“My life is about roller coaster weight gain—and loss.” Part 1 of new Weight Loss Diary

My life is about roller coaster weight gain—and loss.  Well, part of my life anyways, the part that is most visible.

I learned a long time ago that I am much, much more than my weight.

Throughout my teen years and early 20’s I was a size 12 or 14 sometimes a 10 depending on which diet I was on. And I thought I was fat then.

In 1994 when I met my first husband I was at an all-time adult low in terms of weight. About 140 pounds. And that was after losing about 15 with what was my latest diet effort.

In January of 1996 when I got married the first time I was about 160 pounds.

In August of 1996 when I moved to Philadelphia to go to school to be a physician assistant I was at an all-time high of 185 pounds. When I graduated top of my class in August of 1998 weighing less than 200 pounds was just a memory.

Pictures of me at that time and afterward become fewer—and I am hiding in most of them.

When my first husband and I split up, I was almost 250 pounds.  That was January of 2000.  In 6 years I had gained 110 pounds. It was a stressful six years and I ate my way through it.

Nine months pregnant I never reached this weight. Although I have come within a few pounds of it, I have never been at such a dangerous weight again. And I never will.

I lost about 20 pounds just being out of the toxic environment of my first marriage. No real effort.

And I was about 230 pounds in July of 2001 when I met my husband, Clayton.

July 2009 and I am at a number I can’t face. It is not back to 250 but I am close. It may have been looking at the pictures from a trip my husband I took to Maine (below left), that got me focusing again on what I had to do.

We returned to Maine in October of 2009 and I am smaller. Even fitter. I am doing the Couch to 5K program for the first time. But I have also started working nights.

Just after my 40th birthday in 2009 I ran in and finished the Turkey Trot 8K Thanksgiving Day race in Buffalo, New York. I didn’t run the whole thing. I had to walk some but it was my first race and I finished. I never finished the Couch to 5K program because this was the last time I had my sneakers on for months. I just stopped.

In December of 2010 I had a revelation. I had not been able to get pregnant after 3½ years of trying. My youngest child was 5 years old and I was 41. My husband is 5 years older than I. I was struck with the reality of aging badly.

I was 236 pounds when I started following the Weight Watchers Program online. I had an app on my iPod and then my iPhone which made it so convenient to track every morsel.

In March of 2011 I started the Couch to 5K program again. In June 2011 the results of my efforts started showing. I bought some smaller clothes. More importantly, I packed up the fat clothes and got rid of them. I had never done that before. In a lifetime of dieting I was always prepared to put it all back on again. Although I am fantasizing about breast reduction, it’s the only surgery for weight loss I have ever considered. In my years of medical practice, everyone puts it back on after gastric bypass. And where do you go from there?

Now I run in races with some regularity. I still cringe looking at photos of me, but I am more peaceful about it because I know that every day for the past 14 months I have been working toward my goal. My goal is healthy, not a number. Although I do confess that I will celebrate long and loud when I get under 200 again.But not with food. I have a yoga outfit all picked out from the Athleta catalog. That will be my reward.


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Melissa JulianoAbout Melissa Juliano
Melissa describes herself as "a work in progress". She's a 42-year-old mother of "2 smart and beautiful girls and married to [her] perfect partner". She practices medicine as a physician assistant in internal medicine/hospitalist medicine. She lives in a rural area of Pennsylvania. You can write to Melissa to help cheer her on and/or offer her advice and tips that worked for you at melissa@valerielatona.com.