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Old 07-14-2009, 08:11 AM   #1
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Question Enjoying AVERAGE things more now because we were once obese or overweight?

The following posts are from the Maintenance NSV'S thread:

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Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
I can't help myself. It's another summer related NSV. DH and I had two of our very good friends over for the weekend. Now on Sunday - we went to the beach. Oh how glorious. The weather was stupendous. I packed a ton of healthy foods. Homemade pita chips with mango peach salsa. Frozen yogurt. Sugar Snap peas. Baby carrots. Cantaloupe, honeydew, cherries and grapes. My friend (the male) said it was a vegetable/fruit-a-thon. It was nice. But I again was overwhelmed by the fact that I was ON the beach. We walked and walked along the edge of the water. We then went out for an early supper. I had a great mushroom/spinach/onion egg white omlette with a sweet potato. We then did a little shopping, which I'm always up for. Bought myself a beautiful little shirt. It was just an amazing day/weekend. One that never, ever would have occurred prior to my weight loss.

Now that I am just another "average" woman, I am having an extraordinary good time. Or maybe it's just really an "average" time, but for ME it seems "extraordinary".
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Originally Posted by CountingDown View Post
Robin It was an indeed extraordinary! At least for ANY of us here at 3FC. Having lived on the other side of life, even mundane activities for "normal" folk never cease to be special for us.

I count my blessings every day - life is full of wonderful and fascinating events, that way too many folk take for granted!
I've been thinking about this a bit and I wanted to start a thread specifically about this topic.

I hadn't been a normal weight (and that was indeed overweight), not morbidly obese since my very early 20's. I'm 45 now, hit goal 2 years ago. I keep on writing (thinking) how much I thoroughly enjoy the summer now and the beach and the clothes and the not thighs rubbing and the - everything about it. It was SUCH a horror for me in the past. This weekend I'm going away and going rafting for the first time! I mentioned that maybe the beach isn't all that special, but now *for me*, I find it to be extraordinary. CountingDown pointed out that now, having lost the weight, even the mundane activities are special. And LoriBell was in agreement. I'd like to pose her question here and I'd love to get some feed back from others.


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Originally Posted by Lori Bell View Post
You know I was on the verge of tears when I read this.

We had several functions over the weekend and I was truly giddy. I seriously felt tipsy without the calories or the hangover! LOL Unbelievable, remarkable, and breathtakingly wonderful. It almost seems like it's to good to last, like something terrible is going to happen, like do I deserve to feel this good? Do you ever feel like that?
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I've only got a week and a half of maintaince down my belt, but the feeling is intoxicating. Do you think that *naturally thin* people feel this way, or is it something you only achieve after recovering from morbid obesity? I mean, I just feel so gosh darn great. I've been thin a few short periods on my life, why can't I remember feeling this way? Is this feeling something the *naturally thin* take for granted?
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:39 AM   #2
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Great questions!

I have more than seven years of maintenance under my belt and still feel just like Lori described after her first week and a half of maintenance. My way of describing it is to say -- every morning is Christmas morning and every day is the best day of my life. Every day I am so profoundly grateful for being a normal, healthy weight. Every day I experience the wonder and joy of having a body that works the way it's supposed to, that can lift weights and ride a bike, and fit into cute little clothes. Everything is easier and more fun -- seriously, everything. Every day I reap the rewards of fitness and good health. And every day I remember where I came from and once again make the choice that I'm never going back.

I doubt that people who have always been thin could ever "get" how we feel. You have to live it to understand the pain and misery and hopelessness of obesity. You have to experience it in order to be able to contrast life *then* with life *now*. To lay down the burdens of obesity -- to walk away from a 122 pound ball and chain -- to get rid of a million pounds of baggage -- these are things I will never take for granted. It's not deliberate, but one of the first things I think about every morning is how I'm no longer fat. Because every step I take and everything I do reminds me that the fat is gone.

Lori, don't fear that it's going to slip away. I know it's hard at first and we all feel a little lost when we get to maintenance and worry that we're going to gain all the weight back. All you have to do is remember is that nothing and no one can make you fat again except for you. It can't "happen" to you without your consent. Your hand is the only one putting food in your mouth. The power to always feel as wonderful as you do now is totally, 100% in your control. Every day, make the choice to stay healthy and fit -- and you will. We're all so proud of you!
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Old 07-14-2009, 08:59 AM   #3
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I have never been obese but I have struggled with my weight since I was 11 years old (I'm 52 now).

I can't say that being 15 lbs. thinner has been life-changing for me. Most of the time it feels a lot nicer to weigh less but it hasn't been a life-altering experience.

Sometimes I wish I had been a lot heavier than than I was when I decided to lose the extra 15 for good. It would probably make all the work of maintenance more rewarding.

I'm curious to see what my DH (who is obese by BMI measures) has to say about it when he gets down to his goal weight. Right now he's not doing a lot of things or is uncomfortable doing them because of his weight.

This series of posts certainly will give me a lot to think about.

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Old 07-14-2009, 09:01 AM   #4
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I also get that feeling despite having lost my weight several years ago. I remember one holiday when I just felt miserable, hot, fat and self-conscious, hated wearing a swimsuit, etc. Last week I got back from Venice, and I adored every minute of it. Walking through the beautiful streets in a sundress, sunbathing in a bikini, running to catch a boat when I needed to, feeling so light and free....of course now I'm back to real life and stress and responsibilities are catching up with me again. Being slim doesn't solve all your problems, but it sure helps you enjoy the good times.
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Old 07-14-2009, 09:46 AM   #5
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Going to a movie... and fitting comfortably in the seat. Traveling by air... and fitting comfortably in the seat. Being able to walk through a big airport at a good clip and not be out of breath. I think a lot of folks who have never been overweight or obese take these things for granted.

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Old 07-14-2009, 10:03 AM   #6
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I love this discussion, and look forward to being able to share the joy of everyday activities in maintenance in a year or so! It's only been in the last couple years that I gained past the point of "comfort" and now feel really uncomfortable with normal activities - but it's been the pressure I need to finally take care of myself and put myself first!

Anyhow, reading about your sense of triumph and joy with every day makes me curious: is it possible that being more "tuned in" to the fact that every day is better after weight loss also keeps you motivated to maintain and keep the weight off? That appreciating the "normal" things makes you more attentive to what it takes and why it's worth it?

I think it's an important factor to consider for those of us in the process of weight loss (or new maintainers) that are already fearing gaining back - keep on top of it, and appreciate every moment!
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:05 AM   #7
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I'm definitely more of a participant now. Since I've lost the weight, I've run a half marathon with my sister in law, found a new weightlifting buddy in my 16 yo DD, kicked the soccer ball around with my 6 yo, hit the volleyball with my 9 year old, gone on 15-20 mile bike rides with my DH, and so much more. I am grateful to have the physical ability to participate in these types of activities with my family, rather that watching from the sidelines. I don't take that ability for granted, cause I remember the times when I lacked that physical capacity.

At cross country practice, there are 2 choices when you are waiting on the kids. Some people run or walk, and some people sit in their cars. I am no longer a sitter-in-the-car.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:10 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rock Chalk Chick View Post

Anyhow, reading about your sense of triumph and joy with every day makes me curious: is it possible that being more "tuned in" to the fact that every day is better after weight loss also keeps you motivated to maintain and keep the weight off? That appreciating the "normal" things makes you more attentive to what it takes and why it's worth it?
Yes. Absolutely. Having experienced the absolute horrors of being morbidly obese, and yes for me, it was a HORROR. Each and every day. Every day and each. and now having crossed over to the other side - absolutely, positively makes my motivation and commitment to maintaining - hence never going back, stronger. I really do think so.
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:13 AM   #9
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My situation is a bit different, because most of my obesity was during my teenage years. But if I had remained obese into adulthood, I'm sure my life would have been very, very different. Sometimes I stop to think and am amazed at the physicality of my lifestyle now. I remember how I felt when I was an obese teenager. I didn't have any particular idea about what career I wanted, but I figured I would end up in an office or building or... well, something indoors, if YKWIM. I didn't dare to dream about doing field research.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meg View Post
I doubt that people who have always been thin could ever "get" how we feel. You have to live it to understand the pain and misery and hopelessness of obesity. You have to experience it in order to be able to contrast life *then* with life *now*.
This is exactly how I felt at 15. I just despaired. Quietly - no one ever knew, not even my family, no friends, but I suffered from serious depression. Because I felt I couldn't do anything other than some job that involved the inside of a building. In high school I sat all day, endured 2 hours of sheer physical torture in the form of mandatory sports, went home and studied. On the weekends, study, TV, study... I was extremely sedentary.

Now I'm a research assistant in marine biology. Yesterday I drove a boat to an uninhabited island, carried a 40-lb. can of gasoline down the dock with field gear, dug some sand, got rained on, pull started an ATV b/c the start switch wasn't working (and my co-worker and I were having trouble with the pull start so we were about to push it 300 feet back to the shed), drove the boat back, went to the hardware store (still in wet clothes) to get some desperately needed field supplies for someone, etc. etc. This is a pretty typical day for me. I didn't get winded, didn't slow down, (did eat my healthy, packed lunch somewhere in there). We stopped at the fuel dock and it was low tide, so I had to really climb up to the dock and kind of do a roll onto it. I thought it was funny, not embarrassing. I would never have done it 50 lbs heavier - I would have been too embarrassed I looked like a beached whale or something. On the weekends I hop on my BF's boat and we go fish or snorkel or dive. Need me to pull up the anchor? No problem. Help carry the cooler? I've got it by myself. "Coerced" into a powerlifting tournament by the gym manager? My concern was never looking foolish, I just didn't feel inclined to lift in public. Ok, I'll do it. 5K for the festival this weekend? Alright. Kayaking on the river? Sounds like fun! It's done without thought most of the time. Most of the time I take it for granted that my body will carry me through it without complaint. My 15-year old, 205-lb body would not have done that.

A few weeks ago I donated blood, and for the first time felt weak for about 24 hours afterwards. It was such a foreign feeling. I had to sit down when hauling things around b/c I was dizzy and winded. It was so strange to me - and made me really appreciate how my body performs on a day-to-day basis. I do get some seasonal allergies in the fall, which onset as an adult, and for 2-3 months I can't get used to the sluggish feeling (I'm either sluggish with allergy symptoms, or sluggish from medication without the allergies) - how awful! There were several times last year when my BF was trying to comfort me. I was practically in tears that I was so tired I was going to bed at 9PM, again, for another 10 hours of sleep, just to be tired again the next day. I couldn't stand it if that happened year-round - that would be a terrible quality of life to me, and I believe if I was still obese, I would be living like that.

What a wonderful life I have!
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Old 07-14-2009, 11:22 AM   #10
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I just want to thank you ladies SO MUCH for posting in this thread. As a person who has just begun her journey from obesity, you have no idea how motivating this is. I want what you have, and I'm going to get it. THANK YOU!
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:16 PM   #11
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My fear is that I will forget how I felt at my heaviest. I'm roughly halfway to goal; same place I was last time. I've been bouncing around a pound or so up and down for 2 weeks. This morning I felt a whisper in my head saying, "Maybe this is the weight you're meant to be. Maybe you should just stop here for awhile and enjoy yourself." That's what I did last time--then gained it all back. I feel a lot better now. I LOOK a lot better now. Feeling heavy and breathless is already becoming a distant memory and it's only been 6 months.

I don't want to forget how I felt. I don't feel EXCELLENT yet, just pretty darn good. But I still have a long ways to go; I still wear a 16, still have a pretty good tummy going, etc. So what do I do, at halfway to maintenance, to ensure that I remember? I don't think I even have any pictures because I was so ashamed of how I looked.
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:32 PM   #12
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I have been maintaining for 18 months and I love it. Just going to the closet and knowing I will be able to pull something out and it will fit ! No more sweats, no more elastic waist pants. I can walk into Kohl's or Penney's or Macy's and be sure I will be able to find something to fit without having to go to the "Queen Size" department or to the Fat Ladies stores, Lane Bryant, etc, those clothes are unattractive and expensive, no more buying something out of desperation. Just hoping you can find something, anything, that will fit. I also love the comments from people , people who call me tiny or who have never seen me at over 200 pounds and assume I have always been at a healthy weight. I don't always see the weight loss when I look in the mirror but recently went to a birthday party where many pictures were taken , I could see a slim person, It was me ! I was doing some volunteer work with two other ladies ( Ladies who need to reduce) I was doing all the bending and lifting, one of them commented "You are doing all the heavy work " I responded, "It is good for the waist " she said " Yeah, like you have to worry " I got a good chuckle to myself on that one. Little comments like that just make my day .
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:00 PM   #13
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"I don't want to forget how I felt. I don't feel EXCELLENT yet, just pretty darn good. But I still have a long ways to go; I still wear a 16, still have a pretty good tummy going, etc. So what do I do, at halfway to maintenance, to ensure that I remember? I don't think I even have any pictures because I was so ashamed of how I looked."

I wonder about this too... it's not so much that we forget I think but there is a difference between remembering the pain and problems and feeling the pain and the problems. I also at 200+ feel WORLDS better closer to 200 then I did 300. I haven't lost my motivation because I'm still working my way down and I want to do fabulous things in the future that require me being lighter (like an Ironman) but once in awhile I do find myself thinking being this weight forever wouldn't be SO bad compared to someone who was hitting a BMI of 50. It's kinda funny that at 200lbs (and fit) I feel almost healthy!

Of course I won't let complacency stop me... (not that I am yet) and reading posts like this is a good reminder that even though things are better, they can be as good as I'd like them / let them to be... and some of that wonder and amazement won't get dulled.

Thanks for sharing maintainers. Will be with you shortly.
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Old 07-14-2009, 02:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
I'm definitely more of a participant now.
Midwife - you hit it on the head for me with this. It isn't just that things are easier...it's that I participate in things I never would have even considered before. I think of the Relay for Life I did with my family...walking for 24 hours, with the only rest being camp chairs and a tent...gosh, I can't imagine how uncomfortable it would have been, and I wouldn't have been able to walk nearly what I did. I wouldn't have been able to participate.

On my honeymoon, I went swimming on horseback. In a swimsuit and a t-shirt. I remember when I signed up for the tour, there was a weight limit...and I was below it. Before I would have exceeded it by at least 50 lbs. I wouldn't have been able to participate.

So it's just those basic barriers being brought down that's so special to me. Now I decide what I want to do, and my weight doesn't keep me from it. Most people who've always been normal weight, I think, don't have that experience.
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Old 07-15-2009, 10:19 AM   #15
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Megan, our stories are pretty similar except my heaviest years were in college, and I DID end up with an indoor desk job. And Midwife, like you, I am now much more of a participant.

Sometimes I wonder if I was this physically active when I started college, if I would have majored in something different. I know that I had always envisioned myself with a desk job because doing physical activity was hard -- even when I wasn't overweight, I was never in shape, never did sports, hated gym class, etc. Now I often find myself dissatisfied with my job because I am stuck at my desk and don't have the opportunity to get up and do much. For someone with a computer science education, there aren't really any jobs that don't involve sitting at a desk all day (except maybe teaching).

But in general, I am definitely more of a participant now. When I was at my highest weight, the summer after graduating college, I took a once-in-a-lifetime kind of trip around Asia. I did see a lot of great things and I think it was a great experience, but I did spent a lot of the time sitting on benches in museums resting. To be fair, the friend I was with didn't seem to mind (although she is super-skinny). But I wonder how different that trip would have been if I went now that I'm more active and in shape. Certainly on my honeymoon I was a lot more active -- hiking, snorkeling, etc.

I also took two trips to Yosemite while I was heavy. On the first trip, I did a couple 1/2 to 1-mile hikes, and went rafting on the river. There was one longer hike with the whole group, during which I was so far behind that by the time I got to the destination (which was quite high up a mountain), everyone else was turning around to go back down. The second trip was extremely frustrating because some of the people were not willing to slow down enough for me to keep up, and I felt really bad about being super-slow and having to stop and rest all the time.

I really want to go back to Yosemite now that I'm in shape, and take on some major hikes. Back then I never would have considered hiking Half Dome (a 16-mile hike with a 4800 foot elevation gain). Now it's the first thing I plan to do if I ever manage to go back there.
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