Friday, September 2, 2016

The Range of Normal

This morning I got on the scale and smiled. The number on the scale, determined by the powers that be, was a number telling me that I am no longer considered overweight. I am now a normal weight for my height. After struggling with my weight for the last ten years when I developed a thyroid problem, this is fantastic. Finally, real progress. From my highest weight, I have lost 41 pounds. This was not easy. It came with ups and downs, some plateaus and a bit of bouncing around but this time, all the way, it has been steady progress. No backsliding. No quitting.
As a person who has spent the majority of her life underweight, having a weight problem is weird for me.
In grade school, I was mocked and teased all the time for being too skinny. I was constantly told to eat (believe me, I ate, I was neither anorexic nor bulimic) Turn sideways and you'll be invisible. A strong wind will blow you away. Have a sandwich. You're a stick. Are you anorexic or what?
I guess I was OR WHAT.
But that was who I was. I was comfortable with her. In spite of was people said about me or how rude they were. I was totally fine with people making fun of me. I understood they were rude and stupid. And it was nothing my real friends would do, so I didn't care. I liked me and I liked who I was. Occasionally, I would kind of wish I was more of a normal weight but for the most part, it was cool, I was good with who I was and what I looked like. I accepted it.
I was the thin girl, the skinny girl. The girl who could have multiple babies and snap back into shape in no time at all. I had a terrible diet. I ate junk food and sweets and probably had an overactive thyroid. I was tired all the time. No energy. The only time I really took care of myself was when I was pregnant or nursing.
In my early thirties I finally gained some weight. Even though I was still considered a normal weight, I was unhappy to not be in the lower range. I guess years of soda drinking had finally caught up to me. Still, it wasn't that bad, I just wasn't comfortable. So I changed my diet and gave up soda and fast food and without too much difficulty I lost about twenty pounds and felt great. I had lots of energy and was eating healthy and feeling great. It changed everything. I became less depressed and was pretty comfortable with who I was. Then, I got pregnant with number five. It was different from all the rest of the pregnancies and I gained a lot of weight. My starting weight was also higher than it was with the rest. So, it was no surprise that after I had the baby, I was pretty big. I wasn't that worried at first. It's the kind of thing that nursing and time and getting more active usually takes care of. And I had already learned how to eat well and keep my body working for me. But nothing worked. So, I joined a gym. I exercised every day averaging two hours a day. I started waitressing again. I lost some weight, things looked good. But I was anxious, tired, frustrated and I couldn't keep the weight off. It kept creeping back. I had to be excessively vigilant and somehow when I had quit smoking, came a vicious sweet tooth that I couldn't keep off me. I felt out of control. I tried all the regular diets. Dr. Oz. South Beach. 17 day diet. I tried trainer and nutritionist recommended diets. I asked my doctor what to do. He tested my thyroid and put me on medication and I thought-- that will be the answer. It will be the end of it. It wasn't.
In all this time, I never overate. My portions were reasonable, though I did have a sweet tooth. That usually consisted of one dessert or one small piece of chocolate. I never binged on anything. This was the way I ate for my whole life and it was never a problem. Sometimes I would get sad and eat more. But never a whole pint of ice cream or an entire pizza or anything crazy like that. Just maybe an extra piece of pie or a second dish of ice cream.
I had no idea what happened to me.
In desperation, I gave up all sweets for two months. I had moderate weight loss. Nothing crazy or great. When my mom got sick, I just gave up trying everything. She needed me and I couldn't focus on myself and I was too sad to even deal with it. But I covered most of this in a different blog.
That is how I got to the place I was.
Here is the thing about this diet. I'm so happy with the lifestyle change that came with it. I just don't much care about being sugar free. It's actually really fine.
I'm happy for having the fat back in my diet and feeling like I am eating really great food.
The thing is, I almost gave up this diet after three weeks. I decided not to weigh myself for five days. I could feel the progress, knew my pants were looser and right out of the gate had lost weight. But after five days I had gained back two pounds. I was really upset. I hadn't done a single thing wrong. No cheating. No varying. I had done all the right things and I had gained weight, anyway. I was ready to just quit. I had been through so many disappointments that I just decided the diet wasn't working and I was failing at it. This was going to be just like all the rest of the diets. Terrible. I started to get depressed. I called my best friend who had been doing this diet for longer and was really getting thin.
She said the best thing. "Push through. It's working. You need to start drinking more water and you'll get rid of that weight. Sometimes your body just takes a minute to reorganize, then you'll start to drop again."
I added about four more glasses of water a day and she was right.
To think I almost gave up. 41 pounds lighter and I almost gave up because of a small setback.
In the last month, I plateaued a little bit. Bounced back and gained some back. I added more activity and drank more water. I pushed through. The scale isn't everything. My clothes continue to get looser. When I exercise, the day after I might weigh a bit more because of inflammation. My body reorganizes and then I have a drop. So, sometimes I go up a little. I push through. I stay the course. I stick to the plan.
I do this because this diet makes me happy and this lifestyle makes me happy. After ten years, I feel that I have a way to finally get rid of the weight that doesn't make me miserable. And I am starting to like the way I look in the mirror. I started this diet nine months ago. It was my new years resolution. The first year I have been able to really keep it when it came to weight loss.
PUSH THROUGH. Don't lose hope. Keep trying. Find your solution. I just don't know if this is right for everyone but it sure is right for me. I'm still quite a few pounds from my ultimate goal but this is my first goal today. To find normal. To know that TODAY I am a normal weight. I am no longer overweight. I am not there any more. That is behind me. Finally. And hopefully, because you never know what the future holds. I learned a lot by going through this. It is humbling. I never made assumptions about people I knew that were overweight but now I really feel that I understand in a whole different light.
I don't know that I am grateful for this experience yet. Perhaps someday I will be. Perhaps not. Life gives you experience whether you want them or not. I just push through.

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