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.

A Lifestyle Medicine Plan

Way, way in the beginning of this blog, I wrote that one of my primary reasons for losing weight was my love for horses. I very much would like to get back in the saddle. In order to do that, I still have to lose about 15 more pounds.

But, I am getting there. The last time I weighed myself I had lost 38.7 pounds. That was a few days ago, so I should be at the 40 lb loss by now. As you know, I’m taking it slow and steady.

I know myself though, and as we’re heading into winter and the holidays, I know I need more “inspiration” to keep this up.

As it turns out, my health insurance has a few great wellness programs. I signed up for a personal coaching program where I’m working with a professional exercise and wellness expert. The program is 1:1, and I am setting up a customized program for me to meet my goals.

I really enjoy talking to her about what I’m trying to achieve. She set me up for a nutrition consult too. I have a lot of questions about the science of food.

The best part of the program is knowing I have support and some accountability. I still have about 85 lbs to go, so that is a hefty lift. But knowing I can tap into this resource is a big help.

I will let you know how I progress.

The Psychology of Fat

I will start this post with a great report: I have lost all my “pandemic” weight, and the last time I weighed myself, my weight was lower than it has been in the past three years.

I have been going to the Y, and I’m continuing my simple no sugar, no carbs routine. That’s it. As far as the physical weight loss, as I’ve discussed before, it’s just a matter of discipline.

However, on the psychological front, it’s not so easy.

Unlike a lot of weight bloggers who’ve struggled with obesity from the time they were children, I was not always super heavy. In my youth, teens, and college years, I was thin. I was a cheerleader for years. Lithe, strong, and generally living in a “normal-sized” body. The massive weight gain began in the 90s for me when a pdoc put me on an Rx that gifted me 100 extra pounds. It was like a runaway train. I tried several times to bring that weight down, but eventually gave up in exasperation.

The weight morphed into something else more sinister though. The weight was what I would come to dub a “spray-on male repellent.” I was able to move about my career without the unwanted advances of creepy men; it was so freeing in that way.

It also afforded me the ability to live my life without inviting men into it with complicated relationships that always seemed to end in ruin. Even more unsettling is the deeper, more fragile realization that the abundance of fat cells wrapped around my organs and bones acted like a bubble wrap, a physical protection against being kicked, punched, and thrown down a flight of stairs. Heavy, I know (pun, intended). To understand this at a root level, there is a book: “The Body Keeps the Score” that I have not read, but I hear it referenced all the time in my women’s work.

On my last appointment with my new pdoc, I struck up a conversation with him about this. He said it’s absolutely a factor (weight gain as protection). He said it’s not uncommon for men to gain weight too to ensure they won’t be tempted to cheat on their spouses. He said he hears stories like mine all the time.

I’ve been working hard here in this phase of my life to face my demons, to heal.

Losing the weight is part of my journey. I’m hopeful I will get back to the young woman I was before trauma derailed my mind, my spirit, and my lovely body. Of course I won’t ever be young again, but I can be that strong, healthy woman again.

I’m working on it.

It’s fun to stay at the Y – M – C – A

So, I joined the YMCA.

It’s awesome!

Our local YMCA is as good of a state-of-the-art gym as any I’ve experienced in large cities like Austin, TX or Orlando, FL. What’s even better is the price and the fact that I am not locked into a contract. Plus, my health insurance will reimburse me $20/mo if I visit just 12 times a month. Because of my (cough, cough) age, that means this amazing facility only costs me $29 a month.

There’s an upbeat vibe at this YMCA and it makes me feel good just to “be there.”

I’m starting out my exercise program slowly, but there’s tremendous room to grow at this facility, including private trainers. My schedule is fairly flexible now, so I can get the the gym when there aren’t a lot of people there.

The good news is I’ve gone beyond losing my pandemic weight, and I’m on the road to getting back on track. I’m down 32.4 lbs now.