The Path to Now, Part 4

Don’t worry – this is the last one! (Here’s the first 3 sections if you missed them: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)

 

2007 –2009 were slow but defining years for me.

I was still working for WW part time, working my full time job, and I was doing grad school part time.

I had lost a few pounds from the 10 I gained back, but was still hovering in the same place.

I had finally tried enough things to get rid of most of the bad habits I’d had regarding eating.

But working full time, part time, and doing school part time with homework was just too much.

In 2008, I stepped back from WW and the meetings I was working so I could concentrate on finishing school. They got people to fill the meetings, and I now haven’t worked a meeting in over a year.

My name was still on the employee list for subbing, and I was still sending my weight in each month, but nothing ever opened up that I could work once I was done with school.

I was still following what used to be called the Core plan on WW, where most of the healthy foods (whole grains, low fat dairy/proteins, veggies, fruits, healthy fats) didn’t need to be counted and you had a certain number of points each week to cover anything not on that list.

I had fallen in love with the program right after it came out because I didn’t have to count for EVERYTHING I ate or drank. Having that list of things I didn’t “need” to count kept me making better choices for myself. I tried a lot of new foods, especially whole grains, and started to really love cooking and finding new foods and recipes. And following this got me back to my goal weight, finally. Those 10 pounds took a lot of work, but I did it and I was actually maintaining.

In 2008, I also found and started reading a few food/healthy living blogs. Seeing these people living their lives, eating healthy and balanced most of the time, and maintaining their weight gave me hope that maybe I could do the same on my own.

It’s not that WW wasn’t working for me or that it’s not a good program…I was just getting tired of having to think about it. I’d been maintaining my weight for over 3 years (give or take 5 lbs) and was ready to just LIVE.

The other thing I wanted to change was my focus on the scale. That is what I went by for 5 years. The only thing.

If it was a “good number” (whatever that means), I was happy. If it was higher than I wanted, it put me in a bad mood. I know everyone’s weight fluctuates every day and that that is totally normal.

I just put too much emphasis on that number – I let it have power over me.

I know that the scale is one good way to measure progress, but it is not the only way. I wanted to be more focused on my health, my happiness, and how I felt rather than that number.

I had finally overcome my bad eating habits, lost the 10 pounds I had gained a few years earlier after my initial weight loss, but stopping the program? This terrified me.

What would happen if I wasn’t doing WW?

Could I do this on my own?

If I didn’t count for a week or two and just tried to eat for ME, for FUEL, for HEALTH…would I just gain back what I’ve lost and worked hard to maintain?

The last time I WASN’T on WW…I was 30 pounds heavier. And it scared me to think that I could end up back where I was.

But the only thing I could do was try, right?

And try I did.

 

In May of this year, I decided to try not writing everything down that I ate. I talked a lot about this with my friend, Christie, and she was always there with good advice and encouragement. I don’t know if I would have really tried it without those emails.

I went a few months where I would only write down those weekly points I was using, but I was trying to not base what I ate on the points I had left like I normally did. I just tried to eat healthy and balanced and what I wanted – and then I figured up the points later.

This worked for a while, but I was still pretty much doing the program. For the past 2 months or so, I’ve kind of been keeping track of those weekly points in my head, but not exactly. I would still go through the days of the week and try to figure out what I “would have used” if I had still been following it, just to see where I would be for the week.

I’m not sure exactly when things changed, but I had a pretty big breakthrough just a few weeks ago.

I was sitting in my office one day, thinking about the lunch and snack I brought with me and I tried to do the “figure up in my head where I was, points wise” – and I had no idea.

I couldn’t come up with a number.

I just didn’t know. I hadn’t been thinking about it.

And I couldn’t believe it. After doing a program for almost 5 years, this had pretty much become habit for me – my mind just thinks about that stuff automatically now.

But something changed.

That same week, I actually stopped working for WW. I talked with my manager, and it just seemed to be the best option for right now. I haven’t worked in a year and nothing is opening up anyways, so I don’t have to send in my weight every month now.

It’s crazy how long it takes a change to happen…but then so many things can happen at once.

So, what does this mean for me?

I still don’t know some days  :)

No day will ever be perfect, and that’s the beauty of life. Some days will be amazing and some days I may have ice cream for dinner. But it doesn’t matter, and it all balances out because my only goal now is to make the best choices I can each day.

Does that mean I will only eat salads? No.

Does it mean I’m going to dive head first into that tub of ice cream? Not likely.

I just want to make whatever best choice I have – some days, those choices will be better, but as long as I’m making an effort, I can’t ask for anymore.

I just know that now I am enjoying everything. I love the foods that I eat. I do eat pretty balanced and healthy most of the time because I know that’s what keeps me satisfied. But there is always room for dessert.

It’s been a tough couple of months trying to figure this out and doubting myself every day of whether I could really do this on my own. I’m happy to say that I’m still maintaining my weight, my clothes still fit, and I’m just happy.

Besides trusting myself, I think the biggest part of this was just finding my own balance. I needed to figure out what I needed to do to keep myself healthy and sane – without those two things, it’s not worth doing. And, for now, I think I’ve got it.

That’s not to say that things won’t change in a few years or after I have kids or when I hit 30 or 40 or 50. Our bodies are always changing, shifting, adjusting, and I just have to be ready to do that, as well. And after this….I think I am.

 

 

As for that scale? I’ll admit – I do still weigh myself about once a week or so, mostly out of habit, but it’s not the same.

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Thanks to stepping out on this ledge and finding the power within myself, it doesn’t have a hold over me anymore.

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And just like Caitlin said the other day, that “fat talk” still creeps into my head. It may not ever go away completely.

The only difference now is that I talk back

 

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Don’t forget to vote for me! I know I’m way behind in these, but I do appreciate every one who is voting – it’s worth a shot!

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31 comments

  1. Thank you soooo much for sharing your amazing story!!
    I think to leave a “habbit” behind which you did for a few years is always hard!! I stopped counting calories from one day to another and it was hard yet relieving at the same time!
    And I ditched my scale a few weeks after that and did not weight myself once since then! I know I did not gain/loose because my clothes are still a little snug but I know I’m on the right way.
    So…. Keep doing what you do! By gaining trust in our bodies we gain live, a healthy live! I’m sure….!
    Have a wonderful day, love!!! Hug n.

  2. What a great ending to a wonderful story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of it. :)

  3. Yay Brandi! I never did Weight Watchers, but I’m going through a parallel with calories instead of points. After years of counting and restricting my choices to arbitrary limits, I have to put effort into creating “don’t know days.” It was easy for the first week, but the need for control keeps creeping back in.

    BTW: That’s a really awesome scale. It’s a good thing I have a dinkier one, or I’d be hopping on it several times a day just to play with it.

  4. I’m so happy for you, Bran!!! Thanks for sharing your wonderful story. You are a rockstar!!

  5. Brandi I loved all of your story. I am working at one day being in that happy place where I just feel comfortable not counting points. It is a habit and a safety net. I have that irrational fear that I’ll dive head first into a vat of ice cream without it. But I’m working on it and enjoying life more. Someday..someday.

  6. The human body and brain are pretty amazing, aren’t they? Sometimes they just know what is right for you, and it sounds like you have finally freed your mind! Your bad habits are gone, and good habits are second nature now! Congrats to you and enjoy that occasional ice cream!

  7. Hi Brandi,

    As you know I follow “core” and I think you will be just fine!
    I have learned so much from you,

    You are MY inspiration!

    Thank you for sharing so much with us,
    And again, I am so glad I found you.

    ((hugs))

  8. Your story touched me.

    Thank you for sharing it!!

    ~amy

  9. oh miss brandi, this last part was my favorite. isn’t it amazing to see how we’ve progressed and grown, sometimes before our very eyes without realizing it? i am so proud of you for keeping on fighting and doing what is best for you!

    i agree – ice cream for dinner can happen, but at the end of the day, its about balance.

    love, love, love you!

  10. I loved reading your story! You’ve come so far. Thanks for sharing! I love the post-it notes on the scale, too. Great idea :)

  11. Thanks Brandi; Ultimatey I hope to be where you are…thanks for sharing your story!

  12. It’s such a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing it. It’s great that you’ve been able to break away from the structured program and just make good choices for yourself. You eat some of the most interesting things. I’m always envious of your dishes! I love the little notes on your scale. You definitely have a great mindset… and with that, I’m off to vote for you again! Have a great day!

  13. AWESOME story, Brandi! I was following Core for awhile and now that I think about it, when I tried being vegetarian, I stopped doing Core and gained the ten pounds back! You have given me such a new insight, and I can’t thank you enough for it! I’m definitely going to do some readjusting (more whole grains/foods/etc) and let you know how it works out. Is it too much to say that I think you are my lifesaver? ;)

  14. what an awesome , uplifiting story brandi!

    I adore your OB notes.. awesome
    You are BEAUTIFUL, and should never let a number define you.. NO ONE SHOULD

    I voted <3

  15. What a great story. I love that you talk about how what balance is may be different for everyone. I think that’s REALLY important in progressing toward happiness with yourself. Thanks for sharing! :)

  16. This was an amazing story Brandi! Good for you!

    Love the notes on the scale :)

  17. *claps*

    YAY for talking back! Love the scale ntoes. :)

  18. Thanks so much for sharing your story with all of us! It was wonderful.

    I am still in “losing weight” mode, but I’m comfortable with that. I’ve had real success, and I’m happy. I’m actually significantly more nervous about entering “maintenance” mode. I’m not sure how I’m going to feel when I don’t have weight to lose – odd, right?! It’s going to take some adjustment to having a new focus, so it’s great to see that you’ve been successful with it. Congrats with your new adjustments! :)

  19. I loved your story, Brandi! Very inspirational. I think the hardest part about losing weight (and keeping it off) is finding that balance. But you seem to have found that, and you also seem HAPPY. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I’m so happy for you girl! Yay for finally finding balance and peace with your body. That’s the best feeling ever!

  21. love the scale notes, i am close to posting some notes for myself around my apt (where most of my damage is done…), maybe tonight–it can’t hurt!

  22. what a wonderful completion to a beautiful story! I have so much in common with you it almost seems that i’m lost for words, because there are certainly day’s where i don’t think about “points” but then there are other days where thats all i think about. i to hope one day to free myself of that thinking mantra! you are such an inspiration to me, and i’ll be sure to be reading these posts over and over again! :) Thanks Brandi!

    http://saladdiva.wordpress.com

  23. What a great story! Yet again, some of what you wrote I could have written, especially the stuff about focusing on the number and the scale.
    I did recently throw out my scale – that was huge for me. I’m being weighed once a week at meetings, I don’t need to worry about it at home.
    I know I’m not at the point where I’m ready to stop WW – I tried a couple of weeks ago and it was a disaster. Hopefully, one day, I will be there.
    But until then, I’ve realized that this journey does not end. I am trying to focus more on healthy living and fueling my body rather than the number on the scale. If I eat and exercise as I should, everything will even out in the end.

  24. What an amazing journey. I love that you do what works for you right now and that you are open to adjusting what you are doing as necessary in the future…

  25. great ending to a great story. thanks for sharing all parts brandi, i thoroughly enjoyed reading it all!! you are an inspiration (and a fab writer, by the way) and i loved the talk about not caring about the numbers!

    i also just caught up on your other posts i had missed.. the DCD puffin combo caught my eye :)

    CANT WAIT FOR SAN FRAN! yay, where are you staying?

  26. Awesome post. And though I still have 4 or 5 pounds to go, I’m now entering that maintenance mindset, because I know it will take a while.

    I’m happy for you :)

  27. That really inspired me!! You always inpsire my cooking and eating anyway but that really touched me and I have a tear in my eye. I’ll let you know how pregnancy effects you! So far I’m eating pretty much everything in my path. LOL. After feeling sick and eating mostly high fat and high carb foods it’s taking me more than a week to pull the reins back in. But reading your story has really given me motivation. The pictures from Cali are great. Looks like you guys had a really fun time!

  28. Pingback: A Year Gone By «

  29. Congrats on your first year!!!! :)

    My favorite book of all time is High Fidelity by Nick Hornby. It is also my favorite movie.

  30. what a great story and so inspirational! I can’t wait to keep reading. thanks for sharing.
    LC

  31. Your story completely struck me because I think it is something that all women can relate w/. I grew up in a household that was not allowed to use the scale at all, because my mom did not want me worrying about my weight. Since college though I have purchased a scale & use it religiously, even though I know that it is not always the best thing for me. I love the post-its you put on your scale & I am going to copy you and do the same w/ mine!

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