older. I remember being excited that as an elementary/middle school student that I could fit into adult sized clothing, because this must mean I was becoming more grown up! I would like to note that I now weigh less than I did in 6th grade.
I then somehow convinced my parents that I should join the basketball team around 6th grade. I went from a women’s size 16 (note that I was about 11 years old when this happened) to a junior’s 9 or 11 after picking up this sport, and was pretty happy. I continued playing sports throughout junior high and high school, allowing me to maintain approximately this size until about my senior year, when I got lazier and gained a lot of weight (I also started a job at a fast food restaurant). Even though I was very active (I was a soccer player and thrower in track and probably ran more than 5 miles a day and lifted weights several times a week), my continued poor understanding of nutrition would make it so that I didn’t lose much more weight. I remember eating stuffed crust pizza, doritos, and sweet tea for lunch everyday. This time in my life convinced me I could never be thin because I wasn’t even thin at this activity level.
After graduating from high school, I started dating the man who is now my husband. We tried to stay active together (mostly walking, but attempting to run together at least 2 times), but spent most of our time together cooking or eating out. We both gained a lot of weight during this time, even though I tried to count calories and lost about 20 pounds at one point (I decided my life was too stressful to keep it up). My last semester of college, I had an internship that required buying business professional attire. This was the first time I had to buy plus sized clothes. I insisted that during this internship I would lose weight, as I was commuting on foot and quitting my fast food job, but moving out on my own (I had been living with my parents) just made my food habits worse. We ate frozen pizza (a whole one for the two of us!) almost everyday. I maintained my weight of around 220 lbs during this time.
After graduating, I started graduate school while Kris stayed behind for a real job. Graduate school was rough on my weight – as a commuter student undergraduate, I had not had to deal with the constant eating out/going to bars that is part of student life. I was drinking more frequently and eating desserts and fast food ALL THE TIME. I had started going to the gym with my very good friend/future roomie, but it was never going to offset my gain. I even tried counting calories again, but I wasn’t super careful with it. I came home that year weighing my highest weight of 240 pounds – with my wedding only a little over a year away.
How and Why Did I Lose the Weight?
I had at this point basically resigned myself to always being heavy. I was fine with this – I had a good, happy life. I decided instead to focusing on eating healthfully and exercising regularly again. I even got rid of a lot of my old “skinny” clothes because I knew I would never fit back into them.
As I started on my journey towards eating more healthfully, though, I started to learn more about nutrition. Yes, it is important to eat certain foods because they are nutritionally beneficial and may be more satiating to hunger, which aids in weight loss, but adding these to your diet alone won’t help – you have to make other changes as well. You see, I had been under the impression that if I ate some yogurt and a turkey burger every day, I would be ok, even if my other meals consisted of french fries, ice cream, and beer. I also learned about portion sizes (I used to make a whole package of bacon for breakfast – learning that you should only eat 2 slices blew my mind).I started reading online weightloss forums quite frequently and entering my food into a diary on myfitnesspal.com. I think using a calorie counter was the most crucial part to me. To this day, I have a very difficult time understanding how much food I SHOULD eat as fuel – I may not be eating at a deficit anymore, but I know that if I stopped counting, I’d just be clueless on how much I should eat (I’m hoping to slowly move away from calorie counting, though).
I also realized I was having some health problems that I had sort of been in denial about. I had been telling myself that even though I was heavy, I was healthy because I could still walk and exercise. I would often say “I am more healthy than a skinny person who cannot run a mile because I can run a mile.” But then I couldn’t run a mile. And then I went to the doctor, and found out that I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and heart disease and diabetes run in my family. I also read a lot of articles about the problems that overweight women have with pregnancy, and worried that I would have trouble having children someday. With my wedding coming up, I had a dual motivation: to look good at my wedding, and to be healthy so that I could spend a longer (and potentially happier) future with my future family.
I started counting calories and walking for exercise on June 14, 2011, and lost 100 lbs by my wedding the next year, on August 11, 2012. Since then, I’ve lost about 13 more pounds (I don’t have a scale at this apartment). This is a total of 113 pounds, or nearly half of my old weight (hence my blog title). I’ve considered myself in maintenance since last June – I stopped actively trying to lose weight then due to my final wedding dress alterations! I think I’ve finally found a calorie and activity level that works for me (for now, anyway).
I’m not a coach, trainer, or doctor of any sort. Any advice I give here is based off of my personal experience – I am trying to transmit what has worked (and hasn’t worked) for me, not necessarily what will work for you or what you should do. Remember to consult professionals! I was inspired to begin calorie counting when I saw success that others had with it online, but it was also the approach suggested by my doctor, which helped me to know it was the right choice for me.