Update: Progress doesn’t always show on the scale!

November 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

quote-dont-give-up

 

Hey Everyone!! I thought I would give a basic update on my progress in a few different areas.

The biggest thing people generally want to know is where I am in my weight loss.  So here’s the update.  The most weight I have lost since I started this journey is still 240 pounds.  The lowest number that I have weighed since starting this was 177 pounds.  I gained back 60 pounds of that weight over an extended period of time due to a number of factors which include (quitting exercise, eating sugar again, drinking alcohol, depression/anxiety) and all of those things  led me to slowly creep back up to around 237-240 pounds.  That is where I’ve been stuck now for the past 5 months.  The bad news is that I still remain around that weight with no significant weight loss with the exception of a circular pattern of gaining and losing the same 10 pounds repeatedly.

The good news is that I stopped gaining.  This is not any small feat for me by the way.  While we often only pay attention to LOSSES on the scale, there is something extremely significant to be said for being able to maintain a weight. ANY WEIGHT.  Especially if you are a compulsive overeater or binge eater.  No one goes around generally handing out applause or medals to people that manage to maintain a weight that is still in the category of “obese” but let me just tell you that they probably should.  There are a lot of people walking around that are 100 pounds overweight for a really long time.  And the fact that they remain 100 pounds overweight is STILL a victory for them because it’s not 200 or 300 or 400 pounds overweight.  Maybe few people understand this but trust me.  Not continuing to gain weight is in and of itself a success for many of us.  So while I haven’t been able to lose weight in awhile, the very fact that I was able to stop the weight gain-train from continuing to barrel down the tracks is still an accomplishment.  Regaining 60 pounds is not a good thing but it still remains a victory that I ONLY gained back 60 pounds.  Not only that the regain happened slowly  over the course of a year.   That for ME is slow.  For a lot of people to gain 60 pounds in a year is a big deal.  I could probably gain that in a month EASY.  So trust me—it’s a big deal for me to have gained it in what I consider a slow manner.

I have a history of gaining extreme amounts of weight quickly so this is at least some kind of progress in my mind.  You have to find the positive in things, right?!  It’s not good but it is still a somewhat positive shift in my lifelong behavior patterns of overeating and weight gain.  The better news is that I am now finally  making progress.  I have been trying for a VERY long time to get control and make progress again.  Even during the period of regain while it did not appear that I was trying—I was. Yes I was exhibiting behaviors that were continuing to wreak havoc and throw me off course.  But it wasn’t from lack of trying.  It wasn’t from not caring or some lack of desire to improve the situation.   I just couldn’t seem to get a grip.  I want to emphasize that this is something many people in society with the exception of those who experience it personally do not understand.  They often see people who are overweight or extremely obese and they wonder why they don’t do something about it.  Why they don’t care! This is so far from the truth that it bears repeating.  People often care VERY MUCH in the deepest and worst moments.  They might be at their lowest point.  Their behavior might be completely out of control.  Their eating might be the worst it has ever been.  And yet even THEN we care.  We just can’t seem to stop it.  I say this because I want people to know that even when it looks like someone isn’t trying they probably are.  Their actions and behavior might be completely opposite of what looks like trying but it doesn’t mean they don’t care.

So I am happy to say that I am finally making progress after a year or so of repeatedly trying to pull it together.  My progress has not shown up on the scale yet but I know for a fact that it WILL in the very near future if I just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  We must remember at times to measure our progress in other ways than the scale or even the tape measure.  You may not see it in pounds lost or inches lost at times.  But if your ACTIONS are moving in the right direction then you can know that progress is happening.

Since my progress has not shown up on the scale just yet, I am measuring my progress in other ways.

This is how I know that I am making true progress:

#1 EXERCISE

Thanks to the 5 Day Streaks and Starting Small, I have  exercised consistently 5 days a week for the past month.  That is an entire month of consistent exercise.  A goal that  I have not been able to achieve in probably a year.  Not only am I actually exercising daily but I am now enjoying it.  I have achieved peace with exercise over the past month in a way that I have not felt in a long time.  I am feeling the mental and physical benefits of it.  I have settled into it now and it is no way feeling like a chore.  I see only progress in my future in this area which for me is a very big deal.  This week’s plan is to continue to exercise 30 minutes every morning 5 days a week.  I am not going to go by miles but rather by time.  I feel no need to increase my time at the moment but some days I go longer than 30 minutes.  I may go between 30 minutes to one hour depending.  I am finding that this is working for me so I will just keep doing it.  Due to the weather, I am walking/jogging inside by literally doing circles in the basement or around the living room and kitchen OR doing one of my many Leslie Sansone videos.  I actually get a lot more exercise than this because every afternoon I am now going outside with my son, CJ, to throw the football around.  Playing football with my son is something I could never have done before.  I’m far from ‘good’ at it but I am out there!! This is definitely helping to keep me moving.

#2—FOOD:

My food is improving.  I am beginning to feel a lot more control.  This week I will continue with working on doing protein shakes for the most part during the day and eating a low carb meal at night.  I am getting closer and closer to my sugar detox plan that has worked for me always in the past.  It is just a matter of getting more and more strict with myself in that area.  Slowly but surely I am getting there.

#3—ALCOHOL

As I’ve mentioned numerous times over the past 2.5 years, I find it extremely easy to replace food with alcohol.  For anyone who gives up binge eating that is a major risk.  I cannot tell you how serious the statistics are when they show you how prevalent this is in the weight loss surgery circles.  It is the same for anyone who gives up some form of addiction whether they have had  surgery or not.  It is a well known fact that many people who quit drinking end up gaining weight.  That is because they are replacing alcohol with food. Many binge eaters or compulsive overeaters who give up emotional eating end up  turning to alcohol.  People who never smoked a day in their life often give up alcohol or food and now they’re smokers.  It’s just one big crazy train!!  It really is!! You drop one vice and pick up another.  It’s like a ridiculous game of whack a mole.  You get rid of one problem and another one rears its ugly head.  Sometimes you just want to throw your hands up in the air and give up because it’s seriously ANNOYING.  I mean really!  Can a person get a break already??  It often feels like you go lock the back door only to find the burglar came in through the front.  You nail both doors shut and the darn jerk crawls in through a window.  Give me a break!

While I do not believe that alcohol is a primary issue for me, it certainly can be one if I let it.  I had developed a nasty habit of wanting to drink alcohol on a regular basis.  I would say that a week has not gone by in probably 2 years that I have not had something to drink on a weekly basis.  It might have been only once a week (who am I fooling….it was more) but it was still always there. For some people this might not be a big deal as many people have a glass of wine or two on a weekly basis. For me, even that was becoming a major problem with weight loss.  I began to look forward to happy hour with friends way too much.  Even if I only went once a week, I looked forward to it like it was the best thing in the world.  I looked forward to it the way I used to look forward to a binge. Plan for it.  Fantasize about it.  And count down the minutes for it.  I mean it’s great to enjoy yourself but when you begin to look forward to something that much it could be a problem.  Especially when you are using it for stress relief or a way to control anxiety and depression.  Especially when it becomes the primary way you feel happy.  For me, it was becoming yet another idol that was gaining more importance than God in my life.  At times I have found both food and alcohol to be more important to me than my relationship with God.  And when that happens—we’ve got a problem!

The sugar in alcohol was messing with me.  The cravings were constantly there for food as a result.  I couldn’t lose weight and still have that in my regimen.  And it was also becoming too much of a crutch.   As I mentioned, I moved here in many ways to try and see if that would help me in this area.  And it has.  IMMENSELY.  But it did not happen overnight. I have been here since June and it is now November.  It took me THAT long to give it up.  However, it has been over a month now since I have had a drop of alcohol.  Not even one glass of wine.  I would also like to point out that this progress coincides with the exact amount of time since I started exercising again.  When I started my 5 day streak, the only goal I set was to walk a half mile every day for 5 days.  That was all.  I did not set a goal to improve in the area of food or to give up my weekly Friday evening wine.  And yet that is exactly what happened.  I have literally made a concerted effort to cut that out for so long it’s ridiculous.  Simply walking half a mile every morning put something in motion that cannot be denied.  That one goal has seeped into other areas of my life.  And all thanks to Allen’s dog pinging my phone a few times a day to say get up and go for a walk!

 

So am I losing weight yet? NOPE.  But am I making progress.  You better believe it.  And I will not let the scale screw with that realization.

So there’s my update.  I hope you are doing well.  Let’s keep climbing!  We’ll get there!

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

LuckyMama November 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Good post! By my estimate, I have a total of 120 to lose. I’ve lost 40, but have been in a holding pa Ittern for the last 5 months, gaining/losing the same 5 pounds. Hmmmm…sounds familiar!

It’s been quite frustrating tht the scale is not going down, but I’ve come to realize that being able to maintain without giving it all up and gaining it all back IS a success in itself.

I’m up north in MD and I lived in TX for a long time. Miss TX, but love the weather here.

Good luck!

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LHA November 10, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Great post! What you say is so true and it applies to anyone seeking to lose weight and keep it off. As the veteran of decades of dieting I can attest that keeping weight off, or the act of stopping gaining weight, is MUCH harder than losing it in the first place. I have been in a holding pattern for a few months now and I appreciate reading this today. It is down a few pounds and then back up a few pounds over and over. However, I do need to remind myself that not gaining back all the weight I lost a few years ago is a victory in itself. Good luck with the scale, and keep up the hard work you are doing in other areas. I agree with you that the scale will follow in due time!

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Jamie L November 10, 2014 at 6:22 pm

This was the perfect post for me right now! I have lost about 40 pounds since June. But I haven’t lost any weight in about a month…but I haven’t gained any either, and that is progress for me! Going up and down constantly on the scale was a crazy pattern I was going through since college. The fact that I can stay around the same 2-3 lbs is, frankly, amazing. It gives me hope that once I am at my goal weight, I can stay there.

So congrats on your progress! I am right there with ya. Thank you for your inspirational posts and I enjoy reading them!

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Lori November 10, 2014 at 6:47 pm

We put way too much emphasis on what the scales say sometimes. What happens between the ears is much more important. Changes have to happen inside before they will be sustainable on the outside.
Lori
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Chris November 10, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Love your posts, they give me hope, courage and most importantly the strenght to try each day. I have been trying to lose the last 40 lbs. for almost a year now. I have already lost 40 but still need to drop the last 40 to finish what i started. I can so relate with feelings with alcohol, I quit drinking almost 2 years ago.. best thing I could ever do for me. I was never a drinker..ever, then boom after so much sudden stress in my life I started drinking once or twice a week to just relax take the edge off. Before I knew it I developed a full blown drinking problem, and instead of taking the edge off my stress level it made things worse. Also I started smoking again after quitting for 15 years prior.. another goal of mine is to re-quit again. But one major hurdle at a time. The drinking is what put on the extra 80 lbs. which now I’m trying to lose and started me smoking again ( such a nasty habit I know). I am so proud of your choice not to drink even if it was only social drinking. And I am so proud of you for the weight you have lost. Exercise was a daily thing for me, I was walking 3-5 miles a day and even did 2 walk-athons this year for charity. One for a church group and the other for diabetes research. I loved doing both, they were the highlight of my summer. Because I have Lupus, RA and fighting a double ear infection, my exercise is put on hold till I’m feeling better. You are such a positive person, and I look forward to reading your posts. Thank You and God Bless.

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Calleigh November 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm

Wonderful post Holly. Seek progress, not perfection, it’s something I have to remind myself often. The scale likes to lie and yet it’s so hard to not be controlled by the number it shows us. It’s taken me a long time to learn to use the scale simply as a guide, not the be all and end all of my weightloss journey. Keep going Holly, slow and steady!
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Holly November 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm

This post (and Sunday’s post!) was so good for my heart. I am not seeing much progress on the scale these days and have been getting down about it. I tend to have problems with “all or nothing” thinking and see my options as lose weight or do what I am doing now- gaining and losing the same 6 or 7 pounds into eternity! It’s easy for me to forget that like you, I am capable of gaining a staggering amount of weight in just a short period of time. I have to learn to reframe my thinking and remember that sometimes, maintaining IS the best possible option for the time being. Not a waste of time… just saving myself so that when I do feel capable and energized, I’ll be able to start where I am instead of 100 pounds heavier. Thanks so much for this blog. I know your encouraging words are reaching many people in dire need of help!

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John (Daddy Runs a Lot) November 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Ok – our low weights are within 2 pounds of one-another (I weighed 179 in June of 2004, before slowly putting on weight to end up 256 in January of 2013). Between those dates, however, I was almost entirely ignorant of my actual weight . . . I grew OBSESSED with the number, changing things, daily, if the number moved the wrong way from one day to the next. Basically, I think I was as unhealthy about eating, then, as I was when I was eating whatever.

Of course, in ignoring the scale I went back to eating whatever…..

Ultimately, non-scale-victories FAR exceed anything the scale might show. While I do weigh myself, daily, at present (I get a benefit from my health insurance deductible if I log my weight, every day, in an app, though there isn’t anything that actually checks my accuracy/integrity in doing so), I care much more about the number of push-ups/pull-ups/squats I can do and the size of the pants I might fit in.

Also? My weight has been jumping in HUGE leaps lately . . . 188 one day, 193 the next, then 195, then 190, back to 192 today. All that said, I think I’ve been really consistent, so, never put too much thought into what the scale says.
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