RheumaBlog

Same dragon, different day.

If I shed eight more pounds, I’ll weigh exactly what I did the day after my daughter was born almost 29 years ago.

This has become a significant milestone for me all these years later.

I weighed 130 pounds when I got pregnant. My doctor told me that I should try not to gain more than 25 pounds during the pregnancy, so I was careful during those nine months about what I ate. Nevertheless, inn the end I gained 30. (Those cravings! I loved eating cottage cheese as a dip for Fritos at lunchtime every day …!)

After giving birth, I perceived myself as gargantuan. I was mortified at the extra weight I was still carrying around (somehow, having a 6 lb., 3 oz. infant didn’t melt all that excess away! Wahhh!), so I started being very careful about what I was eating. The motivation to do so went beyond vanity: I was in the Air Force at the time and had to drop that weight to avoid being stuck on what was called (by those unfortunate enough to find themselves on it after the annual weigh-in and fitness tests) the “Fat Boy” program. If you got put on it, you were weighed monthly, vigorously counseled on nutrition and weight loss and, if you didn’t show a drop in poundage each month, put on a mandatory exercise program as well.

That involved daily running and calisthenics comparable to boot camp.

Well, there was no “Fat Boy” program for this girl. In the end, I lost the extra weight and got back to 130 pounds, 10 below AF standards for my height and build. It took me nine long months – exactly the amount of time it had taken me to gain. I was pretty pleased.

So. Here’s what I’m looking at: Eight pounds will bring me down to 160, my top weight all those years ago. Then, I’ll drop 30 more to weigh the same as I did when I was 26 years old.

Yes, I know I’m 29 years older now. I know my body has changed over the years. My metabolism has slowed. I have osteopenia and I’m post-menopausal. I have rheumatoid arthritis, which can put a real damper on regular exercise. Give me a few more minutes and I can come up with many more reasons that I can’t do this now.

But I know better, don’t I.

I know a lot more about proper nutrition and how weight loss works than I did when I was 26. I’m a lot smarter. Wiser. Frankly, I have more will-power now and more patience. And I cannot tell you what a huge triumph reaching that goal will be for me.

So I’ll give myself 10 months, rather than the nine it took back then since I need to lose 38 pounds rather than 30. I think that’s realistic: it works out to 3.8 pounds to lose each month. If it happens faster than that, I’ll be delighted, but (keeping my head out of the clouds) the slower loss will be healthier and, as an added benefit, more permanent. And as I shed that weight I’ll be reinforcing the healthy eating lifestyle that will allow me to maintain that lower weight in the end.

There are plenty of benefits to weighing 130 vs 168, just as I’ve seen plenty of benefits to weighing 168 vs my heaviest weight of 220 in 2005. I can move much more easily. I don’t tire out so fast doing everyday things like walking up my long, steep driveway, pushing a vacuum cleaner or even standing at the kitchen counter chopping vegetables. I can lean down and tie my shoes without cutting my own breath off. (!) I can get out of bed easier in the morning, even when I’m stiff from rheuma. I wear a much smaller clothing size and have been able to donate all my ugly, hated “fat clothes” to the local hospice thrift store. I can walk two miles without feeling like I’ve walked 10. My blood pressure is good. I have ankles rather than cankles. There’s a lot more room on my lap these days for my small beasties. PIB and Finny both like snoozing there in the evening. They have to take turns, though.

And this is a biggie: If losing 52 pounds has helped save my hip, knee, ankle and foot joints from increased stress over the last 18 months, then imagine what losing 38 more will do for them? As far as RA and hip bursitis is concerned, this can be nothing but good.

I’m on my own “Fat Boy” program – and you know, I like it.

12 thoughts on “Approaching milestones

  1. ValleyWriter says:

    You’ve got the right attitude, I’d say. Slow & steady wins the race! (I can say this as more than just a platitude; I took off about 70 lbs. over about an 18-month period and have kept it off for a little over 3 years now. I think the slow loss – and taking the time to build new habits – was really the key.)

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    1. Wren says:

      Oh, now THAT’S inspiration, VW! 70 pounds and no re-gain in three years??! You ROCK. Thanks for the comment. It makes me even more determined to drop this excess weight.

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  2. Cathy says:

    I gained 40 with my first and then 50 with the second. 20 of those pounds were in the first three months! Walking did the trick for me though and seems to work now. Luckily you have two furry friends that need lots of walking. You are doing GREAT!!!!! You should be so proud of yourself. Keep enjoying that “Fat Boy” program of yours.

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    1. Wren says:

      Walking Finny really IS a kick, and of course he just loves it. Walking is SO good for the body in so many ways. Thanks for the kind words, Cathy.

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  3. Mary says:

    Wonderful!!! Keep up the good work.

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    1. Wren says:

      Thanks, Mary. I sure will!

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  4. MissDazey says:

    I admire anyone who has a plan, good for you! Are you on a specific diet or life style plan? One of my Twitter buddies has been a great inspiration for me. She has MS and RA, many meds.

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    1. Wren says:

      Hi Miss Dazey! :o)
      No special weight loss plan but this: No “white” foods, meaning anything made with enriched white flour, like bread and pasta; no potatoes; no white rice. Instead I eat whole grain bread and pasta, brown rice (I like basmati as it’s less chewy and course than regular brown rice), sweet potatoes (not my favorite, but once in a while I don’t mind them); and of course, no sugary desserts or snacks. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, fish (I love salmon) and chicken, and fresh fruit in season. For snacks I keep almonds around. And no prepared foods, as they all have way too much sodium, sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup in them.

      Finally, I discovered that portion sizes and calorie counts really DO make a big difference. I don’t always count calories, but I do keep my portions small (compared to what I used to consider a “portion” and I try to stop eating the moment I feel satiated, rather than full. And I try to drink a LOT of water all day long. All of these things, combined, really do work!

      It sounds severe, but it’s not, really. I thought switching from cans and boxes to fresh ingredients for all of our meals would be hard and take a lot more time, but it’s really not. It’s just very simple cooking, for the most part. I have an indoor grill that I use nearly every day, and steaming or stir-frying vegetables is really easy. Being generous with the spices keeps simply prepared meals tasty and inviting. I try to make them as colorful and attractive as I can, too. That old adage “presentation is everything” is spot on. My grocery bills are generally lower than they used to be, mainly because I’m not buying boxed and canned foods or snacks. And now and then I do go out for a restaurant meal. When I do, I have what I want and enjoy it as a treat, then go back to eating “right” with the next meal.

      Do I miss cookies and chips and ice cream? Pop Tarts, Wendy’s and linguine Alfredo? Sometimes I do. But then I look at the size labels on the clothes I’m wearing these days, and I don’t miss that stuff any more. And I feel so much better than I did. It’s worth the sacrifice.

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  5. Squirrel says:

    Wow that’s a great achievement, go you! I’m pretty tall and skinny so I can’t moan too much but I have put on about 7-8 pounds since the arthritis set in before christmas. I think it’s mostly feeling sorry for myself comfort eating, as well as a slight reduction in activity. Really trying to get it off now – nip it in the bud before it becomes 15, 20, 25 pounds! I’m awful with self discipline, and especially when I’m feeling down. But you’ve inspired me, I’m not going to eat any chocolate tomorrow 😀

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    1. Wren says:

      Ohhhhh chocolate … how I love chocolate. Fortunately, I’ve never had a big sweet tooth and only rarely bought candy, so chocolate is still a rare treat for me. When I do get to have it, though, oh my how I love it! I bet if you just ate smaller portions and saved the chocolate for a rare treat, you’d drop those 7-8 pounds in no time. Good luck!

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  6. Terry says:

    Thats great Wren! I wished I weighed what I did when I was racing. You have a good plan and are allowing yourself time to reach it. Most everyone tries to lose it in a couple of weeks, then give up if they don’t see any progress. Good job.

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    1. Wren says:

      Thanks, Terry. It’s only taken me almost 30 years to figure out that weight loss needs to be done slowly, along with a pretty radical change in diet and nutrition, rather than quickly. There’ve been so many times over the years that I’ve dropped 10 or 20 pounds by going on some extreme diet, only to gain that much back and THEN some. Doing it slowly gets frustrating sometimes, but it’s worth it because once it goes, it stays gone.

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