The last 20 pounds.
I am not about to say that the first 152 pounds simply fell off without effort. That would be crazy talk. But I will say that I truly feel that I put more effort, struggle, work and literal perspiration into the last 20 than the first 152 combined.
Part of that equation is simple…
When you are really, REALLY fat, your body will give up the first 10 or 20 percent of the weight without a lot of fight. Once I had my four cornerstones in place, the first 40 pounds came off fast, to the tune of 5 pounds a week within a month of that tearful cry to my doctor. Then it settled into a more ‘normal’ rate of loss when I was simply ‘really’ fat…not really REALLY. And then I got close enough to my initial 175 goal to see it was not going to be enough and yet…moving the needle on the scale seemed as impossible as picking up Thor’s hammer…could not budge it no matter what.
It would have been simple to stop 20 pounds short and call my goal 180 and be done with it. I had plenty of input around me to cajole me into a place of peace at that weight among those that knew me so much heavier.
And 152 pounds is nothing to dismiss. I have friends who weigh less than that, for heaven sake!
But it wasn’t where I knew I needed to be. I had to stay the course. I reminded myself that I wasn’t going to just throw in the towel when I was so close…even though it did seem incredibly far away. So unbearably far away at times.
Weighing less, running more
And for my own mental health I stopped weighing myself daily and set a Monday morning weigh in that I tracked against. I also stopped concentrating on the pounds so much as the percentage. Losing 18 pounds was 10% of my weight. I had to keep that in perspective. I had to remind myself, without allowing myself to veer off course, that I was trying to lose 12% of my current body weight. That my body was going to hold on for dear life and resist that final loss BIG TIME!
I buckled down with my running.
I was doing a slew of half marathons in 2014 in large part because I signed up for one, got offers for others and found so many raised the prices and sold out, that before I’d ever done one, I had paid for 9! Because I wanted to remain ‘half ready’ at all times given the number of races I had between April and December of that year, I amped up my running schedule. I am not a fast runner by any means. I am a stampeding turtle…but it was not my PACE, it was the amount of time I spent on the road that helped notch down the scale and help me arrive at my goal weight.
Oddly enough, it also included upping my calories just a bit. I had been at one set point for a long time on the calorie intake. But my body needed to be able to have the fuel it needed to do what I was asking it to do and if it felt that I was starving it…it would have held on even more tightly. To eat more so I could lose more was not simply a tad scary.
It was downright frightening.
I had actually said that after 2 weeks if I still had not lost with the higher calories…I was going back to much more limited intake!
And then it happened. The scale nudged down 2 pounds. Then the following Monday, 4 more. It had been a reallllly long time since I’d lost 4 pounds in a week. And I got back to loss of a few here and a few there, but at least it was headed towards my goal.
I had to make a lot of choices. Mentally, emotionally and physically. It was tremendously difficult to hear from those around me that I was ‘skinny enough’ when I had 20 pounds of excess weight on me. Or be told ‘oh it’s all skin, you’re a fine weight’ and I am here to tell you, the typical human has 8-10 pounds of skin TOTAL. Let’s agree I was twice the size of a typical human. That means the MOST I would lose with skin removal was 10 pounds. And I’ve been told by plenty of plastic surgeons, it isn’t going to be that much when I do have the skin removed. A few plus a bit of fat sculpting. But 20, it is not.
I had to have frank conversations with those that felt they knew better for me and frank conversations with myself when I felt defeated. Or angry. Or frustrated. Or lazy. I once had my son drive me 8 miles from my house so that I was going to be effectively forced to run at least 8 miles home and ended up doing 13…but it was one of those days where I felt that if I headed out, I’d have returned after 4 or 5 and that wasn’t going to cut it.
There were days I would visualize the fat actually burning up as I did anything with exertion—wrangling our dogs or hauling boxes from the attic—and I firmly believe that using my mind’s eye was powerful in helping me get over that hurdle and reach my goal.
I’m not a football fan. Actually, I’m not a fan of 99.9% of sports as a spectator. It’s not my thing. But I have seen more than one highlight reel of a team trying so hard to get the ball from yards 10 down to the goal line. I reminded myself how much effort I had seen time and time again to move the ball just inches when it had sailed for yards and yards initially. And people cheering them on as they did it…not telling them to leave the ball and go in the locker room and get a massage, eat something and rest.
You have to believe in you
Down to 25, 20, 15, 10, 5 pounds from your goal?
Feeling like it will NEVER come off? Don’t give up. Don’t just leave the ball on the field and walk away. Believe in yourself. Believe in your ability. BE IN THE GAME until the goal weight whistle blows!
No fan EVER celebrated any sports win EVER with more emotional pride, excitement, achievement and THRILL than I did the day I stepped on my scale and it said 160.8.
And I am not a fan of absolutes, so I use them judiciously…but here I am throwing them like beads at Mardi Gras. It was one of the moments that still feels surreal 18 months later. In a way, I hope it always does.
Believe in the power of YOU and your mind, body and SPIRIT when the going gets tough at the end! It is not going to be easy…and anyone who says it is, I’m going to call a liar. But those last 5-25 pounds (of a realistic goal) can be lost and know me or not, I am cheering for you every single step of the way because I cheer ANYONE and EVERYONE who wants to meet their goals for a healthy, reasonable weight.
CROSS THAT GOAL LINE and do an end zone dance of epic proportion!
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