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Monday, August 23, 2004

Before and After - The History

Okay, so the one hour photo was broken and I have to wait until Wednesday to get my after pictures. I hate that. Well, since things can't be instantaneous like I would prefer I will give you a little history as to why I have been trying to shrink lately.

For starters, my family has a weight problem and I have a height problem. I am only 5'3 1/2" - 5'4" on a tall day. I do not blame my weight problem on genetics alone but I really don't think that it helps either. My father was overweight and the rest of his family is too. This is not just a little overweight but moving into the obese territory. This generally happens in the late teens to early 20's and I was no different.

As a teenager I had a horrible body image. I was actually only about 130-140 pounds and wearing a size 8 but when I looked in the mirror I didn't see something attractive. I think most of that just had to do with growing up in the very looks conscious society that we do. I'm sure it didn't help that even at that weight my chest was a very full 36C. I was so self-conscious of my breasts I was not able to accept myself. My early teens were spent in oversized sweatshirts, baggy jeans, and anything I thought hid my flaws. At 16 I started dating and coming out of my shell, so to speak. The summer between my sophomore and junior year's I started attending a Pentecostal Church (Soul's Harbor Apostolic Church) to be exact. It was exactly what I needed. I found not only my hope and a place for my soul but I also found the confidence in myself I had never had before. I started to see myself as beautiful, in a way I had never done before. That summer I quit wearing jewelry (to this day I only wear my wedding/engagement ring and a 3-stone birthstone ring DH gave me for Christmas last year), I stopped wearing pants, I stopped wearing make-up, and I haven't cut my hair since. This may seem like a lot but to me they were very small things. As I changed these things I started to realize that my body wasn't the horrible thing I thought it was and I actually started wearing things that looked good on me (oh what a shock!!).

Well, as many of you know I married young. I graduated high school on January 15th, 1998 (an overachiever, I had to graduate early and with honors, thank you very much), got engaged on January 17th, and turned 18 on January 18th. We were married on October 24th, 1998. That's when I got comfortable. Over the course of the next year or so I started gaining weight. At this point it wasn't a lot but definitely some. That summer I noticed the turn of events and joined a ladies only type gym and started working out 4-5 days a week (at least). That definitely worked for me and I lost the weight I had put on. I kept that up for almost a year and a half but in January of 2000 I started college. This of course made my schedule even more hectic and I had to give up the gym.

The next year took my through trying to work full-time and go to school. This is the time in my life that I definitely ballooned up without a care that it was happening. Of course DH let me know that things were changing and that maybe I should watch what I was eating but to me I thought he was being critical and didn't want to listen. In October of 2000 I decided that I should do something about my weight so I went to LA Weight Loss. I thought I was going to have a stroke when I got on the scale. 199 pounds. I couldn't believe it, they had to be wrong. There's no way I weighed almost 200 pounds!!! SIGN ME UP!! I was ready and willing, I didn't care the cost.

Well, the next 2 years took me through a lot of ups and downs. I lost my job to downsizing and found another within the week (definitely a blessing from the Lord), I continued to go to school, and I worked on my LA Weight Loss diet. Over time I lost approximately 25 pounds at my lowest with them. I was discouraged. I had to constantly buy bars and get weighed in 3 times a week. I lied about my food diary and didn't want to go anymore. I was having trouble and work and looking for a new job. I didn't want to think about what I was or wasn't supposed to eat. I started a new job in May 2002 and again I got bigger.

In August 2002 my life was devastated and my world stopped. My father died suddenly from congestive heart failure. I wanted to die. I felt like I had. The person who described it best was my pastor's wife who had lost her dad 4 years prior. She said that it feels like a part of you has died and it did. I didn't want to eat, I didn't want to sleep, I wanted to die. I didn't want to feel anymore. I was numb, tired, defeated, and well, done. Over the next couple of months I lost a little weight because of the stress of it all. I was a changed person and I didn't know how to find the me I once knew. She had disappeared.

Slowly I started to come back and so did my weight. As I progressed I went to the doctor for a check up in May 2003. I stepped on the scale and I was 198 pounds. I could have cried. How did I let this happen? How could I have let myself go? Didn't I care what I looked like, didn't I want to look good for my DH? That's when I changed. I knew that I couldn't be this person I had become anymore and I needed to make a change.

I decided a diet was not the thing for me. I had tried T-Factor and Carb Addicts along with the LA Weight Loss. I knew that I was going to have to make a change inside myself. I started looking at food no longer as the enemy but as something that could help me. I knew that I needed it for energy and to survive but that I needed to choose the right foods. Slowly I started doing just that. I ate A LOT more fruits and vegetables (which I LOVE) during the day. I stopped hitting the Taco Bell for lunch and had a big fresh fruit bowl instead. When I wanted something I ate it, just not a lot of it. I ate a couple bites of cheesecake instead of 4 pieces. I ate macaroni & cheese but a half cup, not the two giant serving spoonfuls I might have had before. It was amazing! I discovered that I could eat so little and still be full. When I gave myself a portion that I knew was appropriate I was full, not stuffed and uncomfortable, when I was done.

Over the last year to year and a half I have followed this and brought exercise in every chance I get. I try to walk on my lunch hour when I can and do Pilates in the evenings at home. I decided I wanted to be different and think different and I did it! I weighed myself Saturday (I work part-time for a doctor's office and weigh myself on their scale once a week) and I lost another 2 pounds last week. I now weigh 156 pounds - 43 pounds lower than my highest weight. This hasn't happened overnight and I'm glad, it's made me appreciate it so much more. My goal is 135-140 pounds, a healthy weight for me. I can't wait until I can step up on the scale and not have to move the weights to the 150 mark but rather just keep the 100 mark. That's my most immediate goal and I know that if I keep working I will hit it.

I will definitely be posting my pictures as soon as I get them this week. I made a promise and I plan to keep it. :-)


Blogger Katie said...

Wow, congratulations! I am so proud of you, Brandy. It takes a lot of courage, dedication, and hard work to get where you are now. You definitely motivated me with your story. I really need to watch what I eat and get back into exercising. I tried to go back to the gym this month but because I've been busy looking for another job, I have not done so (plus, the gym is like 20 minutes away and the only time I can go is at night). Without DH going with me, I get kind of scared walking all the way to the gym (it's at a college). But I am so happy for you and I can't wait to see your pictures. Keep up the good work!

P.S. I'm sorry to hear about your father's death. I'm sure he's watching you and right now, he is so proud!

12:20 PM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Thank you so much Katie!! It is so hard to get motivated, that I definitely understand. Good luck with going to the gym, that is one of my biggest challenges. I would love to find another place I could go but I haven't found it yet. I do understand not wanting to be walking around alone at night though, you just can't be too careful these days.

I do miss my dad everyday but some days are better than others. I know he is with me and I do believe he's proud (or at least that's the goal). :-)

Good luck with working on your weight loss and definitely keep me updated too. It's nice to have someone else to talk to and keep us motivated.

God bless!

3:29 PM  
Blogger Kristy said...

I know exactly how you feel! I was the same way in high school - not really overweight ( 5'3, 130-140 too), but very self-conscious. However, I did not have the same opportunity to find my "place" until I went to university. I so wish I could go back and tell my high-school self that I wasn't fat, and to get out there and enjoy life like I wanted to!

My first year at university, I felt better than I ever had. Then I,too, found DH and got too comfortable and put the pounds on.

I have new resolve now that the baby is on the way. I want to be a healthy, active Mom and a good role model for our child (obesity runs in both my and DH's family, so healthy lifestyle is definately something we will have to instill in our children). Reading stories like yours really helps - it gives me the confidence that I can do it too! Thanks!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Dani1978 said...

Your plan sounds so easy! That's what I'm trying right now, but I seem to be on a plateau! I drink chocolate milk for breaksfast, I know that's not extremely healthy, but it's a good chunk of calories. For lunch I eat have yogurt, I try to get the lowfat, lowcal stuff, but sometimes I try a new flavor of AE and it's not as healthy. Then I always have a piece of fruit and pretzels (I have to eat something salty).

For dinner I just try to make a small healthy meal for DH and I, but sometimes quick wins over healthy.

Do you have any tips for getting off the plateau? I'm your height and weigh between 140-145, I'd like to be between 120-130. Let me know!

11:32 AM  

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