Landing on a “Goal Weight”

Math, science, and a little psychology informed my path this week. With a little help from my math genius grandson, I was able to figure out where I’m headed on my trek.

My health app, Health Mate, sometimes prompts me for a little chat. This week it was about fat and a healthy body fat percentage.

My body fat percentage today is still high. It’s 48%. That’s definitely down from where I was when I started at 51.5% (Yeesh. I remember saying I was carrying a whole ‘nuther person around with me.)

What I wanted to know this week was what would my weight be at a healthy fat body percentage? I had calculated my target goal another way based on all my measurements, but I wanted to see if I calculated what my weight “should” be with a 25 – 35% body fat.

I knew it was a relational fraction “solve for x” type of formula, but couldn’t remember how to do it.

I tried googling it, but came up empty. So, I asked my grandson, the math wizard.

He was able to help me right away.

I had to multiply my weight by the desired fat percentage and then divide that number by my current fat percentage.

Bottom line, the range for my target weight is between 129 (too low at my age) and 181 (the highest healthy fat percentage at 35%).

So, realistically, anything below 181 is good for my height and age, but the target I settled on is around 175.

I also thought it was interesting that “storage fat” protects your organs from shocks and trauma. I interpreted that to be psychological trauma, as well.

It was a good week. I’m at my lowest weight ever in the past 4 years. But, alas, 73 lbs left to go.

Your Frenemy: the Scale

As you know, I don’t like to weigh myself every day. It can be frustrating at best, and misleading at worst. This morning’s data is a perfect example. I got on the scale today because the last time I weighed myself, I had broken through an important barrier. I had a milestone I wanted to reach, and I finally reached it.

I wanted to see if I had continued on that good path…

Well, the scale fought back. It reported that I GAINED 3lbs!

WTAF?

Not only was the 3lb gain a horror (it’s the most I’ve gained all year between weigh-ins), it meant I no longer was in my milestone zone. It was like a Chutes & Ladders mindf*ck.

After stewing over it a little this morning, I decided to do a deeper dive into the data. As I told you, I have an intelligent scale that measures everything when I get on the scale. I wanted to know what changed. Did I increase my body fat percentage?

The two reports tell the story. The answer is my fat mass actually went DOWN. All the other readings went UP (including my bones, which is always weird). So, I didn’t add more fat to my body with some bad slip– I actually continued on my path. Of course a 50ish percent fat mass is still terrible, but I am working on getting this down to a respectable 24% to 35%.

Net, net: don’t be discouraged by so-called weight gain. And know your scale is just one tool in your arsenal. The worst cudgel in the weight loss challenge is in your own head. Don’t be taken in by fake news. Advocate for your mental AND physical health, and investigate something that does not seem right.

“She’s Dieting”

We had a nice Easter dinner with my family. There were plenty of food selections I could manage without carbs. It was an excellent meal, actually.

I had a curious reaction though, when it came to dessert. When I declined the scrumptious-looking cake our host had baked, my sister-in-law made the comment, “She’s dieting.”

I thought about that. I’m not really “dieting.”

I changed the way I eat. I simply don’t eat that @#$% anymore.

I’ve written a lot over the years on this blog about how food became a substitute for instant gratification. I remember telling my brother that food was the last remaining hope I had for enjoying carnal pleasure. Of course, that was a joke, but now that I have completely reformed the way I eat, and what I eat, I realize the connection between longing and over-eating or eating badly is obvious.

It’s an interesting mindfulness victory. It’s like I removed myself from the moment to observe how I feel and what action is appropriate to take.

“No thank you. Looks delicious though.”

It’s been… a YEAR

Today marks one full year I’ve been on my trek to lose weight. I started blogging here again a couple weeks later. This blog has been a motivating factor to persevere. Thanks to everyone following and occasionally leaving me comments. I appreciate you!

First of all, losing a massive amount of weight is hard. No doubt. Especially if your goal is not to lose it suddenly and then regain it. My goal has been all along to CHANGE the way I live. I am not sure if I had an addiction to (bad) food, but I do know it was a comfort I could easily indulge in privately. I don’t do that anymore and that is real progress, a victory.

On the weight loss itself, I’m disappointed. Over the course of 52 weeks, I’ve only lost a total of 47.3 lbs. That averages out to about .9 (nearly a pound) a week. You can see from the chart, starting at the end of the hockey stick slope upward in the beginning of 2021, I consistently kept losing throughout 2021 and now into 2022. I have not faltered or regained any weight. It’s been a steep slope downwards.

That good news aside, I realized today I need to work harder at this. I still have 75.4 lbs to lose to reach my goal weight. I will need to make the mental, maybe financial, commitment to get there.

One of the questions my wellness coach asked me when I first started with her was this: “How would your life be different if you met your goal weight?” That question stunned me. I knew my answer instantly. I told her that EVERYTHING in my life would be better. Demonstrably better. So much better, it would be as if I had a second life; it would literally be as if I was reborn into a new person’s life with many advantages. Recognizing this was transcendent.

There is no easy way to get there. I must do the work. I figured out that if I continue at this pace, I will arrive at my goal in August of 2024.

Onwards.

Cheap Trick

In keeping with my New Year’s Intention, I wanted to find a way to provide myself a reminder EVERY DAY about my goal for 2022.

I came up with this inexpensive and effective plan. I went to one of our many local thrift stores, and bought these pants a size too small. They were only $3, so not a burden on my budget.

I’m now hanging them outside my closet door. I see them every morning when I wake up. It’s an in-my-face reminder of what I want to achieve.

The weather is finally warming up here in South Dakota. I’m hoping to get back outside walking around, as well as not hesitating to get in the car because of the frigid temperatures to get back to the gym.

My weight has plateaued again, so I need to jumpstart my biochemistry with more exercise and maybe a change in what I’m eating.

One step at a time, as they say. I’m still progressing. I’m exactly 3 weeks away from having been on this trek for a whole year. I’m proud of myself there hasn’t been any backsliding, and I’m still as motivated as I was when I began.

Happy Spring.

An Accidental Vegan

A friend of mine from high school wrote a vegan book. It was early in the social media era, and I helped her with her social accounts. The whole vegan thing seemed extreme to me, even though friends of mine were vegan and one of my daughters experimented with it as a teenager. But more and more, I started to be influenced by the cruelty to animals argument. Listen to this podcast by one of my favorite pundits, Ezra Klein. It may forever change the way you think about eating meat.

Having been on my trek for 10 months now, I have to admit I get most excited about shopping in the produce department of my local grocery store. I have become more curious about how I can make more vegetarian meals that are not high in carbs or sugar.

Somewhere in the fog of social media, Instagram specifically, I started following Jessica Seinfeld. I came to like her and her joyful, low-key cooking videos. She had a breezy vibe about her, and her recipes seemed easy. She also seemed so “human” and accessible. When she published her recent book, “Vegan, at Times,” I thought about buying it. It was expensive when it first came out, so I didn’t.

But it’s selling now at half price. I decided to buy it and see if I could make some progress on eating vegan… at times.

Seinfeld’s recommendation is to simply, try it. Her introduction sums up her philosophy about veganism. She makes it clear she’s not strictly vegan, but has found that eating vegan has its advantages.

“This is also a fact: if you eat vegan food a few days a week, you will feel better, have more energy, do good for animals and the planet.”

Vegan at Times, Jessica Seinfeld with Sara Quessenberry

I ended up shipping one of the books to my son’s girlfriend whom I know is vegan (at times). I’m looking forward to trying these recipes and seeing if I can transition to this form of healthy eating, at least on occasion.

I need some kitchen equipment to make many of the recipes. My birthday’s coming up. I may gift myself a Cuisinart and a blender.

Check out the book if you’re in a bookstore. It feels like she’s converting a new community who wouldn’t otherwise consider veganism. She definitely made an impression on me.

YoYo YOLO

Well? ALMOST TO THE DAY! (please click on that link for context). I was considering fat-shaming myself. I had a really shitty week, and I was thinking about gloating about my weight loss for some sympathy “likes” (read: endorphin boosts).

Once again, I lost about 46 lbs. And I wanted the positive feedback I so desperately crave when I’m in a bad place.

I’ve been whittling down my friend list on Facebook, so I’m not even sure I’m in 162 friends’ feeds anymore.

But after I reconsidered this, based on past wisdom, I realized how YOYO this whole weight loss exercise has been.

It’s been FOUR YEARS since I posted about a 46ish weight loss. Not only did I regain those pounds, I had to re-lose them again.

Which brings me to YOLO. If I didn’t have a GenZ son, I wouldn’t know what that means. If you’re of a certain age (like me), it means, “You only live once.”

I’ve been at this for 10 months. Almost a year. I still have about 75 lbs to go to get to my desired weight. Comprenez-vous how frustrating that is? The first 46 lbs are simply a downpayment. The difficult work is ahead. Yet, more than I crave endorphins from attagirls, I yearn for the blessings a normal weight will bestow upon me.

So, I soldier on.

Let me know what you think and if you’ve been at a similar place of discouragement…

Let’s Dance!

I live here in South Dakota in an Airbnb. All my worldly belongings are in a storage unit in central Florida. So, it’s a bit of fun to source items in thrift stores that I can return when I’m ready to reclaim my personal belongings. I found this sculpture somewhere along the way, most likely at the Salvation Army– my favorite thrift store here.

This slender, fluid, metal corpus symbolizes the freedom of motion I’m seeking with my weight loss. I display this figure proudly in my living room to encourage me.

I was looking back at the first posts in this blog (2008, wow!). Early on I wrote, “Fat is clumsy.” That post references the lace-tying struggles I wrote about recently and other difficulties I experienced carrying extra pounds.

Even now, down 45 lbs, moving is so much easier. It’s so freeing.

I want to get to a place where I can dance again with ease, like this carefree sculpture on my credenza.

Fat is tyranny. It oppresses you.

Simple Surprises

I have been enjoying simple surprises in my withering-away body. It’s always a pleasant surprise when I need to trade a bigger size for a smaller size when I’m in a dressing room. That always feels like a shopping bonus.

I noticed today, however, something so simple, so taken for granted by normal-sized people, I felt I had to write about it.

Here it is:

For the first time since I cannot remember when, I bent down and tied my shoes.

For many years, I would have to sit kind of sideways on my bed and tie my shoes from the side. I would have to lift my foot up to tie them. I always tried to center the knot so it would not look like I was tying them from the side. This has been my life for years– this embarrassing trick to tie my shoes. In fact, I would make it a point not to buy shoes with laces, but rather slip-ons so I could avoid this routine.

But today, with no effort at all, I just bent down and tied my ankle boots. It was such a significant moment, that I realized it right away.

I have now lost 42 lbs.

A lot of the weight came off my thick middle.

The best news is I have only a few pounds left to lose before I can ride a horse. We are in the throes of the brutal South Dakota winter, so I doubt I will be trying that in the next few weeks. But providing I keep continuing on my path, I should be able to safely get on a horse this spring.

Yippee!

Ouch!

My wellness coach sent me a suggested workout routine for the equipment at the Y. She called it a, “Full Body Gym Routine with Machines.” It’s been years since I worked out regularly on gym equipment. I went through my first routine today with the help of a staff member who showed me all the machines and how they work.

As I type this, I’m feeling sore already.

Part of the drill, however, is helping me get ingrained into a regular schedule of working out. I know I need to do it to get to the next level with my weight loss.

Plus, when I adjust to it, it will make me feel stronger and more flexible. Wendy, the staff member who helped me, suggested I try a few classes too. I will have to work up to that, but it seems like a good idea.

Changing topics, Thanksgiving is this week. I’ve written about Thanksgiving before. It’s unfortunate the holiday is centered on overeating. I’m super disciplined about what I eat these days, but it’s going to be tough passing on mashed potatoes with gravy. I can always pass on pies and sweets, but mashed potatoes and gravy (especially with Turkey) is one of my favorites.

Oh well, c’est la guerre.

I will keep you posted on the workout routine. My greatest concern is the weather is getting colder here in South Dakota. I’m reluctant to leave my place when it’s so cold outside. We’ll see if I can make the commitment stick.