Monday, August 26

Weight Loss & Exercise: My Journey

*Warning: Long Post Ahead*

As many of you know, I’ve been trying to exercise a lot more, recently. After the past few years, I’ve gained quite a bit of extra weight. In high school I was always curvy—not fat, but certainly not thin. I was a healthy size, in my opinion. A lot of that was thanks to a very active lifestyle. By my senior year, I had gym class for an hour every day, I played intramural soccer, and I played badminton and volleyball after school. I was also a member of Scouts Canada, which included hikes, camping, and water sports. 

Once university hit, however, all of that disappeared. I had no time for sports, and I certainly wasn’t getting an hour every day for gym class. Even Scouts fell to the wayside for me. My focus was school, plain and simple. Unfortunately, that combined with oncoming depression (I really hated my living situation—roommates can be very tough to live with), I gained weight. As the years went by, I gained more and more.

After the wedding, I fell into a funk (which we’ve talked about creatively here, but not how it affected my personal life). I was nowhere near those commercials you see on TV, but I was definitely facing a minor form of depression. It’s hard to be away from everything you’ve ever known and loved. I was accustomed to going to Wal-Mart and seeing people I grew up with. If I wanted to, I could call up anyone from high school or university to see if they wanted to go out, or see a movie. Here in Virginia, however, I don’t have that. It took some adjusting, but I think I’m finally in a place where I can accept that. Thankfully, my husband has been very supportive and he understands what I’m going through. Unfortunately, I gained even more weight during this process.

The elliptical in our spare room
Which brings me to May 2013. I was no longer simply curvy, but overweight. I want to have kids in the next few years, which means gaining even more weight and generally being a big lug for 9+ months (because, really, no one loses the baby weight right after they give birth). When our tax return came in, we decided to invest in an elliptical. They are great for a workout—holy shit they’re difficult—but I tried them in university and liked them.

From the beginning of May until the very end of June, I lost about ten pounds using the elliptical. I was a beast on that machine, I don’t mind saying. It kicked my ass at first, but I kept at it until I started doing an hour every day, averaging about 8 miles. Impressive, no? I was quite happy with the results, but something was still missing. While I was getting toned and fit, the weight I wanted to lose remained in place. 

The first week of July came, and with it my depression returned full force. Not only was it Canada Day, my one year anniversary of moving, and the Fourth of July (all very hard holidays for me), but I also received my green card. It was an emotional ride, and one I dealt with by overeating at every BBQ we attended. I gained 5 pounds back.

By Monday July 8, I’d had enough (enough excuses could really be my motto for the second half of this year, eh?) I spoke to my mum for quite a while (have you noticed a lot of my epiphanies and changes come from speaking to her? SHHH, don’t let her know. It’ll go to her head), and decided to try Weight Watchers with her. Since I’m far too poor (and just plain cheap) to officially join the group, I set out to find everything I needed online.

Since July 8, I have lost….17 pounds. That, combined with my previous elliptical workout loss, I’m at 22 pounds lost and counting! I’ve also lost 3 pant sizes. By sticking to the points system and adding my workouts (I'm now at 9 miles for an hour), I’m supposed to lose 2 pounds a week. So far I’ve stuck to that and lost more, actually. Even with ten days of overindulging at the beach, I’m still on target.

Powell sleeping in the spare room while
mommy works out. 
The reason I like Weight Watchers (WW) is because it’s not a diet, which I don’t believe in. If you take away all of your favorite treats, you’re guaranteed to gain all of that weight back when you go off of the diet. I needed a lifestyle change, and WW has shown me the way (hah, cheesy I know). WW allows me to eat what I want; I just have to have it in moderation. For example, yesterday I desperately wanted an Oreo Blizzard from DQ. I figured out how many points it would be and carefully planned out my day so I could have the ice cream. By planning ahead of schedule, you can figure out what you can eat that day and what you can't. If you know you’re going to a BBQ on Friday, you can be extra good on Wednesday and Thursday.

It does take a lot of work and pre-planning, but I’ve found it has saved us money as well. By knowing what we’re eating for the week, we can make our grocery shopping trips quick and painless.

So there you have it. I want to lose a lot of weight (I don’t want to be skinny or anything, because I simply don’t believe I have the right body type for it), but I do want to be healthy, especially with children (hopefully) in our near future. I should be at my goal by mid May 2014. So far I’ve kept it up. I plan on doing updates every few weeks or so to keep you informed (and to keep me on track). 2 pounds a week isn’t so scary when you look at the bigger picture. I can totally do this.

Have you guys ever done elliptical or Weight Watchers? As writers, we have to be careful to get enough exercise—what do you do to keep yourself active?


  1. So impressive, Natalie - and thanks for being so honest (as a person who suffers from depression, I know how hard it is to put that out there). You're doing it exactly right - 2lbs/week is a healthy way to lose weight and because you're not extreme, that weight will stay off.

    For me, I run and have recently added biking! So far, it's working :)

  2. Sorry about the deleted comment - for some reason it published mine twice.

  3. Janet-- Thank you, hun! I see no point in denying depression. It's a fact of life, and hopefully my honesty can help other people. I've never been medicated for it, but I know many who have been. I'm grateful that I've always been able to come back from it on my own, but it does take a lot of work.

    That's what I'm hoping. Sure, we'd all love to lose the weight ASAP, but my main goal is fitness, not weight loss.

    I've seen all of your posts on Daily Mile and on your blog--you're a beast! It's awesome =)

  4. Mum-- Love you!!! xoxo

    Hehe, that's okay ;)

  5. You go, girl! You're doing awesome. The Kid is also on a weight loss journey - because you have to be beneath a certain weight to join the military. It is a lifestyle change. I know she can do it, and I know you can do it, too. Good luck. And if you ever need anyone to talk to, you know where I am. (And you know where she is now, too.)


  6. B.E.-- Thank you!!! Ohhh, I never thought of that. Does she have a lot to lose? Thankfully I'm my only boss on this--I can't imagine having a firm deadline like she does. Definitely send her my way if she wants to see what I've done that works. I could also add her to this Facebook group one of my CPs started--it's just a bunch of writers trying to lose weight. =)


  7. WTG, Nat!! Your dedication and hard work are inspiring!! Thanks for sharing your weight loss journey.

    WW is the best, IMO. I've lost weight with the program, too.

  8. Jen-- Thank you, hun! Yeah, I love it so much. It's working really well for me, and I still get to enjoy nummy junk food ;)


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