I don't think I have ever used the "f-word" to describe myself. I've called myself overweight, and heavy. My clothes have been for "big girls" from the "women's" department, but fat has never really been in my vocabulary.
Other people have called me fat. I remember an incident, probably 15 years ago, when I went out with a friend and her boyfriend and we met some other people. One of those people asked my friend's boyfriend which girl was his girlfriend, and he said "the fat one," referring to me. I can't remember that guy's name, but I sure remember that night, and how it was ruined.
I like the definition of fat I found at http://www.dictionary.com: "plump, well-fed, like a good, fat chicken." That certainly applied to me. So did "having too much flabby tissue; corpulent; obese: a fat person."
But I think fat is also a state of mind – you have to feel fat. And while I certainly didn't like what I saw when I looked in the mirror, or how I felt when I tried on certain clothes, I never felt fat. I could still get around easily, I was pretty active and relatively healthy.
It's amazing what a difference a year can make. I am no longer overweight, or heavy, or obese. I can walk into almost any store and pick something off the rack.
On Feb. 18, 2011, a few months after my second child was born, I was pushing 250 pounds and wearing a size 22 or extra, extra large. Today I'm around 163 and wearing a size 12 and a large. (Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I'd publish my weight in this newspaper, but I'm proud of what I've done and where I am.)
In the last 50 weeks, I have lost 85 pounds.
When I started, I couldn't grasp the concept of losing the weight I really needed to – 85 pounds seemed impossible. So I started slow, 5 percent of my body weight, then 10 percent, then I wanted to get below 200. Two Fridays ago, I finally hit my goal. I'm not sure I'm done losing – my ultimate goal may be to get to the weight on my driver's license, which is 150. It's not that far away.
How did I do it?
First, I joined Weight Watchers. There was no single thing that prompted it, other than my mom deciding to do it, so I joined her, figuring it certainly couldn't hurt. Almost every week I saw results, whether it was two pounds or .2 pounds, the scale was going down most of the time. Now I'm just four weeks away from being a life member.
Long before I joined WW, to use the lingo, I thought it seemed like the best weight loss program out there, because it's a lifestyle change, not a diet. It makes you aware of what you eat and you can still eat what you want. It's not a no-carb diet or a juice diet, where many people put back on the weight they've lost.
I can still have cookies and cake and ice cream, I just can't have five cookies or a big piece of cake or an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting (a previously frequent occurrence). Chris and I still have ice cream once a week – it's our weekly treat.
I have learned to eat healthier. We eat brown rice instead of white, I munch on grapes and carrots instead of chips or cookies. I don't pick up a candy bar when I get my Diet Coke at Wawa. I've learned to say no to food, though I do have my weaknesses.
In the process, I've become a runner. Without the exercise, I never would have lost as much as I have as fast as I have. What began as a walk/run combination is up to running a half-marathon (my first official 13.1-mile race is the Rock-n-Roll Half in Washington, D.C., on St. Patrick's Day). I may run the full marathon in Baltimore in October.
I love to run! I usually run six days a week, five or so miles most days, but a couple times a month I'll take an especially long run – my longest to date is 14.2 miles. I average about 35 miles a week and just about all of it is outside, rain or shine, snow or wind. I can't stand treadmill running.
My husband might say I'm addicted to it. I don't necessarily disagree, but I think it's better to be addicted to running than to Ben & Jerry's.
I had a really hard time with turning 30. I know birthdays are only a number, but to me 30 also represented a place in life where I thought I should be – close to marriage, kids, happily ever after.
Ten years ago, I wasn't anywhere close to that and I wasn't happy about it.
Today, a few days before I turn 40, I'm so much happier with every single thing about my life.
I'm healthy, active and the thinnest I've been at least since high school. I have a wonderful husband (without whose participation and support could I have done this), two fantastic children (most of the time), a job I still love after 17 years and I have the happily ever after. I couldn't ask for anything more.