Hey! I’m Jen and I am a NYC gal who has lost over 100 pounds. My story goes from 21 years of being overweight… to losing 100 pounds in a year… to becoming underweight and developing a very disordered relationship with food and exercising… to binge eating and re-gaining 30 pounds… to somewhere in semi-balanced land. Here’s my whole story if you’re interested! I hope you’ll stick around and read about my love for food, running, teaching Spin, and being really lazy all in NYC.
In my former life, I was addicted to chicken wings, chinese food, and basically anything that wasn’t nailed down. Exercise? Uhh.. if walking up the stairs to my apartment counted… I did next to NOTHING active for the first 21 years of my life.
At the end of the summer of 2009, I could no longer stand being in my own skin and started to make extremely small changes. It was literally as small as removing half of the bun from my Mcdonald’s cheeseburger at lunch, or drinking a diet soda instead of a regular. I also started to walk just 15-20 minutes a day, building it up slowly to an hour a day. I built this in to my day by walking to and from work, which at the time was feasible for me to do. Within a few months, I had lost 40 pounds.
Just looking at that picture makes me remember how PROUD I felt!
Over the next few weeks I went away to my first semester at college (I had been taking online classes but decided to do a semester away) and slacked off on the diet changes a bit. I was still eating MUCH less than my old days, but I only lost about 10 pounds over those few months. I was still walking every day and did a short 20 minute circuit as part of my gym credit 3 times a week. I knew I wasn’t giving it my all over those months but once that semester was over, I buckled down and set out to lose the last 50 pounds. I started tracking my calories on MyFitnessPal and took it VERY seriously. Up until then I had not counted calories before, but this showed me results right away. Not knowing anything about calories themselves, I kept my calorie goal at 1,200 a day as that was what MyFitnessPal’s setting was for losing 2 pounds per week. 20 more pounds more or less fell off of me in a matter of a month and a half, and my motivation was through the roof!
I walked SO much that summer. Most days I was walking a minimum of 5 miles, up to 10! I definitely was addicted to how it made me feel, and I continued to remain very strict with not eating more than 1,200 calories… and at that time it seemed to be fine for my body.
I had lost 90 pounds… why not go to the beach to celebrate?!
Looking back, this is where I should have stopped. I looked amazing, right?! I hadn’t started running yet, and when I did that knocked those other 10 pounds off. And then I just kept going, still eating a measly 1,200 calories. For reference, at this size I weighed 165 pounds. Just goes to show you that you really never know someones weight!
This is about the time I started to feel a little trapped. I should have sought out some guidance about maintenance, but I still thought I needed to lose more. Looking back, I know that this time period was when my weight and counting calories/exercising obsessively became an addiction and took over my life.
That silly picture above is to show you my hair. I have always had thick wavy hair and when I started to get this thin it became thin along with it; along with balding at the top which you can see in this picture. But everyone I saw told me how amazing I looked, and no one but my family told me I was getting too thin. The scale showed 150 pounds, that isn’t skinny! Or so I thought.
My boyfriend and I moved to NYC in March of 2011, when I was deeply immersed in my eating disorder that I didn’t know I even had, and things started to get better. I was around people who loved fitness for being FIT, not just to be as skinny as possible. I was running a lot because I really loved it, and started to incorporate some weight training to build some muscle. I quickly went from skinny to muscles in just a few short weeks thanks to Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred!
Right? I felt confident and great for about a month until the obsession with exercising more and more came over me. I was walking close to 5 miles a day just to work and back (I would purposely walk there) plus a 5 mile run before work, and either a Zumba class or Jillian Michaels at night. Still eating no more than 1,300-1,500 calories a day, my body wasn’t changing any longer but I hadn’t had my period in months. I had no idea this was abnormal and actually felt excited about it. It was a constant struggle every day to be so strict and it put a serious damper on my relationships with my boyfriend, friends and family. EVERYTHING was about my diet and workouts. I remember being so upset, wondering how I could possibly sustain that forever. I felt I had no other choice to continue though, because gaining weight was not in the cards for me.
The night it all changed for me was what was supposed to be a very exciting night for me. It was my first time being in NYC for fashion week, and my friends and I were going to scope out Rachel Zoe who I love! We got all dressed up and for once I wasn’t worried about working it around my diet. We had an amazing time, met my idol PLUS Kelly Cutrone (I died) and then stopped to get some food a little late on the way home. This was so out of my strict regimen of not eating out during the week that I didn’t know what to do. We went to a small little mexican place where I could have easily eaten a healthy salad OR a burrito and been fine, but I chose the burrito and from that night on I lost control. I wish that it just made me open my eyes to the fact that I COULD loosen up and relax about what I ate so that I could enjoy life and be healthy at the same time. I started to binge eat multiple times a week at night, feeling SO scared and out of control. It started out just once or twice a week, and then my workouts started to suffer. Within a month I had put on at LEAST 10 pounds, but I stopped weighing myself so I was never sure. My clothes were so uncomfortable, the weight came on fast and it went directly to the areas that it still clings to these days 😉 Inner thighs, stomach, and backs of my arms.
Don’t get me wrong; I know I still look healthy and fabulous in the 2nd picture! My hair was fuller and I started my period again. I was still working out a lot but the binge eating was really scary and made me feel sick all the time. This was around the time I started to get that under control, but the too-often overeating lasted.
2012 and 2013 were extremely rough years for me. I lost my grandma in February 2012 and I have been struggling with depression since. So many things have happened in my personal and family life over these last 2 years that would make ANYONE depressed and question everything. The strength I have to get through all of this is thanks to exercise. 2013 was an amazing year of running for me. It’s not JUST something to stay in shape or to eat a ton (but let’s be real, that’s the biggest perk) but I have learned more about myself and what kind of strength I have through exercise. Through pushing past the pain of mile 10 in a half marathon. Through giving my all on 30 second sprints on the last song of teaching a spin class, for the 2nd time that day. Through busting out 10 real push-ups in a row.
I know that I can be more toned and thinner if I would cut out my cheese-less pizza obsession, almond croissants or chocolate, but I am an athlete regardless of how jiggly my triceps are at the moment. I am MORE than that. I am also (still) learning how to really live life while being as healthy as I can be, and that changes every day! Some days all I want are vegetables and all things healthy, and other days I want an almond croissant for breakfast and french fries for lunch… and dinner. The most important thing for me is to stay active and learn to listen to myself, and to be a role model of progress not perfection.
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org