I was showing a picture of myself that was taken back in 1989 to a colleague yesterday at my office. It was a picture that was on my student card when I was a music student at the Amsterdam Conservatory. She said “you look like a movie star!” I was of course embarrassed from her comment, but even sadder, that 20 years later I had let myself go and become this big overweight blob! From 1987 to 1989 I was also on a huge diet. I’d lost 200 pounds back then! And shamed to say, gained it all back. The diet I followed back then wasn’t very smart, and was very unhealthy. But looking back, the one thing that I did incorporate, and that I have now discovered is essential, is the exercise. I can still remember reaching my goal, and feeling so good about it. Lots of new doors opened up for me. I was 29 years old, pretty good looking and all of a sudden the world started noticing me in a different and more positive manor. I don’t really remember the details as clearly now as to why I started the diet, the “light-bulb moment” but I do remember the rituals. And one of them, that really worked ,was that I was to eat half a Granny Smith apple every hour!
Believe me I got sick of the apples. But in the end they really helped with the end result. I had recently read up about this method, and it has been proven to really help the weight loss process. (mainly boosting your metabolism, and the enzymes in granny smiths help burn fat) I remember going to a homeopathic doctor in Holland and he had designed this diet for me; including the apples, but also cutting out things like chocolate. I was to not even eat a gram of chocolate! Nothing, nada ! I was aloud to eat Carob though. (I snacked on some carob I found in the local health store that had nuts and raisins) I really can’t remember the rest of the restrictions from the diet, these two things pop out at me 20 years later.
The results of losing 200 pounds back then, was also a feast for me in clothes. All of a sudden, Me, Wendy, that swore she would never wear a dress, was wearing skirts and dresses with high heels to boot! Another effect was the attention I received from the male gender. I was starting to flirt and go out with ( aaahummm) several men. But with all this positive attention from men, the thing that I was shocked and disappointed the most about was the reaction from my male colleagues at the time. For years, after our opera performance was done, we the orchestra members had to wait around for the rest of the stage crew to strike the set, and or the soloists and choir having to de-costume and de-makeup before we all got in our touring bus and drove back to Amsterdam. I worked for 20 years in Amsterdam in a touring light Opera company; I played principal horn with the orchestra. We toured all over Holland, Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Any way, back to my colleagues, so after our performance was done, the brass section would always sit together in the bar, and have a drink while we were waiting. Now that I was skinny and good looking to them, they, all of a sudden were inviting me to join them for a drink and reflect on the night’s performance. In all the 5 years I had been working there, they had never done this! Not until I lost 200 pounds they all of a sudden noticed me, and wanted me to join them. It was this part and fact that really hurt me, and shocked me into gaining the weight back.
Gaining back the weight was a slow but steady road back to my prior fatness. It took 2 years for me to lose 200 pounds and 6 months to gain it back! Very sad, but it happened. What was shocking and hurtful for me, was that I was this invisible and a fat ugly blob to my colleagues for so many years, and they only reached out and became friendly to me when I lost the weight. After gaining back the weight, my colleagues went back to there old ways, and just ignored me after the performance as they used too. Every now and then, they would hurt me more and say.. “ oh my Wendy, what happened, you were so beautiful, and you gained all your weight back, you should start eating those green apples again, such a pity !!” … Ouch!! Your talking to a person, I have feeling you know!
There were of course other troubles and issues around the reason why I gained the weight back. On a practical note, what I didn’t realize then and what I certainly know now, is that diet and exercise is not a temporary state. A diet is to become the form, the recipe for your permanent life style for the rest of your living days. This is the main reason why so many people Yo-Yo back to their original weight. Because when you reach your goal, you go off your diet, and go back to eating the way you used too. WRONG!
When I go to my gym at night, I’m surrounded in beautifully SKINNY women. At first, I thought, why are all these skinny women working out like dogs at the gym? Their not fat! Well now discovering, the reason why they are skinny is because going to the gym is a part of their lifestyle regime. These women have been involved with sports during high school (remember those jocks at school!) and after high school continued there exercising at the gym! While I was a ‘ Band-Aid’ in high school, and just sat and watched the pretty popular girls play volleyball or basketball, I stuffed my face with Cheesies and Orange Crush, as they sweat off their calories!
Going back to the beginning of this story, I was talking about the unhealthy part of my diet. The part I didn’t mention is that I only ate every other day. Yuup I fasted every other day. I didn’t eat at all, so no food at all, not a thing for 3 out of the 7 days a week. That was the bad part! So unhealthy! But for sure of one thing was, man I was strong ! Not to eat a whole day, just drink water, was a sure sigh of will power!
Wendy has suffered from morbid Obesity all of her life. This blog contains stories from the past and present. How her weight has affected her life. With daily updates and inserts, this all attributes to her recent decision (January 1, 2008) to begin her massive weight loss project. Her goal is to lose 200 pounds by her 50th birthday, being July 23, 2009. On July 1st Wendy reached a goal of weighing 250 pounds, but there after she unfortunately went off the diet. On Jan 1, 2011 Wendy started her weight-loss journey once again. An accomplished classical horn player, Wendy has performed with the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony , the Niagara Symphony, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has performed with the Toronto Chamber Orchestra, Amici Chamber Ensemble and Network Winds. Wendy is also Executive Director of the Community Folk Arts Council of Toronto.