I have a lot of clothes in my closet, like most women do. And like most people who've lost a lot of weight, I have a wide variety of sizes. But it's not what you might think.
I started out this journey with a closet populated with clothes in sizes 22, 24, 26, and 28. I had tops in 2X, 3X, and 4X. And every day I would get up, see the smaller sizes and sigh as I shoved them aside to reach for the faded, worn 26/28's and 3-4X's because nothing else fit me. I had gone up the hell scale from 245 to over 280. And none of my "smaller" clothes fit me anymore. I dreamed of the day I'd be able to wear those cute 22's and 24's. It seems like just that: a dream, not a possible reality.
Eleven months after I began this blog, I had lost 64 pounds and weighed 214. I'd whizzed through those 22's and 24's into size 16 jeans and 14 (large) tops, and all of those clothes that once used to look so small were ridiculously huge on me. They went into the Fat Clothes Box and off to Goodwill or Craigslist, because I was certainly never going back *there* again. Some of the 18's and XL tops still fit relatively well, even if a little baggy, so I kept those. I sent some into the empty Fat Clothes box to be gotten rid of later.
It wasn't but a few months later that I was regaining some of the weight I'd lost. I got into the 220's and stayed there. I kept working my plan but was slipping up here and there and it just was not enough to stay under 225. I remember the day my size 16 jeans were too tight, and my size L tops a bit snug. I sadly delved into that Fat Box to retrieve the size 18's and XL's. I felt a little sad about that, but not defeated.
That was almost 18 months ago. For the past year and a half, many of you have watched me go up and down, losing and gaining the same 10-15 pounds over and over and over. It's not for lack of trying; I've blogged consistently, counted calories and eaten well 80% of the time, kept exercising unless I was injured. Giving up was never an option. It never will be.
But there's something about the clothes in the closet that is rather personal to me that I haven't shared before. After I purged my closet of Fat Clothes, I gleefully started watching for sales so I could stock up on Thinner Clothes: the smaller sizes I would need as I continued to lose weight. If I saw size 14 jeans in a style I liked on clearance, I'd buy a pair. When there was a big sale I'd stock up on size medium shirts. I even bought underwear and bras in smaller sizes so as I lost the weight I'd have super cute, nice clothes to try on and look forward to.
The Thin Clothes started taking over my bedroom. Maybe I went a little overboard, but I was so excited to be shrinking. I bought a couple of Rubbermaid tubs and neatly folded the new jeans inside them: 12's, 14's, 16's. Pretty sweaters, jackets, and blouses hang in my closet in size 10 and up. And every day, I go to my closet, see the smaller sizes and sigh as I push them aside for the faded, worn 18 jeans and XL tops because nothing else fits me.
Eighteen months. Those clothes ARE getting faded and worn. I am starting to see tiny holes in my favorite size 18 jeans, but I wear them because nothing else fits. I refuse to buy bigger sizes; I'd frankly rather go naked than do that as it is a mental "I give up" to me. But it is a heartbreak every morning when I see all those pretty new clothes in smaller sizes that are just barely beyond my reach.
I've made a decision that might not be popular, but I believe it is best for *me.* And I have to do what I believe will help me, even if I am wrong or if it isn't popular. My whole focus over this two and a half year journey has been to get to a more 'real food' diet based around the Farmer's Market and local foods. And that is *still* my long term goal. It is still what I will do for the rest of my life after I lose weight, and the way I will continue to prepare foods for my family forever. But sometime this week, I am going to start Medifast. Please hear me out, and don't think I am reaching for a Magic Pill, because we all know there isn't one. I would never have thought to do this on my own, but when Medifast contacted me and offered me their program for free, I had to consider it. Let me tell you, I get 'diet' offers every single day. Pills, potions, herbs. special equipment, everything you can imagine, and I turn them down because my policy is not to use or try anything I believe could be harmful. I get offers of hundreds of dollars *cash* to promote diet products or have links on my site to diet product websites and, even though I could use the money, I say no. This blog is about me, my weight loss journey, and helping others who are struggling. So at first I was sending the Medifast offer to the trash bin, because I know I could NOT do a liquid diet. But then I looked at the site. I won't go into details, because this is not going to turn into a "plug Medifast" blog (and they did not ask that of me), but the plan has no drugs, herbs, special potions, extra super-secret ingredients, or dangerous additives. It's just prepackaged food, period. High protein, low carb diet. And the food is stuff like chicken soup, beef stew, chili, puddings, oatmeal... not just shakes and bars (although they are available, too). What clinched it for me was that you also get to have dinner with the family, what they call a Lean & Green meal which is 7 ounces of lean meat and 3 servings of vegetables. When I saw that I'd get to have up to 3 cups of fresh veggies, I thought, hey, I could do this. This is simple. This might help me. They also offered to set me up with a nutritionist. So I decided to give it a go.
It was a tough process for me deciding to do it, but here is what I think I may gain from it:
1. A break from food prep. I have gotten *so tired* of thinking of what to eat, shopping, prepping, measuring, and counting calories for two and a half years. I think a break will do me good. Since the food is pre-measured I do not have to worry about counting calories. I just have to measure my dinner. I often have wished I could have someone just BRING me healthy foods so I could focus on other things, and this is about as close as I am going to get, unless one of you wants to move in and cook for me.
2. Focusing on other things. Instead of spending so much time and energy on food buying, planning, measuring and prepping, I think Medifast will free me up to focus on other things, like the emotional/mental reason I have not gotten below 225 in over a year. In fact, I think being on this plan and losing weight may force the real issues to the surface so I can deal with them. I still believe something is going on mentally that is the reason I haven't lost more weight. I don't know if you can understand this unless you've tried and worked to lose weight and struggled for a long time, but there is more to it than just 'eat less move more'. Some of us are paralyzed, in a way, by fear or anger or whatever other mental thing is there that keeps our hand reaching for the donut, even when we don't really want the donut.
3. Physical relief. While dropping 50-ish pounds has done wonders for my mobility, it is not enough. My knees are in very bad shape (says the orthopedic surgeon) and I need to get more weight off them *now.* I am getting injured more and more often, and if you read my blog for long you know I am in pain every single day. In order for my knees to even have a chance at healing and to stop the degeneration, I have simply *got* to get more weight off them. This is not a matter of vanity. This is a matter of mobility. I believe doing Medifast will get at least an initial chunk of weight off relatively quickly, which will be of great benefit to my knees and joints and may free me up to be more mobile and in less pain, which will in turn facilitate my weight loss in the long term.
4. The clothes in the closet. It would be such a HUGE boost to my self esteem to fit into *any* of those clothes that I have been staring at in my closet for the past eighteen months. I am tired of being sad when I look in there. I want to pull that soft, blue velour sweatshirt out of there and wear it, but I never have. It's brand new, beautiful, and too small by about ten pounds. There's a pretty green shirt in there with a defined waist that I think would be so flattering to me, but it, too, is ten pounds too small. The size 16 jeans, the blue blouse with the pretty lace in the front, the sexy black top that would flow over my body so nicely. I want to wear them. It has been long enough. The only clothes I fit in now are wearing out. I am tired of looking at my clothes and wishing. I am going to do something about it.
I hope I'll have your support in this decision, and I plan to keep writing just as I always have. I'll definitely share my experiences with Medifast and how the food tastes, but I'll also continue posting the recipes and meals I eat for dinner. If this new plan sucks, so be it. I will give it a try for at least a month and then reevaluate. Eventually, I'll work my way back to a whole foods, natural, organic meal plan. But for now, I need to do something different. Including, hopefully, posting some new progress pictures in some of those clothes in my closet.
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