Itís hard to believe that my weight loss journey has come to an end, and that Iím now beginning maintenance. Itís a bit weird, too, since there was not a distinct beginning to the process for me. I knew that I wanted to lose weight, but I kind of just slowly started doing so over the course of about a month and a half, but the goal was plainly and clearly met exactly today.
My journey began, I think, just after I had finished and defended my doctoral dissertation. I was feeling proud of myself for having competed such a huge task, and I was also relieved that the constant stress of the past three years had faded away. It was fantastic. But after I had finished cleaning my place (which I had neglected for far too long), a familiar feeling fell over me. I was content with my work and the career I had chosen, and I was content with my style and the comfort I had brought into my home, but I was not content with myself. I felt like I was surrounded by nice things, but that I myself was not a nice thing.
This feeling was familiar to me, and so I pushed it aside, but I also aware that my weight was increasing from staring at books and screens as well as from stuffing myself with way too much food so that I wouldnít get hungry while I was working. Some days toward the end, my pants were too tight when I was sitting at my desk, and I would unbutton them to feel comfortable.
It slowly dawned on me that it was time to change things. The thought of being an ugly thing wouldnít go away and that made me sad. I also felt bad that what I was doing to myself was making things worse. I didnít want that any more, but I also knew that change would require effort, and I didnít want that either. And so, I hemmed and hawed, but I eventually decided that I had to quit smoking. It seemed like quitting had to be the first step or all else would be for naught. I had quit before, for six months, and a couple of times for four months, and so I knew what I would be in for. I have to say it took a lot to get started. I blew past my planned quit date about three times before I actually threw the cigarettes away. As I look back, Iím honestly not sure how I actually quit. In retrospect it seems like it was a leap of faith.
Needless to say, as I quit I gained some weight, but it was about two months later when I had realized just how much. The dissertation weight and the quitting weight had put me at 229 pounds, and that feeling of not being a nice thing intensified. My nieceís baptism was at around this time, the beginning of February, and I was chosen to be the godfather, and so there were lots of pictures taken, and I felt ashamed. It was also on this very weekend where my best friend for the past ten or so years told me that he was diabetic. He had always been bigger than me, and so in one sense it wasnít a surprise to hear, but in another, I was absolutely shocked. ďThere but for the grace of God go I,Ē I said, and I meant it. For some reason, I have always been afraid of diabetes. Iím not sure why but itís always given me the heebie jeebies. I was scared.
So I went to the doctor, who over the course of a week or so, drew some blood and did some other tests and told me that I wasnít diabetic (or even pre-diabetic), but that I had extraordinarily high cholesterol and blood pressure. So, March was when the actual weight-loss journey began. I began doing yoga, and found that I liked it. And I went a lot, about three times a week. I was constantly sore at the beginning, especially from the boat sit-ups (navasana), to the point where I couldnít sit up in bed. To sit up, I had to bend myself into an ďLĒ while lying on my side and then rotate myself to vertical. That lasted for weeks and weeks. But the instructors were encouraging, and I kept going.
I also changed my diet, but this was slow process, because food is expensive and I wanted to eat what I already had, even if it was bad for me, so that I wouldnít waste it. Over the course of about three weeks, I started eating salads and vegetables and fruits, and I cut out fast food (which before I had eaten about four times a week), fried food, and most prepared desserts. A bit more slowly, I got rid of most refined grains. Eventually, I ran out of the unhealthy foods, and I was quite content to eat healthier, at least most of the time.
It was at this point that I found this web site. And I found it to be full of helpful information and motivational success stories, and I came here to renew and strengthen my commitment to changing myself. Most of the time, itís pretty easy, but sometimes itís just not, and this site helps keep me on track.
Sometime in the summer, I decided that it might be a good idea to go to the gym to vary up my exercise a bit. So I found a personal trainer, and he devised a routine for me, but that ended up not working, since I hurt my back doing lat pulls about a week later. Even now it still hurts. This really annoys me because it cost a lot of money and has had a fairly lasting injury. It seems like the gym was all for naught. I fear that my back will be ruined for life, and frankly that makes me a bit angry.
I kept up the yoga and the diet (and the misguided gym time) from March until about September when I had to leave Santa Barbara and the routine that I had become familiar with, and I moved to Iowa.
Keeping in a good routine here in Iowa has been rough, but Iíve been doing okay. The yoga here isnít convenient to my schedule, so Iíve been doing a lot of cardio, which I donít like so much, but Iíve been trying to keep things varied. I have to remind myself that I did not figure out my old routine right way either. But I have to say while my weight loss has slowed some, it didnít stop, and today is the first day where I can officially say that I have met my goal.
I am very proud of myself for that. Iím sometimes not even sure that itís myself that Iím looking at in the mirror. And, while itís a bit vain, I look at myself in the mirror a lot, both clothed and naked. Iím down about 65 pounds, lighter than Iíve ever been since college. My waist is 35 inches, down an entire foot, and smaller than I can ever remember. My cholesterol and blood pressure are back in normal range. I havenít had any cigarettes for the past ten months, which is 10,000 less that I would have otherwise had. I smell better, and I feel much better, and I finally believe that I am one of the nice things that I have.
Iím very worried about heading into maintenance, partly because Iím wary about changing a lifestyle and diet that has worked for me and partly because I donít know if I actually can maintain, but as of now Iím so proud that I did it. And Iíd rip of my shirt and strut down the street right now if I were bold enough.
Thanks to all of you at 3FC for all your support. I am sincerely grateful, and I am always willing to return that gratitude to anyone who needs help.