My Turning Point

One of the most common questions that I get from readers is what the turning point for me was in my healthiness journey, and how I got myself to a place where I was ready and able to change. Let me tell you – it was not easy, and it was, and still is, a very long road.

Just last night, a reader named Summer emailed me and asked the following:

I was just wondering how – from a mental point of view – you started your journey to a healthier lifestyle (I assume you didn’t find the motivation to start running races right off the bat), if you ever had moments where you wanted to give up, and what you did to combat those moments.”

I figured I’d take the opportunity to address it here since its a question I get pretty frequently.

I was overweight for my entire life since I was a kid, and then after high school I just started piling on the weight like it was my job. (It wasn’t). I had a boyfriend that I met on the first day of classes freshman year and that sort of solidified my unhealthy lifestyle because we would just stay in every night, order in pizza, wings, and other greasy food, and chain smoke cigarettes. I didn’t get any activity in or eat anything even remotely healthy during those 3 years. Once he graduated (and we thankfully broke up), during my senior year of college I started focusing on myself, working out, and following Atkins. I followed that program for several months, lost around 40 pounds, and felt amazing.

senior year

Then, after graduating from college and moving out on my own, I let the weight creep back on quickly.

before2

That’s a photo of me and my old roommate, Molly (who later went on to join WW and become lifetime!). I gained back about 35 of the 40 pounds I had lost because we worked at a restaurant, drank all the time, kept terrible hours, didn’t work out, and binged on junk food like it was going out of style. Since that photo, we’ve lost over 100 pounds between us.

fat1

That’s Jess, Rachel, and Me back in 2006/2007.

So my turning point really came after I had lost and then gained back the weight. I got back up to wearing a size 16/18 in pants and XXL shirts. While on the outside I was putting on a smile, going out often, and surrounded by friends, I was really miserable on the inside.

fat2

Pretending everyday that I was comfortable in my own skin really took a toll on me. I was and always have been pretty outgoing and outspoken, so I was the funny, fat friend/coworker/sister/daughter. I didn’t want to be that anymore.

before

In late 2008, I had a doctors visit with my gynecologist, and she said “So, what’s going on with your weight?” She said it so casually, like “How are you?” or “Did you hear about the weather for the weekend?” I was completely taken aback. I knew my weight had gotten out of hand but it was sort of like the elephant in the room – everyone could see it, but there was absolutely no need whatsoever to discuss it. I left the doctors office feeling defeated, angry, even offended, but that was really what started the fire in me. I didn’t want to have to get asked questions like that ever again.

before3

At first, I thought I should try do it on my own since I had done it before, but I knew Atkins wasn’t a long-term solution to my problem. In January 2009, I decided to make “get healthy” my New Years Resolution, but I really had no idea where that would take me. I first started by quitting cigarettes, which was a hard process and I’ve had several relapses along the way. After cutting back dramatically on smoking, I started working out. I started working out 4 or so times a week at the gym, mostly doing the elliptical and/or weight machines. I tried that for 2 months to no avail. I wasn’t doing anything to change my eating habits, so I wasn’t losing weight.

The problem for me wasn’t that I didn’t know what to eat or what was healthy, but that I ate way too much. I soon realized I couldn’t do it on my own. I needed a system to hold me accountable and help me navigate through all the healthy choices I knew about – and that’s where Weight Watchers came in. I decided to commit to it and started religiously counting points and completely changing everything in stock in my kitchen. I remember I lost 6.2 pounds that first week and almost screamed because I was so excited. After that first week, I continued to lose, albeit slowly, and by January 2010, I was the thinnest I’d ever been in my life.

jan2010

There were many times where I wanted to give up because I had to make a lot of sacrifices like skipping out on happy hours, waking up extra early to get in a workout, and not eating the pizza that everyone around me was eating. It felt unfair that I had to make these changes and everyone else around me could eat whatever they wanted. But the truth was, most people can’t eat anything they want all the time and stay thin. Most people have to make sacrifices and perhaps they eat the pizza in public, but who knows what their lifestyle is like at home. I guess a big point for me was realizing this journey was about me and no one else. In the end, all the sacrifices I made were worth it. If I screwed up and went out and drank too much and ordered pizza, I woke up the next day (feeling like crap) and would pick up the pieces. You can’t be perfect. You can’t change overnight. But in the end, it’ll all be worth it – I promise.

I always wanted an easy solution, to just be able to wish being skinny and for it to work. But the truth is and I’m sorry to say it – there’s no easy solution. You need to watch what you eat and work out, and you can change your life too. You will have slip ups inevitably – don’t let yourself get discouraged. In my prior life, I would try to be healthy and would wake up and eat really lightly during the morning and daytime, only to overeat at night, feel extremely guilty, and then continue to eat until I was numb. The next day, I’d wake up and do it again.

AllGearedUp

I learned (slowly) to switch my obsessions about food to healthy food and experimenting with new recipes and new superfoods (and starting a blog). I started running, and that same addiction that led me to be obese has lead me to run 9 races, including a half marathon, and I’m signed up for another one in 2011.

Take it slow and realize if you are persistent, you will get there.

Did you have a turning point that led you to change your life? What was it?

58 Comments on My Turning Point

  1. Katie Photiadis
    December 9, 2010 at 9:42 am (7 years ago)

    Love this post!!! It’s amazing to see the changes you have made. You are very inspiring to me, as I work my way through this weight loss journey.

    Reply
  2. Liz @ lizrunsdc
    December 9, 2010 at 9:45 am (7 years ago)

    Re-reading about your journey reminds me of how awesome you are. You should be tremendously proud of how you changed your life.

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:36 am (7 years ago)

      You’re awesome, Liz. Thank you – I am!!

      Reply
  3. Barb
    December 9, 2010 at 9:48 am (7 years ago)

    Wow Beth!! You really are an inspiration! You look amazing 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:36 am (7 years ago)

      Thanks Barb!!

      Reply
  4. Nina
    December 9, 2010 at 9:55 am (7 years ago)

    Hey Beth,
    You are an amazing person, I started reading your blog about a month ago and can’t believe how much energy and focus you have in life. You go girl, you look really great. You give your readers hope and encouragement all the time. Happy holidays.
    Nina

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:35 am (7 years ago)

      aww thank you Nina! So glad you found me! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Erin H
    December 9, 2010 at 10:08 am (7 years ago)

    Thank you for posting on this topic! I needed to read this. Our stories are really similar, although I still have ways to go…Sometimes I just need to re-examine WHY I’m doing this and remind myself that it is not a quick fix, it’s a lifestyle…I needed some extra motivation today, and you gave that to me! Thank you 🙂 🙂 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:35 am (7 years ago)

      Glad I could help!! The journey never ends… i still have a ways to go myself!

      Reply
  6. Amy @ Second City Randomness
    December 9, 2010 at 10:30 am (7 years ago)

    I don’t think I’ve heard your full story like this! You did such an amazing job!

    And you made a good point. I feel like I’m often going “omg, how do they eat like that and stay the size they are?!?!”. Which is almost a little hypocritical. Because as much as I run/workout behind the scenes, I should know they probably have a similar lifestyle and their “balance” is just a little different than mine.

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:34 am (7 years ago)

      Yeah I think its really easy to observe what other people are doing and assume thats what they do all the time, and in reality, its probably not!

      Reply
  7. Toni McAlister
    December 9, 2010 at 10:45 am (7 years ago)

    Yeah! That is soooo Awesome!! I’m still in the middle of that journey. I have alot of weight to still loose. I’m hoping that the more wieght I loose the faster I’ll be as a runner. I have about 65 🙁

    thanks for the inspiration!!

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:34 am (7 years ago)

      They say every extra pound of body fat adds 2 seconds to each mile. Just keep trucking along – you’ll get there! I still have 14 – 24 lbs to lose to be at goal.

      Reply
  8. TheSceneFromMe
    December 9, 2010 at 10:45 am (7 years ago)

    Wow, great for you and the changes you’ve made!

    I think pictures are always a turning point for me. When you look at a picture of yourself and don’t like what you see, that’s motivation to change it!

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:33 am (7 years ago)

      Yeah definitely. I have a hard time finding pictures of myself at my heaviest because I shied away from the camera so much!

      Reply
  9. Stephanie @ The Cookie Battle
    December 9, 2010 at 10:49 am (7 years ago)

    My turning point was seeing photos of myself at a concert with my friends back in 2004…I looked huge and I wanted to burn them all. I made some pretty drastic changes after that, lost 15lbs, and have been trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle ever since even though I have a little more weight to lose.

    Reply
    • Beth
      December 9, 2010 at 11:18 am (7 years ago)

      I still have weight to lose too but I am leading a dramatically more healthy lifestyle than I was!

      Reply
  10. Amanda
    December 9, 2010 at 11:40 am (7 years ago)

    This is a great post. I, like you, have lost about 80 pounds from my highest weight but still have a little more to go. Sometimes we need to remember how far we have come to push us through to the end.

    Reply
  11. rc1001
    December 9, 2010 at 11:51 am (7 years ago)

    Awesome!!!! Very well written.

    Reply
  12. Vicki
    December 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm (7 years ago)

    Beth, I am a recent reader of your blog and it was so interesting to hear the overview of your entire journey, choices, etc. I love that where most “health” or “weight loss” or “exercise” blogs focus on tremendous calorie restrictions, excessive weight loss, or denying yourself, you seem to keep a healthy balance. Your story is really inspirational.

    Reply
  13. Rachel
    December 9, 2010 at 12:51 pm (7 years ago)

    Beth-

    Love your writing, love your post and love your honesty about your journey. Congrats on how far you’ve come – you’ve worked hard 🙂

    Reply
  14. Katie
    December 9, 2010 at 1:25 pm (7 years ago)

    Love it. You look like a totally different person. It’s unreal.

    Reply
  15. indeeskitchen
    December 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm (7 years ago)

    Awesome post – I think you hit nearly everything. You look great – you should be so, so proud of your journey!

    Reply
  16. Marjie Scheib
    December 9, 2010 at 2:15 pm (7 years ago)

    My story is very much like yours. I have lost and regained over 50 pounds 3 times. I am now 48 years old. Weight and food have been my obsession from the age of 16. I was shopping for new BIGGER clothes in July of this year and while in the fitting room I looked in the mirror as I struggled to button the pants and the look on my face just stopped me cold. I was so angry. I was tired of always thinking about food, what I was eating, should be eating, should not be eating, how much I was eating and especially how crappy I felt after eating. The following Monday I walked back into a Weight Watchers meeting. I had lost weight 3 times before and as soon as I got to my goal weight I quit going. And the weight came back faster. Like you mentioned, my new obsession is healthy food. I love your site. You keep it real. I have lost 20 pounds but I still have not made regular exercise part of my lifestyle but I will! You are an inspiration. Thanks for your honesty.

    Reply
  17. Lisa
    December 9, 2010 at 2:57 pm (7 years ago)

    Great story. I love reading the back story for how people decided to change their life. 🙂

    Reply
  18. Ang
    December 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm (7 years ago)

    Thanks for sharing your story! Though the past few years my weight loss has been stalled I still try to eat healthy because I worry about my health and know I have a family history of some cardic type issues. This keeps me from getting too far off track with bad food choices.

    Reply
  19. Caroline
    December 9, 2010 at 7:35 pm (7 years ago)

    Loved the post. I love seeing how you have done it and I hope to get my weight off for the final time. Thanks for writing your story!

    Reply
  20. Emily
    December 9, 2010 at 9:14 pm (7 years ago)

    You are amazing! This post (and a lot of other stuff too) just proves it.

    Reply
  21. Monica
    December 9, 2010 at 10:01 pm (7 years ago)

    Wow. I feel like that is all I can say right now.

    What an incredible post. It doesn’t matter how many times I read stories of strength and inspiration, they are still just as vital to my success today as they were months ago. I find so much strength and guidance in this post.

    Thank you so much for sharing. I really needed this reminder today. Thank you.

    Reply
  22. Jessica
    December 9, 2010 at 11:47 pm (7 years ago)

    Really great post Beth. Really really great.

    Reply
  23. blackhuff
    December 10, 2010 at 1:59 am (7 years ago)

    I had a turning point which is extremely private and only something my hubby knows about. But the point is, that turning point will always remind me of why I want to lose weight and keep it off till I die one day.

    Reply
  24. Victoria (District Chocoholic)
    December 10, 2010 at 10:40 am (7 years ago)

    Such an inspirational story – you must feel so much better, physically and emotionally. Great work.

    Reply
  25. Joy
    December 10, 2010 at 11:15 am (7 years ago)

    Go you!!! That’s awesome

    Reply
  26. Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun
    December 10, 2010 at 2:15 pm (7 years ago)

    Such an inspiring story! Thanks for sharing it! And my turning point would have to be when I got pregnant with M. I really grasped the need to let go of my food issues and then afterwards I just wanted to live healthily for her. I never expected to get in the best shape of my life post pregnancy. Just goes to show consistency with a balanced, moderate, and healthy lifestyle goes FAR. 🙂

    Reply
  27. amanda
    December 11, 2010 at 2:38 pm (7 years ago)

    what a GREAT and motivating story. i seriously enjoyed reading this. thanks for the peak into your turning point.

    everything you said is so true. sadly, it doesn’t happen with a wish on a star or blowing out the birthday cake candles. it’s dedication and hard work. but it does pay off.

    and you’re living proof!

    Reply
  28. jen
    December 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing your journey! I’m so excited I found your blog!!! I am finishing up my 2nd week with weight watchers and I’m loving the program so far!

    Jen

    Reply
  29. Shannon [Tropical Eats]
    December 12, 2010 at 9:52 pm (7 years ago)

    wow Beth you are AWESOME!!!!!!!! i already knew that of course bc you were my fun roomie 🙂 but your story is just incredible and i am so so SO proud of you

    so glad ive gotten to know you!!! 🙂

    Reply
  30. Natalie
    December 13, 2010 at 1:33 am (7 years ago)

    Hi Beth
    been Reading your blog for sometime now but don’t think I’ve commented before. This post inspired me so much I just had to let you know. I really enjoyed Reading about your journey to healthiness and admire the hard work that you put into acheiving your goal. It can be so hard to see the bigger picture or the long term goal when you are in the midst of a pizza party (metaphorical or otherwise!) and yet you did so time and again and all in a truly perceptive way. Thanks for sharing this with us. I’m sure that you will continue to inspire others for many years to come. Natalie x

    Reply
  31. couchpotatoathlete
    December 13, 2010 at 12:36 pm (7 years ago)

    Beth you have such a great story! Good for you for taking control!

    Reply
  32. Jennifer
    December 23, 2010 at 4:34 pm (7 years ago)

    Thank you for sharing this! I get discouraged a lot because although I’ve lost 45 lbs. this year, I still have a ways to go (probably another 60-70 lbs.). I keep trying to focus on how good it feels to buy smaller clothes, how much I enjoy finding new healthy foods to cook, and how incredible it feels to cross a finish line after a race. It is hard, it’s tough work, but it is worth it. I (and everyone) just gotta keep the faith!

    Reply
  33. Dee
    March 24, 2011 at 3:18 pm (6 years ago)

    Just found your blog today via a comment you left on HTP. I just added you to my google reader! I’m just at the start of my healthiness journey now, and from the posts I’ve read I really like the way you approached yours. My turning point- what I hope will prove to be my turning point into a healthier lifestyle and healthy weight- came also at the gyn office. I’m struggling with fertility issues, but have no clinically observable problems- blood work good, anatomy doing what it’s supposed to. But given my weight and my blood sugar levels (the latter is still a normal value), it could be my blood sugar that has contributed to both my fertility issues and my rapid weight gain (after having a stable weight for many years, in less than a year I suddenly gained 60lbs). So, by exercising and avoiding sugar and flour (blood sugar triggers) she thinks I may be able to conceive. So that’s my motivation. I’ve lost 14lbs since January 11- the day of that doc appt. The next day I started walking 3 miles daily. I look forward to reading your blog for tips and inspiration! Thanks for sharing your story!

    Reply
  34. kerrycooks
    June 18, 2011 at 6:02 pm (6 years ago)

    So inspiring, and such a great way to explain things… great article!

    Reply
  35. jassy
    August 21, 2011 at 10:30 pm (6 years ago)

    your turning point is inspiring 🙂

    Reply
    • Beth
      August 21, 2011 at 10:39 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank you Jassy! =)

      Reply
  36. Lauren
    September 20, 2011 at 5:12 pm (6 years ago)

    I just stumbled across your blog and can’t wait to catch up! I had the same experience at my gyno in DC last week (yours isn’t Dr. Busch by any chance, is it?). I spent the weekend crying over the 70 pounds I lost a few years ago (and promptly regained). Tonight it’s back to WW for the first time in far too long. Looking forward to reading lots more!

    Reply
    • Beth
      September 29, 2011 at 11:50 am (6 years ago)

      FUNNY you should say that – – it IS Dr. Busch!! (Hysterical name for a gyno, btw). Congrats on rejoining WW! Do you go to K street?

      Reply
      • Lauren
        September 29, 2011 at 12:26 pm (6 years ago)

        Haha, I KNEW it, just by the way you said she talked to you!

        I used to go to K St a few years ago when I lost a bunch of weight, but the Ballston location is more convenient now that I’ve moved. I liked the K St one a lot but then my leader changed about 50 times in a year after the original one moved away and I just couldn’t get into the meetings. I lost three pounds my first week and my head is in a much better place than it was a few years ago about this whole process. I’m actually looking forward to continuing on!

        Reply
  37. Emily
    September 29, 2011 at 11:47 am (6 years ago)

    So happy I found your blog. Your story is so similar to mine. I lost and then gained and now I am recommitted and it feels better…different. I am excited. Congrats on all your accomplishments and hard work!

    Reply
    • Beth
      September 29, 2011 at 11:49 am (6 years ago)

      Aww Emily so glad you found me too! Thank you!!

      Reply
  38. Penny @ ShapeandRecreate
    January 3, 2012 at 8:17 pm (5 years ago)

    Great story Beth…your site is very inspirational and i am so pleased i stumbled onto it. Keep up the good work and keep smiling 🙂

    Reply
  39. Linda
    April 19, 2013 at 2:04 pm (4 years ago)

    You are so beautiful! I LOVE YOUR STORY

    Reply
  40. Linda
    April 19, 2013 at 2:10 pm (4 years ago)

    You are so beautiful. I love reading your story. I was thin way back before I gave birth to my kids. Now, I am chubby and I don’t like it. Thus, I tried reading and searching for articles and ways to help me achieve my goal of losing weight. Your blog is very inspiring.

    Reply

4Pingbacks & Trackbacks on My Turning Point

  1. […] Around this time three years ago, I was approaching 250 pounds (again), smoking almost a pack of cigarettes a day, eating greasy, fried food for almost every meal of the day, and just not in a good place. I went to my gyno for my annual appointment, when she asked me the question that would lead to me changing my life. […]

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