I had a pity party on Sunday morning.
No, it was really a mental temper tantrum. Full on meltdown like a toddler.
I try to keep things positive. Acknowledge the challenges, embrace the learning opportunities, and practice patience (oof, that one is hard.)
But some days, it's just hard and your inner bitch voice and whiny baby personality want to come out and play. Together, these two parts of my personality combine to make an effective bully.
As part of a new YouTube series I'm putting together—Weight Loss Reality Check—I wanted to share the details of how I allow the scale to still push me around even after four years of facing it down.
Sharing this journey isn't always about the successes and feeling fabulous. It's not honest and it's not who I am. I have always tried to keep it real and discuss what challenges me with the hopes that it will help others understand this is a process--and a long-term one at that. If it were fast and easy, no one would have a weight problem.
So, here's this week's reality check. Hope you enjoy!
A 100-weight loss is usually the inspirational ending to a weight-loss success story.
It’s the moment captured in the celebratory “after” shot people crave to see next to the often blurry, grim before shot. Our hero stands triumphantly showing off a tone and trimmed body. Maybe there’s the obligatory holding up of a giant pair of jeans and a demonstration of how this new body can now fit in one leg.
I love seeing the rewards of hard work and dedication. The photos can be a mood boost to social media timelines and encouragement to many people who desperately want to capture that "after" image.
Count me in as one of those people.
As I sit here and write this, I am almost at that 100-pounds lost milestone—for the second time. There is not "after" photo shoot in my near future. It's taken me almost four years to get to this point, which is likely the halfway mark of the weight-loss portion of this adventure. That's right, I have about another 100 or so to go until I start permanent weight maintenance.
I started at 386.9 pounds. Honestly, it was probably more before that day in July 2017 I stepped on the scale in my doc's office. But that's the official number we're going by, so we'll stick to that.
And, I'll share the story of what finally brought me to the doctor in a future post and what that experience was like. Hint: It wasn't fun.
The first time I hit that 100-lb milestone was sometime in 2018, I think. You may wonder how I don't know. It's a pretty big deal. I even have a hand-painted megaphone magnet I made for the occasion. But, the truth is, I can't remember the exact day. I can recall stepping on the scale ad not getting the surge of excitement I expected and wanted.
Instead, there was simply "you're still 100-lbs away" from your celebration. It felt anti-climatic. I felt ripped off.
Over the next year and a half, I slowly started to gain weight again. Yes, I was training for a half-marathon and accomplishing other things along the way. But, I saw those as a means to an end: that feeling of hitting the finish line and the start of living my "after" life. That's when I would truly be happy.
Throw in a global pandemic that turned the world upside down and I went back over 300 pounds.
Oh hell no, I said after I closed in on 315. I will not allow this to go on any longer.
I was not going to allow the boomerang effect to get me another time. That's when people who lose weight not only re-gain what they shed, but often put on more. I've been down that road too many times.
So, I make some changes. I adjusted my focus.
It isn't "better" since I started turning things around in May 2020. It's just different.
Instead of always looking at how far away my goals are, I'm tackling things day-to-day.
Don't get me wrong. I have my eyes on taking that celebratory photo--and most days, I feel it's a when, not if scenario. Now, my focus is not how long will it take me to get there and when will it be my turn to celebrate what I can do when I reach whatever goal weight I set.
I'm learning to appreciate and celebrate what I am doing DURING this journey and figuring out what makes me happy now. Because by knowing that along the way, it will make it easier to keep it going whenever I hit that goal, no matter how long it takes.
It's deja vu all over again.
Something happens to me every time I get to the bottom of a weight decade.
Actually, it doesn't "just happen." I do this to myself.
I work hard to get through the 10 pounds to get me to the next decade.
Then, when I get there I start to experience a panic.
This is the first time I'm truly recognizing this pattern.
In 5 days I've gained almost 5 pounds. And it started when I hit 290.5. Coincidence? Unlikely.
Admittedly, this week has been tough. Usually, I have a high tolerance for pain. However, my left arm has been really wearing me down. I haven't been sleeping well. I'm on new medication, which the doc told me could lead to some water weight gain. These are factors that are likely contributing to my gain.
But, truth time. I've found myself grazing like I haven't in a while. Mostly carbs. And that tells me I'm eating for comfort. That and the fact I can't seem to quiet the hungry feeling. That's a sure sign it's an emotional hunger, not a physical one.
Some habits are hard to break, even after 4 years.
Now that I've recognized the pattern, I'm trying to unpack the WHYs of it. I think there's a few reasons:
The broken soundtrack that I keep hearing is: The changes I need to make will be too much, too soon. I can't handle it.
The new soundtrack I need to create is: Make the small changes when the time comes and you won't even notice them.
If you haven't heard of the soundtracks concept, then check out author Jon Acuff's newest book, "Soundtracks." It comes out tomorrow and focuses on these repetitive thoughts (soundtracks) that play over and over in our heads. And, he gives some great ways to change the tune.
I'll be giving away a copy to one lucky winner from our April Challenge group. Haven't signed up yet? It's not too late!
So, what's next? For three days, I've tried to eat at maintenance calories and have not been successful. My normal habit is to eat at deficit, so that's what I'm gong to focus on the next few days. Not eat below my deficit number--try to hit as close to it as I can without going over. It's gong to take me at least a couple of weeks, I'm sure to get back down to that 290 number. I'll have some practice at changing my mindset over how I feel about what comes once I cross into the 289 realm and beyond.
And, of course, focus on my other habits: water, sleep, tracking, exercise. They're all connected!
Lastly, I don't plan to run away from the feelings of doubt. Maybe for the first time, I'm starting to get how the doubt may be a signal that better things are on the horizon, if I lean into it and not retreat.
Near the end of the craziest year in recent memory for everyone, I decided to jump of a cliff and do something I never dared to try before: a deliberate pause in my weight loss.
I was soooo close to being back under 300 lbs. after gaining the COVID 15-20 (shout out to all of you who can relate!). It took months to get back there, but I knew life was about to get interesting again.
The holidays were quickly approaching. My two college-aged daughters were about to return home for an extended break due to COVID. I've been in this rodeo enough to know that this would be a challenge. Each year, I went in with the hope that I'd lose weight over the holidays. And, each year, that didn't happen.
After listening to Heather from the Half Size Me podcast for a long time and being part of one of her Facebook communities, I wondered if her constant talking about taking a maintenance break applied to someone like me, who was so far from my health goals.
It took some convincing, but I went for it.
Fast forward a few months and I got an email from Heather's assistant with an invitation to be a guest on the podcast to talk about my decision process and how the whole maintenance experiment went. I was shocked, to say the least.
But, here we are! The podcast is now out and I wanted to share it with all of you! Although I cringe at the sound of my voice, I feel the honest discussion is more important than my insecurity over my not-ready-for-primetime pipes.
In this podcast, we talk about:
Also, if you've never checked out Half Size Me, I highly recommend it. I don't get a kick back, but I am a community member and the people there have been an incredible resource for me when it comes to support!
Listen to the podcast below! I hope you enjoy!
When I lose all the weight, I’ll be confident.
When I get that raise, I’ll be happy.
When I cross that half marathon finish line, I’ll feel like a real runner.
Choose your “when I” and your how you’ll feel after you get there. We all have them.
The problem with these beliefs, though, is how they skip those six inches of real estate between our ears. Everything happens in that tiny space! It’s kind of amazing when you stop and think about it. We get so wrapped up in “the finish line,” we don’t see how the road to get us there is where the magic happens.
The biggest question I’ve heard since I started to change my life in July 2017 is: “How did you do it?”
But, is that what they really want to know? I’m not so sure.
Many times, the questions revolve about what “diet” I’m using or what “training plan” I follow. Do I count macros or carbs? Do I do intermittent fasting? Keto? Paleo?
If I had a specific prescription that was a no-fail guarantee, I wouldn’t still be 100 pounds or so from my goal.
But, that’s what we all want: quick answers to our problems. When you have a lot of weight to lose, or a lot of debt to pay off, or a 13.1-mile race course laid out in front of you, there are no easy ways to get it done. You cannot get around your head, because that’s where most of the issues are coming from.
I’m not saying we’re all crazy, although I sometimes wonder about that. But, most of us have an uncanny ability to get in our own way, even when it looks like we’re succeeding. It has taken me three years to scratch the surface that my number goals are not the be-all, end-all.
For years, I put limitations on myself because my excess weight and my health took away my self-esteem and my energy. I convinced myself that “fat people cannot or should not do certain things.”
But here’s a revelation I discovered in a rare moment of clarity during this journey:
Goals are not size-dependent.
When I stopped judging my goals as not suitable for my size, that’s when things starting looking up. They don’t care if I’m a size 26 or size 16. Goals don’t care about anything, because they don’t have thoughts or feelings.
Some goals may be harder than others because of my size. But, to constantly measure my ability to try something or dream about a goal based on what the scale says or the size of my pants is ridiculous.
A nearly 300-pound woman CAN finish a half marathon. I've proven it.
What else can I do? Who knows? But, my weight isn't holding me back. Just my brain.
How is your brain holding you back?
I'm Marie. I'm working toward a 200 lb. weight loss goal. I'm doing it with baby steps. Follow my journey here.