Weigh In Wednesday: The One Where I Change My Mindset

I didn’t post last week, and it’s no wonder — I’ve been having a serious internal struggle about weight loss for a while now. Shall we get into the whole story? The kids are tuned into Lilo and Stitch, so I’ll get while the gettin’s good.

Where it all began

I went on my first diet at 13 years of age. My mom and I signed up for some weight loss clinic that was reminiscent of a Jenny Craig type of situation. We would eat our own food, supplement with their drinks, shakes, and bars, and visit the clinic weekly to weigh in and pee in a cup. I can’t remember how much weight I lost on this program, but it’s my first vivid memory of dieting. I remember exactly what I would eat — half of a chicken breast, small salad, saltine crackers, and a little bit of fruit. Pretty much every meal looked like that, so I’m going to assume that I was on a 1,200 calorie diet. I kept the weight off for a few years, and even lost a little bit more once I entered high school.

In high school, I toyed with food restriction. I became absolutely obsessed with calories, limiting my intake, and had the goal of seeing my hip bones jut out. I believe my all time lowest weight in high school was 143 pounds. I would record my weight each day in my school planner, and also write down the number of calories I consumed that day. It was always dangerously low (ballpark? < 1000 calories a day). I maintained my weight off and on for a few years, and would go through periods of “watching what I ate” or dieting. I was always fixated on the scale and my jean size. I have a memory of my sophomore year of high school where I walked through the hallway and felt my American Eagle jeans slide side to side on my hip bones. I couldn’t even tell you how proud I was at that moment — I can still remember exactly what those light wash, low-rise button fly jeans looked like, too.

In my senior year of high school, I went through a really awful stage of depression. I was so done with my school, living in my town, and I was just in a bad place. I wanted to be out of there so badly, and this is where food became a comfort mechanism for me. I would eat two slices of pizza for lunch, pick up Whataburger after school, and then eat dinner AGAIN with my family or friends. I’d hide how much I was eating. I remember Thanksgiving day, I snuck a bowl of cereal before our family get together, and my mom caught me.

Then I started having babies. And I kept eating enough for two men. We all know what happened from there. I got up to at least 219.5 pounds. And for the past 15 months, I’ve been on a few diets to lose nearly sixty pounds (both Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers).

Let me be clear

If you’re doing something that’s working for you, and you’re a happy camper who is losing weight safely — more power to you. I was a happy camper for the majority of the past 15 months. Around the start of this summer, I started experiencing some mental crap that has been messing with me ever since. My whole life, I’ve been taught that a 1,200 calorie diet is what you need to lose weight, and you should push yourself as hard as you possibly can in your workouts. I’ve always lightheartedly said that I’m a slave to the scale, but I’m here today to tell you guys: I’m seriously a slave to it. I worry about the food I’m eating and how it’s (ever-so-slightly) affecting my weight. I go through waves of being so strict with my food that it’s insane, to eating the shittiest food on Earth like it’s nothing.

Basically, after 10+ years of dieting, weight loss has gotten inside my head and it’s really fucking exhausting.

My friend posted a link to an article I want to share. It’s written by a former employee of weight loss clinic, and she is apologizing to all of her past weight loss clients. I got about two paragraphs in and had to stop. She was writing to me.

Learning how to eat intuitively.

For the past few weeks, I’ve really been having an internal struggle. I need to find a balance, and most importantly, I need to be setting a good example for my kids. I’m working on figuring out how to just … eat. How to stop obsessing. How to be okay eating carbs. How to stop GIVING A FUCK what the scale says. I have been reading GoKaleo.com (check out her “What to Expect When You Stop Dieting” series) and am going to try to re-learn how to just EAT. Eat to fill my needs, eat to give me enough energy to run, eat to make me happy. I’m not the authority on this. I’m just a girl who is realizing that I can’t diet my whole life. I can’t even have a “lifestyle change” (I’m pretty sick of that phrase, let me tell you). I just need to re-learn the basic needs of my body.

professional dieters cropped.png

“Just eat food. Eat real food, be active, and live your life. Forget all the diet and weight loss nonsense. It’s really just that. Nonsense.”

So I’ve been running.

Phew! So that was a huge wall of text, I’m sorry! Last week, Andrew surprised me with a treadmill that I’ve been lusting over since forever, and I’ve been logging miles like you wouldn’t believe!

photo 2

I am going to have to be careful to not switch one number obsession (scale) for another (miles run), but I really think as long as I can get my footing in my relationship with food, I’ll be good. Check out these runs!

photo 3 I was pretty sure I was dead after four miles. I knew that I’d actually died on the treadmill, and was just posting this picture from the after life.

and then…I ran further the next day.

photo 4 and I didn’t  feel like I was dead when I finished! Well, I kind of did, but I was more proud of how kick ass I was. It’s actually one of the first times I feel like I can tackle my half marathon in November. It’s an exciting thing! Oh! and also? I dyed my hair brown!

972160_4969451723664_101908981_n

I weighed myself this morning.

I decided to do a weigh in for today. I knew that I’d been eating instinctively and appropriately for my level of activity, so I would probably see an increase. I weighed in at 149.8 pounds, and a beautiful thing happened. I gave zero fucks about the rise in weight. Because now, I’m focusing on things OTHER than the number on the scale. I’m growing as a runner. I’m truly eating WELL, and I’m ready to take the leap into a new relationship with my weight.

You can read all of my weight loss posts in one place right here. Sha-wing!

Comments

  1. Amazing! I Your posts are so so real and motivational! you are doing great! :)

  2. Oh! I can’t wait to read those posts you linked to.

    I lost 60 lbs on WW between October 2011 and October 2012 and then couldn’t find my way out. I hadn’t reached my WW target weight (still 30 lbs to go), but I was done. My digestive system was so unhappy on the low cal diet and I was having to get more and more restrictive as I got less and less motivated in order to even maintain my weight. I also knew that I could not diet forever.

    Anyway, I quit with no where to go and have gained a lot of weight back :( I am now trying to stop the train. Running is not the solution for me (arthritis), but I am looking forward to hearing about life with your new mindset and picking up any tips you have to share!

  3. I see myself so much in what you write. I know exactly what you are talking about and I applaud you for all your hard work.

  4. I think this is great. If you haven’t done so already, try reading some runner-specific books or articles regarding weight loss. Once you learn how to properly fuel pre-run and re-fuel post-run, it truly makes things much easier. You need to take in enough calories to power your body so that running feels good and you keep doing it…it can’t just be a negative calorie activity. On the flip side, running also doesn’t give you the ability to just eat and eat and eat which is where a lot of runners looking for weight loss go wrong. And I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but one pound of muscle is very different from a pound of fat. Don’t be afraid of a little bit of weight gain with running…it just means you’re getting stronger! And don’t be afraid of the half marathon! I ran my first in May and it was a hugely mental battle, but I did it without walking. Just mentally break it into smaller pieces and attack it that way.

  5. Thank you so much! I have been struggling with the whole dieting mindset lately. especially since i am the one who cooks for my family i feel like i’m either shorting them when i make them eat like me or i feel left out if i just make myself somthing different.

  6. I’m starting a weight loss journey but I’ve already had the mind set that I can’t diet. I need to be able to eat, just learn to eat right. I LOVE your posts. :) They are so real and motivational. You rock :) and you look amazing so be proud!

  7. You look awesome! Muscle does weigh more than fat. Tough reality to embrace but it’s true. Keep plugging away!

  8. First, you look great! I am afraid of the scale and should be a little less afraid of it. Losing weight is the hardest thing and I am so likely to give up. Once again, I am glad I came to your blog to read about what you are doing in your weight loss journey.

  9. First off… kudos to you for all of your hard work! You look great! Secondly… I. Love. Your. Blog!!! How do I follow it? I love your attitude and your realness. I’ve been struggling to lose my dreaded baby weight and I feel like it keeps adding on, not falling off. Ugh. You’re an inspiration. Thank you!

  10. Love the hair color – it’s beautiful!! And it’s okay to take a break – we’re supposed to be adopting a healthy lifestyle, not the dreaded D word. I maintained for a year after losing 25 pounds and have only just started losing again. I feel good about it, because of the maintenance and support. Make sure you have a good support system in place and you will do well.

  11. Yep, muscle weighs more than fat. Clothes can be your scale. If u like what u see in the mirror, and you have toned muscles – your “scale” is telling u you’ve reached your goal. Just look at your before pictures – OMG you rock!!

  12. I love the dark hair, it really suits your coloring! You are beautiful, inside and out.

  13. I cannot believe it! You have lived my life! Starting with the first diet at thirteen to the top weight and ending with where I am today trying to balance WW “diet” lifestyle change with just wanting to eat without it consuming my every thought and every food choice I make. Kudos!! and good luck.I appreciate the tough mental place you are in.

  14. Awesome sauce! I found your blog by searching for “growing out a pixie cut” and never imagined I’d find a fellow GoKaleo fan!

  15. i dont see myself as a runner yet … maybe who know in the future for now i just want to be active and learn to have a healthy relationship with food… i wanna quit my food addiction… im sick of bad food choices and poor will power taking over my life… TODAY I DECIDED I HAD ENOUGH IM TAKING CONTROL…thanks for the inspiration …

  16. omg!I love your blog! thank you :) I relate 100% I will be following you now I just found you today but this post is my life so thanks I feel much better and I don’t want to give up anymore.

  17. I joined WW over three years ago. I stuck with the meetings for about one month and then on my own. It took me 7 months but I lost a total of 86 lbs. I went from a size 18 to a 4. Just in the past year I have been in a new relationship and have put on 25 lbs, also know I am in a size 10. Wow can I feel it, I am on my second day back on track, wish me luck please I dont feel good at the weight at all. I can’t wait to be on that weight loss train.

  18. Your story relates to much to mine.. But I haven’t gotten this baby weight off. But I feel you on the mental struggles. Reading this made me feel so much less alone! You are inspiring and motivating. Thank you for sharing your soul!!

  19. I found your blog just now, while looking on how to (once again) calculate WWplus to begin again for the hundredth time a program to lose weight. My story is amazingly similar to yours. TRUE. dietining since forever, did nutrisystem, did WW, went fro, 210 to 147, not running but zumba and body pump, feeling great about going to the gym daily and loving it! until last year, when I started thinking that I needed to learn how to eat, to stop dieting, to do what you are saying (I, unwillingly had stressed my kids too about what they were eating…One day at the grocery store my son (5 year old) asked me for tic tacs and said “mom, come on, its only 2calories!). At that point I was like OMG what have I done to them? so I decided no more points counting no more calorie counting (at least not so obvious). Then we moved from Maryland to Miami and the change was horrible on my gym habits (I already had a great support group in MD, while here I had to go to a new gym where most of the girls look like they are all posing for Maxim, like, all the time. This morning (like many mornings for the past couple months) I woke up thinking that I needed to do something about my weight since all my clothes are feeling sooo tight and size 6 doesn’t fit anymore and 8 is too tight (btw I was a size 18 so when I was a 12 I was already happy). I weighed in today: 159! 159!!!! I wanted to die. So I decided to begin ww again to lose 20-25 lbs but when I started reading your blog I remembered all I went through with all those dieting programs and how good I felt going to the gym. You have inspired me not to start WW again but to actually begin running or exercising and focusing on being healthy. thank you

  20. Just found your blog and I’m loving it so far :) I’ve lost over 50lbs doing intermittent fasting along with changing my diet to a mostly whole foods, plant based diet and eating intuitively. Unfortunately for me, eating intuitively has had unexpected consequences and I’ve continued to lose weight, even after calling goal and supposedly being in maintenance for several months now. I’ve gone from being in the 170s, to now being 3lbs from having an underweight bmi. For me, I’ve had to conclude that eating intuitively just isn’t a good fit. I need more structure because the foods I now eat are very high fiber/nutrient dense which is great for my health, but low in calories while being high is filling power. If I eat intuitively and stop when full, my calories come in too low. What a crazy problem to have! I’m actually looking into doing the WW points thing, to give me some parameters and that’s how I found your blog :) Good luck to us both as we try to figure this all out!

  21. I just love your writing style! So Honest. It is why I follow your blog & am encouraged to get busy on my hip stretchin so I can hit the starting goal of RAN MY FIRST MILE! keep on writing. keep it honest!

  22. So I am obviously late at reading or following this blog and I just wanted to say thank you. Your story is just like mine! Last year I lost 60lbs doing a crazy diet and now I am running and adding calories back and happier than I have ever been. I’m training for my first half marathon in April! I haven’t stepped on the scale in months because I’m afraid of what I’ll see and I just want to run and be happy.

  23. I wanted to know can i do this all by myself without going to the meetings? I really dont have the money right now for the meetings.I also have Oral Allergy Syndrome. Its a pollen allergy where i cant eat anything that is a raw fruit or veggie. I cant comsume too much protein as it gets me really sick. I can eat it if its cooked or canned. I really need help with ww and i wanted to know how can i buy a scale and weigh myself in and everything. i know you gave tips and i appreciate it so much. But i wanted to know if i can weigh myself in and can do some workouts to help me. I am 28 years old, 216lbs and 411. Thanks