Jennifer (noirem) wrote,

Wow, I really did lose a lot of weight!

It will come as no shock to anyone who's ever met me that I've been trying to lose weight, though for most of my life "trying" has been in quotes and, except for a bulimic period in high school (when I got down to a size 10/12), my weight has largely gone up rather than down. I haven't always had access to a scale, but here in the UK I do and I started weighing myself. When I came over in November I was around 204 and had just made it back comfortably into a US size 18 only to learn that in UK sizes are a dress-size smaller and I was magically a (UK) 20 again. By Christmas, with the help of birth control, I was up to 215lbs (15 stone). The problem wasn't even the number on the scale (being over 200 was bad, but being over 210 meant being over 200 wasn't a fluke) or the rack ("the important thing is how clothes fit, not their size") so much as the way I felt: bloated. Everything jiggled. I wouldn't sleep naked because I didn't like the way my blubbery skin felt against my blubbery skin. I wouldn't run on the treadmill because all that fat bouncing up and down was physically uncomfortable. I'd always said I may be fat, but I can still run, jump, dance... and I couldn't. In the last couple of years I'd developed a lot of belly fat, whereas before I'd been wide but not particularly deep.

I decided to concentrate on losing some weight. I went swimming a lot - not a chore as I love to swim - and occasionally even put in some time on the stationary bike - very much a chore as I have a sensitive seat. I wasn't counting calories as it turns out to be very difficult when you're making 80% of the food you consume and eating out for the other 20%. It's easy to count calories when all of your food comes from the frozen food aisle and a might bit more difficult when you have to add up every ingredient of every meal and then figure out how much of the total you've eaten. Quite frankly, it wasn't something I could keep up. But I did start weighing myself every day and tracking my weight.

I know you're "not supposed to"* weigh yourself every day, except really it's the only way to actually see what you weight as opposed to what you weight after last night's bag of popcorn. I had a weight tracking app that made charts and trend-lines and based on my rate of weight-loss, calculated by how many calories I was over or under-eating from what my body requires to maintain it's current weight. And slowly the weight started to drop. Somehow I imagine you have an overly optimistic view of how slow I was losing weight. Instead of the "recommended" sustainable rate** of 1 or 2 lbs/week, I was losing 1 or 2 lbs a month. All told, 2010 I lost 20lbs.

Since the engagement, I've been a little more enthusiastic about my weight loss ("would you rather eat this or fit into your wedding dress?" a little voice in the back of my head would ask, which is ridiculous when you consider I'm having a gown made and maintaining would be a lot better than either gaining or losing!) and so far in 2011 I've lost 10lbs.

To recap, over the last 13 months I've lost 30lbs (2 stone). I currently weight about 185lbs (13 stone), which at 5'6" puts me just barely in a BMI** class of "overweight", down from "obese, class I". I've been taking pictures of myself in my unmentionables, aiming for a set of photos for every 5lbs lost and there is a very clear difference between December 09 and January 2011.

But while I'd lost all that weight, I was still wearing my UK size 20 clothes - first with a belt, then with a long-johns, then long-johns, tights and a belt - and now, as we reach 9hrs of daylight (and the occasional hour of sunshine) and long-johns aren't always a necessity, it's became abundantly clear that I don't own any clothes that fit. Clothes that had been a little snug are now too big. Things that were waiting for spring to get worn again hang off me. Dresses billow, shirts bag, skirts slide, and I don't own a single pair of trousers that need to be unbuttoned to be pulled on or of - or at least I didn't until yesterday.

Chris and I are a little strapped for cash, but I decided that this was getting a little silly and it's time to buy new trousers. Shirts, I figure, aren't going to fall off, but I should have one or two trousers that actually fit. Yesterday I wandered all over the mall looking for trousers in the under £20 category and wound up trying on a £15 pair of jeans at M&S. They said "stretch" on the label and, based on previous experience with their stretch jeans, I optimistically grabbed a pair of UK size 16s. They were snugger than I would ideally prefer but previously buying ones that fit comfortably in the changing room resulted in baggy jeans after an hour of wear so I decided to buy them anyway and if they didn't stretch, well, they were't so tight that I couldn't get them on, just a big of muffin top around the waist.Fastfoward to today, wearing them, and they were still pretty snug so I figured I'd go back to the mall and see what I could find in an 18.

They all slid off. I went to a couple different stores, trying on 18s and 16s, and the 16s are snug (though not as snug as the ones I bought yesterday - I think they're just a less than ideal cut for me) but the 18s go on and off without unbuttoning them. Oh. All this time in dressing rooms was also making it clear that my baggy shirts were absolutely, 100% not doing me any favours, so I tried on a few UK size 16 (which, remember, is a US size 14) tops and was amazed at the difference. I stood there, looking at my non-clown pants clad legs thinking, "I'm a lot skinnier than I thought I was." When I first pulled on the 16s yesterday I thought there was no way I was going to get one leg into them, let alone both and my hips. Looking at my silhouette, I was blown away. So this is what being 2 stone lighter looks like. Wow. I couldn't see it naked, I couldn't see it under my too big clothes, but seeing myself in clothes that fit... Just wow.

I wasn't ready to pay department store prices for jeans that may not fit in a month so I ducked into two thrift stores on the way home to see what they have in a 16 and came away with another pair of jeans for £4 (which fit much more comfortably the £15 ones). I'll keep an eye out for shirts and sweaters as well and should look into getting fitted for bras. I should really go try on everything I own and pack away all the stuff that's too big so I can see what I actually have to wear and make some educated decisions about what I need most.

* which is as ridiculous as all the other things you should or shouldn't do to have a "healthy" weight and fitness level.

** see previous footnote about wrt "ridiculous"
Tags: diet, health, weight
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Congratulations! Sounds like the extremely slow loss you describe is the result of good overall lifestyle changes, in the manner that weight sneaks slowly on at that sort of rate, and you found a way to let it sneak slowly back off!

Have you heard of "The Fat Nutritionist?" She is someone I've recently discovered who has a really wonderful attitude about this stuff, in her explananations of how to eat. In particular, read the entry a few weeks ago titled something like "the food you want to eat is the food that makes you feel good."
I hadn't. She seems very interesting. I should probably pay more attention to the Fat Acceptance movement as I believe what they say, but I'm not ready to let go of the self-fat-hatred.

I agree with her about the "if I could eat anything I wanted, I'd just eat cake all day!" attitude. Um, being an adult means being able to choose to eat cake all day, if that's what you really want. It also means knowing that you won't feel very good at the end of the day. I knew I was an adult when I went to a restaurant and ordered the salad because it was the most appealing thing on a generally savoury-seeming menu.
wow! that's exciting! I would highly recommend doing a bra fitting. I recently needed a new strapless bra and talked J in to helping me measure. I found I should have been buying bras a strap size down and a cup size up from what I was buying. What a difference! I'm way more comfortable, and shirts fit better because everything is where the designers expect it to be.
As not all bras are sized equal, I prefer to get fitted - that is to say, try on a bra and have someone assess it's fit and then bring me other bras that should fit the same way. Much more civilized ;o) I did buy one new bra a few weeks ago and I'm making do until I next find myself in a city with a Bravissimo to have a fitting done.
congratulations, dear one. I hope you maintain an healthy and happy body for years to come and enjoy it tremendously!
The Weight Loss Registry, which tracks people who managed to lose 10% of their body weight* and keep it off for a year, found that 0.001% of dieters are "successful".

I'd say the odds of me continuing to lose weight or managing to keep it off are significantly against me.

* for me that'd be going from 215 to 193.5, still 10lbs into the "obese" range - hardly what I, society, or my doctor would call my "ideal" weight - and that's just keeping it off for a year! if I put it all back on on day 366 I'd still be counted as a success.
Well, I'd like to think you've had a major life and lifestyle change, with more walking than in the states and a different attitude about what you eat thanks to the way you and C share meals. But I could be wrong. Still ... hoping for long term success. :-)
Actually, I didn't have a car so I walked and took public transit everywhere there as well. That summer I bought a bike and started riding around town, as well. Alameda was nice and flat with bike lanes :o) When I first moved here and started cooking with Chris, I gained 10lbs in less than 2 months. It took the first month of "dieting" just to stabilize my weight and another 6 months to lose those 10lbs again.
Congratulations Sweetie!!! I know how hard loosing weight is and I am so proud of you! Big hugs!!!
Wow - congratulations. wish you were still in Alameda, so I could pass on some things I've sized out of. Glad you found some thrift bargains in the meantime.