A few days ago, Leslie and I were chatting about my progress. She had looked at my before picture, and told me that I hardly look like the same person. She then pulled up a picture that we took on our first date, and told me how much slimmer my face is today than it was just ten months ago. I was thrilled that Leslie sees such a difference, and take it as an honest measure of my progress.
She and I joke a lot that my beard is especially good for stroking as I think, and this morning I was thinking about something, stroking my beard as I do. I realized that something was missing… the rolls of fat under my beard that once made me look like I had several chins. It is not all gone, of course… I have over a hundred pounds to go before I reach my goal of being just overweight and not obese. There is no way that I could expect any body part to not have some fat, and I accept that.
In order to stay motivated, we look for non-scale victories, and this is a big one for me. I am really happy with it, and will continue to look for them… and work toward them, because there is no way that any of them will happen on their own. I have to continue to eat right. I have to continue to exercise. I have to stay on track and keep my eyes on the prize. Only by doing that will these non-scale victories come… and eventually not only transition from morbidly obese to obese, but then to overweight, and eventually – one day – to healthy body type!
I posted earlier that I was thrilled last night to see muscle definition in my legs, and that is a real non-scale victory that comes from the combination of weight-loss and exercise. Unless there has been a discovery that I am not aware of, there are no exercises one can do to lose weight in your face and neck, which means that progress is based solely on the weight loss.
When I first tried to lose weight nearly twenty years ago, I went to Weight Watchers. One of the tools they liked to use was to show what certain weight loss milestones meant. A pound was demonstrated by showing a pound of butter. Ten pounds was a large bag of flour… and so on. It is not as easy to visualize what seventy pounds looks like. I did a quick image search on-line, and did not really find anything suitable. Then I searched ’70-pound dog images’ and came up with Labrador Retrievers, Boxers, and Bulldogs. Imagine that I have lost the equivalent of one of those.
With that said, if you want to know what it feels like on my body to be that much slimmer, try this: Pick up a seventy-pound Labrador Retriever. If he or she is amenable, put him or her into a backpack. Go for a walk. Then put the doggie down gently, give them plenty of treats for cooperating, and walk back to where you started from. You feel it? That’s what it is like to lose that kind of weight.
My children have a German Sheppard named Thor who weighs 95-pounds. I still have to lose a little more than Thor’s body weight before I am slim, but I have made progress, and recognizing that is one of the best ways to continue on the right path. Having a loving and supportive wife who stands by me and encourages me is another, and likely more important than everything else.
Of course, my doggie, Her Royal Floofness, Princess Sophie, weighs in at a whopping sixteen pounds. Since July 11 (a little under four weeks ago), I have lost her body weight. As such she maybe a wonderful companion and a terrific friend, but when it comes to substantial weight loss, her body weight is not really an indicator of significant progress. I would be remiss, however, to discuss dogs without mentioning the best dog.
I have a long way to go, but I am on the right track. The only way to measure success is with scales and measuring tapes, along with the size of my clothes. With that said, the best way to continue achieving success in those measurables is for me to see progress in my non-scale victories.