Permanent weight loss is a process. It's more than the "lifestyle change" people talk about, and a HELL of a lot more work than Redbook magazine makes it out to be. (Take the stairs. Park your car further away. Fidgeting burns calories. You lose more if you workout in the "fat-burning zone." DON'T MAKE ME LAUGH.)
Yes, your life changes, and not always for the better. Sometimes you trade off hobbies you used to enjoy for ones you learn to like. People make fun of you, out of their insecurities or because of yours. No one ever made fun of me for eating anything I wanted, but I sure do take a lot of heat because my priorities and health are more important to me than anything Starbucks is offering (even if it is free).
Through all of that, this statement holds true: nothing tastes as good as good health feels. Body-positivity has nothing to do with it - I was just as happy and confident, at some times moreso than now, when I was at my heaviest - but not being dependent on drugs for health and food for comfort is the best kind of freedom there is. No, it's never easy, but it's easier to look forward and see up rather than down. :-)
ANYWAY. Here are my before and after pictures. I had quite a few photos from 2004/2005, but in many of them I was wearing shapers/corsets, which kind of invalidates the process. In some of these I'm about the same weight, but through lifting and conditioning my body was reshaping itself.
Photo #1 - July 2003, taken at Nimbus, right after I'd reenrolled at Victory Fitness, around 270 pounds (I'm on the far left):
Photo #2 - Spring 2004, with the alien tumor eating me alive, around 225 pounds:
Photo #3 - April 2005 (?), on Shannon's birthday, around 200 pounds:
Photo #4 - July 2006, around 190 pounds:
Photo #5 - May 2007, with SLAPPYRAD, around 190 pounds:
Photo #6 - August 2008, around 180 pounds:
Photo #7 - January 2009, around 170 pounds:
Photo #8 - June 2009, after the Columbus 10K:
During 2009, I continued to ramp up my mileage, but not my weight loss. Then I began gaining again. So I cut my calories, ran more, cycled more - and gained a little. Cut again, added again. No real move forward.
Photo #9 - November 2009, around 170 pounds:
In 2010 I got hurt during a half-marathon, which effectively ended my 40-mile running weeks, and nearly scuttled running entirely. So I applied to the YMCA and trained to be a fitness instructor.
Photo #10 - July 2010, getting less firm even though working out like a BEAST:
Things were still not moving in the right direction. Turns out that as you lose weight, you have to do what's best for your body! (Duh, I know.) For me, that means much LESS cardio, much MORE lifting, and the cardio I do needs to be short and intense. AMAZING!
This took a while - I was miserable, overtrained, injured, starving and worn down. Then the bolt out of the blue - something had to give. What could happen? What I was doing (working out 45-90 minutes every.single.day, eating 1800 calories/day) was making me flabbier, not firmer.
What to do? It was coming to the point where I was so exhausted I could barely teach classes, much less have effective workouts of my own.
So, I took a whole week off. Then I put together a lifting regimen from Oxygen Magazine and 11 Athletics, went to Pilates. Took my calories up to 2300 per day. HECK YES - four pounds off in the first week, seven more in two. Firmed up, then toned up. Better energy, better attitude. NO hunger. Whew!
Photo #11 - June 2012
Update: October 2014
I've just completed year six of maintenance, and still 103 pounds down. I received my mat Pilates certification and am working toward my YogaFit 200 hour RYT certification. If you have any doubts about Pilates - I lost FOUR INCHES around my waist in a year, just by doing Pilates.
Also, I got married in 2013 :)
2014 has presented its fair share of challenges - how to live with a person who can pretty much eat whatever he wants without worrying about gaining weight? Having junk food in the house...I go back to the basics of healthy eating, and keep nutrition first. I applied for and was accepted to be part of the National Weight Control Registry, which is a study that tracks the health and habits of people who have lost more than 10% of their body weight and have kept it off for more than a year.
You can apply for this! Just Google "national weight control registry." Cool!
Here is a recent picture of me, taken at a charity event in September 2014. My life has begun to turn outward again, after so many years which needed me to focus my energy inward. It's all balancing.
Another, even MORE recent picture, haha - taken after a tough cycling class, to send along with the rest of this blog to the NWCR:
Future plans include living the best life ever.