Aug 112014
 

6 Years

When I think back to when I started my journey to lose 100 pounds, I don’t think I ever thought about the “After.” Not really. I think part of that was that I’d never really been skinny and part of it was that I doubted whether I’d ever reach the “After.” I had a goal in my mind and I naively thought that all my problems would thus be fixed when I was “skinny” and while they weren’t magically improved, there was a lot of improvement in my life. The biggest improvement, obviously, was my health. I was no longer pre-diabetic and I didn’t have high blood pressure. Mission accomplished. But when I was steadily truckin’ along, losing a pound here and a pound there, I couldn’t really see my future as a “skinny” person and now that I’ve kept the weight off for 6 years, I have a hard time picturing myself as I used to be. It’s strange how your reality and perception changes.

Over the years I’ve had ups and downs in my weight. I gained 15 pounds a few years ago and it took a really long time to lose that extra 15 pounds but I did it. Despite the occasional body image issues I still struggle with, my weight has been maintained in the same 4-6 pound range. Sometimes it’s more of a struggle to keep myself in that range. I am no longer naive about weight loss and I KNOW it takes hard work and honesty.

Honesty is the hard part. When you’re obese you’re not honest with yourself, or others, not really. When I was obese I would sneak food,  I’d eat in private, I’d make excuses as to why I wasn’t losing weight, I’d make excuses to other poeple– “No really, I don’t eat that much…I don’t know why I can’t lose weight…”  (Read these posts: Why Can’t I Lose Weight?An Excuse to Eat, and Overcoming Exercise Obstacles.) Once I faced that I was lying about everything and that I hadn’t REALLY tried to lose weight, I had renewed desire to really succeed this time.

I had to change the way I thought about food.

I had to change the way I thought about exercise.

I had to change the way I thought about MYSELF. No more excuses. 

Was it easy? Hell no! There were so so so many plateaus. There were set-backs. There were some very frustrating times where I felt like I was being punished because I couldn’t eat the same things everyone else was eating. Is it easier now that the weight is gone? Nope. It’s still hard. I still have to make an effort. I can’t just let things slide. I will probably always have to count my calories or do some sort of food tracking. I don’t think as a reformed binge-eater I can just stop doing what worked to lose the weight and keep it off and not expect to gain it back. So the hard work continues.

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Don’t take that as a negative. Sure I’d love to not be AWARE of how many calories are in foods and wouldn’t it be nice to just sit down and binge eat a carton of ice cream? Or half a pizza (or, ahem, a whole pizza) like the old days? But I can’t unlearn that knowledge and I know how my body feels when I eat junk and when I eat good, healthy foods. I dislike that feeling of overeating now and when I go too long without eating fruits and vegetables I feel ill. Most of the time my healthy choices are second nature and I don’t give them any thought. On those times when it does feel like my willpower isn’t as strong as I’d like, I try to cut myself some slack. It’s ok to take a break sometimes.

It’s my 6th year anniversary of reaching goal weight. I’m now at the “After.” It feels like a lifetime ago, but at the same time I still feel that same giddy joy when I remember that moment when I stepped on the scale and saw GOAL WEIGHT. That feeling is still there and it helps keep me motivate to keep trying when things get rough.

Check out previous year’s anniversary posts here:

My 100 Pound Anniversary

100 Pound Anniversary – 3 Years

100 Pound Anniversary – 4 Years

Another Year Gone By — 5 Years

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Things are changing in my life. Priorities are shifting, goals are changing, but the fact remains: I love my fit life and I will always make myself and my health a priority. It has to be that way. If I’m healthy, my family is healthy. In a little over a month I will be marrying the love of my life. I expect we’ll start discussing family planning in the next year or two and that will most definitely effect my weight loss/maintenance journey. My sincere hope is that I can maintain a healthy weight for the rest of my life and hopefully pass on my love of healthy living to my future children.

For now, I keep truckin’ along. Another day, another week, another year goes by and I can happily say “I’m at goal weight.” That’s enough for me. Skinny isn’t necessary. I’d rather be healthy and fit.

Thanks for reading all these years!

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Apr 092014
 

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V is for Victory

I think one of the biggest factors that will lead to success in weight loss is positive thinking and recognizing how far you’ve come. Celebrating the successes is SO motivating. It helps us get through those plateaus; it helps us get back on track when we stumble along the way (which we all will at some stage).

When I first decided it was time to lose weight, I knew I couldn’t do both the exercise and the food part at the same time–not right away. I needed to take it step by step. I chose fitness first. I started swimming a few times a week and it was HARD. It was so hard. I hadn’t been swimming in probably 5 or 6 years and I was so out of shape I could barely make it down to the end of the pool. Instead of being discouraged or giving up, I made that my goal–to swim to the end of the pool without stopping.

The first victory came a month later. I hadn’t changed any of my food habits yet, but after just one month of swimming I was 10 pounds lighter. It was amazing! It was the boost I needed to see that this could really work! The next victory came a few months later when I was able to swim the length of the pool. As time went by I made knew goals. I wanted to be able to swim a lap (down and back) without having to rest on one side. The tenacity worked and slowly but surely I was becoming conditioned to swim. My next goal was to swim half a mile. It may have taken me a very long time, but I got there. Then the goal was to swim half a mile without stopping to rest!

Each step of the way I made mini goals for myself and focused on that. Instead of dwelling on the number on the scale I celebrated my successes at each milepost. It was such a good feeling to accomplish my goals. The day that I was able to swim 1 full mile without stopping to rest, I was ecstatic! When I got home I called one of my friends to tell her of my victory. I wanted SOMEONE to know what I had done! The positive support helped me in so many ways.

There were other victories on my journey. Each time I went down in a pant size I was euphoric. It was such a cool feeling to buy new clothes in smaller sizes! When I reached my first goal of losing 50 pounds I celebrated by buying some new clothes.

My suggestion for celebrating your victories is to choose rewards that are not food oriented. That will just sabotage how far you’ve come. Instead, do something nice for yourself. Get a pedicure. Buy some new clothes. Go to a movie you’ve been dying to see, ask a friend to help you celebrate. Basically, make note of your success and relish in!

Your victories don’t have to be the number on the scale, either. As I illustrated above, most of my victories were related to reaching a goal as opposed to the scale. Celebrate those NSV’s!!!

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You would think the ultimate victory for me was when I reached my goal weight (150 pounds). As I wrote about before in the post The Arrival Fallacy, that wasn’t the case:

“…the ‘arrival fallacy’ the belief that when you arrive at a certain destination, you’ll be happy. The arrival fallacy is a fallacy because, though you may anticipate great happiness in arrival, arriving rarely makes you as happy as you anticipate.”

Honestly, reaching goal was kind of anticlimactic. Once again, all the things that made me happy were the goals I accomplished as opposed to the scale. Finishing 55 miles in Reach the Beach made me happier than seeing 150 pounds on my scale.

Do I still celebrate my victories? Not as much anymore. My maintenance mode has become the norm for my life and I don’t really think about stuff like that anymore. I do still try to have goals for myself but even those seem to have less emphasis. Time will tell if that changes.

Do you celebrate your victories? What is one you can share with me? 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight * M-Measuring Mistakes *N-Nemesis * O-Open * P-Plateaus Q -Quitting * R-Runner’s Knee * S-Support * U – Unattainable *

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