If you had to guess, what do you think I have in common with this kid?
The correct answer is EVERYTHING because we are the same person. I'm going to share a very personal story with you today.
This is me in March of 2009, on my 16th birthday...
I wasn't always overweight. When I was born I only weighed 6 and a half pounds. I was a small and thin kid until 5th grade. That was not an easy year. I changed grammar schools, my best friend moved away, and my older brother had cancer. My response to all the turmoil in my life was to sit on my computer and play Runescape, sit alone in my room and play playstation and eat a lot. I drank several cokes per day. I loved pizza, and nachos and chicken McNuggets. And cookies. And chips. But not fruit or salad - ever. You get the picture.
My mom was frustrated and a nag. She was constantly after me to stop eating, eat less, eat right, drink water, eat an apple, don't eat after 7 at night, eat a proper breakfast. Ugh. She tried everything to help me lose weight. I tried baseball and basketball, I tried exercise and went bike riding. But to tell you the truth, I was a grazer and every time I walked through the kitchen I was eating. And the more my mom bugged me about it, the more I would sneak food into my room and eat in solitude. It was a vicious and frustrating cycle. I would occasionally try a diet but after a week of starving myself I would step on the scale and see that I hadn't lost a pound for my efforts and it would send me reeling back to the kitchen and back to my bad eating habits.
This is me on my 17th birthday and this is the one picture that totally breaks my moms heart. Does this look like a happy kid to you?
About 2 months later I went to my mom and told her that I wanted to go back on a diet. I said I wanted to do it MY way with no interference from my mom and I said I was determined to lose some weight this time. Frankly, mom was at the end of her rope and she was ready for me to try just about anything. Honestly, I had tried losing weight so many times that I wasn't holding out much hope for this attempt either. She told me to do what I had to do as long as I didn't starve myself. Silently she said a prayer to God to PLEASE just let me lose some damn weight this time.
Day 1 - Middle of May 2010, Weight 215 lbs
When I started this diet I was close to wearing XXL shirts and size 40 pants. I was wearing larger clothes than my father. At this time I had about 2 weeks left of my Junior year in high school.
At first my diet consisted of cutting out ALL junk food like candy, cookies, chips, coke and fast food. I mainly ate fruit for breakfast, small lunch of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and dinner was pasta, steak, chicken or pork chops.
At the end of 2 weeks I had lost 11 pounds. I went to my Junior Prom with a girl "friend" but this was actually the girl I really wanted to date. Remember this because we'll come back to this later. This is me in my first tux. Nobody had noticed yet that I had lost any weight.
By the end of June 2010 I was starting to see some small results. My tee shirts were actually starting to sag on me a little. I also noticed that I was beginning to get out of the house more and doing things like fishing and going for long walks.
Fourth of July weekend found me out on a jet ski with a smile on my face and down to size large shirts and 36 pants.
My meals by now were consisting of basically the same as before, no junk food at all, but I was doing a lot more exercise. Any time I wanted a snack I ate an apple. I ate a LOT of apples.
I think the real turning point for me came when I started my Senior year of high school. When school started back up at the end of August kids were coming up to me and asking me how much weight I had lost. One teacher actually asked me if I was sick. I started going to the gym every day after school and working out for an hour to an hour and a half. By this time I weighed 175 pounds and my old jeans no longer stayed up around my waist.
Around this time mom started to notice a huge difference in my outlook and attitude. I started researching nutritional values of the food I was eating, looking at protein powders and taking vitamins. I expanded my workout methods to include a punching bag and doing sit ups. And suddenly I started dating. Remember that girl I told you about? The one I took to the prom as a friend? The 2 of us were starting to spend more time together.
By Christmas I had lost 70 pounds and weighed 145 pounds.
Slowly, but surely, I was taking control of my life. And I was smiling a whole lot more. Kids at school were asking my advice in the gym and telling me how good I looked. By January 2011 I had lost a total of 80 pounds and weighed 135. By my 18th birthday in March 2011, I was wearing a size small shirt and size 32 pants. By then Alex and I had been dating 6 months.
My diet consisted of oatmeal, egg whites and natural peanut butter for breakfast. Lunch is whole grain bread with turkey and fresh spinach OR a peanut butter sandwich, some almonds, veggies like broccoli, celery or a salad. And dinner is usually chicken, pork chops, steak, tilapia or salmon with whole wheat tortilla's, whole wheat pasta or oatmeal. This
By the beginning of April 2011, I had maintained my weight of 135 for over 3 months and had started building up some muscle mass. Here's me in a pair of my old jeans.... No shit - can you believe this???
Remember last year when I went to my Junior Prom? I weighed 215. This year, for my Senior Prom, I weighed 135 pounds and went with the girl I always wanted.
Now doesn't that smile say it all?
So here I am at my graduation, 80 pounds lighter and so much happier.
Alex and I have been dating for 16 months now. I have maintained my current weight successfully for almost a year. I have learned how to eat properly and how to incorperate exercise into my life. I live by a few basic rules..... Be active every day. Eat healthy when possible. Have an occassional cheat meal on a day when you are overly active. Find a strong motive to keep you on course. Always believe in yourself.
I can't begin to tell you how happy I am. I'm healthier than I have ever been.