October 10, 2014 was my official 2-year anniversary of starting Kaiser’s Medical Weight Management program. October 2012… truly it seems a lifetime ago. I was over 300 pounds and had been an average of 250 pounds for most of the two decades leading up to that!
They say a picture is worth 1000 words, but there are no words to describe how fundamentally different I feel. If you think I look quite different, trust me, it does not begin to compare to how different I feel.
How different I am.
Left: Christmas 2011; Middle October 2012; Right October 2013 (1 year anniversary)
The photo on the right was taken one year after I had started the program. I was just under 200 pounds for the first time in a long, long, long time.
And now another year later, two years into the program, I am about the same weight. I was 196 this morning. I have been down as low as 188 in the last couple of months though.
So two years later and I am still not at goal weight. Am I disappointed or frustrated?
Sure there are days that come and go, where I wish that I was 30-40-50 pounds thinner, just so I was no longer “overweight”.
But overall, my general sentiment these days is more like….
I AM FUCKING AWESOME!
And that’s for one simple reason: it’s been two years and I have NOT regained the weight. Not only have I never come close to being 300+ again, I have never even come close to being 250# again. Have I regained weight during this two years? Oh hell yeah.
If you’ve read this blog, you know I’ve been bouncing up and down 20# or so pretty regularly.
Note: bouncing up and DOWN. Down baby, down.
I always come down again. Always. Even when I briefly got back as high as 227… which was scary… what did I do? I restarted the program from scratch.
I remediated; self-corrected. Did I need to do something a bit extreme? Again, hell yeah. “Hello… My name is Allison and I have binge eating disorder in addition to being a compulsive overeater.” My reality is not about making the healthy, moderate choices that work for most people. Sometimes cutting off food completely is the best thing I can do for myself to break the cycle.
I won’t tell you I did not fully intend slash hope slash expect that the second time of doing the Kaiser program would help me take the rest of my excess weight off. That was pretty much the plan.
Instead, it has left me bouncing between 188 and 203 for a few months now and guess what….?
That’s WAY better than bouncing back and forth between 205 and 227! So much better. Hey I’ve been mostly under 200 pounds now for months, so yay me!
Much of the last two years I was feeling a sense of dire urgency to get all the weight off that I needed to lose. This was largely because in the past, the bajillion other times I have done major diet programs, I never got all the weight off, just big chunks of it, and then I inevitably gained it all back and it usually brought some new friends along. My biggest fear was that I would repeat that cycle, and thus if I did not lose it all, I would end up going right back up to where I had been and it would be yet another failed attempt, in a long line of failed attempts.
I don’t feel that way anymore.
While I am certainly capable of binge-eating my way back to 300 pounds, I just don’t think it’s going to happen. Ever. And that’s a fairly new thing.
My husband said to me well over a year ago, when I had started cycling and was down to about 210 pounds… “Even if you don’t lose any more weight; you’re already so much healthier than you were.”
The heart of the matter.
Yes I want to weigh less than I do now. I don’t want to carry this much weight around as I continue to age and I want to be able to do more physical activities more easily. Every extra pound I am not carrying makes every activity so much easier, and certainly the decades of morbid obesity mean I have done real damage to my knees, hips, feet. Lighter is better for that reason alone!
But if I don’t lose any more weight, even if I stay in the 190s, I am now a vibrant, confident, active, healthy woman. I wear size 14 jeans, which is the national average in the USA now (sad but true). I can shop in regular clothing stores and do moderate levels of nearly any activity. My blood pressure and all standard health metrics (other than BMI) are all in the green.
I can live a healthy life even if I don’t lose any more weight.
My 2-year anniversary selfie
The real transformation of Kaiser’s Medical Weight management program was not the weight I’ve lost. It’s the self-awareness and lifestyle changes that have happened. Two years ago I didn’t start a diet, I started on a path that would take me on a journey that will encompass the rest of my life.
I will always have binge eating disorder. I will always be somewhat physically lazy. I will always be attracted by salty, fatty, cheesy, total crap, orgasmically delicious junk foods. I will always be able to consume ridiculous quantities of food without feeling full (because there is something truly wrong with me physically in that regard). I will always need to self-correct for these things, and that self-correction may often entail periods of using meal replacement products (aka critical nutrients that do not resemble food in any manner).
In other words… the rest of my life is probably going to look a lot like the last two years.
And that’s pretty wonderful because the last two years have been the happiest I can remember.
Just to be crystal clear, I am still trying to lose more weight. I still want to end up somewhere between 145-160 pounds and I will be blogging about the ongoing challenges to make that happen and just dealing with food issues in general.
The only change is the timeline… it’s gone from “as soon as possible” to “in this lifetime”.
That said, don’t think I’m not hoping to have a nice chunk gone before my big 5-0 next April. :-)
Finally, a shout-out to my family that have been so supportive. David, Sage and Rune… thank you for understanding (or at least accepting) that I am never going to be a regular person when it comes to my relationship with food, and giving me all the love and support needed to find a new way to be healthy for myself. I love you all more than words can say, and won’t get any mushier given this is a public forum. ;-)
Below are a few random pictures punctuating the life I have enjoyed in the last two years because of this journey and the support of my family.
A couple of months into the program, a family visit to Point Reyes where I was able to hike and walk comfortably throughout the entire day. My husband remarked later that was the first day he realized how different things were becoming (already).
First time back on a horse in some years. True it was a draft horse, but it was grand to be on one period!
My beloved Ibis Hakkalugi… Though still heavy, I was no longer worried about being too fat for a carbon bike. It was the beginning of a love affair that continues today.
Of course I’m still a bit of a heffalump here but I could have cared less. I fit in a bike kit at last…!
The Livestrong Davis 100 mile bike ride. What was especially remarkable was that this was my second century ride of the year. True I was slow, but I finished them both!
I had tied VERY publicly my weight loss efforts to fundraising for Livestrong. That paid off in a lot of ways; here I was addressing the crowd after winning the award for the most individual donors. I feel honored even now by the amazing support from friends and family.
The need to find substitute activities for over-eating led me on some interesting paths… such as canning (mmmm… spicy carrots…)
A small but positive lifestyle change involved the move to a standing desk. Though I do not stand all the time, it has really helped my back and I try to at least work 30-40% of the day standing up.
Another new hobby to fill the time has become a real passion… love our bees!
Just within the last 2 months we have gotten a former horse back. The difference now? I can ride him too! And will be soon (he had a back issue).