My Fat Loss Story – How Bonny Got Heavy! (Part 1)
How I “Picked Up” the Weight – The Beginning
First off, let me just say that even though last year I dropped thirty plus pounds in a period of eight weeks, it was two months of my life that I’ll never forget, literally, because I wrote it all down. In fact, the following is a summarization of my actual journal entries that I kept during that time as a way to focus on the personal weight loss plan I set for myself.
As women, we all go through a lot in our lives that can affect our bodies, but no health subject for someone like me who is now in her mid-twenties is seemingly more important than my weight. It seems that way because it was all I could think about after I put on all of the pounds. I was so self-conscious because I knew that it could have been avoided, but I just let it happen.
I’m not a health nut or a personal trainer, so the only way that I feel that I can reach you if you are looking to lose unexpected pounds is to let you know the actual things that I went through. That way, you’ll know that I’m an ordinary person that simply had an unhealthy period who is now sharing her story to anyone who may be going through something similar, and who now wants to do something about their weight as well. If that person is you, read on.
One of the main things that I wrote about in my journal (as I now look back through its pages) is how I picked up all of the weight at that time. Some people make the assumption that going through a divorce would actually make a woman
weight, but I was the opposite.
I got pregnant with my son Greg (named him after my most favorite character in the television universe!!) when I was 25, by my high school sweetheart, Mark. We got married a little while after that, and after staying with me at my mother ’s house for a few months after my son was born, we finally moved out to our own place.
The little apartment we got was on the outskirts of Raleigh, N.C., where Mark was stationed. He decided to put off college for a while to go into the military since we had a child, and I was working at a retail store and studying at the State University.
My mom would babysit for me when she could, but when she was too tired, I had one or two friends that would help me out. Mark was always on the base, and we only got to see each other about two, maybe three days out of the week. But we were in love, and making the best of things.
Before we knew it years had went by; DaVante was almost six years old, my husband was ready to reenlist, and we were doing just fine.
I started picking up the weight shortly after Mark went on a long cruise with his command in the middle of his second enlistment. He was on shore duty during his first tour of duty at Norfolk Naval Station, but now he was going to a naval vessel and was required to be gone for six months.
I missed him so much that spring and summer of 2013, and was really lonely without him. We got on Skype and everything as much as we could, but it just wasn’t enough. I never was a person that exercised a whole a lot, and the last time that I did put on a little weight was after Greg was born. Mark said that he liked the way it looked on me, so I didn’t think much of it because he was satisfied, which brings me to my first lesson for you – don’t ever shape your body for anyone else…do it for yourself, your kids, and your future, not because of what a man thinks.
When he was gone I would eat out of loneliness most of the time. I mean, I wasn’t actually eating alone; I just ate more because it seemed to fill the void of him not being there. My girlfriends would go out with me to different restaurants and such, especially my girl Ginny.
Her boyfriend was in the military too, and but she didn’t have any kids and would usually be the one who helped me babysit when I had to work or study when my mom couldn’t. While Mark was gone, she was my ace. When he got back, she was also my shoulder to cry on.
I’d heard that Navy guys do unfaithful things on trips overseas the whole time he was gone by other military wives in my neighborhood (we lived in military housing), but I didn’t want to believe them. The nervousness of him cheating on me made me overeat almost every day.
By the time Mark got home in the middle of August 2013, I’d stopped working retail and gotten an office job, something that was more relating to my major of accounting. I wasn’t getting in a lot of movement every day anymore with the change from a more physically demanding job to doing almost exclusively office work, and by the fall when he stepped off the boat I was about 30 pounds heavier than when he’d left.
My husband didn’t say anything openly about me going from 135 to about 170 in the time he was overseas, but he would always make references to the women over there when he drank with his friends. I’d always hear him saying how the foreign ladies are always so slim and trim, then stereotype us American women with always being overweight.
I snuck in his Facebook account one night when he’d passed out after talking all evening out of his drunken mind during a kitchen card game with his shipmates, mostly about the women he’d seen on the cruise. What I saw in his messages shocked me. “Yes, I will marry you…” one of the Bulgarian women with a half-naked profile picture said. “Will you still fly me to the United States?”
The breakup was ugly, but I felt uglier. Here I was missing him so much for a half a year that I was eating myself to death, and he was over the ocean doing God knows what with God knows who, God knows where! I looked at myself in the mirror shortly after he moved out and decided that the weight was because of him, and I wanted it gone. It reminded me of his unfaithfulness, and I couldn’t have it on my body anymore.
Ready to Make a Change
All I kept thinking about were the pictures in Mark’s phone and on his Facebook page of various women from other countries, and how he viewed me now that I had picked up the weight. The worst part about it was, the women that he had met really
look good, and had amazing figures.
It wasn’t that I wanted him back or anything, but after the initial anger was over with I couldn’t help but keep thinking about how he kept stereotyping American women. I did some research, and as much as I hated to admit it, the drunk bastard was right.
We were over as a couple, but I was curious at that point and wanted to drop off the pounds so badly that I just had to see what the problem was with American eating habits, including mine.
I found out that the reason people here in the U.S. pick up so much weight is because most of the food we consume on a daily basis is processed. Many of us don’t realize that much of what we eat has been touched more by scientists than farmers, and that our bodies don’t naturally recognize these foods. That’s what makes us sometimes sick from eating them, and is almost
what makes us put on unexpected weight.
These type of pounds are so hard to shed being that our cells don’t readily recognize the boxed-from- the-factory food items, portions that some of the most expensive American eateries try to make look like gold by the time they are brought to you by a waiter.
The presentation may be attractive, but the chemicals and additives that allowed that food to stay edible for long periods of time before its cooked are what now have approximately 2 out of 3 Americans obese.
Eating out was one of my favorite pastimes with my girl Ginny, but that’s what put the pounds on me in the first place.
If I was going to drop that weight and do it before the holidays (Mark and I split about a month after he returned, about mid-September), then I was going to have to make some changes, and fast. I knew that I could have avoided putting on the pounds because it was just emotional eating mostly. I figured if I could get myself right mentally first, then I’d be okay.
I told myself that if I put on this weight, then I could surely take it off, and I only had about eight weeks until Thanksgiving to do it.
The last thing I wanted my family from out of town to see was me looking heavier, especially after the breakup. I wanted them to see the same me from last Thanksgiving, and I didn’t want any bodily signs that suggested depression or sadness to show. I have a lot of pride, and I knew when I set my mind to it I could do it. So, the week after Labor Day I started making the plan to change what I was eating.
Still curious about how the people from other countries looked so good, I started investigating recipes and eating trends. For example, I found out that whole foods that come from the earth are a frequent course in many Italian meals.
I fell in love with one dish that included many of my new favorites, such as grilled eggplant, fresh basil, and cooked red peppers, plus the noodles I used were complimented by authentic tomato sauce and chicken (instead of beef) meatballs.
One of the French meals (instead of French fries) that I found was a surprise to me, because in France the people are known to use a lot of cream and butter. But, the way they prepare fish like Salmon (which is one of my favorites) is very healthy.
I used the oven-steaming method one night, and prepared a nice broth for flavor. I remember when Ginny came in and smelled it when she was about to babysit DaVante for me. “Constance, that’s cold, girl,” she said initially. “You could have told me you were going to eat at Viola today. I would’ve sent for something.”
“I made it.”
My funny girlfriend started looking in the kitchen trashcan to see if there were takeout bags from the restaurant.
“You’re serious aren’t you?”
I showed her the healthy international cookbook that I’d gotten that past week, then opened the fridge and showed her all of the fresh chicken salads, juices, and other ingredients around the kitchen that I had bought.
“I’m gonna lose this ugly weight before Thanksgiving,”
“I decided if I couldn’t beat the foreign girls I might as well join them, at least with my eating habits. Besides, I haven’t used my kitchen that much all year, plus I don’t wanna keep feeding Greg fast food.”
When Ginny saw that I was for real about my new international fresh diet, she wanted to do it too. “This sounds like fun!” she said. By the time I got back home from class she had already put Devonte to sleep, and was in the kitchen fooling around with some of the recipes. “What smells like pineapples?” I asked as I dropped my back pack on the couch. “Dang! You beat me to it!”
Ginny had made her and my son the Thai sweet and sour chicken recipe with grilled pineapples and a side of rice. “I just couldn’t help myself,” she said. “There’s like no fat in this. I mean, you had everything I needed to make it – I’ve never seen your kitchen this stocked!
So, I grabbed the cookbook, asked Greg what he wanted, and he pointed to the chicken.”
“Thanks for watching him again tonight for me,” I said “So, if you’re cooking with me, I guess you’re gonna work out with me too…”
She gave me a long look. “You’re kidding, right?”
Letting Go Of Stress In My Life…
When I read that stress was a main cause of weight gain in women, I related to that stat immediately.
The last 90 days that Mark had been gone was when I started eating heavily because I was getting all of the speculative comments about how Navy husbands acted overseas.
And, according to my old journal, from the middle of June until he returned that’s mostly all I wrote about, how worried I was when he didn’t call me like he said he would, or Skype with me during our normally scheduled times. I had really looked forward to those moments, and it hurt when we didn’t talk.
I didn’t realize how stressed I really was during those times until I started reading over those journal entries now, after the fact.
Almost all of them have a sentence or two about myself, Ginny, and maybe one or two of the wives from the military housing neighborhood going out for food and drinks. Some of those ladies had it really bad with the alcohol.
Most of the time, my mother or a paid babysitter had Devonte on those days that I went out. I knew I had to drive to get him afterwards, so I didn’t drink. I’m not a huge fan of alcohol anyway, and even if I didn’t have to drive directly after going out with the girls I still had to get up early the next day for work, and I didn’t want to do it with a hangover.
Ginny, on the other hand, drank like a fish; I was usually the designated driver.
She promised not to when she babysat for me, but when we went out she made up for lost time!
One day after me and Mark’s breakup her and I sat and reminisced on good times that past summer, how much weight we’d both put on (her and I were about the same size, give or take a few pounds), and she uttered something that surprised me. “I think I’m gonna stop drinking, Constance,” she said.
I put my hand on her forehead jokingly like I was checking for a fever. “Are you alright?” I laughed.
“No, girl I’m for real,” she responded with a serious face. “My grades are slipping, and plus if we are really gonna do this diet I think it would help me. Alcohol has a lot of calories in it.”
“Yeah. Think about it like this: I drink about 5 or 6 shots when we go out, right? Well, there are about 100 calories in one. That’s 600. Then, on top of that, look how hungry alcohol makes me after a few hours. I mean, you’ve seen me on a pizza!”
“Oh yeah, I know!” I laughed. “But I used to help you finished them. I still don’t know how many calories were in those, and we ate slices from delivery like every other night when we didn’t go out. We’ve looked up everything else online that we used to eat…might as well find pizza too.”
Ginny and I would eat about half a pizza a piece, and what we found was that a slice had 330-350 calories. At ten slices a pie, five a piece, we were both eating about 1500 calories in one sitting! And, even though I didn’t have alcohol, I almost always drank soda.
It was nothing for me to finish most of a two liter in an evening, so that was about 800 more calories. I remember thinking that Ginny had been sometimes drinking soda mixed in with her alcohol, too. But I didn’t want to make her feel worse, so I didn’t bring up that calorie count right then.
Now that my ex was gone out of the house, I actually felt like the stress was steadily dissipating a little more each day. The biggest thing was I didn’t want Greg seeing us argue, and that seems like all we did about a week after he got back. He was drinking so much.
That’s another reason why I am turned off to alcohol, other than how fattening it is. I don’t want to act like that around my son, ever. All that being said, my biggest stressor, Mark, was gone.
Simply being a single mother who works and goes to school was also stressing me to the max, so I started taking most of my classes online like Ginny.
On the nights my buddy (who is a business major) babysat, she would actually do a good bit of her coursework at my house online while I drove all the way to the campus after work.
After getting off from the office, that really was the last thing I wanted to do three nights a week, especially in Norfolk’s end-of-the-day military base and college campus traffic, being that there are so many of each of them in the area. So, I took a tip from her and studied at home as much as I could. It was a major stress reliever, and I got to be near my son more.
He is such a quiet boy and lets me study, plus Ginny would still come over like she did during the times that she’d usually babysit, just to keep me company.
My job wasn’t so stressful. I mean, I worked in the accounting department and there really wasn’t that much gossip and things of that nature going on like there was at the retail store. When I worked there, I was really stressed.
One of the entries written in my journal from shortly after Mark left (in the couple of months when I still worked there before landing my current job) said “If this chick says anything to me tomorrow, I swear I’m gonna slap her…”
I’d been writing in my journal around that time about a supervisor who was so lazy that it makes me wonder how she ever got promoted. I did everything – cleaned the stock room, unloaded trucks, handled customers, everything. She, on the other hand, would leave the store for hours at a time, even when we were short-handed.
The only good thing about the retail store was I would get a lot of exercise, something that I needed to get into a routine of doing now that I wanted to drop 30 pounds and was working at a desk for most of the day. I’d been eating right for about a week at the time, but now it was time to kick my diet into physical motion.
Focusing on my Goal
I wanted to go to the gym in the beginning, and the most convenient ones were right there on the base. So, that’s what I did. I decided to start off slowly and go three days a week the first week, then up it to four days from the second week on.
Ginny said that was fine with her, so that’s what we did. We met at around 4 each afternoon and stayed until 5:30 or so, taking long intervals between machines. It seemed so time consuming being that we still had to study when we left there, but we felt that the time was worth it.
The first week was fine up until the third day we went in for our workout, when I saw someone that I didn’t want to see.
As Ginny and I were coming out of the locker room I spotted Mark across the gym talking to a bimbo in tight workout gear that was obviously worn to attract any available man there. She was barely even sweating, just trying to look cute. Ginny saw the fire in my eyes, and stopped me. “Let’s just do what we came to do, okay?” she said.
I couldn’t stay. I just walked out of the gym and didn’t go back. That was the day I went home and scarfed down a cheeseburger, almost abandoning my diet. The next day Ginny and I sat at her place and
talked about it. She said that she supported me with the workouts, but that I had to be more realistic, and that I was insane to think that I could lose thirty pounds in two months. Then a cosmic coincidence happened.
The very moment she said that my goal was crazy, the Insanity Workout video commercial came on. “Oh, hell no,” she said when she saw my eyes light up at the television screen. “I love you, but I’m not doing that.”
I called the number, and in a few days the video came and we were both at my apartment sweating up a storm. We hit the shower afterwards and crashed in my living room. “I can’t believe I let you talk me into this,” Ginny said after our first workout. “I feel like I’m about to pass out.”
“It’s the only way to jump start our bodies,” I said, wore out from the vigorous 45-minutes. I put a picture up of myself on the shelf above the television that showed how I looked at the beginning of the year. “This is how I am going to look in November. You coming back tomorrow?”
When I woke up I was sore, but I stretched out and went along with my day. I called Ginny and she said that I must be really crazy if I thought she was going to do that again as sore as she was.
So, I went over to her house, knocked on the door, and waited. She opened it and looked like she wanted to cry. “Don’t make me do it, please!” she said.
“Fine,” I said. “But I am doing it right here.” I popped in the DVD and she sat and watched me for about ten minutes before laughing and joining in when she saw how I was struggling from the soreness. “I can’t let you do it by yourself, fat girl!” she laughed.
One of the things that helped me lose the weight was just having a friend with me. I was actually going to do it alone, but having Ginny there during the workouts was awesome, and kept me motivated.
After about a week or so, I wrote in my journal that the soreness was going away, and that I felt that the workout was helping a lot. The program was building muscle and burning fat, and I felt great. Before I knew it I’d lost 5 pounds in ten days, and was right on schedule.
She and I still kept to the international meals that were fun to cook, but during the times we didn’t feel up to preparing them (especially during those initial workouts, when we were sometimes too tired to even stand) we just made deli sandwiches and drank Gatorade, fruit juice, or water.
We supported one another during the whole ordeal, and our routine became second nature after a while. My son Devonte would cheer us on in the living room, and that gave me all the extra motivation that I needed during the crazy workouts.
I felt my energy level skyrocket in the next couple of weeks. I felt more alert, focused, and motivated than I had in the previous few months. I actually began to look forward to the workout every day, and so did Ginny.
We kept challenging one another. The hardest thing for me to do, for example, were the pushups. The day that I did the entire set I wrote in my journal that we just hugged each other. Then we laughed. The emotion was coming out of us because we knew that we were actually making progress, and every time we marked another day off the calendar was like an accomplishment.
We constantly monitored our weight, and kept talking about the calories in the food that we were eating. We burned close to from 800-900 calories in an hour according to the workout demo, and it felt like it.
We started making our meal before the workout, kind of like an incentive to finish the exercises each day. The key was to stick to the eating plan so that our weight would continue to go down as scheduled.
And it did.
Ginny cried on week four when she had lost 17 pounds, two more than she expected for that time frame. I was right at 15, and knew that if we kept on the pace we were headed we may even exceed our goal come mid-November.