Sunday, July 6, 2014

Year 2: I bring the party!

Full disclosure: there is no party. I mean, what would one eat at a party celebrating weight loss? Carrot sticks and celery? With scales hanging as decoration?

All right guys, I had to deal with another kidney stone and a kidney infection, so this particular post had to wait a bit. But my traitorous kidney has recovered and I am finally well enough to acknowledge my 2 year anniversary of when I started losing weight and changing my life. I mean, I guess I could have taken pictures while I was sick, but I don't know how inspirational me sitting on a hospital gurney with an IV in my arm would be, even if I have lost a lot of weight. But I'm all back to normal now!

Year two has been quite different from year one. After year one, I could say I had lost a huge amount of both pounds and inches. Year two? I can't really say the same thing. Honestly, sometimes that upsets me. But then I got to thinking. I started the year with around 37 lbs left to lose. I have lost 16 of those pounds, with only 21 lbs left to go. I weigh 161 lbs, which is a weight I haven't seen since the last millennium (that sounds more impressive than it actually is lol), around 7th grade or so. I've also lost 22.7 inches this year. Grand total for both years, I've lost 167 lbs and 164 inches. I've lost more than half my highest weight of 328 lbs. That's not too shabby if I do say so myself. Year one and year two have been two totally different beasts to tackle. I'm not going to say that year one was easy. There's nothing easy about losing 150 lbs in a year. What I will say is that year two required a different kind of strength. Year two has been all about me getting used to not having huge amounts of weight loss to motivate me. I had to keep going even when the scale said I lost only 0.2 lbs that week or even when I trained hard and ate right and would inexplicably gain weight for whatever reason. It's hard to do some days, but when it comes down to it, that's what is preparing me for the rest of my life as I close in on my maintenance weight.

But while we're talking about numbers, let's talk abut something other than weight. I just recalculated my body fat percentage, and I was pretty psyched to see that it's now at 23.6%. That's not just average, that's in the fit category!! When I first saw that, that negative voice in the back of my head couldn't help but think that that couldn't be right, that I could never fall into the fit category. But you know what? I know that is right. I work out almost every single day of my life, and there's absolutely no reason I shouldn't fall into that category after all that hard work. Other important numbers this year? Absolutely stellar blood pressure and cholesterol numbers. A waist size that is well below the all important 35 inches, when I still have vivid memories of not being able to wrap a 60 inch tape measure all the way around my waist. Running times that are getting faster and faster when it wasn't that long ago when I couldn't run for 30 seconds without feeling like I was going to die.

I've also done a lot of things this year that I never would have tried, or actually even couldn't have physically done when I was over 300 lbs. I tried surfing for the first time and actually stood up (albeit with my hands over my head like a weirdo). I went on a ropes course without having to worry about the weight requirement. I joined a soccer team even though I hadn't touched a soccer ball in over 10 years. And I went kayaking without having to worry if I would sink the boat.

I also thought it might be cool to show some of my progress pictures. I take them every month, but in the interests of not making this the longest blog entry known to man (as if it isn't long enough!), I'll just show a picture of about every 3 months.

The Beginning, June 2012:

Month 3, September 2012:

Month 6, December 2012:

Month 9, March 2013:

Month 12, June 2013:

Month 15, September 2013:

Month 18, December 2013:

Month 21, March 2014:

Month 24, June 2014:

Wow, it's a shame I don't have any other workout clothes to take a picture in. Haha, just kidding. Looking through these, I'm glad I can actually see a difference between this time last year and right now, besides a better tan of course. It may not be a huge difference like in the beginning, but it's still there!

And now, just like last year's anniversary entry, I have taken quite a long time to get to the main event. And also like last year, to that I will say, it's my party. I'll do whatever I want! Anyway, today I went out to a local park and had my 2 year pictures taken by my mom, who has been my photographer throughout all of this and has done an amazing job, both with her photography and putting up with my OCD photo requests. Luckily, there were not many other people at the park. I got a few weird looks from the ones who were there, probably because it's not every day you see a random girl getting her picture taken while holding a picture of herself. It looked pretty narcissistic I guess, if you didn't know the reason behind it.

This may be hard to understand if you've never been heavy or lost weight and had to deal with loose skin, but I was very proud of myself for wearing a strapless dress for my pictures today and showing my arms. When you lose almost 170 lbs, there is no way you are not going to have some loose skin to deal with, no matter how much you strength train. I'm still coming to terms with mine, and showing my arms is a major milestone for me. I struggle every day to accept that skin as part of my journey (duh, you know I had to insert the word "journey" in here eventually). It's part of me and where I've been. I'm not ashamed anymore of who I used to be, and I'm through being ashamed of some of the after effects of that, like loose skin. I know my arms aren't my best feature, but they're also not so bad I should feel like I need to hide them all the time. I've still got the whole legs/wearing shorts thing to deal with, but one step at a time. Anyway, without further ado (what is ado anyway?), here are the best of my 2 year pictures:

I was pretty thrilled with how these turned out. Sometimes it's still a shock to me to see a picture of how I look now. It's like a part of me still expects to see someone morbidly obese in the picture, and it comes as a surprise to see someone that, if I'm objective, looks normal. Even better, I can look at these pictures and actually think that I look pretty. Self-confidence like that is a new thing for me. 

So what does year 3 hold in store for me? A dozen donuts, of course! Well, not quite. I have much more confidence heading into this year than I had last year. I have never been able to maintain a weight loss even close to this long before. It makes me feel better to realize that even just maintaining my weight after losing such a huge amount, much less losing some more like I did, is a victory in itself. The sad truth is that many people do fail at the maintenance portion that comes after losing weight, especially if they have gone on some extreme diet in order to lose the weight. But I feel confident that this is how I live my life now, not just some passing phase. I expect to meet my goal weight this year, but I know that that is just a small piece of my journey. I hope to keep gaining confidence in myself and keep challenging myself to try new things. 

I've been thinking about this blog entry for days, and of course with that came thoughts about what I have and have not accomplished this year. As readers of my blog will know from previous entries, I can be quite hard on myself at times. I thought it was quite apropos (yes, I use fancy words sometimes!) that I came across this just yesterday in a daily meditation book I read every night:

Take time to celebrate. Celebrate your successes, your growth, your accomplishments. Celebrate you and who you are. For too long you have been too hard on yourself. You are a child of God. Beautiful, a delight, a joy. You do not have to try harder, be better, be perfect, or be anything you are not. Your beauty is in you, just as you are each moment. Celebrate that. 

Quite a coincidence to read that just when I needed it most. I do need to take a moment to celebrate all that I have accomplished. Am I perfect? Far from it. Could I have done better or tried harder some days? Without a doubt. But that does not take away from that fact that I have accomplished something really wonderful. I have changed my entire self, body, mind, and spirit. That's not something that happens just every day. 

I hope all of you will keep reading as I head into year 3! Your comments and support mean the world to me and really help keep me going. 

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