Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nutrisystem- 6 Weeks Down

I don't want to turn this into a diet blog by having two weight-related posts in a row but that's just what's on my mind right now. I am one of those people who has been making excuses about my weight gain for years. I was an athlete throughout most of my life so when the pounds started piling on I couldn't admit that the weight gain was my fault. Looking back on things now I definitely see where I went wrong.

When I graduated from high school I weighed 145 lbs and wore a size 10 (I'm 5'6"). I ran indoor and outdoor track all four years and also played on lacrosse, soccer and field hockey teams. I did intense cardio every day for a couple hours a day so I ate whatever I wanted. My uncle nicknamed me Mikey (like the kid from the Life commercials) because if anyone couldn't finish their food they would pass it down to me and I would take care of it for them.

When I went off to college I continued running and started taking karate. I also participated on a few intermural sports teams. I didn't have a lot of muscle in high school so I got injured a lot.
In college, they stressed doing strength training in addition to cardio to prevent injuries. When I left college 5 years later I was 20 lbs heavier but I had packed on a lot of muscle in addition to the party weight and was a healthy size 12. I had continued working out 2+ hours a day throughout college so weight gain wasn't really an issue for me.

I did a year of graduate school and hated it. I started my first real job as an engineer after leaving grad school. I was working long hours and going to happy hour almost every night. Luckily, I was still running and doing karate so the weight gain wasn't significant. I also rescued Chale, my German Shepherd, a year after I started working so that added even more cardio to my life. I left this job after 5 years because it was killing my soul. I weighed 175 lbs when I quit and could still fit into most of my size 12 clothes. I did notice that while the scale hadn't gone up too much my body fat percentage was now in the obese range. I guess replacing salad with beer wasn't a great idea.

So I got a new job and moved to Syracuse in 2005. The position that I filled had been vacant for a while so I had to work long hours to get everything in order. I was traveling a lot and eating out all the time. I had never had a corporate account before so I loved being able to buy whatever I wanted while I was traveling. I let myself indulge in appetizers, desserts, expensive wine and large entrees. I was in a friend's wedding that year and we had ordered the dresses before I moved to Syracuse. I was surprised to find that I had gained 10 lbs in 5 months. I needed help from two other bridesmaids to get into my size 12 dress. I hate all of the pictures from that wedding because I look like I'm about to rip a seam!!

At the end of 2005 I started a long distance relationship with the man who is now my husband. We took turns flying back and forth to visit each other every six weeks. Of course I wasn't working out as much because of all the traveling and we were eating out all the time...
By the end of a year of this traveling I had put on another 15 lbs. Luckily he moved to New York at that point or I don't know how big I would have become!!

For the next couple of years I fluctuated between 195-201 lbs. Between planning a wedding and getting married, remodeling our house and the death of a couple of close relatives my eating habits were completely destroyed. I went to the doctor because I couldn't understand why I had gained so much weight when I was such an active person. If I would have taken a serious look at how much I was working out and eating then compared to my old healthy habits I would have known that I was the problem. Luckily all of my test results were normal but I was warned that if I didn't lose weight diabetes, thyroid problems and all of the other diseases that have plagued other members of my family would be in my future.

Apparently, it didn't matter if there were lapses in my diet and exercise habits when I was in my 20's because my metabolism was still kicking butt. But the combination of turning thirty and slacking on all my healthy habits at the same time completely destroyed my metabolism. I started working out 2+ hours a day like I had in the past but wasn't losing any weight. When I sat down to count my calories for a few weeks I realized that I was taking in 3500-4000 calories a day. So even with the rebirth of all my old fitness habits I was going to maintain my weight because I was eating as much as I was burning.

In May I was 210 lbs at my annual physical. This was a shock. This was my highest weight yet. All of test results were still in the normal range but my body fat was close to 50%. I was told that if I didn't change my diet I would probably continue to gain 5-10 lbs a year and inevitably develop type 2 diabetes. I felt pretty disgusted with myself at this point. So I researched all the weight loss programs and signed up for Nutrisystem. I started the program on 5/22/09.

I follow the Nutrisystem plan 5 days a week and eat whatever I want 2 days a week. My average calories are 1700-2100 during my 5 good days. When I lost 5 lbs in the first week I knew I had found the right plan. After 4 weeks I had lost 10 lbs and all my size 16 clothes were loose on me. I traveled for work during 2 of the past 5 weeks but made sure that I saved my cheat days for when I was traveling. If I needed more than 2 cheat days, I made sure that I worked out extra in the morning before I headed out for my meetings. While I didn't lose any weight during the two weeks that I was traveling, I didn't gain any weight either and that is just awesome.

My husband is almost a foot taller than me so he can pretty much eat whatever he wants and still stay thin. He is eating Lean Cuisine meals for lunch and dinner to help me stick to the program. He is also eating all the other foods that he was eating before (i.e. he'll have a turkey bacon Swiss as an after dinner snack) so not much of a sacrifice for him but I appreciate the effort. He has managed to lose a few pounds as well so obviously those little changes are making a difference for him.

I have my 6 week weigh in on Friday and hope to be 190-something for the first time in a while. I'm not sure what my overall weight loss goal is. I just want to be healthier and less flabby. I'm guessing my ideal weight is some where in the 145-165 range but I don't know if its realistic for me to every be that small again. I'd love to be 175-185. I think that's an attainable goal. Ideally before the fall when I have to try on bridesmaid's dresses for the next two weddings that I'm in...I'm pretty self conscious so I'm not sure about the whole posting before/after pics but we'll see.

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