Post-Op Week 62 Progress Report: Swimming Without Floaties

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Completely surprised by this week’s progress.  I don’t know what could have been the cause, because there were so many things I was changing at once (bad scientist, changing more than one variable at a time!).  Whatever the reason, I hope this means I’m finally off the plateau I seem to have been on for the past 3 months.

I did add raw veggies and fruit as snacks this week, and tried to hit my step goal each day (I was successful most days).  Unfortunately, this week I lost one of the most important tools I’ve had in this fight for my health as my weekly WL support group changed nights to a night I can’t meet due to a standing commitment I have on that night.  That particular commitment is not something I am willing to change, as it is my Rotary Club meeting and I am the club’s secretary.  So I really can’t miss meetings.

I’m a bit anxious about this because it feels like swimming without floaties.  I’m not ready to be left completely to my own devices but that’s what’s happening. I guess it is just time to put what I’ve learned to use, but I don’t feel ready to do it. The bad habits that I learned over 41 years have not been easy to change, and the group really helped me to build and reinforce new ones.  I did decide, though, to go to the pool during the newly free hour in my schedule so that I’m still doing something that is good for me.  I think Dr. A would be proud of me–substituting a healthy alternative. 🙂  This week, though I’ll be at a football game at that time, so I’m planning to hit the pool Wednesday night after my Rotary meeting instead.  I’ll also hit the gym Friday night as well since it’s my regular gym night anyway.  Tomorrow night it’s back to the gym on my regular routine as I’ve been away for two weeks now and starting to get a bit twitchy about missing so much time.  Apparently my body needed the break, though.

I started swimming lessons yesterday and bought a rec center membership, so I will be going to the pool to swim as an addition to the exercise I already do.  I think I might also sneak in some running in the pool as well.  I did notice that during my lesson yesterday, I had a tough time floating.  I forgot that less fat = more lean = more dense body composition = less buoyancy.  I’ve got to learn to breathe more deeply to make myself more buoyant!  This is not a problem I had before–before, I couldn’t stay down in the water because I floated like a fishing bobber.  Now…the problem is opposite.  I jackknife very easily because I sink like a lead weight in the water now.  #fatgirlslimproblems

I also bought a kettlebell this week, so I can do deadlifts and presses at home.  I’m trying to keep from being bored with my exercise routine so that I don’t just say “f this” and quit.   Eventually I will learn to swing the bell, but that will be a little further down the road.  I need to get the deadlift and presses down first before I can even think about swinging the bell.

One of the things I have loved about this weight loss is that I am finally getting to dress the way I have always wanted to.  When you are used to wearing clothing that is at its worst shapeless, cheap in appearance and quality, fitted poorly, and unflattering, the fact that you can wear things that are none of those is pretty powerful.  Now that I can dress really, really well, I make it a point to look put together when I leave the house every day.  It’s not that I didn’t care what I looked like before–it was just harder to look like I did because I had so few choices that would allow me to look the way I wanted to.  In turn, I didn’t feel good about myself because I looked terrible.

When I think back to the way I used to dress–knit shirts with give because button-up shirts had none, knit pants and skirts with elastic waists (and drawstrings when I was at my largest), shapeless knit dresses, in all manner of black or gray–I get a little sad for the old me.  Fat Girl didn’t have many choices as to how she looked to the rest of the world.  Thinner Girl does, and tries to exercise those choices every day.  Thinner Girl wants to Wear. All. The. Things! all the time.  Thinner Girl has so many choices that it’s quite overwhelming some days.  And the compliments roll in on the regular, and it’s tough some days to handle them because I’m often left wondering, did I look that terrible before?  It’s hard not to believe that yes, yes I did.  It’s even harder to feel good about myself once I start thinking about what I used to look like, and having the realization that I spent most of my life in a body that I hated.

But now, I’m in a body that I’m learning to love one day at a time.  I’m learning to love the bones that stick out, the wrinkles and lumps left behind that were once filled in with So. Much. FAT.–all of it.  It has been a difficult journey, this one of learning to love myself, but it has been worth it.

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Left: what I wore for lunch with Mom and shopping; right: spirit wear Friday at school (our colors are blue and white).

I’m getting closer to goal, and re-evaluating what my goal is going to be–it will likely end up being higher than my originally planned goal.  I have to be realistic–will my body even get down to 170?  Am I biologically capable of it?  Am I psychologically capable and prepared for it?  I don’t know.  And even if I can, do I want to be that thin?  I’m already bony in some places, and I don’t particularly enjoy it.  But I’m learning to be okay with it.

I can console myself with these facts, though:  I look better than I have ever looked, I feel better than I ever could have imagined, and my health is the best it’s ever been.  I am thankful every day I did this for myself. This whole process has been the ultimate act of self-love.

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