Cheryl’s Journey

My husband recently chronicled his weight-loss journey and posted it on his blog.  It was taken so well and touched so many that he encouraged me to write my own, so here it is.

My weight-loss journey started on October 8, 2013, a mere 18 months but my struggle with my weight has been going on since I was 12 (over half my life).  Growing up I was a fairly thin child.  I was active in sports and played outside a lot.  Once puberty hit my whole body changed.  I instantly gained weight and my lifelong struggle began.  I also became less active during this time.  Throughout high school and college my weight slowly crept up.  I was never able to wear the fashionable clothes of the day.  Guess, Esprit, United Colors of Benetton, the Gap they simply didn’t make them in my size.  It bothered me, but never enough to actually do anything about it.  When I was 18, my senior year in high school, I was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance and told by my doctor that I could loose weight but I would have to work twice as hard as others.  I slowly begin to use this as an excuse and took it to heart that I would always be big.

In my 20’s my weight would fluctuate up and down but never down for very long.  I met my husband Dan when I was in college and he was one of the first people who truly excepted me for who I was, weight and all.  Not surprisingly, I didn’t care as much about trying to lose and slowly gained.  By the time I was 30, it had become a fact to me that I would always be fat.  Oh, I would see a new fad diet and try it.  Deal-A-Meal (yes, the one by Richard Simmons); the South Beach Diet; the Adkins diet; the Zone diet; Slim-Fast; the Special K diet; I had tried them all over the years with varying degrees of success, but I would always gain the weight back and often more. So lets fast forward to 2013, the year I decided enough was enough.

By that time, I had reached a conclusion that I was always going to be fat, so I might as well enjoy myself.  Ice cream after dinner every night- yes, please! Wings, mac and cheese and so many more bad foods were the norm for us.  Oh, we would throw in some vegetables now and then.  A salad, drowned in dressing; green beans, cooked with bacon for just the right flavor; canned peas, no low sodium for us! We knew we ate bigger portions but we didn’t really think we ate too bad, but I will touch on that more later.  My weight slowly crept up and soon I was wearing a size 30/32 top (4X or 5X depending on who sold it) and size 28 pants (and those aren’t inches, as I’ve now learned pants are often listed in).  I couldn’t buy anything from a regular store- even the plus sizes at Macy’s and Dillard’s were too small for me.  I had two physical stores I could shop from, Catherine’s (which goes up to a 32/34) and Avenue (30/32).  Everything else had to be ordered online.

Their were two incidences that prompted me to want to finally do something about my weight.  The first happen when I went to visit my best friend in Houston.  When I got on the plane I couldn’t buckle the seatbelt and had to ask for a seatbelt extender.  I thought this might happen so Dan had already told me how I could discretely ask for one.  It was embarrassing, but I rationalized to myself that everyone knew that these seats where small.  While I’m sure my friends in Houston noticed my weight gain they never said a word and treated me just the same.  That’s what good friends they are! We also walked all of Houston’s Galleria (it’s huge) and boy did I discover how out of shape I was.  The second incident happen at a Catherine’s store.  As I mentioned, I was in a size 4X in this store, but because I am so short (only 5 feet) any top I bought had to be  a petite.  Well, I went shopping one day and I couldn’t find a single 4X top in a petite.  I went through every shirt, even the ugly ones.  All I could find were size 3X and below.  I asked the store associate about it and she told me they had quite carrying petite tops in anything above a 3X.  I was outraged.  What, fat people have to be tall??  Great, now I can’t even buy tops anymore.  Stores normally only get about one shirt in a given style in the largest size, so competition was already against me and now this.  I think this was what finally broke the proverbial camel’s back.  Now what?  Dan and I had planned a trip to Panama City Beach, FL and I needed shirts, so I ordered the cheapest, largest T-shirts I could online and we went off on our vacation.  I had already asked my doctor about Weight Watchers earlier in the year and I knew from a number of people that it was a great program.  I had decided that this vacation would be my last hurrah before starting my diet.  We took a number of pictures from that trip, a few that I took purposely to be my before picture, specifically this one.


I joined Weight Watchers on October 8, 2013.  I can still remember that day vividly and it would become one of the best decisions I have ever made, with the exception of marrying my husband Dan. I was nervous about going to my first meeting but I soon learned how nurturing a great WW meeting can be.  My leader Jean is one of the best and my fellow WW folks soon became my family.  I lost 5.4 pounds during the first week.  I won’t lie.  My starting weight was 277.2! That’s a lot for someone so short.  My husband Dan was somewhat supportive in the beginning but he didn’t really want to join me.  He agreed to eat healthier meals at dinner and of the things he wanted that were not good for me I just ate less of.  In November I started pressing him to join a gym.  He was less than enthused, but agreed.  I slowly noticed that Dan started to make small changes.  One day he came home and told me that he had started using the app My Fitness Pal.  I now know what made him change his mind (read his blog).  Slowly and steadily the weight began to fall off.  I truly could not have made it this far without Dan.  He has been with me every step go the way.  We both decided in order to keep the weight off we were going to have to permanently change our lifestyle.  Our diet was no longer a diet but just the way we ate now.  We slowly started increasing our exercise and branching out to new ways.  Swimming- check. 5k’s- check. Hiking- check.  Biking- check.  Our life went from being sedentary to being active almost every day.  We realized that we weren’t watching near as much TV as we used to and so decided to cancel our Direct TV after 15 years of being members.  We still have a TV (were not crazy) but now rely on Apple TV, Netflix and HULU.


Throo The Zoo Running

Cheryl GSM 2


I currently weigh 167.2 pounds; 110 pounds gone forever! I even joined a running group this last spring and on May 9 I participated in the Throo the Zoo 5k- the first one in which I had ever run.  I finished in 41:42!  We also just finished hiking 18 miles (and walking a total of 26!) in the Great Smoky Mountains a few weeks ago.  I am really proud of what we have accomplished.  For the first time since I was a teenager, I can shop in the misses department.  I was shopping for a dress recently for a charity dinner that Dan and I were going to attend and I was in the plus size department.  The sales lady asked if I was shopping for myself because I didn’t look plus-sized!  Wow!  What a compliment that was!  Especially since I still expect people to tell me I am shopping in the wrong department and my clothes are upstairs.  I have a ways to go until I reach my goal weight, but the difference between now and that first day is I know I can make it.  I had a slight glitch recently when not only did my WW leader retire but our meeting location got cancelled as well.  I have finally found the right meeting and leader for me, even some from my former meeting are there.  I agree with Dan when he said in his blog that it hardened him to people that make excuses about their weight.  If we can loose 260 pounds between the two of us, and we have been overweight the majority of our lives, then anyone can do it.  It is easy? No.  It it worth it? A resounding yes!

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