Breaking the pattern of yo-yo dieting

My weight has been an issue for me since middle school.  I can remember having to get weighed in 7th grade PE class and being embarrassed by my classmates, who made fun of me for tipping the scale at 125 lbs.  

My mother, who I am sure felt she was doing the right thing, took me to the doctor to find out what was “wrong” – she was a nutritionist by profession, so she knew she was feeding me healthy food, and yet my weight continued to climb, even as my height stabilized at 5’2” (and a ½ – I take every bit I can when it comes to how tall I am).

I continued to gain weight throughout high school and college – what’s 5 pounds, here or there?  Except that it was 5 pounds every year – sometimes every 6 months.  So by the time I was a senior in college, I had gained 60 pounds since puberty.  I realized that I needed to make a change, so when Weight Watchers announced a group on campus, in my final semester I started making healthier choices and lost about 20 pounds.

I had every intention of sticking with it, but after graduation, with no job lined up past the summer camp I was scheduled to work at, I moved home.  I did line up a part time gig late in the summer, but without the support of a group and with the vast amount of free time I had on my hands, I ate my way back up to (and beyond) where I had been.

That seems to be my pattern – find a diet, stick with it for a bit and lose some weight.  When I stop, put it all, and then some, back on.

It happened again a few years later.  I was teaching full-time and living alone.  Junk food was easy, cheap, and tasty – all tempting to a low-paid new teacher.  I found myself weighing more than I ever had, and decided to try Weight Watchers again.  This time, I lost 25 pounds – just enough to get back to my graduation weight.  But the cost of the weekly meetings was too much for my budget, so I reverted back to habit and gained the weight again.

I continued to yo-yo through the years, each time losing a little and gaining more.  I tried the South Beach diet a few years back, when I had reached my all-time high, and lost about 45 pounds over the course of a year.  It felt good, but once again, when I stopped paying attention to the guidelines of the program, I gained most of it back.

This time, I have caught myself before ending up higher than I was.  I have finally decided this is it.  My 2012 resolution is to get healthy.  I need to eat better, exercise more, and make healthy choices all around.

I realize that it isn’t going to be easy.  I am going to have to pay attention to what goes in my mouth for the rest of my life.  I am going to need to find support where I can, and work at avoiding those who would derail my efforts.  And I am going to have to get used to the idea of sweating.  That may be the hardest part for me!

And so my weight loss journey has begun – hopefully for good this time.  For the first 12 weeks of 2012, I had the support of a group of teachers who were all participating in the Weight Watchers’ “At Work” program.  It really helped to be part of a group – in those 12 weeks, I lost 30 pounds.  For the non-math types who may be reading this, that’s 2.5 pounds per week!  When that group folded (after the 12 week session was over), I knew I couldn’t go it alone.  So I have joined a regular Weight Watchers meeting on Monday evenings.  The leader there is very supportive and encouraging, and I know I am going to be able to stick this out.

I have goals.  Short term, mid-range, and long term.  I have a date in mind for my short term goal – the weekend of my 30th High School reunion.  That is 5 weeks from now.  I think I can make it!  No – I am sure I can.  After that, I will set a deadline for the next goal.  I know that, for it to work for me, I have to break it down into steps.  If I try to look at the big picture, I will get overwhelmed and will give up.  I am determined not to let that happen.

Each week, the WW leader ends the meeting with “Have a good week – I hope to see less of you next week.”  And so I will end this with “I hope less of me sees you next week.”

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7 responses to “Breaking the pattern of yo-yo dieting

  1. Be positive, and success will follow! Keeping my fingers crossed for your reunion!

    Cheers,
    Amma

  2. You go girl! Look at all you have accomplished in the other areas of your life!

  3. Good luck, my new blogfriend! I wish you the best of luck. There’s nothing like a teaching career for destroying a physique, eh? Always a class to prepare, papers to grade (as I ignore a pile of 52 exams behind me–but having already graded 40 annotated bibliographies). Sigh.

    It’s great to put the kids first, but they get a better teacher if we are happy being who we are. Sometimes it’s okay to not be completely prepared if it means you’ll live another day. 🙂 Put yourself first sometimes, okay?

    Now, if I could only pay attention to my own advice. I’ve put on about 2-5 pounds a year since I started teaching. I’ve been teaching 16 years. Do the math. I am fat. But I am trying (tri-ing)

    Good lucK!

  4. Congrats on your journey so far and best of luck for your upcoming reunion! Based on the success you’ve had so far, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

    I’ve also had my share of ups (over 200 pounds at 5′ 5″ years ago) and downs with my weight and am happy to say that I’m in a very good spot now. So I can certainly relate to aspects of your story.

    Thanks for sharing – and thanks for the math breakdown of 2.5 pounds per week. I’m definitely not a numbers person, so I needed that : ) Whew!

    Good luck!

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