Success = Looking back

I’ve often alluded to the fact that I’m on Weight Watchers and that I’ve lost 50 lbs so far on it… but I thought it was time to really tell you all my story. So many of you have shared your struggles with eating disorders, and it never ceases to amaze me the amount of strength and success you’ve all had… so here goes…

I was born small, 5 lbs 7 ounces to be exact, and I was a full-term healthy baby.

Just days old...

Just days old...

I always loved food, and was always adventurous in my tastes. I can remember being about 7 years old on a road trip and going to a nice restaurant. My sister at 4 ordered macaroni and cheese. I ordered a filet mignon, medium rare, and roasted vegetables. We always got to choose our birthday dinner, and my mom would make whatever it was we chose. For my 8th birthday, what did I choose? Steamed Asian sesame whitefish with sauteed spinach.

I distinctly remember the first time I tried to lose weight: I was 16, weighed 155 and desperately wanted to weigh 140, so I joined Weight Watchers. I lost 6 pounds and got bored. I stayed within the 155-160 range all through high school, and I remember always feeling “HUGE” compared to my friends. Looking back at pictures, I realize I was not “huge” but rather, healthy.

Senior Picture 1998

Senior Picture 1998

I went to college at Bradley University, and discovered the wonder that was midnight pizza delivery, $.99 baskets of fried things at the bars, and student discounts at all the local restaurants. Before I knew it, I was 190 lbs and wearing a size 16…

Fast forward… I met Adam December 17, 2004. I was 24, in my 2nd year teaching on the south side of Chicago, and was living in this ridiculously small apartment with a joke of a kitchen. I used that small kitchen as an excuse to eat out for nearly every meal. Adam and I would order in or go out each and every time we’d get together, and soon, our “dates” were from Friday evening until Monday morning. Once I got comfortable in our relationship, about 6 months in, I completely stopped “watching it” when it came to what I ate. Breakfasts were fast food, snacks were McDonalds hamburgers, dinners were stuffed pizzas… A friend sent me pictures from the summer, and while I didn’t like what I saw, I didn’t do anything about it.

Hawaiian Day at camp, 2005

Hawaiian Day at camp, 2005

Posing for a group shot, summer 2005

Posing for a group shot, summer 2005

Next thing I knew, students were asking me when I was due, and my family was whispering behind my back. My mom said something to me around January and suggested I do something. It was right around then that I got these pictures back from being in my friend’s wedding.

At the rehearsal dinner

At the rehearsal dinner

Adam and I at the wedding reception

Adam and I at the wedding reception

Fast forward to March, 2006. One of my best friends (the one whose wedding pictures I posted, actually) told me about this new program that Weight Watchers had that didn’t involve counting Pointsยฎ and I was intrigued. The very next Saturday at 11:30 a.m. I joined and started following the Core plan.

The Monday after joining WW

The Monday after joining WW

The weight started melting off once I stopped eating crap and started eating real, wholesome, and healthy foods. I lost my first 50 lbs within 7 months and then got stuck. The 2006-2007 school year was one of the worst years of my life… my grandma got sick and passed away, Adam got laid off due to working in the sub-prime mortgage industry, and then my position at my school got eliminated. I started a new job last fall (2007), and am finally comfortable in my new position. I’m hoping that blogging, job security, and getting married will kick me back into losing weight mode again… Here are some more recent pictures, just to show you all my progress, and to remind myself that, though I’m stuck, I’ve still lost 50 pounds!

Me and my BFF Lizz

Me and my BFF Lizz

At a wedding, Sept. 2007

At a wedding, Sept. 2007

RIGHT after we got engaged!

RIGHT after we got engaged!

With my mom at a Cubs game

With my mom at a Cubs game

With my friend Ericka in Oregon

With my friend Ericka in Oregon

Our official engagement photo!

Our official engagement photo!

So that’s my story… thanks for reading!

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17 thoughts on “Success = Looking back

  1. your story is moving!!! Despite your weight change, your smile is always contagious, you look happy and optimistic in every single one of them.
    Thanks for sharing your story and your photos, really love them all ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Wow- your story is so inspiring…that is a huge accomplishment, and also very hard to share and be so honest with somewhat *strangers* on your blog. Bravo and you look gorg!!

  3. amazing story!!! look how far you have come – you should be so proud of yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thank you so much for sharing your story! It is definitely an incredible accomplishment and I must say that you are positively GLOWING in your engagement photo – you and Adam look so happy together! That’s truly beautiful.

  5. My friend,
    No matter what size you are, you are an amazing and beautiful person, inside and out. Your journey has been a hard fought one and you’ve made such amazing process so far. It’s been a joy to watch you succeed and truly inspirational the way you deal with those moments when you’re not having the success you want. Keep it up, girl. You’re well on your way.

  6. Thank you for sharing your story. It really is inspiring to see how far you’ve come and all of your accomplishments. You guys are going to look fabulous for the wedding!!!

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Mara!! I thought I had you on my Blogroll and realized I didn’t so now you’re up there!!

  8. Pingback: Bean Burrito Casserole « What’s For Dinner?

  9. WOW I just caught up on your blog today and I was so happy to see you share this with us! I’M SO PROUD OF YOU and hope that you are too. I so appreciate and can relate to how negative life events impact our food choices, whether we stuff, starve, or purge. Thank you so much for sharing this and just for being a kick ass woman. You’re beautiful!

  10. I found your site from the WW boards. I’m hoping to make the Bean Burrito Casserole. ๐Ÿ™‚ I kept reading though and stumbled upon this post.

    One of my good friends graduated from Bradley and my husband went there for a year before transferring to the college we both graduated from. It’s a small world.

    I was a high school teacher until this year when I’ve transitioned to high school teaching to spend more time with my son.

    I have added your blog to my subscriptions and look forward to following your weight loss, wedding plans, and hopefully find some yummy recipes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. You are freakin awesome. What a wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it. I must come back for more when I have more time. I am on weight watchers. I have lost 133lbs and I oftern have to “look back” and reassess where I came from because I so oftern forget that I have even accomplished anything at all.

    Thanks for the post.
    For some inspiration and encouragement, check out my before and after pics if you want to

    http://run4change.wordpress.com/2008/12/13/before-and-after-pics/

  12. Kudos to you; you look great. I think this kind of retrospective is a great tool for moving forward when we’re mentally, physically or emotionally stuck. It’s an exercise we should all try, whether we write the story of our weight or our past relationships or our professional lives.

    A couple weeks ago I wrote and posted a letter to my 13-year-old self. Totally cathartic. Now you’ve inspired me to write my own weight history as a way to break through some of my personal barriers.

    Keep up the good work!

  13. Pingback: An Old Favorite: Tamale Pie « What’s For Dinner?

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