Today, I'm officially ending my "weight loss" journey and the focus on my body not only on this blog but in my own life. In my recent healing work, I'm learning to break the link between my body and who I am and how I feel about myself. But since I started this path with all of you to create a healthier and slimmer me, I thought I would end by sharing my start and ending numbers for 2 specific reasons which I will explain a bit later along with a video. But first....
I started a journey on June 1,2007 to shed 25 pounds after seeing pictures of myself at my 40th birthday the April before. And yes, I waited two months to see those party pictures because I knew I was heavy as I had gone up nearly 3 dress sizes. I just didn't want to see the proof in print.
My reaction to seeing those photos of myself with the weight gain was like you can imagine, shock and dismay. I did not want to start my 40's weighing the second heaviest I had ever in my life. As well, here I was blogging about healthy living and body image, yet I was gaining weight and not feeling good about myself. I was feeling that I needed to "walk my talk" and be an example. Many people said I looked fine and not that heavy, but for me, the extra weight was making my joints in my legs ache. I gain weight mostly in my waist, and the additional inches around my waist as well as my gut was really uncomfortable. I was losing my breathe much faster as well, and I was someone who used to run 20-30 miles a week.
Let the Fit blogging begin
So, I started blogging about shedding 25 pounds. I joined a gym, I started doing cardio and changing my eating habits. I also started up with a therapist again because emotional eating has always been an issue for me. There was definitely an emotional reason I gained 25 pounds over a roughly 14-month-period because before that my weight had pretty much stayed within a +/-10 lb range for 10 years.
During that 14-month-period, I had stopped exercise all together, I was eating a lot of take out, and spent most of my day sitting in front of a computer. I stopped seeing my friends as much or making new friends, and built my world around my boyfriend who I was living with. We had been together for 3 years by the time we broke up in August. My weight gain started after we had been together about 1 year and 8 months.
I was done carrying all that extra weight both physical and emotional, so I got off my procrastination and took action...
Every Wednesday, I've posted my results for the week, and when I got down to the last 10lbs, I started to track daily tactics on Twitter as SkinnyJeans. I have never posted my actual starting numbers like my weight or my measurements because I wanted to keep the focus on my goals which was to shed 25 lbs and 22 inches overall. I think people (including myself) also get too hung up about numbers. We start equating our self-esteem and self-love to a number on a scale or on a label on a pair of jeans. We make judgments and assessments about our body and/or other people's bodies based on what the numbers are. Are you a size 2 or 20? Do you have a 24" waist or a 34" waist? Do you weigh more than 100 lbs, 200 lbs, or 300 lbs?
...The numbers are losing their emotional strong hold on me. ...
Changing my mind on making my measurements public
I had never planned on ever putting my measurements on this blog even when I reached my weight shedding goals because I thought that it was no one's business really, but I changed my mind after last week's confession of my bulimia relapse. The reason I changed my mind is because of two things:
- I want people to understand that bulimia for me was not about getting down to an unrealistic size for my 5'7" body like a size 0 or 2. For some educational purpose, many women who suffer from bulimia are not all tiny sizes. Many in fact are in the size 8-14 range. We're in what I call "no man's land" where we are not too fat yet not thin enough to be happy (in our minds). We try as hell to not go over a size 14-16 because that is when you officially move into the Plus Sizes. It really is a lot of mental torture. Even with shedding the 25 lbs, my weight and size is still at a very healthy level, but no one would know that except taking my word for it. I'm willing to take it up a notch and "show you the numbers."
- The numbers are losing their emotional strong hold on me. I can put my numbers up in the blogosphere and not be a wreck about it or worry that it's not "small enough." If someone thinks I'm fat, well, I'd like to be a little more Jennifer Love Hewitt and say with utter confidence, "I'm not fat. I love my body, and I will say that on my blog." I'm not totally there on the "I love my body" part, but I'm close enough to where I can put more than just my dress size. The numbers are really just to show my results and show that they are just numbers. I'm in the process of divorcing the emotional roller coaster with the numbers and myself. I've always admired that men, in general, do a much better job at not equating their body numbers to their self esteem. I realize that there is social conditioning involved in that, but still, I think we women can learn much from men in this area.
Re-defining weight loss "success"
I did not completely reach the original goals I set myself out to reach but I'm only slightly off so in my mind I'm there. Also, in light of last week's confession, I no longer feel it appropriate to focus on my physical body, and even more important, I am no longer going to make my body the center of my purpose or my being in my life. This process will take time but I'm willing to do the work because I'm tired. I'm tired of constantly fretting about my body size; how to keep it thin, what I can or can't eat, or "one wrong move" syndrome where if I make one wrong decision or choice I'm going to blow up like a Thanksgiving day Snoopy parade balloon. I gotta believe that I'm much deeper than my body measurements.
My resolution this year is to "Be Uplifting" and that has nothing to do with my physical body. It's about my heart and my soul, and what I am doing to help make the world a better place. I'm not going to diminish the genuine hard work I did to shed 24lbs, but I'm not going to make the weight loss a big fanfare like I had planned before. For me, there would be some Barry Bonds home run title kind of hypocrisy smell if I did make a big deal about it. Perhaps, I'm being overly critical of my situation, but that is how it feels to me.
Over the last few months having done some intense emotional healing work recovering from the relapse, I have been working on breaking the association of my weight and measurements to who I am, how I feel about myself, and how I feel about my lovability level. I used to believe that if I wore anything above a size 10 that I was no longer worthy of love from a man or worse, myself. The scale would dictate my state of well being for the whole day and sometimes the whole week. A number on the scale would determine how I felt about myself. I gave that much power to a number, and I don't want that any more. I'm tired. I'm tired of that emotional unpredictability of stepping on the scale. I'm tired of letting the scale steal my joy and my self love. I'm tired of letting a number be in charge of my life when I'm the one that is supposed to be in charge.
So, without further adieu, here are my numbers:
The biggest drop happened in my gut, which is also the second chakra area that deals with creativity, emotions, and sex. I'm an apple shape with a more straight up and down cut. Weight gain happens most for me in the waist-gut area. I've always had skinny hips and legs. I feel really good physically, but more importantly, I feel wonderful emotionally and spiritually. Everything is not perfect, but I'm sitting in the driver's seat of my life more, and I'm feeling more and more that every day will get better even with the setbacks.
Besides coming clean with my readership about the bulimia relapse, I also did some major "coming clean" with my parents, my Ex, and my best friend about an issue that was like an elephant in the room that no one would acknowledge. In typical Aries fashion, I decided to tackle all the battles all at one time. It was incredibly emotionally draining yet amazingly freeing at the same time. I let go of a lot of emotional dead weight, and subsequently 3 lbs just fell off. Many times when you deal with the heavy emotional issues that are weighing heavy on you, the corresponding physical weight will go as well.
Going forward, I'm going to continue Weigh-in Wednesdays because I feel it is valuable, but I will change the focus from weighing in on my body to weighing in on my emotional work and state of well being. Borrowing from FlyLady, creating a healthier you is about "progress not perfection." Check out the video where you can see me in the jeans I wore in June when I started the weight loss journey, and I elaborate a bit more on "size." Life really is so much easier and peaceful when you let go of what is weighing you down. It's not easy, but it is one of the most loving things you can do for yourself, and you're worth it! (video 4 min. 15 sec)