Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Well, I have finally lost the 65lbs I set out to. 66lbs lost now, actually. It took me 3 years and 4 months of trying, and just under 3 years of being on Spark, to do it.
Being stuck in bed a lot with a serious illness that slows my metabolism to a stop, and taking a lot of medications that cause weight gain, is what caused the increase in the first place. And since I'm not cured, it's been a journey mostly of adjusting medications, trying to address my hypothyroidism separate from my neurological illness, and using alternating intermittent fasting with food days to get here. I was vegetarian the whole time, and love healthy foods, so there was not much to address with my food - just that I need to be mindful of portion size. I was anorexic for a number of years when I was younger,and then exercise bulimic after that for a few years more, and after I started healing from the eating disorders I never regained my ability to feel hunger, or to feel full. So sometimes I can go all day and not even notice that I haven't eaten, if I'm busy, and other times I will try to eat and then eat huge portions to make up for it. So during this I did have to try to be more conscious of when I eat, and to try to balance the amount so it's not too little or too much.
I miss my muscular body that was full of energy when I was healthy! But I have found that since I have a good chance of being ill the rest of my life (although I still hope cures will be found some day!), my expectations need to change. I am just as exhausted now as I was when I was 66 pounds heavier - but my limbs are lighter to move now at least. I chose a BMI of 21 (and yes, BMI is still BS, but it's still somewhat of a gauge for me to use, along with other measures), because I remembered last time I was at 21 BMI being healthy, athletic, fairly energetic, and NOT eating-disordered. I was not starving myself. I enjoyed the movement I was doing for exercise, and was not going off the deep end with it and missing sleep to aggressively jump rope 1,000 times for a 4th time in a single day, or anything like that. I wasn't counting calories or measuring my food in any way. I just APPRECIATED myself. And I remember being able to wear pretty much anything I wanted to wear. I remembering being a lot happier and more confident at that weight than when I was lost in the eating disorders at a lower BMI.
But it did become evident, as I got closer to this goal and as I have mentioned in other posts, that my weight choice was based on being healthy, and that without muscle mass I look a lot fatter at the same weights. So I did know in the last few months that when I finally got here, I wouldn't be done. I am now going for another 10 lbs, and then will see when I get there if that is the body I feel comfortable in. Possibly I will need to do 15 instead of 10. At 15lbs less, I will be right at that border of what is considered medically underweight, and I really don't want to be underweight!, so I'm really hoping I will like what I see better. It's hard when you can't gain muscle - things don't look as good as a healthy body does.
Now I am that awful term, "skinny fat." I have wider hips, broader shoulders, and a larger ribcage than most women of my height (I'm not that tall), so to an extent I look large no matter how thin I get - which I think is what fueled the eating disorders in the past (aside of course from control issues stemming from an abusive childhood). But because I am not well enough to be very physically active, and this disease prevents normal muscle gain when patients do move, I am a bit bony in some places, with tiny ankles and wrists, and some ribcage now showing, and yet my lower stomach and thighs and under my arms still have a unusually large amount of fat on them. It's weird. BMI of 21 should be great, but I look chunky, and in some angles I actually look overweight. I look like I used to look some 15 pounds heavier, when I had muscle!
I tried on nearly all the clothes in my closet, hoping to celebrate the weight loss and finally feel confident! But, all the smaller clothes made me look fat, and all the larger clothes made me look frumpy. How to dress in a flattering way for an hourglass body with a high body fat percentage? Murg. Nothing fits me right. I'm thinking that if I wear the same clothes at 10lbs thinner, they should look much better on, even without much muscle added. I tried buying new clothes, appropriate for this hot climate... but my god, the shorts they make! Either the legs are all the way down to the knees like an old lady, or they end right under your butt and you can't even bend over without showing your underwear! I've found the same with dresses - way too long and frumpy, or so short they look like a shirt. I'd rather wear pants, but it is too hot here for pants. And I'd like to be able to wear tank tops, but my arms are doing that swinging thing, and I'm not sure I'll ever get them back at this age, since I'm in my late 30s now.
On the plus side, FINALLY, the cellulite that suddenly appeared halfway through this journey is starting to get a bit less. So I might be willing to wear shorts at all... just would like them to at least reach my thighs please! So unsure if I should keep the shorts I bought and just try to be brave that when I am at my new goal they will look good... or scrap that because even
when I am thin I will still look ridiculous at my age wearing shorts designed for 19 year olds?
The other plus is that with less weight, my face looks younger. So maybe if I lose a little more I will look convincingly (from a distance, let's be realistic) like I am in my early 20s, lol! If I go dance in a dark club, maybe they'll never be able to tell the difference, haha! I always had baby face, which I hated, but now I guess it's starting to do me some favors. But god, I wish stockings would come back in style....I can definitely rock jean shorts and black stockings! My butt is not nice enough for the leggings trend, and they are too hot most of the year anyway... But maybe when I hit the new goal my butt will magically look better? I don't know, without a huge amount of weight lifting all the time I don't think it will ever have much shape. The lunges are about as good as I can do...
I guess my problem is the internet. A few lbs ago, I was looking online, trying to figure out what body type I thought was ideal so I would know when to stop. It was hard to find, since my body type is not as common. I finally find a few women with pics up who had what I think I would want, and similar to what I used to have when I was healthy - muscular but not extreme, slim but not appearing underweight. But every single one of them, I scroll down and here are all these comments about how fat they are! Like, really? I'm not even there yet, and THESE women are fat?? Suck. I have a career that involves being in public a lot, and if I go back to it - well, the whole point of this weight loss was to be ready to do so. Which is why I am more concerned about age, although in my own personal values I love older women and think maturity looks hot! But, I don't want to be held back after a long absence from illness by my appearance. Fortunately, most other careers are not so harsh, although they may take your body into account a bit when hiring or deciding wages.
So I guess I'm wondering... do you have to be underweight as a woman to be considered attractive enough to make money in public careers? I don't WANT to be underweight! I want to be healthy, and alive! Society is stupid. I don't want to be all bones and eyelash extensions. Seriously, if you look at the top supermodels and celebrities now, most of them are so thin for their height, and so lacking in muscle mass, I don't even think they're attractive. Even the "curvy" ones are underweight. As an example, Kendall Jenner who is naturally more curvy like I am, is 5'10", reportedly weighs 119lbs which is significantly underweight, and has only a 24 inch waist. But she made the most money for her body over any other model on Earth - nearly US$23mil last year. Bella and Gigi Hadid, who also dominate the internet, at 5'9" and 5'11" tall, are also underweight according to BMI, and again have the 24" waist. The highest paid actresses are also underweight for their height, with the exception of Melissa McCarthy who is very beautiful (and obviously more talented and has a better personality than any of the others I listed), but also not likely to be considered in the most healthy weight range for her height. Or there is Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman, etc, who get the most accolades for roles they have to actually lose weight for. Ugh.
This of course is not to put down naturally skinny women, many of whom I've known in my life - when it is natural it looks gorgeous, because it looks so effortless and healthy, and usually they have some circulation and energy under that skin for all the food they're constantly eating, to contrast with the boniness of their frames. But when people are spending half their lives trying to be less than their body's set point, it looks different - and that's why you need so much makeup and photo filters and all that to try to hide the fact that you're harming yourself.
So for those of us who are average, and trying to be healthy, there is a lot of pressure out there for women to eschew the health and go for an extreme - become underweight (and make more money in most careers), or be overweight and exceptional, such that you get the curvy accolades. Not a lot of reinforcement for staying in the middle.
But I think I want to be in the middle, not go too far one way or the other.
And now that I am getting smaller, I have to be very careful not to get too far into being small. I should look like an adult, not a child. I have to remind myself, that even if I am unhappy not having muscle, it does not give me carte blanche to just keep losing weight. I will have to learn to like what I have. I have always known how to lose weight, but I don't have much experience with maintenance. As I get closer to having to maintain for the rest of my life, I wonder how difficult it will be?
I don't think I'll ever get all the way back up to where I was - it was way too hard to have to lose it all! I don't ever want to have to do that again, or feel the way I felt at those sizes. But I figured I would try for the rest of my life to stay within a certain 10 pound range, barring unforeseen medical issues that prevent that (and considering that probably at some point as I age I will get shorter). And if I get healthier and can regain muscle in the future, I can allow myself to get gain maybe 10 lbs in muscle and just enjoy eating a lot of healthy food and being very active.
Hopefully it won't be hard. I have been losing for over 3 years and have not gained it back yet, so I would think that means I have a decent chance to stay here!
It is harder than I thought though to get down in weight, and like what you see when you get there, It is a lot for the body, and the brain, to adjust to. I had lost weight before, but never more than 30 lbs, so I did not realize how it changes your body when you lose 65 or more lbs, and are older so everything does not just snap right back into place anymore! :)
Still, I did this, 100% on my own and with no help or support, including without any doctors since I have no healthcare. And so considering how ill I am and how many things have gotten in my way, that is a huge accomplishment!
I hope that it has prevented the risk for fibroids, diabetes, etc. and maybe lowered the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Hopefully in the next few months, I can hit my final goal, and then set about finding a plan for maintenance, and to find that happier, easier existence I've been searching for! :)
The constant work of losing weight for 3.5 years in a row really wears on you, so I look forward to being able to STOP someday soon!!!!! I can't even imagine what it will be like to look at my body and say yep, this is what it should be, I am done. But I must be close to getting there.