Monday, June 15, 2015

I've Lost 100 Pounds and I'm Still Fat: 3 Tough but Funny Lessons from an Unfinished Journey

DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. I'm also not an astronaut, lion tamer or mountaineer. Please consult a professional before making life changes in any of these important areas. Thanks.

So here's what happened:

On the morning of January 1, 2010, I stepped on the scale and the display read "365."

My first thought was: "Wow, I only had two glasses of champagne last night. Why is my vision so blurry?" I blinked and rubbed my eyes. Still 365.

My second thought was: "The floor must be really uneven here. This stupid scale isn't balanced properly." I got off, moved the scale slightly, and got back on again. Still 365.

My third thought was: "If something doesn't change, I'm going to be dead soon."

The third thought was the one that stuck. I made a solemn vow (as I had done so many — many, many — times before) that I would lose a hundred pounds before the end of that year.

One year and fifty-three months later, I actually reached that 100-pound goal. It was on May 10, 2015, that my scale (the same one!) told me I weighed 264.7 pounds. When I saw that magic number, I did an exuberant but incredibly clumsy happy dance (seriously, be thankful you weren't there to see it) and supplemented my kale shake with an extra scoop of triumph.

But here's the thing: I'm still fat. Although 265'ish pounds was an incredible milestone for me, and I'm as proud as punch to have reached that weight, there is a long, rocky road (yes, that's an ice cream joke) to travel between where I am now, and where I want/need to be. And although many hearty souls have made the trip from Obesityville to Healthytown before me, the journey is different for each of us.

So, in many ways, this feels like uncharted territory. And as I make my way across the wild country, confronted at every turn by untamed bowls of pasta and perilous cliffs chiseled out of chocolate, here are a few things I'm trying to keep in mind:

You gain some, you lose some… and then you gain some back.

Between where I started and where I am currently sitting (258.6 as of this morning), I have dropped a total of 106.4 pounds. (Excuse me while I break my arm patting myself on the back.) In addition to that, however, I estimate that I've lost, gained back, and re-lost about 85 pounds. Goodness only knows how much I'll lose, re-gain and then re-lose again, before I reach my ultimate goal of 173 pounds (which is just at "normal" for me on the BMI scale.

For example, in late-2011/early-2012, I lost about 60 pounds (more on that in a future post). I then spent the next couple years re-gaining and re-losing about twenty of those pounds. I was a little depressed about this for a while. But in the long run, I kept off 40 pounds, and that was the important thing.

If you lose a bunch of weight, there will usually be an "evening out" phase where some of the weight comes back on. It's a natural (if infuriating) part of the process. But the important steps are the ones that lead us forward, and those are the steps we should count.

Decisions, Decisions: Health and Happiness, Or Pizza? (The answer isn't as obvious as it should be.)

Simply put, pizza has three qualities which health and happiness will never have: it's easy, it's always gratifying, and it's instantaneous (if you consider 30 minutes or less to be instantaneous, which apparently I do).

Granted, the whole healthy/happy thing has its own kind of gratification (such as long life and… well… happiness), but it's rarely easy, and never instant. So, when I weighed almost four hundred pounds, how often do you think I'd pass up a hot, delicious slice of instant gratification in favor of a cold, unsympathetic celery stick? If you answered "Never," you win a bag of baby carrots.

But the lesson that I finally learned is this: it's not always an either/or question. Sometimes it's an and/and decision: Pizza and salad and a walk afterwards. Instant gratification tastes better with a heaping helping of healthy habits on the side. And the happiness is never far from my plate.

Mostly mental: Is it all in my mind… or on my backside?

Alfred Hitchcock once said, "When I catch sight of my reflection, I'm always surprised that I don't look like Cary Grant."

I can totally relate to that. Not that I think I look like Cary Grant. Or any Cary (or Carrie), for that matter. But I can completely empathize with the notion that our mental image of ourselves tends to be very different from what other people see.

Some people think they're fat, but they're actually not. Other people, like me, hide in a mental hole and pretend the fat doesn't exist until they get slapped in the face by the meaty palm of reality. (Like seeing 365 on my scale, or having my father die suddenly from heart disease, when he didn't even know he was sick.)

There are also some people who lose weight and still feel fat. But here's something I just realized recently: fat is a physical thing. It may, or may not, be seen as negative.

But beauty is always positive, and true beauty is entirely mental and emotional. If we feel beautiful, we are beautiful. And while there are exceptions to every rule, the majority of people will see us as we see ourselves. 

So when you hear a little voice whispering in your ear that says you're unattractive, or unworthy, or undeserving, tell that voice to take a hike. Even if — especially if — that voice is yours.

And tell yourself every day how beautiful you are. Because, guess what! You are!

What, did you think I hadn't noticed?

So… could this be a regular thing?

I'm thinking of making this weight loss journey my regular blog topic here on the Rockville 8. Does that sound interesting, or self-indulgent? And if it's interesting, what would you like to know?

24 comments:

  1. Misha - I always love hearing about weight loss journeys. I went through my own a few years back - a crash diet that didn't end up having lasting results (beyond a desire never to go on a crash diet again). I lost big, I regained big, and it's been difficult/impossible to get my mind geared up to "losing" again. Stories of progress and hope inspire me, as do you. Please, yes, continue to let us be a part of your journey. I accept your invitation!

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    1. Thanks so much, Keely! Yes, I totally relate to your crash diet ordeal. Feels so good when it's come off, but comes back on so quickly :-( So many of us have been there!
      So glad that you enjoyed the post! And thank you for YOUR invitation to continue! I think I just might do that. :-)

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  2. Misha ~ Thanks for your courage in sharing your journey with us and the world by blogging about it. Your story is inspiring. And, for me, it shows that this is not an overnight process--losing weight. I've come to the realization myself recently that this is probably my life-long struggle. I don't know. I know I've struggled with it since college, though. Maybe on the other side of menopause it will be different, but I'm not sure. All I know is that I need to keep trying. Thanks for sharing your lessons with us. And, yes, I look forward to hearing about your journey. Your insights are invaluable. <3

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    1. I think you're right, that for some of us, the struggle IS lifelong. When I was younger I used to think that one day I'd "be thin," and that I'd never have to worry about my weight again. Silly, isn't it? That's not reality.

      Yes, keep trying! You're gorgeous no matter your weight, and it's you're right, it's definitely not an overnight process. So whatever balance makes you happy should be the right one for you. :-)

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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  3. Thank you for sharing your journey. I'm on my own nutrition journey as I learn to manage my Crohn's disease and try to stave off the diabetes diagnosis that nearly all the older adults in my family have.

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    1. Wow! Crohn's disease is serious stuff, not to mention the family history of diabetes. Good luck to you on your nutritional journey! Big hugs. <3

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  4. Thank you and congrats on the progress on your journey.

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    1. Thank you soooo much, Lavinia! :-) :-) :-)

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  5. This is awesome!! Misha what courage and strength to stick to it no matter what. Pizza, salad and a walk...YES!! Congratulations my friend. Here's to the next weight-loss goal!!

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    1. Okay, I feel like Superwoman just told me I had courage and strength. :-) Thank you so much, Mary! Big hugs to you and your family!! <3 <3 <3

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  6. Misha, thanks so much for sharing your wit, wisdom, and your very personal journey with us! I love your bird's eye view, because in a sense, that might be what losing and gaining and losing again might be. I'm going to fight hard to keep all you said in mind! And I hope you'll tell us more about your ups and downs, if you'd like!

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    1. Thanks Nic! It I'm so glad you enjoyed it. And you're right: a long-range, bird's eye view is so important when large amounts of weight loss are needed (or large changes of any kind, I guess!). The ups and downs can be soul-crushing, lol. But looking at it over a long period of time is kind of reassuring.

      Thanks again! I think I will keep blogging about this topic until somebody tells me to shut up. :-)

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  7. Misha, YES! Please keep blogging about your journey. I need all the inspiration I can get!!! Congratulations on the one-oh-oh. You're beautiful! Of course I noticed. :)

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    1. Thank you, Evie! :-) :-) :-) I'm so tickled that you like the blog and found some inspiration there. YOU'RE beautiful! :-)

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  8. Yes - would be very interesting! thanks

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    1. Thanks, Marceline! As long as people are interested, I will definitely keep blogging on this topic. It's good therapy for me, if nothing else. :-)

      Thanks again! Hugs.

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  9. I am thrilled for you and would love to keep up with your blog. Aunt Eva

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    1. Thank you so much, Aunt Eva! I really appreciate your support. I hope you enjoy my future posts on the topic! :-)
      Love,
      Misha

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  10. Mish, congratulations! And I always love hearing about this particular journey. Boy does the lose a little gain a little resonate with me! I stay in the same 10 pound zone for a year before moving down!
    Love you! Helen
    PS I don't know how to select a profile, so I'm saying A. Nony. Mous.

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    1. Oooh! Ms. Mous, so glad you enjoyed the blog! ;-) Yeah, that gain/lose thing is a killer!! But you've done an amazing job with your own healthy weight loss over the last few years! You're a total inspiration to me. Love you soooo much! :-)

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  11. Oh, Misha. I'm in awe! Your perseverance is so very inspiring. Congratulations on the incredible progress you've made, and thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your journey. I love your attitude, and I look forward to hearing more about your process, and cheering you on! :-)

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    1. Wow, thank you, Kathy! Very glad you enjoyed the post! :-) Thanks so much for the congratulations. It's/I'm still a work in progress, as you can tell! I do plan to keep blogging on this subject, and I hope you enjoy future posts too!
      Hugs,
      Misha

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  12. Misha! How exciting. You're on a journey, traveling an old road with a new attitude. I'm so proud of you and happy for your success. You are so courageous.

    Oh, and yes, keep blogging about it. :)

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    1. Thank you soooo much, Lisa!!! Really glad you enjoyed the post. Hugs and see you soon! :-) :-) :-)

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