I remember my first diet like it was yesterday: I was 8 and during my annual school physical my bloodwork came back and I had high cholesterol. My family had always been a red meat, butter and milk kind of family, with doughnuts or coffee cake after church every Sunday with my grandparents. This had to be adjusted for a few years until my cholesterol went back to normal levels.
I was always just a little chubby, albeit active. I spent my days riding my bike to my friends houses, I played sports, took hours of dance classes a week, and remember doing “Get in Shape Girl” in my basement. Andy Gibb and Shadowboxer was my favorite song to put on leg warmers and do leg lifts to.
My brother was a major athlete – football, basketball, track, baseball – you name it, he played it, well. I got the brains, he got the athletic capability and body. My dad convinced me to join the local kids track club, because he was a coach, and a bunch of my friends did it. I never found my thing. I hated running. I was always that chubby girl who would never come close to winning. I’m pretty sure we were the last 3 girls in this race (I’m the one in the middle with the bad hair), and the one behind me may have passed me.
As I got older, I found things I loved to do. I love dance. I took classes for more than 3 hours a week, and spent many weekends choreographing in my basement or performing around the state. I also took up cheering, which was my second love. I spent hours on buses, and nearly every Saturday morning of high school in practice. To brag on myself a little, I was good. I made state all-star a number of times, and made All-American my junior & senior years. I was tiny enough, so people threw me around in the air, which eventually landed me in an OR having reconstructive shoulder surgery at age 15.
During this time of my life, my diet of choice was SlimFast. Only I hated the taste, so I mixed it with frozen yogurt. Hey, I was active, it still worked. By the time I graduated from high school, I’d started what I now know was the start of a 5 year weight gain. When I started college I weighed 132 pounds. I weirdly remember this because for the next 4 years I tried to get back to that weight.
Instead, I lost a few, gained a lot more back, in a vicious cycle. For the first time in my life, I had nothing to keep me active without just going to the gym. I’d never really just worked out, there’d always been a reason to be doing something. Instead I was faced with lots of parties, easy access to food whenever I wanted it. So when I graduated from college, I weighed nearly 160 pounds. I honestly had no idea I looked as bad as I did, or felt as bad as I did, until seeing pcitures of myself from college graduation.
Within a few months of seeing these pictures, I bought The South Beach Diet, and went hard at getting myself healthy again. I started working out for a few hours a day, in addition to following the diet perfectly. Over the course of 3 months I lost about 25 pounds, and found an almost unhealthy love for being healthy. I moved to DC and kept up my new obsession, including starting to run. I got down to my lowest weight since about my sophomore year of college. I felt AMAZING! But inevitably, couldn’t keep up with the crazy low calorie, low carb diet I’d been eating (which was probably good, becuase I was only eating about 1000 calories a day, and often did 2-3 hours of workouts a day. Crazy, I know.)
From here, I went up and down, over and over, in almost an annual cycle. I reached what appears to be my new normal low weight in grad school thanks to having lock jaw for 2 weeks, and then not being able to chew for another couple of months.
And then I started dating my ex for the next 5 years. This led to more ups and downs, usually coinciding with running a race, and then not running for months afterwards. Each with different attempts at diets. I did South Beach again, I just counted calories, I even did Weight Watchers for a year and successfilly lost 8 pounds (I feel like that may be a record low for Weight Watchers).
After putting my life into a complete unknown earlier this year, the 5 year boyfriend and I broke up. Rather than feel sorry for myself being in a new place, with no friends, no boyfriend, and having no idea what the future held for me, I focused on me. I trained really hard for my 5th half-marathon. I started focusing on eating to be healthy, and even though I have my days where I make bad choices, its nothing like I used to make, and I always come back to my normal faster.
So here I am today. Lighter than when I started college, happier than I’ve been in years, and starting my 3rd DietBet to get myself back to my fighting weight, but more importantly, get me through half-marathons 6-8 in the next 8 months, and stay strong and healthy for good! I’m not perfect, but I look at my imperefections as all the things that tie me to my past (my massive shoulder scar), my family (my hips & thighs which I share with most of my female relatives), and my future (who knows where it will take me)!
What is the first diet you remember being on?
What ridiculous thing have you put your body through?
What are you most proud of about your body today?
Also, don’t forget to enter my Nuun Hydration Kona Cola giveaway It ends tomorrow morning!
And there’s still time to join my DietBet, as well! Who wouldn’t want to lose a few pounds before summer really kicks off? The 28 days start tomorrow, so sign up now!