Fact: Most people start fitness and nutritional journeys in order to lose weight. That is 100% why I started.
Fact: If you make healthier choices consistently and add more exercise consistently to your sedentary lifestyle, you will lose weight.
FALSE: THIN automatically = Healthy
Let’s talk about this. As I mentioned in a previous post, I had an eating disorder in high school – I was at my worst Senior year. In my head, I was obese – fat – disgusting.
Below is a picture of me in my senior year of high school:
That girl is NOT fat.
But I HATED myself. I would restrict food, and if I had to eat because I was with friends and family, I would quickly find a way to throw up everything I ate. I thought I had to weigh 120lbs and be a size 2. For some reason, that is what was in my head.
Even through all my eating disorder, I think the lowest I got to was 140 lbs. Was I thin? Sure. Was I healthy? Not at ALL. I was starving, I was stressed, I was also over involved – between school, singing groups, community theatre, horse shows and just being a teenager – mentally, I couldn’t handle it. I felt completely out of control. So I latched onto the one thing I could control : How much I ate.
The schedule I had would make anybody tired. I was consuming less than 200 calories a day for about 10 months. I OBSESSED over the scale. I was EXHAUSTED. And yet, every tenth of a pound lost was a victory. If I gained a tenth of a pound? It was the end of the world, and I would restrict even further.
Eventually, my mom caught me. And I went to therapy. And I did stop purging. I didn’t, however, really address my body image issues.
Many times throughout the rest of my life, I would revert – if only for a short time – back to the old binge and purge. This was one of the biggest topics discussed in my pre-weight-loss surgery psychologist sessions. What would prevent me from starting this cycle again? I had to go through a LOT of therapy, and talk a LOT of issues out in order to heal – but I worked through it, and was finally approved for the surgery.
Directly after weight loss surgery, I lost a ton of weight. 13 pounds in the first week. Such an incredible feeling. As time goes by, that weight-loss will inevitably slow down. The first 40ish pounds went super fast. I checked in with my doctor at least once a month for the first six months, then again at 9 months, and then at 1 year. One year post weight loss surgery, I had lost about 80 pounds. At my 18 month appointment, I had officially lost 100 pounds. But I started to get upset – That meant I had only lost 20 pounds in six months, and I felt like that wasn’t enough. My goal was to be half my size by 18 months, and I had failed.
(I get that this sounds ridiculous. I hadn’t failed ANYTHING – I was now just above 170 pounds – a HUNDRED POUNDS WERE GONE – but old habits die hard.)
I started obsessing over the scale. I wanted so desperately to lose 35 more pounds. Some days, I would get on the scale 7 or 8 times. Then one day, the battery died in the digital scale. Instead of replacing it, I threw the scale away. I reminded myself that I was on a journey to get HEALTHY – not THIN.
Without the scale, I felt free. I continued my running, I made healthy choices, but I didn’t obsess over a number. I pushed myself harder as my training demanded, getting ready for my half marathon. I stuck strictly to the dietary guidelines set for me. Slowly, my pants got looser. I started to see more definition in my calves and my arms.
In February of this year, 2017, I went for my 2 year checkup with my weight-loss surgeon. We talked about my physical success, and the upcoming half marathon. Then I got on the scale – and I was just under 135 pounds. I had lost more than half of my physical self. I was physically stronger and in better shape than EVER before. The number on the scale was a BONUS, and no longer the goal.
I don’t think I will own a scale ever again. The number on the scale does not measure health. It’s just a number.
This is me in January -Healthier than I have ever been in my life. And far from fat. But I know that without looking at the scale.