A Few Words on Weight Loss

For a long time weight loss has been a pretty defining characteristic of my blog and my life in general.  While this blog (and its former iteration) has never explicitly been a weight loss blog, weight loss has been a primary driving force.  It’s been the underlying motivation behind the blog especially.  And while I’ve never been super focused on weight loss and getting to my goal weight, I’ve decided I need to be even less focused on that number now.

For me my weight loss has never really been about getting to a specific number.  It’s always been more about being healthy than getting that goal weight.  When I seriously started trying to lose weight, it wasn’t because I was upset about a number on a scale. I honestly don’t even know how much I actually weighed when I started.  I think it was about 195lbs, but it might have been more or less.  I don’t think I broke the 200lb mark, but it’s possible.  I started losing weight when I realized I was 25 with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and who knows what else.  I started losing weight to be healthier, and to avoid being on multiple medications before the age of 30.  Yes, I set a goal weight, but ultimately health is what is important to me; I want to have a healthy BMI.  My official Weight Watchers goal weight is 140lbs.  This is the tippy top end of the healthy BMI range for a girl who is 5’3”.

Truth be told, weight loss have been a pretty easy process for me.  It’s been an extremely slow process but relatively easy overall.  There have been moments of frustration, but until recently, I’ve never felt like it’s been a struggle to lose weight.  Looking back on it all, I realize it’s because my focus was never really on the goal weight.  It was (almost) always on establishing those healthy behaviors.

All that said, the last few months have been a huge struggle for me.  In the first half of the year, during the peak of my marathon training and in the couple months following, I went from just under 150lbs, my lowest weight since I started this journey, to 166lbs. higher than where I was when I started Weight Watchers in June 2011.  I couldn’t get it back together post-marathon, and I started to really struggle with weight loss for the first time ever.  The more determined I was to get back to the low weight of 150lbs, the more frustrated I got.  It started to seem like the harder I tried the more I failed.  I spent about a month and a half seeing huge ups and downs on the scale.  I’d be down 3.5lbs one week and the up 2 the next week.  This was at least partially a result of going balls to the wall, unsustainable hard-core for a week followed by a week of being much too relaxed.  I think the fact that I started working with my training and seriously, consistently strength training also impacted my weight loss.

I finally hit a breaking point 5 or 6 weeks ago.  Weight loss truly felt impossibly hard for the first time in my life.  I left my meeting nearly in tears of frustration and ready to say fuck it.  I was sick of the ridiculous ups and downs.  I was sick of gaining weight after having what I thought was a “good” week and losing when I thought I’d fucked it all up.  I was sick of feeling like there was no rhyme or reason to my weight loss.  And most of all, I was sick of how crappy I felt.  Another girl in the meeting and I vowed to both track the whole week that night.  I figured it would be more of the same.  I’d go hard core, track like a champ, lose 2 – 3 lbs, and then fuck it all up the following week.

I did track that week, and I did lose 2.6lbs, but something also shifted in me that night.  I don’t know what it was exactly; I think part of me did give up.  But I gave up in a good way I think.  I gave up on the obsession with getting to a specific number.  I started focusing on the little things again, and I started celebrating the non-scale victories.  I started celebrating the ½ inch I’d lost across the board since I started working with my trainer in July.  I started celebrating the little shadows of ab muscles I could see if I looked real closely at my stomach.  I started celebrating the fact that for the first time in my life I’ve been strength training consistently for more than just a couple weeks.  I started celebrating every time I increased my weights no matter how small of an increase.

And you know what, I’ve started losing again.  It hasn’t been much, less than ½ lb a week, but I’ve lost every week for the last four weeks, and given the last 6 months, that’s a huge accomplishment.  I’m finally back below my Weight Watchers starting weight, but that doesn’t matter to me nearly as much as the fact that since I started with my trainer in July I’ve lost 2lbs of fat and gained 3lbs of muscle.

So for now, I’m done focusing on weight loss.  Yes, I want to get to my goal weight, and I know I will eventually.  I’m not giving up on weight loss; I’m just giving up on the focus on that number.  I’m still going to weigh in every week, but I won’t be posting weigh-ins here anymore.  (Though, feel free to check in with me if you’re curious.)  I don’t care how long it takes me to get to that 141lbs.  (I say that now…) I want to be able to do those 10 push-ups on my (soon to be revised) Mission 101.  I want to be able to comfortably fit into the size 6 jeans I bought back in January again, and I don’t care what the number on the scale is when that happens.

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5 thoughts on “A Few Words on Weight Loss”

  1. You’re lucky I’m still half asleep and able to approach this post as a scientist, rather than a bff fan girl who would pull out the emotional side of this post and discuss that.

    Every single thing you described in this post is scientifically the process of putting on muscle and getting lean and fit. Its also exactly what I went through all summer. So I’m glad you aren’t giving up because this is a 3-6 month wave you just have to ride and after that point, you’re body will just start shredding the weight. And you should be looking at those non-scale victories because they are way more telling of what your body is doing at a time when your body is going through major changes in its chemical design and makeup. Don’t give up, see this through, focus on being as active as you can and you will get there.

    1. I love the scientist!. She sings to my rational, logical side. I’m definitly not giving up! I actually feel better and more confident about losing weight than I have since the beginning of the year.

      I hope this post doesn’t read like it’s coming from a place of desperation and frustration because it’s definitely not. I wrote this out of a moment of clarity and hope I’ve never been one to let the number on the scale ruin my day, and I’ve realized it’s because that number, until recenty, was never the most important thing to me. I don’t think I ever realized it at the time, but the non scale victories and other signs of progress toward health really were what I was looking at to measure my success. Of course I still looked forward those weight loss milestones, and I’ll continue to look forward to and celebrate them, but ultimately I need to remember it’s not the most important thing to me.

  2. Thank you! I needed to hear this. I go through the same ups and downs and am often easily discouraged. I too need to stop focusing on numbers and celebrate the small victories…or any victories!

  3. I’m really glad to hear this stina. I think we all have our ups and downs with this whole weight loss journey. 🙂 proud of all youve accomplished!

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