Wednesday, May 6, 2015

So. How did you do it?

People ask me this lately.  Or they ask me, "What's your favorite family dinner?" or "How long did it take you?" or any other of a lot of questions that relate to how my body takes up less space than it used to.

Fair questions.

I have no idea how to answer them though.

Like, okay. What's my favorite family dinner? Umm...chicken? I don't know. I'm boring. I eat boring food. Most nights I eat chicken or steak or a pork chop or whatever that I've grilled or baked in the oven with some kind of seasoning on it and some broccoli. Or a salad. Or cauliflower. Or whatever vegetable is in season at the Farmer's Market and/or the Food Lion.

That's pretty much it. Boring. My lunch is the same thing. If I remember to eat breakfast (and sometimes I do, sometimes I don't and please spare me your feelings on that because I only eat when I'm hungry) it's something similarly boring.

How long did it take me? I don't know. Most of my life, I guess. I swear I feel like I've been trying to lose weight forever. For-EVER. I've never really thought about a timeline other than a post I did maybe a few months back about how very long I've been doing this, but I'll try.

So. 2004.


Jason and I had been married for a year. I want to say that it was a really great, exciting year and we were so happy and in love and everything was spectacular, but that would be a big fat ugly lie. It wasn't great.

I mean, we loved each other. That was a good thing and that was...well, about the only thing. We loved each other. We were married. We were about a billion miles apart on most everything else at that point and right in the middle of all of that mess, we moved 500 miles away to Tennessee, where we had no jobs. And we bought a house. Because it was 2004 and apparently you could buy a house with little more than a pulse.

So. That was stressful.

I found a job and enrolled in school and did all the things I had to do to keep my life afloat. I was not a happy person at this time.

I mean, it is what it is. I did the best that I could.

And I ate my feelings. ALLLLLLLLLLLL the feelings. In my case, a lot of those feelings were bread. Or Snickers. Or ice cream.

I'm not blaming anybody except myself. Could my marriage have been less stressful? Um. Hell yes. But I'm at least 1/2 responsible for that. No one made me move. No one made me buy a house. No one made me go to school full time and work full time. No one made me gain weight and not give a damn to the point that I had to buy a size 28 dress for my college graduation in 2006.

I don't know. I don't feel particularly weird or bad looking at that picture. It just is.

I don't remember when or why I started going to the gym. I think it was after a little boy told my son that he had a fat mom. He did have a fat mom. It's just a word. But I didn't want my little boy, or my little girl, to have to deal with that. Kids are mean, vicious assholes. They say mean things even if you have a mom who looks like a Supermodel. I know this.

I also knew I needed to change.

I joined Weight Watchers, online. Again, I have no idea when this happened. Several years ago. I did that for a long, long time. That, and going to the gym, were the reason I lost right around the first 100 pounds. Oh, and I did Nutrisystem for a little while right in there. I barely remember was not great, despite what Marie Osmond and her awesome hair have to say about it.

Anyway, close to 100lbs. That's nothing to sneeze at, you know? 100 pounds is pretty good. It's REALLY good, in fact. It's like, as much as my son weighs now. (Okay, not really. But he's not a lot over that!)

I think this is about what I looked like after losing quite a few pounds (maybe close to 100 anyway):

I don't remember, but I think so.

I'm think I don't remember because this is just life. There was never an end game for me, other than a magic number I hoped to one day see on the scale (but never actually believed I could). I just sort of haphazardly tried to do better. It's not that I didn't want to do better...I did. I still do. It's just that I kind of didn't get it. I was preoccupied with many things. I thought about having a baby a lot. I thought about my marriage and my job and my kids a lot. I thought about my relationship with God and my extended family and everything else in this world.

Losing weight was important to me. If you've read my blog for any length of time, I'm sure you are aware of this. It wasn't my whole life though. I made a private weight-loss blog (and by private I mean, I was literally the only person who had access to it) just to keep up with things and then I gave it up after a while. It was and is important. It was not and never will be the whole of who I am.

I decided to do the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. I do clearly remember that was in 2009. That was the year my book came out.

I also remember, very clearly, that I weighed 75 pounds more than I do today. I remember that because I started writing a book about my experience, and that number was on the very first page. I also, unfortunately, remember that number because my mom had sent an email to a co-worker of hers asking her to support my walk and she wrote back to my mom something about how I was morbidly obese. My mom had forwarded me the email, I'm certain not realizing what the lady had said about me, just excited that she was donating, and I was....I don't know what I was. Hurt? Ashamed? Crushed?

Probably none of those. But I do remember thinking how crappy it all was. How hard. How I'd lost about 100lbs and I was still fat. I stood on the scale and saw the number and even though I already knew what it was, I started to wonder if that lady was right. That somebody who was still obese maybe shouldn't try to do what I was doing.

To add insult to injury, I didn't lose one single pound while I was getting ready for that walk. Not even one, despite the approximately eight hundred million miles I walked in preparation. You know what else? It was right around that time that I started the Longest Plateau Ever Known To Man. Eighteen months of weighing exactly the same thing.

I mean, it was okay. Again, I'd already lost around 100lbs. Which is good. I know this. I'm not, in any way, trying to say it wasn't already a victory. It was just life.

I had to have a root canal and a combination of pain killers and strong antibiotics put me to sleep for three days. That's how I broke the plateau. Horrible.I do not recommend that course of action under any circumstance.

Still, I only broke the plateau by a little bit, and I hovered right around that, maybe 110-115 pounds lost for quite some time.

My life is not easy. I don't always blog about the things in my life that aren't easy, and when I do it's often in a humorous way, but honestly? Things aren't always great. That's okay, they aren't always bad either, and I would be completely remiss to not acknowledge that things could be so, so, SO much worse. I'm thankful for the life I have, even if it's sometimes crappy.

I'm also thankful for things like insurance, because that means I can go to therapy. Which I need, and you probably need to. No offense. I just think we'd all be a lot happier if we dealt with our crap. So I try. I go every week and I deal with my crap.

It sucks, to be honest, but it sucks in the best possible way. It's HARD to deal with your own flaws. It's HARD to deal with your own failings. It's necessary though.

One of the things I had to deal with?

You guessed it.

So I haven't joined a gym here, but I walk a lot. And I started going to Pilates and I joined Couch to 5K and, probably the most important piece and the one I certainly do not want to preach about...I stopped eating sugar.

No ice cream. No Snickers bars. No cake...and you know how I feel about cake.

And it's okay.

No, it really is. It's okay.

I don't miss sugar the way I thought I would. I don't miss bread or pasta the way I thought I would (and this is coming from someone who has a Pinterest board called: Bread=My crack). I still make bread, and cake, and whatever else, I just don't eat it. And I don't care anymore.

Okay, sometimes, I open up a bag of cookies and take a five second inhale. But I still don't eat the cookies.

I stopped doing Weight Watchers because I didn't feel like it was working for me anymore. I have ABSOLUTELY nothing negative to say about Weight Watchers and I think that following that program is one of the main reasons I lost the first chunk of weight I lost, but it just stopped working for me. Mostly it was my fault. I can't lie. I "worked the system" or just got lazy about it.

Now, I eat boringly, as mentioned above. It's not exciting.

It's just life, and that's okay.

I also downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to my phone and started tracking my food and my weight. I wish I had been tracking my weight all along. I've had some ups and downs along the way, nothing major for the most part, but it would be interesting to see.

I logged my weight for the first time on MFP on March 3rd, 2014. Since then, I've lost 67lbs.

I gained this dress, though. Cute, right?

All total, I've lost 170lbs.

I would be lying if I said I'm not struggling with that. My Pilates teacher remarked to me yesterday that I needed to get some new shirts. "Your shirt is swallowing you!" she told me. I always automatically order the biggest size. I don't need the biggest size now.

I don't need the smallest size either, and as I mentioned recently My Fitness Pal ("Screw that bitch!") says I should lose another 30lbs. I probably should. I have Meemaw arms and a ridge of fat on my belly that won't go away. None of my bras fit anymore, which is a problem. I still have, as a reader once said, "Thighs of doom".

I don't have headaches though. I've run a few 5ks. I go to Zumba and actually enjoy every second of it.

I'm never, ever, EVER going to be a bikini competitor and that's okay. That's not what is meant for me. I don't have anything exciting or interesting to tell you about how to lose weight and the very thought of being someone's motivation or inspiration makes me SUPER, DUPER UNCOMFORTABLE. Veterans and people who rescue animals from burning buildings and people who make their communities a better place and whatnot are people who are inspiring. I'm just someone who lost some fat.

I will tell you the only thing that worked for me was just not giving up and trying things until I found something that worked. I do not think that not eating sugar is the right thing for everyone and I would never suggest otherwise (my husband and children still eat sugar and carbs and I'm sure it's totally fine). I really am not in love with running, so I wouldn't say you have to do that either. Or Zumba, which I am in love with. Or any of the other things I do.

The only, only thing I would say is just keep trying. You won't be perfect (God knows I'm not and never have been), but that's okay. It's just life. I'm stubborn as the day is long, and that's helped. It really has.

But in the end? This is the truth:

I am the same person. I look a little different, but I am the same. I still have the same fears, the same doubts, the same worries. I have prettier dresses, yes, but those only do so much. 

Is my life better? In some ways yes. But mostly?

This is just life.

If I lose the next 30 pounds or if I don't, this will just be my life. I am tired of thinking about this. Exhausted by it. 

This is just going to be my life. I'm just going to keep trying to feel better, whatever that means. Day by day. Minute by minute. It might change from day to day, and that's okay. It's just going to be my life.


Karen O. said...

You totally rock. And you look amazing in that dress, the orange and white one you took in your "after" picture. No one would ever make pig snorting noises anymore as you walked by (not that they should have in the first place, but people can be dickheads). And you know what kills me, is that other people think they have the right to comment about other people's weight. I mean sweet baby Jesus, why did that lady even say to your mother in that email that you were morbidly obese? Why do they feel the need to point out these things?? I mean really? Like we don't have mirrors and don't know this? People just kill me sometimes. Anyway I've been reading your blog for years and I think you have done an amazing thing. And I think that if you lost 30 more lbs you'd look like an Auschwitz survivor, just saying. I read an article the other day that said your perfect weight is the one where you feel comfortable, not the one the doctors have. And the arm flap things is a middle age thing, and a loose skin thing from losing weight. Unless you can afford a body lift, that's just pretty much the result of losing weight but it is so worth it! You look amazing!!

Jill said...

Kudos on how far you have come. I thought you looked great in the '67 lbs ago' picture, so there you are. I sincerely hope that you can work through the issues and feel better on whatever the 'other side' of it is... if you ever have an 'other side'.

If you lose more, good for you, if you don't, good for you. I know people like to say that none of it matters, and I know it does, personally to you, and that it's been something you've been dealing with for a long time. But you're such a beautiful person on the inside that I really don't think about what you look like on the outside. I really don't care what anyone looks like on the outside, really.

Except me. Because I'm a vapid b*tch and have issues. Don't we all? You're fighting all the good fights in your life and letting the bad ones go, that's more than most people can say.

Enjoy those dresses!

Anonymous said...

You did an amazing thing, and you look great!

Theresa said...

I am in absolute complete awe. Seriously. Other than the weight loss, which, I NEED to do (I'm just not happy with myself, but I'm just so damned lazy), I love how your life is so like mine.... so normal to me. So not like I see where I live. And I thank you for sharing it with me. It helps me not feel so alone. And there you have it. And what an awesomely wonderful job you have done, no matter HOW you have done it, on your weight loss. You look marvelous, meemaw arms and all. You are a bit of an inspiration for me, but mostly, you make me feel okay with my not always great life!

Anonymous said...

What you have done is simply amazing.
Peace out.