Tonight my husband and I had a couple of errands to run, and one of them was to make a stop at Dick’s Sporting Goods. I’d been wanting to go up there to take pictures of myself next to weights that were equal to what weight I’d lost so far. I’d done this the last time I’d made a serious effort to lose weight, and it was motivating and inspiring at the same time. Any time I’d lost a significant amount of weight, I’d always had trouble conceptualizing what the weight I lost looked like. Standing next to dumbbells helped me to see (and feel) what I’d previously been carrying around on my body.
Here I am with 75 pounds. This represents the weight I’ve lost since June.
Pardon the monochrome look–it’s Friday, and we wear school colors on Fridays. I had been wearing my new Mizunos all day, but took them off once I got home to let my feet breathe and rest a little.
Then I decided to take a picture with the amount of weight that I’ve lost since I was at my heaviest. This one was an eye-opener.
My husband placed the kettlebells down since I couldn’t lift them, and I decided to hold up the 5 pounder. Those larger kettlebells on the ground are 55 pounds each.
At my heaviest, I weighed nearly 440 pounds.
There. I said it. That’s the first time I’ve ever written it down.
440 pounds. Two full-grown adult men. Strapping adult men, even. Like Christian Bale in “The Dark Knight.” To wit:
Keep in mind that I am only 5′ 4″. At the time I weighed 440, I was officially diagnosed with diabetes, even though I’d probably been diabetic long before that.
I carried two Christian Bales around ON MY BODY. And this was how I lived every day for several years–there is no telling how long I weighed that much as I hadn’t been weighed in a long time before that day in the diabetes educator’s office. I cried when I saw the number on the scale and wondered how I got to be so damn huge.
Needless to say, at a weight of 440 pounds, life was pretty miserable. I was in constant pain–my lower back and knees let me know on a daily basis that I was far too heavy for my frame, and my heart and lungs chimed in as well. I couldn’t walk from the parking lot outside my classroom to my classroom without stopping at least twice to catch my breath and to rest my back and knees. I didn’t stand all day long to teach class; I taught from my lab stool most of the time, and walking around my classroom was more than a chore–it was an ordeal. Finding clothes was difficult, especially ones that looked nice and made me feel good about myself. And forget going into a store to buy them–I was so big that most of my clothes had to be ordered online. At the time I hit my heaviest, I hadn’t darkened the doorstep of a dressing room in so long, I’d forgotten what shopping in a store for clothes or shoes was like.
Now, 115 pounds lighter, I get from my car to my classroom without any issues, and pretty quickly too. I can climb the two flights of stairs to my classroom without getting winded. I am trying to break my many-years habit of teaching from my lab stool by standing and walking around while I hold discussions with my students. I circulate around the classroom a lot more now than I ever have without any problems. And clothes shopping? SO. FREAKING. AWESOME. I can wear cute clothes now, because I can actually go into a store and try them on before deciding whether or not to buy them. I look good, and I feel fantastic about myself. I walk so much faster than I have in a long time, and my knees don’t cry out in pain (unless it’s humid out) doing it. My lower back still gives me a little trouble, but I am hopeful that starting weight training soon and perhaps yoga will help with those.
But the best part about my weight loss so far is not how I feel and look physically. It’s how I feel mentally and emotionally. What you don’t see when I post my progress pictures each week is the surge in hope I feel, the potential I have to feel great, the increased self-confidence, and the improved self-image that I have. You don’t see the joy that wells up in me every time I hear someone say to me, “You look great!” or “You are looking really good!”
You don’t see me feeling more in control of my health, me feeling like I can do anything, me feeling like I am accomplishing the greatest thing ever, or me feeling like I will finally be at peace with this body of mine that has fought me for 40 years.
Or maybe you do, and I don’t realize that it’s showing through.
Time for sleep, as tomorrow looks to be a long day, starting early–professional development followed by the usual Saturday chores of cleaning and grocery shopping. Sunday will be a little restful, but not much as I agreed to take on a couple of private tutoring students this week. The extra money will be good, though. My plate is filling up, and fast. Must. Learn. Balance.