Today marks 45 years since my birth. I am forty five years old! Happy birthday to me. This month also marks the beginning of a journey that I began 2 years ago. I had no idea how much this journey would change me. I had not a clue how difficult it was going to be. I was not prepared for this journey to be as physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually challenging as it has been.
In 2004 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. Up until 2015, I had always been able to control my blood sugar with oral meds. By early summer of 2015, I was maxed out on oral meds and my blood sugar was out of control. I knew that insulin was the next step. I had to make some changes, some big ones. I told myself that what I was doing wasn't working. Now I will admit that it was what I wasn't doing.
I weighed myself, took my measurements, and got to work. My health was on the line. With a husband and two children, it had been a long time since I had made myself a priority. Please hear my heart, many years ago, I made a conscious decision to be a stay at home mom. My full time job was taking care of my family. I put myself last on my priority list on purpose and I never resented doing so. This time, I didn't have a choice but to bump myself up on that list.
Let me be clear, I began a weight loss journey for my health. I had been overweight for years. Over those years, my self esteem had dropped to zero. So, even though my mission was to avoid insulin, I hoped that weight loss would boost my self confidence.
I found myself at the gym 4 to 5 days a week. In the beginning, my goal was to walk one mile every time I was there and then spend another 20 minutes or so on the nautilus machines. I began drinking more water and watching what I ate more closely. I lost 20 pounds between August of that year and January 2016. Mid January, I fell and broke my tailbone. That incident put a screeching halt to working out. For the next 8 weeks, I avoided the gym so I wouldn't aggravate that injury. Working out is a habit for me. I am either in the habit or out. By the time my injury healed, I did go back to the gym, just not consistently. My blood sugar had indeed improved. I was no longer in danger of being put on insulin. I continued to monitor my food intake and drinking more water, I just became lazy.
When August rolled around again, I realized that I was one year away from being 45 years old. I can't explain why that hit me the way it did. I guess I went through what most people would call a " mid life crisis" of sorts. I began to analyze every fragment of my life. I had maintained my weight loss. I was holding steady. I had avoided insulin. I began to wonder though...could I reverse it or at the very least, could I get off at least some of my meds?
September brought a new job that I absolutely adore. It also brought a renewed desire to finish what I had began a year earlier. I wanted to ring in my 45th birthday feeling accomplished.I went back to the gym. Actually, most days, I drug myself mentally kicking and screaming to the gym. I have never and will never enjoy working out. I will admit that I do feel better and have more energy when I consistently work out. Feel better? Yes. Like it? NO.
I slowly began cutting some foods from my diet. Fried foods were the first to go. Many others have followed but my willpower wasn't what it is now, so, for me, baby steps is what worked best.Some time in January of this year, I hit a wall. I worked out harder. The wall did not move. I upped my water intake. the wall did not move. Frustrated, I began researching online how to get to the other side of that wall. Well, it turns out that working out every single day isn't the answer, at least for me it isn't. I halted almost everything I had been doing in the exercise department and started from scratch. I bought some small weight dumb bells and began doing whole body workouts at home about 3 times a week. The days that I did not do those workouts ( rest days) , I walked at least 2 miles.
The wall moved ! The wall moved very quickly. I began losing inches rapidly. From February until now, I have bought new jeans twice. Seeing results that fast, motivated me to abandon baby steps and totally revamp what foods I consume. 99% of what I put in my body is "clean" I say 99% because if I want a cookie, I eat a cookie. I say clean. No, I did not become vegan. I cannot foresee me ever giving up bacon. "Clean" for me means, real food, not processed junk. Once I began eating this way, it became much easier to not eat crap. It had much less to do with willpower and more to do with the fact that my body began to totally reject junk. The last full "cheat day" I had included an Amish doughnut, burger, and fries. I paid for that one day for another 2 days after.
Mid June, I reached the goal weight that I had set for myself. I transitioned from weight loss to maintenance mode. I continued to eat clean. I continued drinking a gallon of water a day I continued to exercise but not to lose more weight. I am currently just targeting areas that I still want to improve. The most beautiful part of the last six weeks is this ...I continue to see inches melt away and have even dropped a few more pounds without even trying.
I began this journey at 152 pounds. I now flip flop between 112 and 114. At 152 pounds, I wore a size 16 jeans . Today I wear a 7 and I have found myself in the last couple of weeks having to pull them back up often. I paired my size 16 jeans with XL shirts with a few larges thrown in. Today, my closet holds more smalls than any other size. As of this morning I have lost 51 inches off of the places that I have consistently measured which is arms, chest, waist, hips, and thighs. I am most impressed with loosing 12 inches from my waist alone. Let that sink in for just a minute.
About a month ago, a FB friend made the statement on her page that "the last place you lose weight is in your head". True story. When I buy clothes now, I end up spending more time in the dressing room than I used to. Usually, it is because I have picked out a size larger than I require now and must re-dress, and go back out for the smaller size to try it on as well. I still have this image in my head of what I looked like for so many years. Every once in a while. I catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror or store window and have to convince myself that it is actually me.Over the last several months, I have heard the words "tiny" and "skinny" to describe me. My first thought is always that they can't possibly be talking about me. There are times that I take my clothes out of the dryer and put them in my son's pile of clean laundry because in my head, I can't possibly wear something that small.
It has taken me two full years to get to where I am today. There are moments that I wish I had figured out some things sooner but I have decided that I am satisfied. I did all of this on my own. I didn't pop pills, or buy any special powders, drinks, or food. I am proud that I have accomplished what I set out to do with determination and hard work. Someone walked up to me 3 nights ago and said " I have watched you shrink on Facebook.Your pictures don't really show how tiny you actually are. What is your secret?" Here is what I know. I eat real food. Don't get me wrong, if I want a doughnut, I eat a stinking doughnut but for the most part, I eat REAL food. I have cut out 99% of processed junk, even breaking a 13 year Diet Cherry Pepsi addiction. I drink only water ( a gallon per day), coffee, and herbal teas. All of that, and I move on purpose. Basically, its what we ALL know we SHOULD do. Its not really a secret. I just actually do what I am supposed to. I also know this : I feel good. I rarely take naps anymore because I have more energy. I am becoming more comfortable in my own skin. I am wearing sizes that I haven't worn since high school so I am enjoying the "cute clothes" phase of weight loss. My intent was to be healthier. The side effect was that I became a much smaller version of me. I have heard that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. I don't know about skinny, but I can tell you with certainty that nothing tastes as good as healthy feels.