This week’s progress was a surprise, as I was on the road again this week at a conference in Houston. Travel tends to wreak havoc on my routine, and I sometimes don’t make the best choices with regard to eating and exercise despite plans to do so.
This time, I made a highly conscious effort to work out, and eat under what I normally eat all week long. This strategy worked for most of the week. Not knowing what would be available for me to eat also made things a bit tough. There was no way to get a hold of a menu for each meal ahead of time for breakfast or lunch, so I didn’t know what I’d be able to eat at those meals. Dinner was the exception, as I chose where I’d be dining every night for dinner and could preview the menu of the place I was going to go. This worked out exceptionally well, but I think it did because this is something I do every time I go out to eat anyway.
Since my workshop was on a college campus, there was a lot of walking from place to place, which was good (and welcome after sitting nearly all day long!). This resulted in me walking 4-5 miles each day. Eating wise…I let myself eat some things that I never eat here at home. And I know why: they were available and everyone else was doing it too. While there wasn’t really peer pressure to eat those things, the pressure was self-imposed because I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to look out of place, and I know I shouldn’t have let it get to me, but I guess the adolescent part of my brain wants to fit in and be like everyone else. The adult part of my brain really needs to discipline that adolescent a bit more when I’m traveling!
I did make sure that I worked out 4 of the 5 days I was away. The first night I was there, I went to the Galleria and walked the mall. The remaining days, I rose at 5 am to work out in the hotel gym. Thankfully, the hotel gym had the exact same machines that my gym here at home has, so I was able to do what I do when I am here at home.
I also didn’t sleep as much as I would have liked. I never sleep very well in a new place. Something I’ve learned over the past year that adequate sleep is important to my weight loss process. Why? The longer I’m awake, the more I want to eat, and often do–it is something I have to fight myself over. So this week I’m going to put myself to bed earlier than I did last week, and since I don’t have to be in class by 8 each day, I’ll be getting up by 7 am instead of 5 am.
I woke up to this yesterday morning:
I have officially lost half of my heaviest body weight. This was a very, very exciting thing to see. I almost didn’t believe it. I nearly cried.
To mark the day, I decided to make a composite comparing what I looked like at my heaviest to what I look like now. I tried to wear a similar outfit: gray t-shirt, denim shorts, ballcap, running shoes. The only thing that is the same in both pictures is the shoes–I kept them for some unknown reason. When I put them on, they were really uncomfortable because they didn’t fit right. One shoe had a broken heel (most likely from having carried a 440-pound woman for so long), and both were stretched out from the super wide feet I had (and still have, just less so). I couldn’t wait to get those shoes off, because they brought back a lot of very painful memories of what life was like at 440 pounds. I’m planning on keeping the shoes until I get to my goal weight so that I can recreate this picture, except comparing former me to goal weight me.
This is the weight that both my primary care physician and my surgeon said would be a good weight for me. Now that I’m here…I’m determined to keep going. I had no idea what 220 pounds would look like on my frame. This past week while I was away, I took full advantage of the full length mirrors on the closet door of my hotel room and looked at myself from different angles. There were a couple of mornings that I stepped out of the shower and stand in front of the mirror looking at myself, carefully scrutinizing every lump, bump, ripple, varicose vein and wrinkle, tugging at the loose skin in different ways to see what I could look like if it were not there. My shape is typical hourglass under all this loose skin, and I really am smaller than I ever imagined I’d be. But I’m still not happy with this body. And I wonder if I ever will be.
As I looked at my new shape in the mirror, it was so hard not to be angry with myself about the way I looked for so long. It is hard not to beat myself up over eating myself into the body I had. It’s so hard not to hate myself for how I looked for the bulk of my life, and what life opportunities and experiences I denied myself because I looked so awful. Why did I let this happen? Why didn’t I do something about it? Did I hate myself THAT much?
I feel like there are so many “what ifs” I have about how differently my life could have turned out if only I had the body I have now 20 years ago. If only I had taken better care of myself back then, what if? What if I had been thin in middle school? What if I had been thin in high school? What if I had been thin in college? What if? There are so many possibilities, and it hurts my brain to think of any or all of them. But I can’t. I can’t.
I want so much to go back in time and bitchslap the adolescent me, the teenage me, and the young adult me for treating my body so badly. I’d also like to ask them why did you do this to me? What the fuck were you thinking? Don’t you know what this is going to do to me?
Unfortunately, a time machine has not yet been invented that would make this interrogation of Past Mes possible. So until then, I’ll be living here in the real world with the wisdom that living 41 years has afforded me and trying to use it to cope with all this psychic shit being excavated from the Pandora’s Box my brain has become.
I can’t focus on the past, and I can’t wish for what could have been even if I had been in better shape at 21 than I actually was. It might have never been even if I had been in good shape back then. The things that have happened in my life have shaped me into the person I am now, and I can’t focus on how my appearance might have changed those experiences, for better or worse. I can, however, focus on the fact that my life is pretty freakin’ awesome now at 41. I can focus on the things my body can do now that it is healthy. And I can be grateful for the people and things I do have in my life now that make it a pretty awesome place to be.
I did reward myself for my milestone with a new pair of running shoes that will get a test tomorrow. I knew I would need to be fitted for them because the last pair of running shoes I was fitted for was when I weighed over 350 pounds, and I knew my feet had changed significantly since then. I went to a local running store, Luke’s Locker. So I go in and the guy helping me asked me what I was looking for. I told him that I needed a new pair of running shoes because the last time I was fitted for them, I weighed considerably more. This leads to a conversation about my weight loss, how much I had lost, and how I did it. When I told him how much I had lost, he said, “That’s how much I weigh!”
I’d never been able to conceptualize what my weight loss looked like until today.
It looks like a gobsmacked 6’4″ Aussie shoe salesman at Luke’s Locker.
This week I am going to keep up my activity, because I think I’ve finally acknowledged that more exercise = more weight loss. This is something I knew would eventually happen, and I’ve dragged my feet on it because I am not naturally inclined to exercise. I don’t exercise because I love to work out; I exercise because I love to eat! So I will be trying to get in a few walks/runs on the days I’m not at the gym. This means getting up early, ugh…but I suppose it is something I need to keep up so that my sleep schedule isn’t all jacked up for when school starts in less than a month. Also, if I start now, it will be easier to keep up once school starts up again. I don’t want to backslide on my weight loss and I’d like to stave off any gains that might happen during the school year. I want so much to get to maintenance, but I know it’s a little ways off. Fifty more pounds, actually.
This week, I also see Dr. Nicholson for my one year follow-up appointment. Every appointment I have had with my surgeon’s office sees me wearing some version of a black and white dress, and this time will be no different. I got a killer deal on a Ralph Lauren dress and will be sporting it to my appointment on Thursday. It is hard to believe that the last time I saw him for an appointment (that wasn’t my surgery), I was wearing a women’s size 30 dress. Now, I wear a 14-16, depending on who makes it. Every day I am surprised by how much smaller I’ve become as the months pass. Even though I haven’t lost much weight since the end of school, my body is shifting around and my shape is changing, inches are being lost and I am getting smaller.
But I also know that eventually this will stop, and I’ll settle at whatever my body is going to end up looking like. I just hope that whatever it ends up looking like, I’m happy.
This song has been in heavy rotation in my iTunes library as of late:
I think the message is important: Do you like you?
I want so badly to like me, because for a long time, I didn’t.
How others did, I will never know.