Wednesday, August 3, 2011

How Did I Get Here?

As I sit here, I am a mere 4.6 pounds away from reaching my goal of losing 101 pounds. Really? I'm wearing sizes 4's, 6's and 8's. Really? I'm working out regularly. Really? I love kickboxing. Really? I'm not binging and stuffing my emotions down with food anymore. Really? I still indulge in cakes, cookies and ice cream on occasion. Really? Who am I and how did I get here?

My goal weight is probably higher than "they" recommend but I think it's realistic and maintainable. It's a little crazy to think that my goal weight is probably the same weight I was when I started my very first diet and thought I was SO FAT. Oh, why are we so stupid when we're young? Why can't we really see ourselves? What was I thinking?

Losing weight, no matter how you do it, is NEVER easy. We all want a magic pill, a quick and easy plan, a list of foods to eat and a list to stay away from. We look to anyone and everyone to tell us HOW to do it when, like Dorothy with her ruby slippers, we finally realize that we have the power, we've had the power all along.

I do feel like I had a little bit of an advantage this time around because when I got laid off in November 2009 I got rid of the crushing stress that was sucking the life out of me and had the luxury of having the time to devote to going to the gym like it was my job. I was determined to take advantage of the time and work on finding myself.

For the first few months I pretty much stuck to the elliptical machine. I always picked a machine that was far away from the mirrors and in the back row because I didn't want to look at myFATself and I certainly didn't want anyone else watching me. I would struggle to stay on there for 30 minutes at Level 1. I was barely able to keep the machine from shutting down because I was moving so slow. It was hard but I forced myself to go and just do it at least 5 days a week. After a few months I was able to increase my time to 60 minutes but it was hard. Very rarely I would venture off to the dreadmill (snore), bike (ouch-knee pain) and weight room (zzzzz) to mix things up a bit but I felt I got my best workouts on the elliptical.

Although I've never been much of a cook, funds were low and I was forced to cut down on eating out. No matter what I threw together at home it was almost always healthier and less fattening than anything I would get at a restaurant. I wasn't stress eating and I was getting better at controlling my binge episodes. I wasn't stressed out and there weren't so many emotions swirling around anymore so I stopped trying to stuff them down with vast amounts of food.

The weight wasn't coming off fast, as you can clearly see from my weekly weigh-ins on the sidebar, but it was coming off, sometimes a tenth of a pound at a time, sometimes adjusting upwards, but I knew I was onto something. I felt better and more determined than ever. I was doing something consistently and I knew if I stuck with it I would continue to see results.

After I lost about 50-60 pounds I finally worked up the courage to try a Zumba class and shortly after that my friend invited me to join her for a cardio kickboxing class. As you know by now, I absolutely love getting my ass kicked. I wish I had done it sooner. There isn't a single person in those classes that care how heavy you are, how high you can kick or how much you sweat. They are there for themselves and don't really care how you look. I can't believe I now look forward to working out and will rearrange my schedule so I don't miss my classes.

It took way too long but I finally learned that there is no magic pill or easy way to lose weight. You may find something that works for a while, allows you to drop the weight and then it all comes back and brings more fat along with it. I didn't try to force myself to live by someone else's rules. I didn't count points, I didn't count calories, there were no foods that were off limits, I still ate cake and cookies and everything I wanted but I ate it in moderation. There were no rules and there was no deadline.

There wasn't a single week over the past 20 months that I lost more than 5 pounds. The most I lost in a single week was 4.8 pounds and then the following week I gained back 3.3 pounds. Of course I loved seeing the numbers on the scale go down but they didn't tell the whole story. The scale lost its power to control my attitude once I realized that it wasn't all about the numbers as long as I continued to work out consistently and eat relatively healthy 90% of the time.

Unfortunately, I will be going back to work soon and I'm really nervous about being able to get my workouts in and not letting stress eat at me but I have faith I'll find a way to work it out. It's important and I know I need to do it so I don't backslide back into obesity.

I truly believe that we need to make our own rules and find a plan that works for us as individuals. Eat the foods you like, find something you enjoy doing that works up a good sweat, take care of yourself and know that if you stick with your plan consistently you will see results. It's not a race to the finish line, slow and steady will get you there too. I like to say "I'm fast like turtle now." I don't know when but I do know I'll cross that finish line no matter how long it takes.

Why did it take me so long to figure things out? Why did I waste so many years being fat and miserable? How am I going to make sure I don't ever put that fat suit on again? I'm not sure. I do know that I wouldn't be here if I gave into the despair and sense of hopelessness I felt for so long. No matter where you are on your journey, don't ever give up trying, you don't know how close you are to finding what works for you.

The most important thing I've learned is to never EVER give up!


  1. What an incredible success story you are, and this post was exactly what I needed to read today. Your journey has been remarkable, and yet a total testament to the hard work, perseverence and attitude adjustment that significant weight loss requires.

    I really appreciate how you laid it out just as it was for you - not easy, but you stayed true to your goals and intention even when it was hard.

    Thanks so much - congratulations - it won't be long before you'll be posting about being at your goal! And it sounds as though the changes you've undergone will continue to sustain you when you go back to work.

  2. You figured out how to lose it and you can follow your same rules (guidelines is probably a better word for it) to maintain it. Absolutely incredible.

    Good luck at your new job super star!

  3. Thanks for this.... I (yet again) am beginning my own journey and like you did I"m trying to figure out what is right for me. I'm tired of counting calories/points I'm joined yoga and started swimming and hopefully with just making better food choices the weight will start to come off -- fingers crossed.

    Congratulations on such a wonderful success. It's very inspirational.

  4. You are amazing. SO impressive! And I have confidence that you can keep it up after returning to work--like you said, you've figured out the right formula. Kudos!

    And on a sidenote--loved The Art of Racing in the Rain!

  5. I'm going to print this out and read it every morning. I know I've told you before how inspiring you are, but seeing it laid out like this from beginning to (almost) end assures me that it can be done and I CAN DO IT TOO. Thanks so much for not giving up. :)

  6. What a beautiful courageous statement about you and what you want for yourself and others. It's like those songs that mean so much that they give you shivers. I felt a shiver.


  7. You are amazing and inspiring. I applaud you.

  8. You look fabulous! What a difference!

    You will get the hang of working out while working. Don't be afraid to change the schedule. Try out several different times for workouts until you find the best fit. It may not be what you expect.

  9. I need to remember to take it slowly too. I'm so excited about being so close to the normal range that I feel like I'm putting so much pressure on myself. Thank you for a such a thought provoking post!

  10. Inspiring story, I hope that I can grow to love exercising nearly as much as you seem to so that I can someday get where you are!

  11. You should be very proud of the progress you have made...slow progress is are making life style changes and doing it slow shows determination.

  12. Wow i've been away from blog land since april and what a difference a few months make! you can really see the difference and its is fantastic to see the difference between the before and after pics!

    your last line is very apt and so true! i've had a few weeks off my slimming club but i re joined on last wed more determined than ever and i lost 6lbs in my first week... i know first weeks are always good weeks but for me on a "diet" 6lbs week one is excellent!
    good look with your last few lbs you will get there before you know it! x

  13. I cannot tell you how moving and inspiring this post was for me!!! Thank you for writing it and being so honest about your journey. Your approach is very much the one I have right now - just letting the mind figure it out the big picture and let nature take it's course as a result. You have made me realize that this thing truly is NOT a race and that if I believe in myself and just keep at it, and remember my goals, significant weight loss can be possible - no matter how long it takes. Thanks again!

  14. AWESOME!! Amazing post MB! Congrats on all you've learned and accomplished.

    Thanks for the comment on my blog. I totally understand about the swearing at Jillian Michaels. I'm thinking if I add a swear jar to the workout, I could save up some money too! :)

  15. You look amazing, and you have made this journey deliberately, with thought and successfully! Congratulations!


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