"A year from now you'll be glad you started today."
Today I have achieved a different sort of goal. I have not yet achieved my goal of losing 100 pounds, but I have achieved a more important goal for me of being on plan for one year without giving up.
One year ago yesterday, on November 8, 2009, we invited my husband's cousin over for dinner. I knew she'd lost a lot of weight. We'd seen her at intervals throughout her loss. I remember I prepared taco salad so we could serve ourselves what we wanted and she could have a healthy meal if she so desired. I also knew this was the night I was going to ask her about Weight Watchers, because I was pretty sure that's what she had done. She showed up on my doorstep tiny! She'd lost a total of 90 pounds! I couldn't believe it! When I told her I was ready for WW, she laughed at me. She said she'd done it by counting calories and eating only 1200 calories a day.
I was skeptical, to say the least. I'd already tried several diets, most notably a diet called ASAP, South Beach Diet and plain old "eating better". Nothing worked. I would lose 30 pounds and then give up, gaining back everything plus a few. I had a way of making losing weight too hard, and it really was. When I did SBD, I ate perfectly, never cheating. I worked out three hours a day 5-6 days per week. I remember swimming two miles once and I was so proud of myself. But I was exhausted and the weight loss was slow. I was putting in too much effort for the results I felt like I was getting. In my all or nothing mentality I was either all in or I was all out.
This time had to be different. I was starting out at 235 pounds. I had plantar fasciitis pretty bad. It hurt both my feet and my back to stand at the sink to do dishes. I hated hosting holiday events because it was too hard. My blood pressure had reached 155/105 and I was ignoring it. My resting heart rate was in the 90's and I often felt as though my heart was pounding out of my chest. My fasting blood sugar was 104 and that is only the high I knew about. Who knows if it ever got higher than that? I had PCOS. I had severe gastric reflux and the attacks were scary. I had to hold my breath to tie my shoes, a task I simply hated. I dreaded going up and down the stairs which made me winded. It hurt my chest to ascend and my knees to descend. I no longer fit in the seats at an old, old theater we frequented. In movie seats I knew once I squeezed my hips past the arm rests I'd be ok. I had to hop over turn styles because my hips were too wide to fit through even sideways. Bathroom stalls were uncomfortable and sometimes I touched both walls. To cross my legs at all I had to reach down, grab the cuff of my pant leg and hoist my ankle over the opposite the knee and then I had to hold it there, otherwise it would just slide right off.
Despite all this, I still felt thin. I looked in the mirror, or worse a picture, and reality always hit me like a ton of bricks. This was not me. And I hated the person I'd become. I can't say I wanted to die. But I dreamed about it and it seemed simpler and desirable. I no longer feared it.
So yes, this time had to be different. I spent some time analyzing what about my past attempts failed. And the answer was simple. My failure came from giving up. So I couldn't give up. I started with calorie counting and it was really hard. I chose to go with simple foods I didn't have to count. I ate a Slim Fast for breakfast, a Lean Cuisine for lunch and protein bars for snacks. I ate six 200 calorie meals per day. I was starving! That lasted about three months. It took me a long time to get past the hunger and even longer to get past the fatigue. I did not exercise during this time.
I found 3FC about three weeks into this. On my first day I read the amazing quote in someone's signature, "A year from now you'll be glad you started today." I knew right then that I wanted one day to write THIS post. I knew then what I had to do. I made a commitment then and there that I would remain on plan for one year without giving up no matter what. That was the most powerful moment for me! Suddenly the scale lost all its power. It didn't matter if I gained two pounds after a really hard workout. I couldn't give up. So I'd stalled for a month. It didn't matter. I'd made a commitment. I was not going to give up.
Initially I was terrified to exercise. I knew two things would happen. One, I knew I'd fall in love with it, because that’s what I do. I love being fit and feeling strong and powerful. I get addicted to that high. But I overdo it and make it too hard and always a day would come where I just couldn't do it anymore. So this time I created a baseline of must-do. My baseline is M/W/F spin class and T/TH lift. I can always fall back on this basic and "easy" routine. And if I want I can add extra activities. Several times those extras have become mundane or too hard. Running for instance. So I quit running. No big deal. Then a few months later I picked it up again. That's ok. The second thing I knew would happen with exercise was that the scale would go wonky, and it did. But it didn't matter. I was not giving up.
Finally, I mentioned the dieting started out really hard. It did. But over time 1200 calories was easy and I felt satiated. I also gradually changed over from the processed Slim Fast, Lean Cuisines and protein bars to a diet almost entirely made up of whole foods. Every month I change something in my diet, whether deleting a food group or adding new foods I'd never tried before. I gave up milk and drink only soy now. My current mission is to get rid of High Fructose Corn Syrup. It's been an easy transition because I've done it so gradually. But I am no longer constantly fatigued or constipated.
And here I am one year later and almost 80 pounds lighter!
My blood pressure at my last reading was 102/62! My resting HR was 46!! My blood sugar in February was 86. Who knows what it is now? I have gone from a size 20 to a size 8 and from 235 pounds to a low of 156.8. I don't like to run, but I can run four miles. I love spin class and I love lifting weights. This past summer my friend and I biked 26 miles just for fun! My feet do not hurt, my knees do not hurt, I fit through turn stiles and I fit on every roller coaster.
I'm not at my poundage goal yet. I'm still considered "overweight" by BMI standards. But I would not take back this past year for all the money in the world!
So this is an unusual "goal" post. But it's my goal! It's been the number one focus of this past year for me. And here today I make another commitment to remaining on plan through November 9th, 2011.
235 pounds- Size 2X/20
160 size 8/10 small/medium (in between)...Bless my dear husband for the wonderful camera angle! LOL!
Updated pic: 3/5/2011 and 145 pounds, normal weight.