I am so excited and proud of myself I just had to share with y'all!
Today I officially reached the halfway point of my weight loss journey.
That may seem like a silly little thing to celebrate, but it's been such a long, frustrating road. If you remember, I started out with 70 pounds to lose.
Just let that sink in for a minute.
I'm just under five foot tall. 70 pounds was more than half again what my weight should be. I had to lose the equivalent of a small child in order to get back to where I was when I got sick. THAT is
For a little perspective, here's what I looked like before I got sick.
And this is what I looked like when I hit my max weight.
That's me, lower left, at my baby sister's wedding in November of 2011. That was just three and a half years ago. The others around me are my brother and three sisters. Aren't we adorable? I love this picture but I'll be quite frank. I didn't realize what the extra 70 pounds really looked like until I saw these photos.
And, here is what I look like today.
Whew! What a difference! Not the best picture, but I'm starting to realize that just because I don't 100% love the way I look in a photo doesn't mean I need to hide from the camera.
As of today, I only have 35 pounds to lose. Yay! Go me! Time to do a happy dance!
I CAN lose 35 more pounds. I've had three kids. For me, that means I've gained and had to lose 35 pounds to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight at least three times before. This is doable.
I know that "doable" doesn't mean "easy". Because of the FM and my other joint issues, I'm just not able to exercise as much as I would like to or else it wouldn't have taken me three and a half years to lose the first 35 pounds. But, I'd like to lose the next 35 pound in the next year. That's about 3 pounds a month. That's less than one pound per week.
This goal is within my reach. Most of the progress I've made this far has been from dietary and lifestyle changes. I really haven't made huge changes, just small things like switching to iced tea, not eating out, being super aware of what I do eat at home. Because of the weight I have already lost, I AM able to exercise more than I used to and that feels great! Right now, I walk a few times a week. Where I used to be able to barely handle one mile at a time, I can usually go for about 2 miles now! I believe the change that had the largest affect, though, was cutting out the "maintenance" medication I had been taking for the last five years or so. Since I stopped taking it completely (along with almost all of the other meds) in the middle of January, I have had more energy, less lethargy and fatigue, and the weight has really been coming off faster.
My biggest/little problem right now is that I've lost enough weight that my clothes don't really fit anymore. Unfortunately, when I gained the majority of the weight it all happened so fast that I completely skipped over a clothing size. I went right from 12's to 16's. So, right now, I have the clothes that are too big, but the next size smaller clothes I own are still a size smaller than what I can wear just yet. I'm not too worried though. I don't actually have to leave the house and look presentable more than a few times a week. I can make do with cinching down my belts for a bit longer. In any case, I really do believe I'll be able to fit into those smaller size clothes before too much longer.
I have to say though, that even though I am not where I want to be physically, I am happier with myself than I have been in years; maybe even happier than I was when I used to be the weight I want to be (if that makes any sense.) I have learned quite a few things about myself over the last several years. Being so sick and working to get better has changed things about me that I didn't know I needed to fix. I've found that I am often harder on myself than others are on me. Once I lost the ability to do many of the things I used to take for granted, realized that maybe I was a little too focused on my personal appearance and not nearly enough on my personal abilities. I learned the hard way that asking for help is a sign of strength and not of weakness. I definitely gained a deeper understanding of what it means to push yourself and try harder and what it feels like to try and fail and try again (and again, and again.)
I no longer believe that my weight defines me the same way it used to. The number on the scale is one of many different ways I measure my overall health, but it is not the only way. It is certainly not the most important. After living this long with a disease that is basically "invisible", I am beginning to understand that everyone has their own battle to fight and not many share their struggles with others. I try very hard to avoid judging people I don't know, and even the people I do. Forgiveness comes easier and anger and frustration come slower. I do my best to focus less on what other people look like and more on what they act like. Even then, I keep in mind that the actions of others may or may not come from a healthy mind, body, and heart. I don't always succeed in these things. I am human, after all. But I am trying to be a better human.
For myself, I look forward to being thinner for different reasons than I used to. I used to want to get thinner so I could get back to my old self, the me that felt beautiful, and sexy, and confident. Today, I just want to be healthier than I was ten years ago. In fact, I some days I feel just as beautiful, sexy, and confident as I felt back then, Maybe even more, because I have experiences now that prove to me what my body and mind are capable of in spite of my outer appearance,
That's not all the time though, and it's not even every day. Most days I still hear the same, ugly voice in my head that I have been fighting for years. It tells me all sorts of rude and mean things I would never dream of telling anyone else.
You were prettier when you were thin. You are fat because you are lazy. You got sick as a punishment for judging other people because you are a mean person. You should be ashamed for not doing that thing you said you were going to do. Look at all the time you've wasted laying in bed, doing nothing. Your children deserve a better mother. Your husband could do so much better than you. He deserves a wife that can give as much as he does, not someone he has to take care of and pick up the slack for all the time. It would be better if you weren't around. At least you wouldn't constantly be letting everyone down over and over.
That voice, though, it isn't the only voice I hear anymore. It is quieter, less confident in its abuse. It's losing power every day. I don't know if it will ever completely go away, but for now I am happy to be able to fight back.
I've come so far. Look where I was a year ago, three years ago, five years ago! It feels so good to be awake and living my life. I may have lost the ability to do so many things but how many skills have I learned since then? I don't know why I got sick in the first place, but I am going to use it to learn everything I can about myself. Even if I never conquer this completely, I will still be a better, stronger, more complete person than I could have been before. I never knew I was capable of falling so far, but I never dreamed I would be able to recover so much.
It all comes back to the phrase that has become my personal mantra. I don't know where I heard it or where it came from originally. I only know that it is true.
When you feel you have been destroyed completely it is so you can be remade in a better way.
Deb "slightly smaller" Lollar