Yep, that was me. June of 2016. Me at my “dread weight”.
What’s a “dread weight” you ask?
Well, it’s simple, it’s that weight you swear you will NEVER be. It’s the weight that only people on reality tv shows are. You will under no circumstances ever be that weight. PERIOD.
Well, that is until you are.
For me, my dread weight was always 300 pounds. That was such an insane number to me. There was no way I would ever weigh that number. Not me. Ever.
I first hit my dread weight back in 2006, when I was pregnant with my daughter. I’ll admit the first time I saw a 3 in front of my weight I was shocked. But, I quickly brushed it off…
Ah that’s just baby weight!! Nothing to worry about.
Sure enough after I had my daughter, I went back down into the high 280’s. I could have been 299 for all I cared…I just didn’t want to be my dread weight.
Dread weight bullet dodged.
I hit the dread weight again with each of my sons’ pregnancies. But again, I blamed it on pregnancy and didn’t want to deal with the fact I had a major problem with food.
It’s because you’re pregnant. That’s all. Don’t worry.
But, then I hit my dread weight in 2014, and this time there was no baby to blame. By 2016, I weighed 302 pounds and wore a size 28. Like it or not, I was at my dread weight.
Now I’ve always handled my weight very well. I’ve never really let it bother me. I had relatively low blood pressure and so I fooled myself into thinking that this weight problem wasn’t hurting me.
Only it was.
In 2015 my health started to take a turn. I became stricken with panic attacks, my stomach earned me trips to the gastroenterologist with strange pains and problems.
But it never crossed my mind that any of these problems could be due to my weight.
In 2016, I started to fear what I knew was a huge food addiction. I ate more food than I can even phathom at this stage in my life. I think you pretty much hit rock bottom when you buy a package of Oreo’s for your kids and finish them in one sitting. (Can’t believe I admitted that out loud).
Welcome to your dread weight… enjoy rock bottom.
My first strategy upon entering my dread weight was avoidance. I mean, come on I’ve dealt with weight issues my entire life so I was no stranger to avoiding the problem. But the problem is, once I hit my dread weight it was getting harder and harder to ignore. I couldn’t stare at the paintings at the doctors office to keep my eye off the scale any longer because the nurse would say the weight as she wrote it down. Almost as if to say “Hey you know this number right?”
I couldn’t avoid the fact I was constantly sluggish. I couldn’t avoid the fact I felt awful. I couldn’t avoid the fact that “morbidly obese” flew off the pages of my medical records at me like a slap in the face. “Morbidly obese” — just saying those words created a death sentence in my mind.
So next followed the feeling sorry for myself stage. I can remember sitting in a doctor’s office in 2015, crying with my doctor, telling her that I simply couldn’t lose weight and that I wanted weight loss surgery. I strongly considered it at that point. I read blogs and articles about it. My doctor was against it thank God, otherwise I probably would have gone under the knife at that point. I thought it was my only way out of this.
The anxiety grew. The fears of having a heart attack by age 40 started. But my self-pity clouded my ability to really think about change. I just wallowed in it for awhile.
Finally came realization. My reality check. This happened in various steps. First, it hit me while shopping for jeans one day. I can remember shopping at Lane Bryant (the only store I could buy clothes) and realizing that if I went above a size 28, which I was dangerously toying with, I would have no where to buy clothes, except online. I started to realize if I didn’t fix this it was going to get really bad.
Then there was Atlanta. In June 2016, I was in Atlanta, Georgia with my daughter and my Mom for a fun girls trip with her dance team. On the way there my daughter asked if she could switch seats with another Mom on the plane so she could sit by her friend. I looked in the eyes of my 10 year old and had to explain that she had to sit by me because I was too big to sit in seats sandwiched between two adults.
Of course after she complained I let her switch and then proceeded to try and laugh off with my much skinnier friend that I had to raise the arm rest in between us and we’d be rubbing thighs all the way there. We laughed…but I was totally serious.
Yeah two REAL fun conversations.
But I think the moment it all sank in happened when we were on the street taking pictures. I hate to have my picture taken so of course I was behind the camera most of the time. This time, however, my Mom insisted I get in some pictures. So I did.
That night laying in my hotel room I started to look through the images. I didn’t see my smiling daughter. I didn’t see the movie set. I didn’t see Atlanta. All I could see was the weight. My weight was now consuming more of my thoughts than ever before. Had I really let this happen? I knew it right then and there that I had to deal with this dread weight.
The only problem is I had no idea how to fix it.
I’ve dieted on and off my whole life. I’ve even dieted successfully, losing 80 pounds one time and 40 pounds another. But I did it by simply cutting fat and calories, and so when I ate regular food I would bounce back up.
I also knew (or thought I knew) that I had absolutely no time to work out. There was no way I could go to the gym. My kids were too busy. I was too busy.
But then July came, and my life forever changed.
Surprisingly, although this journey has been the most life altering journey I’ve ever been on it started really simple. No fireworks. No big plans. No goals.
I didn’t set out to lose 100 pounds.
It simply started one July evening, when my Mom was over at my house. She looked at me and said “I think I’m going to join the Y. I want to work out”.
That’s it. Such a simple moment was about to change my whole life.
I decided to join the Y with her, although I’ll admit when I signed up I didn’t think I’d use the membership. I remember signing the check and thinking “Well, there goes another $60 a month wasted. I’ll never have time to do this”.
That first week I started working out, just walking with my Mom. I started taking back time in my day for ME. I noticed that the more I worked out, the better I felt. My anxiety levels lessened. I felt more “alive”. Working out felt good. I bought an Apple Watch to track my steps.
So because I actually wanted to work out I thought this was the perfect time to change my diet. I mean why do all that work and ruin it with a bunch of junk food?
Obviously I had no idea how to diet properly. I dieted 100 times before and it never worked. I had tried EVERYTHING – you name it I tried it. Weight Watchers, Nutri-System, Slim Fast, diet pills through doctors. Been there, done that. Obviously low calorie and low fat wasn’t working. I scanned the diets in my mind and really the only one I hadn’t tried was low carb.
I laughed when I even thought the words “low carb”.
ME on a low carb diet? Okay, I had officially lost my mind.
There was no way in hell I could go low carb, carbs were really all I ever ate. I love bread, pasta, pizza, sugar. No way I could do without it. In fact it’s all I ate.
Then it hit me.
It’s all I ate… CARBS ARE ALL I EAT.
Lightbulb went off! Could it be the carbs I’m eating that are the problem?
So on a whim I tried it. The first month I felt like crap. I craved sugar all the time. I felt really deprived. My body which had lived on carbs for so long was not happy with my choice and was fighting me back. Big time.
By the end of the first month I was ready to throw in the towel. I missed pizza, I grieved the loss of bread like a person grieves a recently deceased friend. Why was I doing this to myself?
But before I quit and celebrated with a large pizza, I decided to weigh myself.
I almost fell off the scale when I saw that I had lost 20 pounds. 20 pounds in 1 month?? How on earth did that happen?
That was all it took to hook me.
And thus I started my life as a Recovering Carbie. 3 years down, approximately 160 pounds lost and here I am. I went from someone with a death sentence to a person on a mission.
Low Carb went from a punishment to a lifestyle. Everything changed. Not just my body, but my mind, my family, EVERYTHING.
So why I am I sharing? Well, at first I wasn’t going to write about my journey. I mean come on, who wants to broadcast to the world that you have more than 100 pounds to lose. I didn’t even want to admit that to myself yet alone others.
But then again, how can you go through such a life altering journey that made you happy and healthy and not want to shout it from the rooftops?
I thought about pre-Mandi, Before-Mandi, Dread Weight Mandi… the Mandi who was truly scared about her weight and was so sure there was nothing she could do to fix it. Were there other “Before Mandi’s” out there? I kept thinking….I need to tell them about this!
I also got mad. Really pissed off. I felt like I had been lied to my whole life. I was eating fat. Eating calories. But I was losing weight. A lot of weight. How come no one told me this before? Diet food that I was told by the industry would help me lose weight was actually making me gain weight.
If I had only known earlier…
See here’s the thing about me, I don’t stand back and stay quiet when something makes me mad. So, I started this blog.
So if you are sitting there reading this at your “Dread Weight” please know that there is hope. There’s hope for everyone. I broke through about 30 years of food addiction and weight problems. IT CAN BE DONE.
Perhaps my journey isn’t going to be the journey that starts your life again, but maybe it is. Know, that I know what you feel, the hopelessness, the fear, the overwhelming “I can’t do this” ringing in your head.
But I promise you…you can DO this…whatever the THIS is that you choose.