Simply Determined

Simply Determined is a writer and a bookseller. She is 55 years old and very tall (5’10) with a small-to-medium frame (she can hide a lot of weight). For the first 30 years of her life, she was told she was too thin. An athletic girl and teenager, Simply Determined enjoyed swimming, dancing, and gymnastics, but those activities ceased when she went away to college. She walked a lot then, however, and for a while, she took up running. Her weight was in the 120-130 lb range in her twenties, but fluctuated a lot. It climbed to 130-135 lbs in her early 30s. She got little or no regular exercise aside from running after her two young children. Then, after the birth of her third child at age 36, the pounds really began to increase. She accepted an executive position with an insurance company at that time and looking back, it seems that was the point when she lost control of her weight.

Simply Determined worked a high stress job and regularly logged 60-65 hours a week at her work site, which was an hour away from her home. She worked all day, usually without eating a thing. A typical work weekday saw her dropping the kids off at school in the morning, then driving her hour-long commute while drinking coffee (black). She usually went all day on black coffee only, telling herself not to eat if she wasn’t starving—and believing this could help hold down the pounds. She worked most days until 8 or 9 pm (!). Then she came home exhausted and ravenous and finished off whatever food her husband left on the stove for her. Those meals were almost always starchy and fatty and the portion sizes were double what she needed. After eating, Simply Determined would drop into bed and watch television for a couple of hours trying to unwind.

On weekends, she cooked big meals for her family, mostly out of guilt for being absent from them, and napped on Sundays to make up for the sleep she’d missed during the week. This job and lifestyle continued for eleven years, during which she gained a tremendous amount of weight. Periodically, she tried to wrestle control over herself, but gave up every time and usually found she had gained even more pounds for her trouble.

She left the insurance job in 2001 and since then has made several serious efforts to lose weight and improve her health, and while all of them were successful for a while, she eventually gave up and resumed her over-eating and sedentary lifestyle. For almost 20 years now, Simply Determined has tried virtually every diet, enrolled in numerous diet programs, and worked with nutritionists and personal trainers.

In 2004, she started on the Atkins diet and lost more than 70 lbs which she kept off for almost three years by sticking to a low carb diet, which she found pretty easy to do. Then she went through a depressive spell and started eating compulsively again. Presently, she has regained all the weight she lost and then some. She says she has no energy or stamina and avoids people and doing things she used to love. Her Countdown to Fitness challenge is to lose 100 lbs, increase her strength and endurance, and get her life back.