Year in Review: 2022

It’s hard to believe that another year has come and gone, and as I reflect on the past 12 months, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with my progress when it comes to weight loss.

Throughout the year, I made a conscious effort to eat healthier and exercise more regularly, and while I did manage to lose a total of 13 lbs, I can’t help but feel like I should have made more progress.

Despite my disappointment, I am determined to continue on my weight loss journey and make even more progress in the coming year. I know that losing weight isn’t always easy, and it requires a lot of hard work and dedication.

I am determined to stay focused and motivated, and I am confident that with continued effort, I will be able to reach my goals and achieve the healthy, fit body that I have always wanted.

So here’s to a new year and a renewed commitment to my weight loss journey. I may not have made as much progress as I had hoped this past year, but I am optimistic about what the future holds and am excited to see what I can accomplish with a little bit of hard work and determination.

Haha. ChatGPT wrote everything above this paragraph from this prompt I gave it: Write a year in review blog post about losing 13 lbs. express dissatisfaction with the progress, but optimism about continuing with weight loss.

In my own words now: I am disappointed that I only lost a total of 13 lbs this year and the AI is correct, I can’t help but feel I should have made more progress.

I took a look at when I started this blog. It was the summer of 2008. So, I’ve been writing here over 14 years! Over that time I’ve lost, gained, lost again, and regained.

The best news about 2022 is I stopped my pattern of regaining the weight I lost. I lost most of my weight last year (2021), but the fact that I stay true to my new way of eating and monitoring my weight loss is progress in itself.

I also achieved my goal to fit into normal clothes in 2022 (at least the top of my pear). And, to be honest, I feel so much better.

In 2023, I will be returning to the city where I began this blog: Austin, TX. My next post will be about intentions for 2023.

Good News Bad News

First the good news. It’s the simple things– I bought a belt this week. Yay!

There is really no reason to wear a belt when you’re massively overweight. Pants stay up because you have a lot to fill them, and you buy pants that fit at large sizes.

As I’m still on my weight loss path, I have been trying to extend the life of pants that really don’t fit that well anymore. For this, I realized I should probably buy a belt to hold them up.

In the dressing room, I realized I have probably not bought a belt in over 30 years.

That felt like a milestone to me, so I thought I’d celebrate in this small way and write about it.

Here is the unfortunate bad news. I still have a long, long way to go to truly be where I want to be. Here is a graphic of my weight loss chart. Even though I’ve lost all my pandemic weight, and then some, I have over 100% of that weight loss to go to reach my goal.

My last few posts have been super positive and I’ve felt great documenting my good progress. But it’s still a slog. It will take a long time and a reservoir of patience to reach my goal.

I will keep updating you with milestone achievements, but I wanted to make sure I was being candid about my progress. In the weight loss chart below, you can see the light, dotted line at the bottom of the red arrow. That is actually my goal weight. And even there, I will not be a size 0. More like a size 14. So, yeesh.

GOAL!!

Well? It took a S L O W w w w w 10 months, but I had a pleasant surprise this week. There is an upscale boutique on Main Street in my town that only carries, um, regular sizes. No PLUS sizes, in other words. From time to time I browse in there to check out all the clothes I would love to buy, but can’t because they’re not available to me.

But this week, I was looking at a few sweaters in the XL size and thought… “I think I can fit into these!” So, I quietly slipped into the dressing room, and sure enough… THEY FIT. They really fit, not too tight, too snug; they fit well.

I was ecstatic. This was my 2022 Intention from the beginning of the year– to fit into “normal” sizes. Exactly for this reason too; the clothing in normal sizes is simply better. Better quality, better designs.

Now, of course, I’m nowhere near my goal. But, this opens up so many great possibilities, and I’m super pleased with reaching this milestone.

It was a “spendy” (as they say out here on the Great Plains) purchase, but I definitely bought one of the sweaters to celebrate my accomplishment. I’m super happy.

Doesn’t it make you happy too?

The Lovin’ Spoonful

I used to say that losing weight when you’re “morbidly obese” is like trying to empty a swimming pool with a teaspoon. It takes enduring patience and a lot of time. Most everyone eventually gives up somewhere along the way. It’s tedious and frustrating at the same time.

I’ve been thinking about that analogy lately, as I’m still emptying that pool– one teaspoon at a time.

This morning I weighed myself and I am at my lowest weight in nearly three decades of struggling with weight loss. Yet, according to my doctor and my BMI, I am still morbidly obese. According to my own progress chart, I’ve lost about half the weight (55lbs)* I wanted to lose since I began this new effort in April 2021. Yet, I still have 67lbs to go to get to where I want to be.

With this knowledge, I decided this morning to reframe that “spoonful” to associate with a great song that came out in 1965 when I was a child: Do You Believe in Magic? by The Lovin’ Spoonful.

One of the most popular TV sitcoms in that era was Bewitched, another one of my favorites from my childhood. If I were Samantha (the SAHW), I could have twitched my nose and lost all my weight in an instant.

But, that’s not how it works in the real world.

In the real world, it’s a slog.

That said: it is a labor of love. It’s an extreme expression of self-love and self-care. To keep going, you need to encourage yourself, tell yourself you’re worth it, tell yourself you deserve to be the very best version of yourself you can be. Perhaps it’s a form of healthy narcissism.

I believe in the magic of my young girl’s heart. Hence, I continue slowly, but surely.

I see the “reinvented” me in the distance, a little hazy on the horizon. But my eyes are locked on her like a heat-seeking missile.

Onwards, with love.

*to be fair to myself, I’ve lost 70.3lbs from my highest weight in the summer of 2017.

Oh Bloody Hell!

Past three months: ~FLATLINE!

I know I’ve said in the past that this is a long trek. BUT, I’ve been frustrated lately that I’m really not making the progress I want to make. I have so long to go… like 73lbs… before I get to where I want to be.

I feel like I’ve just stalled. I’m plateauing and stagnating.

I have not been “cheating” a.k.a. eating things I shouldn’t. But, I’m realizing something has to kick in to put me on a better trajectory. I’m thinking it is exercise. There’s only one problem with that: I HATE EXERCISE. There I said it. I’m basically lazy. I don’t want to work out like a maniac at the gym. I want the weight to magically come off without a lot of effort.

It does not appear that my plan is working. (Being lazy and not exercising.)

I’m not sure what to do to.

Dear readers, if you have some good advice, I could use it.

xoxo

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.