"How long did it take?"
Why does it make me sad to tell you that it's been a 4+ year journey? Because I'm afraid that people are going to be discouraged when they hear that my transformation wasn't an overnight experience. With so many shakes, pills, wraps and supplements boasting quick results and weight loss surgery being easily accessible these days I feel like we've come to expect that weight loss shouldn't take time. To be fair weight loss surgery is a huge commitment and I definitely don't believe it's "the easy way out" and some of those programs DO offer quick results and I've seen some dramatic and quick transformations! But, weight loss surgery was not for me and I'm nervous about supplements and what effect they might have on my body down the line; some of the shake programs out there are relatively healthy (I suppose) but I know myself and I know that no matter how good it tastes or how nutrient packed it is there is no substitute for me to actually chewing my food.
For me weight loss was about changing my lifestyle and that means making changes I can commit too for the rest of my life. Of course there are going to be slips and gains and bumps along the way but that's to be expected with any program. I still feel like despite the setbacks Weight Watchers is the best program for me because 1) it's been around FOREVER so I know it's not going anywhere 2) if for some terrible, horrendous reason (I shudder to even THINK about it!) they DID go out of business I don't depend on the company to supply me with food so I can continue to be successful by eating real food from my local grocery store even if they're not around 3) nothing is off limits so I can live my life and still lose weight. I don't have to avoid social situations or certain food groups to lose weight and live a healthier life. I don't have to be miserable or hungry to lose weight!
However, because of the flexibility Weight Watchers allows me it has taken me a little longer than most people. I've learned by trial and error how to make this program work for me. I've learned by overeating how not to overeat, I've learned by restricting how restricting leads to binging and I've learned that binging makes me feel horrendous and it's not a reward for surviving the week. I've thrown myself 110% into the game and worked my ass off for a week and then slacked for a month only to go full steam ahead again for 2 days and then fall off the wagon for 6 months. I've made a ton of mistakes but I've learned so much from them! Without going to opposite extremes I wouldn't have found my middle ground, the place where things are slightly challenging but super rewarding and really comfortable. I'm not encouraging people to go crazy and begin yo-yoing between binging and restricting, I'm just saying that because I did that I learned how NOT to. Because I was sooooo unhealthy I learned to be healthy. It wasn't intentional, it's just what happened.
*when I say restricting I don't mean starving myself or binging and purging. I mean cutting out certain foods or food groups or seriously limiting them. For example I'd eat no carbs or very, very few carbs or I'd eat super low fat thinking this was smart. Obviously that's not smart and I do NOT encourage anyone to do that!!!
It's been 4.5 years of learning so much about myself and building a foundation that is like a goddamn bunker. When I'm finally ready to move into the house I'm building for myself I'll know that nothing is going to tear it down. No mudslide, hurricane, earthquake or even volcanic eruption will destroy my house because it is built with my blood, sweat and tears. I've poured my heart and soul into my weight loss journey, I've learned so much and I'm stronger than I ever could've been if I did things differently. So please hear 4.5 years and be inspired and encouraged instead of let down or disappointed. I lived a very unhealthy lifestyle for 24 years; I was morbidly obese throughout my entire childhood; I never understood how to eat healthy and I didn't think I could change my life this way but I am changing! I am living this life I thought was impossible and I'm doing it 110% naturally!
Other people might get to their destination faster; I've heard of a lot of people dropping 100 pounds or more in less than a year and YES that appeals to me!! Who doesn't want instant gratification? But for me STAYING at goal is far more important than GETTING to goal and I'm OK with getting there slower if it means staying there longer.
So when you get overwhelmed and you ask people you know for motivation and inspiration don't dismiss their story because it didn't happen overnight. Don't write someone off when they share their struggles honestly because if you do you won't hear about their triumph and the way they overcame the odds. And don't quit before you start because it's going to take too long!! Take it one pound at a time and you will achieve so much more than weight loss.