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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The when, why, & how

I'm really proud of my weightloss (40 lbs to date!) in the past 5+ months but recently I have really been thinking about the when, why, and how of my weight issues. I honestly cannot remember a time when I was skinny. I know I was...i've seen pictures, but that time was all from age 7 and before.


Age 3-4ish

I started getting heavy in the 3rd grade. I was 8 years old. My parents were splitting up. I (for reasons unknown to me) stopped attending gymnastics. Somewhere in the range of 4 ft tall, I weighed 72 lbs and I remember that being a LOT (or at least more than the other girls). I remember feeling badly about myself and thinking I was fat. I remember crying to my mom at bedtime that I was fat. And i remember being told that it was just baby fat and I would grow out of it. Wrong. And how could it be "baby fat" if I wasn't a fat baby, toddler, or young child?
Ages 8-10ish

Age 8-9

Fast forward to junior high. I was fat. I was heavier than the other girls (including my stepsister who is a mere 6 weeks older than me...and she is a twig). I had a chubby face, chubby arms, chubby legs, and was gaining belly fat. And I maybe grew 6 inches by then. I remember buying size 5 jean shorts at "5,7,9" one summer when I was in Dallas. I was 13. I went straight from size 16 in girls to 5 in juniors (and they didn't look good). They were really too small.

Moving on to high school... The "skinniest" I ever recall being was when I wore a size 9 from express (and they didn't look good). Again, they were really too small. I settled in to a size 11 and pretty much stayed there all the way through. Most fitted T's didn't fit, even in a large. I tried so hard to dress cute, but I was constantly sucking myself in to clothes that were too small for me. I weighed somewhere in the 145-150 range and I was 4'11".

The first time I recall making any effort to lose weight was senior year. In preparation for prom my mom (who did not have a weight problem) got us a membership to a local women's only gym and we started going. But, I don't think I ever really lost any weight. After that failed (and uneducated/unguided) attempt, I sought out a weight loss clinic and talked my mom into taking me for a consult. She went and we were both "sold" on the idea, but when I asked my dad to pay for it he said no.

When I started college I was in a toxic relationship that definetly did not boost my self esteem to say the least. He was abusive mentally, verbally, emotionally, and physically. But the words hurt the worst. He said things about my weight that I won't even repeat because they are that horrible. This is when I started looking for "quick fixes". I remember taking Xenadrine after we got into a fight and (temporarily) broke up and lost 20 lbs in a week or something crazy like that. Of course I didn't change my eating and I was not exercising regularly, we got back together, and I gained it back plus some. I continued on this weight loss/gain roller coaster (and ditched the toxic boyfriend in the process) over the next TEN YEARS. That is right, I gained, lost, dieted, exercised, and repeated over and over again for ten years. All in all, I was overweight for somewhere in the range of 20 years... from the time I was 8 until I was(am) 28. My highest weight was 209 in 2007/2008 and I think I got up there again in 2010. Sometime in 2010 I got desperate enough to try out some questionable diet pills. They were some type of Chinese "herbal" suppliment that I purchased at a local chiropracter's office... I lost a good amount of weight 20-25 lbs in just a few short months, but I also experienced strange side effects like worsening vision and soon after I quit taking them. And, almost immediately I gained all the weight and some back, again. At this point I sought out a physician's advice (which, I had done a few times before without getting any answers that I wanted). He suggested we check my thyroid function and sure enough, it was jacked. My thyroid stimulating horomone (TSH) level was insanely high, it was like >10 times the normal value. This translates to my metabolism literally being at a dead stop. Meaning I had no BMR (basal metabolic rate). Everything I ate, I gained. And that is exactly what the scale reflected. Now, this is not the root cause of my long-term weight struggles. I am a lab tech myself, and had ran my TSH at some point while in school and it was normal. I honestly think the diet pills in combination with my yo-yo dieting are what killed my metabolism. There is NO quick fix for weight loss and anything labeled as a quick fix is likely dangerous! I regret taking those pills everyday because now I have to take thryoid medication everyday. To make a long story shorter... I did get put on thyroid medication and did actually lose 20-25 lbs while in the process of getting my TSH level in the normal range. However, I took this "easy" weightloss for granted and did not do one thing to encourage it. I ate horribly and did not exercise. So, inevitably, I gained it back. Much slower this time. In about 18 months time, I gained back 20 lbs.

Which, is when I  started my last trip on the weight loss roller coaster, I weighed in at 205 lbs. That was August 20, 2012. Since then I have 100% committed myself to healthy eating and exercise. I have transitioned from not being able to run for 30 seconds to running 5 miles (69 miutes). My husband is naturally athletic and has recently regained interest in running, swimming, and cycling and is actually now training for a half-ironman. So, together, we have both changed our lifestyles to encourage healthy living. We eat much healthier than before (no fast food, etc) and exercise daily. His dedication and ability motivates me everyday to be better, to work harder, and to keep going. Today I sit at 164.8 lbs. I am hoping, praying, working, trying, sweating, crying, kicking, screaming, fighting to be at a healthy weight by the time I turn 29 (April 2013) or shortly thereafter.

Upper left 195ish, Upper right 200ish, Bottom left 205+, Bottom right 187ish

Left 205+, Right 183ish
 
Left 205+, Right 175ish
Left 205+, Right 165


Left 200+, Right 165



If I have learned anything in the experience, it has been to LOVE myself. I have completely fallen in love with myself in the past 5+ months. I care more about myself now than I ever have. I have a newfound love for clothes, fashion, makeup, skincare, haircare, & beauty all the way around, and not in a superficial way, but in a "I really care about myself" kind of way. I also love eating healthy and exercising, especially running! I NEVER thought I would/could be a runner, I couldn't even run a mile in junior high athletics. Today, I am a runner! It has been an amazing experience. Has it been easy? No. Has it been worth it? Absolutely.

My advice to anyone reading this is to just keep going. Everyday will not be great. Some, likely more than others, will be hard. But those days are the days that really make you stronger. And when stand at the finish line looking back, you will be overwhelmed with pride knowing that you did what you did regardless of how hard it was.

Love you all!
Morgan

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for posting this. I wasn't a fat child growing up until about 1st grade. Then I remember constantly packing on the pounds. I never had a thyroid issue, just liked to eat and didn't exercise. I was always the biggest one out of my group of friends. I hated when it was time to run the mile in school because I always got the burning in the lungs and the side stitches in my ribs. I was made fun of in middle school for the way I ran while we were playing a game. My "friends" told me it looked like I was on one of those nordic track skier things (I apparently don't bend my knees when I run). (It is ok....you can laugh. :) I laugh about it now too.) It is a pretty funny mental picture. You are awesome! Proud of you for sticking with it! You look great! I hope one day I will enjoy running. Right now, I loathe it and have to mentally prepare myself when it is C25K training day because I get such bad pains in my shins and calves. It takes a lot to love yourself. I struggle with that daily. I started out at 235-240 when I was 9 months pregnant with my son. I am now at about 192.2 and would love to be down about 10 lbs by the time my son turns 1 on April 10th. You rock girl! Keep on keepin' on sister!!

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  2. Great post! I'm glad you posted your blog so I could read it!! :) I too yo you dieted for a long time, never took the time to care about what I was eating and would exercise on and off. After I had my daughter, I had been at my heaviest weight, but was quick to lose so much weight so fast almost back to where I was before I got pregnant, and then bam... it was like I just started gaining, and gaining and I had no idea why because I hadn't changed my eating habits, etc. I joined WW and still gained, I was getting really depressed about it and decided to go to the doctor. Found out that my Thyroid was super duper low, my doctor looked and me and said " I don't know how you walked in my office with a thyroid level so low" Well if she only knew I was a full time employee then, and a full time mom and I still lived my life... She put me on medication to help, but it took forever to get it figured out and back to average. In the mean time, I'm bigger now than I was when I was 9 months pregnant and have never felt as big as I feel now. I started seeing an endocrinologist, but I haven't been able to go see him since June because I lost my insurance after I had back surgery in March. I've struggled to lose the weight since all this began with my thryoid, I have never been really thin or anything, but if I ever dieted I could lose weight... Now it's even more of an obstacle. Hopefully, being consistant and eating healthy and exercising will get things on the roll... I usually give up because I don't ever see results. Not this time, I know I need to keep going. I've started the c25k and running 1 minute in the first week was awful, now I'm at week 3 but can barely run over 2 minutes.. The days I don't do the C25K I havent really been exercising, so starting tomorrow I'm going to start my zumba videos and start working out at home. I think I'm going to cancel my gym membership bc I pay too much and I never have time to go, I think between zumba and taebo videos I have at home and the c25k when it's not a blizzard outside will help. Thanks for the inspiration and all your help these last few days! :)

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  3. Girl, you are adorable. And I am so proud of you. And I totally understand because I, too, have never been thin. It takes something to break the cycle of gaining and losing and re-gaining and I am so glad you have found that thing!

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  4. Thank you soooo much for sharing your story! You look great!

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