Thursday, August 09, 2012
"Triumphant": that is how I'm feeling. I have had such a great day! It started out with the realization that I was waking up in the "healthy" range of the BMI chart, since yesterday was my first weigh-in at 140.5.
I was still riding high, too, from my yesterday--I biked to school for a meeting with my advisor. It's so out of character for me--I biked instead of drove. It's fun being fit enough that it's no big deal to just throw my messenger bag over my shoulder and do a 45 minute bike ride. Not only that, I had a doctor's appt. and found out that my blood pressure is 95/65, with a pulse of 53. (That's down from 138/85)!
Then I had a fantastic run this morning. One of my best training times: 3.8 miles in 44 minutes, and it felt like I was flying. No aches, no pains, and I could have gone a lot longer if I didn't have to get home to meet my dad.
After my run, I weighed myself, and I weighed in at 140.0, which is my driver's license weight! I'm not getting too excited about it because I only "count" it when I weigh first thing in the morning--so we'll see what happens tomorrow. But if I do come in at 140, it'll be the first time that I'm at my driver's license weight in, oh, 10 years.
After my shower, I checked SP, and found that I'm the Done Girl of the Day! That's such an honor, and it came with dozens of encouraging comments and goodies on my page. Such a boost! It's fun to be recognized for my hard work and also to feel so connected to a great team--Done Being the Fat Girl. It is perfect timing, because I can now say I really am done being fat! It's showing up and paying off in so many ways in my life, and I'm really thankful.
I'm also gearing up for maintenance, because I know that will be the real challenge. I bought Thin For Life by Anne Fletcher yesterday, and I'm really enjoying reading about the "secrets" of successful maintainers. It turns out that nothing they do is that surprising. They eat healthy, they exercise regularly, they constantly monitor, and the correct quickly. More than anything, they are totally committed and know that they are in control--they've "taken the reigns" of their health. That's how I'm feeling, and that is indeed a triumph!
Monday, August 06, 2012
I am entering an interesting period of my weight loss: seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I bought a bunch of new clothes (thank you, Sierra Trading Post!) in size medium for tops and size 10 for bottoms. I figured that was my goal size, so I should take advantage of the end-of-season sales, even though I'm still 15 pounds over my goal weight.
Well, interestingly enough, the tops fit NOW and the pants are close to fitting. So, what does that mean? Am I at my goal weight? No, but I can't figure out exactly what it is. I spent the morning obsessing about it, doing body fat calculators, happy weight calculators, ideal weight calculators, and of course returning to my old friend the BMI chart. Where does this leave me?
I'm 39 and 5'3", with a medium build. Even though I always felt overweight, technically I wasn't while I was young: in high school I weighed 128 and in college (and before I started having kids) I weighed 138. My BMI range is 104-140 (I was 141.5 this morning--can't wait to get into the healthy range!). The midpoint of my BMI range is 122, and the 75% point is 131. An even 70 pounds down would put me at 126.5.
I got down to 118 in my 20s and felt too skinny. It only lasted about 5 minutes, because I started having kids, and that made my weight balloon--I was 208 after my 2nd daughter. I got down to 125 in my early 30s and felt great, but I got pregnant again right away and went up to the upper 180s. I got down to 140 in my mid-30s but wasn't satisfied, threw in the towel and went up to 197, which is where I was when I started losing weight this final time. You can see that choosing the right goal weight looms large for me psychologically. I don't want to be "thin"--I like being bit curvy. But I also don't want to have worked this hard to be chubby. I just want to look fit and athletic.
I'm worried that I'll pick a number that's too ambitious and not be able to stay there and then sabotage myself, feeling like I've failed. I'm worried then that I won't push myself, picking a comfortably high number and feel like it doesn't matter anyway because it's impossible for me to be an attractive weight--and then I'll just gain it back.
Before you think that I'm obsessing too much about just one number, I realize that weight doesn't tell the whole story--how your clothes fit, how you feel, etc. is also important. I also know that the ideal should be a range, not just a number, because water weight fluctuations, etc. will cause daily changes.
But after reading Refuse to Regain I am convinced that my previous yo-yos were due to having no intentional plan for maintenance. I just got down to my goal and thought the work was over. Now I realize that I need to put as much or more effort into maintaining, and that means becoming a warrior--no excuses, no moderation, constant monitoring, and immediate correction. That also means I need accountability, and the number on the scale, while it's not everything, is a good fail-safe indicator.
In Refuse to Regain, Dr. Berkeley talks about how important it is to have a "scream weight"--a number at which you go back to your diet plan immediately. She also suggests that psychologically it's helpful to have that be a number that ends in 0. That's why I was thinking that 130 would be my scream weight, which would make my range 126-130. That means that I'd want to get down to 126 in order to start off on the right foot.
But today I started realizing that I have all these clothes that will fit me in the low 130s, and maybe I should be satisfied with that, especially at age 39. On the other hand, I don't want to cheat myself and not get to where I want to be and feel a nagging sense that I didn't quite succeed. Also, that would mean a "scream weight" of 135 or 138, and that feels uncomfortably high to me.
Ugh--maybe I'm not going to be able to figure this out until I get down lower and can see how my pants fit and how I feel and how hungry I am. But I'd kind of like to get it settled in advance (at least in my mind) so that I can be logical about it and hold myself to a standard that I've figured out makes sense.
Saturday, August 04, 2012
I almost met my goal in July: I lost 9.5 pounds when my goal was 10. 153.5 to 144.
I really got stalled at the end of the month, caught in a little plateau around 144 pounds. I seem to have figured out what was going on (I started relying on snack bars, which provide too many carbs, which was getting me hungry).
I'm back on program now, doing 3 and a half shakes a day. That's up from the 3 I was doing, given my increasing level of exercise. But I'm not feeling hungry and I feel like I'm back on track.
I'm assuming that my weight loss is going to slow a bit now, given that I'm at a lower weight and I'm taking in a few more calories. So, my goal for August is only 8 pounds, which I feel is realistic. That means that I want to get down to 136 by the end of August.
Looking forward to September, that would be 128, and I'd be at 127, my final goal, by my 40th birthday (Oct. 5). Perfect!
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
This may be a bit premature, since I'm still 8 pounds over my healthy BMI cutoff, but I'm definitely feeling healthy and fit these days. I'm comfortably wearing a size 12 and am almost at a 10. I've lost 49 pounds and am hoping that I'll be at an even 50 at my next weigh in. I'm running 3x/week and cross training 2-3 other days. My long runs are up to 5.5 miles, and I have two 10k races coming up in the fall. My blood pressure is regularly between 110-120 over 65-70. So, these are the credentials I'm using to justify that I am no longer fat.
This is what I've realized: no longer being fat is really a process of recovery, physically but also emotionally and psychologically. I didn't realize how much having a "fat mindset" had impacted me. I've never been in recovery from alcohol or other drugs, but from friends I understand that a big part of it is recognizing how the chemicals warped your thinking patterns and trying to decolonize your mind. As part of that process, here's what I've noticed about how I used to think when I was fat:
When I was fat...I used to assume that I couldn't do it. Going on a hike, trying the wall at the rock climbing gym, doing a triathlon--all these were opportunities I had that I turned down. I got into the habit of automatically saying no, because I'd had a couple of embarrassing incidents (not being able to hold my own weight on the zip line at the pool for more than a few seconds and splashing into the pool from a huge height comes to mind as an example that stung, both physically and psychically). But there were many more things that I could have done that I just didn't try. Now, my default mode is, "Sure, why not?" When a friend called asking if I wanted to run a 5k race with her the next day, it was fun to be able to say, "Yeah, sure!"
When I was fat...I didn't try to make myself attractive. I just gave up, figuring "What's the use?" I only got my hair cut once a year, stopped coloring it, didn't wear makeup or nail polish or pluck my eyebrows or shave my legs. Not that I do all those things now (as a feminist, I'm philosophically opposed to some of these things a uncomfortable with others), but I at least care about how I look and actually like seeing my reflection in the mirror or passing my reflection in a window. I am wearing my wedding rings again, wearing earrings, and have bought clothes that I like, not just ones that will engulf me as amorphously as possible.
When I was fat...I avoided sex. Honestly, why would my partner want anything to do with me? I felt so ashamed, like I had let him down by not being the person he married. A few pounds would not have been a big deal, but the 70 pounds that I packed on in 12 years (when he is the same weight and very athletic) seemed like a bit of a "bait and switch." He was always great about it, telling me how much he loved me and being very affectionate. But I just couldn't stand myself, so I made excuses. It's still something I'm getting used to again, but now, I actually look forward to sex and am not constantly self conscious about how many of my tummy rolls he can see.
When I was fat...I was hopeless and constantly fed myself excuses. I felt like there was nothing I could do, like I'd tried everything, like I was just going to have to settle for being fat for the rest of my life. I told myself things like, "Well, there are a lot of people who are fat. In fact, a lot of the older women I work with are 50+ pounds overweight. It's kind of normal. That's just how I'm going to get older," or "Not everyone has to be fit and healthy. There are a lot of nice things to enjoy when you just sit--like watching people go by or reading a book," or "It's my genes to be fat. There's nothing I can do about it, so I might was well get used to it." Not surprisingly, this hopeless, passive attitude seeped into every nook and cranny of my life, and I found myself just letting lots of things happen TO me, rather than taking control. Since I've started losing weight, I've quit my job, gone back to graduate school, and am thinking about helping my husband launch a small business. Now, I assume that things are possible rather than impossible. I look forward to the day, wondering what's ahead.
When I was fat...I was constantly thinking about food, my body, and my health. I have written another blog about how I structured my life around food, so I won't go into detail here, other than to say I ate what I wanted whenever I wanted and had no "off" switch, even when I was full. I didn't binge per se, I just regularly and openly ate more than I needed to of food that was not very healthy for me, and when I wasn't eating I was thinking about what I would be eating, cooking, feeding other people, or feeling guilty about what I had eaten. I avoided the scale and had long periods were I was in denial and never thought about my weight, but I was always aware of my body, and all the ways in which I didn't like it--the hangy-downy chin, the jiggly arms, the mottled thighs, the bulge over my waist of my pants (which I addressed by transitioning only to elastic waisted pants). I was also constantly worried about my health, going to the doctor for heart palpitations, a possible blocked artery in my leg, and back problems. None of these things ended up being anything serious, but I was so aware of the fact that I was making myself sick with my habits. I told myself, "Well, those people who eat less may live longer, but they're denying themselves now. I'd rather live a shorter life and really enjoy it by eating what I want, which is something I really enjoy." Of course, I was so miserable I wasn't really enjoying myself at all. The fleeting enjoyment of the taste of the food was short-lived, and the potential for debilitating health concerns was looming. Not only was I facing not living as long, but also not as actively and with more pain and limitations. I actually got to the point where I said to myself, "Well, if I need to, I can always get one of those little scooters if I have a hard time getting around." Needless to say, today I don't see a little scooter in my future anytime soon. I do still think about my health, but it's in a positive way--tracking how much I've exercised or thinking about how I can push my workouts. I am actually looking forward to going to the doctor and getting a "gold star."
When I was fat...I had no energy. Let's face it, I was probably depressed. I slept a lot, I stayed at home, and I felt like a blob. I asked my kids to go get me things, especially if it was downstairs or upstairs, I drove everywhere and tried not to have to walk as much a possible. I thought about things that had to be done--gardening, unpacking boxes, etc. and just cringed. I ignored what had to be done or asked my husband to do it. Now, I have a spring in my step and so much energy! I just spent a morning doing yard work and am now wondering what else I can accomplish around here today. I bring up ideas for our family to do together and make them happen, like biking to the community pool, biking to a concert in the park, or walking to a nearby lake to go for a swim. I'm getting back to my energizer bunny personality and reclaiming the role of the one in the family who comes up with ideas and who sets goals. Our life seems so much more full and fun.
One thing I know about recovery is that it's never over. You don't just one day get to be recovered--you have to continually monitor your thinking and work your program in order to stay in recovery. Relapses may happen, and in fact they are part of recovery. But if I can keep these benefits of being in recovery in mind and do the things that keep me in recovery (especially exercise!), I know I can keep reaping these benefits.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
149 -- out of the 150s
146.5 -- 50 pounds down
144 -- 3/4 of my journey complete
141.5 -- 55 pounds down
141 -- no longer overweight
140 -- driver's license weight
139 -- out of the 140s
136.5 -- 60 pounds down
131.5 -- 65 pounds down
129 -- out of the 130s
126.5 70 pounds down and GOAL REACHED!
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