I’m Amy, a twenty-something university grad starting my official journey into the “real world”. My current journey and focus is on shedding the pounds that have been piling on for far too long!
I grew up in a small town in Ontario, Canada surrounded by beautiful lakes and family. When I headed off to university I chose a school in the Nation’s Capital: Ottawa…and I fell in love. It’s a beautiful city and now the place I call home five years later. I would much prefer to be back home in the small town surrounded by my family and the beautiful scenery, but unfortunately the opportunities don’t shine as bright. So I live in Ottawa now and call it home. I have always dreamed of one day returning back home to raise a family.
The Weight Story
For as long as I can remember I’ve struggled with my weight. When I hit puberty in the 6th– 8th grade, my brother would tease me and call me fat, and my mom would come to my defence calling it “just baby fat”. I started my journey with a low body image at a young age. When my best friend’s sister heard about my brother’s teasing she quickly put an end to it, but it was too late and the damage was done – the baby fat had turned into real fat, and I had a very low self-esteem.
Throughout high school I continued to gain weight and peaked at 173 pounds (pretty big for being 5’4”). Shortly after Christmas in the 11th grade I hit my wall after seeing myself in a photo. My mom and I started following the Atkin’s diet and the pounds melted off me. We followed it in a healthy manner, mostly eating nutritional salads for lunches and dinners. I tracked my weight daily and most days I would lose a pound a day. That summer I bought my first bikini and I finally began feeling happy with my body weight. I plateaued around 132 and was wearing size 6 jeans. Eventually I gained a bit and was at a comfortable, confident weight in the 140s wearing size 8 jeans. I was pretty much happy with my body (as happy as a girl could be).
When I went to university I avoided the “Freshman 15” and continued to maintain. In second year of university I met my boyfriend. He was/is my first real relationship, and we instantly clicked and became inseparable. My life was perfect; I was truly happy and we spent every waking moment possible together. That summer we both moved home (luckily we both went to school in Ottawa, and were from the same home town).
That May (2007) my world came tumbling down around me. I was working at a golf course for the summer, and the big boss came walking in. I assumed he wanted a milkshake (as typically that why he came to visit), when I noticed the look of dismay on his face. My heart immediately started racing, as the words “There’s been a family emergency” came out from his lips. The room started spinning as I grabbed my stuff and began the longest golf cart ride down to the dock (I worked on an island – nearly an hour away from home). He informed me my grandfather was coming to pick me up, as my uncontrollable sobs of fear came pummeling out of me. As I reached the dock my grandpa was just getting off the shuttle boat. I looked at him and said, “Who?” His voice cracked and he slipped my big brothers name out and the weight from my legs gave out and I fell to the ground. In an instant my entire life had changed. I learned that my brother had been flying a plane (he was a bush pilot in Northern Ontario), that had crashed on landing and he was killed instantly – his passenger was in critical condition and had survived. The crash was not his fault, and it was merely a fluke accident caused by hitting a wind shear.
My world changed quite a bit over the next few weeks, and my family adjusted to life without my brother. I won’t go into a million details, as those many months following his death I felt like a shell or zombie that was dead inside. I remained positive and tried to keep my life in order, as I had been so happy. My boyfriend’s support kept me strong and smiling for my parents. I truly believe I couldn’t have done it without him. That day we found out, I remember family and friends coming in and out of our house bringing tons of food (as some of you may know is all people do when someone dies). As I have always been a comfort eater, I immediately found myself magnetically drawn to the fresh bag on chips on the table. I picked up the chip and said something like, “I will not let this be what makes me fall off the wagon”. Famous last words.
When I returned to school in the fall… life was tough. It’s all kind of a blur now, but I increasingly noticed that my pants were getting tighter. I tried not to feel down on myself about it, as I clearly had a good excuse as to why I had fallen off the wagon. I joined the gym in October or November – and began working out. I had always maintained my weight based on food, and was a very inactive person (I’m extremely athletically challenged). But, since food was a huge comfort for me I decided that the gym was an important thing to put into my life. From what I remember I was closely approaching the 160s. That Christmas I asked for personal training to help me speed up my results, and my mom gave me a large chunk of money towards it. In the New Year I started working out with my trainer. I did great, and was in amazing shape (for me). I lost some weight, looked good, my size 8 jeans fit well and I felt good about myself.
After my sessions with my trainer ended I stopped going to the gym. I felt awkward working out in front of her for some reason, and didn’t feel connected to any other gyms in my area. After gaining 5 pounds I was far too embarrassed to go back, and my weight has slowly inclined since then. The following year (my final year of university) I had some success in a holistic plan (Dr. Joshi). But as soon as I was done university and went from my waitress job to a desk job the weight gain accelerated. I was sitting down all day, and still didn’t want to go to the gym.
This year following Christmas I passed my highest weight of 173, and peaked to my highest at 188. I tried many times to get back on the wagon, but I couldn’t do it. I would try so hard to get there but I couldn’t. My head wasn’t in it, I found myself eating things I never ate before, and in a dark place. For the first time I was close to hating myself, I had always had low self esteem, but these feelings were much worse. I was so mad for where I had gotten – with no reason or excuse this time. I had gone through so much, tried so hard to maintain my weight for so many years, and ended up bigger than ever. I also felt like I not only was letting myself down, but my boyfriend, and my family. I was lost.
Somewhere near the end of May (2010) the gears began to switch into the right direction. My mind is now in the right place and I’m working on getting myself back into my eleven stored pairs of jeans collecting dust on a shelf.
Join me on this chapter of my journey!