March 1st 2012 I decided was going to make some changes in my life by losing weight and exercising. I weighed 255 lbs, my highest weight ever. I began logging on MFP and followed their recommendations of 1610 + exercise cals to lose 2 lbs a week. I wanted the weight off fast and at first it was. Even faster than 2 lbs a week. Which I now know means I had estimated my daily activity too low at sedentary. Every 10 lbs I lost MFP would prompt me to lower my cals. By June I was down over 30 lbs and eating 1420 + exercise cals. Then my weight-loss stalled. I was doing all the same things, exercising and eating, and yet I wasn’t losing weight. My energy seemed to be gone as well and worst of all my hair began to fall out. A lot. I basically lost about 1 1/2 inches from my hairline and the rest of my hair became frighteningly thin. I was scared. I had blood work done and everything came back normal. In my brain I couldn’t comprehend that I could be eating what I thought was so healthy and yet feeling bad and losing my hair. Something wasn’t right and everything was pointing to my diet.
By August I decided to up my cals to 1610 + exercise cals again. I also started taking a multivitamin with iron. I increased my protein to a minimum of 100 g a day. My energy came back and I began to lose weight again.
Something also changed in my thinking about this time. I realized that my focus should not be on what I can’t eat, what is not healthy, or what is bad…it should be about ADDING healthy nutritious food. My focus began to slowly shift from losing weight to being healthy. I liked feeling fit. I liked challenging my body to do things it couldn’t do before.
In October I began a new 90 day workout program called Supreme 90. This was the toughest workout I had ever done, but I loved it. I loved the sense of accomplishment in completing each month. I also started to notice my appetite really starting to rev up, so I upped my cals again to 1700. I felt better and my workouts got better and better.
In the midst of this the holidays showed up. I ate what I wanted, enjoyed my family and felt no guilt. Always in the past when I had “dieted” I would not allow myself to go off diet even for special occasions because I couldn’t trust myself to go back on my “diet.” How sad is that?
By the end of the program I had lost about 12 lbs and several inches from all over my body. Bringing my total weight loss to about 60 lbs. I had also upped my cals to 1800 + exercise cals when I began to feel hungry all the time. I was beginning to learn to listen to what my body was telling me!
Afterwards, I began to transition into heavy lifting. I had joined Eat More 2 Weigh Less and I was totally inspired by all the beautiful women there. My husband and I had found a great deal on Craigslist for an Olympic weight set and bench. My focus turned even more to what my body could do. I loved being able to lift more weight every week. I also started trying to learn more about how to eat to meet my strength goals. I’ve been challenged by Becca, Lucia, Kiki, Jennifer, Cheri and so many other wonderful women by their amazing examples of hard work and dedication. Thank you all.
Since May I have basically maintained my size and stayed within 5lbs of my low weight. I’m not really sure because I have stopped weighing myself. I’ve learned that the scale is a poor judge of my health, size, weight or even character. It’s a number that can’t measure my attitude or love for myself. And that has grown so much since I started this journey. I’ve learned perseverance, patience, dedication and I’ve also learned that I am much stronger than I ever thought. Not only physically but mentally. This past July I injured my back and was flat on my back for several days followed by about 6 weeks of slow recovery. It was hard, but I did what was best for my body and rested. I couldn’t lift and was able to only do light stretching and some low impact cardio, but I did what I could. I was tempted to drop my calories because I didn’t want to gain weight, but I also knew that I didn’t want to lose muscle or hamper my recovery, so I continued to eat about 2000 calories a day. I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t grow out of my clothes and when I could finally lift again I could even still bench press what I had been previously.
I have gone from a very tight size 22 jeans to a size 12-14 — losing weight by doing the opposite of what all the popular diets tell you to do. I’ve upped my calories. Seems counter intuitive but I’ve learned to listen to my body and trust what it is telling me. Am I recovering well from workouts? Am I feeling rested? What is my body craving and why? Are my lifts feeling strong and consistently getting stronger?
For me, those are all indicators that tell me if I am fueling my correctly. Food and my body are no longer the enemy to be subdued. Cravings are not a sign of weakness, they are my body talking to me. I move in a way that makes me feel happy. I lift because I love feeling strong. I eat food I love and that help fuel the wonderful machine that is my body. I’m proud of my thick thighs and booty that have more fat and excess skin than is “socially” acceptable. People may look at me and still see a fat woman, but that is ok, because I look in the mirror and love the woman looking back at me, for the first time ever. I don’t weigh myself because there is no scale that can measure that. I am free. Free from the voices in my head, on the magazines and TV that tell me I need to be less. I am enough…actually I am more than enough, I am perfectly and wonderfully made. Right now, not someday. I eat and exercise because I love myself. I love myself because I was first loved by Him who created me. Whatever size I am or become is just a result of the love I have for me and the love I have from Him. What an amazing place to be.