Friday, July 16, 2010

Time to Lose

You know what's really crazy? The more weight I lose, the more impatient I am getting to get it ALL OFF. I mean, yeah, when I weighed 278 pounds and was looking down the barrel of losing over 120 pounds, I felt overwhelmed. I wished it would instantly poof off and be gone. I wished I could undo the years of damage. I even dreamed of hacking off my own fat slabs with a scythe so I could be immediately lighter. Let's face it, knowing one has to lose that much weight is a real downer. It seems impossible. I went through a lot of anger, fear, and sadness:

How could I let myself get this big?
Why did I do this to myself?
How on earth and I going to lose 120 pounds? It is going to take forever.
Is it even possible?

I chose to just start on the path and not worry about how many miles it would be. One foot in front of the other, step by step. The time was going to pass anyway, day after day after day until I was ten, twenty, thirty years older and the only thing I could control is whether I would be heavier, lighter, or the same weight when another year went by. THAT, I could do. I knew I could lose, say, ten pounds. That was not impossible. But I always regained the weight. I never got to 40 pounds lost. I always stalled out and regained. Could I really get off ten pounds and keep it off? That became the first goal. In fact, sometimes my goals became "lose 5 pounds and keep it off." I knew if I could do that, twenty times, I'd have lost 100 pounds. It might take a year, two years, five years. But, like I said, the time would pass anyway. May as well do *something* real about my weight during that time.

I started in August of 2007, almost 3 years ago. It took me about ten days to lose the first ten pounds, and I kept it off. I kept it off FOREVER. And even if I had stopped there it would have been a positive change and a new accomplishment. If you can get ten pounds off and KEEP IT OFF, you have really done something good for yourself. Yes ten pounds matters. And yes, being *able* not to regain that amount is a huge step! Yet it is one most of us would think nothing of, would downplay, wouldn't bother to have as a goal. It should be the first goal. Get off ten and KEEP IT OFF.

It took me a little longer to lose the next ten pounds... 34 days. That's still rather quick in the scheme of things. So in under 2 months I was down 20 pounds and I KEPT IT OFF. That is huge! You can go back and read my archives and see that I was not on some strict diet to accomplish that. What started this weight loss was simple: a trip to the Farmer's Market. I had coupons for free produce, so I went. I bought so much fruit it looked like an orchard in here: a case of peaches, bins of blackberries, raspberries and strawberries, bags of plums and whole watermelons and cantaloupes. I got some veggies too but I was still not big on veggies. And then I didn't want all that fruit to go to waste so I ate and ate and ate it. And I lost weight, because peaches left no room for Big Macs and berries displaced candy bars. I just kept going, week after week, buying produce and eating that instead of crap. I also did try to stop eating *all the time* as I had been, and stopped eating late at night. I drank water and tea instead of sodas. The weight came off.

It took even longer to lose the third 10 pounds: 55 days. Almost two months to drop that ten. It was getting harder, but it was still coming off. After awhile I started walking a tiny bit. I started counting calories at some point. The binges were getting fewer and farther between. And I was still wondering if I had it in me to lose all this weight and keep it off. But I was up to 30 pounds gone, I posted progress pictures and the difference was astounding. I kept going.

The next ten were critical, as I'd never quite gotten to 40 pounds gone before in all my dieting days. Each set of ten pounds was taking longer to lose... 10 days, 34 days, 55 days. And the fourth ten pounds took three and a half MONTHS to come off! This is where most people give up. I mean, how do you keep going when it takes THREE AND A HALF MONTHS to drop ten lousy pounds?? Well, you just do. You have to keep fighting. Some of that time I was just aiming not to regain all the weight. I was working the mental battle. I was figuring out what works for me. Trial and error. The Farmer's Market was closed and I was figuring out how to get what I needed from a grocery store. I figured it out. That ten came off and STAYED OFF. Spring came, it got slightly easier, and the next ten pounds "only" took 50 days (less than 2 months).

Now stop and think. If it took you MONTHS to drop ten pounds, how would you feel? Would you give up? Is it worth it if it is coming off that slowly? Let's wait and see...

So it had been nine months and I'd lost 50 pounds. I was feeling much better but I had to work hard on the mental and emotional stuff along the way. I tried different plans: calorie counting, South Beach, low carb, weight training, biking, eating on a schedule, meditating. And I just kept going. It took me exactly 2 months to lose the next ten pounds.

And then I got kinda stuck. I didn't give up... I kept counting calories and exercising and eating lots of veggies. I blogged. I worked at it. And do you know how long it took me to drop the next ten pounds?

One year and nine months.

Yep. Twenty one months after I hit 60 pounds gone, I finally reached 70 gone. I struggled and worked and DID NOT GIVE UP for 21 months. It was hard, let me tell you. I wanted to give up sometimes. I thought I couldn't do it. I figured at this rate of loss I would be an old lady before i reached my goal, if ever. But what were my choices? Give up? Go back to bingeing and being morbidly obese? Sadly, many people choose to give up and regain the weight because it is SO TIRING to keep fighting and it seems impossible and that it is taking SO LONG and will never happen. It really gets exhausting and discouraging... but keep going.

The next ten pounds took 32 days.
Then next ten took 45 days.

And the next? Who knows. I am working on it. I am getting close to 90 pounds gone. It took me almost three years.

Is that too long?
Is it not worth it?
Is it worth fighting and working when it takes that long?

Yeah. It is worth it. Keep going.

I may feel impatient sometimes, but the TIME is part of the process. It's part of learning how to live a life with a healthier relationship with food. It's part of processing the pain and grief that may have led to the weight gain in the first place. It takes time to let those things go, to learn how to eat well, to revamp your life. It takes time to lose weight. But yes. It is so, so worth it.

26 comments:

Laura said...

I've been following you for a long time now, and I can't tell you how much motivation you give through your blogs. Whenever I start to lose the motivation, I start to read back on your blog, and it gets me going again. It has taken me 10 months to lose 40 pounds. But I will keep on going because I'm better off now, than I was 10 months ago.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Anonymous said...

Lyn I've been reading your blog for over two years now and you are such a good inspiration to everyone! You're so postive and REAL! THANKS!!!

Lisa said...

Thank you Lyn for your post today; I found it motivating. I've only been working on my healthy lifestyle change for 33 days and I've lost 9 pounds (as of last Monday). I find weekends the most challenging time with respect to my eating and I do my weigh ins on Mondays. So, I'm trying not to get discouraged as I'm facing another weekend and hoping to reach that first 10 pounds gone by Monday. Thanks again for the inspiration.

Paula Rodriguez said...

Lynn

It's taking me almost 2 years to lose 40+ pounds. It's disheartening but I figure "time is going to march on anyways, might as well be doing something productive." Just gotta keep going you know. I often wished I could invent an attachment to the vacuum cleaner where I can just SUCK THE FAT in those ares like my arm and belly. Wouldnt'that be cool? Vacuum the living room and then add the attachment and suck the fat away...

Yea, I can dream, right?

Vee said...

Well written. Gave me a something to think about: I'm almost halfway to my goal (51 down, 67 to go) and it's taken me a year and a half. Just have to keep pushing and believing.

Thanks. Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Lanie Painie said...

WOw. am impressed. But, I bet there was a lot happening like muscle building which is what I have been going through here lately. My weight may not be dropping as rapidly as it was - in fact, it's going up - but I'm still slimming down. I may do neck/waist/thigh/arm measurements to help me keep going at these times. ..

Keep up the good work and thanks for the inspiration!

NewGilmoreGirl said...

I can relate to this post! It has taken me 14 months to lose 40 pounds, and it has been worth it.

And now I'm over the hump, but it still feels like the second 40 pounds will take way too long sometimes.

But I'm halfway there. So that's something! Thanks for the reminder.

beerab said...

You've done well, in 1.5 years I've only taken off 43 lbs- but I see the same things you do on a daily basis, my skin looks better, I'm smaller, tying my shoes isn't a struggle anymore, etc. This year I'm going to Comic Con at least 20 lbs lighter than the year before and I can't wait!

Mandy said...

Your post is a reminder that good things come to those who wait, or sure and steady wins the race! You are so inspiring! I need to find my thesaurus to find another word for inspiring so that you don't get bored with it!

spunkysuzi said...

What an incredible journey you have had!

LHA said...

A very inspring post with an extremely important message. I will recommend that others I know who are struggling wtih weight loss read this too. It reminds me of another post of yours detailing the second time you reached the 60 pounds gone milestone. It really spoke to me!

My own journey is continuing, and I firmly believe that NOT GAINING is a huge victory! I will reread your post several times this week to remind myself that it is the day-by-day, one foot in front of the other kind of persistence that will get me to my goal. Thanks for the inspiration!

Graze With Me said...

"The time was going to pass anyway, day after day after day until I was ten, twenty, thirty years older and the only thing I could control is whether I would be heavier, lighter, or the same weight when another year went by."

This is the most profound quote. I love it. So many people don't think that way - they wait and wait and just let their guilt take over. Your journey has been so amazing, congratulations to you!

Lisa said...

Lyn - you are my hero! Thank you so much for sharing your story.

Fat Grump said...

"And the fourth ten pounds took three and a half MONTHS to come off! This is where most people give up. I mean, how do you keep going when it takes THREE AND A HALF MONTHS to drop ten lousy pounds?? Well, you just do."

Sorry for quoting a big chunk, but I so needed to read this Lyn! Thank you. I am a disgrace..I had 80lbs to lose when I started this, months ago. My challenge wasn't as big as the one so many bloggers faced, including you, yet I just can't get going properly. I have felt like giving up this week, or taking a break from it all..and in many ways I have. I've had a bad eating day today - BUT - I actually feel that I am not enjoying eating the crap I am stuffing myself with. That is progress in itself. I actually feel 'unhealthy' and at one point CRAVED water to follow my meal! Your journey has been a long one, but you are so inspiring in that you describe the road-blocks and hurdles so well - and you haven't given up! I feel renewed after reading your post. I wish the fat would just melt away - it's taking me ages to see any progress - but a little progress in the right direction is better than none. Maintaining a weight is better than gaining weight, and we do educate ourselves and retrain our taste buds as we go. I needed your reminder Lyn. Thank you.

Julie said...

Good for you for getting the mental part down, I wish I could, I feel like a yo-yo most of the time and I need to get over the instant gratification I seem to always need!! You are awesome!!

Jessica VZ said...

I hope you don't mind but I just had to share this post with my family. My family (including me) is overweight. We've all been overweight for years, and I just want them to know, time and time again, that we can do this. I myself have lost over thirty pounds already. Twenty more to go. But it's a long journey and we all need inspiration and motivation. One of the places I come for that is here. Keep up the amazing work, and please don't stop writing.

moonduster said...

Woohoo! No matter how long it has taken, you should be so proud of all you have achieved!

I'd love to feature you on my Super Slimmers blog! (It's in conjunction with my mian one, Skinny Dreaming). 90 pounds is an awesome amount to lose! (And I could post an update when you reach your target weight.) You definitely qualify as a SUPER SLIMMER!!! :) Woohoo!

McCulley's said...

Incredible! Thanks I love how you broke it down for us I think we all get so caught up in the "biggest loser" way of doing it and get discourage when in a month we can only lose two lbs you are awesome!

Anonymous said...

Hey Lyn, I saw this article today and thought of you. You have been such a whiz lately, making potato recipes out of cauliflower that I saw this recipe for cauliflower rice and immediately thought of you! There is a video that shows how it's done but there is also an actual recipe.

Here is the video link:

http://video.about.com/lowcarbdiets/Low-Carb-Cauliflower-Rice.htm

And here is the recipe:

Cut the Low Carb Cauliflower
Next, cut the stalk from around the head of the cauliflower. If you were to boil or steam the cauliflower, cut the florets into similar sized pieces for even cooking.

Cauliflower is great for low carb recipes because it's low in fat and carbs and high in fiber. For this recipe, I will we be grating the cauliflower to use as a substitute for rice. So, cut the florets into large chunks that will fit in the mouth of your food processor.

Process fresh cauliflower until it is the size of rice, either using the plain steel blade or the shredder blade. If you don t have a food processor you could also use a hand-held grater or cut it very finely by hand.
Cook the Low Carb Cauliflower Rice
Place the riced cauliflower into a microwave safe covered dish. Cook in the microwave for 4-5 minutes. You don t need to add any water, just cook it as is. When it's done, you ll have a slightly firm, but tender rice alternative. Add some butter, salt and pepper and serve.

I haven't used it so I can't vouch for it's tastiness but maybe you can try it and tell us how it is :)

Donna B said...

Thanks for the inspiration post - I need to learn PATIENCE!

Joy said...

I just recently stumbled across your blog and I am so glad I did. I have A LOT of weight to lose and your blog is and especially this post is so encouraging!

Floriana said...

I just found your blog today. After checking out a couple of your recipes I read this entry. It's as if you knew I was coming and put a little recap. No, seriously, loved this post, love the recipes, the blog seems to be great. I'll be back to read archives and new stuff soon! Congrats on the weight loss!

GeorgiaBE said...

Lyn: thank you so much for writing this post! Because I've been sitting at the first 10 and the second 10 for 6 months now with no further drop. It makes me crazy...but you've injected a bit of sanity with your post. I have to keep remembering that as long as I'm keeping the weight off, I'm in a good place!

The Captain's Daughter said...

I don't know why I am crying... Well, yes I do, but you don't need to know all of that!

Let me just say that your story has touched me many time in the past two years since I found you, but no more so than today with this post.

You are so amazing. You probably have no idea... But I hope you do.

Cynthia said...

So glad you posted this. I am proud that I have kept the first 20 pounds I lost off for almost four years, but I SO need to keep going. My bad right knee tells me that every day.

Greek Girl from Queens said...

Another incredible, powerful, honest and courageous blog entry - one I've read at least three times so far, letting the words and thoughts truly sink in to my heart and mind.

It's taken me three years to lose 75 pounds, and, like you, I want to keep going until I'm slightly under my WW goal weight - which will be another...yes...the dreaded 10 more pounds. But I will get there - all it takes is the mindset, the determination, and patience - that comes with time.

Thanks for another excellent, motivating and inspiring post, Lyn.