Sunday, March 15, 2015

Addicted to fast food: intimate stories of my weight gain

About 6 years ago when we were living in Tucson, I was at my heaviest weight. I had gone from 112 pounds in undergrad to 175-180 pounds (and that is only when I actually weighed myself). The funny thing is, I didn't even notice I had gained the weight. I knew I was a bit chunkier than usual, but when I looked in the mirror, my mind played tricks on me, and I was somehow convinced that I wasn't that far off from the 112 pound frame I once carried. I think that I chose to ignore it. I pushed the weight gain so deep within me because I was utterly convinced it didn't matter to me how I looked, and how I felt. I pretended to be ok with it, and I think after so long of telling myself "I am not overweight", "I am healthy", or "size doesn't matter to me,  I actually believed it. It didn't matter how much more weight I had to gain.

I could insert a paragraph here about how looks do not matter and it is about the INSIDE etc, but I am not going to and pretend that I do not care about the way I look. I care now, and I cared then, but chose not to admit it to ANYONE, especially myself. We all care. I think we care so much because when we are ACTUALLY confident in our outside appearance, it REALLY DOES HELP with the inside (for me anyways). My mother would tell me she admired me for my confidence even through the weight gain. But inside I was not. Far from it. 


Here is what an average day would look like for me: I would wake up in the morning and look forward only to the food in my day. I would plan out where I would eat and WHAT I would eat and that was the only thing that got me out of bed. I would drive to McDonald's and stop for lunch, order a Coke or a Milkshake (or both) Fries and Chicken Nuggets (the 10 piece). I would eat it in the car in the parking lot before my classes started. Then I would throw away the evidence and pop in a breath mint, and go to school.

Then the whole day I would look forward to what I would eat for dinner.

On the way home, I would stop at Wendy's for dinner, get a double cheeseburger and french fries and another coke and then the same routine. I wouldn't want my Boyfriend to know, so I would throw away the packaging, spray an air freshener, and pop another breath mint.
AND THEN I would go home and eat dinner WITH my boyfriend. 

Not to mention the bagels, the sammy's the ice cream trips etc etc etc.

YUCK. Do you think I just ate away my insecurities? I do, but I also think I wasn't well rounded enough in my life to have anything else to look forward to.

 My insecurities stemmed from unpleasantness I felt physically and mentally. I remember being so extremely uncomfortable especially because it was HOT in Arizona. I had to wear shorts under my dresses so that my thighs didn't chafe and get raw. Even though it was hot, I had to wear Spanx under my clothes to suck in my love handles just to fit into them, as I couldn't really afford to keeping buying new clothes from the weight I was gaining. I was hot all the time. I remember once someone very close to me suggested "maybe if you lost some weight, you wouldn't feel so hot all the time." That STUNG. At the time, I had a wild temper, and I retorted back with something about not being fat and stormed off.

In another instance, a good friend (and now a best friend) pointed out something to me that was completely embarrassing. I cringe as I write this...I was SO UNAWARE of my body growing and of my size, that I neglected to adequately adjust specific articles of this case, my bra size. Having gained some boobs (YAY!) from the weight gain, my friend said to me" girl, you are wearing the wrong bra size. It is way too small. You need to go get remeasured." I was COMPLETELY MORTIFIED. I was angry at her, and angry with the world. So, I reluctantly went with her to the mall to get remeasured. The size I was presently wearing was a 34 A and I measured at a 36 D!!! This completely shocked me and I believe it was the first step towards accepting my weight gain. I cannot thank my friend enough for her frankness.

Even though I hid it from the world and from myself, I felt completely unattractive. I didn't even bother to dress up because I thought, "what is the point?".  I would counter that by thinking "I am not really that big. Everything is fine". It was a CONSTANT mind game. I would trick myself into thinking I was fine and then ALL the signs would point to unhealthiness and weight gain. I ignored all the signs that my body was failing me:

-constant low energy
-napping 2-3 hours a day
-fainting spells
-low blood sugar levels and hypoglycemia
-dizziness every day
-nauseousness every day
-vomiting most days for no reason
-high levels of anxiety
-feeling overheated
-my skin on my arms began breaking out into rashes

HELLLLLLLOOOO?????? Wake up Jenny!!! I went to the doc searching for any solution. But it was right in front of me. 

After taking in these clues from family, friends, and how I was feeling I began to accept the weight gain. It took a CANCER DIAGNOSIS for me to really sit down and look at my life, my habits and really truly SEE myself. It all came into focus after a round of chemo where I had lost 10 pounds. I saw a picture of myself 10 pounds heavier and I became overcome with realization of what I had been doing to my body. I had gained 60-70 pounds in 3-4 years, and I sat there with all those symptoms listed above and possible death sentence. 

So one day at a time, I changed. A simple change from soda to water allotted me a 10 pound loss. A slow implementation of physical activity (when I could with chemo), was integrated. I began to research and started learning how to cook and make healthier choices.

Now those pounds are gone. The low energy, fainting, dizziness, vomiting, rashes, napping and feelings of insecurity are gone. The CANCER is gone. 

I am a better person now because I love who I am. I had to feel confident, and my body needed to be healthy to have the energy to even feel confidence, and yes, I needed to feel attractive on the outside to begin working on the inside. Yes, I will be judged for saying this, but I am only saying what I truly feel.

 I am telling you this now because I know others out their can relate. It IS possible to change your life. You CAN break through this! You CAN be healthy, happy and feel good about yourself. It starts with ONE SMALL change.

If I can help you in any way, write to me at or find me on FB and send me a message.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

OVERWHELMED: 6 steps to getting started with weight loss for beginners (yes, even during girl scout cookie season)

It is a Sunday night and you have ordered a pizza, curled up on your couch with your family and are watching TV. You have told yourself over and over that TOMORROW you will do something about your weight, and your health. Countless Sunday's you have spent saying that Monday begins a new week and you will get on track then. You want to do this because you feel low in energy, are lacking in confidence, maybe your clothes are not fitting the same as they used to. 

Every Monday you wake up with the same determination to do it and stick to it this time! You get up, and make a healthy breakfast and head out the door and are positive this will be the day!!!....and that is where it stops. You get to work and your colleagues invite you to dine with them, or it is girl scout cookie time of year and those adorable girls are looking up at you with puppy dog eyes wanting to feed you endless boxes of thin mints, or someone has a birthday and the office is celebrating with soda and cake. So you feel overwhelmed and you give in. 

Then you get upset with yourself for not being able to commit once again and you come home and order Chinese food and think of every excuse in the book to not continue: "It is ok, I am not that unhealthy. This is a busy time in my life and I'll start again when things calm down. This isn't THAT bad for me. I have had a hard day and I deserve to eat this." So you just binge eat and continue to feel self conscious and out of control.

The problem is probably that you are OVERWHELMED. You decide to commit to a diet and just like most people, you try to change too much all at once. You decide to workout AND cut carbs, fats and eat low calorie foods. You are not going to eat past 7pm, and instead of going out to eat you are going to pack your lunch. 

The key for me, was committing to a new lifestyle and making slow changes that you can STICK to. Here are 5 steps to take to get you started this Monday without the overwhelmed feeling:

1. REASONABLE WORKOUT GOALS Commit to a workout of some sort 3 days a week for 30 minutes. A big mistake that is often made is that we over commit and decide we will go to the gym every day for hours on end. How sustainable is this in the long term? No wonder so many quit after the first week or even the first few days. No one has time for that. Do some research and find an effective workout with a REASONABLE goal. SOOOO many times I have seen people go in full force with nothing but good intentions, but end up stopping all together from not being able to commit so quickly to unrealistic gym goals. So do 30 minutes, 3 days a week for the first month. When this is mastered, move on.

2. CUT OUT SOMETHING. Pick ONE food group to work on. If you are like me and tend to overdo the carbs, dial it in for a month. stick to 3 or 4 healthy carb options in a day. If dessert and junk food is your problem, vow to cut out something for the month.

3. ADD SOMETHING IN. When you cut out something, you must find a replacement. There is nothing worse than cutting out something like soda and not succeeding because you need a replacement drink to help you get through the cravings. So...cutting out soda? Add in more water and drink sparkling water with lemon. Cutting out dessert? Research recipes that are natural ingredients and can satisfy your need for sweets. 

4. WRITE DOWN your goals. You are 80% more likely to achieve them if you write them down. Do not try to go overboard. Make the changes written above, write them down, and just focus on those. Let your body adjust and then continue to make more changes.

5. COMMUNICATE It is important when start your journey to communicate your new goals and reasons to those closest to you and those you spend most of your time with. You cannot expect them to read your mind. Sit down anyone you live with and express that you are going to make some changes and let them know what they are. Ask them to support you in your decision and to help you to stick with it. Do the same with friends, co-workers etc. When you communicate your needs, you can be more successful.

6. ACCOUNTABILITY Find someone you like and trust to hold you accountable in your new journey. This should be someone that you know, but that is not too close to you. An acquaintance or co-worker that you can check in with each day to talk about your progress. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP!! Accountability is one of the biggest keys to your success.

Most of all, believe in yourself. Tell yourself everyday "I can, I will".  Don't try too much at once. Change your lifestyle and slowly, overtime, a healthy lifestyle will just be automatic.

I believe in you. Reach out to me for help.

Jenny Beauregard