- Posted January 4, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your 'Aha' weight-loss moments
WHAT FAT FEELS LIKE
My favorite "fat" memory was that #Whitney Houston and I were pregnant at the same time and we both gained 65 pounds. When I was ready to deliver I was 265 pounds and readily lost the 25 pounds I was recommended to gain. About six months later I was still at my after birth weight of 240 pounds and Whitney was on the cover of Vibe magazine with a mid-drift top looking fierce! It was at that time I knew my weight gain was going to be a challenge and I probably was not going to ever succeed in losing weight. I was #overwhelmed because I had never been that heavy. In the past, I could drop 40 #pounds on a fad diet and gain it back & do it all over again. I knew that I could not depend on that to help me get anywhere near a #healthy weight.
I had no idea I was actually depressed and used food to cope with my feelings. My solution was to accept my body and be happy being a “big” wife and mother. Food made me happy and since I was already overweight I was free to eat and drink what I wanted. I stayed at 240 pounds until my “baby” was almost four years old. I even told people that I gained all the weight from having my baby. The reactions people gave when they saw my 3 & a half year old daughter was, WOW, she’s not a baby. So began the realization that I could no longer blame my unhealthy weight on my child. That was really unfair to her and an excuse for me to find acceptance in my weight.
Two people finally shocked me into seeing what I was doing to my health and how it affected my family. I was actually not being a good mother or wife by carrying around excess weight. I knew I could not run and play with my children, I could not bend down and tie their shoes (or mine), I did not want to take pictures with my family, and I was setting a horrible example for their health and wellness.
One was my doctor who showed me a chart where I weighed a 177 lbs; I remember thinking I was fat then! LOL And she shared a chart where I was at high risk for developing diabetes before my 40th birthday. She gave me a weight chart and several pamphlets on healthy choices, weight and your health, and diabetes. I remember sitting in my car being angry and crying.
The second person was my spouse. I went home and told him what I had been told; I was still #crying. He looked at the information and told me the best tough love I had ever received. He told me I was too heavy and I was not the woman he had married. He said he wanted to help me bring that woman back. My spouse wanted me to be happy and healthy again. He missed us doing activities that did not revolve around food. He went out and surprised me with a gym membership. I was angry with him too! So, we made a bet. I agreed to make some substitutions in my diet that were suggested in the pamphlet and workout for at least 20 minutes; he agreed that if I did not lose any weight in a month then I was free to stay heavy. I remember that I had visited a Bariatric clinic during this same time & told him that I had a better plan. I only needed to gain 40 lbs to get the surgery and that was a MUCH #BETTER #solution...all I can say is his face was #priceless and he won the bet!
Most of all, he saved and changed my life! With small, #steady #changes to my diet and physical #activity I lost 50 pounds in a year. I had a phenomenal #support system from people I met at the #gym, #family, and #friends. I switched gyms, added weight #training, and discovered group fitness. I noticed people having way more fun than I was on the elliptical. So I joined in and I lost another 20 pounds and noticed that# muscles had been hiding under all that fat.
From there I took another #step that I never thought about, I became an instructor and developed a class based on the need for modifications for people who are overweight and trying to get to the next level in their journey. I was able to build my weight loss into a #movement for others because I was there...I know what fat FEELS like!
“Being fat, which is what I was, enabled me to fully understand not just what it looks like to be fat, but what it feels like; from the doubt, depression, relapses, & frustration in attempting to make even the simplest change to your lifestyle. It is easy to say I should have never let myself get to this point; BUT, easy won't get you results, change will!”
I am able to break the barrier when talking about when I was fat & I did not want anyone to see me struggling to workout at the gym so I went at 6 am BUT I had no problem with you seeing me eat at the buffet...or how I always wore slip in shoes or ones I could slip my feet in because it was too much to bend over & tie my shoes...and people laugh because they know I was there & understand and can identify that change is more than size.
My transformation took years! Because I made it a lifestyle change. Weight Watchers helped my learn how to eat which accounted for 80% of my weight loss; the other was working out. My BEST advice is you have to strength train once you lose the first 10% of your weight so that you will not be #flabby...build & #tone while you lose. #Journal what you ate & how you felt. Little faces for being happy...grouchy faces...stressed faces..bored faces....this helps you identify WHY you are eating not just WHAT you are eating. Get to know #YOU! And #losing is the easy part..you have to maintain your loss, which begins with you.
People have all sorts of motivations for #change from the beginning of a new year, reunions, vacations, weddings, relationships, or upcoming birthday milestones to name a few….do any of these motivate you to get started this New Year? If you said yes, throw them all out! This is the number one reason that so many fitness goals & healthy changes are lost before spring even breaks.
Every year people chose a moment as the reason to lose weight and they FAIL. Why? The motivation was for the moment, which is now over, not for me. I am sure you have experienced or have seen people use a moment as the date they will lose so much weight by, and half of them make it to their goal; then you see them a month or two later and they are gaining the weight back and are back to unhealthy habits. Once the moment has passed, so has the motivation. Your motivation has to be you….you are a motivation that will not change. Your relevance will not pass with a moment; yet, each moment will be defined by Y.O.U! This year, stand in front of mirror and say, “I am doing it for me.” Then write it down daily and repeat it to yourself. The first step to real, long lasting change is to know that you are the catalyst for that change. Do it for me. It is okay to love you and all the things that define who you are. I had to learn this.
Losing is the “easy” part…what would #motivate me to #maintain my #healthy #lifestyle? One word, ME! I had to love me where I was and celebrate each goal I was able to achieve and maintain. Any change that is to be long lasting has to be gradual and continuous. Once I was able to do this, I was able to make huge changes. The benefits were beyond what I looked like physically, it was what I felt like. I felt empowered, fit, inspirational, overjoyed, excited, youthful, and a multitude of other emotions that could fill this whole report.
I LOVE the way #FIT feels BUT know that I could not appreciate it without KNOWING how #FAT felt!
I have even started a website to help others! It is a wallet free website, which means there is nothing to buy! Just articles, presentations, and blogs to share. You can visit it at www.ErikaWhite.net