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My name is Kim and I am 33 years old. I have many titles but my proudest are wife and mother. I live in north central Massachusetts, in the city that I was born and raised in. I was brought up with a strong sense of family and friendship and these are the things that I value most in my life.
I suppose, because I never really understood the value of good nutrition, that my weight problem started when I was a child....and only grew worse through adolescence. I was always active which kept me thinner during a few brief moments during those years anyway. But, after I met my husband at 17, we fell into the 'comfy couples syndrome'.....and even more poor habits. That's when the weight really started coming on. Over the next ten years we experienced some of life's greatest joys, including the birth of our children, as well as some of the deepest heartache life has to offer. All of these things, good and bad, impacted my weight. In a sense, I guess the focus came so much off of me and that, combined with all of the poor behaviors, led me on a path of self-destruction.
So here I was, just 27 years old.....and over 350 pounds now, not having the energy to do much of anything. My joints ached when I moved...and I had to avoid going places for fear I wouldn't fit. I could barely sit behind the wheel of my car...or get up and down the stairs. I didn't have a lap for my kids to sit on and they couldn't get their arms around me. I was kept from doing many of the things that I enjoyed because of my size and had to resort mostly to mail order catalogs just to get clothes that fit. I was well aware that I was extremely overweight...and knew what that meant for my health. I could already feel the damage I was doing...and it was confirmed in my bloodwork. I would look in the mirror and wonder how I got that big....I also wondered how I would ever lose so much weight. I always 'planned' to do something about it....but it was overwhelming even to think about having to lose over 200 pounds. Although I considered myself a happy person....I honestly had no idea how much happier I really could be.
I had tried to lose weight before.....I had even been a Weight Watcher, but never really followed the program as it was intended. I had what we call 'free days' where I would eat everything in sight simply because I had just been weighed....and I focused much more on what the scale was saying each week instead of the positive changes I was making each and every day. This all catches up to you...and the scale.....here is where I lost my motivation and fell right back into old behaviors. I had lost 50, and even 80 pounds at one point in my life.....only to gain it, as well as another 100 or so pounds back!! The way society conditions us regarding weight loss, while stuffing fast food down our throat, didn't help matters much either. We are taught that by simply eating less and moving more we lose weight...and that is not all it takes. I think, in my case anyway, it had alot more to do with what I wasn't eating. There was alot for me to learn, and alot for me to change. Weight Watchers offered the tools to help me, as well as the support....but ultimately it was all up to me.
Because of my mothers success of having lost 40 pounds and keeping it off for 10 years, as well as the success of others I am close to.... I understood that it was more about learning to make choices that work for you and your lifestyle...and that in order to achieve long term success, these changes would have to become a permanent part of my life, which meant I would have to find ways to make choices I was happy with. I had to be ready to make the changes.....and I had to learn how to treat myself as well as I would my best friend, ecspecially during those times I wasn't so perfect.......not such a simple task. I knew it wouldn't happen overnight and I also understood there would be times I didn't have as much motivation. I started keeping a weight loss journal my very first night at WW. Over time this taught me alot about myself...and alot about my eating patterns. It is also useful when I am feeling overwhelmed and can look back at how far i've come.
My first week I lost 13 pounds and that, of course, motivated me to stay on the right path. I rewarded myself with things other than food for when I did well and when I didn't, I learned to get over it. Each of the milestones meant so much to me.....25, 50, 75....but I really took it 5 pounds at a time. I continued to lose very quickly and after just 7 months on the program I was down 100 pounds! Although I was moving alot more, and walking some.... it was around this time I decided to really get serious about exercise. I walked more and more each day and found ways to get my body to move more....even if it was just an extra step or bend here and there. I found that my body would get used to me eating a certain way, or doing the same exercises, so I had to learn how to 'shake-it-up' a bit in order to continue to lose well. After just 2 years I was down 160 pounds!
Never had I imagined just how much this would change my life. To have so much energy.....to be able to breathe.....to be able to move......to WANT to move. I was no longer just existing to get through each day.........I was now living my life. I felt on top of the world....like there was nothing I couldn't do....even with over 40 pounds left to lose. To have control over your own life and to have the power to believe in yourself is truly priceless.
It was around this time that we suffered the loss of my father, who was just 51. We are a very close family and he worked hard to stay in shape so this was quite a shock. He was also the greatest supporter of my efforts to lose weight. Although I knew this well......this is also the time I started slipping back into some old behaviors. Life changed drastically, and once again it was hard to keep focused. I still felt empowered and still believed but it was alot harder to fight for it in my grief. Over the months that followed alot more changed and things became even more difficult for me. I kept attending my meetings but it was so hard when I knew I wasn't doing everything that I should be doing. But I had learned by this point that if I stopped getting the support that I would fall right back into my old ways and would have that 160 pounds back on in alot less time than it took to lose it. My one success during this perios, my greatest success thusfar, is getting to those meetings and fighting even when I didn't think I had the fight in me.
I have such a passion for this because of what it has done for my life and I am always the first to give advice to help anyone else out...even when i'm not doing so well myself. During one of those meetings our leader, Andrea, put her hand on my knee and told me to 'listen to my own advice'....she hit the nail right on the head! I knew what it took to make things happen and I knew what I needed to do.....I just wasn't doing it. That night I came home, took my books back out and read through them again, I made sure that I wrote down what I was eating each day and I started writing in my journal again. I set daily goals and began to treat myself with kindness instead of pity and anger. I found places to visit online that helped to inspire me and started talking to others who face these same struggles. I started sharing my story and pictures online as a way to help encourage those who have alot of weight to lose as I did and in that process I learned that nothing helps my own efforts more than being able to make a difference in other people's lives.
Getting2Goal was begun on May 23, 2000. It has now become a huge source of strength for hundreds of people all over the world. It is a support system like no other filled with beautiful people with hopes and dreams very much similar to my own.
All of the weight that I put back on, plus some, is gone again and I am on my way to reaching my ideal goal weight and staying there....forever. Gaining control over me and learning to live healthy has changed everything about my life and there is nothing anyone could give me to replace how good it all feels. It has not been an easy road...and i'm sure there are bumps in the path ahead....but I wouldn't change a thing......because i've learned my most important lessons by facing these challenges. It is a learning process....and I will continue to learn ways to help myself. I am not, nor will I ever be perfect...i'm not suppose to be. No matter what happens in my life, or how far off the path I may roam, I will never stop believing in my ability to set myself straight. I have realized one of life's truly valuable lessons.....that the only person who can stop me.....is ME.....and I can take her!
Discovery Health Channel Segment
Super Meeting with Sarah Ferguson
Diet Talk Star
FIRST Magazine article