Missy battled depression, anxiety, and their impact on her relationship. Hear about her lifestyle makeover and what she discovered about herself. For Missy, “Get there” means that she will achieve the goals she sets for herself, no matter how long it takes.
Weight Gain Background and Impact
While Missy says she was never “super thin” as a kid, issues with her weight really cropped up in her senior year of college. Once she had been out of college for a year and a half, she says she realized:
“I just wasn’t feeling good.”
At age 22 Missy was asked to be a bridesmaid, and realized she didn’t want to appear in public at the size she was. Missy joined Weight Watchers and lost 60 pounds. (27 kg)
Around this same time Missy met her (now) fiancée and moved to her current home of Minneapolis for a job in IT. In the ten years they have been together she put back on that 60 pounds plus more.
In 2012 Missy weighed 246 pounds (111.8 kg), her highest weight. Missy is 5’1” and at 246 pounds she says she felt “very uncomfortable.” Missy says she felt tired much of the time, and was battling with ongoing depression and anxiety.
The Turning Point
There were two instances on a vacation to Florida in 2012 that changed things up for Missy.
“It was just an overall feeling of unhappiness.”
First, she shares that she could barely fit in to the seat on a roller coaster, and then she saw a photo of herself at Sea World, and decided she needed to change her life. Missy shares that she was at an all-time low with how she was feeling overall with her depression and anxiety, and she felt ready to get to a better place.
She realized that her bad times were touching others, not just herself. Missy discusses how her bad moods were also affecting her relationship with her fiancée. As to why her lifestyle changes have stuck this time around, Missy says:
“I think I was finally ready.”
Starting The Weight Loss Journey
“We got home on a Thursday, and Friday morning I signed up for Weight Watchers online.”
Missy says that over the years she has tried many weight loss systems, from LA Weight Loss, Biggest Loser Fitness Club, to Sparkpeople. Throughout, she has always returned to Weight Watchers, and felt comfortable with their program. Missy says she has re-joined Weight Watchers probably six times in her life.
Missy says her first step was cleaning out her refrigerator. Missy and Sam discuss how the process of changing what foods are kept in the house when a significant other is not on a weight loss journey can be a delicate balance. Although he was a great source of strength for her, Missy says about her fiancée: “This was not his journey to take.”
Missy says she “took it slow” this time. “For probably the first 3 months of the journey” she just focused on eating within her points allotment.
She still ate things like ice cream, she just wasn’t eating them in quantities like she had been used to, and she always stayed within her points budget for the day. Missy likes this flexibility of Weight Watchers, in that you can eat any foods, as long as you stay within your plan.
Portion control has always been her challenge, says Missy. In 2012 when she initially started, Missy noticed that since she could eat as many fruits and vegetables as she wanted, she didn’t feel hungry. Adding extra steps to her day started at about 3 months into Missy’s journey, and she upped the amount of steps she took each week for the next 6 months.
Missy explains that she wasn’t very forward about the fact that she was beginning this weight loss journey, outside of sharing it with her fiancée and family.
“I’d done it so many times before and not succeeded… I didn’t want to let anyone down.”
“I don’t even know if I wanted to admit to myself I was doing it, because I was scared that I’d let myself down.”
She says that prior to 2012 she had gotten to a place where she didn’t like physical activity. In 2012 as successful weeks and months began to accumulate, Missy began to enjoy running. Running gave her time to “think about me.”
Missy shares that she is a competitive person, and that running is good for her psychologically as well as physically, since she is always and only competing against herself and her own personal bests at races. Keeping her eyes on only her own progress not in comparison to anyone else’s is also a strategy that Missy feels carries over well in weight loss.
“I’m so not the same person I was two years ago. “
What Missy Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself
Missy says she likes to dispute the commonly held belief that as a woman you have to eat 1200 a day to lose weight. “So very untrue!”
One day Missy added up her Weight Watchers points as if they were calories, and found she was only being “allowed” 1200 calories each day (plus fruits and veggies), which she found was not enough to fuel her days.
“In the beginning it was fine,” but now Missy has transitioned to calorie counting with My Fitness Pal from Weight Watchers. She gradually added calories back in, using My Fitness Pal. She began at 1400 calories each day, and raised her level to 1600 calories each day, which allowed her to lose about .25 pounds each week and build muscle at the same time.
Missy eats between1500-1600 calories each day and feels really good now. Through adjusting the program to suit her personal needs, Missy says she learned a lot about food and what fats are good and bad for her own body.
After Missy ran her first half marathon (May 2014) she felt she needed to add strength training to her routines. Missy says strength training has changed her body so much for the better—she feels more energized and has quicker recovery times.
Missy lost 90 pounds (40.9 kg) and has put a little weight back on through gaining muscle, and realized she had to stop being scale obsessed. If Missy could go back in time in her journey, she would definitely not let the number on the scale dictate her mood. She says that the scale is far less important than how you feel and how clothes fit.
She started a blog (www.gettingfittofindmyself.com) to add a “layer of accountability” for herself. She writes a weekly post of stated goals for her fitness plans for that week. Missy says that now she allows herself any food she wants, but she limits the quantity. She says that portion control and focusing on fitness is especially her strategy for over the holidays. She really likes having a routine, and feels that routines help her stay on track.
“I learned that I am so much stronger than I ever thought I was.”
Current Routine – Food and Exercise
Missy eats breakfast at work between 7:30-8 (usually a type of protein shake without artificial sweetener), and eats a midmorning snack (a fruit or vegetable). Lunch depends on her work schedule but is usually a Subway sandwich or a salad.
Missy then eats an early dinner with her husband, which is based on a protein, a carb, and a vegetable. Apples and carrots are her go-to snack. Missy’s crock pot ranks up there with her food scale as her most helpful kitchen tools.
Missy discusses that her current exercise routine always depends on where she is in relation to a race. Generally, she is running 5 days, and 2 days a week she will take a break. Missy is proud to say that she participated in over 30 races in 2014—including lots of 5Ks.
A self-described “adrenaline junkie”, she loves the feeling of race day excitement and getting a new PR. Missy recalls her first race and describes being so overwhelmed that she was smiling and crying at the same time when crossing the finish line.
Missy seeks out other exercises to add variety to the running, such as the Les Mills body pump at home version DVD. She has also recently found a love for PiYo. Missy’s current goals are to keep her muscle mass and perhaps drop a bit more weight, but more importantly to get ready for more races, including perhaps a triathlon this summer.
Missy’s Advice For Your Journey
Start slow, and add things in once you are comfortable.
Every day is a new day!
Resources Discussed In This Podcast
- Fitbit activity tracker that Missy used to get her moving
- Food scale (here is the scale used & recommended by Sam)
- Les Mills body pump workout DVDs
- Podcasts and blogs that give added perspective about others going through similar situations – like Tips Of The Scale and Half Size Me.
- PiYo workouts – a mix of pilates and yoga from Beachbody
On Missy’s Workout Playlist
- Breaking Benjamin [ Amazon / iTunes ]
- Kelly Clarkson [ Amazon / iTunes ]
- Carrie Underwood [ Amazon / iTunes ]