I posted the first three installments of my story here, here, and here. This is Part IV, which brings my story up to date. This is the part of my story that I didn’t like writing because it is about me regaining after getting down to a low of 119 pounds.
When last I left my story, I had gotten to below my goal weight of 125 pounds and was a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. My maintenance period had been different as I had unrelated jaw surgery and couldn’t eat solid food for several weeks. Just when I was able to eat any solid food I wanted to, I was sent out of town on a two week long business trip. I was really tired of the soft foods I had been eating. Couple that with eating out 3 meals a day and it is no wonder that I gained.
I came back from the trip up about 5 pounds on my home scale. I was embarrassed to go back to Weight Watchers. I worried about what people would think. This was sort of silly since my weight gain really wasn’t visible. Also, I could have just gone to a different meeting. But, that didn’t occur to me. Instead, I decided to lose the gained weight and then go back. This was a very bad decision. I didn’t go back to Weight Watchers for years.
For a long time, while I wasn’t at my goal of 125 pounds, I was well within my Weight Watchers goal range. Although I felt like a failure, I wasn’t overweight. After a while, I settled down into the low 140s (the top of my range is 146 pounds). I actually did a reasonable job maintaining this. I might have stayed in that range for a long time, but life happened.
I went from being a single woman in my 30s to being a married woman in my 30s. During the weeks leading up to the wedding, I started gaining weight. We were going to get married in Las Vegas (I always thought that would be romantic) and I had bought a dress that just fit me. By the time of the wedding, I had gained 5 pounds and I was seriously worried about squeezing into it. Finally with some powerful undergarments on, I was able to wear it although I could barely breathe. I weighed about 148 pounds on my wedding day:
I told myself that as soon as we got settled in, I would tackle those pounds I had added. Well, I got tackled. During the first year we were married, my husband lost about 20 pounds and I gained up to the mid-150s. I was cooking healthy meals that helped my husband lose weight, but when I ate the same size serving, I gained weight. I felt fat, but in retrospect didn’t look that bad:
A little over a year later, we were buying a house that was under construction. It was a long way from where we were living at the time, but we had to go there often to make decisions and check the work. So, we were eating out a lot as I would leave work and drive straight to the new house and then eat before the long drive back home. I was quickly packing on more pounds. I resolved to start exercising and lose weight as soon as we moved into the house. By the time we moved in, I was up to 163 pounds. I was almost back to where I had been when I started Weight Watchers.
We had just moved into the new house when I found out that I was pregnant. I was thrilled, but worried about weight. I resolved to try to not gain too much weight during pregnancy. I actually did well for the first 7 months or so, but things went off the rails a bit right at the end. When I gave birth, I weighed 204 pounds. Six weeks later, though, I was in an utter panic when I realized that I needed to go back to work and none of my work clothes would fit me. I was at 180 pounds which equaled my then highest weight in my life.
Over the next months, I lost some of the weight at times, but it came back. At some point, I started sporadically keeping a chart of my weight. The first entry was when my son was about 10 months old. I was at 180.25 pounds. The next entry on the chart wasn’t until 15 months later when I weighed in at 185 pounds. This began a period during which I would sporadically go back to Weight Watchers for a little while. I would lose a little weight, then have a bad week and quit going.
Finally, when my son was about 2 I wanted to get serious. Here I am weighing about 185 pounds:
After this summer vacation, I went back to Weight Watchers and really dedicated myself to losing weight. I started exercising again. Toward the end of my pregnancy we had bought a home gym. We also bought a recumbent exercise bike. I started using them. By December, I had lost 20 pounds and was in the mid-160s. Things were looking up. But, my knees were hurting. The more I exercised the more they hurt. Finally, I found out that I needed knee surgery. I had a tibial transfer to realign my knee and also arthroscopic surgery due to damaged knee cartilage.
I was worried that the knee surgery would interfere with my weight loss. Instead, it was one of the best things that ever happened to me. From the beginning of physical therapy, I was able to do things that most people couldn’t do until weeks after this particular surgery. I’m not sure why I had such an easy time of it, but my physical therapy sessions very quickly became really strenuous lower body workouts. Also, I was able to work on regular cardio as well. I quickly lost another 10 pounds and was back to 155 pounds! For the first time, I was at my pre-pregnancy, pre-new house weight.
This picture is during one of my thinner times during my son’s early childhood:
Just as I thought I might get out of the 150s, it all came crashing down. I got sick. I got a very bad sore throat and felt awful. I would get better, then start to exercise and would go a week or two and then would get sick again. This repeated over and over again. I bounced between the mid-150s and the mid-170s.
During all of this, I would attend Weight Watchers off and on. This was also the time that I discovered online support. This was about 15 years ago and Compuserve was king of the online world. I found the Compuserve Weight Management forum and it was a great haven. I got a lot of support from people there and eventually became a sysop of the forum. I felt like a fraud though. I was the go to person on the forum for anything Weight Watchers related and I was giving everyone advice on how to stay on program and how to lose weight. But, my weight wasn’t going down with any consistency. I finally resigned as sysop since I felt so embarrassed to just have nothing happening that was at all positive on weight loss.
I was finally feeling pretty healthy and decided that maybe it would help to get a personal trainer so asked my husband to give me personal training for Christmas. We found a trainer who would come and work with me once a week using our home gym. This worked well and I got back down to the mid-150s. But, then we decided to move. I intended to find a new trainer at our new location, but that didn’t happen. (Moving always derails me). Soon after we moved, a lot of changes – bad and good – began to happen. My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer right after we moved. We went out of town a lot to see him, until he died several months later. During his illness, we received a referral to adopt two older children in Vietnam. Just a couple of months after my dad died, we travelled with our son to Vietnam and came back with an 8 year old son and a 3 year old daughter. Life was good…but very busy. And, weight wasn’t my priority. By the time we went to Vietnam, I was in the mid-170s. When we got back, I gained about another 15 pounds as my attention was focused on things other than weight. For about 4 years, I didn’t go to Weight Watchers and made no effort to lose weight. I knew that my head just wasn’t in it at that time.
In mid-2005, my chart shows a high weight in the mid-190s. This picture was taken sometime around that period of time and is one of my least favorite pictures:
And, I just kept gaining. I do remember once talking to my doctor about the fact that every time I would start to exercise, I would soon get sick with a sore throat and would feel wretched and couldn’t do anything. He had no suggestions on what I could do. Looking back on it, I think part of the problem was that my diet wasn’t very good and I was also under a lot of stress. I was now a mother of 3 and I also worked full-time at a very demanding job and I think that whenever I tried to add in exercise my body just rebelled and said I was putting it under too much stress.
By late 2007, I was ready for a change. The kids were older so I had more time to focus on my weight. Also, it wasn’t just my weight that had gone up. My husband, Charles, had lost 20 pounds right after we got married. Over the years, though, his weight had crept up. How he did on weight largely seemed to mirror how I was doing. If I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating, he tended not to do so either. If I was being careful, then he would be careful. So, he had gained a lot weight with me. I finally suggested that we find a Weight Watchers meeting and go together. He was amenable and joined Weight Watchers in December, 2007. Charles was at about 252 pounds as I recall. That was my highest recorded weight ever. I weighed in at 207.4 pounds.
We were really happy with the leader at our new location (we had moved once again). She was the first leader who had compared to my original leader. We went to meetings diligently for several months, then quit going for some reason I don’t remember. In 2009, we went back for a couple of months, but quit again. During this period I got down into the 180s a few times, but it never stuck.
Finally, in August, 2010, we went back once again. At the time, I weighed 205.4 pounds. I had gained back almost to my high weight. This was me a couple of months before we went back. I was probably at about 205 pounds or so here:
Charles was better off. He had regained some, but was still down about 20 pounds. It looked like this was a propitious time to work on weight loss. Charles had retired from his job and I had moved from full-time work to part-time work. We had a lot of time to spend on health and fitness. We joined the YMCA and were diligent about exercising.
I was still a really slow loser. But, I was a consistent loser, with only a couple of very small gains. By the next July, I was down to 173 pounds. I was nervous because we were going to go to England for vacation. I did not want to get derailed. So, I bought a Weight Watchers pedometer and resolved to use it to record all my steps while on vacation so I could know how many activity points I could eat. I was also very careful on what I ate while on vacation. I enjoyed what I ate, but I kept my weight loss in the forefront of my mind. Here is a picture from that trip. I weighed about 170 pounds here:
I was thrilled when I got back from vacation to find out that I was in the 160s and had lost 3.4 pounds while on vacation! All that walking and watching what I ate had paid off.
Around this time, I was trying to do other things to improve our results. We signed on for personal training at the Y, with Charles and I sharing a session with the trainer. We also bought a Concept2 rower and I built up to using it for 40 minutes at a time.
By November of 2011, I was in the mid-160s. But, the wheels were about to fall off. First, our trainer had a lot of schedule problems and then left the Y. We were supposed to get a replacement, but we could never quite get anything together. Then, I got sick again (I hadn’t been sick in a long time before this. Going to part-time work had coincided with my overall health improving). I hit my first big plateau and lost just over a pound in 7 weeks.
I might have made my way through that. The first week in January, 2012 I weighed in at 162 pounds. My next weigh in was in late February at 173 pounds! What happened? Same story, second verse. We were moving again. During early January, we were looking at houses in the new area we wanted to move to. The new area was about 50 miles away so we would have a long drive over there, look at houses and then be starving and would go out to eat before going home. Then, once we found a house we were very busy getting ready to move. Eating right and exercising went out the window. I weighed 173 pounds when we closed on the new house. Of course, then I had to work on unpacking and putting the new house together, and learning the new locale. And, I no longer had the YMCA that had been close to me. I didn’t do all that bad at first. I was in the 170s for months. But, by September, 2012, I was back in the 180s. I went to Weight Watchers off and on but didn’t make much progress.
We went back to Weight Watchers again almost a year to the day after we had bought the new house. That 173 pounds had turned into 194.8 pounds! It was hard to believe that in January, of 2012, I had weighed 162 pounds and in February of 2013, I was back to almost 195 pounds!
2013 was an up and down year. I did well for a few months, particularly after getting my Fitbit in March. We were walking outside and doing well until it got too hot to walk outside. My weight crept from the 180s back up all the way to 196.8 pounds in August. Thankfully, since then, things have been going down again. We bought a treadmill so we could exercise when the weather is bad and that has helped. Charles recently got his star for having lost 65 pounds and is within 10 pounds of his goal. I’ve lost 14 pounds since going back last August, so things are definitely going much better.
I hated writing this post, as I see all the missed opportunities over the years. That baby that I had? Remember when I was unhappy to weigh 180 pounds when he was 6 weeks old? He’s 19 years old now. And, I still weigh 182.4 pounds. I’ve spent a lot of time on weight loss over the last 19 years without much to show for it. I know I can’t change that. I know I must focus on what is going on now and the fact that things are going well and that I’m having success. Still, I wish I had gotten a better handle on this earlier….