I am going to be publishing a series of posts written by people I have met who have a variety of experiences with their weight and weight loss. If you listen to the narrative of the diet industry, weight loss stories are simple: lose weight, live happily ever after. the end. However, this is rarely the case. I have several people lined up to write about their experiences with their weight from some viewpoints we don’t usually hear about. My purpose in doing this is to give more people a platform to share their stories and to help others see that it’s normal to have experiences that are more complicated than what we would be lead to believe.
My first guest post is by someone I have been friends with online for several years now. I first met Leah on Fatsecret.com when we were both using the site to count calories and lose weight. She has a blog of her own and a Facebook page. If you’d like to continue following Leah’s ongoing story, the are links at the end.
This is Leah’s Story:
I started my “healthy living” blog in April of 2010, determined to change my weight from 220 pounds to 135. I have a history of disordered eating (anorexia, recovery, EDNOS, recovery, binge eating, dieting?) and thought that the blog would help with that stuff, too.
Originally, my blog was all about my transition to vegan eating as outlined in The Kind Diet by Alicia Silverstone. The original title of my blog was “Leah’s Journey to the Kind Life”. I was determined to document the entire experience, and just knew deep in my heart that I was meant to live as a vegan for the rest of my life, and that is was part of my fate to blog about it, and spread the word about how amazingly healthy and easy veganism was.
Flash forward a few months, and I went back to Weight Watchers. Then, suddenly, I knew for a fact that I was going to be on Weight Watchers for the rest of my life, and also that I would continue to be vegan forever. I decided to merge the two diets together and rename my blog “Leah: the Kind Weight Watcher”, the first ever blog to combine Weight Watchers and The Kind Diet, a revolutionary concept that would not only work really well, but make me famous, possibly even getting a call from Alicia Silverstone herself one day…
And then, after losing a ton of weight this way (around 75 pounds total, in about a year and a half or so…), I decided that I was ready to maintain my “perfect” weight of 145, which was up 10 pounds from my original goal. I also decided that though I would stay vegan, I would put Weight Watchers behind me and instead focus on learning to be an intuitive eater. I mean, tracking was for weight loss, not weight maintenance. I didn’t know any “naturally thin” people who tracked their food, and I wanted to be one of the beautiful naturally thin folks.
I based my intuitive eating venture on the book “Intuitive Eating” by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. I treated it as a diet, and never truly gave myself permission to eat, and therefore ended up gaining back 9 pounds in 6 weeks… so I went back to Weight Watchers. Then I switched to My Fitness Pal. Then I tried Intuitive Eating again. Then Weight Watchers. Then My Fitness Pal. Then a combo of all three at some point…
All of this was while blogging honestly about the changes in my diet plans. It was clear to me that I was no longer truly “Leah: the Kind Weight Watcher” but rather “Leah: the Crazy Confused Desperate Dieter”. However, I was constantly told by my readers how much they appreciated my brutal honesty, so I kept on keeping on.
By May 2012, I had slowly but surely gotten back up to 165, which was 20 pounds above my goal weight. But I felt oddly comfortable there, and had made a decision to stay at 165, seeing as it was the weight that my body seemed to naturally gravitate towards. It was my weight at age 18, too. I was a size 14, which meant that I could shop in the cute clothes stores at the mall. I looked pretty darn cute, too. And I was healthy and happy, according to both my doctor and my therapist. Plus, that weight seemed maintainable for me, and not just that, but EASILY maintainable. I could satisfy my hunger throughout the day, and exercise when I wanted to, and stay at that weight easily. Decision made. 165 was my happy weight.
THEN… tragedy struck. In late May 2012, my mom, who was my best friend, died suddenly and unexpectedly after a surgery that apparently went wrong. My world collapsed. I couldn’t think, I could barely breathe, I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t do anything… but I found that I could still eat. Yes, I got really good at eating.
My good friend Emotional Eating held my hand a lot during those first couple of months. We spent every evening together and sometimes even hung out in the middle of the day. EE made me feel numb, and helped to distract me, too. EE also helped me to transition out of vegan eating and into vegetarianism… because all of those home-baked goodies that family loves to give around those times were not vegan. Neither were snack cakes or Doritos or cheesy pizzas.
In just a couple of months, E.E. helped me get back up to 209 pounds… and that’s when I realized that E.E. was not a real friend. I needed to drop E.E. from my life.
So that became the new focus of my blog. How to rid myself of emotional eating, and finally say goodbye to all of those disordered eating habits and triggers that have plagued me for years. I also am no longer a true vegetarian, because I have started to eat fish occasionally.
And that’s where I am now. I’m working to finally completely let go of my EDNOS thoughts, trying to become a true intuitive eater (while still occasionally tracking calories on My Fitness Pal), training for a half marathon, and learning the art of self appreciation. It’s about how even though I’m proud of my health goals being met, they are not the only thing that I’m focused on anymore. I have other goals and dreams that have nothing to do with a smaller number on the scale or on the jeans tag. I am not weighing in regularly, and actually don’t know what I weigh right now.
My blog has evolved and changed as I have evolved and changed. And I’m so glad that it has, and that I have kept it up throughout these years, even when times are tough.
Blogs can change, and that’s okay. People change.
If you want to start a healthy living/diet/fitness/etc. blog, keep in mind that your goals will probably change, and that your loyal readers will stick around, support you, and embrace the changes. Be true to yourself in life and your blogging, and the rest will follow.
If you’d like to follow Leah, you can find her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leah-The-Kind-Weight-Watcher and her blog at http://kindlifeofleah.blogspot.com/