Weighty Matters

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No Comparisons

on January 8, 2013

Has anyone else watched the beginning episodes of this season’s Biggest Loser?  I could never have tried out for that show.  For all that I am committed to publicly sharing about my weight loss journey, I do it to process my issues, hold myself accountable, and work my way through every step.  I don’t think I could have gone on to a television show to lose weight with such incredible guerilla tactics and play out all of the drama and effort with a camera and crew always in my face.

I also would have cried the first time that a trainer yelled at me.   Physically, if I’d gone on the show at 386 pounds, I doubt my right knee would have lasted through the first week.

I watched the first two episodes and during the introductory weigh-ins, saw some contestants who weighed much more than I did before my surgery as well as some who are about the weight that I am now, give or take 10 or 20 pounds.  On the first night, which represented their first week at the ranch, I didn’t see anybody that breezed through the initial two and a half hour workout.  I couldn’t have run on a treadmill at 5 mph the first time out.  Hell, last year I could barely walk a couple of blocks without breathing heavy.  Any faster and I gasped to suck in air.

I realized that right now, I’m more fit than even the ones who weigh less than I do.  It makes me really glad that I started increasing my exercise as soon as I physically could after the surgery.  I also know that these brave contestants are going to blow right by me on the fitness level in a very short period of time.  They devote hours each day to their workouts.  The results are going to show.  When I tune in next week, I need to be really careful not to compare where I am to where those contestants have brought themselves.

Each of us is different.  Our bodies have a different history; we have different metabolisms.  Gender, age and a wealth of other factors affect the rate of our weight loss.

If you read the comments on my previous post, you’ll see that Pink Pelican has lost 210 pounds!  That is phenomenal.  If I remember right, she had the same surgical procedure as I did but about six months before me.  I have to say that my second reaction, after cheering for her, was to compare where I am now with where she might have been six months ago.   I want to see if, six months from now, I could actually have lost the rest of the weight that I want to take off.

Here’s the bottom line.  The answer is, “Maybe”.  Like I said two paragraphs ago, we’re all different.  Comparing ourselves to others doesn’t really accomplish anything.  I shouldn’t measure my success against someone else’s.  I also need to remember that the numbers are out of my control.  I could be absolutely perfect on my food plan and do my exercise five times a week but only see the number on the scale go down a little, or even not at all for a week or two.  My body might decide to jam on the breaks for whatever reason and a stall will set in.

Comparisons lead to frustrations, in my personal opinion.  Given that my eating disorder sometimes infects me with messed-up thinking, if I constantly compared myself to someone else who was losing at a faster rate, it could screw with my emotions.  Then I’d feel bad and might, possibly want to run to food to anesthesize the bad feelings.

So, for today, I’m reminding myself to make no comparisons.  I am me, and I’m the only one I need to worry about.  One day at a time, I only need to focus on my food plan and exercise strategies.  As long as I do that, I will get to my goal.  The amount of time it takes doesn’t matter in the least.

4 responses to “No Comparisons

  1. Hope says:

    It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And, just like running, your only real competitor is yourself. You can do it!

  2. Skye says:

    Both of you are so impressive and inspiring. Your levels of commitment and the effort you put out to reach your goals amaze me. I didn’t do much exercising except a couple of walks over my holiday trip and I haven’t done much since I’ve been home. I’m slowly getting back into my every morning exercise routine (although, once I find work, it will have to be evening exercise because it takes too long to do in the morning before work). And I don’t get in much cardio, so my weight loss is very slow. Once I can afford classes, I’ll be able to try zumba and stuff like that.

    I love reading about your successes and your thought processes and your challenges; they make me think and want to try different things.

    Thank you both for sharing your stories.

  3. pinkpelican says:

    I could tell you where I was in July, & will be happy to, but you’re right. There’s no point in making comparisons. I’ve had, overall, a remarkably good response to the surgery, but I also had no co-morbidities starting out that might have caused metabolic issues; & I had no long standing weight based joint issues starting out. We had different doctors, who had different philosophies about pre- and post-surgery diet.

    Even though we had the same surgery, you’re right. We are two completely different people, and comparison’s are indeed pointless. Heck, even Himself & I, who had surgery only a month apart & live together, have had different courses. I’ve lost more weight than he has, but then again, I’m pretty sure I had more to lose. But there was a point at which he was losing FASTER than I was, which led me into dark grumpy thoughts about “the stupid male metabolism & their stupid bigger denser musculature” and “he better not end up weighing less than I do because then I’ll just jump off a damn cliff (wait, no, I’ll shove HIM off the cliff), grumble grumble grumble”.

    Himself & I have different tolerances for foods … I can pretty much eat all the breads & pastas that exist, while he has to be very careful about them (which means there’s no external control for me so I have to be more mindful about them, whereas he has an internal governor that limits that intake for him, so ultimately *I’m* the one more likely to get into trouble on that front). He had a much more unsettled stomach for a lot longer, & had more difficulty controlling his intake rates than I did. And while we’ve always had compatible flavor preferences, we also have things we do and don’t like that are very different … he loves yoghurt, I despise it, for example. So additionally, the food choices that we all make are going to be different, based on our new tolerances for those foods and the foods we actually do and do not like to eat. And since the foods we eat have a very definite impact on how we lose weight, how much weight we lose, & how our body functions, each person is going to have a unique course based on their unique diet.

    Based on your reports & your pictures, where you started & where you are, both mentally & physically you are doing great. I am doing great, & so is Himself. I have another friend who is probably 6 months out, & even though she is frustrated with her progress, she is still making excellent progress.

    I played the games early on, that if I kept losing 3 to 5 pounds a week, I could be at such & such a weight by such & such a date, & I would get a little anxious if my rate of weight loss fell off. After a while, I stopped thinking about future progress. I realized I was so happy with where I was at each stage because it was so much better than where I’d been, that I started living more in the present. I still thought about where I wanted to eventually be, but I let it be a lot more foggy. When I was at 250 lbs, I was delighted, because I was finding such awesome clothes that were incredibly flattering, & the 130 lbs weight loss (at that time) made such a huge difference in both the way I looked and the way I felt. And at that point, it was the lowest weight I’d achieved in probably 2 decades. When I hit 199, I stopped rolling my eyes at my pear shape (why yes, thank you, my booty is rather a bit more substantial than the rest of me), because the pear shape was WORKING for me. When my upper body was 2 sizes smaller than my lower body in the plus sizes, I looked wonky as all get out. Once my upper body was only 1 size smaller than my lower body, in generally “normal” sizes, I started feeling that I looked proportional.

    Each stage of the journey is worth appreciating for what it is at the time you experience it. My progress now is fits & starts. I fluctuated up and down around a 2 – 3 pound range for part of November & December, then abruptly had a 5 pound loss last week (no doubt in part because all the high calorie/carb holiday food went away & I got back on a normal schedule). I don’t know what’s going to happen this week, or next week, or next month. I know that I have a medium frame, & so the official charts seem to think my ideal weight would be somewhere between the upper 130’s & the low 150’s. I’m currently at 171.5. I know I could probably drop another 10 to 20 pounds, but I expect that to take a fair amount of time. I know that some of my weight will persist just because of loose skin. Overall, I’m pretty much content where I am; if my body decides that the low to mid 170s is where I should be, then I’ll be just fine. If my body decides to keep dropping some weight, I’ll see where it wants to settle. I never quite believed I would get to where I am now, so everything at this point is just icing on the cake. :=)

    Truly, at this point in time, my major goal is figuring out what I need to do to avoid the nightmare of falling back into old habits & gaining back the weight I’ve worked so hard to lose. I’m so very happy with how I look and feel right now, with how healthy I am, that I just want to make sure I continue to appreciate it so I can keep the person I’ve become.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Pink, you are all kinds of awesome. Thanks so much for sharing your experience on your weight loss journey.

      I’m sure you look and feel terrific. I hear you on the issue of doing what you need to do that you don’t fall into old food habits and regain weight. I strive to be vigilant about that everyday. Sometimes I fall short despite my best effort. I’m grateful that I’m able to regain my equilibrium before I go food crazy.

      People are starting to ask if I have a goal weight in mind. I don’t yet. I joke that I’ll stop 20 pounds before where I want to and figure I’ll lose the rest with skin removal and a full body tuck.

      I’m not 100% joking.

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