While I managed to maintain my initial weight loss of 30 lbs. during my first five-month absence from Spark (June 2008 - December 2008), the next year of forced inactivity (acquired brain injury January 2009) and eating the wrong things when I did eat (not enough protein, too many grains), once again took a toll on my metabolism (adrenal overload), and I regained about half the weight I lost.
After my initial recovery I held steady for about six months while I worked at regaining my strength and loss of muscle mass, but it seemed an uphill battle... I had so much to catch up on. It was alarming to me just how much muscle mass I loss through wasting.
Then, just as I was ready to get back at actively eliminating fat, all h3ll broke loose... over the space of 6 months beginning March 2010 my daughter became ill (an 18 month battle), our house flooded (a two year reconstruction), and my husband and I also became ill (a six month battle with MRSA).
The ensuing year (June 2010 to June 2011) did me in completely. I allowed exhaustion and life to completely overwhelm me. I returned to many of my counterproductive habits (compounded by further ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY, cortisol overload, and insulin resistence) and gained an additional 30 pounds over and above my original Spark starting weight of 220 lbs. (putting me at an all-time high of 250 lbs). I ruefully adjusted my tracker and recorded my measurements. I then dusted myself off, and went right back to the business of reclaiming my health and vitality... and here I am!
MEASUREMENTS: (May 31, 2009) September 1, 2011 & CURRENTLY:
Since September 1st, 2011 and as of JUNE 1, 2012 I have eliminated:
* 18% of my body weight
* 45 lbs.
* 64.5 inches (10 inches in May)
* 15% BMI (halfway there)
BMI: 54% (approximately - I calculated this from a formula - I am still looking for somewhere to have my BMI accurately measured) I have moved from 'morbily obese' to 'obese' ............
JUNE 1/12: 36%
height: 5' 3"
neck: 16.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 14"
upper bust 45" ............ JUNE 1/12: 39"
bust: 47" ............ JUNE 1/12: 42"
chest: 40" ............ JUNE 1/12: 35"
waist: 42" ............ JUNE 1/12: 35"
stomach: 51" ............ JUNE 1/12: 42"
hips: 53" ............ JUNE 1/12: 47"
(left) batwing: 18" ............ JUNE 1/12: 15.5"
(left) forearm: 13" ............ JUNE 1/12: 12"
(left) wrist: 7.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 6.5"
(left) thigh: 32.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 28"
(left) knee: 18.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 16"
(left) calve: 16.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 14.5"
(left) ankle: 9" ............ JUNE 1/12: 8.5"
(right) batwing: 16" ............ JUNE 1/12: 14"
(right) forearm: 11" ............ JUNE 1/12: 10"
(right) wrist: 7.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 6"
(right) thigh: 33" ............ JUNE 1/12: 29.5"
(right) knee: 19.5" ............ JUNE 1/12: 16"
(right) calve: 16" ............ JUNE 1/12: 14.5"
(right) ankle: 9" ............ JUNE 1/12: 8.5
Clothing size: PLUS 1X - 3X, or size 20 - 24 (Wal-Mart sizing)
........JUNE 1/12: Consistently REGULAR 1X (tops), or size 18 (pants)... in some cuts and styles moving into a regular 'large'... plus sizes no longer fit properly, especially in tops... being short I look like I'm swallowed by a tent in plus sizes... I've had to replace all of my panties and bras
(No, those measurements aren't wrong... my body is significantly larger on my left side than my right... I'm looking forward to seeing how weight training will impact on that... and no, I didn't measure my ankles... they are the only 'skinny' part of my body! LOL! AMMENDMENT as of February 2012: I apparently have lost inches off my ankles, so they are now on the list)
The measurements below are the size I was at age 30... at a time in my life when most of my chronic health issues were under control, and I easily maintained that size for 4 years... ate what I wanted, when I wanted. I figure this is a realistic place to revisit for a frame of reference. I have no clue what I weighed then, or what my BMI was at that point - didn't even own a scale - but I was neither tight, nor toned. What I actually expect to see is that, while I will end up heavier than I was at that size (the tighter and more defined your muscles, the more they weigh), I will actually surpass those measurements once I reach a BMI of 20 (the tighter and more defined your muscles, the more they weigh... AND they take up LESS SPACE).
AIMING FOR (approximately):
BMI: 20 - 22 % (18.5 - 24.9 is normal) (need to drop BMI by at least 30%)
height: 5' 3" (I expect my posture to improve as my back strengthens and I improve my flexibility)
a neck that can wear a 17" chain as a chain, rather than a 'choker'... heck, I'd be happy with 'a neck'
bust: 34" (eliminate 13 inches - probably be smaller here... all the 'perk' is likely gone... SIGH) JUNE 1/12: 5" GONE!
chest: 27" (eliminate 13 inches) JUNE 1/12: 5" GONE!
waist: 22" (eliminate 20 inches) JUNE 1/12: 7" GONE!
hips: 36" (eliminate 17 inches) JUNE 1/12: 9" GONE!
arms, legs and back that are toned, with clear muscle definition, STRONG
Clothing size: I've never worn anything smaller than a 'M' - the last time I bought clothes at the measurements just above, I was a size 9-10. The Victoria's Secret catalogue puts me at a size 8/S with these measurements (fairly consistent with what I've worn in the past, but the Sears catalogue puts me at a SIZE 4, XS!? WHAT THE HECK? Tells you something about what pandering to our vanity has done for our self-perception... no wonder America is a fat and insecure nation... our perception of ourselves is based on lie, after lie, after lie. It's the 'number' on your clothing label that counts... it's all about feeling 'good' in your feelings/ego, rather than feeling good in your body... NOT for me!
"The best dieting strategy for avoiding starvation mode problems, maximizing your fat loss, and keeping the weight off permanently is to eat and exercise as if you’ve already reached your goal weight and are trying to maintain that weight with a healthy lifestyle.... You should not eat less than it would take to maintain good health and nutrition if you were already at your goal weight. Or, to put it another way, you should eat and exercise as if you're already at your goal weight, and let your body take care of eliminating any excess fat you have right now.... If you want to be a success in the permanent weight loss game, this is by far the best strategy to follow. Figure out how much a person your age, gender, and height, who weighs what you want to weigh, would need to eat in order to maintain that weight if s/he is doing the amount of exercise and daily activity you think you can live with on a long term basis. Then start doing all that—right now. Your calculation should include your BMR at your goal weight, plus about 20% of that for regular daily activity, plus whatever additional calories you expect to burn with exercise." COACH DEAN ANDERSON
READ the whole article here:
May 2012 - MY PLAN FOR THE FORSEEABLE FUTURE:
My approach and belief about fat and its elimination has drastically changed since prior to January 2012. I've learned, grown and changed so much and my plan going forward has to respect my evolution. I've moved through a 'diet mentality' (if you blinked you missed it, LOL), into and through a conventional health based approach, through a body building model ala Alywyn Cosgrove and Tom Venuto (both of whom I still appreciate for all they offer me by way of wisdom and focus), and into the cutting edge fringe of health and fat elimination research where I now find myself. I no longer believe 'fat' is the problem. I've come to believe 'fat' is the symptom of an underlying and more serious problem. I now believe if I can fix the underlying 'dis-ease' in my body, the fat I need to eliminate will resolve as part of the process.
To say this journey is frustrating would be a serious understatement. I've always eaten a very clean and healthy diet (I never ate what has been labeled SAD), yet somehow, as I entered my 40's I managed to balloon up to 'morbidly obese' from a reasonable weight, seemingly overnight. It's been a continuous battle to keep the weight coming off, and mostly over the past six and half years I've been on the unsuccessful end of that battle. My body finds stasis SO quickly (I wish I could manage to be as efficient in the rest of my life, LOL... but, incidentally, that's a clear sign that there is something 'broken' metabolically).
At the beginning of May 2012 I made a serious commitment to a way of eating/living that addresses the underlying issues that are responsible for the body storing fat (hormonal/metabolic issues primarily... excess body fat - anything over 30 lbs excess - becomes a metabolic entity with it's own contribution throwing all other regulating systems in the body out of balance... exacerbated by and contributing to insulin resistence, leptin confusion, excess and consistently high levels of cortisol, adrenal insufficiency, fatty liver, chronic systemic inflammation, blood glucose disregulation).
There are so many things I no longer believe about the process of gaining/eliminating fat, and what constitutes a healthy, invigorating diet. Much of what I now believe flies very much in the face of what is 'conventional wisdom'.
I am now wholly committed to an Ancestral (REAL FOOD) lifestyle. If you want to read more, I have added several pictures to my photo gallery, with links to the resources I am using to map the current leg of my journey listed in the comments under each picture. The main change to my own 'diet' is that I no longer eat grains of any sort in any form (including CORN)... I am convinced they are poison, and not intended for human consumption, I eat only natural sugars, and the greatest percentage of my calories come from healthy fats, rounded out by non-starchy carbs, and protein from animal sources. My main additional 'tool' for addressing my metabolic/hormonal issues is Intermittent Fasting (extensive resource list in my photo gallery).
The results have been astonishing to me. I am no longer counting calories or measuring portions. I eat full fat everything. I am not exercising in any deliberate or consistent way, but I've eliminated 15 pounds and more inches (10") than any other time period when I was exercising diligently. I feel STRONGER and have more resilience and stamina, and there are improvements in every other aspect of my health and with respect to chronic issues I have been unable to resolve most of my life. While I have to admit I went into May 2012 with serious misgivings (and fear of undoing any small success I had managed to achieve), I now have no qualms whatsoever continuing with my new approach. The improvements in my own, and my family's health, can't be argued with (my husband and daughter both had bowel issues that are resolving, and my husband has not only stopped the ever increasing trend to his belly, it is also shrinking... and he moves even less than I do, LOL... additionally he also feels stronger, more energetic, and no longer craves sugary, starchy food).
I no longer worry about how many calories I'm eating. I am trying to learn to trust my body to tell me what it needs, and I respond accordingly. Some days I eat all day as hunger moves me, other days I don't eat at all.
I employ calorie cycling by way of Intermittent Fasting to repair and boost my metabolism (I'm also still carb cycling in that some days, if I want them and my body seems to need them - like when I'm more active - I eat potatoes, sweet potatoes or squash, and increase my fruit consumption).
For exercise I PLAY (rebounder, trampoline, ride bike, playing with my daughter)
I move at a steady pace every day as much as possible (walk), I go really fast now and again (sprint occasionally if the spirit moves me and if I have the energy for it), and lift heavy things as my body allows (take any opportunity to engage in weight bearing activity in the course of daily living)
I am consciously limiting exercise to the simple act of living actively for now (enthusiastically participating in my life as it presents itself) until my adrenal system can handle the stress. I still hope to eventually employ a focused strength training program (Alwyn Cosgrove: 'New Rules of Lifiting for Women' ...I still long to know if I can achieve a 'ripped' look), but for now I need to be content to heal my body. I know it seems counter intuitive to avoid exercise if you want to eliminate fat, and exercise is great for a lot of other reasons, it just isn't always in your best interests when it comes to healing the adrenal system and eliminating fat (and obsessive cardio is just bad for you on every level at any time). Perhaps as I move through this process I'll find that my body composition changes will be enough, and I may never return to the idea of concentated strength training.
I'm trusting my body to heal and eliminate fat as it is able.
*I will post new pictures as I see the need to do so.*
*I will not ever be using weight as my primary measurement of success.*
I STILL absolutely DO NOT care what I weigh... the scale never has, never will, motivate me... except to weigh occasionally for the purpose of ensuring that I am not losing weight too quickly... and even that is up for review right now. I'm beginning to believe my body won't eliminate fat any slower/faster than is good for me. At my age, with a metabolism that is rapidly slowing naturally, I can't afford to lose any muscle... so I worry a bit about that. It's a lot harder to build it back once you've lost it, than it is to hang on to what you've got and build more... but as I move through this new awareness of my body and its needs, I can see only improvements in my body compostition, so I'm less inclined to obsess.
Some things from the body building perspective remain true:
"Weight loss and fat loss are not the same thing. Conventional diets (eat less, exercise, lose weight) achieve weight loss at the expense of losing muscle, which downgrades your metabolism. That's one of the reasons diets don't work. Your goal should be to losing fat while maintaining muscle. Your ratio of muscle to fat is what really counts." TOM VENUTO, BFFM
'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)!
(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror)
I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
Wish me SUCCESS! Create some SUCCESS of your own!
"In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia." AUTHOR UNKNOWN
NOW... go take your measurements!!!!!