I have always been overweight. Not in my eyes, not in the eyes of my family or friends, but by medical standards, I've always been above what I should weigh for my height.
Like most teenagers, I struggled with my weight throughout high school, and I felt self-conscious when I was in a bathing suit. I didn't think I had a confidence problem, and I was generally content with how I looked, but it always loomed in the distance. I never got on a scale except for at the doctor's office, and even then, I closed my eyes. For a solid five years I probably didn't know how I much I weighed. Shopping for clothes was always a nightmare, and I usually left with empty hands and tear-stained cheeks. While my weight wasn't the source of sadness, it wasn't something I was necessarily pleased with.
When I got to college, I became less self-conscious about it because there were lots of people around me who looked like me. I still got the attention of boys on campus, so I started to feel a bit more confident, that maybe I was a pretty girl with a little extra fat around the waist.
I never bothered to try to lose weight, much to the dismay of my mother and sister, who are skinny by most standards and eat healthy most of the time. I am not a girl who loves salads or vegetables, and fruit makes my ears hurt. I love my carbs, my pasta and muffins and pastries and chocolate and sweets. I worked out at least two to three times a week, but my diet did not reflect that.
However, as time went on, I felt OK with how I looked. I still didn't look at the number on the scale, and my eating habits got a little better. I had my skinny days, and black made me look slim, but I never complained about how I looked. My skinny friends constantly complained about how fat they were and how they were on a new diet, but I kept my mouth shut. I had a reason to complain, and I didn't. All of this being said, I knew in the back of my mind that I would have to lose weight.
One morning, this past Summer, I was getting ready to go to my friend's pool. I put on a one-piece bathing suit (which I was grateful had come back in style) and had an anxiety attack. I started to cry and hyperventilate because I finally looked in the mirror and felt disgusting.
I wasn't happy with the way I looked, and I knew that I would never be truly happy unless I did something about it. That afternoon, I signed up for Weight Watchers (now WW). The next day, I started counting my points.
It's three months later, and I've lost 20 pounds. I've never lost more than two pounds in my life and now, here I am, 20 pounds down, and I understand where my problem was.
I was eating too much, and Weight Watchers has taught me that very well. I eat pretty much the same exact things I ate before Weight Watchers, and I don't exercise any more than usual, but counting portions and points has helped me immensely. My problem with food wasn't that it was an emotional crutch or that I ate when I was bored — it was that I enjoy food too much. I love to eat, as most people do, and I was just overeating and doing it a lot. Now, I can eat whatever I want, just within moderation.
Something I didn't like about dieting was the fact that I felt restricted in what I ate, but now on Weight Watchers, there is no missing-out guilt. If I have a bad day, there is always tomorrow to clean it up and eat right. It is not the end of the world because I can lose that two pounds over the next few days.
Weight Watchers has truly changed the way I look at food and fitness. It's almost like a fun little game to me, trying to figure out the number of points that is in something I love.
Do I feel happier now that I've lost 20 pounds? Not necessarily, but it wasn't about being happy per se. It was about knowing I needed to make a change and having the willpower, confidence, and drive to actually make the change. When you make a huge lifestyle change, like dedicating yourself to losing weight, it does something to your mind, and it gives you an extra boost of confidence. That confidence isn't coming from the fact that my clothes fit better; it's coming from the fact that I set my mind to something, and I did it.
I'm making a change that I never thought was possible. For me, this is only the beginning.
There is a reason Oprah raves about the program — she loves bread and so do I . . . and now, I can eat it without feeling guilty.