Through the Weight Gain Years

It’s been awhile since I talked about my fitness. I haven’t been avoiding the subject. Nonetheless, I haven’t shared my progress or my photos (unless you follow me on Instagram **shameless plug here**).

I also realized that I’ve never told you my story, my struggle with my weight.

On one hand, my tale sounds like many others. I’ve wrestled with my size all of my life. I was the chunky kid. I was teased, ridiculed and overlooked unless it came to athletics. I have “the other hand” because of the fact that I was an athlete.

Starting in third grade, I was picked first for all-things-sports. I could outrun, outjump and outplay most of my classmates. It was the only way I felt connected. The downside was that the connection with the boys, as the girls wanted nothing to do with excelling in sports, except to get close to a boy.

I’m not saying that I didn’t do it to get the attention of some of the boys. I just knew I had given up trying to befriend most of the girls.

I ended up being active, very active. I played outside, I made sports teams, I became very, very good in a lot of it. Yet, I was still chunky.

Growing up, I was never taught how to eat.  Overall, my parents gave me a pretty healthy diet. But it wasn’t enough food. For lunch, I may have gotten lunch money (or free lunch when I qualified), and wouldn’t eat again until dinner, normally 5-8 hours later. At dinner, I was given the bare minimum, a piece of meat and a vegetable. I’ve never been a fan of rice, so I could have eaten rice, but I wasn’t allowed seconds. And if I didn’t eat all of my dinner, I wasn’t allowed a dessert, not to say it was always an option.

I know my parents were always looking out for my weight. They saw the chunk like I did, and didn’t want me to be obese like a good part of my family.

So I spent a lot of time hungry.

Remember when I told you that I was active? I was VERY hungry.

So, I supplemented with bad food. I would ask for food from friends. I would indulge at every party (I was not shy about getting the biggest piece of cake or having seconds, or even thirds). I would save money to buy food. I would even steal money to eat food.

By high school, McDonald’s was around the corner and I had my own money. So, I ate.

Most days, I skipped breakfast because I would be lucky if I rolled out of bed 10 minutes before I had to leave. I wasn’t into my looks, so a t-shirt, jeans, and ponytail was my go-to look. I just needed enough time to brush my teeth, wash my face, and grab my stuff.

Then I was off.

Occasionally, I would remember to (or had the option to) snatch something for a snack. Then I would go to my first few classes.

In general, I don’t get hungry in the morning until I eat (or around noon) most days. So, this never bothered me.

I would eat a calorie-laden lunch. For just $2, I could get cheese fries or cheese nachos and a pink lemonade (I’ve never been into soda).

I would finish out the school day, then on to practice. Practice was no less than two hours and by that time I was starving. If I had time, I would stop at McDonald’s and pick up a Big Mac meal.

When I got home, I would eat dinner and any school dessert that I saved from the school cafeteria.

This worked for me. I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t put on weight.

I also didn’t know that I was creating terrible habits that would follow me for years to come.

In college, I started out strong, working out almost daily, with the same terrible eating habits. Even though I wasn’t on a team, I worked out more because UCLA’s campus is built like a basin. You start on one edge of the bowl, then walk down to the center, to the other side of the bowl to attend classes. Since I only ate at my dorm, I rarely got stuck at the bottom of the valley and failed to gain weight. In fact, my freshman year, I lost weight.

I started working off campus, which turned into not having to walk through the basin very often. The weight slowly increased, but I was working too much to care or notice.

It’s amazing how working out for multiple hours a day can mask bad eating. I didn’t eat anything different, but the weight just crept on.

By the end of college, I had gone from 150 to 180. In law school, from 180 to 220. I did have a little bit of an excuse in law school, I gave birth to my son three months before graduation.

Over the years, I had learned some about proper eating habits and what it took to lose weight. I would try, but I could never commit for more than a couple of months at a time.

So here I am. Well out of college. Four children later. And still bouncing around that 220 number.

This year, I have determined will be different. So far, I’ve gone to the gym at least five days a week since the beginning. I’m proud that I have made that change.

Now, I need to work on changing my diet. There is no doubt that only 20% can be controlled by exercise, the rest, the 80% is controlled by what you put in (or don’t put in) your mouth. That’s the hard part.

26 comments on “Through the Weight Gain Years”

  1. Tamara says:

    It is the hard part.
    Thanks for sharing your journey! It’s interesting how much you’ve learned over the years, even though that never makes it easy.

  2. I followed you here from the Let’s Get Real Friday Party and honestly I thought this was an over 50 post and the menopause years. Those years where I am now and the hormones are crazy, you gain fat, but not weight. I must admit a lot of blogs I follow from link ups I don’t read in full, but your had my attention. First because I have been where you are and second being a natural living blogger various things came to my mind.

    The first is that you mentioned others in your family had weight issues. This made me think of our gut microbiome which we inherit. Studies with twins have been done with one not have a weight issue and the other having one. They found that in the one who didn’t had a thriving gut microbiome with the other one lacking.

    The second thing that came to my mind was bad food combining. We should not eat proteins and carbs together for they both need a different environment to digest. One sits in line waiting and during that time ferments causing bloating, gas, fatigue, and fat.

    I don’t claim to know it all these are just the two things that came to mind while reading your post, thanks for going out on a limb and sharing, hugs.

    1. April Noelle says:

      Thank you. I never thought about the title lending itself to older women. Good to know. I’m constantly working on my diet.

  3. Hmmmm you sound like my daughter is right now she falls out of bed, dashes out with a slice if dry toast for the sch bus and says she will grab a maccies by her school…I keep reminding her that it will catch up with her when she is older..the weight gain struggle is real!

  4. Clara says:

    I think we all supplement with bad food at some point. Thank goodness the human body can come back from the damage we do to it.

  5. Losing weight is such a challenge and I’ve had the same struggles as you. That’s great that you’ve been going to the gym five days a week. Maybe you will motivate me to get started too!

  6. Unlike you, I wasn’t fortunate enough to be extremely active in my teen years—aside from trips to the gym. I was a healthy size until puberty, and like many girls, gained quite a bit after puberty. It took ridicule from my own family to decide enough is enough, and I began working out on a regular basis and eating healthier to change how I looked and how I felt about myself. My second child was born last year, so I haven’t been to a gym in a while. But I honestly miss it and look forward to going back—even though I no longer obsess over my weight. However, I do feel like I’m too busy to take the time to eat most days. As such, I’m working on ways to still eat healthy even when I’m limited on time.

  7. michelle says:

    I am struggling with food though I am getting better about working out. My family loves to eat out and I am trying to eat at home more to avoid temptation.

  8. Elizabeth O. says:

    What an inspiring story. When you’ve been doing something for so long, you get to a point wherein you’re tired and you need a change. It’s good that you learned about healthy eating habits, it all starts from the little changes that we make.

  9. Rosey says:

    I used to always skip breakfast too. Now I try to make a diligent effort to have something!

  10. Jeanine says:

    Ugh losing weight is such a hard thing. I love hearing others stories and journeys. Going to the gym 5 days a week sounds pretty fabulous and something I hope to be able to do in the years to come.

  11. Thanks for sharing your story! I love to hear about others as they work to maintain healthy lifestyles. I am working on my own eating habits this year, and it has been so much harder than I thought.

  12. Erica Brooks says:

    It’s awesome that you’ve been going to the gym consistently. It’s those small changes that end of making a big difference.

  13. Brittany Bly says:

    April – first of all, you look great! Second of all, being healthier is always wonderful and important and I totally support you on your journey. YOU CAN DO IT! And way to go about all the working out this year. xoxox
    http://popshopamerica.com/

  14. It’s actually because of our food choices, I have to admit I’ve eaten a lot of bad foods too. Losing weight is such a challenge, I need to start sticking to my exercises.

  15. Carmela Mempin says:

    Sometimes we must motivate ourselves to do more a thing that we wanting.

  16. Rebecca B. says:

    Best of luck with your weight loss journey! It is a difficult path, but the rewards will be with it!!

  17. My mother had been morbidly obese as a child and was just obsessed with my weight when I was growing up. I hated it. She made me extremely self conscious when I had to eat in front of anyone. Even now, I have to really fight that feeling of shame just to eat in public.

  18. Changing diet can be the hardest thing. But once you are on a plan, it becomes second nature. Best of luck to you as you pursue this!

  19. You’re right. It’s all about what you eat. I read something years ago that said fit bodies are made in the kitchen. My focus has been on the things I eat as well. It’s a life long journey to stay on track.

  20. Ronnie says:

    I completely feel you… I had a major lifestyle change last year because I was tired of feeling so overweight. I didn’t look ‘right’ in my clothes and I had less energy than I wanted. So I worked with a nutritionist (it was such a worthy expense) and we built a day-to-day menu that I could follow easily. He taught me how to eat properly and eat A LOT while not consuming as many calories. That with the combination of cardio & gym made me shed the weight. I’m 15 pounds down, but I want to lose another 10 pounds. 🙂

  21. Coralie says:

    Weight is such a struggle for so many people. I also was active in sports, but after high school I wanted to go to college with a “different look” so I developed a minor case of anorexia and lost about 50 lbs – I was the skinniest I had been in years and years. It wasn’t until I met my now husband that I was able to get control of my eating and be healthy again. I did great until after my 4th kid – and I have gained a lot of weight – I need to get back on track the healthy way and get rid of this extra weight. Thanks for sharing your story.

  22. CourtneyLynne says:

    Ahhhhh I honestly think we have all been there gurlie!!! I’m so bad when it comes to soda and candy. Whenever I’m feeling stressed I run to both and sugar mind as well be fat and Ughh…. Not good!

  23. Melissa Bernardo says:

    Bad food is sometimes so tough to stay away from. I have been there and done that! Losing the weight is so tough!

  24. Hannah says:

    I agree. A big part of the actual change is changing your diet and eating healthier foods, and making great options

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