This post is from Jennifer Lynn-Pullman MA, RD, LDN, a consultant dietitian for the Jeanes Hospital Bariatric Surgery Program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Jen resides in Warrington Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.
For the past three years I have worked with bariatric surgery patients. On occasion a patient asks me, in a hopeful tone, if I’ve had bariatric surgery. When I answer, “no,” I sense their disappointment. I try to explain that I too have struggled with my weight, but I know it’s nothing in comparison to their struggles.
Before graduating from college, I maintained my weight around 140-145 pounds. My diet wasn’t perfect, despite having a degree in nutrition, but I was so active teaching aerobics and walked everywhere, so I could eat pretty much what I wanted and still maintain my weight.
I started a full time desk job and attended graduate school at night. Physical activity decreased. I was either exhausted after a day’s work or needed to study. I know I just found excuses though why I couldn’t go to the gym. I still managed to keep my weight stable until I got married.
Husband + Kids = Extra Lbs
After marrying my husband, I became comfortable not exercising regularly and eating what I wanted. By the time I found out I was pregnant in December of 2002 I weighed 160 lbs and was wearing larger sizes in most of my clothes. Now that a child was on the way weight loss was going to have to wait.
Weight after son: 170 lbs and another size in clothes, size 14.
Then, I became pregnant again in 2007. I had normal weight gain with both pregnancies, approximately 30 lbs with each. I did not have much weight to lose after each delivery to return to my pre-pregnancy weight, but I lacked motivation to try to get there.
By December of 2008, after nursing my daughter for 11 months, I was down to 160 lbs, the pre-pregnancy weight I had been before my son in 2002. I saw this as a starting point and vowed to keep going until I reached a healthier weight.
Life yet again thwarted my progress. We moved and through the whole process I worried about everyone and everything except me! By the time we were finally settled in December of 2009, I reached the all time high of 175. I did not regularly weight myself, but knew I gained when my size 14’s were getting snug.
Now at my highest weight ever, I felt like a failure, because I should know better. I am a registered dietitian with two degrees in nutrition and here I am counseling bariatric surgery patients.
It was time to take action. I started out in January of 2010 exercising only, not changing my eating habits much. I periodically kept a food journal, but wasn’t consistent enough to see what I was doing. After about 8 months of this, I was only down to 170 lbs.
During the course of this time I tried to blame all kinds of things on my weight—except my personal diet and exercise habits. I had blood testing done for my thyroid and had other hormone levels checked. Of course all the tests were normal, so it was me that was the problem.
I continued to exercise 4-5 times per week, but now kept better food records utilizing www.mypryamid.gov, but would miss days still here and there. By October I was down to 166.5 lbs, November 163.5. Through the holidays and a family trip to Disney World my weight still went down slightly and in January of this year I weighed 162.5 lbs.
In December 2010, I started recording my food intake daily using an App called Lose It. And I started weighing myself once a month. The weight started coming off more rapidly and I was down to 156.5 lbs.
I plan to continue what I’m doing until I reach my goal weight of 135 lbs. I’m exercising 5-6 days a week, which consists of walking/running on a treadmill, weight training 3 times per week, and now a weekly yoga class. My goal seems far away, but now I feel more confident that I will get there.