The Slowest Loser: Five Years and Counting

On January 21, 2008, I stepped on a scale for the first time in months and saw a number I never thought I would see: 261.4. That day sparked the beginning of a journey for me, a journey to change my life and lose 100 pounds. I blogged about it here.

Five years and one baby later, and I now weigh 167.6 pounds. I know that when I began this journey, I never would have guessed that five years down the road I STILL wouldn’t be at my goal weight, but I also know that there are few things I could have truly anticipated. If I did know how hard and how long I would struggle, I don’t know if I even would have tried to lose the weight at all. There is a reason God doesn’t allow us to see the future. 🙂

To prevent myself from being all Negative Nelly about the fact that I am not at my goal weight, I decided to make a list of things I accomplished in the last year. Over the last year, I:

1. Lost 16.6 pounds.
2. Completed my first half marathon.
3. Achieved a new 5k PR (personal record).
4. Fit into size 12 pants.
5. Fit into size medium shirts.
6. Completed 30 consecutive days of exercise (with a fantastic group of people on Facebook)
7.Tried Weight Watchers and had success with it.

Honestly, the past year was really tough for me. I struggled to lose the last of the post-pregnancy weight (if it can even be called that–my daughter will be 2 in March).  I felt as though I would never reach goal, and I was frustrated by my seeming inability to control myself around food.  Then I got the shock of my life in the fall when I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and for once in my life, weight loss was the farthest thing from my mind.  In the first weeks after my diagnosis, my only focus was to get well. That still is my ultimate focus, as the medications I am taking have not led me into remission yet. But the best way that I can help my body is to treat it kindly, and that means I need to start taking nutrition and exercise more seriously. I allowed myself to become lazy and undisciplined, and I am going to have to jump off the lazy train if I am going to shed these final 10 pounds.

And now, a pictorial walk down memory lane:

On my honeymoon, June 2007. I don’t really know what I weighed at this point.
March 2008, about 2 months after I started trying to lose weight. I had lost 15 pounds at that point.
March 2009, after I FINALLY saw 199 on the scale.
July 2010. I was actually a month pregnant in this picture and around 170 pounds. I think I look better in this picture than I do right now.
October 2011, around 185 pounds
After my half marathon on March 31, 2012, around 175 pounds.
Today, at 167 pounds: 

It’s hard to believe that it’s taken me 5 years to get to this point. Apparently I am going for the “Slowest Loser Award.” While I am tempted to beat myself up about how long it has taken me to lose this weight, the fact remains that I have lost 94 pounds and have entered every year for the last  5 years  at a smaller weight than the year previous (excluding the year I was pregnant). Though I didn’t achieve my original goal of losing 100 pounds in a year (I laugh at that goal now), I have managed to keep off a significant amount of weight for a long period of time, and I have never done that before.

If nothing else comes of this blog, I want the people reading it to know that weight loss is possible. You may not lose 20 pounds in a month, but if you lose one pound, that’s one less pound you’re carrying around with you. You may not ever be a size 2, but how you live your life matters more than the number on the inside of your pants. You may feel like you will never get to your goal, but isn’t it better to try than to just wonder if you could? You may feel like you have too much to lose and that you’ve tried countless times before, and I get that. I have been there. I spent most of my life overweight, and sometimes I thought that’s just the way it was meant to be. But you know what? All it takes is one day. Make healthy choices just for today, and then tomorrow, do it all over again.


You can do it. I can do it. Start today.

Four Years

January 21, 2008. That was the day I decided to change my life. I was fat and not happy about it, and I was tired of just accepting it. I had told myself in the past that I was just meant to be fat since I’d spent most of my life that way, but I knew that wasn’t true. The only way I would be destined to be fat forever is if I chose it. On January 21, 2008, I chose NOT to be fat forever. I made a list of reasons why I needed to change, and I made a plan of attack. Slowly but surely, changes started happening. I woke up early and went to the gym. I joined SparkPeople and began tracking my calories. It was tough, it was frustrating, it was challenging, but I kept doing it. I’m STILL doing it.  Four years later, here’s where I am and where I hope to be (all of the links are to past blog posts):

1.  I went from only being able to do about 10 minutes on the elliptical to being able to run a 5k. I’ve run in 3 5k races and one 4 miler. I even trained for (but didn’t complete) a half marathon, working my way up to 11 miles.  I hope to achieve the goal of running a half marathon this year.

2.  I went from 261 pounds to 180 pounds. I briefly dipped down to 167 right before I got pregnant with Charlotte, and I will get back there again. I hope to eventually weigh between 155 and 160 pounds.

3.  I went from a size 24 to a size 16. I was a 14 before I got pregnant with Charlotte. I hope to end up a size 12.

 (Pictures taken Thursday night in my size 24 jeans. My face is beet red because I had just finished a workout my 261 pound self would have never attempted: a 2 mile run followed by Level 1 of 30 Day Shred.)

4.  I went from a 49-inch waist (!) to a 36.5-inch waist.

5.  I went from an XXL t-shirt to a large. I bet I will be able to wear a medium soon.

6.  I have made drinking at least 64 ounces of water a daily habit.

7.  I have made exercising a weekly habit. Some weeks are better than others, but aside from right after I had Charlotte, there have been very few weeks when I haven’t exercised at all.

8.  I have learned (and some days am still learning) to feel more comfortable in my own skin and appreciate even my least favorite features, like my flabby arms.

9.  I have tried different types of exercise that I never would have tried before, including yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, and Zumba.

10.  I actually had enough guts to post my weight on the  Internet.

11.  I have learned that even skinny people have problems. Being skinny does not guarantee a problem-free existence.

12.  I have learned that being healthy is about more than being skinny.

13.  I have learned that the things worth working for are often the hardest.

14.  I learned how to lift weights and even got used to being the only female in the weights section of the gym.

15.  Most important of all, I have learned that all of this is worthless if I do not honor the Lord. I have made food an idol in my life, and at times I have even made weight loss an idol, and if I let those things become an obsession and do not chase after Jesus, then it’s all in vain. He must be everything.

Of course I wish I could write this post from the perspective of someone who’s been at goal weight for a year or two, but that’s someone else’s story, not mine. My story isn’t going to end up in a magazine. I’m not going to be on TV because of my amazing weight loss accomplishments. But that doesn’t change the fact that I have lost 81 pounds.  That doesn’t change the fact that I am a far different person today than I was four years ago. And that’s worth more than a spot on a TV show or magazine.

Weigh-in Wednesday: No More Numbers

Last week’s weight: 188.2
This week’s weight: 190.2
GAIN of 2 pounds

Yes, you read that right. I gained two pounds.  In one week.  Even though I exercised 4 times, the most I’ve exercised all month long.  You wanna know how I managed this awesome pathetic feat? I ate. I had a Blizzard one night, I had brownies two nights in a row, and on Monday night I ate my weight in food at Logan’s. 

I am completely embarrassed.  And angry.  And beyond frustrated.  I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself: see progress on the scale, then get elated and immediately loosen up on my eating. 

But this morning I had a bit of an epiphany: this all goes back to how I respond to the number on the scale.  When it’s a good week, I’m ecstatic about my success, but this usually results in my slacking off, either with exercise or with tracking my food.  When it’s a bad week, I’m upset by my lack of progress, which usually results in the figurative (and sometimes literal) throwing up of my hands and adopting the “Well, I already blew it so I may as well eat what I want” mindset.  Even I only do this for one day before getting my act together, I can do a LOT of damage in that one day.  The way I see it: both the good and bad days on the scale have one thing in common: I react to that number by losing focus.  Logically, I realize it makes NO SENSE for me to respond to a loss on the scale by eating more, but I’ve done it time and time again recently, so I have to face the facts. And logically, I realize it makes NO SENSE to react to a gain by eating more (since that’s how I got the gain in the first place), and yet I’ve done that time and time again, too.

The solution?

I’m letting go of the scale.  My husband hid it this morning, and I have no idea where it is. I’m not putting a time frame on this; I’m just going to live my life for a little while, focus on eating healthy and moving my body, and when I feel like the time is right, I’ll ask my husband to take the scale out of hiding. 

I’m completely terrified by this, but I think that’s a sign that in fact this is a good idea. I have been letting the number on the scale define me, and I don’t want that.  Not one bit.  And I definitely don’t want my sweet, precious, beautiful baby girl to grow up with a mommy whose mood is determined by what some little inanimate object says. I want her to be confident in who she is and to feel beautiful and treasured and loved, and if I’m going to give that to her, I have to give it to myself as well.  For right now, that means that the scale can’t be the way I measure my progress.  (More to come in a later post about how I do plan to measure my progress.)

So adios, scale. I don’t know when we’ll meet again, but I guarantee that when we do, you will hold no power over me.

Weigh-in Wednesday

Last week’s weight: 189.4
This week’s weight: 188.2
LOSS of 1.2 pounds
Total for the month so far: 4.6 pounds

Well, rats.  I am UP .4 pounds since I weighed on Monday.  That makes no sense to me, since I have exercised every day this week and have stayed in my calorie range. Thus, I can only conclude that exercising and Facebook makes me gain weight. 🙂 Guess I’ll give up the exercising and go back to being lazy!

NOT. 

I am hoping this is just a fluke and that I will be back down next week.  Perhaps I’ll just stay off the scale until next Wednesday instead of weighing every day.  If I had done that this week, I would just be happy that I’ve lost 1.2 pounds since last week instead of being bummed that I’m up a bit from Monday’s weight.  Of course, if I hadn’t weighed until today, I would still be off Facebook, so maybe I should log off again until next week and see what the number says.

Though I was tempted to be bummed this morning about the weigh-in, I’m making a choice to be glad instead.  After all, I’m doing everything right for once, and so I should feel good about that. And I do. 🙂

Happy Wednesday to all of you!