April 6, 2011


When I set out on my journey, I had the idea to lose 210 pounds.

before graph
Having started at 345 pounds, that meant I needed to lose more than half my body weight. Nearly two-thirds, in fact. The task seemed impossible, but this time, it felt like I didn't have a choice - I was 23 and realized I was not only not living, but I was dying. If I didn't buckle down and lose weight, I would just get bigger and bigger, and I honestly saw myself dying of a weight-related illness or heart attack before age 30.

If I actually did it this time, if I really stuck with it, I hoped to be at my goal weight in three or four years. It sounded like an awfully long time, and I wasn't sure if I could stick with something for that long. But I had to try. It finally had come to a point where I wanted to get healthier and look better, no matter how long it took.

Now, eight months later, I'm more than halfway through that 210 pound goal.

current graph - holy mackarel
The amount of weight I have lost has almost caught up with the number of pounds I chose for my long-term goal weight.

To be honest, I chose 135 somewhat haphazardly - it was in the middle of my healthy BMI range and ended with a 5. I never thought I'd be successful enough to actually be the weight, so why not choose a perfect number like that?

Lately, though, I've been considering how active I've become. My three-to-four year plan for loss was based on light exercise and counted calories. But as it has turned out, I'm much more active than I thought I would be, and the activities I'm doing to get fit are much more intense and shaping than I planned. Every time I tell someone I am a runner, I smile a little, because it's still something unbelievable to me. Less than a year ago, it was uncomfortable for me to walk and get out of bed and shave my legs - this Sunday, I'm running just shy of five miles.

As I lose more weight, I am starting to come to terms with the idea that I'll be done when I feel my best and that the number on the scale is only one way of measuring progress. The other day, a co-worker asked me how many more pounds I wanted to lose; when I said 85, she looked at me strangely, then asked "Well, frankly, where will these 85 pounds come from?" While I definitely still have quite a bit of weight to lose (almost entirely in the belly region), I may need to rethink my goal of 135 - my healthy BMI range is between 119 and 154 pounds, and so I may need to be closer to the upper end of that. I may need to re-evaluate my weight goals to help them sync up with my fitness goals.

I made a meeting with the athletic performance lab at my gym to evaluate what my body fat percentage is and to discuss what my long-term goal weight should actually be, especially considering that I would like to start training for longer races. My specific needs as a runner and athlete are a little different given my history as a formerly super obese person - I still need to lose weight and be in good physical shape, but my body shape and makeup is different from, say, someone who has always been a normal/healthy weight and who also decided to become a runner.

What about you? How do you measure your progress? BMI? Body fat percentage? Some other way? What exercise/fitness/food decisions have you made so far on your journey that would totally surprise Former You?


AlmostGastricBypass said...

You are very inspiring. !! Great job..

Ann said...

Love those graphs!!! Love!!! Truthfully, I dont have an exact goal weight because it seems SO far away!! My goal is to just keep losing and living a healthy, active life. The most surprising thing I've done is run. I never thought I could be a "runner". Some days, I am still in disbelief!!!

timothy said...

mine is kinda opposite i used to weigh over 300 my goal was always just be under 200, 199 was fine. now that i'm at 220 i'm thinkin i can do better. the bmi says 179 for the high range and i KNOW i can do that. heck thats less than i weighed when i graduated high school. that i move at all is amazing considering how lazy i'd become. my trick is to find something i love to do, and sweatin to the oldies fits the bill, between that and the goddess workout i got it covered.

downsizers said...

The scale is my measure of progress. This will be the third time I've lost my weight and it's going to be the last. I am not going to be all emotional about it. Going lo-carb was the best decision I've made in a long time. I am not a purist - cut out the sugar and starches for the most part. I have almonds for a late night snack rather than ice cream. I feel so much better. I am exercising 6 times a week. I'm taking it 10 lb. at a time for my short-term goals and living my life thankful and blessed!

Ellie said...

Wow, those pie charts really put things into perspective. You have come so far but I don't know if you need to rethink your goals just yet.

It is always important to remind yourself that the number was just arbitrary and what really matters is how you feel but until you start to have issues meeting your own goals I don't think you need to re-evaluate them.

Just my thoughts. Keep up the amazing work!

Jessica said...

Mary...can you send me your email address again. I accidentally deleted it. Thanks! Heading to the post office today! :)

Amanda said...

I love the pie chart idea! I have to admit that I had to go and make one of my own, it's fun to see it measured out graphically.

We must be the same height because my healthy weight range is the same as yours. I set my "end goal" for 150, towards the high range. I figure if I could make it there, I could reevaluate if I wanted.

Amy said...

I think the best way to know when you're done losing weight is when you stop losing weight and you just maintain, since you've jumped into such an active lifestyle, you'll eventually hit this happy place where you're in great shape, you probably won't change much in pant size when you get there, and maybe just become more toned. This is a lifestyle change...and since you've made the change, eventually your body will find it's place to be happy and it's natural norm.

I go by how I feel in clothing. Numbers are obviously important, but I just want to hit a place where I know I'm in great shape and that I am just happy in my own skin.

I am most surprised I'm running, I NEVER in a million years thought I would run... I have never been good at it, and always struggled when it came to cardio, so for me to defeat that and become a runner will be the most surprising thing ever.

Confession: Stewart and I hung out the other day, and he asked me how running was going and whether I actually liked it because he knew how much I used to talk about hating running... and he was quite surprised to hear how much I was loving it.

Christie Farrar said...

I use the scale, measurements, and pictures. When I look at "fat me" (I used to be skinny, then I got fat) I see that I look totally different. I've lost way more inches than pounds. In 2 years I managed to keep off 12 lbs and lose 8 more.

slowly but surely im a different me

Caron said...

Awesome! :)

Denise said...

First of all: woohoo!

Secondly, to answer your question, I think what would surprise the former me the most is how little I lost. I started at 203 and now weigh 198. I got down to 189 once, and now... well. Easily derailed, I suppose. Not as diligent. Scared shitless. Unwilling to work for it. All of those things are true, and the former me, the optimistic one who thought that it would be kind of easy to just eat more salad and go on a walk would be pretty shocked. Instead of impressing my former self, I probably just kicked her in face.

You know how you think "This time next year, I'll be at my goal weight" or something? I always thought that. And for some reason I just kind of expected it to magically happen. But really, I'm scared. Scared that when it's all said and done, I really won't have a pretty face. That I'll just be weird looking. That clothes still won't fit me correctly. That I'll get more stretch marks.

They're stupid reasons, and I can see that when I type them all out in a row like that. And the former me would be furious that I was being so reluctant to start her life.

Kelty said...

AWESOME CHARTS! AWESOME PROGRESS! For me, I chose 140 pounds as a goal weight because it was exactly a 100 pound loss. I sounded kind of glorious to be able to say "i've lost 100 pounds"...vs "i've lost 87 pounds"...though really both are awesome. I use the scale to see that what I'm doing is working consistently, but really I just want to get to any healthy weight and live a more active lifestyle. Once those two things happen I don't think the scale will really have a purpose in my life. :D

Wendie said...

You really inspire me! Right now my progress is measured by pounds lost. I want to see the needle on that scale go down. As it does, as I feel better and get more active, I know I will change those markers. But for now, it's simply a loss. I just want a loss.

Spoonful of Me said...

You are such an inspiration. I currently go by the scale but my current goal weight is to be to where I was before I had two kids and then we will go from there.