Thursday, October 02, 2008

67% of My Size

Last night I watched People Magazine's Half My Size Challenge on TV. I was actually hoping to see some people who were half the size they used to be, because if I reach the Weight Watchers healthy weight range for a woman of my height, I will have lost more than half my size. I may not have gotten to see people who have done that, but I still got a good dose of inspiration and a few smiles recognizing the struggles the Mississippi Eight faced.

I've needed a boost. I started trying to make changes in my life and health four years ago. I found myself weighing close to 400 pounds. I hurt with every step I took, but after nearly an entire lifetime of diets, I'd practically given up. I had resigned myself to being an uninsurable, socially unacceptable object of ridicule and probably dying young. To rehash some previously blogged history, I decided to just start trying to live in a healthier way. In two years, I'd lost close to fifty pounds. In the elasticized world of plus sizes, that meant one pants size and a difference in my appearance that felt minuscule. For fifty pounds.

When my blood pressure skyrocketed after a lifetime of being in a normal range, I decided to up the effort. My doctor recommended that I join Weight Watchers. I've been doing this for two years now, and have dropped another 80 pounds. That brings my weight loss now to 124 pounds. I am proud of that, and I've worked very hard to accomplish that. I've now dropped seven clothing sizes and don't hurt when I walk...unless I really push myself harder than I need to go yet. I no longer sleep with a CPAP for sleep apnea and my blood pressure is normal with the help of medication.

I've got good solid evidence that this is working for me. That alone is motivation. However, I'm still 82 pounds over the top of my recommended weight range. I weigh one pound more now than I did in January. I gained seventeen pounds between January and May and lost 16 of them since June. Basically this year has been one big weight loss plateau. Honestly, my body is comfortable here, and my appearance has changed dramatically. I enjoy having a hint of a waistline but know the hard truths about how fat fills in wrinkles and age affects upper arms.

So, what's the big fat deal? Having lost this much weight, I ought to feel fantastic about myself, my discipline and stick-to-it-tiveness. I ought to feel like a role model, and instead, blah. It's not enough that I've lost a whole lot of weight. I've actually lost more than my daughter's entire weight. It's like a whole person has left my body. I've done it slowly -- the healthy, sane and sensible way to lose weight --and that makes it feel like no big deal. Plus, I'm still fat -- really fat. I no longer feel like a grotesque caricature of a woman. Saying I'm an attractive woman isn't just an effort to build up my self-esteem. It's the truth. It's been three years since a person threw a milkshake at me from a moving car while yelling an insult about my size, but sales girls still give me that look and say, "We don't carry anything to fit you." And I still have skinny acquaintances who think I lie about stuff like that.

My mind keeps circling around instant gratification. Is this truly significant weight loss and life change less meaningful because it's taking time? I feel like I should already be at my goal weight, and honestly feel like somewhat of a failure because I'm not. I know my lack of satisfaction is linked to more than my weight. Much of the last year has been a huge emotional ass whipping.

To keep up the work I want to do, I need to feel good about what I've done. Yes, you can take that as a shameless plea for positive feedback and praise, but it's also "just the facts". If I'm not deriving pleasure from my results, I simply won't keep up with the process. Part of my mind is judging the merits of goals, motivations and inspirations, and another part is wondering how I can feel pleasure again.

Last night's TV show helped. I don't remember the name of the dieter who touched me the most, but she was a young black woman who lost only 19 pounds and worked damned hard for every ounce. The change in her body was noticeable as they had their final weigh in. I wish I had her dedication to exercise. I can't even imagine trying to run a 5K, and she completed one. She was in last place, and every other contestant went back to join her as she crossed the finish line. She had the courage to perform in a belly dancing recital, and she was absolutely beautiful. I was truly inspired.

I still don't enjoy exercise, but I really want to. Even with the cooler temperatures, walking is a still a chore. After only two miles I'm dripping sweat, huffing and puffing and feel like I can't go on. I know I used to feel that way after making it to the end of the block. I just haven't found an aerobic exercise that feels right to me, and I need one. I want one. Besides the fat burning, I want to improve my flexibility and grace, and I'd love to pick my c-sectioned belly up off my thighs. Current circumstances mean this has to be something I can do solo, and I need to broaden my search.

I know the challenges I'm facing, and they're a little intimidating. However, I am keeping on and will continue to take off.

This entry also posted at my other blog.

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Blogger Songbird said...

I'm so proud of you. You inspire me. And you are beautiful, Cynthia, I hope you know it.

October 02, 2008 7:26 AM  
Blogger Brandi said...

You've accomplished an amazing thing, Cynthia. To drop that much, to become so much something to be *proud* of. I hate exercise as well and have found that having different dvds of "fun" programs (I've got belly dancing, pilates, and a dance program) helps when I actually feel motivated to do something. Granted, it's not often, but it can help. You're beautiful, try to enjoy it!

October 02, 2008 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, congratulations. I know this has to have been hard, but when you read the statistics on re-gaining weight, the plateau is surely much healthier--and encouraging. You didn't have a net loss since January--but you didn't re-gain. And that alone is really worth patting yourself on the back.
Second, and I know this is an off the wall suggestion, but would it encourage you if you told yourself every day how much money you saved that day by not eating Food X, Y, and Z, and putting that money in a special savings/IRA Fund/favorite charity/special gift for somebody piggy bank?
Third-maybe using a pedometer would encourage you?
Finally, a good thing about a plateau is that if your body is relatively happy here, that may be good evidence that it will be comfortable at a lower plateau also.
Best wishes.

October 02, 2008 9:41 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

So glad to see you are back online..I kept checking in and was concerned. That is a HUGE weight loss. I need to lose some weight too and I know how difficult it is. Please make sure before you do anything aerobic a doctor clears you. I ended up tearing things because I was so out of shape. Now I walk when able.

October 02, 2008 8:49 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Have no doubt that the fact that you haven't gained back a substantial amount of the weight you lost after this absolutely rotten year you've had is a HUGE accomplishment. H-U-G-E!

I've done the WW thing, so I know. And I also have gained back almost all the weight I lost on WW, just because I have taken on the stress of owning my own business.

I am SO proud of you!

And I'm happy that you are taking steps that will keep you here with us, instead of giving into that "dying young" thing...

Love you.... :-]

October 05, 2008 2:10 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

My goodness, 124 pounds lost...honey that is amazing. I'm on WW right now and I know how "not easy" that was. Pat yourself on the back and just keep on keeping on. Just remember the distance you have to go isn't as far as the distance you've already come. YOU deserve it! I'm pulling for you and I don't know you, but I'm darn proud of you!

October 07, 2008 12:23 AM  
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