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March 2nd, 2009

When a Little Less is A Lot to Celebrate

I have always been a steady 110-115 lbs kinda-gal, and before all of you begin to hate on me, please understand that I only stand 4'10" tall.  While that may not seem like many pounds for the average person, realize that I have a lot less room in which to hold said weight.  In other words, with height comes more room in which to stretch all those pounds out.

Though I am not skinny, but rather shapely and muscularly-toned, my weight was about average for my height.  Still, as any young female raised in an era that crams super-skinny, glossy perfection down our throats, I always thought I was "fat".  Only now, in later years and having actually been overweight, do I realize the folly of my younger, disillusioned body image.  No longer, I vow, will I ever bemoan anything under 125 lbs.  I've only to look back to all those years I missed enjoying the body I had - one I did not realize I'd miss until I'd added over ten pounds to it.

After my knee surgery in the summer of 2002, I began - for the first time, really, in my adult life - to gain weight.  The initial three months of non-recovery after my surgery consisted of a great deal of lying around and very little, if any, physical activity.  The weight began to accumulate.

Around this time, as the realization of my new immobility and disablity began to sink in, I started to drink more than I ever had (or have since).  I was insanely depressed and drinking took the edge off of the nightmare I seemed to have come out of surgery into - one I could not, and would never fully, awaken from.  Then, also, the weight began to accumulate.

Though I tried to cheer myself by remembering that I'd hated my smaller body by believing it to be fat, thereby never allowing myself to enjoy it, I knew that I was overweight.  I wasn't happy about it, but exercising wasn't really something I could do with any real gusto because of my disability, and I swore long ago I'd never torture myself with yo-yo diets or deny myself foods I enjoyed (I grew up watching my mother bemoan every single calorie and constantly starve herself and planned to never put myself through such agonies when I reached adulthood).  The result was that my 4'10" frame soon found itself attempting to accomodate over 135 lbs; not only overweight for my height but an extra burden on my already-pained legs.

In the past year and a half, I have pretty much quit drinking (I barely have a drink once every two weeks) and have closely monitored my eating - I eat less and smaller portions.  I don't deny myself food - I eat what I want when I want it - but I'm careful not to overeat (something I did unconsciously before because of my tendancy to wolf down food faster than a hot dog-eating champion).  Slowly, the weight began to come off.

At first, I didn't really notice it.  Slowly but surely, however, my clothes started to hang on me; my work pants needed belts and I discovered - with utter delight - that I was able to squeeze back into a size 7 pair of jeans I'd owned in my 19 year-old, California-days (ones that had, the year before, not made it up past my thighs).  The real acceptance that I'd lost the weight came this past Christmas, though, when my sister - who, along with my mother - had been telling me how great I looked, showed me pictures on her camera from the Christmas before (2007).

"I don't think you realize just how much you've lost," she told me.

My shock at looking through the photos confirmed that I hadn't.  For the first time I allowed myself to enjoy the fact that I'd really done it - I had really lost the weight.  I've kept at it, and today at the doctor's office I had my final (and best) confirmation:  the scale read 120 lbs.  I couldn't believe it - I was back down to my ideal weight (sure, I'd love to be 115 lbs again, but this is actually healthier for me and more in line with my body shape).  It feels wonderful and I've noticed less pain in my legs and just an overall sense of feeling healthier (less alcohol is never a bad thing, either).

This isn't to brag or rub it in to those out there still trying to lose those pesky pounds, but rather a "you can do it, too!" message.  Well, sure, I want to share my excitement - that, too - but truly, if my lazy ass can shed 15 lbs, you can, too!

To give you an idea of the difference I saw when I looked in Amber's camera this past Christmas, I offer you two photos - one taken in November 2007 and the other just today (March 2009).  Both are thumbnails, so click to see a larger image:

weightloss_nov07-th weightloss_mar09-th

A smaller, lighter me - what can I say?  Is it wrong to be so thrilled?  I know I rally against negative body image and all that, but I also believe we must love ourselves and work with what we've been given.  I disliked being overweight, but I never let myself dwell on it and - instead - attempted to love the body I had so that I didn't miss out doing so years down the road when I might be even larger.  I wasn't even necessarily trying to lose weight - I just made a conscious decision to drink less and eat more healthily.  The end result was just more than I could've even hoped for.

Thanks for letting me gush...and best of luck with your own weightloss goals.  Remember, if I can do it, you can, too!

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