I’ll never forget when an idiot boy from my home town was summing up the different kinds of people that emerge after high school. He said there were natural skinny people and natural fat people and then there were the skinny people that were all destined to become fat after they began college and stopped doing all of the different sports in high school. I was already beginning to gain weight so I knew to which group I probably belonged and it broke my heart.
The weight did not come on overnight, though. It mainly started during my 3rd year in college, which was right after I met my future husband, and continued through graduate school, until I was almost 100 pounds heavier than I was at high school graduation. I lost about 25 pounds right before our wedding day but gained at least 10 pounds back just during the honeymoon!
Then the weight came on easily with each pregnancy. I topped the scale at about 280 during my 3rd pregnancy and let me tell you, I felt like a balloon filled with water – so heavy, shaky and weak. Labor was excruciating because I tired so quickly, but somehow I got the job done. My hair and gown were completely soaked afterward though.
After having babies, I would lose weight but gain it back pretty quickly. However, I never let myself get much heavier than 240 before I couldn’t stand it anymore and knew I had to do something.
That was almost exactly what I weighed when I began this journey on June 29, 2020 and as of last Friday, Jan. 15, the number on the scale was 200.4! (I know it was because I had to get on the scale twice just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things!)
Today marks the 204th day, so that averages out to about 1.37 pounds lost per week. I have My Fitness Pal set so I lose 2 pounds a week but when you consider my week-long vacation, the holidays and quite a few weekends when I ate more calories than the app suggested (including this past weekend), the lower weight-loss average makes sense. There is also a chance that I have gained much more muscle than the app could predict.
After seeing that low number on Friday – which was only a half a pound away from One-derland! – I almost immediately started a weekend bender that continued through Sunday night. I have a fairly good excuse, though: some good friends came to stay for the weekend. The sad thing is – I could have easily eaten within my set calories since I made really healthy meals, but my portions got out of control and I continued eating snacks and desserts after each meal. (Normally I would go for a walk after supper. Somehow, I need to figure out how to break my connection to food when people come for a visit but that will be an entire blog post on its own!)
When I am in the middle of these weekend benders, I have a little devil on my shoulder, telling me that all of my hard work is going down the drain and it will only be a matter of time before I gain all of the weight back again. It’s that same voice telling me again, “See? You will always be that fat person, even if you are lucky enough to lose some weight now and again. There is nothing you can do about it. It’s who you are and everyone knows it.”
But somehow, I had the audacity to shop for clothing, since almost all of my jeans and sweaters are too big for me. I was overjoyed to discover that I easily fit into SIZE 14 jeans and SIZE MEDIUM tops! I was even able to zip up some SIZE 12 jeans but I knew if I ate too much salt, I would be the crazy lady on the news that fell down and couldn’t get back up because her feet were numb from prolonged compression of her legs, forcing doctors to cut her jeans off of her!
I bought the new clothes this weekend because I want to believe that this attempt to lose weight is going to last longer than previous attempts. This morning, I wore the jeans with pride but even better – I opened up My Fitness Pal on my phone and started tracking my calories immediately so I could get back on track!
Since today was another day off, I was home and wanted to eat lunch rather than drink a shake, but I was careful to measure my food and track every snack. Supper was the lighter meal of the day since all I ate was a sandwich. After a 55 minute dance class and 49 minutes of walking “briskly”, I ended the day with 156 calories remaining. Then something amazing happened. I hit the magical “Complete Diary” button and for the first time, saw the predicted weight in 5 weeks to be 189! Won’t that be an amazing day! Right now, we are about 5 weeks away from Valentine’s weekend, which I plan to spend with family, so could I possibly buckle down and get to 189 by then?
Listen, I am not sure. But do you know what I am sure about? I WILL EVENTUALLY! Throughout this process, I have learned that putting pressure on myself to lose weight at a certain pace has been more stressful and disappointing than I expected. There is just no way to predict how quickly the numbers will reflect on the scale. I can be near perfect and barely see a change and then a week later, when I have started to relax and have given up on controlling the scale, the numbers finally come down. The only constant in all of my little stories is that the numbers DO COME DOWN!
So that is what I am going to believe whole-heartedly. If I continue to exercise and track my calories, the numbers WILL come down eventually. Changing my mindset will most definitely take longer. I was obese for over 20 years so I am not suddenly going to picture myself as a skinny person until I have spent much more time in this new body. Since I am still losing weight, I’m not sure where I belong right now. All I know is that some inconsequential guy that I barely knew 25 years ago is NOT going to put me in a box and label me as he sees fit. I mean what I have been saying all along – Only I determine my worth! I’m just not done discovering the full potential of my worth just yet.
Since I am in charge, tomorrow will be another great day! I will track my calories, eat healthy meals and snacks, including fruit, a shake for lunch and leftover homemade beef stew for supper, and I will exercise twice by doing a dance class at 4:30pm and walking “briskly” again while my youngest daughter goes to dance rehearsal later in the evening.
If I continue to repeat the same steps I will continue to receive the same results – weight LOSS and all of the amazing benefits that coincide. I’m not sure I will ever feel comfortable calling myself a “skinny” person, but I feel 100% comfortable calling myself a happy, healthy, strong, confident, intelligent and maybe even a little sexy, woman who knows EXACTLY what she wants and she is going to GET IT! It’s only a matter of time. I am already half-way there!