Day 184

I cannot speak for anyone but myself. I was going to open today’s article with the words ‘Anyone who has ever set out to lose a lot of weight will tell you…’ As I look in the rearview mirror of my life, I remember too many times that I have gotten in trouble for speaking out of turn, for saying ‘All people this’ or ‘All kids that’ or whatever it is. I am trying (against the very nature of every fibre of my being) to be more humble.

I can tell you that every time that I have set out to lose a lot of weight that milestones are huge. They are the goals we set for ourselves to continue to strive for. Long term goals are great: Hey, I plan to lose 150-pounds. It is the short-term goals – those milestones that are more easily reachable in the incremented short term – that encourage us to keep going.

I have always looked at the following milestones as the bellwethers of my success. The first is the Decades. When I drop below a multiple of 10, it is an achievement for me. ‘Hey, I dropped from 350.2 lbs to 349.9 lbs!’ That might not seem significant, as it is only a drop of less than half a pound. However, it is the cumulative result of losing the ten pounds it took to get from 360-pounds to below 350-pounds.

Of course, I also look at how my clothes fit as a bellwether of progress, but it is being able to fit into a shirt or a pair of pants or whatever that previously had not fit that I see as the significant milestones. As an example: a couple of days ago, I wore a tank top on my fitness walk that I had not been able to fit into for two years. Yes, it was tight, and yes, it did not completely cover my belly… but I was able to wear it comfortably. That is a milestone. Over the next few weeks, that shirt will start to grow; first it will cover my belly, then it will stop being so tight. That is definitely a non-scale victory… but it is not a milestone.

I have several tubs of clothing, along with quite a bit hanging in my closet, that do not currently fit. Most of them are sorted into various sizes, and every so often I pull something out that had not previously fit to see if it does yet. While I have myriad polo shirts and things that I am looking forward to being able to wear again, the next huge clothes goal is to be able to wear the custom-tailored suits and shirts that I had made for me in 2017, when I was at my lowest weight. I was able to wear them for a few months in 2020 again – I wore them to the High Holidays services – but it has been nearly two years since. I am looking forward to wearing them again.

It will come as no shock that I wrote about milestones this morning because I achieved one. I dropped into a new decade – one that I have not been in since falling from it in April, 2021 – the week my father passed away. It has been fifteen months since my weight registered below 330-pounds, and this morning it did. Of course, owing to the instability of my floors, I am still unsure if that measurement is accurate or not. All I know is that I have been following the plan, and am not suspicious of losing six pounds in five days… at least, not since my dramatic change to my single-meal plan.

Yesterday was my third straight day of following the new meal plan perfectly. I had three meal replacement shakes (at or about 9am, 6pm, and 10pm), and one very healthy meal when I got back from my walk, probably around 2pm. When I say healthy meal, I mean in both respects: It was protein (chicken) and salad… but I am also aware that I am still eating larger portions than I probably should. Just as I adjusted my regimen this week (shifting from two meals and two shakes to one meal and three shakes), I know that my next step – when I plateau and am not losing weight anymore – will be to reduce the size of that meal. That will be an important step for my long-term success, because I will need to start simply eating less, especially if I want my stomach to shrink and eventually require (and desire) less food.

So why, you might ask, don’t I just do it now? My simple answer is that you take one step at a time. While there is a school of thought that diving in is better (as most weight loss clinics start you on four meal replacements per day, often dropping you from 2500-3500 calories per day to 900 calories per day from Tuesday to Wednesday), I have done this three times… each time I was extremely successful in the short term, and a complete failure in the long term. So yes, I am doing my progression gradually, and will make the necessary changes as I see fit.

While I woke up today feeling the aches in my feet, I am still planning on going for a fitness walk. I have a meeting at 11:00am, and after that I am going to look at a map of my neighbourhood and see what paths there are that might be more interesting than the roads I have been walking. It might also help if I plan out a shorter walk, rather than just setting out and realizing when I am two kilometres from home that my tanks are nearly empty.

For those who are worried, no I will not overdo it, and no, I will not ‘kill myself.’ If I only exercise on the days when nothing hurts, then I will never exercise. If, on the other hand, I accept that aches and pains are part of my struggle, then I will be able to overcome them.

In the Army we were taught that the difference between a pain and an injury was huge – it was the difference between going on and overcoming obstacles, and getting a bet or a gimel – essentially a day (or two or three) of bed rest, either in the infirmary or at home. Of course, in unit training it also meant dropping out of the unit. In my case, if I was injured, I would stop… but I am not, I am just feeling achy. That is what you get when you are morbidly obese, and are working toward slim and sleek.

One thing I know, before I set out on my fitness walk, I will be choosing the right shoes. I have several pair of running shoes, and some of them (like the ones I selected yesterday) have hundreds of miles on them, and are no longer suitable for long walks. I am not taking any chances today, I am going to the top-tier shoes… my newest pair of Adidas (gifted to me by the lovely and generous Leslie).

Several times over the past couple months, Leslie has pointed out that she can see and feel a noticeable difference in the size of my belly and my dreaded man-boobs. I have felt it too… and while it does not yet feel great, it certainly feels like I have made great progress.

On my computer desktop I have two pictures of me called MDG-Before-1 and -2 which were taken Thursday, January 20th… otherwise known as Day 1. While I still look in the mirror and see a fat man, there is no denying the tremendous progress that I have made in these six months. I am not half the man I was… but I am certainly much smaller than I was. Losing sixty pounds is no joke!

I write this because this morning I noticed something… when I lift my belly, when I lift my man-boobs, they feel huge… yet significantly smaller than they were. I remember what it was like in December and January, and I know that I have come a long way since then. I want to keep going, but there is only one person who can make that happen. It is my intention to keep making it happen, day by day. As with overcoming any addiction, I have to do it one day at a time. I cannot simply say ‘I will never…’ I have to tell myself every morning: ‘Today I will stick to the program. I will not cheat. I will exercise. I will stick to it. I will go to bed with the knowledge that I got through today without falling off the wagon.’

Like alcoholics and Valerie Bettinelli like to say, it’s one day at a time.

Have a great day, folks!

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