Weight loss is only one part of my wellness journey, but I wanted a place to record the patterns of weight loss over the years since I began on November 27th, 2009.
My weight loss journey began, and I mostly had no idea what I was doing in this time. I lost a net total of 15 lbs over that 13 months.
My journey began in earnest here with a lot of research, small changes, and an introduction to Sparkpeople. For the first 8-9 months of the year, I lost an average of 5 lbs per month, before hitting a wall related mostly to insomnia. I kept going despite the slow-down, and lost a total of 54 lbs in 2011.
I kept fighting against the wall this year, and also dealt with a stress fracture in my leg that left me unable to exercise for 12 weeks in the summer. Despite all that, I still lost 27 lbs this year, bringing me to only 4 lbs from my goal of losing 100 lbs total.
I hit that 100-lbs-lost goal at the end of February, then set to maintaining the rest of the year. I did lose a further 5 lbs over the rest of the year, fluctuating within a small range as I maintained.
Early in 2014, I underwent abdominal repair surgery. I continued to maintain my weight until a major life change in May that caused severe mental health issues and disordered eating habits. If I look at the year as a whole, from January 1st to December 31st, I gained 7 lbs (photo below). The bigger pattern had me maintaining for five months, gaining (20 lbs) for three months), then losing (17 lbs) for two months, then starting back upwards again as part of a rollercoaster year from mid-2014 to mid-2015.
This was my big, bad year of regain due to a combination of medication, disordered eating, continued trauma for half the year, unexplained illness (turned out to be due to black mold and a new mattress I was allergic to), another cross-country move, and a major injury (sprained and broken ankle/foot) that kept me from exercising. Overall, I regained 47 lbs this year.
Another year, another cross-country move. I received the first of my new diagnoses, PCOS, as my doctors attempted to figure out why my weight was increasing exponentially. The uncontrolled regain slowed significantly six months after I began sleeping on the allergy-mattress, in early March 2016, and stopped completely by the one-year anniversary. My weight remained steady after that, and the total regain for the year was much lower – 14 lbs.
Another year, another cross-country move. Yes. Fourth since 2014. And last. This, finally, was a year of maintenance. While my weight fluctuated up or down by a few pounds, I kept my weight stable all year. I began to exercise regularly again after I finally recovered from the injury in 2015 – which took two years to heal, since they didn’t find the main source of the injury (the broken instead of sprained portion of my foot/ankle) until an MRI in Dec 2016.
Another fluctuating maintenance year, where my body went up and down within a small range disconnected completely from any personal actions. More symptoms (most significantly, anosmia for five months followed by dysosmia that remains ongoing to this day), tests, MRIs, medications, and specialists. No progress in terms of improving my health (weight-wise or blood-test-based), but I did do a lot of good work at healing my relationship with food and improving my body image.
Health problems (hives, continued dysosmia, inflammation, chronic fatigue, etc) meant that weight-related health was put on h0ld for most of the year. In any case, it was another maintenance year, fluctuating within a small range.
For most of the year, I continued to maintain within a small range. Symptoms continued. Extra medicine prescribed. More tests were run. I was diagnosed with “something autoimmune” that they couldn’t determine, as well as “catastrophic” levels of inflammation. I focused my attention on fitness and eating a healthy-but-reasonable diet. Even once the chaos of the pandemic descended, I maintained. Until October, when suddenly I had another bout of chronic fatigue, joint pain, and unexplained weight gain (10 lbs), as well as some new symptoms (like broad burning/hot patches on my upper arms that no one could explain). Finally, on 12/26, I discovered that my mattress contained memory foam, which I’m allergic to (and which I was assured it didn’t have when I bought it). It is too early to tell what may or may not come from the discovery, or if removing the bed – which was done immediately – will dissipate all these symptoms and allow my body to HEAL. We shall see in 2021.