Hey y’all –
I’ve got about four different blog posts going right now and I can already see the writing on the wall: none of them are coming easy. The writing process is a lot like giving birth for me (or at least what I’ve heard about giving birth). There’s a lot of pushing and sweating and, in the end, a big mess and a lot of crying. Hopefully when I’m done, though, I have a new bundle of joy…er, words…to post for you. I’ve been pushing on this one for days. Either I post it tonight or I’ll be looking for an epidural and a rubber donut to sit on tomorrow.
I got a very sweet email from a reader the other day that really made me smile. She was highly complimentary about my little blog. Honestly, I truly consider it an honor when you write to me to tell me your personal stories. We’re all in this together, right? We’re all fighting the same battles.
This reader was asking me in particular why the “pounds lost” ticker on the right has been at 44 pounds for quite a while without moving…because watching that ticker go down is very motivating for her. Like so of my loyal readers who follow my blog (and I love every single one of you!), she’s inspired by my story and enjoys the motivation she gets from it. It made me realize that I haven’t spoken much about my trips to the scale and my weight loss since I began my goal of moving more in 2013.
This wonderful reader gives me more credit than I deserve, even supposing that I’ve continued to lose weight and am keeping it a secret until I can announce that I’ve lost 100 pounds with much fanfare and merriment. I would never do that to you, I promise. We’re in this together – and my purpose in writing this blog is to lay it all out on the line in honest form. I believe it’s only in honest, raw form that we really succeed. Anyone who tries to hand it to you all neatly packaged and heavily marketed is selling you something. And if they’re selling you something, you can’t trust them. They’re making money off your misery, kids. That’s why you don’t see any ads for weight loss surgery or acai berry gel or the HCG diet here. I’m not going to be part of the problem.
I’m going to give you my progress report but I have mixed feelings about talking about it – not because I have bad news, but because I’ve grown tired of the predictable response I get from anyone I speak to about my progress right now. Let me give you an example of a recent conversation I had with a nice enough person who seems to only be interested in instant solutions. For the sake of abbreviation and anonymity, we’ll call her Clueless.
Clueless: So how’s the weight loss going?
HMP: Fine, thanks!
Clueless: How much weight have you lost so far?
HMP: 44 pounds.
Clueless: Oh, good for you! What was it before? I haven’t talked to you since way before Christmas.
HMP: 45 pounds.
Clueless gets a puzzled look.
HMP: I lost 45 pounds, then I gained 7 back. I’ve lost 6 of those…so the total is 44 pounds.
Clueless: Oh, what’s wrong?
HMP: (with a slightly patronizing smile) Nothing’s wrong.
Clueless: Well, 44 pounds is great. How long did that take you?
HMP: A year.
Clueless frowns with much disappointment.
HMP: (resisting the urge to throw something at Clueless) I feel successful and that’s all that matters. I’ve lost 44 pounds and kept it off all this time. I’ve never done that before. We fatties consider that a big deal.
Clueless instantly realizes she’s disappointed that I lost weight and feels embarrassed. Desperate to change the subject, she says “So who do you like on The Biggest Loser this season?”
HMP: I don’t watch it. That isn’t real life or a responsible way to take care of yourself.
Clueless made some more small talk and walked away…most likely chalking my 44 pounds up to failure. Probably feeling sorry for me in some way because she thinks I haven’t figured it out yet. Well, I haven’t figured it all out yet…but I’m well on my way.
I experienced something very similar last year when it first became noticeable that I was losing weight. People were elated for me. They would come up to me excitedly asking how much I’d lost, how long it took me. Since I’d lost a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time, they were all ears. Next came the question how did you do it?
HMP: Well, I gave up sugar and processed foods first. Then I gave up diet soda and fast food. It’s been amazing.
Clueless: What diet is that?
HMP: It’s not a diet. I eat grilled chicken, raw spinach, grilled turkey burgers. Apples. Greek yogurt. I eat healthy.
Clueless gives a disappointed look. No pills, no shakes. No magic sprinkles to shake on my food. Nope, just hard work and life changes. It’s not so sexy to some people who don’t want to hear the truth.
I’m not comparing any of you guys to Clueless, believe me. Y’all are like me. You’ve been around the block enough and you understand how the game works. You’re tired and ready for a solution that works for you…and when you find someone like me with a big mouth who puts all her big butt frustrations on the internet, you feel like you found your long lost sister. 🙂 I feel the same way about you every time I get an email or a Facebook message. We understand each other’s trials, tribulations, and frustrations in a way that our slim & trim friends never will.
I wish I could tell you I’ve secretly been losing weight so that I can surprise you with a big number, but that’s not the case. The truth is that the ticker is right. It’s holding at 44 pounds…and it’s not going to budge again until I make exercise a consistent habit. That’s how my body works. Yours may be different – but mine gets to a point where it says “Okay, I’ve lost enough…if you want to look awesome you’re going to have to work with me a lot more.”
I know someone who’s very physically active. He’s an avid mountain biker. Very athletic. He has a serious problem with food temptations. Too much beer. Too many yummies. But the exercise part? He’s got that down pat. I’m exactly the opposite. My food is in check. My exercise needs help.
That’s why I bought a Fitbit. That’s why I tried Fitocracy. 2013 is all about moving. It’s all about getting going and battling all my old exercise demons. By the end of the year, I plan to be an absolute badass.
My goal is no longer about keeping a stranglehold on my food intake and keeping temptation at bay. I’ve got that down. My goals are now about moving more, finding a form of exercise that I enjoy, and pounding out some of the stress in my life with running shoes and treadmills and nature trails. Eventually, I will get back on the scale on a regular basis. I do that because I enjoy it, not because I’m obsessing or feel like I have to. However, to get on the scale in the beginning of all this…when the shortest walk feels like a major, painful effort… is suicide. All it will do is make it seem like the scale isn’t moving fast enough for all the hard work I’m doing…and I’ll quit. I don’t want to pull at that thread.
Some of you have asked me what motivates me. Obviously, it’s not The Biggest Loser if you’ve read my posts about my experience with them. One of the things that inspires me most is People magazine’s “Half Their Size” issue. The before and after photos of the people who’ve lost so much weight are incredibly inspiring to me. I dream of how I’ll feel as I’m posing for my “after” picture. That’s what motivates me. So when I see someone disappointed that I’ve lost 44 pounds in a year…or when I don’t tell them that I put miracle sprinkles on a hamburger and lost a size in a month…it’s ok. It’s really ok. I close my eyes and I think of the day I’m posing for my “after” picture. It will happen.
The instant gratification that society is trying to slap on us isn’t real. Contestants on The Biggest Loser use asparagus binges and deprive themselves of water before weigh-in day in order to hit the big numbers. Shakeology, HCG, and all these scam diets are just people making money off of those of us who struggle with our weight. If any of these things really worked, we would all be slim already and obesity wouldn’t be such a raging problem. But they don’t work. Not for us, anyway. They work for the diet industry…because we’re putting billions of dollars in their pockets every year. Well, not me. I’m done.
So 44 pounds in a year. It’s not sexy and shiny. It’s not all wrapped up in a pretty package. I’m not showing you how quick and easy it is. It’s work. I have many, many more pounds to follow…and I just need to move a little farther down the path. I’ve already started moving more. I’m about to increase my goal again. In fact, you’re about to see me start getting really physically active…and I hope to inspire you to do the same.
I’m proud of my 44 pounds. Incredibly proud. I feel like they’re my badge of honor for fighting the food demons last year. There will be many more badges of honor this year as I battle my exercise demons. I promise to share it with you here. For whatever reason, I’m called to put my personal experience out here for the world to see.
So here I am, world. This is me. This is my life before the “after” picture. This is the work that’s been done and the work that needs to be done. This is the blood, the sweat, and the tears of it. This is what it takes to get to the day when at last you take your “after” picture.