I think I was about fourteen the first time my mom told me I needed to lose weight.
Of course, that’s not counting the number of times in elementary school where she tried to scare me into doing abdominal exercises. It also doesn’t count the lectures on how I should weigh 100 pounds for five feet, and five additional pounds for every inch over that. So, at my current height (5′ 5″) I should weigh 120 pounds according to that.
(We’ll look beyond the fact that my mother, at the same height, weighs about 100 pounds more than that.)
Truthfully, however, I really wasn’t a fat kid which is a shock to me considering my diet wasn’t the healthiest. I learned at a young age the importance of getting your money’s worth at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I also was never the most active person- especially in gym class. In fact, I grew to loathe physical education more and more each year, and by high school I barely moved during the class.
I guess my first real attempt at “dieting” was when I was in high school. Now, this probably consisted of me measuring the dressing on my salad and cutting back to only half a sandwich for lunch instead of the full one. Needless to say, I probably gave in a day later. I did several of these “diets” over the years with the same success rate (even when I paired them with websites like Sparkteen.com).
I guess it was in September 2007, at the age of 16, that I first tried Weight Watchers. My best friend, Alex, did it at home a year before with a great deal of success (though the weight came back on when he got off track). Of course, doing the program on my own proved to be a bigger challenge than I realized. I definitely made a lot of mistakes during those few days before I gave up.
The next big diet attempt Alex and I both tried was South Beach about a year later. We were optimistic for the first few hours, but phase one was killer. Less than 48 hours into it, Alex sent me a text message saying he was out eating pizza and red velvet cake. My first reaction was a feeling of betrayal. I didn’t care that he had given up; I was upset he didn’t take me with him! My second reaction was to make a fluffernutter sandwich and dance around the kitchen in carby bliss. (In case you couldn’t tell, I was relieved. I certainly didn’t want to be the first one of us to give up!
I officially joined Weight Watchers in January 2009 at the age of 17 and, for the first time, I actually found something I could do successfully. By June (around the time of my 18th Birthday), I was down into a size 6 jeans and a medium to small top (compared to a size 10 and large to extra large top before). Unfortunately, a stressful summer and starting a new school for my second year of college quickly derailed me; my schedule and finances couldn’t keep me in the meeting room. The weight (more than 20 pounds) piled right back on.
I probably tried a few attempts to diet on my own- including going on The Daniel Fast for a week. I certainly wasn’t perfect, and I ended up breaking the fast for a disgusting meal of pasta at Applebees (no, really, we’re never going back to that location again), and a milkshake at Sonic. I still managed to lose more than three pounds during that week, but as with all of my attempts, the weight went right back on.
In June 2010, while living in Arizona, I decided to rejoin Weight Watchers. It was more expensive than previous years because I had to pay for my meetings and Etools separately, but it was certainly worth the investment. I managed to stay relatively on plan even through moving back to New Jersey, attending a wedding, and basically just surviving summer. By my 19th Birthday on June 29, I was down 10 pounds, by September I was down about 20 pounds, and over the course of five months, I lost around 30 pounds. Unfortunately, the inches did not melt as quickly as they did on my previous attempt, so I was definitely not as pleased with the progress.
I gained 10 to 20 pounds back during the holiday season which I tried to get off with the new Weight Watchers Points Plus system. I pretty much yo-yoed for three or four months before I finally decided to quit Weight Watchers. During the time, I attended meetings and used the online-only program.
In June 2011, I decided to give Sparkpeople another try. This attempt was definitely more successful than any previous attempts on anything other than Weight Watchers, but over the past six months, I’ve never lost more than 10 or 11 pounds before gaining it back. Needless to say, it’s been more than a little frustrating.
Sometime around November of this year, I made the realization that the most success I ever had was on Weight Watchers Momentum. In addition, I actually was most successful my first time: back when I was unable to use Etools due to my age. Now, I didn’t lose as much weight, but I was able to live without stressing out over everything I ate.
So, I decided to invest in some new tools: a mini binder, dividers, and a lot of time researching Points values of my favorite foods. I was set on making my own Food Companion, Dining Out Guide, and other tools to help me track my progress.
This plan lasted for less than three weeks when I noticed that I was hungry. We’re talking the kind of hungry that has me curled up in a ball in my room wanting to binge on… just about anything and everything. So, I decided to log in my food intake on Sparkpeople. At 25 points, I was struggling to get to 1,200 calories… and I do better eating a few hundred calories more. I had no clue how I would manage to eat enough when my points dropped down to as few as 19 per day.
So, I made the decision to switch to PointsPlus. I realized that part of my so-called “failure” on the plan was due to an enormous amount of stress in the beginning to mid 2011. I just came off a holiday weight gain after taking time off Weight Watchers. I spent much of that time searching for a new job, and in February I moved to a small town in the middle of nowhere: Questa, New Mexico. I moved back less than two weeks later. I got a part-time job that lasted from March to May, and then a full-time job that lasted a week. Between the stress of moving and job searching, it’s no wonder I was gaining and losing weight in an endless cycle!
Unfortunately, the latest go-around with Points Plus Online was ultimately a failure, and I resorted back to my old ways. Throughout 2012 I dabbled with calorie counting, portioning food on smaller plates, and I even attempted two different paleo diets. I tried online community support through Weight Watchers, Sparkpeople, and the former Sparkpeople Live! Meetings. I tried different Leslie Sansone, Jillian Michaels, and Sparkpeople workout DVDs. I even started a walking streak where I was walking over 10,000 steps a day for nearly 2 months- until I temporarily lost the Fitbit device I was wearing 24/7. While I lost bits of weight, I never sustained anything for more than a week, and by the end of November, my weight was about 14 pounds higher than it was when I first weighed in at Weight Watchers in January 2009.
Then, I was offered a free month of Weight Watchers meetings from my best friend’s aunt, “Big Mama.” Seeing as nothing else was working, and the most success I’ve had in weight loss is when Alex and I were on Weight Watchers together, attending meetings, I decided it was a no-risk trial. So, we decided to jump in just five weeks before the new year- around the same time we both decided to completely suspend any dieting efforts in previous years.
Be sure to keep up with my blog for my progress. I’ll also be updating my FtsoLK Twitter (@ftsolk), Tumblr (http://tumblr.com/ftsolk) and Facebook accounts (http://www.facebook.com/pages/From-the-Scales-of-Lissa-Kristine/203800279707370) on a regular basis. I’d love to hear from others who are on the mission to shed the weight and/or just get healthier.