Reflection has become a major part of my journey. Not only is it important to look forward to successful completion of weight loss and ongoing weight maintenance, but it’s also important to look back at how I’ve gotten to where I am today. I hope to periodically write “Looking Back” posts that cover 12, 6, 3, and 1 month reflections.
This time last year…
…I was far enough along on my journey that people already had difficulty recognizing me. I was flying without an extender, enjoying the unintended consequences of weight loss, like being able to sit in the lecture hall spring-loaded seats, and struggling with the inner voices that were trying to tell me that it’s OK to eat cheesecake. Last year, I climbed Pinnacle Mountain. This year I climbed Pinnacle mountain. What has changed? So much.
I’m not eating any meal replacements. Although I haven’t reached my weight loss goal of 180 pounds, I’m focused much more on my body composition than weight alone. When planning travel, I make sure that my hotel now has a gym. I’m settling into healthy routines that are on a weight sustainability track rather than a weight loss track.
May was a busy month for Needless Pounds — the first time that I had committed to writing “a post a day.” I’ve been in the habit of releasing two posts a day recently. The more I write, the less people seem to read, however. In discussing the blog with folks, I often hear, “I mainly just look at the recipes,” or, “I’m on meal replacements — your posts about exercise are great, but I ignore the ones about real food.” I want to share my story and provide resources. We shall see what that looks like going forward.
6 months ago…
…I started my transition from weight loss into maintenance. The UAMS program does an amazing job with the transition. While you’re on all meal replacements, you learn the behavior modification skills needed to “handle” making better food decisions. Early in the second month of the program, you start shopping for, preparing, and eating fruits and vegetables — “real food.”
It was the experience of being responsible only for one or two food groups and grocery store sections that made that “doable.” Had I gone straight from meal replacements to “Okay — make dinner,” I think I would have failed. Learning about fruits and vegetables, mastering buying, prepping, portioning, and eating them, laid the groundwork for my first meal.
What I’ve come to call a “UAMS Small Meal,” consists of 3 ounces of protein, 1 carbohydrate exchange, 1-2 vegetable exchanges, 1 fat exchange, and maybe a fruit exchange. Its mix and match approach to thinking about meals as nutritional units is very helpful. Focusing on only a single meal and a single snack each day made the transition achievable.
3 months ago…
…I made the leap to 100% conventional foods. I was worried that my weight loss wouldn’t continue, but I was wrong. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to afford healthy foods, but I was wrong. I was worried about a lot of things that never turned out to be problems. I learned that I can do a lot of amazing things if I just tell the negative voices in my head to shut up.
Three months ago I ditched satellite television. It was precipitated by Dish Network raising my pricing $5 per month. If you’ve been paying very careful attention to my posts, you know what a penny pincher I am. Every one of the dollars I’ve saved by dropping pay TV has gone into the surgery fund, which is now 1/3 to its goal. Isn’t that something?
1 month ago…
…I turned 33. I had my gallbladder removed. I grew my Facebook community tremendously. I rediscovered Jell-O. I started a fundraising campaign to help me pay for Belt Lipectomy which has almost reached 1/3 of its own goal. I have been a busy, busy blogger.
My quality of life has increased dramatically. I am so happy to be where I am, and I believe confidently that I will reach my goal of 180 pounds, and I will succeed in weight maintenance under the guidance of the UAMS program staff. That’s the same closing line I used in my original “Looking Back” post from Winter 2012. It still holds true. I’m still here, I’m still on a great trajectory, and I believe that I can reach my goals.
Furthermore, I see the value in sharing my story with the world. People stop me in the halls at work and ask questions. People have seen my piece on the news. I’ve made new friends in other states and even in other countries who are a part of this amazing journey.