Sep 302014
 

A friend posted this article on Facebook and I clicked over to read the article–expecting something else entirely. What I read was the complete opposite of what I was expecting and I found myself saying “YES! I feel the same way, too!” several times. Here is that article: 5 Things I Miss About Weighing More Than 300 Pounds. Take a look because it’s a really well-written post.

She listed a few of the things she missed about weighing over 300 pounds. The first was power. I had to laugh because I could relate to that as well. When I was 250+ pounds I, too, was stronger in a lot of ways. My girth made my calves and quads pretty strong because it was supporting my weight but like this author, I could also move heavy furniture or help people move heavy things and it was no big deal.

“Being fat gave me natural physical strength. As a thin person, I have to go out of my way to be strong. Despite daily strength training I’m nowhere near as powerful as I used to be. Once upon a time I could confidently lift a couch into and out of a moving truck (a U-Haul, not a truck in motion — being fat never did give me super powers). Today, I labor under the weight of heavy things.”

I lift weights and I do what I can to build up my strength. While I’ve made leaps and bounds, I’d be lying if I said a really really strong wind couldn’t knock me over. If someone pushed me as a joke, I would seriously stumble and possibly fall (and have a few times) which is such a huge difference from when I was 250 pounds and couldn’t be pushed over. It’s a very strange idea to suddenly feel like you are “frail.”

chicago2

This next observation hit really close to home for me, especially right now with trying to lose the last few pounds before my wedding. It’s about weight fluctuations:

“When I was fat I understood that most weight changes are fleeting and insignificant. At 300 pounds, I wore clothes forgiving enough to accommodate ten pounds lost or gained, so I didn’t think much of it. Sadly, going from a size 6 to an 8 makes me nuts in a way that going from a size 26 to a 28 just never did. I miss the freedom I once had from noticing and obsessing over Every. Single. Pound.”

I admit, I teared up a little bit with that one. She expressed just how I feel (often) and it’s hard for people to understand who haven’t been obese. When the scale starts to tick up and I feel a little down because of those few extra pounds, most people don’t understand why I feel stressed or depressed about it. They say, but you’ve lost so much, it’s not a big deal. Or they say, you can lose that weight in no time! Not true, losing weight at this stage is much harder and WAY slower than it ever was when I was overweight. It takes twice the amount of work and diligence to see even 1 pound gone on the scale.

chicago1

I would also add this to what the author said–clothes fit differently now. When I was over 200 pounds I wore bigger clothes because I was bigger, obviously, but “plus” sized clothing is just built differently. It’s baggier. It’s usually got some elastic in the waist. So you don’t always notice when you go up a bit. Now? When my size 6 jeans start to feel a little tight I feel it immediately. Clothes that I buy at this weight are obviously smaller and form-fitting. When that pesky 5 pounds appears you can see and feel it!

What about this one?

“When I’m lying on my side, the feeling of knee bone on knee bone is enough to keep me up all night. I could write a whole post about how awful it feels to sit on a hard surface with a bony butt. Tail bones and hard seats: never the two should meet. “

Yep, yep, yep. I am so freakin’ bony. Seriously, I thought I was the only one that felt this way and reading that this woman experienced the same exact thing made me sigh with relief a little. I wasn’t alone. When I lay in bed at night, on my side, my knees bug me because they feel like just two knobs rubbing against each other. Russian Twists? Forget about it. I can’t do that exercise unless I have a little padding under my butt (be it a towel or pad at the gym) because it hurts my tailbone so much.

az1

This last observation is something I’ve written about in the past. I had a few surprising twists with friendships and relationships as I was losing my weight. But you don’t expect that it will actually happen…

“Starting and maintaining friendships was easier when I was fat. Women rarely saw me as a rival and were less self-conscious than they are around me today.”

I dated someone who tried to sabotage my weight loss every chance he got. I lost a few friends along the way that just couldn’t be happy for me, for whatever reason. The good news? I also found out just how encouraging and how supportive friends and family can be. They helped me reach my goal and gave me positive feedback that kept me going when it was really hard.

Something else I’d add to this topic…One of the things I miss about 250 pounds is being unaware. I have no idea anymore what it feels like to be carefree, worry-free and easy going when it comes to food. It’s too late to turn back. I already know how many calories are in most foods. I can take a look at something and while the Demon on my shoulder is saying Oh that looks so great EAT THAT! The Angel on my shoulder is reminding me how hard I worked to lose the weight and just how many calories are in that. It kind of takes ALL THE FUN OUT OF IT.

I talk a lot about moderation and not denying myself foods–just being smarter about what I eat and paying attention to portions. But damn, sometimes that SUCKS. Sometimes you do want to eat some ice cream and not regret it!

skinn1

Do I regret losing the weight? Hell no. I’m happier and healthier and living a life closer to my values than I ever did before. I cherish what I can do now. I feel proud of the events I’ve participated in and I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep the weight off for 6 years now. The problem is–there’s no manual for weight loss. Not really. No one tells you the changes you’ll go through, the issues you’ll come across. There aren’t any self-help books out there about how to adjust your brain and thinking after losing a massive amount of weight (I know, I’ve looked). It can be very isolating. I am the only person on the planet that feels like this…Yet, this article spoke to me in ways I didn’t even have on my radar. For that I am so grateful. I’d love to hear what experiences other people have had too!

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Sep 292014
 

“When you think about quitting,

think about why you started”

-unknown

There are a lot of ways for your diet/fitness/resolution can get derailed. Too many to count. Other people, eating the wrong kinds of food, having unrealistic expectations, etc etc. The list is endless. This post is address just a few of the big ones–the ones I definitely struggled with when I tried to lose 100 pounds. These are universal experiences! I know that every one of my readers can relate to at least one of these. So how do you resist? Or how do you recover?

Hunger

I think this is a common problem with newbie dieters…severe restriction! You wake up one day and decide that’s the day the diet starts so you stop eating or skip meals or severely restrict your food “I’ll just eat salad today!” and then all of a sudden your body rebels because it thinks you’re starving it. Then you binge eat…then you restrict…and the unhealthy cycle continues. Instead, eating WHOLE FOODS and including healthy fats in there will help stretch those calories through the day. Also, eating smaller portions and more frequent meals can help curb those hunger pains that can become overwhelming when not attended to. The reality is, if we starve our bodies, they fight against us and we stop losing weight.

Lazy Tracking

I know I sound like a broken record on this but it’s so key to losing weight and keeping it off…track what you eat, be honest and be ACCOUNTABLE to yourself. It’s easy to over-eat when you don’t really know what you’re eating. That awareness really opens up your eyes. Derailing the diet by not tracking is a big one. I call it food creep. The bites, the nibbles, lying to myself about portion sizes, not accurately tracking what I eat…all those calories add up fast and if you stop losing weight, this is the first place to look. Are you being HONEST in your tracking? Check out some of these posts to help inspire you:

Maintenance 101: Beware of Food Creep

How to Lose Weight – Week Four

How Do You Track?

How I Maintain 110 Pounds Lost

How I Get Back On Track

Toy-Train-Derailed

Boredom

Eating the same foods every single day and doing the same exercises every single day will get old quick. When I was trying to lose 100 pounds I pretty much ate the same thing every day. I had these “egg McMuffin” things I made at home with egg beaters (lower in calories than real eggs), an English muffin and half a slice of cheese.  Lunch was a turkey sandwich with a serving of Wheat Thins. Dinner was a Lean Cuisine and a salad or side dish vegetable. I ate that for like a year. Too much! Now the idea of a turkey sandwich is just revolting to me. So spice up your diet and change up your exercise routine when you start to feel like you are in a rut! And read this post: Married to My Workout.

Giving Up

This journey is going to be a hard one. The weight doesn’t just melt off with zero effort. It takes time, it takes patience–there will be frustrating plateaus and temptations EVERYWHERE. Don’t give up. Don’t get discouraged. If you keep at it, it WILL work. If you don’t believe me, look at this post: Weight Loss Log. It shows my weight loss journey and clearly illustrates just how long it took and how many plateaus I experienced! Here are some more posts:

P is for Plateaus

Busting that Plateau

When The Diet Stops Working

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Weekend Binge

Ugh, this is a hard one! You do SO WELL all week long, then the weekend comes and there’s temptation everywhere. BBQ’s, parties, exhaustion that leads to eating fast food…This is probably the biggest issue for most people trying to lose weight. I have several friends who vow every Monday that they are going to REALLY DO IT THIS TIME. But then the weekend comes and the cycle starts over. Read these two posts for some ideas on how to avoid this trap:

The Weekend Eater

An Excuse to Eat

Final Thoughts

It’s easy for me to say some of these tips and it’s a whole lot harder to actually do them. I definitely struggle with each one of these traps at some point. The thing to focus on is that one screw up doesn’t COMPLETELY DERAIL all your efforts–if you catch it in time. One slip up doesn’t mean I have to give up entirely. One slip up can be fixed the next day with getting back on track. Set backs are natural and (currently experiencing one) it can be so discouraging. Check out these two posts about stopping the set-back cycle:

Yo-Yo Dieting

Stop Dieting!

I hope some of these older posts can inspire some of my readers who might be thinking of quitting. Don’t quit. It will get better. You might be struggling right now, you might be angry with the slow progress or set-backs, but don’t quit. Remember where you started from and why you started this journey. INSPIRE YOURSELF. Be your own success story!

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