It is Thursday, and I weigh 160 lbs. On Monday, before two days of divorce/weight loss celebration, I hit my long-sought goal of 155 lbs. Thus, I've gained 5 lbs. in three days. Not a good ratio, but at least I know the culprits: namely, complete and purposeful lack of restraint and lack of willpower. The good news? (Yes, there IS good news here, folks...) I CAN fix this. I know because 5 lbs. is NOTHING compared to the 174 I lost. The plan? For the next two weeks, I will continue with my normal routine of eating 1,200 calories, and that weight will come off and get me back to goal. Then, it's on to maintenance, which will consist of a bit of trial and error, though I'm assuming a 1,400 or 1,500 budget will suffice.
Hitting my goal was a bittersweet experience. Yes, of course I was thrilled, almost enough to jump like I just got a new Toyota. (By the way, if anyone would like to update my Corolla, I'd appreciate it. I'm driving a 1997, and things are actually starting to fall off of it.) I cried happy tears when I saw that 155 on the scale. It was something like meeting a movie star in person, and I was totally fan-girling out over it, just like I would if David Blaine or Rob Lowe or even Harrison Ford sauntered into my house for a moment. (Yes, I know Harry's a bit on the elderly side for sauntering these days, but Leia isn't with him anymore, right? I wouldn't ever wanna be the other woman when his wife has The Force...) However, there are some rough sides to hitting a very long-term weight loss goal, and I'm going through them now. I will share them here with you, so that you will be aware of what you might encounter or so that you will be encouraged that your post-goal feelings are normal (well...if you consider me normal in any way, which most don't).
1. Body issues are never-ending.
When I stepped off the scale Monday, I was so happy that I actually leaked some water weight from my face in salty rivers. However, when I walked into my room to get dressed (I always weigh in the buff; far be it from me to accept an ounce from so much as a sock), I glanced in the mirror and realized something. When I was a kid, I had a Little Golden Book called THE SAGGY, BAGGY ELEPHANT. I don't have a trunk, but I feel like that creature now. In areas, my skin looks like the curtains on a Broadway stage, albeit not exactly velvety. I often joke that I could jump rope with what remains of my chest, as the twins were the first things to shrink and now tend to linger a little lower. When I smile, there are deep craters in my face that were not there before, when there was plenty of extra volume to plump them up. I have a bit of a turkey neck issue, which was nicely hidden before by my six chins. The thing we must remember is that we will NEVER be perfect, at least not this side of Glory, where we'll be weightless and angelic. If we could, supermodels wouldn't have to be airbrushed, and plastic surgeons wouldn't have 90 bags of expensive golf clubs and 22 sports cars to drive. All things considered, I'd rather have a little bat wing action poking out of my Size 8 tank-top than the muffin-top action protruding lumpily from my former Size 28 t-shirt.
2. Your body will not put up with nonsense anymore.
I cannot even begin to estimate how many calories I ingested Monday and Tuesday. We had a potato-themed day for reasons I cannot explain here, but we also ate chocolate and cake and pizza rolls and leftover Easter candy, and every encounter with my hot boyfriend that day involved slathering him with naughty things like whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Sure, it all tasted good, but my body was not a fan. With all the fury of a basic training drill sergeant, it barked at me with headaches and nausea that lasted for the entire 48 hours of partying hearty (if you prefer the 1955 idiom) or hardy (if you prefer the 1977 idiom. I'm an editor and get paid to know these nerdy word/phrase origins, folks. "I'll take Useless Language Facts for $1,000, Alex...") The headache was the worst, as not even an illegal dose of ibuprofen did anything to touch it, nor did countless dates with my steamy, dreamy, creamy boyfriend, who usually gets rid of a headache right quick. It felt like a monster truck rally was happening behind my left temple, but it was really just a big ol' "NOPE!" from Autie's bod. This NEVER happened when I was a Fatty McFatterson. Back then, I could gulp down several extra extra value meals and wash it down with a trough of Coke, without so much as an ache or pain. Nowadays, one visit to Arby's for a small order of tater cakes and a Jr. Roast Beef with horsey sauce had me ready to sacrifice my lunch to the Porcelain God. I am grateful for this, because it will help me stay in line in the future.
3. Closure is freaking scary.
I have been through a LOT of closure over the last few months. We had to lay both my parents to rest in 2015, just five months apart, which was not a hurdle I wanted to jump. My husband left in 2013, but all throughout the following two years, I had to dig through Ohio Revised Code, fill out countless forms, research countless laws, deal with unhelpful court personnel, and save up countless dollars to finalize that divorce, so that marriage and the divorce hung over me like a London fog for a long, long time, constantly invading my thoughts and my to-do list. Then, amidst that all, there was my weight loss, constantly at the forefront of my head. As difficult as all this was, it became my routine. These quests became my companions, my what-I-do, my everyday rituals. They were my projects, my motivations, as tedious as they were at times. As of Monday, those projects were done. I envision it like a crime case being finalized and put in one of those file boxes and stashed in a RAIDERS-OF-THE-LOST-ARK-esque warehouse. I am a believer in God (yes, Christian girls can have crushes on street magicians and speak of low-hanging mammaries and personified Coffee innuendos. God's not dead, and neither are we, folks.) Because I believe in God, I believe wholeheartedly that He opens and closes doors for us but also that He sometimes has to shove us back through a door we never should have walked through in the first place, like my marriage and my gluttony. The trouble is that once we are pushed back out those doors, we find ourselves standing in a hallway, waiting to see what other doors will open and wondering what lies beyond them. That is where I am now, and it scares me. There was something comforting about those journeys I was on, as difficult as they were at times. They became my everyday companions, and now it feels as if they have died or broken up with me, leaving big question marks in their place, a what-now kind of emptiness. Reaching any big goal and stamping that "FINAL DECREE" on it is scary, and weight loss is no different. The good news here is this: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's...WIN! (Who needs emo 90s lyrics anyway? Let's be more positive about this, my friends.)
4. There...and never back again.
Sure, I've meandered back behind my goal line in the last few days, but this will not become a trend, as comfortable as that old journey is. After all, I'm not a hobbit, and I have no desire to be there and back again. (At least I don't think I'm a hobbit, as my feet aren't too furry, though I admittedly avoid razors till sandal season, especially now that I'm single again and don't have to worry too much about looking like a saggy, baggy sasquatch in my birthday suit.) When I hop back behind the goal line, I will use Spark and eat 1,200 calories. When I am in the end zone, I will use Spark and eat between 1,400-1,500 to maintain. It's that simple. On my celebratory day Monday, my sister gave me a ring with Jeremiah 29:11 on it. It reminds me that there is a plan and a purpose for me, and part of that is being healthier and happier always. I can't do that at 329 lbs. So, whenever I'm compelled to go on an extra value meal binge, I will glance at that ring on my finger, cry out, "I will not fail you, my precious," and do my best not to become Bilbo Baggins.
People tend to think weight loss is all about the physical, but I can tell you that the greatest majority of it has to do with the mind and the emotions. I have been feeling so strange this week, after so much closure, and I am scared and excited all at once. It is the end of a chapter but the beginning of a new novel, and that, my friends, is the one story that is the same for all of us!