One Mom’s Journey from Fat to Skinny to Confident

INSIGHTS

Dieting Made me Fat – How’d I get Skinny?

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(This was a post I wrote as a guest blogger awhile back; I wanted to share it here)

It’s true! Let me explain.

When I was a kid, I longed to be thinner. I wasn’t obese. I wasn’t thin. I was a normal, active child that could possible be considered “chubby” in comparison to “skinny” people. I had a father who was preoccupied with the weight of his daughter and it was pointed out to me more than a few times I could “afford to lose” a few pounds.

Around the age of 12, I began to diet. I would be aware of what I was eating, sometimes even depriving myself of lunch at school. This, of course, backfired. I would allow myself to get too hungry and then overeat at my next meal. This very normal dieting cycle (eat less, feel deprived, eat more) continued for me until my late 20s.

Throughout high school and college, I would have done anything to be thin. Everything except what I needed to do. I needed to learn how to eat and have a healthy relationship with food. I needed to move more. I needed to stop DIETING! Sounds weird I know, but it’s true: dieting made me fat.

Once I stopped dieting and learned how to live. I found success.

So you are asking yourself now, “how did she do it? How did she stop dieting?” Well my program of choice was Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers was like school for me. I went to “class” once a week to earn my 3 credits in “Eating and Living Healthy”. Some may call it a diet — I disagree. It was a strategy, a starting point, for me. I needed to be taught how to eat. Rather, I needed to unlearn how to diet. You could treat Weight Watchers like a diet, sure, but I approached it as a lifestyle change (SO cliche, I know.)

Do you need to run out and join Weight Watchers to find success?

No, I don’t think so. It won’t hurt, but it can be done with a few simple strategies.

  1. Include more healthy, whole foods in your diet. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats. If you don’t eat enough of them now start slowly. Replace a snack a day with a fruit. Add a side of veggies to your dinner plate. After a few weeks, you may start to surprise yourself as your tastes begin to change.
  1. Learn what a portion is. I was shocked to see what one serving of pasta was! And I almost cried when I weighed out one serving of my favorite cereal. At first you may feel like it’s not enough but again, if you listen to your body you may be surprised that one serving is more then enough to satisfy you until your next snack or meal.
  1. Scrap the concept of 3 meals a day. I eat now when I’m hungry not because it’s noon or 5 p.m.
  1. Get active. I didn’t hit the gym hard to lose 65 pounds but I moved more. Daily walks with the family after dinner and shutting the TV off on weekends is a great start!
  1. Get support any way you can. A walking buddy, an online message board, your significant other, anyone who will listen! Share your success and your failures. Weigh in with that person once a week to be accountable if you need to.
  1. Keep a journal. Jot down what you eat during the day. Even writing out your thoughts at the end of the day will help you reflect and come up with a strategy for tomorrow.
  1. Celebrate every good choice and learn from the bad ones. Just because you slipped doesn’t mean you should scrap everything. Weight loss is a journey, a process. If you don’t mess up how will you learn how to deal with everyday challenges? No matter what you do today, tomorrow is coming so you might as well do what you can to better yourself. Don’t give up just because you had a piece of cake after lunch. Just eat a little less at dinner to account for it!

Honestly, I did/do all those things. I didn’t say it would be easy, did I? I still haven’t mastered each one but I work on them daily. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ll ever master them all but just by trying I’ve come a long way.




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Discussion

There are 16 comments so far.

    HappyBlogChick

    February 16, 2008

    Yep yep yep. I agree with all those strategies. And I think the WW plan is a REALLY good way of learning that stuff, personally.

    I think the very last one is tricky and SO important. The last one is all about how you THINK, where the other stuff is what you do. When you *do* you can just go through the motions and eventually it helps change your thinking. But starting with the thinking … it’s hard.

    I found that I had to have behaviors tied to the celebrating. I had to have some concrete action … Telling someone, getting myself a little prize, marking the occasion – something. Once I started doing that, I wanted it more. So I stayed on plan more. It helps.

    Side note – It dawns on me that I need to find a way to mark milestones and accomplishments when on maintenance. Maintaining would be a HUGE accomplishment for me (especially since I haven’t done it well before!).

    And the learning from mistakes – the self acceptance and self forgiveness is hard. Especially when you’re used to being down on yourself for being over weight. This is where the support system helps a lot.

    Anyway, I would almost separate that last one into two things. Some people have a harder time with one than the other, and they’re both crucial.

    Good post!

    gottahavefaith

    February 16, 2008

    I want to shout a hearty “Amen!” to every one of those strategies. I’m proud to say that I’m doing well on all of those fronts right now, and it’s definitely making a difference.

    ashley

    February 16, 2008

    What a great post. I’m sure it helps to know that you are a hug inspiration to so many people, too!

    Also— **I was having some privacy issues, so I changed my url- so don’t lose me!

    watchinmyweight

    February 16, 2008

    OMG what a great post for the weekend. I too think that weight watchers is a great plan.

    I too had an obsession to lose weight growing up. I remember all to well my dad being the “kitchen monitor” and making comments about me and my sister’s weight (not that we were fat…just a little extra junk in the trunk).

    Okay I need to go read the post again. Repetition…repetition. :)

    Dev

    February 16, 2008

    Another great post, Roni. I whole-heartedly agree! It’s taken me a long time to learn these lessons, but they’re all things I keep in mind now.

    Dani Spies

    February 17, 2008

    Oooohhh, couldn’t be any more true….”dieting” is the culprit.
    It is all about state of mind…moderation….balance! Great post:)

    Comrade GoGo

    February 17, 2008

    “Just because you slipped doesn’t mean you should scrap everything.”

    This is wisdom. Thanks for sharing, Roni!

    BonnieR325

    February 17, 2008

    I also had a Dad like that…worse actually. He was really my step-Dad. I lived with my Grandma and Grandpa from birth to age 3 when my Mom remarried. So I spent every summer with my Grandparents (as well as every school “large holiday”). In the summer, before I left for my Grandparents’ house, my Dad would make me get on the scale and weigh, and I was told that if I gained any weight while I was gone, that I wouldn’t get to go any more. (Talk about child abuse, huh?–My Dad was jealous of how much I loved my grandparents–well….they were like my first parents!) So this is what I had to deal with as a child. No wonder I had weight issues most of my life.

    I really believe that most of our weight issues start in our heads. If we can “get our heads on straight” about food, we’ve got it made. And if you ever feel you’ve got your head on straight, run with it, while you’ve got the momentum, and once you have a good start, it seems a lot easier to keep it up. Prayer doesn’t hurt either. God’s there for us, if we just ask for His help. He cares about the little things too.

    penguinsandladybugs

    February 17, 2008

    This is a great, well-balanced, healthy list!!! Great post!!

    Erin

    February 18, 2008

    Roni, I agree with you 100%. I told someone a few weeks ago that “dieting made me fat” she had a hard time believing what I was saying until I let her read the article I wrote for the college newspaper where I work. The article is for eating disorders awareness – I think after she read it , I had her convinced of what I was saying. The article will be published next week…thanks for another great post.

    Erin

    No Where to Run ...

    February 19, 2008

    this might sound stupid but i REALLY appreciated your “rules” today. i just needed a little reminder as to what it takes. i haven’t been losing any weight lately and it’s because i have been allowing myself some small, seemingly-meaningless detours. so, thanks! i’m back on track!!

    Anonymous

    February 19, 2008

    Ummm, yeah…those are good suggestions and I’m glad it worked for you. But what about those of us who’ve already been doing exactly that for years, without losing weight? I ate 1200-1500 calories – on a low-fat, high-protein, veggie & whole grain diet – for several years, and worked out at the gym 1-2 hours/day 4-6 days/week (running 20-25+ miles/week for a while). I lost a few pounds initially, then maintained.

    All I’m trying to say is that it’s not as easy as you make it out to be. Some people (~2-5% of dieters) can lose weight and keep it off – great, I’m happy for them. But please don’t claim that anyone can because you did. That’s just not true, and there’s ample evidence – scientific as well as anecdotal – showing this.

    Roni

    February 19, 2008

    Anonymous —
    I responded to you in a post…

    http://weightwatchen.com/2008/02/who-said-it-would-be-easy-response.html

    MizFit

    March 2, 2008

    AMEN

    what a great post.

    we MizFits talk about this all the time and have come around to pretty much all the same conclusions.

    there’s no way around the hard work huh?

    MizFit