My Weight Loss Journey Part I

by Staci Atwood

A Little About Me...

I turned 50 years old in August 2022, and I went a little crazy! I decided  since I never really rebelled growing up, except for getting a tattoo at age 25 (see the pattern? ), I would do something I have been talking about for awhile but never had the courage to do...I dyed my hair gray and blue...It didn't turn out exactly like my vision...but I am getting used to the results and on some days, I even like it...a little! 

This website is about my much needed weight loss journey, so here is a little backstory on my weight issues:

I have always had issues with my weight, at least mentally...I had a cousin who was a wannabe model who rode me about my weight since I was 5. I wasn't overweight, she was just hyper focused on being skinny and she never felt good about herself, so I was someone she could strike out at. I know this, but knowing the reason she did this and not letting it affect me wasn't possible.  My mom wasn't great with weight issues either. Even being as skinny as Twiggy, who was her inspiration,  wasn't good enough. She would go on every diet possible and even took me with her to a hypnotist for weight loss when I was eight. It created a dieter's mindset in a child that was too young and impressionable.  I was constantly focused on weight. I was curvier than some classmates, especially after that wonderful time in a girls life called...puberty! I had an hourglass figure, but kept in shape through cheerleading, swimming, running, tennis and the, I would go outside and jump for hours! 

I never felt overweight per se growing up. Yes, the numbers went up on the scale, but they were always aligned with my height and frame.  That said, I always felt self conscious in a bikini or swimsuit, thanks in large part to the constant barrage of negativity coming at me from my cousin.

 My weight loss issues really began in my senior year of high school when I wanted to fit into a specific dress for prom. This was the dress of a lifetime and looked like a pink version of Cinderella's ball gown! My aunt and uncle even bid against each other in order to get it for me from a Junior League auction! At the time, I was 5'9'" and weighed between 135 and  140...healthy weight for my height and frame. The dress fit everywhere but my bust and shoulders. I knew if I wanted to wear this dress, I would have to go on a diet to lose weight. I wore a junior's size 10 at the time, equivalent to a woman's size 6-8 in today's world of fashion. I began the Slim Fast diet and lost down to 130...but the bust and shoulders remained. I had the dress altered to an open back, and had to have it taken in everywhere else.

There was one problem with this success, because it was after all a success!  I was being told I looked great by the majority of people I was surrounded by, and by others, the could stand to lose more (mostly by my overweight, chauvinistic band teacher), but like with my cousin, the negative stuck and I hyper-focused on why the weight loss wasn't good enough, and what I needed to do to make it better.

During my first year at college, I began to eat one meal a day, and that was a microwavable lean cuisine. I was walking all over campus, jogging with a roommate at night and taking an aerobics class. My weight dropped to 120. When I came home for Christmas break, I was suffering from mono. That summer my mom was killed and the stress sent me down to 115...but the number, to those who were telling me to keep up the weight loss, was all that mattered in my mind.

My doctor had a heart to heart conversation with me that summer, and I put on some weight, but it didn't last. During my second year in college, I restricted my calories even more, sometimes going days without eating and walked not one, not two, but seven to eleven miles each night. I loved the mile walking track at Texas Tech. I would start out at 7:30-8:00 at night, and be back home by 11:30. I looked like a lollipop...head with giant hair (it was the 90's), broad shoulders made broader with shoulder pads (I see you shaking your head here), big boobs (somehow, I never seem to lose weight in this area), skinny torso, hips, and sticks for legs...but to me I looked awesome!

In the 90's the miracle diet came along...Metabolife. You took six pills a day and lost weight eating whatever you wanted! I loved Metabolife!  I would take my pills, eat one meal a day, tan and workout at the gym for hours! I was wearing size 2-4 and felt great...of course that cousin who used to tell me I was too fat was now riding me about being too skinny, but I was getting better at tuning her out...after all, it was better to be too skinny than too fat! 

At age 30 something had to give, and it just happened to be a ligament attached to my rib. All I did was bend over to pick up my godson and much pain! I went to the doctor and he put me on steroids for six weeks...the steroids had a bad effect on me. I became ravenous for food and I couldn't work out. After six weeks, the rib still hadn't healed and I had to go on an additional six weeks of steroids with no working out. I began to gain and went up to a size 14...from a size 2 to a 14. I felt horrible about myself. My body hormones were so out of whack from the past years of being underweight, they were having a hard time regulating. No matter what I did, I couldn't lose the weight like I used to. 

My next step was to try Weight Watchers. I lost some weight and kept it off for a couple of years. I even ran a 5k during this time. I was what some would consider healthy. I was wearing a size 10, but then came the return of chronic asthma, and I was back on a steroid...this time a permanent addition to my life.  I gained the weight back plus some.

Next up, calorie counting and becoming a vegetarian! The calorie counting had worked in the past for me, and vegetables didn't have many calories.  I expected this coupled with the vegetarianism to work again.  I was losing weight! Guess what happened next? Yep, you guessed it, I tore my meniscus and had to have knee surgery.  I was limited in what I could do before and after surgery, but was still managing to maintain a healthy weight, until I went lax and returned to being a meat-eater....I gained, but not too much...

During this time, I worked out, hired a trainer and still did not get the results I wanted. I went on Atkins and had some success, but I have never gotten back to that size 2-4 or even 4-6. 

Last year, I had finally started to lose some weight by a combination of going back to my tried and true method of calorie counting, portion control and working out...a lot!  I had lost 37 pounds and had hit a plateau when I got the news that my uncle, the man who helped raise me and stepped in as my surrogate dad, had leukemia and there was no cure. It was a very stressful time at work and at home, and I ate and I worked and I ate, etc. I was having nonstop lupus flares and my body was going through pre-menopause...too much bad was going on in my life and around me.  I was tired all the time, but not able to sleep, and the hot flashes were killing me! I was living on fast food, sugary products and comfort food.

My pops died in April 2022.

As you can tell, my weight is tied to my self worth and it is a hard thing to come to terms with. No matter how much success I have, it is not enough.  Because in my view, I am overweight and don't like the way I why should anyone else see something different. It's a difficult mindset to overcome and very easy to hop on that slippery slope and ride it down past the stop off least it is for me.

So here I am, trying one more time at age 50 to get to the weight I feel best at.  I have done something I never thought I would do, and that is putting this information out for others to see.  I am being raw, and sharing something incredibly personal to strangers in a world that isn't always kind and supportive of others. 

I am trying a new diet called Eat Like A Bear, and I will share my thoughts, successes and failures with those interested in following along on my journey.

Wish me luck!