A little background on my relationship with my body: my weight has fluctuated since high school; I was in marching band in high school (yep, marching band!) and carrying around 40-lb. drums every afternoon (and some weekends) kept me in damn good shape, even while I gorged on Burger King for lunch almost every day. Don't we all do that in high school? We didn't know how lucky we were to eat so terribly and have our young metabolisms fight back...
Me in high school. Skinny bitch, right? I didn't even appreciate it!
Aaaand here is a marching band photo, just for your entertainment and mockery. Go ahead, I can take it.
I gained the freshman fifteen in college because I stopped carrying drums around (no more marching band) and didn't replace the physical activity with something else; I'd never been inside a gym before college. It wasn't until I got my first "big girl job" sitting at a desk (when I'd previously been working retail and on my feet all day) that I really packed on some pounds, right after college graduation. After a few months of the new sedentary job and the same poor eating habits, I'd gained 15 lbs. and realized it was time for a change. I saw a photo of myself and was surprised by how I looked.
I joined a gym and bought a Calorie King journal (this was a few years ago, before smartphone calorie-counting apps) and limited myself to 1200-1400 calories per day including exercise. My commitment to the change of lifestyle and my 22-year-old metabolism yielded very satisfactory success. I dropped the 15 lbs. I'd gained and then some, and celebrated with a pair of True Religion jeans (three sizes smaller than before) to congratulate myself.
The skinniest I've been since college (on the right), circa 2007, after my successful calorie-counting, gym-going stint after college.
What I wouldn't give to fit into that dress again... (I'm on the far right)
Then I met a guy. He always told me how beautiful I was, our sex life was great, and we went out to delicious restaurants and had ice cream dates. Slowly, over our year-long relationship, I ate more and frequented the gym less and less. When we broke up, I found comfort in food and lots of sleeping. I gained the 15 lbs. back and then some.
This is my middle ground, circa 2009. It's midway between my skinniest after college and where I am now (I'm on the left).
That's where I've been ever since, more or less. Mostly more. I've given some attempts to losing the weight I gained during my relationship, but couldn't quite commit with the same conviction I'd had the first time, when I was so successful. And before my good habits could stick, I moved to a new city to an apartment on my own (after living with my best friend for eight years) and started a new job that turned out to be worse than the one I'd left behind. So I found more comfort in food. And then started dating a new guy, a wonderful man who also showered me with compliments about my body, so the motivation to lose weight simply vanished for awhile. And I'm a few years older, and years of sitting at a desk job all day hasn't exactly helped my battle of the bulge.
In preparation for bridesmaid status at a wedding last summer, I tried the 17 Day Diet for a few weeks and was quite impressed with the results. The 17 Day Diet is focused on protein and probiotics (it's yet another incarnation of Atkins in the sense that it's based on low carb intake). As soon as the wedding happened, I was all about the champagne and wedding cake and just couldn't get back on the wagon after that. Then, another breakup, and more comfort food in the aftermath.
In Vegas for the bachelorette party in summer 2012. I'm on the far left. I was the "big girl" of the group that weekend.
July 2012: I'm in the front row, immediately to the left of the bride. Post-summer-diet, but still pretty close to the heaviest I've been.
Until now. The reason the 17 Day Diet works is in the name: 17 days is the amount of time it takes for your metabolism to adjust to a diet. After the first 17 days, you change the foods you're eating to throw off your body and make it work harder to keep up (please note that I am majorly paraphrasing, and if you're interested in pursuing this route, get the book so you know all the details!). Combine this approach with fewer carbs and sugars, more physical activity, and reduced caloric intake, and I think I'm setting myself up for success.
I gave myself a few days after the new year to get the holiday sweet tooth out of my system (though, I'll admit, I don't think I'll ever really get over my crazy sweet tooth). I love chocolate and ice cream and Dr. Pepper. But when I think about what I put into my body during the month of December, no wonder I didn't want to go to the gym, or even get out of bed some days! My energy level was pretty pathetic.
Not only do I hate being a size 16 (and it's really difficult and uncomfortable for me to admit my jean size like this), but my chosen profession of wedding photography means I spend at least two days a month chasing after brides and grooms and weddings guests while carting equipment, and I'd really, really like to be able to do so without sweating and gasping for air. I remember a particular wedding I photographed in August and, yes, it was hot, but I was so sweaty that I was constantly wiping perspiration off my forehead and dark mascara circles from under my eyes. It's not really conducive to feeling or looking professional. I'm really not okay with being the gross, sweaty, out-of-shape wedding photographer.
At my very best I was a size 6-8; my goal now is size 10-12, which I think is a happy compromise at which I won't have to starve myself or completely deny the occasional craving.
On a shoot in August 2012
It's time for a real change and a real commitment to making that change stick. I know it's a cliche to make it a new year's resolution to lose weight, but I won't be giving into the equally-cliche failure to keep this resolution. I'm sticking to it, and my goal for the year is to lose 30 lbs. by June 2013. Just in time for wedding season to shift into full swing. :)
Here are my goals. So far, I'm a week in, and aside from a slice of bread here and a square of chocolate there, I'm off to a pretty good start.
- Minimize consumption of carbs and sugar
- Drink more water
- Avoid soda, fast food, pastries, and candy (and other affiliated foods)
- Use low-fat milk and sugar-free sweetener (aim for Stevia as much as possible) in my coffee
- Consume 1250 calories per day (net total after food and exercise).
- Exercise a minimum of 3-4 times per week, ideally five times per week. I'll start with four weekly trips to the gym and go from there. This is the part of my resolution I haven't started yet.
I considered Weight Watchers or even NutriSystem, but I'm going to give the 17 Day Diet another shot first. I might switch to one of the other methods after a few months, just to keep things interesting and to keep my metabolism on her toes.
With these goals, I'm hoping to drop 30 lbs. and two pant sizes in six months. The second half of 2013 will be devoted to keeping that weight off and cementing the habits that got me there.
I'll be documenting my weight loss and fitness journey as much as possible here in order to keep myself motivated as well as join others in their resolutions and goals, to share milestone triumphs and to encourage myself and others in the face of setbacks.
For the record, it is not something I'm necessarily excited to share with you all. Frankly, I'm embarrassed about how I look, and the fact that I revealed my size earlier is a pretty big deal for me. You can forget about the possibility of me sharing my current actual weight! This definitely falls in the "things I'm afraid to tell you" category. But on the off-chance that the documentation of my journey lends even a smidgen of encouragement or support to someone else who is insecure about their own number on the scale, it's worth it.
Do you have any fitness or weight loss resolutions or goals for 2013? What methods are you employing to get there?
Linking up with Evani and Tif.
'Til next time!