Tuesday, March 24, 2015

80lb Maintenance: Year THREE!!

Originally posted 12/16/14

You read that right! 
Three years of maintaining (and every so gradually building upon) my 80lb weight loss and lifestyle change!!! 

It's hard to believe that my dedicated readers from years past are still around, but some of you probably are. I once again feel like I should post an update for y'all, and for any new followers who may have stumbled across this. 


Since posting last September I have: 
Broken my foot. 
Had a bad concussion. 
Sprained my knee. 
Pinched a nerve in my neck, leaving me bed-ridden for nearly 3 months. 
Lost some close friends. 
Been singled out for severe bullying in my first roller derby league. 
Dated a baking enthusiast with a love for bacon grease for several months. 
Went through a very emotional break up with said enthusiast. 
Went on a lot of weird dates with a lot of awkward men, nearly convincing me that spinsterdom and 14 cats might be right up my alley. 
Moved back to my very favorite place, but away from ALL of my friends. 
Gained some new friends. 
Started work at my dream job. 
Transferred to a new, higher-level derby league. 
STAYED WITHIN THE SAME 10LB WINDOW FOR ALL OF IT, until recently, when I very unexpectedly started losing more weight. 

That's right, make ups, break ups, bacon grease, injuries that left me nearly incapable of moving, brain damage... A lot has happened, and NONE of it had a major effect on my weight. 

How can this be possible for the girl who just a few short years ago would have used any one of these as a perfectly acceptable excuse to eat all of the things and gain all of the weight, let alone all of them in just over a year? 
You've got to be tired of hearing it, but, LIFESTYLE CHANGE!! 

Although, personally, I think it's more than that. 
Really, it's a HEAD change. 
I had to make a dedicated effort to learn to like and then to love myself. 
Being fat was just one of many easy outs for me. It was a focus. It was a crutch. It was a weird combination of obsessions. It was a drug. 

"I'll feel so much better about myself when I'm 20lb thinner." 
"I'll feel beautiful when I can fit into that size negative 47 dress." 
"People would like me more if I were thin and pretty." 

NONE of that is really true, if you reallllllly think about it. 

Do I feel better about myself thinner? Of COURSE, but not BECAUSE I am thinner. It's the opposite; I am thinner because I feel better about myself. 

I don't give a rat's arse about what number or letter is on the tags in my clothes, and believe me, they're ALL OVER THE MAP. I have XS clothes and size 18clothes that fit me exactly the same. 

Women's clothing sizes are basically arbitrary numbers and letters thrown onto things made to itch you near your ladybusiness during long commutes and important meetings, and have no place in your life. 

All of that stuff: what was I going to eat or not eat, how many calories did I have left for the day, how many times do I need to work out this week, what size should my goal size be, all of that fantasizing about how life and myself would be different when I was thinner, ALL OF IT was a distraction. An OBSESSION. Whether I was gaining weight or losing it, I was obsessing. 
It was an easy thing to blame for my self-loathing. 
It was an easy thing to blame for my lack of social interaction. 
It was an easy thing to blame for my fear of trying things. 
It was an easy thing to blame for feelings of insignificance. 
It was an easy thing to blame for those times I just felt awkward, or sad, or lonely. 
It was an easy thing to blame. 

So, what's my big secret? My new gems of advice? 
It's still the same, and unfortunately it doesn't have a magic pill, suggested meal plan, workout schedule, or some super mathematical calories in and self-esteem out ratio for you to follow. 

Do what makes you feel good about yourself. 
Think at least twice before doing the things that don't. 
Remember the difference between having an excuse and making one. 
Learn from the results. 


In spite of injuries, bullying, new love, heartbreak, moving, intense work schedules, and losing almost all of my free time, I am still a derby girl. 
I have more friends that call me "Mangle" than by my 'real' name. 
This, to me, is almost a more significant struggle than my weight loss. 
It's kind of the ultimate proof of my lifestyle change. 
I love derby, but it is not an easy thing for me. I am, by nature, more of a 'brain' than a 'jock'. Even more significant, I am one of those annoying people to whom most things come very easily. So, when I come across something that is difficult for me, I usually just don't do it, or quit. 
With every major injury, people around me were astonished. 
"Doesn't this prove that you're just too old for that?" 
"Aren't you worried about getting hurt again?" 
"Do you really have time for all of that with your career goals right now?" 
"You do realize you'll never have time to find a boyfriend, right?" 

I can't explain why, but even as close friends were hanging up their skates to be able to pay attention to similar events in their lives, quitting was never an option for me. 

From November of 2013 to November of 2014, I was either hurt, or recovering from my last injury. AN ENTIRE YEAR of having to 'come back'. Over. And Over. And OVER again. Most of that while at a league where I was very aggressively bullied by a few girls in positions of power. An entire year of either being purposefully excluded, having to miss practice for work or injury, or hang with the newbies where I could regain my strength and agility. It was grueling physically, emotionally, spiritually, heck, even financially! 
But there I was, every practice I could attend. Whether I wanted to cry because I could barely make it around the track 5 times without getting out of breath, or dance with joy because I regained feeling in my left foot after several months of numbness, I was there. 

Last month, it all paid off. I bouted again for the first time in a whole year at a fun Thanksgiving themed tournament. It being a tournament, I skated mostly with girls I'd never met, and was coached by a coach who had never seen me skate. Within a few jams, I was in the "power wall", meaning I was one of the best blockers on my team and got tons of extra skate time. More than anyone else on my whole team!! I had never felt so good out on the track, ever. Being recognized by a coach that way after being told I was so awful by those bullies for so many months was one of the most vindicating experiences of my whole life. 
One of the photographers even snapped my very favorite roller derby picture of me (so far)!! 
(I'm in the green, and that skill took me a very very long time to learn!) 

This weekend past, I realized in the funniest of ways that I'm in the best shape of my life. 
I danced the whole night away with one of my best friends. 
Sure, I've done that lots of times, but I really MEAN it this time. 
We weren't just dancing, the two of us OWNED that dance floor. Our moves were as big and silly as our smiles. People would come out to join us for a song or two, and then leave. Finally one of the guys asked me if we were on drugs, and when I laughed and said no, he asked how we could POSSIBLY dance that hard for 4 straight hours then. 
My answer? 
"We're athletes!" 

I didn't even think about it; it just came out so naturally. 
"We're athletes" 
As in me, girl who couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded, confidently self-identifying as an athlete, and receiving an interested but un-astonished response. 
That was a thing. 

And then the next morning I got to TAKE OUT the girl who was most responsible for bullying me before my transfer on the track. It might be a little petty to body-check someone 10x harder than you need to, but damn did it feel good. 
She can consider herself Mangled. 

I still drink too much beer. 
I still eat pizza and candy and burritos with tortillas. 
I do not avoid any food or foods as "bad" 
I don't have a gym membership, or the time or money for them. 
I almost never "workout", unless my body is just begging me to. 
I definitely don't sleep enough. 
I haven't looked at a nutrition fact other than to check ingredients in over a year. 
I stepped on the scale for the first time in 6 months this morning, and even super bloated for my period, have somehow managed to drop 5lb below my previous low, pushing me across the 80lb loss threshold, which somehow has so much nicer of a ring to it than 75... 

Lifestyle CHANGED. 
Life is still good, AMAZING in fact. 
No news is still good news. 

I promise you I'm not anyone special, or, not any more special than anyone else.
If I can change, if ANYONE can change themselves for the good, you can. 
You are the one and only thing that's really in your way. 

If you want to see a before and after, there's already one on the maintenance update I posted last year. It feels silly and vain to post it in two blogs in a row! 

Be well. 

Now I Smash My Friends

Originally posted 9/26/13

If you're a follower, and still around, oh my goodness, awesome!!! 

I felt like all of you were / are owed and update and explanation. You stuck by and supported me through so much. My friends, and Sparkpeople as a whole... 


That's why I haven't been here. 

I don't need it. 

My lifestyle changed, and the worst thing I could do is obsess about it. 

I have kept off every pound I lost, and a few more, though I don't often bust out the scale anymore. Maybe once every other month or so, just to make sure I'm not delusional. 

I did finally pass my Fresh Meat derby assessments, though I had to go through ALL of fresh meat a second time to do it, and roller derby is the highlight of my life these days. I skate 2-3 nights a week, I have this huge circle of new friends, it builds physical activity into my schedule in a way that doesn't feel like "exercise," and, most importantly, it makes me SO HAPPY. 

See? Proof! 
The final verdict on derby name, by the way: Charlemangle 
It makes me feel tough and smart! 
It used to be that I couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without getting huffing and puffing. Now I smash into my friends 3 nights a week on skates and covered in sweat and love every second of it (well, maybe not that exact second when I hit the floor real hard). 

I ended my relationship with my ex just shy of 10 years together. I didn't mention him much, but he was mentioned, so I feel like I should say something. 
It's a big risk, when you change your life, that you will change yourself right out of several friendships, and maybe even your relationship. I saw it happen with a lot of other successful sparkers. 
It makes me feel like I have to defend myself. He stayed with me all the years I was fat, and as soon as I start feeling empowered and good about myself I have the nerve to dump him? 
Short answer: yes. 
Hint at the long answer: weight loss was just one (admittedly major) part of really working hard to be the person I want to be. The more I changed, and the more he stayed the same, the less we had in common. He couldn't understand or appreciate me anymore. I did things that made my soul grow and grow and grow, and he kept working a soul-crushing job and just complaining about it. So, our souls changed in opposite directions, and we weren't soul-mates anymore. 
We're trying hard to still be good friends. 

So, you know what that means... 
I'm dating again for the first time since I was 18! 
It's crazy and mostly ridiculous and more fun than I expected. It's really teaching me a lot about myself! 
It's also taught me that most guys really don't care about a few extra pounds, not the fun ones anyway. Particularly if you carry them in the fun places!! They're really looking for confidence and independence and sense of humor and all the same stuff we are. 
So, single ladies, lighten up a little, m'kay?! 

Also, if you know of any single, large, attractive, preferably bearded, viking-esque men with a quick wit, full-time job, and appreciation for good whiskey and bad puns in the Monterey Bay area who like rainbow-haired girls that like unicorns and rollerskates way too much for a woman of nearly 30, help a girl out!!! 

Food is no longer a struggle!! 
If you get nothing else from me, any of my blogs, or this post, know this: 

I've been maintaining the same window of 10lb for nearly two years now, and it feels great. 
Would I like to be thinner? Sure! Not many of us wouldn't. 
Could I lose the last 25lb to get to my original goal of 100lb lost? Probably anytime I want!! 
BUT, I don't really care. I like pizza and beer and naps and ice cream and 25 extra pounds don't feel like that big of a deal 90% of the time. 
I mean, 10% of the time I'm pretty convinced I'm just as big as I was when I started, that I'm giant and fat and gross, that nothing looks good on me and never will.... Hey man, that's progress. I'm down to 10%!! And I'm confident that that percentage will continue to get smaller. 
I hope it never gets to zero... I'm pretty sure that makes me a sociopath... or at least a narcissist. 

So what's the secret? 
What's the take-away? 
What can those who have been struggling so hard who come across this and look for inspiration or guidance or ideas or at least commiseration find here that makes it worth reading? 

I wish I could answer that. 
The secret for me was common sense. You know what you should and should not be putting in your body and in what quantities. You know which choices make you happy, make you feel good about yourself as a person, and which don't. You know you need to exercise, and probably even have a pretty good idea of what kinds and how much of it make you feel good, without feeling like you're over or under-doing it. You know you need to sleep. You know that food doesn't really solve anything but actual hunger and lack of nutrients. 
I made a decision that I was done with disliking myself, so I tried to make each decision with that in mind. 
I still do! 
I'm just not focused on food anymore. 

I bought a Snickers bar (my favorite easy to find candy) from some kids raising money for their soccer team and I forgot that sucker in my purse for 3 weeks. 
I THREW AWAY left over pizza (my kryptonite) from my favorite establishment because IT SAT IN MY FRIDGE TOO LONG. 
A pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream lasted me a whole week, and 4 sittings. 
I went to derby practice 3 nights this week, and swam on 3 lunch breaks, and don't feel like I exercised once. 
AND NONE OF THIS WAS A STRUGGLE, even a little bit. 

I still don't drink enough water. 
I still drink too much diet soda and beer. 
I still eat too many carbs and sugar and cheese. 
I rarely sleep enough. 
I let my swims turn into power napping in the sun on nice days. 

I also got wolf-whistled TWICE today on my lunch; and I'm really not that thin. 
I got told that I am "ripped" by a strange man last week, as a compliment, and loved it. 

Most importantly: I'm so happy. 
I'm so comfortable with who I am, and even the things about myself that I'm still working toward changing. My weight, what I eat, and how much I exercise are really not a focus anymore. 

There's hope. 
Lives and lifestyles change!! 

And, because I know everyone loves a before and after: 

Oh, and I have rainbow hair and my dream job!! 
Life is good. 
No news is good news.

I Recovered My Login!!

Hello readers, if any of you are still around!!!

I am alive, and well, and still maintaining all of my weight loss, and then some!
Not to mention some muscles that I would go so far as to say are bordering on "burly".

I'll post the couple of updates missing here from my original SparkPeople blog, and intend to start posting more regular updates!!

It's come to my attention lately that being able to write a maintenance blog, in some ways, is probably of more value to my friends, both real and 'internet' in nature, than a weight loss blog.

I hope you are well, and thanks so much for caring!!