Monday, July 31, 2017

Eight Things I’ve Discovered (So Far) During This Weight Loss Quest

Three hundred and sixty five days ago, I set out on a weight loss quest.  Three hundred sixty five days of trial and error, fifty-two weeks of establishing new habits, twelve months of learning and relearning.  Relearning?  Yes.  You see, this isn't my first weight loss rodeo, I've been here many times before, more times that I care to recall.  However, I've discovered that with each quest, there are always new things to be learned.  Here are eight things I've discovered so far this time around.

Comments About My Weight Loss Got Old After Awhile

In the beginning, I remember how thrilled I was when someone would ask if I was losing weight or if someone simply commented on how they could tell I had lost weight. It was much needed positive verbal reinforcement that really helped me out in the beginning when I was still trying to establish good habits. After awhile, though, and I’m not exactly sure when it happened, the comments started to get old.

Cold Intolerance May Be My New Normal

Historically, I’ve always been hot natured.  In winters past, it was not uncommon for me to wear shorts around the house and to rarely wear socks, even when the thermostat was set on a cool 65 degrees.  Because my room at work shares a thermostat with the room next door, my work shirts are primarily short sleeved polos.  If I wore long sleeves, being as hot natured as I used to be, I needed the thermostat kept at a lower temperature which in turn froze not only my neighbors but also my roommate.

When you lose weight, you essentially lose insulation.  This past winter, I turned into "that" person in the group who is freezing all time, which is a completely new and strange phenomenon to experience.  This phenomenon continued through the spring and even this summer.  It's not uncommon to find me wearing long sleeve t-shirts in my house and to carry a lightweight jacket in to the movie theater.

Plateaus Are Inevitable

I have heard about the dreaded, inevitable plateau for years.  In all my previous weight loss attempts, I never hit a plateau.  This time around, I haven't been as fortunate.  Younger gals - listen up!  Enjoy your metabolism while you're in your 20s and 30s!  I have been struggling with a plateau since April.

I Shed More Hair

I've always been a shedder,  but in December I started noticing that I was collecting substantially more loose hairs in the shower than I had been in previous months.  This continued all through the winter and spring, finally subsiding (hallelujah!) in June.

Despite my “taking it slow” with my weight loss, and by that I mean trying to only lose 1.5 pounds a week at the most, apparently my body sensed the calorie reduction and quit sending nutrients to my hair follicles.  Although this condition is temporary, it is still a bit shocking.  Dealing with the regrowth is also quite fun.

The Changes are Not Always Easily Seen in the Mirror

Since August 1, 2016, I've lost 38 pounds.  I’ve gone from a size 18W to a 16 in jeans.  I went through all the holes in the belt I started out with and have gone to a completely different, smaller belt.  I put on shirts that used to cling to me only to discover that they now look like tents on me.

I know that I'm lighter, I know that I'm smaller. But, I must admit, there are days in which I look in the mirror and I just don't see it.  I still see the image of how I was a year ago.  I've often heard that it takes a our mind's eye a while to catch up with the reality of a smaller figure and I do believe it's true.

My Body Shape May Not Change

When I started losing weight back in August, I had a thick waist, a muffin top, large breasts, not much of a butt, and my thighs touched.  I’m now almost 40 pounds lighter.  My waist is not as thick as it was, but it’s still thick.  I still have a muffin top.  My breasts are smaller, but they are still substantial.  My butt is practically non-existent and my yes, my friendly thighs, despite being smaller, are still touching.  What can I say?  They are very close friends…

I'm not finished with my quest, so my body shape may change in time.  But, at the present, the shape has not changed, it's only smaller.

Loved Ones May Be Accidental Saboteurs 

Whenever we set out to change ourselves for the better, we hope that the people we surround ourselves with will be on board and be supportive of us. Sadly, this isn't always the case and, as I found out, sometimes it's by accident.

My husband and I are both overweight and for many years, we were each other's partner in crime when it came to debaucherous eating.  Last August, he and I had to have a long talk about how things, specifically how some of his actions (i.e. baking my favorite kind of cake at 8:00pm on on a Thursday night) were crippling my weight loss efforts.  Over the course of several months of heated discussions, we realized that he tends to express love through food and specifically feeding those he loves.  

Although his intentions were good, I was at a point where I was viewing his actions as sabotage and it was affecting our relationship.  We had to discuss how, as I changed my eating habits, that our relationship was going to change, too.  No longer could I be a partner in debaucherous eating.  He had to  learn to be more mindful of his actions.  

Commitment to the Process, Not the Goal, is the Most Important Thing

When I started losing weight last year, I had a very specific goal in mind, a number that I wanted to reach before a certain date.  I wanted to lose 50 pounds in a year.  Throughout the fall, winter, and spring, I also set mini goals, each stating the amount of weight I wished to have lost by particular incremental dates. 

I didn't meet any of the mini goals by the dates I determined and, as of this writing, I have not met the goals of losing 40 and subsequently, 50 pounds either.  As I mentioned before, I am stuck at 38.

To be perfectly honest, this has bummed out a lot.  Despite the success I've had, despite the non-scale victories I've achieved, I have beat myself up on several occasions because the number on the scale didn't match the number I wanted to be by a predetermined date on the calendar.  

After my interesting experience of walking 203 miles in 29 days and not losing a single pound, I decided that I needed to chill out.  Around the same time, a friend of mine from high school, who has been experiencing her own kind of renaissance the past eighteen months, posted a picture of herself doing a badass yoga pose.  Her caption was simple:  commit to the process, not the goal.  That post really made me rethink my entire approach to this weight loss quest.  It reminded me of why I started this in the first place - to get to a size/weight that allowed me to do the things I wanted to do, essentially getting my life back.  

By focusing on the process, I solidify the lifestyle changes I have made and continue to make, which is more important in the long term.  As I begin the second year of this quest, this has become my mantra.  

As for goal setting, well, let's just say this - yes, I still make them, but they are more process based than goal based.  My summer goal is to be lighter on the first day of autumn than I was the first day of summer.  That is all.

So, there you have it - eight things I've learned so far during this weight loss quest.  I have no doubt that I will learn much more as my quest continues, for that is one of the fundamental lessons of life.  As Einstein once said, "Once you stop learning, you start dying."  

I, for one, am not ready to go just yet.

What's something you've learned during a weight loss journey or some other lifestyle change?

As always, thanks for stopping by!


  1. You've seriously done so well over the past year! It really is a huge process, and that's awesome that you've been able to stick with it!

  2. So important to step out and see overarching lessons and make sure youNre capturing those realizations.

  3. Congrats on the 38 lbs gone!
    I like that mantra - commit to the process, not the goal. That's something I need to work on!


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