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.

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.

New Year’s Intention for 2022

The word “resolutions” has fallen out of fashion, so I’m going with intentions. I only have one, actually, for this year. I realized I only have 3 more dress sizes to–once and for all– escape the tyranny of FAT SIZES. You know, plus sizes.

In addition to my primary goal of being able to ride horses again, wearing normal-sized clothing is a goal worth working toward. I haven’t worn regular sizes in over 25 years… that feels shocking to write, but it’s true. Even my wedding dress was a size 22, and that was before my 25-year old son was born. In fact, my son has never seen me thin in his whole life. Again, a shocking realization, but true.

When I was younger, I worked in fashion retail for a while. I loved it. And when I graduated college and went into the workforce, I invested heavily in my wardrobe and accessories. Fashion has an empowering effect on women.

Knowing that the possibility of wearing normal sized clothing again is within reach is also empowering.

According to this story I found on the web, each dress size is about 10-15 pounds. So, I have somewhere between 30 and 45 more pounds to go before I can wear regular clothes. That seems tough, but if I keep at this, and pick up my exercise in the spring (riding horses too!), I should be able to get there in 2022.

Happy New Year all!

I would love to hear what you’re working on this year.

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!

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.

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.

This, You Can Do

So, it’s been 18 weeks since I got serious about losing my 30-lb pandemic gain. The last time I weighed myself, I was down 28.2 lbs. That was a few days ago. I didn’t weigh myself today, and I probably won’t weigh myself tomorrow, but I’m confident I will hit this goal any day now, if I haven’t already.

The simple math will tell you that if you divide 30 by 18, I would be averaging about 1.67 lbs a week. That’s not exactly how it happens, but the loss is for real. Yesterday, I bought pants that were 4 sizes smaller. I love that.

Let me give you some tips about what works for me, as I’ve been able to lose weight like this a few times now:

  • Do not stress out about losing weight. Your self-image should be grounded in more important aspects of your identity than your appearance. For whatever reason you’ve decided to lose weight, be easy on yourself. Try not to even think about it. Look at it like another side-hustle project, like getting around to finally organizing the basement or writing your memoir.
  • Don’t weigh yourself every day, and don’t obsess about your weight on the scale. I invested in an expensive, wifi-enabled scale that measures my fat content, my water weight, my BMI, even my bones. Those numbers are constantly shifting… even my bones (?)…, but if you do everything on this list, you will lose weight. Be patient.
  • Skip everything sugar and carbs. No bread, pasta, rice, noodles, crackers, rice… No sugary desserts ever. Never. No fruit– too high in sugar. No juices with sugar. If you drink coffee, drink it black or get used to an artificial sweetener. I buy large packages of Stevia. My goto snack is sugar-free Jello. And sometimes nuts and cheese.
  • Empty your cupboard bare of everything that is wrong for you. Remove everything in your kitchen that comes in boxes, bags, and most canned goods. Throw out everything in the fridge and the freezer that you should not eat, no matter how much is left. I was fortunate there was a food drive in my town a few weeks into my new regime. I gave away three bags of food. The rest I gave to my sister.
  • Make a good, hearty breakfast every morning. I make eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a little avocado every morning. Avocados have carbs, but I’m careful. I also like to make omelettes with fresh vegetables. 
  • Learn to cook, in general. Buy Atkins, Paleo, South Beach cookbooks. Try to find a used bookstore. Cookbooks are cheaper used, and sometimes have good notes in the margin. I copy recipes I like and keep them in a folder for easy access. 
  • At restaurants (like life) ask for what you need. Look at the menu. If you want an entré, but you can’t have it with bread or on pasta, ask if the kitchen can make a substitution. I’ve never had an issue with this. My dining experiences have been terrific. Same goes for bar choices. Vodka, Rum, Gin all have zero carbs. Ask the bartender what cocktail options are available or can be creatively concocted without sugar. 
  • Walk, walk, walk. I’m a person that hates to exercise. But, I don’t mind walking around town. When you can physically walk rather than drive, always take that option. According to my Apple Watch, I walk a couple thousand steps every day just doing random things around my place. 
  • If you’re feeling frustrated because it’s not going fast enough or you hit a plateau, post an update on social media about the weight loss you already accumulated. People love that shit and will go bananas with support. I personally find that morally conflicting, but it does do the trick. It makes you feel better, and it will get you over the hump to keep going. 
  • Start a weight loss blog! It’s fun to track your progress. 🙂 

“I do not yield. Not one second to you. Not one second!”

Negative thoughts get in your head.  They eat away at your self-confidence.  I used to watch this phenomenon with interest as a cheerleader on the sidelines during football season.  I could tell when we were going to lose a game when the psychology of the team “turned.”  It was weird.  It was like an uncontrollable social contagion.  No matter how hard the coaches tried to pump up the star quarterback and all the athletes, if the team was spooked, the game was over. It was a sixth sense, and I could feel it every time.

So, when I saw that recent uptick on the scale, I was worried.  That’s why I blogged about it.  Thanks loyal readers for giving me some confidence.  I hunkered down this weekend and flushed out my system.  Drank a lot of water, swam, and I think I should be okay.

Here is some reverse psychology:

This morning, I happened to peruse my “Memories” tab on Facebook to see what I was doing last year.  I found this photo of me and my friend Jon: 

Of course, I had carefully cropped it so as to not post my gigantic self in the photo.  I’ve posted this photo before on this blog.

I think this dinner was the final straw, however, when I realized I had to do something about my weight.  That I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the rest of my life that large. Again, I have to make the point that I am not shaming anyone who makes that choice for themselves, and who knows, maybe some day, I will be okay with it again. 

But, for now, I still want to do things that I can’t do as a large person. So, the trek to lose weight began last year at this time.

I decided to go to that same restaurant tonight.  I asked the waiter to take a photo of me. The photo’s not great, and you really can’t see much of a change in my weight, but I have lost over 50 pounds since that dinner last year.

So, in the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, (thank you ma’am), “I will not yield one second” to those negative thoughts.  I have made a lot of progress.

And I’m still in the game.

Update: Lost those 2.2 pounds plus .2 more this weekend.

down

 

BeFit not BeFaT!

JustinI’m continuing on my path.  Justin, my trainer, and the co-owner of the BeFit Studio where I submit myself to his sadistic antics every week is pictured in the photo on the left. Although I tell him every time I see him I hate him, and I hate his wicked routines, I keep showing up.

We were discussing today, while I’m making progress having lost about 40 pounds, I still weigh as much as a football player.  We were trying to agree on which position now fits me best.

Where I probably started at as a burly Offensive Center, I could now possibly pass for an Offensive Lineman.  I told him my goal was to be a skinny Quarterback, but he told me some Quarterbacks can be big too.  In other words, I have some more flexibility and can start to feel some strength in my muscles, but I have a long way to go to get into fighting shape.

On that note, he convinced me to buy a bike.  I did that today.  I bought a sweet Fuji quasi-Mountain bike.  It cost more than I wanted to spend, but I decided it was an investment.  Florida has a lot of bike trails.  You can literally ride for miles on bike trails.  I have kind of hit a plateau with the personal training, and I need something more aerobic to get me moving the extra pounds around.  I think a bike can do it, so I’m going to try it.  Plus, it will get me outside in the winter sunshine.  I like that idea.

2018_FUJI_CROSSTOWN_23_LS_LAVENDER

I made a promise to myself that when I started this whole, “I don’t want to be fat anymore” thing that I wouldn’t do anything that was horrible, like exercise I hated or starving myself to the point of feeling miserable and surly all of the time.  I told myself I was going to give myself a break and take it slow and EASE into a new way of living.

I’m doing that.

So far so good.

So, still at it.

The other day, I was in a dressing room, and I was shocked that I was fitting into pants sizes 4 times smaller than I’m used to.  That was really incredible!  I texted Justin, (because I have no life and there was no one else to text, of course).  He was happy for me, and reiterated that he knew we were making progress. But, I was over the moon.  Wow!  This is really happening.  I will be on a horse… soon.

The Magic of Believing

I read this book, The Magic of Believing, when I was an adolescent.  This book, combined with a very strong faith, enabled me to pursue many paths and dreams with conviction and courage.  I very much believed in the power of the imagination to deliver on goals.

I started creating posters of my future.  With a little glue, scissors, magazine clippings, and poster board, I would assemble a collage that reinforced what I was working toward.   These posters were amazingly effective.  Even after I graduated college, I still enjoyed making them and displaying them.  I took a lot of satisfaction in achieving the dreams that I outlined on these posters.

I found an old one recently and realized I had achieved everything I set out to do.

To that end, I created a new one for my 50% off campaign.  I can probably even afford a frame now, so I’m looking forward to hanging this one and allowing the images and promise to seep into my sub-conscience.