Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Weight For Me! Part II - Learning the Value of Discipline and Moderation

Me in 1989
Average/healthy weight
Miss Part 1? Read it first by clicking here.


By late 1989 - early 1990, I had started a new phase of my life in many, many ways. First and foremost, I met and started dating the man who would eventually become my husband, best friend, and greatest form of support that I could ever wish for. I'd like to preface the next part of my journey by saying that Rob has never, EVER said anything negative to me about my weight or my body. All of the body issues that I have had have been personal. He has always told me that I am my harshest critic, and that is a title that I can't deny.

As I mentioned, my former boyfriend "planted the seed" in my mind about working out. Even when I was on Weight Watchers and exercise was encouraged, I never worked out. I never understood the power of exercise UNTIL I started working out.

Super-Skinny 90 lb. Me
I'll never forget the first day I decided to ride my bike down to the beach for exercise. It was February and there was a cold (for Florida) wind blowing from the north. Having no concept of biking and the effect of wind, I decided to ride south on A1A down to Commercial Boulevard. No problem. Needless to say, it's a miracle I made it back. It was HARD pedaling against that cold wind, but I made it - I was incredibly sore the next day, but I had done it. I had gotten started. So began the fitness routine that changed my life.



For the next year and a half, I biked from my parents' house in Pompano, up to Hillsboro Boulevard in Deerfield, down to A1A to 14th Street Causeway and back - 12.5 miles round trip - five mornings a week (often just as the sun was coming up). I was finally able to lose those last six pounds that I couldn't lose on Weight Watchers, and then some. For the first time since I was eight years old, my legs were THIN! The more weight I lost, the better I felt about myself (it really is a vicious cycle). I started doing Jane Fonda's workout tape - aerobics and weight training - too. I was nothing but skin, bones and lean muscle and I felt great, but I didn't think I was thin enough. 

Healthy on our first
wedding anniversary.
I started "dieting" again. I had an eating ritual that I followed nearly every day. A small bowl of cereal with no milk, carrots and few rice crackers for lunch, a very small dinner, and fat-free frozen yogurt. Eating so little and working out so much, it's no surprise that my weight kept dropping. I had dropped below 100 pounds and wanted to lose more...then 90 pounds. I weighed myself every morning. I wanted to see how low my weight could go. (Now, I can see how sick I was...but back then, I had no idea.) I don't remember the exact number, but I think that my lowest weight was around 85 pounds. Everybody told me I was too thin. One morning, I was sitting at the breakfast table and my father told me that I looked like I belonged in a concentration camp. But I didn't see it. No, I didn't see a fat girl when I looked in the mirror, but I didn't think I was thin enough. So, how did I stop?


Rob and I got engaged in the summer of 1991. This is around the time I was at my lowest weight. One night, Rob took me to the beach. He took my hands in his and looked me in the eye and told me that he was very concerned about my health. He told me that I either had to start eating and gaining weight on my own, get help, or he couldn't marry me. That was the wake-up call I needed. I was lucky that it was that "easy" for me, because eating disorders can (and often do) have dire consequences. I weighed around 92 pounds when Rob and I got married in May of 1992. I was healthy, though. I was eating, but I was exercising to balance things out. I learned that exercise was the key to being able to eat (pretty much) what I wanted and stay a healthy weight. 

Pregnancy workout.
Less than one month before
Chase was born.
I continued to work out four to five times a week throughout my pregnancies. I gained less than 25 pounds with each pregnancy (I actually weighed less when I gave birth to both of my children than I weighed when I started Weight Watchers at age 17), but I was very healthy and gave birth to two healthy, beautiful babies. I truly believe that working out (along with good pregnancy genes) helped me have very easy pregnancies and deliveries. I resumed working out a few weeks after I gave birth and lost the baby weight pretty quickly (of course, I was 25 and 28 years old at the time!).

Today, I maintain a healthy, average weight for my height. (Wii Fit says, I'm "Normal" ;) ). I do not "diet" at all, though I don't profess to be the healthiest eater (I don't eat nearly enough fruit and vegetables - mainly because when I buy it, it goes bad before it gets eaten). I love food - especially carbs (sweets, pasta, etc.) There is nothing that I don't allow myself to eat. For the most part, I try to stick to the "eat half" rule. For lunch, I eat half of a sandwich (and Sun Chips). When I go out to dinner, I either split something with Rob or eat half of what I'm served and take the other half home. I always have chocolate in the jar on my desk at work, and I'll eat a couple every afternoon. If I crave Publix cupcakes, I'll buy a half dozen. I may eat all of them myself, but I do it over the course of six days, not all at once! I have learned not to deprive myself. Moderation is the key. 

Working out is always more fun with a friend.
I still work out AT LEAST four times a week. I do not (nor will I ever) belong to a gym. Working out in public is not for the chronically uncoordinated. I have a treadmill and an awesome stationary bike at home that I can drag up to my computer desk and surf or blog as I work out. I am soooooo thankful for Denise Austin! She has made it so much easier to stay in shape because she actually makes manageable (10-30 minute) workouts - everything from cardio to yoga to toning to pilates to weight-training. You name it, Denise has a workout DVD for it. I try to ride the bike every other day and do yoga or weight training on the in-between days. (I've gotten out of that routine a little, and I'm trying to get back into it.) Getting older definitely doesn't make things any easier! The bottom line is, I'm healthier and more fit at 41 than I was at 14, and I'm happy about that. 

I hope that talking about my weight journey will help inspire others and help them realize they are not alone. I know how hard it is (both physically and emotionally) to lose weight (even though I was never obese, I know how hard it was for me to lose that first 20 pounds, so I can relate!) and I know how psychologically difficult it is to gain weight when (in your mind) you think that you aren't thin enough. I have plenty of friends and family members who have struggled and found success. Every one of their stories is an inspiration to me and makes me smile, primarily because their success has made them feel better about themselves and recognize the strength and beauty that lies within them. Equally inspirational to me are the friends and family members (and celebrities, like Adele) who may not be "perfect" by society's standards, but who love themselves just as they are and make no apologies for it. Now, THAT is beautiful.


If you are struggling, need moral support or just someone to talk to, you know where to find me! <3 

WIth Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

2 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading about your journey...wow. Very inspiring. The really special thing about you, is that you possess external and INTERNAL beauty!! That is rare.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, Tonya. <3 You are beautiful inside and out, too! :)

    ReplyDelete