This morning I weighed in at 147.3 lbs – a BMI of 24.9 – and officially met my goal! I had been thinking about that goal for SO long that reaching it almost felt anticlimactic, but the excitement simmered all day today and by tonight I just wanted to take a bunch of photos and shout it from the rooftops that I have really done it – I have lost nearly 133 lbs! I still can't quite believe it.
For those who just want the basics, I lost the weight by calorie counting at 1200-1500/day and exercise 5 days/wk, and it took a little shy of 14 months to reach my goal. That’s it, nothing fancy. For those who can make their way through the whole story (it’s long!!!), that’s below. Photos are below as well.
My weight loss journey started on January 18, 2011. I had seen an endocrinologist the prior day to get some blood work results back; I had been trying to conceive for more than a year and it hadn’t happened, and he was checking my hormone levels to see if there was some imbalance. I expected something, some piece of information that would help explain why I wasn’t getting pregnant, but there was little news in the blood work and instead he told me that my weight was the reason I couldn’t conceive. It was devastating to hear. I wanted so badly to have a child, had been ready for several years before my husband was ready, and I was just crushed that it was *me*, my weight, that was standing in the way of that.
When I left the doctor’s office, I felt like I had two choices: cry and hate myself, or change something. And I cried a lot that night, and I did hate myself. I had no idea how to lose weight, I was certain I would feel deprived and miserable for as long as it took, and because of that I was sure that trying would just mean failure. But the next day I started; it was really the only option if I ever wanted to have a child. I began working in an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of what I was eating and the calorie counts of each item, trying to keep each day below 1800 calories. I don’t know how I picked that number; it just seemed like somewhere to start. It was annoying at first, looking everything up, calculating, and typing everything out in the spreadsheet. But I liked seeing that I was DOING something about my weight, and having those numbers each day to prove it. After about 10 days I finally bought a scale; I went back to my regular doctor’s office and weighed myself there and then at home so that I could get a starting figure and know how much I had lost, and I was thrilled to see that I was down about 7 lbs. Those 10 days, that 7 lbs – that was all I needed. Yes, the first few days had been a little rough making those first few changes, but I didn’t feel deprived or miserable, and I was LOSING WEIGHT! I was in, I was ready, and I knew then that I could do it.
I set a goal of reaching a normal BMI (and even though I felt very committed, I still didn’t know how that was ever going to be possible!), and I found that I didn’t really need to eat all 1800 cals/day to be full and satisfied, so I dropped my calorie range to 1200-1500/day. And then I joined a gym. I was terrified going in there the first time, and didn’t want to join up with a membership because again – I was sure I couldn’t do it, couldn’t make myself go on a regular basis. But I signed up anyway, and that first night I struggled through a mile walk on the treadmill. Until that point I don’t think I had realized just how out of shape I had really become – I used to be a varsity athlete in high school! I was sweaty and out of breath and tremendously embarrassed… but I went back the next night to walk again, and the night after that. A few weeks after I began I bought a few sessions with a trainer and learned how to use the weight machines at the gym, and for many months that was my routine – walking on the treadmill a few nights per week, and using the weight machines two or three nights each week.
I began to really feel the changes in myself after I’d lost about 25-30 lbs. I felt so much pride, such a feeling of accomplishment. I was doing something that just a few weeks earlier I hadn’t believed I could do. No one else could see it yet, but that didn’t matter – I felt D*MN good about myself, and there was nothing that was going to get in my way of continuing to lose the weight. For a long time no one could tell (and I’d told no one but my family and a few close friends that I was trying to lose weight), but after I’d lost about 60 lbs people at work began commenting. I felt amazing, physically and emotionally. I felt like I was becoming the person I had always been somewhere on the inside – someone who was proud of who they were.
On June 11th, after I’d lost close to 70 lbs, I found out I was pregnant. I won’t bore people with all the details here (I could fill pages), but things went very bad very fast, and on June 30th I had a 4 hour emergency laparotomy to resolve an ectopic pregnancy. The surgery revealed that I have severe endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and results in cyst-like endometriomas and adhesions (tissue bridges) between structures in the pelvic cavity. The endometriosis had warped my fallopian tubes to the point where conception was difficult and ectopic pregnancy likely when conception did occur. This meant two things: IVF was going to be my only option for a pregnancy, and my weight hadn’t been the reason I couldn’t conceive.
It was a lot of news to take in – especially on top of the emotional pain of losing a pregnancy I had so desperately wanted for so long, and on top of the physical pain I was in - and I had a lot of time at home recovering from the surgery to think about it. I was angry at first, very angry, about the way I’d felt in January when I was told my weight was the reason I couldn’t conceive. All the time I’d spent beating myself up over it, all the tears and self-loathing. And I was angry at the OB/GYN I’d been seeing for not recognizing the true cause of my infertility, and what I’d been through the previous month as a result. But I was certain about one thing – I wasn’t going to stop losing weight. I couldn’t control my infertility, but I could control my health and my weight, and I was determined to continue losing no matter what. I was SO glad when I was finally cleared to return to the gym 6 weeks later – I never thought I could miss exercising so much!
Much of the ~7 months since that time have passed in a blur. I kept losing, but the fight with my weight was much harder as I went on and off and on and off first birth control and then various other hormones when I began the IVF. Hormones really wreak havoc with your weight, that’s for sure. But I never questioned whether I should stop trying to lose even when the scale was going up instead of down; I was going to keep fighting and win this fight eventually, no matter what it took or how frustrated I became.
And I feel like I have finally won, in so many ways. Today, I am a normal weight. I feel confident every day walking out the front door. I blend into the crowd instead of standing out because of my weight. I can run; I can do real pushups. I have so much energy some days I don’t know what to do with it. The me on the outside reflects the me on the inside – the more confident, comfortable-in-my-own-skin version of me that I am today. This is far and away the best thing I have ever done for myself, and these days I am so grateful to that doctor who told me I couldn’t get pregnant because of my weight. Without that, who knows how much more time I might have wasted being so unhappy with myself. I love myself today in a way I don’t think I ever have. I am stronger than I thought I was, in every way, and I am so proud of what I have done.
I am also so grateful to the people in my life and on this forum who have been so supportive. I have b*tched and whined and complained enough to make people’s ears/eyes bleed, and yet so many offered support so readily and selflessly. So many people listened patiently as I rambled endlessly about calorie counts and exercise, and they never complained. To those of you here who have known me through this journey, and to the many, many posters from whom I have drawn inspiration, thank you. I will forever be grateful to have had this forum to help me become the woman I was meant to be.
Edited to add some photos! I apologize for the poor quality of some of these... I'm terrible at taking photos in general, and especially of myself! I don't have many that I saved from when I was at my highest weight so there's only one or two in there, but hopefully these show the difference pretty well. I will take the face photos out at some point.
These images, from left to right, are at approximately 280 lbs, 230 lbs, 200 lbs and 145 lbs. The 280 lb photo was taken a few days before I began my weight loss journey.
This is probably my favorite comparison shot. The first photo was taken a few days before I began losing weight, and if I hadn't started losing weight by the time my sister PUT IT ON FACEBOOK I would have deleted it immediately. But I downloaded it (and made her take it off facebook!) so that I could have it for comparison purposes once I had reached my goal, and now I'm really glad to have it to see the difference.
And a few more photos from today.
Current bust-waist-hips measurements are 36.5-27-37; jeans are a size 8, dress is a size small (hello vanity sizing! I'm really a medium).
Edited to remove some old face photos. Photos current as of Fall 2014 at ~130 lbs are in my avatar and profile.