From Yo-Yo Dieter to CrossFit Queen

The following is an As Told To story I wrote for The woman speaking is popular blogger Roni Noone…

I grew up hating my body. I remember my father pointing out that I was 10 or 20 pounds overweight when I was in middle school, and it crushed me. At just 11 years old, I was already comparing myself to thinner friends and hiding behind baggy sweats. In high school, I’d have salad for lunch and do 100 sit-ups before bed, but it didn’t shrink my round belly and chunky thighs.

Gaining the freshmen 25 in college didn’t help. Over the summers, I’d diet and drop a few pounds, only to gain 20 more in the fall. Pizza and wings cravings always won out over my desire to be thin, and at graduation in 1999, I weighed 185 lbs, 30 more than when I left high school. By 2000, I’d passed the 215 mark. I was depressed, miserable and uncomfortable in my own skin.

Over the next few years, I tried everything from fasting to Phentermine, one half of the diet drug Fen-phen, finally finding success with the Atkins diet. I lost 45 pounds eating bacon, cheese and bun-less burgers. But I became consumed with counting carbs. It wasn’t sustainable. The weight crept back.

Starting a Family

In summer 2004, my husband, Bill, and I made the big decision, so I needed a more balanced way of eating to conceive and carry a child. The Weight Watchers Points System sounded appealing, not like a fad diet. Sure enough, I lost 11 pounds in four weeks, without feeling deprived.

Then we got pregnant. The high of seeing those two pink lines was soon replaced by fear over my impending weight gain. I stopped counting points and gained a staggering 70 pounds in nine months.

In June 2005, when my son, Ryan, was two weeks old, I returned to Weight Watchers. I didn’t want Ryan growing up with an out-of-shape, self-conscious mom, but I was nervous. I wasn’t a kale-eating, yogurt-loving runner; I was more of a 209-lb, Lucky Charms girl. But I followed the program to a T, downsizing my portions and journaling. Soon I realized I could have a huge salad with protein for the same points value as a half-cup of Lucky Charms—and I felt way more satisfied afterwards.

Back then, exercise felt like punishment, so I didn’t do much other than walking and trying the standard “park far away at the mall” tips; my focus was on breaking the yo-yo diet cycle and living healthy. I didn’t care if I lost a ton of weight—I just wanted to be a strong role model for Ryan. Finally, I was doing this on my terms.

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