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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Odd Comfort of Statistics...and of Good Company

It will soon be a year since I started this blog. My initial weigh-in was 289. That was after already losing 10 pounds from my 299 high. (I probably did go over 300, but since I was avoiding the scale some weeks, can't confirm this. I did weigh over 300 at the doctor's twice, but with clothes and shoes on, well, that 303 was probably 299. Hah.)

Since May 9 of 2007, I've lost 20.2 pounds.

Not a whole lot measured against a year.

It's a lot measured against previous efforts.

Normally, I'd lose a bit, dieting for 3 months, then I'd have regained it by the end of 8 or 12 months.

I may have only lost a total of 20 in the last year, but I haven't regained it in that year. And that makes me feel good. I have a long way to go, but if I lose 20 pounds a year, I'll be at goal weight in 5.5 years. I see that as something positive, not negative. A year of loss, instead of a year of gain.

I got a critical comment some months back about my statistics box in the sidebar. I considered whether it was a good thing or a bad one. Today, looking at it, I find it comforting. I really do. It shows how I made progress, had setbacks, made progress, had setbacks, but ultimately ended up consistently making progress, no matter how slowly.

I read the story once of a woman who reached her goal weight from obesity. It took her a long time, losing at a rate of roughly 6 pounds a year. SIX. A year. But that snail's pace of hers added up. The time it took allowed her to gain new habits in eating and exercise, and ingrain them. (It probably allowed her skin time to adapt, rather than a zooming fast weight loss leaving a bunch of saggy skin, too.) She was mighty patient, but it worked.

Maybe I'm not a rabbit. Maybe I'm a tortoise. It'll take me a while to shed some really bad habits and gain new healthy ones (I'm still avoiding exercise, which is nuts, I know, but I'm slothful when it comes to the sweaty stuff.)

But I'm keeping my stats sidebar. It shows me that progress is not impossible, even for someone with decades of bad habits to shed. And if putting up your own stats bar helps you, don't let naysayers stop you. I find it's an accountability thing. When I don't want to post numbers, I know I'm doing badly, want to hide. Simple as that. A little alarm. (Lately, I just haven't been around, but I had some good days and didn't post.)

Posting the good and the bad are part of seeing my path and facing up to my weaknesses. So, I do it. I leave it there, to the left, for all to see where I moved forward and lost my way and regained for whatever reason (salt bloat, overeating, PMS).

Use the tools that help you. And keep at it. Find new tools as you need them.

It's like getting a degree. We just keep reading, trying, working. I see that learning process in some of your blogs--how you're dealing with buried emotions, with problem foods, with childhood traumas, with learning to cook, with learning to exercise, with friends and family who set landmines in our dieting fields, with adapting to changes in diet and in one's own body shape. A lot of things come into play when we face up to where we've gone wrong, and how to get it right.

For those who are zoom-losers, I do envy you a bit, but I'm just not one of you. I wish I was. To those who are snails like me, let's keep at it. We'll take longer, but we can get there. Whether it's 2 years, four, five, ten. If we keep at it, don't give up, keep open to learning and changing, we can do it.

And if blogging is a tool you can use, use it. Really. It's free.

If other bloggers inspire you, take advantage of their wisdom, their stories, their successes, even their setbacks. We need one another. It's hard. It's worth the effort, but it's damn hard.

But it's possible. The bloggers making great progress prove it. Case studies, right there, taking our questions, offering us wisdom. We can do it. Look at all the successes lighting the path before us.

For those of us with a lot of weight to lose--forty pounds, 100, 200, 300, more--it's a daunting marathon ahead. Gosh, some days, it's enought to make a gal weep.

The Bible talks about the life of a disciple as a race--we run to win, to achieve our purpose, our mission, and give glory to God in doing so. We want the winner's crown, the proof we completed our work.

The benefits of winning the weight loss race are many: becoming healthier, looking better in clothes, gaining mobility, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving diabetes, improving our chances of a good job, diminishing the social stigma we deal with, improving our social life, saving money on food and medicines, living longer with better quality of life, etc. So many reasons to run the race.

Mostly, though, I think it's about finding our best selves. It's about becoming who we are, really are, who we're meant to be when not trapped in adipose tissue, that fat that hinders our ability to do what we need to daily, yearly, in a lifetime. Yes it's a long, long race. A marathon.

With all the blogs around us, those fatfighter blogs, we can start our journey like this:

Lots of company. Lots of excitement at the start of the race. All spiffy and motivated.

But we know that doesn't (usually) last. We get tired. We get injured. This is why I refuse to ditch the blog, because, sometimes, I need the support of other fatfighters, like Heather, Lyn, ScaleJunkie, Honi, Grumpy, CCC, Teale, Lady, T, CC, and others. I need to be in the company of folks who know what I'm going through. Because, sometimes, we're like this:

While each runner is at times uniquely alone in the struggle towards their prize, and can even enjoy days of being someplace quiet and fine and full of peace of mind and deep breaths...

It's good to know that a fellow runner is right at hand when needed.

That's why I blog. That's why I have tools here. Why I keep my sidebar. Why I had a total loss, not gain, for the last year. I'm not doing it alone.

There's good company on the internet.

Thank you. God bless you all.

Onward and downward.


Lyn said...

I happen to LIKE your stats sidebar. I have one, too, and even though I had a couple months of ZERO weight loss, I keep it there because people need to know that the reality of most weight loss is like that. Lose, gain, lose, maintain... at least for most people. It's not just "oh I am starting a diet" and 6 months later you are thin. This is hard work. And seeing the ups and downs shows that we are very strong people for not giving up. Don't you think?

We will get there eventually. If it takes years so be it. At least we won't be fatter when the time passes!

Heather said...

that was a great entry and I think you have exactly the right mindset to succeed at this. I actually think the fact that you have maintained your loss is great, because that is something that I still have looming before me. sure I have lost the weight, but I havent yet been able to say that I can maintain it. whether or not you were intending maintenance, this shows that you can do it. even if you do lose 1 or .5 pounds a month or some months none at all, its ok because you will get there.

*ccc* said...

Your highness,

You know what--I bet there are more of us turtles out there than rabbits. And I'm so glad you're being positive about this...because I know I need to adjust my attitude about my turtle status.

Don't you often hear that stat about how the average person gains 1-3 pounds a year or something like that? Well, if we're losing, then we're already ahead of that game.

MizFit said...

it is about finding our best selves and LOVING those selves to boot.

20 pounds at a time or 285985 pounds at a time ---- you reach the same destination.

and your way you'll keep it off.

you can do it.
in your own time.