friendship

"How achieving my dream weight made me unhappy."

One of the most eye opening weight loss stories ever.

I was always the chubby kid. I had a difficult childhood and I only learned to use food in ways that were unrelated to hunger. I ate for fun, for comfort or out of boredom.

When I turned 20 and realised that I weighed 121 kilos, I decided I had to change. I was prepared for a big number, but 121 kilos was startling because it was so heavy. Having known that I’d only ever gained weight up until that point, I could just see that I would eventually be 150 kilos and it would never stop.

I just knew at that moment that it was now or never.

I set a dream weight loss of 63 kilos. At first, I just started trying to eat healthier on my own. I cut way, way back on all the sweets, I stopped drinking soft drink, I made a real effort to eat a lot more fruits and vegetables. I joined Weight Watchers for about five months and really enjoyed the way it helped me to get a handle on serving sizes and portions and taught me about nutrition.

It was hard, but I achieved my dream weight loss.

Andie, before and after.

I finished the rest of the weight loss on my own. I just kept the calorie counting, which I really liked. I’m a numbers person and I also really liked that sometimes a calorie is just a calorie.

I jogged probably six days a week. Running was something that I never thought I’d be able to do because it was always such torture, but it was something that I really got into.

It took 13 months. I thought there was a finish line at some point, but there’s no finish line. It’s been almost 10 years now since I’ve lost the weight and learning to maintain is its own journey.

After I slimmed down, it was a really hard process for me to get acclimated to my body and figure out, OK, so this is a new normal, and to try to find a way of eating for the long term.
At her heaviest in 2005, Andie weighed 120 kilos.

I thought problems that had existed in my life would be better once I lost weight, but I was still the same person. I had the same fears, the same hang-ups about myself, and life was still coming with its own challenges. Now I couldn’t turn back to food, which had always been my comfort.

I had to recognise I won’t be able to emotionally eat for the rest of my life if I want to maintain a healthy body. Coming to terms with that was kind of like grieving and that was really hard. I had to find ways to fill my time or things to do, like going out with friends more, in order to feel OK without food. Writing became a big thing for me.

I also felt this pressure because I just became more visible to everybody. I felt like more people were aware that I lost weight and I didn’t want to fail them. I didn’t want to fail myself.

It felt nice to receive attention and to be thought of as attractive. But at the same time, I realised I’ve only changed this one part of my physical being and that’s getting me all of this praise. That’s very sad; it’s a sad truth of our society.

I felt a lot of anxiety about food and I was just so scared that eating anything beyond what I had set as my calorie range.

Andie after her dramatic weight loss.

Therapy helped for a bit. I also met with a nutritionist who really encouraged me to learn to re-integrate slowly the foods that I once loved.

I feel good now and I weigh 68 kilos. I eat healthy during the week and then maybe go out to eat on the weekends, or get a great dessert or bake something that I love. I don’t count calories anymore. I really believe in everything in moderation. I never wanted to stay in some sort of dieting mode or cut out food groups.

For exercise, I love walking. Being in New York City, I walk everywhere. I weigh myself once a week.

My advice to people is to become more aware of serving sizes. What is a serving of chicken? What does a cup of grains look like? What are servings of your favourite foods? That was eye-opening for me. I never knew any of that.

You really have to take it one day at a time and just do your best. It makes everything easier and more optimistic.

Have you experienced a dramatic body transformation, how did you feel afterwards?

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