Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dem Bones

Hello again.

I hope I didn't leave everyone panting in anticipation of a wondrous and insightful blog posting.

[Ok, if I'm going to be honest, and I'm always honest (well, unless you ask me if you look good in yellow because no one does, ok?), I was. Hoping, that is. I always like to think of my readers as at least a little bit impressed with my writing... ]

That being said, I'm not sure I have any earth shattering insight this week. Well, not for anyone else.

I've been happy this week.

Pretty much unreservedly happy.

It's not a state I'm well accustomed to walking about in. Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I have a bad tendency to both attract and borrow trouble. As if one thing weren't enough. If something's not going wrong, I start wondering when something will. In the hour of the wolf, I find myself mentally rehearsing worst-case scenarios. I plan what I'll say to Thomas's mother, should Thomas get into a car accident and die on the way home from work. I hold long, imaginary conversations in which I explain to my father that his only grandchild has died. Or gotten cancer. I have protracted and totally fabricated arguments with Thomas when I discover he has been cheating on me.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. -- Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen), Baz Luhrman

Good advice. If I can ever figure out how to do it, I'll let you know.

But this week has been a strange sort of quiet in my mental landscape.

I haven't been entertaining myself in my normal macabre fashion and envisioning disasters. I haven't been stressed out about my weight loss. I haven't been looking around when Thomas and I go for walks, wondering who's thinking "My god, she really let herself go."

(This being my most recent paranoia. Thomas is very close to his goal weight, like less than 18 pounds away, and he looks fantastic. And I... have between 33 and 44 more pounds to lose, depending on where I decide I'm happy with my goal weight. So I still look fat. And with the pre-schooler and walking around, I'm just positive that complete strangers probably think that Thomas is a good husband and concerned for his fat wife's health and dragging me out to get some exercise. And it's not that way at all, and I get so angry about what I imagine people are thinking... stupid stupid stupid. But there it is.)

Maybe it was the doctor. Splan looked at my charts and my bloodwork. He asked about my weight loss and my goals. And he said, "Well, you look great. Very healthy. I don't see any reason why you shouldn't be able to easily make it to 125." He gave me an emergency inhaler, over a week ago, in case I needed it. I've used it three times, for vague tightenings in my chest. But not since Sunday. I really feel healthy. And that's a strange thing for me.

I mean, I've known my asthma was getting better, but I still thought of myself as being ill. It's been part of my self-identity for so long. "I'm a severe asthmatic." If you asked me to define myself, it would have been on the list. I don't think I can even find the words to tell you how strange and wonderful it feels to be able to draw a strike through.

I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am a writer.
I am a severe asthmatic.
I am a dreamer.
I am a snarky babe.

Maybe it was Tuesday. I do the laundry every other week by packing it all up and taking it to the laundrymat. The same girl, Bonnie, is working there every week. She's a tiny little thing, with bleach blonde hair and a ready smile. I usually wave to her when I come in, and then I load the washers and go walk around the parkinglot, come back, load the dryers, and then walk some more. It gives me something to do and I like the alone time. This week, while I was taking my clothes out of the dryer and sorting them into baskets, she came over to me.

"Have you lost a lot of weight?" she asks.

"Hmm? Yeah," I said, tossing a t-shirt into the blue basket.

"I can tell. Your clothes are smaller." I find this deliciously funny, since she is the laundry girl, that what she noticed were my clothes.

"Thank you. About fifty pounds now."

"You look great. Your skin is just beautiful, too... very radiant."

Who would have thought the girl I see twice a month would even remember me, much less notice that I'd lost weight?

Or maybe it was yesterday. The UPS guy knocked on the door and asked me to hold a package for my across the hall neighbor. It's the same UPS guy I've answered the door to for almost four and a half years now.

"Have you been working out?" he asks me as I sign for the package.

Maybe it's just that I've hit a huge goal. Fifty. Pounds.

There's really not that much difference between forty-nine pounds and fifty pounds. One tiny little pound. Sixteen ounces. And yet...

But fifty pounds seems... huge. Mind-boggling. Impressive. And wonderful. And scary. All at the same time.

Maybe it's being merely overweight now, instead of obese.

Maybe it's the somewhat annoying thing that both Thomas and I have discovered recently. We have bones.

I mean, not that we didn't know that, honestly. I've broken enough bones to recognize that they are in there. Somewhere.

But now, they stick out in weird places. Thomas has discovered that he can't slouch over in his chair anymore because it hurts his tailbone. I have trouble sleeping in my normal curled up position because my ribs aren't padded enough. I have collarbones. And a sternum. I knew that thing was there, somewhere, but I haven't felt it in years.

Maybe it's that eight months has passed and I'm still doing this.

If you could have gotten me to answer honestly, in January, what I thought our chances were... I wouldn't have been kind. I would have guessed us at lucky if we managed to lose 35 pounds each by year's end. And that Thomas probably would have given it up as a bad job by April, and me shortly after he did. I don't even know that I wanted to lose the weight, but more that I wanted to be able to say that I tried. I really did, and it didn't work out, and now I'll work on self-acceptance.

But it has worked. And we are doing it. And I feel more comfortable and confident about our ability to keep doing it.

In 8 months:

I have lost 50.8 pounds. I have lost 3 inches from my upper arm. I have lost 11.5 inches from my waist. I have lost eleven inches from my hips. I have lost six inches from my thigh. I have gone from wearing 24s and 3XL shirts to wearing 14s and medium shirts. I have gone from taking $90 worth of medication a month to none. I have gone from sitting in front of the computer absent-mindedly eating 8 or 10 (or 15, or the whole damn bag!) mini twix bars to gaining a horrendous chewing gum habit, and drinking water. I no longer avoid going outdoors. I'm tanned. (And while I know that I probably shouldn't be happy about that, I am. I like the way I look with a tan.) I have actual muscles in my arms and legs. I no longer have a double chin. I don't have severe leg cramps any more, the kind that wake you up at 3am gasping in agony. I still sweat profusely if I'm hot, but I no longer sweat through a t-shirt in an air-conditioned room. I don't mind being outside in 95+ degree heat, playing with my child.

My goals, set earlier this year, were to be comfortably in size 14s by the end of summer (Sept 21st is end of summer, tyvm) and to lose my 3rd 10% by the end of year, being in size 12s by end of year. I've made it early to the 14s, with more than a month to go since I bought them. And my 3rd 10% is 161, which is 6 - 7 pounds away. I don't see any reason why I can't do this.

I'd be lying if I said that the idea of maintenance doesn't scare me, some. But it's less scary than it used to be. Do I think I can do this for the rest of my life? Yeah. I do.

I do.


Anonymous said...

it is mindboggling because of the tenacity it took.
your focus.
your motivation.
your belief in yourself.
the SAME belief which will carry you through maintaining.
I love the sentiment of this post.
here's hoping you print it out for yourself and tuck away for those days we ALL HAVE (read: crappy :))


Anonymous said...

WOW.. that was a great post. you have come so far both physically and mentally!

I also have a creative yet somewhat morbid imagination sometimes. Dreaming out entire crazy scenerios with full dialogue. Weird... I wasn't sure other people did that! =)

Donna B said...

Your post is so inspirational! I couldn't have said it any better and we sound so much alike! My hubby has lost 65# and I have lost 57# since January and are still going full force to lose the rest. It is a way of life now, and we are both so much more healthy and happy in our lives. Keep up the good work!

new*me said...

You inspire us! It seems like you got those awesome compliments when you needed them the most. Your stats are so impressive and the fact that you and he have been going strong this long now is really what we (those of us still fairly early on in the journey) need to hear.

Great attitude!

Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

This post made me smile (and yes, I was also impressed.) I'm glad you're so happy. Breathe, and enjoy it!

I think you're the only other person I've seen mention the sleep thing. I first noticed it around the 40-50 lb mark, too. None of the parts fit the mattress the same way.

And yes, the bones are nice, too. Weird, but nice.

Congrats on having the good sense to revel in your achievement. It's a very good thing.

Anonymous said...

So many things to say...

First, I am so happy for your happiness. I think it's all of the above, and you so deserve it. I'm so glad it's there. :-)

I feel so stupid - I couldn't figure out why my ribs ache every morning. For some reason, the lack of padding never occurred to me. This is me, smacking my forehead Homer Simpson-style. DOH!

I'm glad to see you're feeling as happy and proud as you deserve to. You've done amazing things and you're still doing them. I mean, you've taken your life back - and made it even better than it has ever been. That's just huge, regardless of the number on the scale. And you've got the numbers TOO. You can't beat that. :-)


Hanlie said...

You are truly amazing! Well done on your loss!

Chanda (aka Bea) said...

Great job! I wish I had your focus. It's amazing how well our bodies bounce back once we actually cut it a break.

Oh, and no more worrying about the neighbors! Who the hell cares what they think! You are fabulous.

kikimonster said...

Wow, the last part of this post seriously had me borderline teary eyed. How wonderful for you to have met this goal and to be like "HEY WORLD! CHECK ME OUT!!" *high five!*