A Different Person

My family and I just returned from a few nights in Atlantic City to celebrate my sister’s 21st birthday.  I’ll spare you the gory details of all the martinis and steaks and desserts that I may or may not have consumed…just suffice it to say that most of what I ate was most certainly not POINT-friendly.

But fear not.  For I certainly paid the price for my indulgences later on.

Sometimes I wish I could travel back in time and re-experience my former 250+ pound body.  Even for just a single day.  People always tell me I look like a different person now, but what they couldn’t possibly realize is that I truly do feel like an entirely different person.  I still suffer from shock when I walk into a clothing store and easily slide into a size 8 or 10, and it amazes me to be able to gaze into a mirror without feeling overwhelmed by a desire to rattle off 15 different things I hate about my body.  When I fly to Orlando this summer for 10 days of theme parks, I don’t have to worry about not fitting in the seats on Space Mountain, or sinking the boats on “It’s a Small World.”

It’s hard for me to remember a time when I didn’t schedule my entire day around a 45-minute run, or when I could pull up to a drive-thru at any time of day and devour a bacon cheeseburger and fries without a second thought.  It’s troubling to think about how – less than three years ago – my idea of exercise was walking from the couch to the refrigerator, and most summer evenings were spent slurping gargantuan cookies ‘n cream milkshakes from Baskin’ Robbins.

To think of who I was then, to recall the way I abused my own body, and to remember just how unhappy I felt every minute of every day is enough to make my stomach churn.  And yet when faced with temptation (i.e. endless opportunities to eat and drink in the casino capital of New Jersey), I often find myself succumbing to some of my former habits.

The good news?  Now that I’m no longer in denial about my food addiction, and I accept that I’m going to have to be a Weight Watcher for the rest of my life, I find that I’m able to pick up the pieces and dust myself off when I do slip up.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m far from perfect when it comes to sticking to my healthy eating and exercise regimen, and that in times of celebration I typically do allow myself to eat whatever treats happen to come my way.

But after I enjoy that last spoonful of ice cream or  sip of margarita, I’m reminded of why I absolutely must return to my healthy habits.  Immediately.

All throughout our brief vacation, my body felt as though it had been hit by a truck.  I suffered from all-day heartburn, lethargy, and even nausea.  I tried to go for a run on our first day home after three days of cuban restaurants, martini bars, and chinese bistros, and found myself struggling just to maintain a brisk walking pace for 30 minutes.  It was absolute torture.

Meanwhile, I couldn’t stop thinking to myself: This is how I ALWAYS used to feel.

When I eat and drink the way I did in Atlantic City, all I want to do is curl up into a ball and sleep.  I don’t have the energy or stamina to stroll the length of the boardwalk, let alone subject my body to my usual daily workout.  I have trouble buttoning my jeans, and I suddenly become self-conscious in a swimsuit.

And this is all not to mention the ramifications I’ll see on the scale.

I seem to forget that while I may give myself permission to indulge from time to time, my body can physically no longer handle all of the fat and sugar found in the kinds of meals I was ordering and drinks I was imbibing last week.

And that’s because, both mentally and physically, I AM a different person now.

Next time, I need to remember that as much I enjoy drinking myself into oblivion or gorging myself on fish and chips in the moment, it takes roughly six seconds after I’ve completed my meal to realize that it is so not worth it.

Categories: Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “A Different Person

  1. hamiltonmka

    God I love your honesty. Really. This is called LIVING IN THE REAL WORLD. And I love it! All those “at goal” people in my WW meeting make it sounds like they always make perfect choices all the time and I think that’s just not really living in the real world! I seriously think you’ve had a “light bulb” moment here. You are a different person and you have to continue to work at not going back to the person you were. I think that’s the true journey of weight loss. It’s not counting the points and watching the scale – it’s working HARD to change who you used to be into the person you want to be. My new slogan these days is “fake it until you make it”. Keep doing the things you know make you a healthier person until they become more who you are. Like you’re daily work outs. They are now who you are! And how exciting is that! To quote our great Vice President – It’s a big f’n deal! LOL!

    I’m curious what other things you may be doing to deal with your food addiction. I saw an author on Oprah that wrote a book called something like Women, Food & God. It’s about food addiction and why women use food to abuse their bodies – and I think it talks about how to form new habits to conquer it or process it. I haven’t bought the book yet but I plan to. Have you read it?

    • Thank you so much! I know exactly what you mean. I wish I could tell you that I’m always on program and that things get easier as you get closer to your goal weight, but honestly, I’ve struggled more in the last year than I have throughout this entire journey. But as long as I don’t give up entirely, then I consider even my worst day as a victory.

      Everything you’ve said here is so true. I have to wake up every day and make the conscious decision to maintain my new habits. Change is hard, but it has been so worth it. And eating well and exercising truly HAS become part of my identity. I’m not an introverted couch potato anymore. I’m a runner, and a gym rat, and – according to DBF – a “health nut.” 🙂

      My life has done a complete 360, and every day presents new challenges and new realizations, but that’s only because I have committed to this with everything I have and I work really hard. That’s how I know that absolutely anybody can do this, too!

      I haven’t read the book, but I’m definitely going to pick it up! As far as my own personal food addiction, the main thing is just knowing what my triggers are. I’ve said all along that I refuse to completely eliminate any particular food from my diet – because there’s no such thing as life without chocolate chip cookies – but at the same time, I know that there are certain snacks and foods that I STILL can’t control myself around. Believe it or not, goldfish crackers are one of them!

      Honestly, everything changed the day I woke up and admitted to myself that I was emotionally attached to eating, and so I’ve needed to find new ways of dealing with stress, anger, sadness, and any other emotion I may be experiencing without burying my head in the refrigerator. As a writer, blogging has helped in so many ways, but so has going for a bike ride or talking to my sister or DBF. I’ll admit that I’m addicted to the high I experience from working out, so in a way I’ve just replaced one addiction with another. But at least it’s a healthy one! 🙂

  2. Really great read! Truely!

    • Hi Cathleen!

      Thank you so much for reading. It’s great to hear from you!

      Feel free to follow me on Twitter (@jenniferlnelson) or Facebook (Jennifer L. Nelson) for blog updates! I’d love your feedback! 😀


  3. Felisha

    Thanks for this, Jennifer. Nice thoughts! I definitely know I feel differently when I eat out a lot. Now, I just realize it more. It really does drag my body down, and, like you said, to think I used to feel like that a lot of the time!

    • Hey Felisha!

      YES, that’s exactly what I mean. It’s still amazing to realize how much what you eat affects the way you feel on a day-to-day basis. When I am making not-so-healthy choices, I’m reminded of how sluggish and lethargic I used to feel every single day. It’s unbelievable. Not that I’m condoning eating junk food, but sometimes having that reminder doesn’t hurt – it makes me want to eat right all the time so I never have to feel so disgusting ever again!


  4. Bonnie

    Hi Jennifer — just found your blog from the WW website. It’s delightful to read — you have a nice writing style and I can appreciate your challenges and struggles. I have been lifetime on WW for 8 years now — but didn’t have nearly as much to lose. One of my daughters is 100+ pounds overweight, and I read that board often to learn the best way to love and support her. She is down 52 pounds now — still has a long way to go but I am so happy for her. Thanks for sharing your journey. I will look forward to watching for future postings.

    • Hi Bonnie,

      Thanks so much for stopping by to read my blog. It’s great to hear from a lifetime member. Congrats on your success!

      I’m so glad to hear about your daughter’s weight loss. Good for her! I can see how the 100+ board can help give you a glimpse into the unique challenges of having a significant amount of weight to lose. She has already made such an incredible accomplishment; now all she has to do is keep on going!

      Feel free to keep checking back for updates. I’d love to hear from you! If you’d like, you can follow me on Twitter for new blog posts (@jenniferlnelson) or on Facebook (Jennifer L. Nelson).

      Thanks again!


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