OK, it’s official, I’ve become addicted to TTF. I’m staying at the beach in Washington state right now, and am having spotty access to the internet - the wifi has been down for days, and I can only get 3G if I’m in one corner of the bedroom, standing on one foot with my right hand holding my phone over my head at a certain angle. So, of course, I’m in the corner in the bedroom, on one foot, with my right hand holding my phone over my head… Must. Read. New. TTF. Posts.
It’s been almost 3 ½ months, and I’m getting in a good routine with food and exercise. I’m going for a long walk every day. Yesterday I hit 22,000 steps on my Fitbit (woo hoo!), which means I walked almost 10 miles. The beach here is like 20 uninterrupted miles long, so no limits there! I’m figuring out a good food pattern, also: greek yogurt and berries for breakfast, shake for lunch, cottage cheese or fake meat lunch meat and cheese for a snack, substantial protein for dinner (veggie burger, fish, shrimp) plus a bit of vegetable. With this routine in place, I feel a bit more in control of myself and in charge, doing rather than reacting. For a while, I was always reacting: “Oh no! It’s 8pm and I haven’t had enough protein today! Better eat something!” Or, “Why don’t I have any energy? Oh, yeah, I forgot to eat for six hours.” Now I’ve got a good schedule.* I’m starting to be able to feel when my stomach is full enough or too full. I can tell when I need to eat because my energy gets low and I feel empty (still not really feeling hungry, per se, but I can tell I need food).
I spent some time looking through pictures on my phone yesterday, and was a bit surprised to find that I look thinner now than I have since before 2013, which is as far back as my phone photos go. I have crossed some sort of line between “Oh my god, get that phone out of my face, I don’t even look good in a selfie taken at a creative angle” and “OK, not happy with full body shots, but face photos look fine.” This sounds fairly negative, I know, but it is actually big progress for me: I look OK in face photos. Baby steps. I’ve been cringing over photos of myself of any kind for several years now, so just being OK with face photos is great.
As I slide down the numbers on the scale, I’m trying to reconstruct the upward climb in my mind. It’s difficult. Not long into my latest cycle of gaining, I got rid of my scale - knowing full well that it was a bad idea, but justifying it somehow, probably like this: “The numbers aren’t important. I can feel it in my body and clothes if I gain, so I need to pay attention to that.” Yeah, uh huh. That worked out well. Denial is my superpower. This is why I’m committed to weighing myself every day now - I’ve proven to myself that I can’t be trusted to NOT weigh myself every day. A number is a specific thing that can’t be ignored.
Almost 15 years ago, I lost a bunch of weight (after a couple of previous cycles of gaining and losing, of course) After losing 80+ pounds, by doing WW and exercising like crazy, I ended up at about 140, and was so happy.
I worked hard at it, but couldn’t stay that low for long, despite the 1100-1200 calories a day and 1-2 hours of exercise daily - I literally tracked every bite that went into my mouth for three years. I thought it would be easier to maintain 150, so I tried that, but slid up to 165 despite keeping calories around 1200 and continuing to exercise daily. That was a bit easier to maintain, but I was feeling despondent by then, so the scale exited stage left - I think the batteries died, was the original issue? I stayed probably between 165 (the top of healthy weight for my height) and 180 for about 5 or 6 years or so, always being very conscious of calories in and exercise.
Then it slid up a bit and I totally lost all motivation for trying so hard (and stopped taking photos of myself if I could help it). A few years later, a foot injury making exercise painful, some depression, my dad died, some more depression, some big life changes, more depression, more big life changes, an ankle injury making exercise painful, and presto! I had gained a whole lot more weight and had completely given up on trying to “be good.” Part of the giving up had been reading about how fruitless diet and exercise were in successfully keeping off weight - I felt like a poster child for that failure. Very thankful that part of my reading included some articles on WLS. Fast forward almost a year, and here I am, almost 70 pounds lighter and zooming down the numbers on the scale.
When I was down around 140, I completely changed my self-image. I know that’s supposed to be hard to do, and many formerly fat people still think of themselves as fat, but I really didn’t. The image my mind had of myself was thin. I saw myself in the mirror as thin (or at least thinnish). When I grabbed clothes off the rack, I grabbed clothes that were the correct size, little ones, not big drapey ones. I thought of myself as an in-shape, exercising, active person who ate really healthily. Strangely, that self-image stuck with me until the last few years - even after I was quite a lot bigger, I saw the thinner me in the mirror, and was caught off guard when I accidentally caught a glimpse of the bigger me in a reflective surface.
I thought of it as temporary, even though I wasn’t doing anything to change my course, other than the weekly, monthly, whatever, commitment to a new diet and exercise plan, which was abandoned when it didn’t give me results in the time period I felt was reasonable or when it got so awful I couldn’t take it anymore (hello, juice fast). It was only in the past couple of years, when I was at my highest weight, that my brain started to realize that this wasn’t really a temporary situation anymore.
My brain still didn’t register how big I was. I’d avoid looking at myself in the mirror even, because the person I saw wasn’t the person I was. I just wanted to hide. I avoided buying clothes so I didn’t have to face it. I only wore drapey clothes (stylishly drapey, in my mind) so no one could see what I looked like (maybe if they couldn’t see my outline they would guess that I was still thin???). Then, finally, I figured out that I was very heavy, and couldn’t do the active things I used to - hiking, biking, running, swimming, etc. - and that since weight loss was impossible, I would probably stay heavy forever, and never be able to do those things again. What?? I’m 42, not 82! That’s when WLS started sounding like a good idea, not radical but reasonable. So thankful I did the research on it and made the rational decision. You only get one shot at life - might as well make it a good one. I have a lot of things left to do, and I’m excited to get started on them.
*Was typing blog and forgot to eat breakfast until 11am. Baby steps.