Friday, October 31, 2008

Taking It To The Next Level

The good news is that I am 1.8 pounds away from dropping a total of 70 pounds and being under 300 pounds for the first time in about 7 years.

The bad news is that my burn meter keeps going down on Calorie Count. I've lost 30 calories this week alone. This means I have to move more to lose the excess weight.

But I have a plan to take my exercise to the next level. I'm getting a bike!

I've been walking 2+ miles every week night along with 5+ miles each Saturday since the beginning of September. But I am finding that this routine has gotten far too easy and I think I need to do more to up my game. So, I will be scouring craigslist and The Greensheet for a good used bike to use as my main source of transportation. So long METRO. Hello pedal power! This is truly exciting. I will not only burn more calories per hour but I will be doubling the amount of exercise I get each day because I will be biking to and from work.

Who is this woman that is excited about exercise? I don't recognize her at all. But you know what? I think I like her!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is This Me?

As of today, October 28th, 2008:

  • I have lost a total of 64.8 pounds.

  • I am 1.2 pounds away from being one third of the way through losing the total amount of weight I want to lose. Update: I hit the mark today (10.29.08). One third of the total amount of weight I wanted to lose is gone!

  • I am 5.2 pounds away from breaking the 300 pound barrier - heading downward on the scale instead of upward.

  • I am 35.2 pounds away from losing a total of 100 pounds.
Is this me?

Seriously! Is this me? I am finding myself feeling completely overwhelmed that I have lost this much weight. I am successfully dieting and getting healthy for the first time in my entire life. I am thrilled beyond belief, but I am also feeling a bit of terror as well. It is hard to explain this to people because there should be no downside to losing weight, should there? I am finally doing the one thing I have wanted to do since I began to pack on the pounds back in my early 20s. I am finally conquering the one thing that has crippled me emotionally and physically for half of my lifetime.

So, why is there so much anxiety involved? I assume it involves losing the wall of fat that has kept me safe for so long. There aren't a whole lot of choices to be made when you begin to resemble a large farm animal except deciding whether to wolf down pizza, burgers or tacos each night. But now the wall of fat is crumbling and a new, thinner, healthier version of me is emerging. I am really kind of scared of the bright lights and all of the options that are suddenly being thrust upon me. These things are scary! I might have to actively engage in my own life instead of merely being a bystander in others' lives. How do I do that? How do I become the woman I have always wanted to be, but couldn't because of the prison I've been stuck in for my entire adult life? I've lived on the outskirts of society, never daring to stake my own place in this world. Now? I've got things to figure out. The whole world is opening up to me in ways that I have never had to face before. It is also happening a whole lot sooner than I even anticipated when I've dreamed of what I would do IF I ever lost weight.

See? I am having a bit of a panic just typing this post while thinking about all of it.

How do I do this thing called life now?

Monday, October 27, 2008

WSR: Weight 306.8 - Weight Left To Lose 136.8

Height: 5'7"
Age: 40

Starting Weight: 370 lbs
Goal Weight: 170 lbs

Current Weight: 306.8 lbs
Pounds Lost: 63.2 lbs
Pounds Left To Lose: 136.8 lbs

Percent Weight Lost: 17.08%

Starting BMI: 57.9
Current BMI: 48.0
BMI Lost: 9.9

I started out the week at 312 pounds and achieved a loss of 5.2 pounds.

I've been steadily losing 2-3 pounds per week, but I made two adjustments this week:
  1. I started eating fruit and/or popcorn for dinner instead of a full meal of vegetables and grains or pasta. I found that it was too much for me that late at night.

  2. On the weekends I allow myself to eat one really good meal each day (within reason) that uses up all of my allotted WW points. This allows me to "cheat" without really cheating at all. But over time, I have slowly cut that meal down to match my current appetite. This week I cut out the normal side order of potatoes I usually eat. I didn't miss them at all.
Those two changes really made a difference in my rate of loss. I think I will keep them both up to see if I can match that rate again this week.

Friday, October 24, 2008

WSR Intro: The Current State Of My Weight

I am stealing PastaQueen’s model of reporting stats because she is such an inspiration to me in this endeavor. She’s trod the path and come out on the other side half her size. Imitation is the sincerest yada, yada, yada. She should be extremely flattered.

Height: 5'7"
Age: 40

Starting Weight: 370 lbs
Goal Weight: 170 lbs

Current Weight: 308 lbs
Pounds Lost: 62 lbs
Pounds Left To Lose: 138 lbs

Percent Weight Lost: 16.8%

Starting BMI: 57.9
Current BMI: 48.2
BMI Lost: 9.7

As you can see I am nearly one-third of the way to my goal weight. That is pretty darned successful, right?

The single most important thing that I have learned in this process is that I simply have to do what I can do today. If I can do that, then I will reach my goal. Focusing on today is a far less daunting task than facing the prospect of shedding 200 excess pounds.

And that in a nutshell is where I currently am at in this process. I couldn’t be more proud of myself. And quite frankly I am also completely stunned at what I’ve achieved so far. It is mind boggling that this former sedentary couch potato who constantly sucked down mountains of high fat, sugar laden foods is now 62 pounds lighter and a whole lot fitter than she was at the start of this year.

Now that I know that the train has officially left the station and is chugging down those tracks slowly and surely towards the destination I feel confident that blogging this journey is the right thing to do. I want a record of this to really see what I think and feel every step of the way.

Official weekly stats reporting will be on Monday. So, I may have even more of a loss to officially report in a few days. Stay tuned!

My Plan

So, what is different now? What makes THIS attempt so much different than the 813 (more or less) other times I have tried to lose the weight, get healthy and rid myself of this prison of blubber I've been trapped inside of for far too long?

Well there are actually quite a few things that are different.

These are the things that have had the biggest impact on getting this thing done this time:
  • My new plan involves taking everything I've ever done before and doing the exact opposite. Because what I've done before just did not work. So if I do that which is diametrically opposed to what did not work then I should achieve success, right?

  • I have realized that I can never eat like a normal human being again. I am not normal. I am someone that takes their love for foods and all the comforts that they bring to the absolute worst extremes. So, I cannot snack. I cannot indulge in just a little of this or a little of that. I have used up all of my snacking points. I have to start paying down the debt that has turned my body into something resembling a big, lumpy sack of cement that has no form or shape to identify me as an adult woman in the prime of her life. I had to break up with Ben & Jerry's. I had to tell The Burger King goodbye. Those cute little 100-calorie snack packs that seem so reasonable? I had to cut them loose. And I then cancelled all of my appointments with Dr. Pepper. It wasn't them. It was me. I had to move on. It was really hard to walk away. It was painfully sad and many tears were shed; but ending those relationships were really for the best. I am not on a diet that has an end date. I am making substantial changes in how I eat for life.

  • A truly startling change is that I am now going on 4 weeks as a vegetarian. Me, the gal whose favorite meal in her life involved a medium-rare steak fresh off the grill, has given up all meat and eggs. And you know what? I feel great! I have never felt so good in all of my life. I feel less sluggish and all of the aches and pains I used to have are gone. I still eat dairy. I'm not choosing a vegan diet; I am just cutting out foods that involve ending a life to satiate my appetite. After giving up half and half in my morning coffee, I refuse to give up my skim milk too. And my morning yogurt is the only thing that helps me to get my daily cup of Fiber One down. But going meat-less and egg-less is a place to which my change in diet has naturally evolved.

  • And the biggest change? This is the one that makes me know that this time is going to be the last time. I have started to exercise. I don't mean I do a few sit ups and count walking to the bus stop as a workout regimen. I mean that I have a real daily routine. I walk every single day except for Sunday. God rests on the seventh day; and if He gets a day off then I should get a day off too. I walk over 2 miles every night Monday through Friday and on Saturday I get even more mileage in. I have done this routine for about 6 weeks now and it has really paid off in ways I never imagined. All of those folks that tell you to exercise along with diet? They were right. It works! My body is shifting and I can see it developing some semblance of a real shape. And next month stage two of my exercise plan kicks in and that involves ditching my bus card to commute by bike. I plan on purchasing a bike and using that as my main source of transportation to and from work each and every day during the work week. I am already pretty excited about making this change because it burns more calories than walking and I expect to see even bigger changes in my body and my fitness level.
So that is how THIS time, I am going to do this incredibly hard thing. I’ve already started to do it and had great success thus far. The difference is that this time I know I’ve got this. I know that a new slimmer, healthier me is on the horizon. I’ve never truly had that feeling before. I’ve had hope with a side of finger crossing to spur me on; but I have never had that feeling deep down that this time is the time that I succeed. How big of a success have I achieved so far? Read on.

My Path To Now

In October 2007 I reached my highest weight ever, tipping the scales at a whopping and heart wrenching 370 pounds! How did I get there? How could I let myself get that damned fat? Well, I had been in denial about my weight for so long, made helpful by the stretch pants and tee shirts that had become my uniform in recent years. You can really pack on the pounds in material that stretches to twice the size of the garment and not really be aware of how much you’ve gained.

Last October was when I found that I had ballooned to the point where I was forced to buy a pair of size 32 jeans for an activity at work because my size 28 jeans were way too small to even pull up over my gelatinous rear end, never mind button the damned things. I remember crying real, bitter tears at knowing that I was now in the size above the size I swore I would never get to. I had always taken a bit of comfort in knowing that if I could still fit in a size 28, then I was still somewhat normal because I could walk into a regular store at the mall (Lane Bryant still being a normal store in my mind) and buy clothes off the rack. A size 30 meant I had violated that barrier of normalcy, but a size 32 meant that I was way beyond those bounds.

So, what did I do? I continued to eat and not move just as I had prior to buying the biggest piece of clothing I have ever had to put on my body. But discomfort was brewing in my mind and I knew I had to make a change or I was going to die a whole lot sooner than I should.

In January 2008 I made an appointment to be assessed for weight loss surgery (gastric bypass being my goal). My insurance would cover it. I signed up for a flexible spending account at work to pay for my out of pocket expenses and I was all set to lose 10% of my weight that the surgeon required before he would do the surgery. But I still wasn’t ready to make the move or the changes that my life depended on. I stalled on beginning any sort of a diet. Exercise was also completely out of the question.

And then in May my gall bladder became so infected that I could not eat or sleep without serious pain. I was rushed into surgery to remove it; and with that I was unable to deny that my health was in rapid decline. I was now without an organ that I entered this world with in full working order. And the reason for its cessation to function was tied to my high fat diet.

Over the next few months (June through July) I cut out snacking, stopped drinking sodas and I moved to eating 2 meals per day instead of the 3 full meals plus snacks I had previously been consuming for far too long. And then in August I made even more drastic changes. I became familiar with these things called vegetables. I had seen them lying around my burgers and as garnishes for Mexican plates before but they were not a real or substantial part of my diet. They were window dressing for the main event – high fat burgers, fried chicken, enchiladas, tacos, and many other grease laden slabs of meat and mounds of cheese that only served to hasten my weight gains.

September 2008 brought a whole new me resigned to taking the final steps to really make the changes that were necessary to rid myself of the fat that was consuming my life by the day. I restarted counting points with Weight Watchers. I began honestly journaling my food intake. And I became aware of the impact that sugar and fat and fiber had on my weight and my body. I started to read labels and make smarter choices in what I ate. I then began to think about how to make changes that would be permanent. What did I need to do this time to make permanent changes? Read on.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who Is This Woman?

Okay, so here I am starting yet ANOTHER weight loss blog that is really an effort to get to know exactly who this woman inside me is under this wall of extra skin and excess weight. Who is this woman that has spent nearly half her life suffocating under mounds of fat, unable to move or breathe? I want to know her. I want to give her a voice.

This incarnation of a weight loss blog is to be that story. Read on.