A year ago, my family was struggling to survive after Jason had lost his job. We were stressed, tired, and eating the cheapest of crap foods from the grocery store. I had terrible heartburn from all the junk food, and the weight I’d pretty much maintained for a year started creeping up a bit. Two weeks after we’d finally settled job, moving, and getting a house here in Texas, I had a chance to see what damage was done. It wasn’t a huge gain, about five pounds above what I’d been averaging, but it was the second highest weight I’d ever been, only 26 lbs under where I was at my highest in 2009.
Fast forward about six months. I’d made some progress in that time, but in that last month, grief had undone that progress. On March 9th, I wasn’t quite back up to that -26 lbs line, but I was very close. Too close.
Fast forward another four months. In those months, I made a ton of progress. By May 15th, I’d lost almost 10 lbs from that line. I was less than a pound away from that first 10-lb celebration. I was seeing numbers that I hadn’t seen in over a year. I hadn’t made nearly that much progress in that first six months from September to March. But after mid-May, between PTSD triggers, the boys getting out of school, the chaos of construction and all the eating out, I basically let go of any progress I’d made. I stopped making healthy choices. The heat and lack of time/schedule and lack of room in my house made it impossible to exercise. I ate, and found other (sedentary) things to occupy my time, and drank far more than I needed to. Two weekends ago, my siblings came into town for my little sister’s birthday party. It was three days of nonstop eating out, junk food, and alcohol. And on the 10th, I weighed in, once again, at that second-heaviest weight line, only 26 lbs down from my 2009 self. All the progress left remaining from my three-year-100-lb journey.
I look back at this all and I question: what was it that made the difference back in March? What was it that made my progress so much more significant for those two months of diligence? Certainly I was diligent for nearly all the months from September to January, before grief kicked me in the stomach when my grandmother died. I counted calories, I exercised, I ate lots of produce…but my lowest weight in that time was a measly 5 lbs under that top weight, and I fluctuated quite a bit. The only thing that was different in March was that I gave up alcohol.
I’ve said this before: alcohol slows my metabolism and increases my appetite. It’s not difficult for me to give it up, but there’s a part of my brain that resists out of anger. I want to be able to have a glass of wine with my dad, or have a bottle of beer at my cousin’s start-of-summer party, or try a sample of something new-to-me at the grocery store. Mentally, I have a healthy relationship with alcohol. I don’t crave it or need it or abuse it. But apparently, even the tiniest amount screws up my system so badly that I have to abstain 100%. I prefer moderation to giving things up, and I tend to do better, mentally, with that mentality, but I can’t go that route with alcohol. It’s got to be all or nothing, and unfortunately, the all or nothing attitude tends to wreck me almost as much! Ugh.
Since weighing in on the 10th, back up to that second-highiest weight, I haven’t touched alcohol, and I don’t plan to do so again until my cruise in mid-September. In addition to trying to get back on track with eating and exercise, I hope the total absence of alcohol will help me to lose at a quick-for-me rate again. There are only two months left until my cruise. I won’t be where I’d planned for when I first started working toward it in March. This has been a big setback. But I want to at least be back to where I was two months ago, and preferably a couple pounds further along. Wish me luck.
I know exactly what you mean about getting pissed off when you can’t even have something in moderation. It’s frustrating to not have a choice. As someone who cannot seem to lose the weight despite consistent and intense workouts, I also just feel your pain on the constant annoyance of working towards being healthier. You got this!
I wish they would really study women’s bodies and hormones and weight-related stuff, because just telling us to eat 1200 calories (NO!) is not okay, nor is just pretending we aren’t working our butts off to lose. We need real data.
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I took one of those stupid quizzes where they are trying to sell you a diet plan – one of those that supposedly every Avenger used to get into shape for the movies. Normally, I would never take the quiz, but I was curious and bored and procrastinating. The thing is that the quiz asked a few questions and diagnosed me as having dual metabolism. What really got me is that it said that I will never lose weight by exercise and probably gain weight when I do exercise. Was that a slap in the face because that has been the gospel truth for the last ten years. Exercise does not help me lose weight. It makes me gain weight. I’m not going to pay the ridiculous fee for this dude’s diet plan, but it certainly will make me do my own research to find out what I do need to do to lose some weight and get healthy. I say this because I totally agree with you that money needs to be spent researching women and diets and hormonal issues because I am so damn tired of being told that exercise and fewer calories will make all the difference. If it were the only answer, everyone would be thin.
I seem to have the opposite problem – I can’t lose weight unless I”m exercising, but then on top of that, if I exercise too much or eat too little, I’ll go into training mode (probably leftover from my swimming years) and starting gaining. Interestingly, my genetics (from 23 and me) say that I have a higher chance of putting on weight, but also the muscular makeup similar to those of elite athletes. This might make sense of all those body comp tests I’ve taken that tell me that I have a lot of extra fat but also a lot more muscle than most people, and my resting metabolic rate is therefore really high. Even at my good weight a few years ago, I was told that I should never eat fewer than 1650 calories a day or my body would start shutting down. !!! But also if I eat too much, even by just a little, I gain. It’s rather stupid.