01 October 2010

Thoughts on weight and weight loss, and happy surprises

Most of my life, I've been overweight.  It's a fact of life that I've accepted.  When I was younger, it wasn't as much of a problem because I wasn't terribly overweight and even if I was, I was relatively healthy.  As I got older, I got heavier and less healthy.  My weight has caused a lot of problems with my health.  I had back surgery, in part because of the weight stress on my spine (I had herniated discs).  I've had asthma, which has gotten worse because of my weight.  I seem to find more aches and pains every day, finding things that used to work fine refuse to any longer.

For the longest time, I wavered within a 20 pound range between 200 and 220.  I even stayed the same weight when I had was pregnant with Teddy.  After I had him, though, my weight went up so that my norm was 240.  I stayed that weight through my pregnancy with Pete.  And then, once again, I ballooned up.  For a long time, I was afraid to get on the scale.  I didn't even want to go to the doctor, because I knew she'd be disappointed.  And I tried to put the weight that she told me out of my mind because I hated to think of myself as that fat.  I mean, my 22s were getting a little snug, but so what?  Maybe they were shrinking.

My sister-in-law started our family on a Biggest Loser Challenge in mid-September.  It's supposed to go until mid-December.  My first week, I lost about a pound and a half.  And then this week, I gained it back.  I blame this week's slide on the fact that we ate out a lot this past week, plus we had Pete's 2nd birthday party so there was cake.  I've been trying to keep track of my eating and exercising on SparkPeople, as well as really getting involved in some of the groups there.  At the moment, I'm in another challenge - a 31 day challenge for a group of us in Nashville.  I WANT to lose the weight.   But, for all that I tried to convince myself of the contrary, the fact that I gained instead of lost this past week really had me down.

Until I went to my Health website.  My doctor's office (which is part of Vanderbilt Medical Center) has an online site for patients called "My Health at Vanderbilt".  You can log in and see previous or upcoming appointments, message your doctor, find out information about health issues you may be concerned about and look at past labs/vitals/reports/etc.  I had logged in to e-mail my doctor about getting my flu shot done when I have my physical next month.   While I was there, I thought I'd take a look at my chart.  I suspected that my previous weight would be there and I felt that I had to find out what my heaviest had been.

The first surprise was the depressing one.  At my heaviest, I was 272 pounds.  Closer to 300 than 200 by a far margin.  I thought for sure it had been 10 to 15 pounds lighter than that.   But no, there it was in black and white. 272 pounds last January.  There was another weigh in in May, and that came in at 254, but I didn't pay much attention to that.

What I did realize, soon after, was the happy surprise.  In 9 months, I've lost over 30 pounds.  That's more than Pete weighs!  And I lost it without intentionally trying to.  It floors me that it happened, though it shouldn't completely.  When I was in HS, I lost about 20 pounds the same way.  But that was HS.  I had a higher metabolism then.  Now I'm edging closer to 40.  It's supposed to be harder.

The next thought that occurred to me was that if I could do this without intending to, just how much can I do with trying to eat right and exercise?  Will I be closer to 200 by my birthday?  Will I possibly be able to reach my 150 pound goal by this time next year?

It's given me the drive I need to continue to try.  No more stopping for fat food.  Eating in moderation.  And remembering how good exercise feels.  Because it can, and will, pay off.

Tonight is a much brighter night for me because of that.