What freaked me out

This morning, I was freaked out by a realization:

I was reading a “regainers” thread from November 2012, so 18 months ago, and there I was. Popping in every single day, staying on plan.  I weighed about ten pounds less than I do right now.  So what on earth happened?  Well, my final comment was that I had eaten a large Thanksgiving meal and wasn’t sure if I was going to have a slice of pie.  Then poof! I disappear.  I make a reappearance in May of 2014. Again, I start off strong. This time, I’m worried because I’m going on a long trip.  At the time, I weighed about ten pounds less than I do now.  I reappear after the trip. I log a few days in my food log where I’m obviously not staying on plan, and then I disappear.  Obviously, something has GOT to change. I’ve been on plan for just over a month, and I’m down 14 lbs.  I know that is a big danger zone for me.  Yes, my pants are getting a little looser. Yes, I’m starting to notice some small changes, but it’s not enough.  I saw somebody refer to this as the “yo-yo zone” and it’s so true.  Since regaining, my yo-yo zone was between 260 and 272.  This time, I started at 285, the closest I’ve ever been to getting back to my dreaded high weight of 295.  I think I’ll be out of the yo-yo zone when I get to 230, but realistically, that’s going to take a while.

1. I’ve got to get back to exercising.  That gives me tangible non-scale related results, and also, it just makes me feel a lot better– when I can manage stress, I can manage eating.

2.  I’m really of two minds about restricting.  Sometimes, I think that I really don’t need the excess weight and my best bet would be to get on a really aggressive plan– a medically supervised plan where I would just drop the weight and get it over with.

3. Sometimes I think I should take the exact opposite approach and come up with a looser plan that would really be a “plan for life.”

Deep down, I know that unless I learn to manage my stress there will be no “plan for life.”

I am a mom to 4, caregiver to 2 parents, and fifty per cent breadwinner.  There are many times in my life when I just have too much on my plate.  Plus, I’m not really good with having too much on my plate.  I’m a writer.  I thrive on LOTS of downtime… time to let my mind run loose and easy.

So, right now, 3 of the 4 kids and one of the parents is away, and I’ve had a little breather, but one parent is arriving today, and I’m right back into it.

My job is to hold on to the momentum that I’ve found.

starting is hard

This is officially day one: April 15th, 2013

But really, day one was back in June 2009.

That was the moment in my life when I decided that I was done being fat.  Between about 1997 and 2009, I just let it go… I gained, and gained and gained and gained.  I never lost.  Or at least, I never really felt as if my losing was anything permanent, or getting me anywhere.

But since 2009, I have been FIGHTING.

And, if I’m honest, I’m still better off than I was back then.

1. I have essentially maintained a 10% weight loss for almost four years.

2. I’m more physically fit than I was back then.

3.  I have never gone back to my high weight.

So, I think I’m not going to think of this as day one.

It’s a process.  Up and down is better than up and up.

Onward.

Starting Over

Well, here I am.  274 lbs.

I’ve decided that I’m going to write about my effort to change my life AGAIN.

Yes, it’s frustrating.  I lost over 100lbs, kept it off for two years, experienced the joy of being (relatively) slim and healthy and then felt as if I just “snapped” and gained most of it back.

Thank God I didn’t gain all of it back.  I’ve retried about three or four times, and each time I’ve lost about ten to fifteen pounds and then something came up and I lost my concentration.

So, here’s what happened to make me ready to restart:

1. I painted my toenails and bought a cute pair of sandals.  I remembered the joy of feeling pretty and decided I wanted it back.

2. I realized that I had no choice.  I had to buy some fat clothes.  I usually lose weight better when I’m feeling good about myself.  So I’ve bought myself some fat clothes and I’m determined to start exercising and start caring about how I look right now. Not in some distant future.

3. I put new batteries in the scale.

4. I opened up my fitday account and looked at my food log to remind myself what I have to do to lose weight.

What else I’m going to do today?

1.  Clean my room and my office.

2. Clean out the fridge.

3. Make a food plan and shop for it.

I do not have to live like this.  I have a choice, and I’m choosing NO!

What is “the click?”

As a writer, I’m intrigued by the concept of “the click.”  Something that changes, a mental shift, that suddenly allows us to successfully pursue our goals.

I had that click once before.  At age forty, after a lifetime of thinking I wanted to be be a novelist, suddenly, something shifted and I applied butt to chair and actually made it happen.  Three years later, I was published for the first time and had the extreme pleasure of seeing my own book in Barnes and Noble. Eight years later, I have a successful career.

I have spent too many years feeling like my cravings for food were unmanageable– way stronger than I was.

But, then again, I noticed a long time ago that if I had a certain food in my house that I knew I couldn’t eat, let’s say cupcakes for a child’s party the next day, or a special chocolate bar that was a gift to my husband… something like that.

Well, not only could I very easily resist eating those things, but in fact, I would entirely forget that they existed.

A chocolate bar in a drawer that was “up for grabs”… I might think about it obsessively for hours until I finally gave in and ate it.  The other chocolate bar could lay in the drawer uneaten and forgotten for years.

So, what’s that all about?

I am unable to follow a sensible eating plan when I’m obsessing about food.  But when I’m not obsessing about food then I really don’t care that much about eating at all.

So, what is the click?

What is it that enables something that so frequently seems impossible suddenly seem possible?

Why are there times, like now, when my brain really starts to believe?

I guess if I knew the answer to that question, I’d have a million dollars.

But I think for me, one thing that helps is that I’m older now, and I realize that if I chip away at a long term goal then a year later, I can wake up and find myself in a different place.

It’s a lot like writing a novel.  Every time you sit down and stare at the blank page, the task of writing 100,000 words seems like an insurmountable task, but if you do it every day for a year, rain or shine, inspiration or now, after about a year, you’ll end up with a novel.

So, I’m counting on that now.

The click, it seems, is nothing more than the belief that it is possible.

The Ten Per Cent Solution

As a health care provider, I often tell women that they will see significant health benefits if they lose ten per cent of their weight.

Somehow, it doesn’t seem that intimidating.  Only ten per cent.

Well, my scale is closing in on that goal, and so I’m checking in with myself to see what differences I see.

The big one is that once my weight started creeping into the 270s, 280s, and erp…290s… I started to have a big problem with edema in the lower extremities, otherwise known as swollen legs.  My feet didn’t swell, but my legs did.  Every time I went to work, where I work a double shift added on to a two-hour commute, I would come home with swollen legs.  Then, about a year ago, I developed an itchy rash on my shins.  It got worse when my legs were swollen, it never really got better.  My dermatologist diagnosed eczema and told me to use a steroid cream.   It didn’t really work.  The only thing that worked was getting the swelling down… it would get a little better, and then I would go back to work.

As I’ve been losing weight, I wondered if it would get better, and it didn’t.  Until recently.  The last ten pounds seem to have made the difference.

My legs look dainty again.  And the rash is going away.

Other changes?  Well, I’ve dropped a size (or two) and I can manage just fine on the treadmill now.

Ten per cent is enough to really feel a lot better.

It’s also enough to inspire me to keep going.

Even better: I realize that each time I set 10% as my mini-goal I’ll have to lose a few less pounds.

My weights

Like most people, I have a collection of weights.  I remember them, like the way I remember other numbers that matter or once mattered to me: my SAT scores, the advance for my first book…

Here are some of my weights.

138  weight when I started Weight Watchers for the first time, at age 12.

120 weight when I reached “maintenance” at age 12.

108 the amount I thought I should weigh when I got to 120.

151 the amount I weighed in high school when I was on the thinner end of things

161 the amount I weighed in high school when  I was on the fatter end. (I thought in my mind that 151 was “overweight” and 161 was “obese.” Where I got those numbers I don’t know.

175 the amount I weighed when I got married.  I had to have the size 14 let out.  I was ashamed.

196 the amount I weighed when I got pregnant for the first time.

295 the amount I weighed when I said “enough is enough.”