Was: The 5%. Now: Former Fat Girl Mentality (and an update)

UPDATE:  My weight today ranges between 116 and 119.  It wasn’t a great way to lose the weight…I have had some health issues of late but am doing better now.  I am reposting this blog with the updated info and a pic because I have talked to a lot of folks lately about my weight loss.  So many of my new FB and RL friends have not seen my before picture and always express disbelief that I was ever fat.  Trust me. I was.

I also want to address what I have dubbed “Former Fat Girl Mentality.” When a woman has been fat, especially as a child and/or teenager, she will likely never see herself as anything but fat.  The person looking back at her when she peers in the mirror is not the person that other people in the world see.  The image is distorted.  That is Former Fat Girl Mentality. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see a slim, attractive woman.  I see flaws.  I’m not delusional–I know that I am much smaller than I was. I know that I am wearing a size 4 now where, at my highest, I was in an 18 or 20.  But I still will go for larger sizes in the store.  It’s automatic.  I look at myself and see flab everywhere.  Former Fat Girl Mentality.

Consequently, when someone compliments me, my first instinct is to deflect with a derogatory comment about myself.  I have a good friend who calls me on it and I have started trying to modify that behavior and just accept the compliment with a “Thanks” or a “You’re sweet.”  It’s hard, though.  I slip a lot.  But I am making a concerted effort to modify that behavior.

I am still a work in progress….physically and mentally. Physically,  I’d like to tone up and get my body fat down from 21-22% to no higher than 18%.  Mentally, well….that’s gonna take some work.  Addressing life-long, deeply held beliefs is a lot of hard, painful work.   Here is the newest pic as well as a couple for comparison purposes (bad quality on the old ones, sorry).

No, this is not yet another political rant from me.  🙂

This is about my other obsession:  weight loss/maintenance.  I read an article on Sparkpeople today entitled “5 Secrets of the 5%” and it resonated with me. Despite my whining and caterwauling about my weight loss success (or lack thereof–it seems at times) I am, in fact, one of the 5%.

If you have browsed through these pages before you know that I have been struggling with my weight since 1st grade. I was that painfully shy kid who had no friends and would cry at the drop of a hat.  My parents began the habit of stopping after school everyday and allowing me to have a Coke and a candy bar or stopping for ice cream–to make me feel better, I suppose.  The result was a fat kid who was even more shy and easy to cry.  My mother said many times that she wished they had never started that junk food habit with  me.  She felt guilty I suppose.  She shouldn’t have.  Once I got old enough to “know better” I could have stopped but I didn’t.

Fast forward to 2001.  My mother passed away in March.  My father had been dead for almost 10 years.  Despite the fact that I did have a daughter and husband, I felt so alone–an orphan.  My weight was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.  I went to my doctor (whining and caterwauling then, too) about how it wasn’t fair that I was so fat–208 pounds.  I knew for a fact that I didn’t eat nearly as much as other people who weighed much less. He didn’t believe me–of course he didn’t.  Who believes the fat person who claims to be big-boned or have a slow metabolism?  For two weeks I logged all my food and brought those logs back to the doctor.  I was vindicated!  Not only did he look at my logs with wonder–I was eating around 1,500 calories a day (and maintaining a 208 pound weight at that very low number)–the Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) showed that I had a very low metabolism.  Years of poor eating and even poorer exercise habits ruined my metabolism and made it impossible for me to lose weight on a “normal” diet.  The BIA indicated that I needed to eat 1,000 calories a day in order to lose weight–a horribly low calorie budget; one most nutritionists would run screaming from.  I cried in my car on the way back to work after picking up the report.  I don’t have it in front of me right now, but I do remember that the weight on it was 203 and my body fat was 42%.  Unreal. I was looking down a long, dark tunnel of eating even less than I had been in order to lose weight.  But I embraced it with a will.  I logged food religiously, but still did practically no exercise.  I became anorexic.  My hair fell out.  My lips would get numb.  I had vertigo.  I was eating well below 1,000  a day.

This is not a healthy person. Looks are deceiving–I was starving myself to death at this time in my life.

In July of 2003 I weighed 124.5.  Body fat was still high-ish at 30%.  I went on a retreat for work followed by a week in Florida and fell out of my diet “habit.”  Over the next couple of years I crept back up to just over 150.  Lost a few, gained a few.  Last year (2010) I decided to get back into the groove but do try to do it in a more healthy fashion–focus more on ratios of fat, carbs, and protein and also on exercise.  I have managed to go from about 155 back down to 131 and get my body fat to about 25-26%, which is still a little high. Chronic dieters will talk about Non-Scale Victories (NSV). I have had a couple of those in the last few weeks. I am in much better shape now and can actually run (le gasp!) for a few minutes at a time.  This is quite an accomplishment for me–I’m not a runner.  At all.  I have also built my strength significantly. The Y has a pull-up machine which assists part of your weight to allow you to actually do a pull-up.  I have managed to increase my strength level to the point that I only need to assist 85 pounds (down from 100).

If you are still with me after all that rambling, here is the meat of the post.  I started out at 208 and managed to lose approximately 40% of my body weight and then keep my weight pretty much within the normal range for 10 years.  That makes me one of the 5%.  The article cites the characteristics that make a person successful in their weight loss.  I won’t gank (that means steal for those of you who aren’t gansta, lol) the fellow’s article but the basic characteristics are: share your efforts; log your food, moods, exercise, etc.; make it fun; make small changes and allow failure.  I hit every one of these with the exception of enjoying myself or making it fun.  It is a challenge to keep your calories down and to eat the right ratios of nutrients, etc…..and I like a challenge.  But it’s not fun for me.  There is nothing fun about it.  It’s terrible that people have to struggle so to be happy and healthy.

Well, that was just about enough rambling for the day.  I just felt like I had to get that out there.


One Response to Was: The 5%. Now: Former Fat Girl Mentality (and an update)

  1. tony2333 says:

    You don’t have to like it, you just have to do it.

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