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.

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.

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.

Me 1.0

This journey that I’ve been on is a journey of self-preservation.

It’s more than just an interest in losing weight. It’s about reclaiming my identity.

I’m not looking for a mate; I’m postmenopausal.

I’m looking for myself. I’m looking to become, again, the person that I was before life’s tragedies interfered with my body type.

So it’s bigger.

It’s a bigger, bigger challenge and a more interesting path that I’m on.

Losing the weight I’ve carried all these years is a monumental step toward the healing I’ve been working on the past few years.

It’s a way, metaphorically, to erase– to disappear– all the layered anguish and self-protection.

To allow myself to be myself free from fear.

Addendum: I’m currently at the lowest weight since I began this blog in 2008. I’ve also finally broke through into the 30s in BMI. So, it’s working. Slowly, but surely.

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.

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.

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…