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Old 11-05-2004, 08:25 AM   #47
catharus
I heard a bird...
 
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Lexington, SC
Posts: 32

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Hi Meg and everyone -

I've been lurking in this forum for several weeks now and I have decided to join in, at least occasionally as time permits.

Perhaps a brief background at first. In July 2001, I found myself at 191, bigger than I had ever been. As I discovered a few months ago, 191 works out to a BMI of 30.9 or clinically obese. The causes were twofold - arthritis had robbed me of most of my ability and motivation to run and I was using food to make up for shortcomings in a failing marriage. I couldn't run any more but I could stop eating fried mozzarella sticks and jalapeno poppers. By October 2002, I had battled my way down to 151. I fought for every one of those 640 ounces, figuring that I was having such a difficult time because I was now 40 rather than 27. Last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I had been 27 and that was when I had taken up running. In November 2002, I, now divorced, started a new relationship and lost my tenuous grasp of the weight-loss process. By August 2003, I was back up to 169. I started the battle again in earnest. By September, when the WeightWatcher signs began appearing around work, I had lost a pound. When a friend told me she had once lost 23 pounds in 12 weeks on WW, I signed up for WW@Work. Maybe WW knows something I don't, I thought.

I started WW at 168 in mid-September; by mid-December, I hit my WW goal of 142. By early January, I hit my personal goal of 135. My current weight of 130 was actually a dream weight. It was my running weight, more or less, but I did not expect to ever see it again. I certainly did not expect to see it at 43. It is also an accident and it is why I am here, posting in this forum.

When I hit goal in December, the sum total of my leader's advice was "Add four points and read this booklet." (the _Going the Distance_ booklet) She assumed that all of us were familiar with WW's program inside and out, when in fact I for one knew next to nothing about the program. Other than the admonition to make exercise a daily commitment, I got nothing from the booklet. I was frightened out of my tiny mind! I needed guidance now, as I never had before. I knew I could lose weight but I needed to know how to keep it off. I had come to WW because of my inability to maintain a lower weight after I'd already lost it. I mean, sure, continue to stay away from the fried mozzarella sticks, but what else?

Deciding that at this point WW had no good solid advice, I decided to wing it, to listen to my own inner voice about my body, as I always had, just use familiar structures that WW provided, like points and weekly weigh-ins. I didn't add four points. I added two points. I still had a personal goal and four seemed too much. The step down from 22 to 20 points had been traumatic for me. To re-add four points? No. I continued, as I had hoped, to lose each week. I added a point or two each week that I lost because I could feel my body continuing to burn fat. I remained calm on the weeks I knew there was a water retention issue and the scale showed a bump up - and I held the line on points those weeks. As January rolled into February and the scale crept below my personal goal, I began to panic.

Without any other guidance for my panic, I had no choice but to continue to follow this philosophy of managing points, slowly increasing points. A trip through the WW boards taught me I wasn't the first to do this nor was I the only one to feel abandoned after hitting goal. As it turned out, I had also stumbled into what some considered to be the best way to re-add points to end up with the maximum number of points per day. Before I was done, I was up to 32 (1500 - 1700 calories, more or less) points a day.

The weight loss leveled off in April at 128 pounds. Now I bounce between 128 and 130. Lately I've been "bouncing" a bit above 130. I knew all along I was going to have to play with the daily points allowance, that 32 seemed ridiculously high. So with the scale bouncing above 130, I dropped back on points for a few weeks with a sigh. I did indeed lose weight again at a points level that should be about my base metabolic rate, not all the way back down to WW minimum. I seemed to have lost mostly subcutaneous fat. The scale is still bouncing above 130 occasionally. But now I am seeing new muscle definition and loose waistbands in (new) pants (again!) since I increased the cardio portion of my exercise and added in a weekly Pilates class a few months ago. So I am thinking this may indeed be real muscles. And I am thinking of increasing my defined "bounce range", of turning loose of a little bit of WW's fascination with the scale. And I added a weekly Yoga class, starting yesterday.

I continue to journal daily and I'm still using the WW Flexpoints system for simplified calorie counting. I continue to dispose of "crappy" food from my diet in favor of "clean", wholesome, minimally-processed foods. I do allow myself a "treat" from time to time. It's a hallmark of my different mindset to say that my idea of a treat has gone from a 20 oz. full-sugar soda and a full-sized candy bar to a fried scallop and a fried shrimp off of my significant other's plate at a seafood restaurant or a small order of fries that I share with the dog.

I am running again. The arthritis only allows me to run two miles (3 1/3 km) at a time now. Sometimes, when I get a little sad that I've only managed a four mile (4 2/3 km) week (which is my weekly goal - running two miles for two days a week) when I used to run 20-25 mile weeks, I remind myself that four is a bigger number than ZERO! I may try again to stretch that out to three miles per run when the spring and the light return. But I have become able to hike without looking for easy trails or avoiding some places because the terrain is too difficult. In late September, I hiked up South Carolina's second highest mountain, a 2000 foot (600 meter) elevation increase over about 3-4 miles (5-6 km).

I am hoping I'll be able to add something insightful to this forum from time to time. It would only be fair as I've already learned so much from you guys, mostly the all-important thought that I am not alone in this struggle to keep up the "new me".

So, the summary:
High weight: 191 (86.8 kg)
WW start weight: 168 (76.4 kg)
WW goal: 142 (64.5 kg)
Current weight: 128-131 (58 - 59.5 kg)
Height: 5'6"
BMI top/WW goal/current 31/23/21
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