Watch Me Shrink

Here's a quick snapshot of my weight-loss progress so far.



And here are some super embarrassing photos.



April 2009, 205 pounds:


April 2012, 175 pounds:


July 2012, 163 pounds:


October 2012, 153 pounds:


February 2013, 145 pounds:


My before picture: 
April of 2009. I weighed 205 pounds and my BMI was in the obese range. I had just lost my job in Madison, spent a tense month and a half getting everything ready to move back to MN (finding a sub letter, packing my stuff, panicking over my uncertain future and the approaching end to my income), moved back in with my mom, and spent a good two months mourning my predicament and comforting myself with food and sleep and books. One of those books was The Idiot-Proof Diet, which laid out a plan that combined Atkins with the GI diet and a few others. I had resolved that I would get down to a normal size and get on with my life. I took these pictures as "before" shots.  I rejoined a gym and started spending every morning on the elliptical and lifting weights. I think I lost a total of 15 pounds on that diet, mostly within the first few weeks. Despite following the plan to a T, I settled at about 190 and stayed there until a few months later when I started dating Pete and found myself too freaking excited to eat my normal amount of food. Over the next few months, I lost another 15 pounds. And then I slowly gained it back.

My story:

I can remember feeling self-conscious about my weight as far back as elementary school, but I don't think I was technically overweight until I hit high school. As a sophomore, I followed the Weight Watchers program and used Tae Bo videos (with Billy Blanks Sr.) until I hit my lowest weight at my full height: 130 lbs. After my Nana died, I stopped meticulously tracking everything I ate and let the Tae Bo tape collect dust. I picked up weight over the course of high school and college--getting to my highest weight the summer after I graduated college, just a few months after my father passed away in 2006. I'd say I probably hit 210lbs at that point, although I never weighed myself to verify and at the time I certainly didn't think I was that heavy. My highest recorded weight was 205lbs. At 5'4". Not good.

A few months after my dad passed away

Although I was always good about exercising regularly, my diet wasn't right for me. I just never thought my eating was that bad--and you know what? Call me self-deceiving, but I still don't think it was. 

The problem is that although my diet was pretty good compared to the typical American diet, it wasn't appropriate for me and my body.

I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis. It's an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks the thyroid. This prevents you from producing enough thyroid hormone, which regulates your metabolism (and weight). I'd always been very resentful of this and refused to follow a strict diet long-term. When I did try diets, the weight came off so slowly that it was almost unnoticeable and I always ended up frustrated, abandoning the diet. I figured, "I should be able to eat like a normal person."
Then I had a breakthrough.

In October 2010, my boyfriend proposed. We gave ourselves a year to plan the wedding. I wanted so desperately to lose weight, so I drew up a huge chart to track our workouts. But just two months into my engagement, I developed a chronic painful condition. In just a few weeks, my quality of life plummeted. None of the seven doctors and specialists I visited could tell me what was causing this condition or how to make it go away. I became obsessed.

I tried several medical diets (none of which was very conducive to losing weight) and stopped working out altogether, following the advice of three of those doctors. I gave up alcohol, chocolate, coffee--any form of caffeine including tea--dairy, gluten, etc. At times I really, really resented it all. I remember getting SO mad one night while out with friends because I had to be the sober driver (again). But this time, resentment didn't stop me from doing what was necessary. I knew that if I didn't stick to the new way of eating or living, that I'd be in pain. My principles and ideas of fairness didn't matter a hoot and stubbornly refusing to comply would only hurt myself. What's more, it wouldn't help me find a cure to my condition.


I didn't want to walk down that aisle before fixing this issue. I needed to know that I wasn't going to drag Pete into all of it. Well. That didn't happen. About two weeks before the wedding, still clueless about the cause or cure, I visited a pain management doctor who recommended a nerve block procedure. After doing a little research, I realized that the procedure was painful and risky--it could make things worse and the success rate wasn't nearly as high as he'd led me to believe. I gave up then and there. No more diets, no more physical therapy, no more medications. I was just going to manage the pain, focus on the wedding, and forget about solving the mystery. I decided that this pain was not going to prevent me from marrying the love of my life. 



One thing that pain management doctor said resonated with me: "You need to lose weight by starving yourself." His wording is probably what made it stick in my mind (I think he meant "by diet alone"). Away we went on our honeymoon to Hawaii. And as I struggled to cover up with sarongs and towels on the beach, as the plane's armrests poked into my hips, I thought about his words. How could I truly say I'd done everything I could to fix my condition when I was still obese? The first full week after my honeymoon, I joined Weight Watchers. That was November. In February, I decided to forget what the doctors told me about working out and started running.



I know for a fact that the health issues that cropped up during my engagement taught me the lesson I needed in order to be successful at losing weight this time around. Unlike past attempts, I was able to approach my new way of eating without resentment and anger and understand that my body is going to work the way it's going to work. I can either work with it, or live in pain. I had some slip-ups, but I stuck with it.


And at some point, my pain started to subside. It went away so gradually that I didn't even notice it at first, but the day I realized what was happening was one of the best days of my life. I'm still not all the way back to normal and I don't know if I ever will be, but it's very manageable now. And I'm so happy to be at a normal size. I'm still overweight, still working on my fitness goals, but this weight loss journey has given me so much more than a smaller pants size. I can't wait to see what other benefits will come of it. 



Want more? You got it. 

Food logs--what I eat
Another slant to my story
My thoughts on taking the first step
Hitting the 140's
Feeling confident in my first pair of non-bermuda shorts in years
Using the Weight Watchers tools to make a plan during a plateau
Ecstatic to be in a pair of size twelves
The first time I posted my weight

About my running

My first half marathon
Starting to train for a half marathon
My first 6-miler
My first 7-miler
The Color Run (My first 5K!)
First pair of real, dedicated running shoes
First "serious run"
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11 comments :

  1. Such a difference and you too can view these pictures to re-motivate yourself when you need a kick in the pants. Keep up the great work!

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  2. Don't be embarrassed! You look amazing! Good for you! This will be a motivation for other people as well! Exclamation point overload!

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  3. Kate! I love the photos and DON'T be embarrassed! Your story is very much like mine...I just slowly started gaining weight over the years, and when I got laid off in 2009 I packed on 30 pounds in a span of 4 months (on top of being 20 pounds overweight already). I love your blog!

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  4. 12 more pounds really makes a difference. Your posture is better and I can really tell a difference in your face and your core. Looking great!!

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  5. Thank you for adding to your story. I am so pleased that your pain has subsided and will hope that as you continue your path it will disappear altogether! You look wonderful and happy and I agree that you should continue to do what you know works for you and not listen to the "experts". No one, and I mean No One knows your body the way you do!

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  6. Love reading your story...that was really motivational and helps me so much! Thank you for sharing that! And the fact that the pain you were in that is now subsiding is proof that living a healthy and active lifestyle really is what's best for us! Love reading your blog, lady! Keep it up!

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  7. What amazing progress! (New reader!)

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  8. Just started following your blog. I'm impressed with your transformation. You are adorable.

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  9. This is amazing! What a fantastic story. You go, girl!

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  10. OH EM GEEE! You look spectacular! Way to go. You look great. Keep up the good work.

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  11. I absolutely love your blog! I am on my own weight loss journey. I had an eating disorder for 6 years and then gained all the weight back plus some more. Now I am in progress and trying to do it the right way. I love finding blogs like yours that I can come back to when my motivation is low. You look amazing! I am also training for a 10k in hope of training for a half early next year.

    Katelyn
    http://the-imperfect-perfection.blogspot.com/

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