WHO: Jamieson Wolf, writer and office worker
By The Numbers: 310 at my heaviest, currently 170, for a total weight loss of 140 pounds
The Weight Gain: I had always been a big kid and was often teased for being overweight. I remember one time in junior high when a fellow classmate was telling people whether they were fat or thin by placing her hand on their stomachs. She didn't even look at me before she said "fat."
My weight gain started when my marriage to my ex-husband wasn't working. He ate big meals: half a plate of meat, a quarter filled with veggies dripping in butter and instant potatoes or noodles.
It also didn't help that the relationship had become poisonous over time. I told myself that I was eating because I was happy. The truth was that I was trying to fill my sadness with food. It didn't matter what it was: chocolate, chips, candy. Portion size was a problem, too. I was eating two to three times what a person should eat at a meal.
The Final Straw: Things really came to a head for me in 2010 when I was trying on dress pants in an Old Navy changing room. I hadn't been on a scale since the last horror show. I kept asking my ex-husband to bring me bigger and bigger sizes: 34's didn't fit, neither did the 36's or the 38's. Finally, at a waist size of 48, did the pants fit me properly.
I felt pathetic and bereft. I stood there in that dressing room and wondered how it was big enough to have me inside of it. I hated myself then, hated everything about me. When I came out of the dressing room, I felt as if everyone was staring at me and how big I was.
Society places so much importance on how you look, never stopping to think that the person probably hates themselves anyway; I sure did.
Story Continues Below. Check out pictures of Jamieson before and after, and more of our inspiring weight loss stories:
The Plan Of Attack: I started by eating smaller portion sizes and watching what I ate. I also started eating more vegetables and healthier snack foods.
I even did the impossible: I cut back on sweets and chocolate. I didn't cut them out entirely, but instead had pieces of chocolate when before, I would have finished off a whole bar or bag in one sitting. I cut out pop and switched to diet pop and juice. I stopped eating chips and cut out dessert.
I was doing well until my ex-husband cut me out. He asked for a separation and then a divorce. At the time, I thought that my life was over. Little did I know that it was just beginning again. I started going out again with friends and family. I started trying to get to know myself again, the one that was hidden inside that badly wanted to come out.
The Food Element: I started really watching what I ate. I started trying to cut back on the amount of carbs I ate, making sure to have no more than 60 to 110 grams of carbs per meal. I started to eat even healthier food, adding salads and more vegetables and fruit to my diet. Eventually I gave up pop, chips, most chocolate and ice cream.
Then, last year, the unthinkable happened. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I spent the first month bedridden and unable to walk very well. I lost a bit of weight, but vowed to keep it off as I regained my sense of self and the use of my body. I had to make even more serious changes to my health and my diet in order to stay healthy. My body was a temple again, but it was a fragile one. Now more than ever, it was important to live as healthy as I could.
The first thing I did was quit smoking. Then I made another diet change. I adopted a mostly paleo diet consisting of meat for protein (chicken, fish, red meat) and salads with lots of leafy greens and vegetables. I stopped eating out so often and made food at home. I made sure to limit my candy and sweet intake and even cut out dairy products. Giving up cream in my morning coffee was the worst. I also cut out diet pop sweetened with aspartame.
The Exercise Factor: I also started to exercise more. First going on walks instead of just sitting at the office. I began to walk whenever I could, first with my cane when I was getting back to work, then without it as I continued to get stronger.
I got a personal consultation with certified kinesiologist, exercise physiologist and trainer Sarah Zahab in Ottawa. She designed a workout I can do with my MS.
The Current Day-To-Day: I stepped on a scale for the first time since 2009 this year. I hadn't weighed myself since then but knew I had lost weight. I finally wanted to find out how much. I stepped on that scale and kept my eyes closed until I was sure if had stopped moving. Then I opened my eyes and looked at the number. The scale read 180.
I stepped off and stepped back on, just to make sure I had read that right. I had lost a total of 120 pounds. That's practically a whole person! I'm not ashamed to say that I did a little happy dance in the bathroom then.
It had taken me five years to do it through eating right and through exercise and having something make me stop and take notice of my body. I've rebuilt the temple that is my body, stone by stone. Now it is no longer crumbling. Instead, it is more whole than it has ever been.
I can finally look at myself and love every bit of me, even the imperfections that remain. I love all of myself, and that's an awesome thing indeed.
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