Terry and I married in March of 2017. On that day, I felt beautiful and regal. I wasn’t self-conscience of my weight or my looks. My clothes were tight and uncomfortable during my honeymoon, but the food was good. So, I just loosened a button and ordered dessert. I remember telling my sister Hope how much weight I had gained in a short period of time, she said jokingly, “Oh that’s just ‘happy weight’.” I was happy, but the weight wasn’t making me happy. The weight was making me tired. I have always been a fan of a naps, but naps were becoming a necessity to get through a work day. I would eat my lunch at my desk in between customers so that I could take a full hour nap in the car during my lunch break. I would wake up tired after 8 hours of sleep. I would come home from work and take a nap before dinner. Sometimes, I felt too tired to even make it in the house without a nap and would nap in the car for before going inside. After dinner, I would shower and go straight to bed. I was super happy with my life, but my body felt miserable.
I knew that I needed to make some lifestyle changes, but I also knew it would be difficult for me to change my behavior. I felt so sluggish that the thought of exercise overwhelmed me. My strategy would be to lose 30 pounds with healthy eating, then start exercising after I lost those initial pounds. I had lost weight previously through the Atkins Diet and I wanted to go back to that because I knew I could lose a significant amount of weight with or without exercise. Terry was opposed to Atkins and suggested a more balanced approach to eating. I had tried Weight Watchers multiple times in the past and I wasn’t successful because I wasn’t accurately tracking my food and I wasn’t fully committed to changing my eating habits. So, when I decided that I would join Weight Watchers this time, I didn’t want to tell anyone. I felt so out of control with my eating that I feared that I would fail again. That strategy didn’t work very long because Terry does the cooking at home. It just made more sense to tell him.
Terry has always been supportive and loving concerning my weight. He has never given me a reason to feel self-conscious about my size. When I told Terry my plans to lose weight, he was just as supportive as I had expected. He immediately started searching Weight Watchers recipes so that dinner would be points friendly. Terry even downloaded the WW app to his cell phone so that he could see how many points I had left after lunch. The support didn’t stop with eating. Terry would be my walking partner many nights. Because of his support for me, Terry also lost weight, albeit at a slower pace.
One of my biggest struggles was eating out. In my childhood, eating out was only for celebrations. Celebrations usually mean over-indulgence. Terry and I were eating out multiple times a week. I couldn’t afford to over-indulge every time we ate out. When I shared with Terry that eating out was a problem for me, we cut back (which helped both our pockets and our waist lines). When we did eat out, Terry would let me choose the restaurant, which I would chose by checking the WW app first. At first, I thought his support would be intimidating, but it became motiving. Even though he was not an official Weight Watcher, he’d let me discuss with him the things I learned in my meetings and when I had a weekly weigh in, he’d ask how I did. If I told him I lost, he’d respond “I’m so proud of you”. If I had gained, he’d say, “It’s just water weight”. After a few weeks of not losing, I’d be frustrated and say, “don’t say it’s just water weight.” To that he would respond, “It’s because you are gaining muscle.” LOL.
To date, I’ve lost 60 pounds on WW with another 40 to go. The weight isn’t coming off as fast as I would prefer, but I’m focusing more on health. I’m measuring my success by my energy level, self-discipline, and activity. I figure that no matter what happens on the scale, if I eat for fuel, refuse to over-eat and move my body, then results will follow that winning formula. For the first year and a half, I went to weekly meetings which have been a tremendous help. I leaned so much from other members and the weekly topics. I learned about some of my unhealthily eating triggers and how to combat them. I learned how to maximize my water intake and how to find ways to incorporate activity into a busy schedule. I recently switched to a fully online plan instead of weekly meetings which made me a little nervous. I asked Terry if he would join online too so that I could have a “meeting” at home. Weight Watchers has a saying that we’re better together which certainly is the case for us. I’m glad to have a partner at home on this journey. Many ladies talk about not having the support at home and I couldn’t imagine how hard that would be to have your partner discourage and belittle you instead of encouraging you and blaming the weight gain on the water 😊. We are certainly better together.
The Weighing Game
Terry’s Thoughts (T2):
When I was a kid, I was not what you would consider “thin” by any stretch of the imagination. Every summer, the Sears catalog would arrive in June and my mother would allow me to choose a few items out of the “husky” section while she chose the rest of my clothes. We would go to the store in Augusta and place the order. In 4-6 weeks, we would get a card in the mail stating that my order had arrived at the store and we could come pick it up. As we would walk to the order by mail section of the store, I would look at all the clothes that were there in the store and try to see if they added a “husky” section so I could be like the rest of the kids. For years, this was not the case and it would be years (high school) before I could go into a store (thank you JB White for Men) and purchase clothes off the rack.
When I got to college, I started working out with my friends and started to get more muscular and bigger. I was lifting weights continuously and was getting more and more fit. Although I didn’t have a washboard stomach, I could look down and see my feet without it getting in the way. I was fit and in shape. Yet, over the years as I discontinued working out, the girth that I had gained continued as I started to trade lifting weights to lifting my fork.
One of the advantages of being well versed in cooking and not being dependent upon anyone to prepare my food, I could cook and eat whatever I had the taste for. The only limits that I had were the time of the year that certain foods were available and what was in my bank account. This was my Achilles heel: I was my own worse enemy as I could really cook and eat what I wanted. At my largest, I was 298 lbs. and I was walking several miles every day at work.
One of the things during my courtship with Faith was that everyone in her family would say the same thing, “I hope you like lasagna.” My response would always be the same, “I do, but I also know how to cook and will be doing most of the cooking. Do I look like I missed a meal?” Yet, something bothered me when one day Faith said that she was going on the Adkins diet. I had done some research about the long-term success of the diet and was not impressed with what I found. Another thing that I recognized was that what she was used to eating was not balanced and not beneficial to long term healthy living. I had started losing weight by going back to basics: balanced eating along with portion control. Yet, I had to convince Faith that my philosophy concerning weight loss was better for her long-term health than Adkins.
Faith had previously had success with Adkins before, but I didn’t feel that it was a sustainable lifestyle for healthy living long term. So, I began to do the research and began to prepare to make my case to my bride that she shouldn’t do Adkins just to lose weight, rather we would make a lifestyle change together and lose the extra weight. To my pleasant surprise, she agreed to my plan, but she had a twist: she wanted to do Weight Watchers. Ugh! That’s what I grew up watching people I knew go on! It was my kryptonite and bane of my existence. Since I had convinced Faith that balanced eating was the best method for us long term, I listened to her make the pitch to me about joining her. I said I would support her and cook anything that she needed to be successful, but I was NOT going to meetings.
So, I combined my philosophy with the knowledge that she gained from her meetings and we added exercise to the whole thing. Thus, the Bryant weight war had begun. In the beginning, it was crazy purchasing things that would help make this war successful for both of us. Even though I was not “officially” on the program, I was by proxy due to the fact that I had to cook everything that would be compliant with her plan and still learn the lessons to make sure that she could eat what I prepared and not have any setbacks. Over the next few weeks, I began to notice that there was a little less of me and a little less than Faith than it was before. A few weeks later, my health insurance company introduced a “diabetes prevention program” (read: weight loss program) that supported the ideas of portion control, exercise and many of the things that I learned through Faith in her groups. So, another program and front opened up to help us with our goal to be better and healthier people. Yet, there was something else that would help motivate me to keep losing weight along with my bride: my grandson, Keylan.
Those who have younger children know that they can be a bundle of energy and require a bundle of energy to keep up with. As we continued to lose weight, we recognized that our energy level was increasing daily and weekly and I noticed that I wasn’t getting worn out when playing with him. I had always been told that a child can change how a person looks a life and Keylan helped me refocus myself on ensuring that Faith and I would be there for him in later in life as well.
As Faith continued to move forward with her path, I slowed down and didn’t stay structured as I was in the beginning. Yet, I didn’t become a barrier to Faith and continued to support her. She continued to lose and lose. Even when it didn’t show on the scale, it was showing in the clothes that we both wore. Eventually, I would “get back on the horse” and recover the desire to get to my desired goal.
So, a few weeks ago, Faith asked me to join her as she was going to stop going to the meetings but wanted a partner that would help her remain accountable. So, with the meetings no longer in play and having supported my queen on her journey, I joined her officially to get to my ultimate goal: get back to my weight in 1990 (don’t ask, you’ll find out when I get there.) This was the year that I was (in my opinion) at the peak of my physical conditioning and weight. Thus the “weighing games” have begun and in a few short months, we are both going to have a very intriguing reveal.
In closing, the one thing that we both recognized during our journey is not to base our success on what others may think or feel, rather how we feel about ourselves. We also recognized that our desire to be more fit has improved our total quality of life and has given us the confidence to do things that we may not have done before. This includes our blog. So, we continue to look at ourselves and say, “what can I do to make myself a better person so that I can help more people.” Losing weight is just one step in the process of fulfilling our calling and we hope others will see that being healthier is just part of a bigger process in fulfilling your calling in life.