The following is what I wrote on my first Sparkpeople profile page in March 2007:
Hi, I’m Owl.I’ll be 24 in about two months. I’ve always been “thickalicious” but as long as I was around 170 lbs I didn’t mind and I felt good about myself.
(Even though I am only 5’6″ and ideally would weigh about 140 lbs)

My best friend (he was the brother I would have chosen for myself) died in October 2005. Only 5 months after we’d graduated college together.
I was devastated.

My boyfriend and my family helped a lot, but I am still deeply grieving over a year later. (Author’s update: It’s been well over 2 years now and I’m still dealing with it – he was the only person in my life who i felt unconditional love from and for. the one person i depended on to be my friend, to be in my life, to love me FOREVER.)

I knew I was gaining weight after I lost my best friend, but I ignored it and I kept on ignoring it.

Until now.
I can’t ignore it anymore. I’ve gained 60 lbs in a year. I am extremely sluggish/lazy and other parts of my health are suffering.

That’s why I’m here.

But I know that I’m going to be here for a long time, possibly for the rest of my life. I’m probably always going to have to exert at least a little focus on eating healthy and exercising.

My goal is to lose 60 lbs in one year, and I’ve been very happy so far – I lost 6 lbs in my first 10 days without really noticing.

I struggle the most with dining out and drinking. (I still live a semi-college lifestyle)
So far the best solutions I have found are: ordering seafood at restaurants (salads get boring very fast, but to me salmon and oysters and other seafood still feel a little exotic and exciting – probably because it’s something I can’t/don’t make at home) and drinking rum&diet cokes (at about 67 calories, they are the lowest calorie alcoholic beverage)

The picture of the bowling team (I’m on the left in the front) is from a work event several weeks ago (Author’s update: That was in March 2007, I think I may look even fatter now but I can’t really tell). This picture was sent to 110 people in my office – my co-workers and friends and supervisors and people I’ve never even met!
I was surprised and appalled by my appearance. I shouldn’t have been so shocked since I’ve been avoiding being in pictures ever since I graduated college (June ’05), and I complain about how fat I look whenever my friends manage to snap one of me. But something about knowing that this picture was being seen by 110 people – people whose opinions I respect, people whose approval I need professionally… well, it really hit home.

So I found SparkPeople because I needed help tracking my caloric intake. I was skeptical at first, but only a week after i started i had lost 3 pounds!
I couldn’t believe it!
And I couldn’t believe how good I felt! I wanted to call everybody I know!
But I remembered that even the best of friends don’t always want to hear about your little weight loss news, so I resolved to finally set up my SparkPage.

as I mentioned I kept up with Sparkpeople and losing weight for a couple months and lost about 20 lbs. but then I went to Scotland to visit my best friend Mo and I was resolved to just not gain while I was there.
And I didn’t
And then it was summer, and i stopped losing but maintained for months
til it started to get cold
and i started gaining it all back
and now I’m starting to pack on even more pounds than before

But really, why did i get so fat?

1) I was in love, then I was in terrible grief
2) I was living with my lover in a small town where the primary amusements were eating greasy food and drinking beer
3) I owned my first car and nothing was in walking distance so we drove everywhere
4) I was depressed – I didn’t want to leave the apartment, I depended completely on Bear to get me to participate in life, and the easiest way to tempt me to interact with the world was through food. Lori (formerly of Tales of the Bathroom Scale now of Just Nesting) used to talk about how being fat protected you from life; you could wrap yourself up in fat and it was like armor. When I read that on her site over a year ago, I cried. That is exactly what I had done.

So why did I gain it back?

1) It was cold/winter and I have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder combined with general chronic depression and anxiety
2) I hate my job. I have hated it for a long time but in august I started going to grad school at night to get my M.Ed. and I realized how MUCH i really hate my job. So I had the extra stress of classes on top of a stressful job that i was increasingly dissatisfied with and eating makes me happy.
3) I reward myself with food – “oh i worked really hard today, i deserve 2 big macs” or “i can’t believe i finally finished that paper and it’s so good, let’s go out for steaks” or on a Sunday “i had a long week, let’s order Thai food for lunch and then go to the Olive Garden for dinner”
4) I like to drink and I DON’T like Capt’n&Diets. I like beer – good beer, cheap beer, wheat beer, ales, lagers, porters, you name it, I like it. But natch beer has a lot of calories. Vodka&Diets or Rum&Diets – they’re low calorie but they taste notsogreat – plus when you order them everyone knows you’re on a diet/weight-conscious because they’re gross and no one drinks them except skinny/anorexic bitches or fat girls trying to lose weight.
5) I don’t like exercising and I let myself stop doing it once I started night classes

Whatever the reasons, this time I’m going to be vigilant! I’m going to walk as much as I can fit into my regular day. I’m going to use my Gazelle and DVDs and DDR. I’m going to watch my calories (including booze) and I’m going to lose weight and it’s going to feel good!

I’m going to get down to 185 lbs by mid-September.