Continued from Colin, Age 19 - 8/6/03 - IP#:  tbb-c2140

... Some of the problem was I was going through puberty which is a difficult time for everyone because your body is going through so many changes but I was going through puberty and excessively eating on top of that. At 12 years old, I could eat a 12 ounce t-bone steak and eat a large salad from the salad bar and more. My weight problem was out of control. I was teased constantly by my peers, some of my family and even adults and that takes a chunk of your self-esteem. By this age, I was becoming aware of my physical appearance. When I was 9 and ate food, I didn't care what I looked like but when I was 11 and 12, I was totally aware of how I looked. Honestly, my weight didn't get any better for a long time. As I became a teenager, it only got worse, much worse. My highest weight was 201 by this time I was 15 years old and 5"7. Even though I was taller, I was still fat and I started to realize this. Around this time, I started to become obsessed with my weight and extremely self-conscious. It didn't help that I had a severe facial blushing problem at the time. My face would blush when I was upset or around certain harmful enviromental factors such as cigaretter smoke, etc. By early 2001, when I was 16 going on 17, I decided to change my life. My decision to lose weight changed my life forever. Recently, we had bought a treadmill and I started riding it 5 times a day(school week) for about 40 to 50 minutes a day. Also, I decided to quit drinking Coca-Cola or any other caffeine product. I started drinking spring water and clear Gatorade and also tried to avoid junk foods. Before I knew it, I had lost around 20 pounds. By the end of 2001, I was still going up and down on the scales but I was around 177 by the time I had to be measured for my graduation gown. I was starting to slim down and people were noticing. I find that in losing weight you are the one that has to do it for yourself. Sure, someone can help you but it is your decision to lose the weight no matter what. I managed to grow another inch or two which helped some. Another 6 months went by and I lost about another 10 pounds. I try to monitor my weight. As a result of the trauma I endured because of my weight, I have become obsessed with my weight and my self-image. I constantly think about this all the time, every day, but fortunately, I have learned to accept myself. The facial blushing has stopped mostly, which I am especially happy about. Now my beverages of choice are mostly Aquafina (spring water)and clear liquids such as 7up or Sierra Mist while dining out. I don't recommend drinking tap water. I don't believe it's healthy for anyone. Also, I eat a lot of salad and try to maintain a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. As of February of 2002, I have not consumed any caffeine into my body whatsoever. I graduated high school in late May of 2002 and started college, three months later. I weighed 168 pounds, about what I weighed starting middle years earlier. I managed to lose even more weight in college from walking all the time. Heard of the "Freshman 15?" If you haven't heard of this expression, it means that most freshmans in college gain about 15 pounds from the change of lifestyles. I was shocked that instead of gaining the 15 pounds, I lost even more weight. By December of 2002, when I came home for Winter/Christmas Break, I weighed 151 pounds! Unfortunately, when I came home. I didn't do very much and I starting eating. When I went back to college in January of 2003 I weighed 163 pounds. I was crushed, I admit. For most people that struggle with weight, they gain weight, they lose weight. The weight will continue to go up and down, which is hard to accept at times. My health started to deteroriate by March of 2003. I was having problems with my asthma, also a chronic dizziness problem that has not been completely diagnosed at this time. On top of that, I came down with a bad case of the flu and also a emotional breakdown caused by stress and other problems. In May, I withdrew from my second semester of college for medical reasons. By this time, I lost another 10 pounds and was down to about 156. Eventually I have felt a bit better. This summer has not been easy though. Last month, I came down with a bad case of food poisoning and actually lost even more weight. By the way, I don't recommend getting food poisoning as a guide to lose weight. It's no fun. As of today, I am down to my lowest adult weight...145 pounds. I look quite slim and I am happy with how I look. I realize my weight will probably go up and down for the rest of my life and I can accept that. For anyone, that is struggling with weight, child or adult, male or female, don't lose hope. If I lost the weight, anyone can. Thank you!