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The Belt (It's a Numbers Game)

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Friday, June 22, 2012


It seems we live and breathe by numbers.

It really shouldn't be this way. Life should be focused on feeling great, having energy, being confident, happy, successful, content. But life, despite everything, seems to be governed by the numbers all around us. Should we really be fighting it?

We often live by the numbers on the clock... needing to be places/do things by a certain time. Our age may define us but preferably not, but despite whatever age our minds may be at, our bodies sometimes "act their age" far more than we'd like. We deal with medical numbers reflecting our cholesterol, blood pressure, temperature; we pay bills and balance bank accounts; we have a shoe size and a clothing size, and those of us trying to consciously lose weight, calculate our daily caloric intake, how much we exercised, and often lament about the number that shows up on our scale.

Numbers are everywhere. They are even on my belt.

Last summer, before I joined SparkPeople, I took my first true vacation in about five years. I travelled to New York City with a friend and had an amazing time. Before I left, I was pretty much at the heaviest I have ever been... about 260 pounds. I am tall and large boned, so most people would never have guessed this number however I definitely felt it and the feeling was not a happy one. I had bought a pair of size 18 jeans that were definitely stretchy and very comfortable for my trip. They were the first jeans I had worn in years as I far too self conscious. However, I was very excited to find a pair that fit well, that were below size 20, and that were flattering. I wore them pretty much day in and day out. The stretch fabric however, was not my friend after a couple of days of walking through the city. Without continuous washing/drying, they basically stretched out which caused me to consistently have to yank them up as at the time, I no longer owned a belt that would fit me. I did however find one at a street vendor near Chelsea Market (you have to love NYC -- hot dogs on one corner and belts on another!). My $5. black cloth belt did the trick but at the time I had to suck in my stomach just to get it to buckle on even the first hole. An extra large belt. Hole #1.


But this frustration brought me to joining Spark People a few months later and the weight began to drop off by no small feat. By November, I had lost 16 pounds and was on belt hole #2. I was getting excited but also approaching the holiday season... not a good time to be trying to lose weight! However, honestly, there is never really a good time -- or on the flip side, it is ALWAYS a good time to lose weight (assuming that it's in your health's best interest). I was still plugging away and in January, hit my 20 pounds down mark when I got my Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis and pretty much my life came to a screeching halt.

February, March, April and May pass. Priorities are now on cancer markers and getting my thyroid medication numbers to where they should be so I have energy again. Work falls behind and clients start screaming, and everything now becomes a numbers game in a completely new way. But, time marches on and though recovery is slow and stressful, I slowly get a grip on life again though my weight has been yo-yo-ing up and down 10 pounds consistently through this ordeal.

June. The doctors seem to get my meds right, my energy returns, and all of a sudden, my priorities shift. Where I may have killed myself before trying to spend every waking minute catching up from work, I now am balancing out my life differently: still being responsible and getting things done, but also now taking time for me so I can get healthy and truly appreciate what I have.

I get back, with some help from my new FitBit and the support from my SparkPeople family, to my 20 pounds down, and surprisingly, make belt hole number 3!


Now, not only am I trying to shed this extra weight, I am trying to find balance, happiness, and confidence again. My cancer markers are fine and I am booked to go for radiation (RAI) in August as a precautionary measure. But in the meantime, my goal is simple: catch up on work in a healthy way, and find "me" again amidst the chaos that is/was my life, my stress, my relationships, my passion.

And really? It seems much easier now. This journey we are doing together is about having a clear vision and respecting yourself... and then reaping the rewards.

Today, admittedly, I did a "bad" thing. I pulled out a pair of jeans that I wore when I moved into this house and started my business 6 and a half years ago. I kept them because I'm determined to fit into them again. I knew not to try them on as it would have developed into a highly depressing endeavour as they are size 12. And a skinny size 12 to boot. And we don't need reminders about how far we've gotten off track.

However, I turned a potentially negative outcome into a more promising one! - I took my wonderful belt off my jeans that I was wearing at the time and strung them through the belt loops of my "thin jeans". Much to my surprise those jeans buckle at belt hole #6! Seriously? I was stunned and realized:


It took me about 4 months to get from barely belt hole number one to an easy belt hole number two. If you discard the "cancer months", and add one more month on for body re-shaping, I get to belt hole #3 at pretty much the same weight. Okay... here comes the flurry of numbers: assuming that 5 months of "effort" have passed to get me to belt hole #3 then it is only logical to think that it might take me 5 more months to get to belt hole #6?? Assuming of course nothing else big and menacing puts me off track again... Too hopeful? Maybe not. I reset my goals on SP to reflect my current state and it says that I should reach my goal weight (if I keep this up, of course) by January 1st, 2013. My goal weight I set was 10-15 pounds under what I was when I wore those size 12 jeans.

This is doable. Wow. I guess I always thought that I would get there "someday" but never realized how close this could actually be. I also never really believed SP's goal date as I had to keep moving it forward due to surgery/injury/cancer, but all of a sudden it feels real. This new year's I may be in a very different place indeed!

Maybe numbers aren't so bad after all.

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