Alternate Title #1: Maintenance Isn’t Linear Either
Alternate Title #2: Weight Gain… Not So Scary After All
Alternate Title #3: Behold! The Power of Lifting!
Alternate Title #4: Progress Photos Save Sanity
Alternate Title #5: Maybe I Should Just Call It a Bulk Cycle
If you want the full story, it’s here in the blog. The short story, which as I write it, isn’t so short after all, is that two and a half years ago, I started my weight loss “journey” (and I hate calling it that, because it gives me a song plant involving the phrase, “Streetlights! People!”), and reached my goal weight just in time for my 39th birthday. That was two years ago this weekend. Since then I realized that weight loss is just one part of it.
Maintenance requires every single bit as much motivation, determination and just plain effort. Maybe even a little bit more. Losing weight is fun, in a way. You see definite progress. The number on the scale goes down. Your clothes fit better. People congratulate you on your hard work. In maintenance, you still need to do everything you did to lose the weight, but without those tangible bonuses. It’s very rare (only when making posts like this!) that anyone might say, “Hey, good job staying about the same size for the past two years!”
What you need is new goals. Fitness goals work for me. Running longer and faster at first, and for a while, I was interested in losing a little more weight and got as low as 125, then I got into weight lifting, first with machines at the gym, and for the past year with free weights at home) and was amazed at what a change that made to my body. And it takes a while to realize that “being happy where you are” is also a perfectly acceptable goal. I’m still working on that one.
In December 2012, I think I was at my physical peak. I’d just completed 12 weeks of Stronglifts and felt like a million bucks. Then, I’m not quite sure what happened. My mojo crashed. Some of it was, I think, related to my 3rd Depo Provera shot. Within weeks of that, my weight jumped about 7 pounds, and I wasn’t doing anything differently. Add a rough winter of bad weather, and my depression flared up a little. Then going back on antidepressants for a while, then getting the flu, and I added another 5 pounds or so, topping off around 145 or so.
Enough was enough. I stopped the Depo, and I’m stopping the antidepressants, since they really didn’t help this time around… they just made me feel numb. I’d rather be sad and angry than numb. And the scale is starting to budge again.
I finally worked up the nerve to slip into a bikini and take some progress photos. And you know what? They’re not bad! I’m not sadistic nor confident enough to put my current pics side by side with my peak photos from last year, but compared with when I was about the same weight, then at my goal and below goal, two years ago… I’m feeling excited instead of sad.
The first photo was after I’d already lost about 20 pounds and (as you can tell by my shit-eating grin) felt great. It was the first set of real progress photos I took. Second photo was when I reached my goal weight. Third was when I kept losing without really trying after reaching my goal, before I started lifting. And the last, a few days ago.
I could kick myself in my nice, round ass for being afraid to take progress photos the last few months, and letting that fear make me feel bad about myself. I’d look at the scale, and think, “Damn… I’m back where I was… I’m almost closer to my start weight than my goal weight.” Plus, I see every flaw when I look in the mirror. Always did. It amazes me that I can look smaller at 143 than at 130. Thanks, weight lifting!
I still want to drop a little weight. Except weight isn’t the right word. Bodyfat. I want to lower my bodyfat a little. Because, as these photos show, losing pounds isn’t always the answer. And I’m really excited about it… I can’t wait to see what losing some extra fluff will reveal.