While growing up in that environment was incredible, it led to a poor relationship with food for me. Food was used as a reward for the good times, to soothe your soul for the bad times, and to ease the stress you may have. After I stopped playing sports in high school, my weight skyrocketed. Back to school shopping was a nightmare (for my mom and me!). None of the ‘cool clothes’ fit and the endless need to be ‘skinny’ was always present. My desire to be skinny led to lots of yo-yo dieting... pills, powders, shakes, and fad diets. They all worked, just one problem. The minute stress began, or my self-esteem took a hit, I started to eat, and all the weight I lost would come back. I was pretty miserable.
In October 2017 I started on a journey to be #fitnotskinny and #fitby50. I had to be thoughtful about how I approached this because if I failed again, I felt like this would be the last time and I would be overweight forever. I was 46. I am 5'6", weighed 215 pounds, with a BMI of 33.9. I wore a size 16...and it was tight. I found #healthynurse, and it inspired me. Nurses just like me wanted to get healthy. I finally felt like I was not doing this alone. I started giving up one thing at a time and making one positive change at a time. I drank more water and stopped using creamer in my coffee. Next, it was time for less bread and pasta (notice I said ‘less’) and more vegetables and fruit. Then I started moving, first walking, then circuits and weights, and yoga. For more than a year, I have kept off 64 pounds and while I'm still 5'6" (darn it), my BMI is 25.01!
In 2019, my challenge is to maintain my weight, remembering it’s about being fit and healthy, not skinny. I also want to help other nurses see it CAN happen and having the #healthynurse community by your side makes it feel like you can achieve anything. Something that helped me get past all the negative self-talk was journaling. Reminding myself that I was stronger than I thought I was and doing better than I gave myself credit. There's much more to this story than just numbers. It's a journey of self-reflection, persistence, and a fervent belief that I am more than the sum of my parts.
Marianne Biangone, MSN, RN, PHN is the Prelicensure Academic Director at Samuel Merritt University.
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