New Year’s Intentions for 2023

Well? This new year, 2023, is going to bring a lot of change into my life. I’m leaving South Dakota in 10 days and heading back to where this blog began: Austin, TX.

I was looking at some of my first posts on this blog, and I had tried a number of ways to lose weight. One of my favorite posts on this blog is from December 2011. “Getting back on the horse.” I made a simple list of the reasons why I wanted to lose weight. At the top of the list is a desire to ride horses.

I still have that goal. I’m finally at a weight where it’s safe (for the horse) to get in the saddle.

The Texas hill country is beautiful. And the weather can present a pleasant trail riding experience.

So, my goal for 2023 is to get in that saddle. When I do, I will post photos.

New Job

I started a new job that is taking me to Austin. I found a place close to the gym that I love. I’m hoping to go to the gym on the days I work from home: Tuesday, Friday and then on the weekends. If the traffic’s not too bad, I’ll try to get there during the week too.

In general Austin is an active town. I’m looking forward to making progress with my weight loss there.

Have a great end to your 2022, and I will see you next year!

Thanks for continuing with me on my journey.

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.

Merci Beaucoup!

Received a nice little pick-me-up this week. This blog is obviously a journal I keep for myself, but it’s lovely to see you supporting my “content journey.”

Hope everyone is having a great holiday season. I had PIE for the first time in years at Thanksgiving. Yet, yesterday my weight checked in at my lowest ever in years. So, hellya. Still going strong.

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.

The View from Here

My eyes deceive me placed unfortunately at the top of my head. When I look down, I don’t seem too bad. I’ve definitely lost my “belly” fat that used to wrap around me like a spare tire.

Yet, I saw photos of myself from my photography exhibit last week that made me wince. I’m still ginormous.

The most noticeable weight loss is in my face where I actually have contour and cheek bones again. But the rest of my body parts still reflect that fact that I have 70ish more lbs to lose.

Disappointing.

A little soul-crushing.

I visited with a weight loss company last week. It used to be affiliated directly with my hospital, but is now independent. The counselor had lost 100 lbs by following the program. The more I asked questions about the program, however, I wasn’t sure I would have similar results.

A lot of what the program recommends is what I’m doing already with the exception of 150 minutes of exercise a week. There is a draconian phase in the beginning where you consume their “shakes” almost exclusively. I feel like that would be punishing. And, as I’ve told you all along on this blog, if something on my weight loss journey is unpleasant, chances are I won’t do it.

I grilled the counselor for quite a while and came away with an understanding that I would need to spend about $550 a month with them for a program that would start out with shame & pain (the draconian shake diet), and then revert to what I’m doing now essentially. I didn’t think the program would work for me. It made me realize that what I’ve been doing is exceptionally cost-effective. When I consider the weight loss industry is a $58B (billion!) market in the U.S. alone, I feel I could probably help a lot of people who are not interested in spending money trying to lose weight.

I’ve even been experimenting with TikTok. While I have concerns over the CCP, I acknowledge how effective it is. I’ve been wondering if I could take this blog to TikTok, or at least write a summary of what I’ve been doing in a book. Listening to me would be a lot cheaper than the numerous ways people spend their money on weight loss programs. Realistically, all I spend directly on my weight loss is my membership to the YMCA. That’s $49/mo. And, if I go 12 times in a month, my insurance company reimburses me $20. So, $29/mo.

And, as much as I complain about my progress, I have made considerable gains, errr, losses. It might be even more interesting to write a book or start a TikTok mid-way on my path vs. waiting until I reach my target goal. This way, I would also be participating on the weight loss journey with readers/viewers.

I’m thinking about it.

Living my Best Life

Time for a little introspection (again). I spent the past week in Florida. My grandson was graduating high school, and I wanted to be there to celebrate with him and the family.

If you’ve tracked with me the past year or so, you know I relocated from the East Coast to the High Plains. I’m specifically in Northeast South Dakota.

A few insights came into focus as I left South Dakota and spent time in Florida.

First of all, the best news was I had to ask the salesgirl TWICE for a size lower than my usual size (2X). So, I am making progress on my 2022 intentions. I’m now in the last X (1X). After that, it’s normal sizes.

More importantly, I realized how much I love it here. The wide, open spaces call to me. I was eager to get back home. One of the reasons is I am becoming the best version of myself here. I’m working mind, body, and soul with a passion. I’ve left behind all the trappings that kept me fat, dumb, and unhappy.

I spend my time working on ART. I photograph. I paint. I write. I work on film projects. I am healing and growing in so many ways (that don’t include cellulite).

I am a “featured artist”in an upcoming University Playhouse Performance this summer. I get so much joy out of these artistic pursuits, it’s almost indescribable. I spent so much of my life harried, stressed, and consumed with work.

Not anymore.

My only project is me and becoming the best version of myself. If I have one regret, it’s this: I wish I didn’t wait until retirement age to focus on the activities that bring me so much joy.

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.