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Tuesday, 25 February 2014

The Fun Part of Weight Loss

Anyone who has been reading this blog for the past year knows that I have been on a private campaign since last March to lose weight and get healthy. If you're so inclined you can read about some of the practical details here and here.

My motivation was fear. I have been blessed with remarkably good health all my life but it is well known that serious diseases and conditions begin showing up more frequently when people hit their mid-70s. And I was approaching my 72nd birthday.

Now, almost a year-to-the-day later, I have lost 25 percent of my body weight, having dropped 40 pounds - 160 down to 120. My estimated body mass index (BMI) has gone from 29.3 (just .6 below the “obesity” level) to 21.9 which is smack in the middle of the “normal” category.

My blood pressure, never wildly high, has settled to normal. All my other readings – cholesterol, triglycerides, etc. - are also normal.

One of the biggest fun parts of losing weight for me is no longer being apprehensive about the results of those tests. For the decade that I was carrying around too much extra weight, I was the definition of “white coat hypertension.”

Having health measurements in the normal range doesn't mean I won't get a terrible disease or that I won't just drop dead one day of old age – those things happen to healthy people every day. But the likelihood that I will make it to my grave without too many health difficulties is increased.

All that is important but I had no idea how much fun stuff would result from losing 40 pounds - little things every day that give me a frisson of pleasure and a reminder of what I have accomplished in 12 months.

• I can bend over to clean the litter box and pick up the cat food bowls without pain and effort. A year ago I had been contemplating what it would take to convince Ollie to eat on the counter so I could avoid squatting down.

• The mirror is no longer my enemy. I can look at myself naked now and feel fine even with this wrinkly, old-lady body. I had turned my eyes from mirrors for the past ten years.

• I no longer dislike photographs of myself.

• I've mentioned in previous weight loss posts that walking – the feel of swinging my legs forward just feels good. It's a joy to walk now.

• Stairs and hills are no longer endurance tests. I can get to the top of three stories (the most there are around here) without becoming winded.

• I feel strong and in control of my body. A lot of that is due to the exercise routine that has become part of my life - I can easily do 50 pushups and 50 crunches among other strength-building, cardio and flexibility work. But it wouldn't have happened without the weight loss first.

• It's great not to constantly think, “do I look fat in this?” Of course, I did. Now, I don't look fat in anything.

• Most of my old clothes fall off me now and I'm slowly buying new stuff. What's fun is not being stuck in the extra-large department anymore and that there are many more attractive choices in smaller sizes.

• I can carry all the groceries from even a big shopping trip into the house in one go without having to stop to catch my breath.

• Who knew even my feet were fat. Two pairs of shoes I never wore because they pinched my toes don't hurt anymore.

• And I give myself a private little smile now every time I hook up the seat belt in my car because I don't need to pull it out all the way to attach it.

The last really fun thing is more ephemeral, not so measurable as the others. It is that I don't recall, for many years, having such a consistent sense of personal well-being as I have had day-to-day for the past five or six months – since I lost enough weight to be noticeable in both energy and bulk.

To say this feeling of wellbeing is fun is to dismiss it too lightly – pleasure is a better word. I am no longer tired out halfway through a day. I don't worry and wonder about my health as I did before.

But mostly it is a sense of comfortableness, of contentment with living. I could give you a whole long list of things I don't like about my life but I don't fight them as I once did or make a big deal of them.

In a way similar to meditating, I note that I am displeased with a situation and file the thought while I get on which what I'm doing. Not that I forget or am unconcerned – it just doesn't take up as much space in my consciousness as before.

Is it really possible that weight loss creates a sense of wellbeing as profound as that? I have no idea but I have nothing else to attribute it to and it sure makes life better. More fun too.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Henry Lowenstern: Progression


Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

You give me vast encouragement in my efforts to get thinner.

I know it has been a lot of work and self-discipline, so you deserve a day to pat yourself on the back.

Thanks for this post, Ronni. I have been working out the past 8 months but have not reduced my calorie intake. I, of course, know that I have to if I want to lose weight and gain all the benefits you mentioned. You have kick started me to doing just that. Thank you so much. Sure am proud of you and your life style change. Way to go!

Self esteem must be earned. You have done so. Kudos and best wishes for continued success!

Sometimes one needs more than just staying healthy as an incentive to lose weight. In my case it was clothes shopping.
I did a lot of shopping in outlet stores where the farther to the rear of the store you go, the larger the sizes. As time went on, I realized that I was quickly approaching the back wall where the really large sizes were kept. It was then that I decided to diet. I lost 70 lbs in 9 months (Atkins), and never felt better. And, as a consequence of this weight loss, many of my health concerns disappeared. Sometimes all it takes is a pair of tight pants to set you on the track to good health.

BTW: Ronni, did you say that you can do 50 push ups.Got any video of that?

Good on you Ronni! So good to see the fun you are recognizing in so many different ways.

Very inspiring. From someone who could probably use a few extra pounds :)

You have done the impossible for women of our age ---

Go team Ronni!

Congradulations, Ronni! Well done. And I'm so glad you've found this wonderful new you. Dee

Awesome!

So much going on daily that we can do little to nothing about, but with ourselves, using positive focus and determination, it's possible to try, real hard at first, and change something (big), be it a physical condition, mental outlook, throwing out accumulated clutter that's bothersome, etc.

It's how GOOD you feel about yourself, Ronni, and how that has changed your life, really - that is quite the accomplishment, and a great prize!

Congratulations, not just on the weight loss, but with the sense of vitality you now have. Sure makes living life a whole lot better.

Like you, I decided a few years ago that I needed to look at my health, not that it was bad, but because I wanted to keep it good. I have two adorable grandchildren that I want to play with and do things with as they grow up. I've changed my diet, big time, being more plant based, and it sure has made a difference.

Wishing you continued good health.

I lost 25 pounds in two months! Spouse did the same in the same time frame.

How? Diet and exercise - nothing more. No drugs - just cutting out the crap - anything fried, dairy products, sugars in anything, all white food: rice, breads, grits, etc.

Now for those still wondering: Go to the grocery store and head for the produce department. Pick up two 10 pound bags of potatoes. Hold them for five minutes.

Think about it! We carry around all that excessive weight and think nothing of it. But you'll longer without it.

Good luck everyone. It can be done - we did it, so can you.

Wow, Ronni, that's just fabulous. Forty pounds at our age. So inspiring. I'll bet in addition to everything else, you're also standing a bit taller ... figuratively speaking.

What a fantastic achievement. You give all of us hope and encouragement that we can do it too. All the benefits you mentioned are more motivation to just do it!

Wow, I'm happy for you. You've been an inspiration. I lost another 4lbs. emulating your newer eating habits. You've been an inspiration for us and I agree, fear is a great motivator for me too now.

That is fantastic. You are my inspiration.

So happy for you. Not an easy thing to do by any means and you should feel really good about yourself

Thank you, Ronni, for sharing some of the positive aspects of your weight loss journey. I will keep them in mind while trying to remain true to my goals. Very inspiring!

Congratulations on being so disciplined. I have only lost 17 pounds in the same length of time. (I actually lost 20 pounds, but gained 5 back over the holidays and have lost 2 of them again.)

There are two factors that slow my weight loss down; I no longer expend the energy I did when I was in my 70's and I can't cook for myself any longer so I am relying on Meals On Wheels for dinner 5 nights a week. Therefore, I am not getting as many vegetables in my diet as I should, but I do eat 4 or 5 different kinds of fruit each day.

I have started snacking on raw carrots or other veggies to jump start my weight loss again.

I applaud you; I have since September started to preserve my previous good health too and have lost 30 lbs. exceeding my goal of 15 through the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program....back to my lean trim self of my 20,s and 30, and no more red flags for blood glucose elevating nor cholesterol. Hooray for us...I never expected such great results but love my lifestyle change.

Congratulations!
Does this mean we get a new photo up there on the header bar?

THREE CHEERS!!! I can relate to your new life style change.
Gail

I know that sense of well-being after weight loss; almost like getting myself back. For me it comes from being able to be active.

But Ronni -- there is no way I could ever do 50 pushups!! Never.

Congratulations! You have ever reason to be proud of yourself.

Congratulations on all of it! You have inspired me and I'm now working on the same.

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