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.

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.

“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

 

Zut Alors! I gained two pounds.

IMG_8724.jpgAnd that’s how it begins.

You eat one Chinese takeout dinner with rice. One egg roll and some pizza at the local Tech Meetup and THERE IT IS.

Boom. Two pounds. Precisely, 2.2 lbs. 

Like the creature from the black lagoon, those fat cells jump back into your life to remind you they are simply laying dormant, deflated, ready to pounce– waiting to blow up bigger and stronger than before.

For nearly an entire year now, I’ve only lost pounds with tiny fractional variations up and down within ounces. This is the first time I’ve gained.

This is war.

War is hell.

The Long and Winding Road

Photo credit: Marc https://goo.gl/WAva8b

The weight is coming off slowly now.  Every week, fractions of a pound. Sometimes, I gain a little, and that can be frustrating, even if it’s just fluctuating water weight (I’m measuring everything now).  But I’ve taken care not to fall into the trap I fell into before and to become obsessed with losing weight, to let it control me and let the manic desire to be thin and “normal” to take over my everyday life.

I want to adapt to a new way of living.  I read a great article in the New York Times a few months ago that explains what I’ve been doing more or less.  I have a new relationship with food.  I changed the way I eat.  This, more than anything else, has made the difference.

I’ve lost about 53 pounds now.  Yes, I still have a long way to go.  But the difficult part ahead will involve some more introspection, psychological commitment, and good old-fashioned, patience.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The excess weight that I wrapped around myself served as a fortress that shielded me from male attention.  It rendered me invisible so that I could ward off any possibility of romantic entanglements by making myself as unattractive as possible.  It was safe in that space.

I could start working out more rigorously and attempt to lose weight more quickly at this juncture.  But this would not serve me well physically or mentally.  First, on the physical score, it would be punishing on my body.  I do not wish to punish myself.  I deserve to be fair and kind to myself at this stage of my life.  I don’t hate myself for being fat.  I don’t even hate that I gained so much weight and feel fairly certain that anyone else who endured the shitty circumstances that I did would have found themselves in a fat suit too.  Second, on the mental considerations, it’s kind of the same deal.  I don’t need to shame myself into faster weight loss.  This is where I got into trouble before and eventually gave up because it just wasn’t worth the effort. Additionally, I am not conjoining my self-worth with my body image.  Something very important, and I’d encourage anyone who’s going through a similar journey to view these two as distinctly separate.  It’s unfortunate that society isn’t as enlightened, but so be it.

My only regret about this slow path is that it will take a very long time to get to the weight I want to be to do the things I want to do, such as ride horses.  But as I was discussing with my brother over the weekend, because it’s just one day at a time, one step at a time on a long road, at the point of my arrival, I won’t have to change a thing.  I will be “there.”  I will have literally changed the way I eat, sleep, exercise, meditate, process stress, etc.  There will be no interest in going back to the way I used to live.  In an odd metaphorical way, it’s like I’m walking down a very large mountain path with a slight slope that extends for miles and miles.  It may take years before I get to my destination, but when I finally arrive, it’s almost as if I will be arriving as the young woman I used to be before all that crap happened at the top of the mountain.

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.