I was a “big girl” growing up.

I was not comfortable in this body of mine. Yes, it was my body, but I felt as though it did not belong to me. I struggled with the fact that friends of mine could eat McDonald’s, and candy, and wear skinny acid-washed jeans. I would hang with them and curse my chubby thighs and flabby arms. I would shake my fist and silently scream, “It’s not FAIR!”

I resigned myself to the fact that I was destined to be BIG. My friends had flat stomachs and no inner thigh to speak of and it was so foreign to me. My thighs rubbed together as I walked and would get red from the friction.

There were a couple of stints where I got skinny. Because I did not eat. I remember when I was in grade eleven, I ran into an old friend from out of town. She praised me with those words I longed to hear. “You are so SKINNY!” And I told her (innocently) that I had not eaten in forty-eight hours.

That would be TWO DAYS.

Of course, as soon as I started eating again the weight piled back on.

You think I would have learned.

As a woman in her twenties living in Vancouver, I was once again caught in this vicious cycle. I worked at a restaurant with beautiful, skinny people. I was never obese, but was just big. I usually wore a size 13.

I was an insecure young woman and reverted to the only weight-loss plan I knew. I stopped eating. I would fill my belly with water, and tea, and just eat when I could no longer fight the aching of my belly.

Guys noticed me. They told me I was pretty. They flirted with me. I felt beautiful.

Finally.

Of course, there was a limit to how long I could go without eating.

I started eating. And the weight piled back on.

I was not a big junk food junkie. Yes, I liked treats, but I really did eat them in moderation. I did not keep junk food in my apartment. I took up running and I was still not thin. I remember sitting on the couch that Karen and I shared (With an orange floral print) and crying with her out of my frustration. I was running regularly and not eating junk and my thighs STILL RUBBED TOGETHER.

Shortly afterwards, another good friend of mine was shedding a lot of weight. I asked her what she was doing and she was kind enough to share it with me. She had gone to a dietician. She gave me a copy of the menu plan that she had been given.

What is this? I need to eat vegetables? And protein? And less starch???

My “single girl” meals usually consisted of heaping plates of pasta with tomato sauce. Or rice with peas. While these meals were not fat-laden, they were heavy with starch and such that made me FAT.

I cut down on the starches. I ate more veggies. And fruit. And protein. And drank more water.

The weight fell off.

I finally felt comfortable in this body of mine.

Shortly thereafter, I met Matthew. I was not down to my goal weight, but I was close. And he thought I was hot. We got engaged a month later. And got married five months after that.

I started going to a gym near work. When we moved here I took up running again. I was thin. And FIT. I was happy with my bad self.

Then I got pregnant. I still ran, and ate well.

Then I lost that baby, at twelve weeks.

I got pregnant again, the cycle after I lost Baby Number One. I was fearful of exercise because well-meaning people wondered if my running had “caused” the miscarriage. I knew in my head that my running was not the cause, but I so wanted a baby. Because of the loss that had occurred, I was fearful of losing another. Any stomach growl made me fear I was starving the baby. So I ate. And ate. And ate.

That baby was Graham, and at the end of my pregnancy with him I had gained over sixty pounds. I broke the 200 mark. By more than a pound. By more than five pounds.

December 2002

I am sad when I look at these pictures. Because I look uncomfortable. Painful, even.

I got back on track after my pregnancy with Graham. I did not like being uncomfortable in my own skin. To give you perspective, if I wanted to weigh in at what I weighed after birthing Graham, I would have to strap both Graham and Emily to me right now. Sigh.

Exercise for me right now is sporadic, at best.

I am thin, yes, but I am not fit. Which causes me to have my fair share of “fat” days.

However. I have come to terms with the fact that as a mother of three kids under the age of five? Being fit may have to wait awhile. But I can maintain being thin.

An online buddy of mine asked me for a top ten list of things I do to stay thin. Here is what I wrote to her.

  1. Cut out the white stuff (bread, rice, pasta). You can add *a little* back in later.
  2. For that matter, cut down on breads/starches. Apart from my morning Oatmeal, I try not to eat many more bread products in a day.
  3. STOP EATING THREE HOURS before bed. Not a raisin, not a grape. NOTHING. I kid you not – you will lose 5 pounds in a week…if you don’t try and make up for it during the day.
  4. EAT MORE VEGGIES. Seriously. Fill up on veggies (Green/orange/red ones. NOT potatoes – see starch note above).
  5. EAT BREAKFAST. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism during the day. I eat oatmeal with Splenda and cinnamon, because it fills me up, and it’s healthy.
  6. CUT OUT SUGAR. If sugar is one of the first 5 ingredients in something, IT IS NOT FOR YOU. Seriously. Splenda is an alternative, as is stevia. I’ve heard that stevia is bitter, though I have never tried it myself.
  7. Drink DIET COKE. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.
  8. Drink a lot of water. Water flushes fat. Chug-a-lug! If it’s too bland for you, try adding Crystal Light or something similar.
  9. Cut down on the margaritas. I KNOW! Trust me – you can add them back later.
  10. Get the stomach flu. It always seems to come when I need to lose the last 10 pounds.

Once you get down to where you want to be, you can be a little flexible. It’s the 80/20 rule. Eat healthy 80% of the time and you can splurge the other 20%.

Another good book is “French Women don’t get Fat”. It’s all about portion size too. I’ve learned to stop eating when I’m satisfied…not when I am stuffed to bursting.

So.

That is my “secret” to staying thin.

And my journey to fat and back. From a woman who still wrestles with it daily.

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Comments:

  1. Loralee October 28, 2007 10:49 pm edit

    You know I was a obese heifer (280). Before I got to that point I was “BIG”. It’s been 13 years and I still feel “big” in my mind a lot of the time.

    I lost 20 lbs last year when I realized I weighed 167. Never again, baby. The tips you listed are really good ones. I could never cut out night eating, though. I’m terrible at it and eating breakfast. :S

  2. She Likes Purple October 28, 2007 11:12 pm edit

    I’ve been pretty open about my eating disorder and my weight issues. It’s constant, it’s always there. I’ve finally commited to Weight Watchers and it’s taught me oodles already about portion control and what’s really good for you and what’s not.

    I want to get pregnant soon, and I don’t want to be at a very uncomfortable weight when I do.

    Anyway, thank you for posting this. It’s comforting to know that other people have gone through it and overcome it to be happy and at a comfortable weight.

    You look fabulous, and you’re such an inspiration.

  3. Karen October 28, 2007 11:28 pm edit

    I love you lots.

    I really do.

  4. christy October 28, 2007 11:48 pm edit

    Ditto.

    On the I love you lots part. And even if you still weighed lots. You would be beautiful.

  5. Michele October 29, 2007 1:07 am edit

    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Beverley October 29, 2007 3:32 am edit

    Thanks so much for sharing. You look so thin and gorgeous I would never have known you have been through the weight loss journey too. I still have a little way to go in my journey, you have encouraged me to persevere and I will be going through your top 10 list to see how it can help get me to my goal. Thanks.

  7. Keri October 29, 2007 6:00 am edit

    These tips are great! I wondered how you stay so fit!

  8. Marsha October 29, 2007 6:20 am edit

    My story is the opposite, I was thin when I was younger and struggle with my weight now. Thanks for the tips.

  9. Stephanie October 29, 2007 6:45 am edit

    I was thin in high school and then gained 50 lbs in the next 5 or so years. Then 2 years ago I lost that 50lbs and not a day goes by that I don’t struggle. I don’t ever eat something and not think about it. I live in fear of being chubby again. I love hearing other people’s stories about their weight issues because it reminds me that it is normal to struggle with your weight. Oh, damn being a woman.

  10. Amanda Brown October 29, 2007 7:56 am edit

    Thanks for being so open about your journey, Ange. You are a continual inspiration to this fellow former “big girl”…that by eating healthily it is possible to be a hot momma. Love you!

  11. little miss mel October 29, 2007 7:59 am edit

    thanks for sharing your struggle with weight.

    I was a gymnast for 8 years and quit right before highschool.
    Stopping that sort of activity and puberty really did a number on my body during a really important time in a young gals life.

    I was never “fat”, just very stocky and muscular. I’d say 10/12. Not until I graduated college, did I start to shed the weight naturally, by working full-time.

    Then, I got engaged and had anxiety and lost those last few lbs that made me look like something was really wrong with me. People were concerned that I wasn’t eating or throwing up. I love to eat and hate to barf, so the magic wonder of stress did all the damage.

    Since then, I have maintained a weight with 5 added lbs and have been happy. Now, if I could just tone an area or two, I would be psyched.

    Maybe after baby #2, I can get there. Clearly, it’s on some sort of hold for now.

  12. Louise October 29, 2007 8:09 am edit

    Thank you for sharing Angella. I truly believe there is a power in reveiling your struggles and triumphs, that becomes empowering for others. So what is a common meal you cook for your family? I would love to cut out the starches, but then what would the rest of us actually eat? Or do you have kick butt will power and resist while the rest chow down on mashed potatoes?

  13. Jill - GlossyVeneer October 29, 2007 8:17 am edit

    This is a good post. It touches on issues that I’m struggling with right now. It is truly amazing how good the positive feedback from people feels, even when you aren’t doing healthy things for your body. Maybe someday I will have the strength to discuss this on my site. Someday…

  14. Angela October 29, 2007 8:20 am edit

    Thanks for sharing Angella- we all seem to have our weight struggles in one way or another so it’s nice to know we aren’t actually alone when it feels like it sometimes. I am looking forward to getting thin again after this baby or at least at a happy weight…and you are right- I keep telling myself FIT will come yet!

  15. Tricia October 29, 2007 9:27 am edit

    Ditto to Louise – what do you actually cook for your family? My bf and I cook meals together a lot and it’s always pasta, or perogies, or general Italian food (that is HIGH in starches and oil, etc.). Also, good protein sources other than tons of meat… it’s not cheap for a student :)

  16. Chelsey October 29, 2007 10:08 am edit

    Thank you for sharing, i have been reading your blog for sometime now, and you are really beautiful! I am going to try your plan…Ill let you know.

  17. Shawna October 29, 2007 10:38 am edit

    Thank you so much for your honesty and your insight! I just made the decision that I HAVE to do something about my weight and it helps me to hear about other people’s struggles so that I don’t think that I’m alone.

  18. Jules October 29, 2007 12:05 pm edit

    Angella, its so encouraging to hear stories like this. Thank you for posting. And thank you for your tips!

    When you are a person who struggles with your weight, you can sometimes think that all the skinny people have it easy because they can have chocolate whenever they want! But the reality is that many skinny people are skinny because they actually do follow the 80/20 rule, rather than the 20/80 rule!

  19. Elizabeth October 29, 2007 12:28 pm edit

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  20. Kami October 29, 2007 1:54 pm edit

    That’s an inpirational story. Weight is such a huge thing to us women and it’s really all about how you feel. I “feel” thinner when I excercise regularly. The scale doesn’t change much but that’s okay.

    :-)

  21. Karmyn October 29, 2007 5:01 pm edit

    You really do rock. Thanks for being open, honest and inspiring. It’s motivating to see some simple ways to eat healthier and to stay thin in a healthy way. Thanks!

  22. Alexandria October 29, 2007 6:19 pm edit

    Thanks for sharing, Angella! I, too, am occasionally “uncomfortable” in my own skin, and I agree its not fun. Remember that you look great, no matter what society and the pressures they put on women may say!! (Im learning this, slowly..:P ) You are one hot momma! :)

  23. shy Victoria October 29, 2007 7:01 pm edit

    *hugs*

  24. OMSH October 29, 2007 7:22 pm edit

    Wow. Being a woman well over 200 right now, I can tell you that I really, really appreciate honesty posts of this nature.

    And thank you *wink* for the Top 10 List … again.

  25. SarahD October 29, 2007 8:51 pm edit

    I just want to say that you look great and now if I can just figure out how to cut out those starches, I’d do great!! I was one of those girls who thought if I only ate like rice and bread without all the greasy meat, I would lose weight…but I would have been better off with the sausages!! Who knew??

  26. Kristin October 29, 2007 10:40 pm edit

    First off you look AWESOME!
    And second I thought your post was very well done, honest and encouraging. :)

  27. Sara October 30, 2007 8:52 am edit

    Thanks for sharing. I know this can be such a sensitive topic, regardless of how thin or big you are.

    I was a big kid – mostly always very tall but also not skinny on top of it. Never obese. I remember this so clearly even though it was almost 20 years ago: I was in 4th grade and the annual “weigh-in” physical was upon us. I was standing in the nurse’s office on the scale and the verdict was 5’3″ and 112 pounds. Youzer! I was at least 6″ taller than my friends and about 20 – 30 pounds more. My friend Annie was so great in reminding me that I was just “tall” but I felt like an elephant. Fortunately for me I stopped growing so much (vertically and horizontally) and am a reasonable 5’8″ and working off the little extra chubb. I’ve learned to eat better foods in the 6 months and have seen the weight come off nicely down to the point that I’m almost happy. I don’t do the points thing – just less carbs, and if any mostly good/complex carbs, more yummy veggies, better portions, more self control, and no more beating myself up!

    So anyway, Thank you for sharing your personal journey. I love the top ten list – It’s nice to see everything written (typed?).

  28. Heather October 30, 2007 10:25 am edit

    Great Post!!
    I think you look Awsome..and good job on your wieght loss. I have always struggled with wieght..I am not happy with my wieght now. I was always a bigger girl growing up..not huge but bigger. Then when i got pregnant with Riley i put on 80lbs. Last year i managed to loose almost 60lbs. It is soo hard. I still want to loose about 30 more..but i am really struggling with it.. i lost my drive..and never have the energy to excersice..I wish i could just jump up and go for a run..but it never happens.. Its nice to hear of other women with the same problems..makes me feel like im not the only one out there that has struggled with it

  29. Tobi October 30, 2007 11:35 am edit

    Hi Angella!
    Great post. I can’t imagine the emotions you must have felt trying to keep Graham safe and growing inside you after having lost Baby Number One. Wow.
    I gained the freshman 15 (or maybe 20, 25…) and still can’t look at pictures of myself back then. Not because I don’t like the way I looked (that’s a given), but because I hate to be reminded of the way I felt back then – uncomfortable in my skin, unfamiliar with myself, a little bit lost. Crazy how our emotions are so tied to our physical selves.
    I now follow the same simple rules you do when it comes to eating (except for the diet coke part), and I do it because it feels so good! It’s still a daily struggle (does it ever get easy?), but it’s worth it.
    And by the way, you look fantastic!

  30. metalia October 30, 2007 7:34 pm edit

    You are amazing.

  31. mommyknows October 31, 2007 3:33 pm edit

    Great tips … too bad I have no self discipline!

  32. Violetkey October 31, 2007 8:34 pm edit

    Hi, thank you for sharing! I found your site through NaBloPoMo. I have just started my journey of loosing weight and becoming fit. I can so relate to the never feeling comfortable in my skin – I don’t think I ever have been and I’m certainly not now!

    One of my struggles is to know what to make for my husband and I – no kids at the moment. Do you have any cookbook suggestions or a web site you use to help with meal planning?

  33. Lisa November 1, 2007 6:40 pm edit

    I was a weight loss counselor and the hints you gave are EXACTLY what we told ppl. However, I still struggle. BADLY.

    For some reason, I lose weight during my pregnancies and gain it during nursing. Rarr!!!

    Part of my NaBloPoMo is also to exercise daily. We’ll see if I can do that too. I hear you on being the mom of 3 under 5. It’s not easy, is it?

  34. Dana November 2, 2007 8:04 am edit

    Thank you for sharing your story and wow, that picture of you when pregnant..it doesn’t even LOOK like you. You really do look fantastic now – and then too for that matter. I would never in a million years have guessed you struggled with weight…so thank you for sharing.

    And sorry I’m a little behind with your posts…I’m trying to catch up. :)

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