Too Big for My Britches.

Feather PenFor as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with my weight.

In third grade I became conscious of this issue after a pool party for a friend’s birthday.  I spent the day running around, jumping and splashing in my swimsuit, and found out later that some other girls were laughing behind my back and saying that I looked “like a pot-bellied pig.”

I can’t say that it was that very moment when my self-perception changed, but that’s one of my earliest memories of being aware of my body in a less-than-carefree way.

Before writing this entry, I jotted down my history of the scale from high school on, and it really is amazing to see it all down on paper.  Not only see it, but realize that maintaining a steady weight is such a challenge, and a part of me, that I can literally sit at my desk and know the last 13 years of my weight fluctuations.

Me, August 2004

Me, August 2003, about 150 lbs

I’m not shy about the numbers that appear on the scale and share them easily.  However, if I got as detailed in this blog as I did on the sheet of paper next to me, I’m sure it would be pretty boring so I’ll just give some highlights.

March 2008, about 160 lbs

March 2008, about 160 lbs

When I started college in 2000, I was about 140 – the weight that ‘d been in through high school.  After two years in college, that was up to 170. In 2003, after living with my family in Kansas and working a job doing hard labor on a horse ranch (which I LOVED!), I was back down to 150.  For my wedding in 2005: 170.  On my one year anniversary: 190.  Back down to 170 in 2007 when I trained and completed my first half-marathon!  Shortly after, my husband and I moved to Duluth and I was unemployed so I made the gym my job for six months and was down to 157 in April of 2008. But then I started teaching horseback riding lessons and grooming at a nearby horse farm and that cut into my gym time.  Then I got a job working in a cafe and, my, were those treats in the bakery case tasty!  A year later, I started classes to complete my degree in English, and the weight started to slowly come back on.  In 2010, I was almost at 180.  I lost some weight for summer weddings, but, that fall, I started a second job and two jobs plus college classes equaled no time to take care of myself and fast food was my respite. By the time I graduated in 2011, I hit 200 – a number I SWORE I would never see.  That’s it, I thought, I’ve got to make a change.

And 2011 was a fun year.  I trained and walked my third half-marathon with my very best friend.  I watched what I was eating.  I joined weight watchers – a program with which I already had previous success – in October.  But wasn’t working this time – the 1/2 marathon, the counting points, just weren’t getting results. I failed because I wasn’t really committed.

Grandma's Half Finish, June 2012

Grandma’s Half Finish, June 2012

At the start of 2012, I made some great resolutions, which included cutting out soda and fast food, and was fairly successful sticking to them.  I also decided to start running again and entered the lottery for Grandma’s half-marathon. I did complete Grandma’s half AND did a second half in 2012: the Wistlestop Half-Marathon in October (click here to read 13.1 Miles of Inspiration, a blog post my friend Julie wrote about the two of us completing that event together). But through the year – still nothing.  I stepped on the scale early that fall and was shocked to see a number over 215.

The worst part was that my weight was now starting to affect my passion: dressage.  When I took Sebastian to his first show in August 2011, I had only been riding regularly for about six weeks.  I was completely out of shape had gained so much weight that I actually had to buy my first pair of XXL breaches.  (As the title states, I was officially too big for my other britches). It sucked.

Our second show, September 2011.

Our second show, September 2011.

I was lucky because my two classes each day were pretty close together so I could do them with one warm up and I did training level (which has canter) first both days so I got the “hard” test out of the way.  I remember thinking OK! I can make it through this last class – it’s just walk/trot, knowing that it was a good thing my classes were back to back because after I dismounted, I didn’t think I would be able to get back on with my jelly legs. I never wanted to feel like that again.

In 2012, I was in better shape overall, but I still had a hard time getting through an entire test without fatigue.  In fact, it was a little joke of ours that – mainly due to exercise induced asthma of mine, not to mention the additional 70+ pounds I was carrying – by the end of the test, those watching could hear me breathing as I rode by.

Still smiling in XXL breeches, August 2012

Still smiling in XXL breeches, August 2012

…I say “breathing”, I should say “gasping desperately for air as I repeated I’m almost done. I’m almost done. in my mind.”

I still had fun. Hell, we got some pretty rockin’ scores, but I knew that I could do better.  I could BE better. And if I was demanding my horse to be such an athlete, I owed it to him to pay him back in kind.

I remember when I was getting Sebastian into jumping again the summer of 2012 with Jen and I was explaining to her how I was really going to focus on losing weight now, but that I didn’t feel bad because working two jobs and school and been so tough.  And then it hit me…I graduated in May 2011.  It was June 2012.  I couldn’t use school as an excuse anymore.

About four months of failed attempts later, I came across an article in a local magazine about a man who had helped a woman lose over 200lbs.  It mentioned a resort nearby where people could spend a week or two working out and learning proper nutrition.  This was, in fact, how the woman in the article began her weight loss journey.  I thought it sounded like something I might sign up for, but after researching the cost, I realized the resort was out of my financial league.

Shortly after this, my friend Julie posted a blog post titled My Trainer Warned Me… (click here to read it!).  I knew she had been working on her fitness goals and thought I would spend some time that Saturday morning to read it.

It humbled me.

I had been guilty of those negative comments she talks about –  one who thought she is too skinny!, among other things.  After reading, I thought about my reaction and tried to sort out what I was really feeling.  What I found is not flattering: it was jealousy. Here was a story of someone who set a fitness goal and was reaching it.  And here I was, struggling.

As I browsed her blog, I eventually found my way back to the original link I clicked posted on facebook and was startled! Someone had commented words of encouragement for Julie and this someone’s profile picture was the cover of the magazine I had recently read – the one that featured the article about a woman who lost over 200 lbs. I came to find out that the trainer that Julie started working with when she began her journey was the one I was reading about in that magazine!  I took it as a sign…

I traded a few messages back and forth with Julie, which lead into a lengthy phone conversation about her experience and my goals.  She had so much confidence in her trainers, she had confidence in herself, and she had confidence in me.

Julie gave me the to courage to contact Leif Anderson Fitness and pointed me down the road that has now lead to nearly 25 pounds of fat loss in fifteen weeks. So much has happened since I stared working with Tate on October 15th, 2012, that it would be hard to recap in this already lengthy blog post, but it is something I plan to write about in detail later.

Let it be known, at least, that these last fifteen weeks haven’t always been easy, but they’ve been achievable.  I’ll save more words for a later date.  For now, why don’t I let some pictures speak for themselves:

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…and can you believe it?  This post is almost 1,000 words shorter than the last!  That’s better 🙂

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8 responses to “Too Big for My Britches.

  1. Hi Amy! What a great and touching post. Thank you for sharing some of the background story of your journey. It has been so fun getting to know you better over the last several months. Thank you for being you and for your support! And I look forward to what is yet to come for you 🙂

    • Thank YOU, Julie! 🙂 I am cautiously optimistic that I am now following a plan that is more lifestyle than diet so I can transform myself long-term and maintain life-long! I’ll always struggle with food. That’s just me. Now, however, I feel like I’m learning tools to be able to handle those bad habits when they try to creep in…

  2. Hi Amy,

    I have been following your journey through Julie’s posts but this blog which lays out the whole story is fantastic! Julie is indeed an inspiration, and I can see from your post and your progress to date that you have what it takes to be successful. Thanks for your authenticity about your journey. Honestly, that can only inspire and help so many others who fight the same battles day in and day out. I hope to meet you in person some day. And I hope you are living and loving life from the center of your equation! So happy for you. 🙂

    • Lori, Thank you for your words of kindness and encouragement! I’m just hoping to be open and honest about the struggles that I, and many, face every day in the hopes that I can create a healthier me! Here’s hoping I’ll have many fun updates in the future 🙂

    • Yes – bravery is posting fat pictures of yourself on the internet – lol. And making a major change in your life as well 🙂 Thanks for reading and being a part of my life!

  3. people especially children can be very cruel, if people would just accept people as they are, instead of mocking and making fun of (that is how children learn to make fun of heavy people from their parents, teachers and other adults right? dont foget tv too)people like us would not only be healthier and happier, but not have a weight problem, it is addressing weight problems that actually make it worse in the long run since we don’t fully understand why obesity happens to people even under identical condtions, same house,same food, same routine and same genes, yet some stay lean with no effort at all and others struggle thier whole life and still do not achieve their goal. it is still an ongoing investigation for alot of people.

    • It’s unfortunate how quickly a child learns to judge, isn’t it? It would be much smarter to focus on what makes a person happy and healthy and supporting each other without harsh criticism. Thanks for reading!

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