This is the story of my 75-ish pound weight loss. And how I’m not done yet.
My last post on obesity was difficult to write and even harder to post. It’s been 72 hours and I’m still cringing, waiting for someone to say something nasty. But the comments have been nothing but loving and supportive (especially my Dad, who left a comment that makes me cry EVERY TIME I read it. STILL). Those who have judged me have done it quietly. For that, I’m grateful.
Today’s post on my weight loss won’t be any easier to write because:
a) I certainly don’t have everything figured out,
b) I am not at my goal weight yet, and MOST of all….
c) I’m terrified that writing about the success I’ve had will make me gain it all back again and I will be struck fat by tomorrow morning and have something like this happen:
The “WHY” of my weight loss
As an obese person, I spent a lot of time doing what I call “magical thinking.” I believed deep down in my heart that if only x would happen, then y and z would fall right into place
If I could just lose weight, I would be happy.
If I were thin, I would feel good about myself.
If I wore a size 6, it would be easier to be me.
The thing about magical thinking is that it feels so real. But it’s not. Being thin and being happy are not the same thing. I can find you plenty of slender people who don’t feel good about themselves. I know lots of size 4’s that wish their lives were easier.
For me, the road to weight loss started with the realization that I was fat because I was uncomfortable in my own skin, at any weight. Once I figured that out, I knew that the journey of weight loss would be a lot less about calorie counting and a lot more about getting right from the neck up.
I also accepted and began to own the real reason I wanted to lose weight. Sure, I could give a speech about wanting to live longer for my children. I wish I could tell you that was my primary motivation…..it wasn’t. The truth is that I got into this whole lifestyle change because I wanted to look better, plain and simple. Once I owned the vanity in that, my path was cleared to actually start.
The “HOW” of my weight loss
I IDENTIFIED AND ELIMINATED MY TRIGGER FOODS
What is a trigger food? If I would like to dive into a bottomless bowl of a particular food and eat my way out, it’s probably a trigger food. A perfect example: I am constitutionally incapable of eating a single serving of spaghetti. I will eat spaghetti past the point of satiation, past feeling full, right into physical discomfort. Spaghetti, then, is a trigger food for me.
I narrowed down my trigger foods to two main ingredients: sugar and flour. Then (and this is the hard part), I completely cut these ingredients out from my diet. I treat sugar (including alcohol) and flour like an allergy. If a food has sugar — and yes, I count maltodextrin, sucrose, and all the other little clever names for sugar — or flour in the first five ingredients, I don’t eat it. Period.
I THREW OUT MY SCALE
For the last year+, I’ve only weighed myself at my nutritionist’s office during my monthly appointment. But the scale plays tricks on me and it isn’t a reliable indicator of body mass changes.
Once I hit the 70lb mark in my weight loss, I stopped knowing my weight altogether. This keeps me focused on the more important measurements: my food and portion sizes and my clothing size.
I WROTE DOWN EVERYTHING I ATE
Writing down my food not only shows me in black and white the choices I’m making each day, it also holds me accountable to those choices. Before I put something in my mouth I sometimes think, “Do I want to have to write that down and own that I ate that food? Or that quantity of that food?”
I will be the first to admit that this is by far one of the most enlightening and most challenging part of my journey. I still struggle to write my food down everyday, particularly on the weekends. The irony is not lost on me that I tend to “forget” to write my food down when I’m not eating healthfully.
I WEAR A REMINDER
My work badge has a picture of me on it from 50+ pounds ago. I’ve had my badge replaced but I always ask to keep the old picture. I need the reminder that:
a) The weight loss is real. And significant.
b) It took a lifestyle overhaul to get to where I am today.
c) I never EVER want to go back to my old life.
The “WHO” of my weight loss
No one can do this alone. And I mean no one. My supporting cast includes:
I feel accountable to my nutritionist. I give her my food journals and we review them together. We discuss changes to my diet. I ask her for guidance about eating behaviors or even recipes.
Most importantly, she is my safe place. She gets that weight loss is only mechanically about food. She helps me see what is physical and what is emotional/spiritual.
B is not a ‘cheerleader’ kind of guy. But since day 1, he has done everything in his power to make my lifestyle change easier, including:
– found family-friendly recipes that are flour and sugar free (Google it. It ain’t easy.)
– done the lion’s share of the grocery shopping AND cooking for the last year and a half.
– bought all birthday cakes and made/purchased all cookies, cupcakes, donuts needed for school functions.
– managed the consumption and timely disposal of all Halloween, Christmas, Easter candy.
– listened to hours (HOURS!) of complaining about how hard it is to be me.
– never once complained about the cost of my nutritionist visits, the number of restaurants we now avoid, or my occasional crankiness around buffets and/or dessert trays.
Many of my friends, who I love dearly, have either never struggled with their weight or were able to fairly easily lose extra weight.
I consider myself very lucky to have a handful of women in my life who “get” my journey with food and weight. These women have been the cornerstone of my journey; they’ve been my cheerleaders, my support system, my kick-in-the-pants when I needed it. I’ll be forever grateful.
The “SO WHAT” of my weight loss
I don’t know what my goal weight is but I know I’m nowhere near it. I’ve got another 30 pounds to lose at minimum. I also know that my weight loss has slowed down significantly in the last few months.
But this isn’t a race. And I already feel pretty darn good.
I shared this picture of my heaviest weight in Friday’s post:
This one was taken about 2 weeks ago:
What I see in these pictures is not only the weight difference – but how much different I FEEL in my own skin. It’s such a relief to feel at home in my own body. That alone is worth the journey.
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