|That's me on the right. Taken in summer 2010.|
|The photo that inspired my healthy journey. November 2010.|
|From January 2009|
I am still hoping to do more "official" after pictures but I couldn't do a testimonial without some photo proof!
When I started my Medifast journey in January, I was skeptical. Let's face it, I had been working another program on and off for 6+ years seeing varied levels of success and was basically ready to accept that a 188 pound Joanne is who I was supposed to be. Medifast promised results. I was skeptical.
I have always had issues with my weight dating all the way back to 10 years old when I "developed" faster than the other girls. The truth is that 10 year old boys don't find curves sexy and the other girls don't envy you for them. They call you fat. Enduring nicknames from the boys such as "thunder thighs", I developed a thick skin. Involved in sports, I was able to keep my weight somewhat in check throughout middle school and high school; however, the college freshman 15 hit me hard. Fairly mortified, when I moved back home halfway through my freshman year, I took my health seriously. I took a tennis class and started working out regularly at the community center. When it got warm out, I started inline skating with a girlfriend nearly every day. I was a lean 135 pounds heading into my sophomore and junior years of college. I was grateful to have landed a job working at the front desk at Life Time Fitness my last couple years in college and to me, being fit was an important part of the health club image that I wanted to live up to.
I then entered the workforce and my first career job as an IT Recruiter required a LOT of lunches with clients and consultants on a nearly daily basis. Not taking into account the effect it would have on my body, I steadily gained weight throughout the year I was at that horrifically stressful job and found myself up from 135 in college to 179. Yikes. I even had a boyfriend dump me because of my weight gain. Back to fighting the weight battle. I was able to get down to about 165 and hung out at that weight for a good couple years and that was the weight I was at when I met my now husband. Low and behold... I gained what I like to refer to as "relationship weight." You know, the weight you gain when you start dating someone because 1) You eat out all the time and 2) You don't care as much anymore because you landed "the guy". When we got engaged, my weight had soared to 185 lbs. I joined Weight Watchers but was afraid to lose weight in fear of not fitting into my dress and having to make costly alterations because of weight loss. So, I focused on toning up, doing pilates and making healthy choices and holding my weight steady.
Married and blissful, we wasted no time in starting a family. I got pregnant 5 months into trying and sadly miscarried. Devastated, I began a steady weight climb thanks to emotional eating mingled with fertility treatments. By 2007, I was at 211 pounds and SHOCKED at my weight and mortified at the pictures of me at my sister's wedding. I rejoined Weight Watchers online and was able to lose around 15 pounds before I got the joyous news (after 2.5 years of zero luck): I was pregnant! Too sick to eat most of the time, I didn't start gaining weight until well into my 20+ weeks of pregnancy where I put on a startling 30 pounds in the final half of my pregnancy. The day after I gave birth to Jackson, my weight was 240 pounds. Now, I know... you can't really count the day after giving birth as I was pumped with IV fluids and medications. I was down 20 of those pounds within no more than 3 weeks. It was a slow go of weight loss after that. Exhausted and suffering from postpartum depression, I honestly didn't care about my weight. I didn't care what anyone thought. I kind of just wanted to sleep. All the time.
My brother got married in November 2010 and I had lost very little weight for his wedding. When I saw the pictures, I about died. Was that me? Those pictures are going to be on Facebook forever. Ugh. My weight still high at 211 pounds was a wakeup call. I rejoined Weight Watchers (do you see a pattern here??) but this time I got a Monthly Pass and started to attend meetings. You can read more about my initial inspiration here. It took 6 months, but I was able to lose 20 pounds on Weight Watchers. But 6 months after that... I had still only lost 20 pounds and to say I was frustrated is an understatement. I'm sure there were many reasons for my stall: lack of portion control, too many carbs, hormone therapy but most of them really just felt like excuses. I had been following a gal named Erica on Twitter and she had been losing a massive amount of weight on the Medifast plan. I was more than a little jealous of her success at first and of course, Weight Watchers blasts all of "those" programs. But, Weight Watchers was no longer working. Let's face it, a 6 month plateau isn't really a plateau is it?
Medifast promised results. I was skeptical, but willing to give it a solid try. Starting my Medifast journey at 188.3 pounds, I put down the money and made the commitment. The first week, I lost 7 pounds. 7 POUNDS! I knew that wouldn't happen every week, but I also knew after just one week that this was a plan that was going to work. My losses slowed down to an average of 2 pounds a week (totally healthy weight loss by any program standards). Although I didn't make my goal weight loss of 38 pounds by my original goal date of April 11, I wasn't far and for the first time EVER on a weight loss plan, I knew that I would make it. The last 10 pounds were a bear, they didn't want to let go but I persisted and WON.
Throughout the program, as I kept getting smaller, it was kind of surreal. These little milestones like losing 15, 20 and 25 pounds went by so quickly that I didn't even have a moment to celebrate them. My celebrations have been kind of ongoing: replacing my entire wardrobe, running 3 miles a pop without falling in a heap of sheer exhaustion, WANTING to have my picture taken and enjoying eating healthy (as in, grilled zucchini is the BEST THING EVER). Probably the craziest part of all of this? My husband has never seen me this small. I can tell he's checking me out and I know he's proud. My Medifast journey has inspired him as well. Even though he is not doing Medifast, he has committed to taking his own healthy journey and his habits will help carry me through my transition and maintenance. I am kind of hoping he'll ask me to marry him again so we can renew our vows as the new and improved US.
I will shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE MEDIFAST. I would love to tell you that it has been easy, but that is not true. I have been tempted. I have even fallen off the wagon. The support I get from my Medifast counselors on a weekly basis has been the key to getting me to my goal weight. Yes, they scolded me for my discretions but we moved on and worked on finding ways to helping me through those challenging moments rather than dwell on mistakes that were made. They never stopped believing it was possible for me.
I have received a lot of flak for joining this program.
* It's not a "real" weight loss program and is unhealthy
* I'm just going to gain the weight back when I start eating real food again
* I did something similar once and gained the weight back. You will too.
It shocks me how unsupportive people can be but it is also eye opening- some of these comments came from people I know very well. They are basically saying that I will fall back into my usual patterns and gain weight again. They were simply calling my bluff.
I am counting on Medifast to be there for me through my transition and maintenance. Despite my desire to jump head first off the wagon into a juicy pile of hamburgers and french fries, I know that is no longer my reality. Part of my resolution, starting back in 2011, was to lose the weight and keep it off for good this time. Medifast is giving me the tools I need to succeed; however, it is up to me to make sure I use them.
I want to prove everyone wrong.
I am either donating or selling all of my "big" clothing so there won't be anything to wear if I gain weight. My husband is embarking on this journey with me and I am counting on him to help me stay accountable. I will need to journal. I will need to continue eating healthy. Medifast was my catalyst to get me to the weight I need to be at and it is up to me to keep it there. I'm not a fool- I know it will take hard work and determination but I am ready for the challenge. I have no excuses to not lead a healthy lifestyle- I want to be around for my son for a long time to come and I will do anything to make that happen. Frankly, I don't want to ever see 240 pounds again.
It's not all about the weight. In November 2011, I went in for a general physical with my GP (my weight was around 190 at this time). Here were my numbers back then:
Here they are NOW:
HDL: 46 (this is the good cholesterol- you want this number to be higher)
To say I am thrilled with these numbers is an understatement. It is a total testimonial to the importance of weight loss and a healthy diet.
Need proof? It's in my numbers.
Could I have really lost 90 pounds over the last 3.5 years? Yes, I did. While I did a great deal of it on my own and with the help of Weight Watchers to get me started, Medifast helped me get rid of the last 40 that I wasn't sure would ever go away. I am so thankful that I found them and didn't give up. I am thankful they weren't the gimmick that everyone thought them to be.
I am no longer staring at a light at the end of the tunnel. I am outside in the light and it is bliss.