Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Post I Didn't Write

A couple days ago a friend posted that in the year since he has begun his journey to health and fitness he has lost 140 pounds and his doctor considers him a model patient and would like him to provide motivation to other folks facing that same long road. 


I was -- am -- so happy for him -- so proud of him.

What a helluva thing he accomplished!

I had one of those posts planned, too.

March 20th marked the one year anniversary of my journey.

I won't tell you I wrote that post in my head last March, because I didn't.

But shortly thereafter...

No -- last March I joined the gym, went back to the doctor and modified my diet because I wanted to feel better and I wanted to be strong. Feeling good, I reckoned, should not be solely the domain of the slim. I knew, then, that I could not be slim -- but I deserved to be happy and healthy and I was neither of those things.

Also? I really love lifting.

Almost as soon as I started, weight started falling off. I couldn't believe it. I felt better almost immediately. Shortly thereafter I started looking better. Then I dropped a couple sizes. My focus shifted. I was no longer doing this to be strong and healthy. 

I wanted to lose weight. 

That's about when I started writing that post in my head. I would lose over 100 pounds. I would feel 20 years younger. People who hadn't seen me in awhile would be amazed at my transformation. My doctor would look at me approvingly. EVERYone would look at me approvingly. People would ask me how I did it and -- oh boy, did I have a response planned for that. I would trip over myself to stress the point that this is what worked for me but that it wasn't a universal answer -- that there isn't a universal answer. I would tell people who asked -- and oh, they'd ask -- to stay away from gimmicks and the whole weight loss industry (the very root of all evil, I am completely convinced) and just figure out what worked for them. I would be encouraging without resorting to annoying platitudes or manufactured inspirational bullshit.

And there would be pictures.  

Oh yes, there would be pictures.

I didn't write that post, though.

Because my anniversary would've been in March -- but it all went south in January.

I completely stopped losing weight -- unless you count the same 4 pounds that I put on and took off over and over several times each week. For a few weeks I didn't worry. I'd hit plateaus before. They just need to be ridden out. I could ride it out. I'd proven that over and over. Head down power through.

Except four months is an awfully long time for a plateau.

This was something different.

This was -- is -- a new set point.

Towards the end of that time period some personal events took place and I had a rather major backslide. I ate things I shouldn't eat and drank things I shouldn't drink. I gained a few pounds. I went back to eating properly and immediately dropped the extra weight I'd put on -- but continued carefulness would not make that scale budge one tick lower.

A new set point.

I can apparently eat and drink with abandon and remain this weight or I can diligently watch every bite and work my ass off and remain this weight. For about a week now I've chosen to go with the flow -- not bingeing anymore, but not watching either. Through it all I've rarely missed a morning at the gym. And my weight is not moving.

I don't know that it ever will again.

I need to find my way back to the mindset I had when I began my journey more than a year ago. I didn't get where I wanted to be -- but I'm not where I once was, either.

I didn't lose over 100 pounds.  I barely lost over 50 pounds.

I don't feel 20 years younger. I feel exactly my age and am starting to look it.

People who haven't seen me in awhile do notice a change -- usually -- but their response definitely falls well short of amazement. Which makes sense. I do not look amazing.

My doc? He was happy with me at my last appointment. Not because I was still managing to move the scale at that point, but because my bloodwork was perfect. My triglyceride levels were perfect for the first time since I'd been seeing him. I don't believe that bloodwork done today would yield the same results. I have a good doc. He is more interested in my health than in my appearance. I need to find my way back to that myself.

It is what's important.

It was what put me on this road in the first place.

Straying from the lifestyle that put me there is not making a difference in my appearance (I don't think). But I feel worse, and I know I'm not as healthy as I was.

It wasn't supposed to be about weight.

It wasn't supposed to be about appearance.

It was about health.

It IS about health.

So I won't get to write that post.

I don't get to be a success story.

I don't get to shake my head over the amazing before and after pictures.

But I can reach those original goals.

I can be healthy and strong.

Now I just need to figure out a way for that to be enough.


Gibby said...

I have watched your journey on FB and I think you have been successful! I don't even know you IRL and I have seen the transformation, which means people who are actually in your life have, too. I think you look great, but more importantly, the fact that you've been feeling better shines through your pictures. And that, is for real.

StarTraci said...

Tammy! 50 pounds is a success story -- it's a huge success. Please feel me cheering you and your perfect blood work! I'm sorry that it's not what you wanted but it is big. Lots of love and hugs to you!

Unknown said...

Fifty pounds, and you don't think that is success????? I think it's awesome. Don't get down on yourself--perfect bloodwork...also awesome! YOU are AWESOME!

Plaid23 said...

I really appreciate you sharing this. I know the challenges don't stop, but as long as your health is your primary focus, then you're still doing well. Take care and big hugs!

Pam said...

I know others have already said this, but it bears repeating.... A 50+ pound weight loss in a year IS a success. Healthy weight loss IS losing about a pound a week. 50+ pounds in a year is about a pound a week. SUCCESS! Keep up the good habits. It's good for your health!