Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Anniversaries and Birthdays and Real Love

Today is my oldest child’s 26th birthday. Happy birthday, Carlene! It’s also the 26th anniversary of the first time I ever weighed more than 200 pounds. I hit that milestone in the hospital just before they hooked me up to the pitocin drip.

Ah….memories.

While I suspect I went over 300 pounds sometime in late 2004, I don’t have documented proof from the scale. In May 2004, I was 296 at my doctor’s office. February 1, 2005, I was 280. According to my medical record, the only one that kept track of my weight, I’d “technically” lost 16 pounds. But I’d steadily gained 2-3 pounds a month the year before, so the math (and the fact that size 28s were getting tight) would suggest I was probably 310 or so at my highest.

Looking back, I kind of wish I’d gotten on a scale in October or November 2004 and seen 300, but I remember how depressed I was seeing a 2 as my first number. I can’t imagine how I’d have reacted to a 3.

On the opposite side of the scale is my goal weight anniversary. Tomorrow I’ll celebrate 2 years of maintenance. It took me 2 years, 2 months and 12 days to go from 296+ to 138. Even though I kept losing the first year of maintenance, it wasn’t a conscious effort, and 138 will always be the weight at which I declared goal.

When I started losing weight the last time (and I do mean LAST…I’m never doing a gain and loss like that again, god willing), I thought if I could get to 190, I’d be happy. It was a familiar number, one at which I could bend over and not cut off my breath, I didn’t feel huge, and hundred other reasons. Then somewhere in the low 200s, I thought maybe 170 would be good. Then around 190, I thought 150 would be the bottom weight. Then I got to 150 and thought, no, I need to go a little lower. Goal was like a carnival game, “Down and down she goes! Where she’ll stop? No one knows!”

Some of you have read the following story. I included it in the foreword I wrote in my Refuse to Regain blogging partner Barbara Berkeley’s book, “Refuse to Regain: 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You’ve Earned.” It’s a short retelling of the day I hit goal.

I made goal on a cloudy March day in 2007. I was at my doctor’s office for a routine checkup. I weighed 138 pounds. I said to my doctor, "So, do you suppose I’m done?" She said, "I think you can stop now." And that boring little exchange was how I became what Dr. Berkeley calls a POW – Previous Overweight Person. There was no fanfare, no confetti, no fireworks, no angels flying around the room singing "Hallelujah." Just me, my doctor and my medical file in which my doctor wrote, “Lost 158 pounds in two years, two months and 12 days.”

I walked out of the her office no longer a person losing weight but a person maintaining weight. I got in my car, sat there for a moment, then thought, “Now what?”

I’d been on countless diets in the past and the few times I made goal, I celebrated with food, essentially saying, “Finally! I can go eat again!” But this time was different. I was different. I didn’t want to celebrate with a Dairy Queen Oreo Blizzard and a corn dog. I wanted to figure out what to do next so I wouldn’t go back to the way things used to be, to gaining weight again. I wanted off that merry-go-round.

So many weights. So many anniversaries. But you know what? While I’m very glad to be a woman who’s lost 160-some pounds and who’s celebrating 2 years at goal, I’m especially proud to be the mother of a girl who reminds me every day that I am more than my weight. Because for 26 years and for every weight in between, I raised a beautiful, intelligent, kind and loving child who has become my dear friend. I can’t imagine life, at any weight, gets better than that.

Here are all my dining companions from today, the girls who make me the happiest: Carlene, pregnant Cassie, and g-baby Claire.


13 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Carlene! Lynn, all of your girls are so beautiful and look radiant! What a day for memories, eh?

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  2. Glad you had a good Happy Birthday celebration with the girls. Loved going down weight loss memory lane with you.

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  3. Congratulations on your goal weight annivesary tomorrow. Happy birthday to your lovely daughter. Your family is beauitful.

    What an inspirational post this was for me. I've yo-yoed, but for my health and nothing more, I'm on the journey again. This time I'm keeping the end result in mind. While it's difficult losing the weight, the maintaining is the lifestyle change and the hard part. It's what I've failed in the past. Congrats to you on your wonderful success.

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  4. ohh lovely :) happy anniversaries all round!

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  5. I love that story! Thanks for sharing...

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  6. Congrats Lynn - I cannot wait for the day I can write about my weight loss story on my blog and be able to say I lost all the weight I wanted - I hope to be able to say I am at 130 lbs and know that I achieved my greatest goal. Thanks for always inspiring us!

    Mara
    http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

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  7. Lynn, Congrats on your accomplishment!

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  8. Happy Anniversary, Happy, Happy, Happy All!

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  9. I loved this posting.

    I am just finishing my 2nd year of maintenance also. And it took me 2 years of losing too. Wonder if there is karma in those numbers.

    I think of this upcoming year as starting my 5th year.

    Because the practices I learned during the first two are the beginning steps of maintenance. It feels like 4 years of the same path.

    For me - the first year was learning to eat at meal time. Learning to eat evenly from the food groups. learning to eat whole foods. If I had to give that first year of losing a name - it would be the white knuckle year OR the year of numbers - the amount of tracking that I did - that first year of learning - was HUGE. I think this had value - besides the education - because it kept me very, very busy. That year might also be considered the born again year.

    Second year of losing was much more relaxed - I had figured out HOW - but it could be called the JUST GET IT OFF ME year. My belly fat was very motivating.

    I'll have to think about the two following maintenance years . . .

    congrats on your anniversary. so nice that you realized it at the time and continue to celebrate!

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  10. Yes, yes Lynn! This was so excellent. I always appreciate you writing about maintenance because it makes me think about my own maintenance, and how this time really is different than all the other times. This time we learned to love different foods, and to cook differently, and to eat different amounts, and to stop eating when we were full, and to stay away from the foods we don't have control over. This time really is the last time!

    But best of all, I love your comment that 'you are more than your weight.' Yes, yes!

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  11. Congratulations on your weight loss anniversary. It is quite an accomplishment and you are such an inspiration!!

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  12. Thank you so much you guys. I had a rough day yesterday food wise (long story short, I questioned some of my choices, even thought they were fine...I hate that I doubt myself so much still). Reading your comments really made me smile and more importantly, keeps me going. I wish maintenance could be a "Whew, I'm DONE!" place, but it's not.

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  13. Lynn,
    I am so flippin proud of you!! Even though I have never met you, you keep me going!! I have another 75 pounds to lose before I want to be what I call my goal weight, but reading your blogs, and your Refuse to Regain post keeps me going and helps me stay motivated more than you will ever know!! Congrats to you again!! Thanks for all you do!!!

    Sheryl

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