“I do not yield. Not one second to you. Not one second!”

Negative thoughts get in your head.  They eat away at your self-confidence.  I used to watch this phenomenon with interest as a cheerleader on the sidelines during football season.  I could tell when we were going to lose a game when the psychology of the team “turned.”  It was weird.  It was like an uncontrollable social contagion.  No matter how hard the coaches tried to pump up the star quarterback and all the athletes, if the team was spooked, the game was over. It was a sixth sense, and I could feel it every time.

So, when I saw that recent uptick on the scale, I was worried.  That’s why I blogged about it.  Thanks loyal readers for giving me some confidence.  I hunkered down this weekend and flushed out my system.  Drank a lot of water, swam, and I think I should be okay.

Here is some reverse psychology:

This morning, I happened to peruse my “Memories” tab on Facebook to see what I was doing last year.  I found this photo of me and my friend Jon: 

Of course, I had carefully cropped it so as to not post my gigantic self in the photo.  I’ve posted this photo before on this blog.

I think this dinner was the final straw, however, when I realized I had to do something about my weight.  That I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the rest of my life that large. Again, I have to make the point that I am not shaming anyone who makes that choice for themselves, and who knows, maybe some day, I will be okay with it again. 

But, for now, I still want to do things that I can’t do as a large person. So, the trek to lose weight began last year at this time.

I decided to go to that same restaurant tonight.  I asked the waiter to take a photo of me. The photo’s not great, and you really can’t see much of a change in my weight, but I have lost over 50 pounds since that dinner last year.

So, in the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, (thank you ma’am), “I will not yield one second” to those negative thoughts.  I have made a lot of progress.

And I’m still in the game.

Update: Lost those 2.2 pounds plus .2 more this weekend.

down

 

Zut Alors! I gained two pounds.

IMG_8724.jpgAnd that’s how it begins.

You eat one Chinese takeout dinner with rice. One egg roll and some pizza at the local Tech Meetup and THERE IT IS.

Boom. Two pounds. Precisely, 2.2 lbs. 

Like the creature from the black lagoon, those fat cells jump back into your life to remind you they are simply laying dormant, deflated, ready to pounce– waiting to blow up bigger and stronger than before.

For nearly an entire year now, I’ve only lost pounds with tiny fractional variations up and down within ounces. This is the first time I’ve gained.

This is war.

War is hell.

The Long and Winding Road

Photo credit: Marc https://goo.gl/WAva8b

The weight is coming off slowly now.  Every week, fractions of a pound. Sometimes, I gain a little, and that can be frustrating, even if it’s just fluctuating water weight (I’m measuring everything now).  But I’ve taken care not to fall into the trap I fell into before and to become obsessed with losing weight, to let it control me and let the manic desire to be thin and “normal” to take over my everyday life.

I want to adapt to a new way of living.  I read a great article in the New York Times a few months ago that explains what I’ve been doing more or less.  I have a new relationship with food.  I changed the way I eat.  This, more than anything else, has made the difference.

I’ve lost about 53 pounds now.  Yes, I still have a long way to go.  But the difficult part ahead will involve some more introspection, psychological commitment, and good old-fashioned, patience.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The excess weight that I wrapped around myself served as a fortress that shielded me from male attention.  It rendered me invisible so that I could ward off any possibility of romantic entanglements by making myself as unattractive as possible.  It was safe in that space.

I could start working out more rigorously and attempt to lose weight more quickly at this juncture.  But this would not serve me well physically or mentally.  First, on the physical score, it would be punishing on my body.  I do not wish to punish myself.  I deserve to be fair and kind to myself at this stage of my life.  I don’t hate myself for being fat.  I don’t even hate that I gained so much weight and feel fairly certain that anyone else who endured the shitty circumstances that I did would have found themselves in a fat suit too.  Second, on the mental considerations, it’s kind of the same deal.  I don’t need to shame myself into faster weight loss.  This is where I got into trouble before and eventually gave up because it just wasn’t worth the effort. Additionally, I am not conjoining my self-worth with my body image.  Something very important, and I’d encourage anyone who’s going through a similar journey to view these two as distinctly separate.  It’s unfortunate that society isn’t as enlightened, but so be it.

My only regret about this slow path is that it will take a very long time to get to the weight I want to be to do the things I want to do, such as ride horses.  But as I was discussing with my brother over the weekend, because it’s just one day at a time, one step at a time on a long road, at the point of my arrival, I won’t have to change a thing.  I will be “there.”  I will have literally changed the way I eat, sleep, exercise, meditate, process stress, etc.  There will be no interest in going back to the way I used to live.  In an odd metaphorical way, it’s like I’m walking down a very large mountain path with a slight slope that extends for miles and miles.  It may take years before I get to my destination, but when I finally arrive, it’s almost as if I will be arriving as the young woman I used to be before all that crap happened at the top of the mountain.

Fat Shame on Me

A couple weeks ago, I was having a pretty lousy week (understatement).  Instead of going all DEFCON-drama-1 on social media and posting the truth about my miserable state of affairs, I opted to update my Facebook friends on my weight loss progress.  This news will typically, oh hell– predictably, generate glowing feedback, and I was sheepishly trolling for much-needed attention and support.

But, even I was surprised at the result.

down 46.5

Facebook will occasionally tell you what your most popular post or photo is.  My most popular photo UNTIL THIS ONE (see image to left), was a snap of my kids looking very attractive on a park bench in Brooklyn. This post far surpassed that one by nearly a third.  Once Facebook’s feed claw gets ahold of a popular post, it keeps serving it up to your friends and voilà: 162 of my Facebook friends reacted to the post with a like, a wow, or a love. There were over 30 comments of good cheer and a few questions.  So, I achieved my goal of getting attention, but it really unsettled me as the post kept racking up “social” points.

Granted, I did this for attention, so that’s on me.  I literally created a “piece of content” with this news as a cheap attempt to feel good about myself during a pit of depression.

Getting that out of the way, I had to ask myself, is losing weight the best thing I ever did? After over a decade on Facebook, and all the achievements I’ve accomplished in that time, is losing a few dress sizes the most notable? The most laudable? The absolute pinnacle of my success?  If we went to the grave with our most popular post on Facebook chiseled on our tombstone, would this be how I was remembered?

“In January of 2018, she lost 46.5 pounds.” 

Seriously? What does that say about me? What does that say about our society that looks is so paramount that it trumps everything else?  It’s made me feel terrible for exploiting my weight loss for attention in this way, perpetuating the myth that ONLY thin is beautiful and right. It prompted me to re-examine, as I have earlier on this blog, having empathy for and self-identifying with the health-at-every-size movement.

So, in the end, I fat-shamed myself.  Shame on me.

p.s. I’m not ending my weight loss.  Just not holding it out as some great accomplishment in and of itself.  In subsequent posts, I’ll  attempt to explain the whole mind, body, spirit makeover path I’ve been on. Need to push through this dark period first.

BeFit not BeFaT!

JustinI’m continuing on my path.  Justin, my trainer, and the co-owner of the BeFit Studio where I submit myself to his sadistic antics every week is pictured in the photo on the left. Although I tell him every time I see him I hate him, and I hate his wicked routines, I keep showing up.

We were discussing today, while I’m making progress having lost about 40 pounds, I still weigh as much as a football player.  We were trying to agree on which position now fits me best.

Where I probably started at as a burly Offensive Center, I could now possibly pass for an Offensive Lineman.  I told him my goal was to be a skinny Quarterback, but he told me some Quarterbacks can be big too.  In other words, I have some more flexibility and can start to feel some strength in my muscles, but I have a long way to go to get into fighting shape.

On that note, he convinced me to buy a bike.  I did that today.  I bought a sweet Fuji quasi-Mountain bike.  It cost more than I wanted to spend, but I decided it was an investment.  Florida has a lot of bike trails.  You can literally ride for miles on bike trails.  I have kind of hit a plateau with the personal training, and I need something more aerobic to get me moving the extra pounds around.  I think a bike can do it, so I’m going to try it.  Plus, it will get me outside in the winter sunshine.  I like that idea.

2018_FUJI_CROSSTOWN_23_LS_LAVENDER

I made a promise to myself that when I started this whole, “I don’t want to be fat anymore” thing that I wouldn’t do anything that was horrible, like exercise I hated or starving myself to the point of feeling miserable and surly all of the time.  I told myself I was going to give myself a break and take it slow and EASE into a new way of living.

I’m doing that.

So far so good.

So, still at it.

The other day, I was in a dressing room, and I was shocked that I was fitting into pants sizes 4 times smaller than I’m used to.  That was really incredible!  I texted Justin, (because I have no life and there was no one else to text, of course).  He was happy for me, and reiterated that he knew we were making progress. But, I was over the moon.  Wow!  This is really happening.  I will be on a horse… soon.

Just tired of being fat

IMG_0312People with whom I share my weight loss journey normally ask me, “Why?”  It’s meant to be a why now, or what happened to make you decide to work on this.  I always give the same answer: “I just got tired of being fat.”

As the pounds disappear (fat literally breathes out of you; look it up), I am enjoying my ability to move easier– to pick things up easier, to fit easier into chairs, to crouch down in a squat to fix a rug corner– all simple things that are suddenly available to me in a smaller size.  Nearly every day there is an affirmation if you pay attention.

That my clothes are fitting better is fabulous. I now have an entire closet that is not out of reach. Even the larger clothes are just loose and baggy, but I can still wear them if I want to.  In other words, I’ve not seriously “undergrown” anything yet. I guess I’ve dropped from a 28 in pants to a 24 maybe?  Not sure.  I’m trying not to buy more large size clothes.

According to my scale, I’ve lost 38 pounds.  That might not be the same as the trainer’s scale or the doctor’s scale, but the weight loss is noticeable now.  People still aren’t saying much, but that’s okay.  My kids can see the difference.  Another 40 pounds, and it will be unmistakeable.  My goal is to get to 240, so I can mount and ride a regular-sized horse.  I don’t know how long that will take.  Maybe 6 months.  Who knows?

Segueing into something a little more uncomfortable, I was hospitalized last week to recover from some traumatic stress related to the work I do.  I’m feeling better now.  Normally, when you’re a patient in a behavioral health facility, the food is abundant and oftentimes great.  That was the case where I was at a prestigious center in Princeton, NJ.  I’m so thankful (today is Thanksgiving) I was able to resist eating a lot of foods high in sugar and/or carbs.  I actually lost a couple pounds in the hospital, and that is nearly unheard of.  So yay, self-discipline.

Here is a milestone photo to show my dear readers (all 3 of you) my progress.  The photo on the left was taken this summer with a friend who visited with me from Montreal while he was here on business.  The one on the right is one taken a few weeks ago.  I can see the difference, can’t you?  The good news is I look happy in both of them.

 

 

I’m really looking forward to making more progress.  As I’ve written before, the fat cells serve as a functional shield, yet they imprison me in a cage I’ve created to protect myself.  So, with vulnerability and a bit of courage, I’m continuing on my path.

Happy Thanksgiving. A holiday that would be better remembered for love, hugs, and family, rather than food. 

I’m especially thankful this holiday for this blog’s readers.  I think I have at least one on this blog.  Let me know if you’re here with a like or comment?

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Hey! I lost 30 pounds. Can’tcha tell?

Atlanta-home-pool

So, no one has noticed I’m losing weight.  That is so sad.  I told my trainer today that if he lost 30 pounds, he would be dead.  More on him later.

I’ve also said, when I’ve tried to do this before, that when you’re my size or larger… it’s an extremely slow process to lose weight.  I’ve used the metaphor that it’s like “emptying a swimming pool with a tablespoon.”

Of course, I haven’t broadcasted this news on social media like I did the last time I tried to do this.  I realize it’s going to take over a year to re-learn a new way to live in the new (old) skin I want to inhabit.  The first person who notices I’m losing weight may prompt me to post more publicly about it. We’ll see.

But I’ll tell you who does notice: ME.  Everything feels better.  I feel stronger, lighter.  My clothes definitely fit better.  I’m much more confident.  I’m not exhausted the same way I was.  My energy level is up, and walking up a flight of stairs does not ruin my whole day.

Even more than the physical change is the mental transformation.  As I said before when I started writing here again, I just decided I don’t want to be fat anymore.  Maybe it’s due to all the wonderful talk therapy I’ve been doing, I’ve realized I’ve been carrying this “extra person” around with me for way too long.  My trainer told me today that fat on a woman is designed to protect her.  I told my therapist recently that where the fat has always been a shield of armor– ensuring I would keep men away, being unfuckable and all–  I’ve realized it’s also a cage.  It’s been keeping me contained in a controlled, angry world of my own making.  I may have been keeping myself safe, but living in hiding or camouflage has served to perpetuate my own victimization and repressed hostility.

Unlike so many women who were always overweight and always were rendered invisible or déclassé in society, I was not always overweight.  I was once a hot cheerleader and even hotter twenty-something in business.  (Oh, the stories I yearn to write…)  I was one of those women who’d turn heads when I walked into a room.  That kind of power goes unchecked in the universe.  It’s a heady thing.

So, as I’m gaining a lot of ground with my new business, I’ve realized I need every tool in my tool belt to be successful with my ambitious goals.  I know a woman’s looks are a weapon of mass destruction, and I intend to deploy what I have left of them strategically to reach my objectives.*

Pretty women have been doing this since the beginning of time.  Don’t hate.

On my trainer.  He’s such a nice, young man. Funny too!  It’s reminded me that I long for a man to touch me in a caring way.  (Don’t go there.)  I’m talking about the way he gently presses his knee between my shoulder blades and stretches my arms backwards.  He cares about what we are working on.  He is encouraging me to be my best self.

#onwards

*I updated this post as a result of the prevailing #MeToo movement on social media.  Don’t conflate a woman’s focus on maintaining her image with anything sexual, especially as it relates to power grabs.