In my last post, Losing 100 Pounds – The 5 Phases, I described the phases I went through to lose a lot of weight. This post is about the first phase, gaining a lot of weight.
As a quick recap, here are the phases again:
- Gain the weight.
- Understand the impacts.
- Get on the path to weight loss.
- Learn what works in losing weight.
- Find a new way of living.
I certainly succeeded with the first phase, gaining the weight. As I said in my last post, to lose 100 pounds, you have to gain it first. That’s the bad news. It’s a lot harder to get it off than it is to put it on.
I was thin when I was a child. But when I went to college, I gained the dreaded “freshman 15“. I continued to gain weight year by year after that. The weight gain never seemed truly alarming, but it was steady.
On occasion, I halfheartedly attempted a diet. Once or twice, I even tried to start an exercise routine. I never got very far with either approach. At each point, I thought it’s not really all that critical yet. After all, it was only a few pounds, wasn’t it?
I was in complete denial. Clueless.
A Boyfriend in Great Shape
When I was in my late 20′s, I had a boyfriend who was in great shape. (I’ll call him Charles.) He was fit and ran several miles every morning. Charles described me as zaftig, which Dictionary.com defines as slang for full-bodied; well-proportioned; having a pleasantly plump figure. I thought that actually sounded pretty good. And it was.
But then I kept putting on weight, and it wasn’t so good any more. At one point, Charles told me that he couldn’t imagine staying with someone who got too fat and out of shape. I wasn’t at that point, but I could see the “writing on the wall.” So what did I do?
I left him before he could leave me. I didn’t have enough confidence in myself to say I couldn’t get that heavy.
A Boyfriend Not in Great Shape
I found another boyfriend who was seriously overweight himself. (I’ll call him Len.) I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about getting too fat for him. So I was free to continue getting heavier. (That would show Charles! Was I stupid or what?)
I did get one good thing out of my relationship with Len; he reintroduced me to snow skiing. I even became a Certified Amateur Ski Instructor and taught classes for the local ski club. Skiing helped improve my fitness. It also kept some of the pounds off, but not enough.
After Len and I broke up, I started taking ballroom dancing lessons. Soon, I was dancing 5 or 6 nights a week. I even won a few trophies in local competitions. Although I was still overweight and could never have made it onto Dancing With the Stars, I got into pretty good shape as a result. For once, my weight gain seemed reasonably under control as well.
Then I Got Married
A couple of years later, I met and married Doug. My roommate and I had started doing sports car rallies. Those are contests in which you drive on back roads, following instructions exactly, and get timed at checkpoints along the way to measure your accuracy. We thought it might be a good way to meet some nice guys. It worked. I met Doug, who was president of the local rally club at the time.
Doug never liked the idea of skiing, so we didn’t do that. I was still dancing, and he agreed to take lessons for our first dance at our wedding. I thought he would continue after we got married; however, like a lot of guys, he decided he really wasn’t interested in that either.
Now that I was a wife, I didn’t want to do things like go away on a ski vacation or dance with other men. Instead, we did things that Doug liked, which were sports car rallies and going to baseball games. Unfortunately, both of those involve not much more than sitting on your butt. Neither one burns many calories, but I kept eating the same way.
The pounds really started to pile on. Eventually, I reached a size 20 dress size and XL shirt size. I bought a fancy, new, digital bathroom scale. I thought it might somehow magically help the weight go away. Amazingly, it did help a little, just because it made me a bit more conscious of it, but it couldn’t work miracles by itself.
Hitting the Peak
The highest number I ever saw on my scale was 244, but that was the day after Thanksgiving, so I figure I don’t have count it. Instead, I generally use about 240 pounds as my “highest” weight. (It’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Hah.) In addition to weight, my new scale measured body fat percentage. Bathroom scales are notoriously inaccurate with that, but mine showed that over 50% of my body weight was fat. More than half! No matter how inaccurate the scale might be, I couldn’t ignore that number. What a disgusting thought!
I managed to lose a couple of pounds over the next few months. At least I wasn’t gaining, but I was struggling. I kept hoping to get a cold or the flu, because I could usually lose about 5 pounds when I got sick. However, that wasn’t a very effective weight loss method. I usually regained it.
It wasn’t until I saw my doctor and got the bad news about my health that I really managed to turn things around. But I’ll talk about that in my next post in this series.
Were you as clueless as I was about your weight? What made you realize it was really a problem?
photo credit: db*photography
Articles in the Series:
Losing 100 Pounds – The 5 Phases
Losing 100 Pounds – Gain It First
Losing 100 Pounds – Waking Up to Weight Gain
Losing 100 Pounds – On the Path to Weight Loss
Losing 100 Pounds – Learning What Works
Losing 100 Pounds – Finding a New Way of Living