Monday, September 26, 2011

A Great Support System

Nobody wants to be the only one on a diet. You feel like an outsider and once everyone knows you're trying to lose weight, they start watching everything you eat like a hawk. They question whether or not you should be eating what you're eating. This can be tough, especially when those close to you don't really understand how it works and that it's basically the age-old mantra of "eat less, exercise more." You can have anything you want in moderation and it can be really annoying when everyone around you is saying, "You're not allowed to eat that."

It's always better to start a weight loss program with a friend or relative. My mom and I joined together back in May 2006. We were both at the heaviest we'd ever been and were desperate to get our lives on track. I can't tell you how amazing it was to have someone in my house (who was cooking all the meals I might add), who was doing it with me. We completely changed what we were eating at home and everyone else was along for the ride, whether they liked it or not. We would go out to eat together and discuss which options were best. It was great. It really helped that my dad is super supportive and would always praise us when we lost weight and never said anything negative when we gained. He's still so supportive today!

That first summer on weight watchers was a breeze and I lost about 25lbs. Then it was time to head back to college, where I only met up with my mom once a week for meetings and other than that was on my own, trying to deal with a college meal plan and eating healthy. The exercise part was easy since I was in color guard at Pitt and we practiced 4 nights a week and had a game almost every Saturday. That was probably the only thing that kept me from gaining that fall semester. It took until I came home for Christmas break to start losing again (crazy, I know), but when I got back to school in January, it was plateau city again.

School ended in April and I started dating Andy in June 2007. He was inspired by my weight loss and even took it upon himself to lose 15lbs on his own that summer we started dating. It was great to have a guy in my life who would eat the meals with the substitutions I made on a daily basis. Not everyone at that point was into the healthy meals. My brother, Alex, will balk at meals made with ground turkey, and my brother-in-law, Chris, would instantly decline any meal we made that looked like it might have whole-wheat pasta in it.

I went through two more years of school and did the gain and lose again dance several times before we made it to our wedding in May 2009. I bought my wedding dress in March 2008 because they take forever to come in and when I bought it, the dress they had in store was a 12 and fit me (I weighed 170lb). My measurements never line up with my clothes size, and it was a good thing the dress they had was a 12 and they could see it fit or they would have ordered me a size 16 based on my hip measurements. I had several fittings in the spring of 2009 and the last one was about 3 weeks before the wedding. The seamstress asked if I wanted her to take in the bodice and me and my mom said no because I had a corset back and could just tighten it up if I needed to. No one would have guessed that in those last 3 weeks, I would lose another 5lbs. We laced the corset back of my dress as tight as we could and it was still loose. The problem with that was that they bodice is heavy, so without it being tight enough up top, the entire weight of the dress rested on my hips. I was in pain the entire day and when I finally got out of my dress, I had gouges and bruises where it was resting on my hips.

That spring I got pregnant with Brady and the weight came on fast. Of course, Andy would decide that he's not happy with his weight at this point and decided to join weight watchers 7 weeks before Brady was born. While I'm feeling huge, he's losing weight and rejoicing. Before Brady was born, there was a point where I was gaining so fast and he was losing so fast that he started to weigh less than me. That didn't sit well with me at all. Thank goodness, I was back in a meeting a week after Brady was born and the weight started coming off again.

It's been fantastic having Andy doing weight watchers with me. The main reason he joined was because doing it on his own, he had no motivation. He said that paying a monthly fee was going to force him to lose weight, because he didn't want to waste the money. That worked for a while until his company decided that they were going to pay for employees' memberships. That was right around the time we moved here to South Carolina. So while I was starting this hot streak, he was gaining and gaining. The worst part was that he would whine about gaining, but then I'd watch what he was eating and even found him sneaking junk food! I kept telling him that the key to my most recent success was tracking. I've been telling him for months and this last month, he has been tracking and losing and it's like a light bulb went off.

I've been very fortunate to be living with another weight watchers member since I started. Not everyone is so lucky. Having a friend go with you is just as good. You keep each other in check and motivate each other. It's another layer of accountability. I know how hard it is to go to a meeting alone. I can count on one hand the number of time I've gone to a meeting alone because I just feel weird. If I know I have to go alone, sometime I just don't go and that's what happens when you try to do this on your own. So get out there and do it with a friend. It makes it so much more fun!

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