A Sobering Weight Gain Photo

Sobering Weight Gain Photos

It’s kind of funny–I remember writing a blog post with the same title in May of 2009, shortly after completing the Indy Mini 13.1 mile race (walking) at my heaviest weight of 253 pounds. When I saw the photos from that race, I looked NOTHING like I had imagined. I couldn’t believe it was actually me–was I seriously that obese?!

My original "before" weight loss photo

In my mind, I’d thought I “carried my weight well” or just generally looked smaller than I actually weighed. But when I saw those photos from the race, it was like a slap in the face. The reality was quite sobering.

I vowed at that point that I was NOT going to look like the heaviest person in the photos for next year’s race. I wasn’t going to constantly question if I was the “fattest person in the race” while I was walking. It took a few months for me to get started, but then in August, I finally started losing the weight. And the following May, I was about 165 pounds when I walked the race.

Over the last 10(!!) years, I have seen tons of photos of me–some where I look thinner than I imagined, and some where I look heavier. My mind and body are not at all connected when it comes to how I look. Still, over the past decade, I haven’t seen any photos that truly shocked me with the reality… until now.

Yes, my weight has been up–in the 160’s for the first time since 2010–and I actually felt okay with that. I stopped thinking my weight was very important, and while I didn’t want to gain any more (losing would have been even better), I wasn’t upset by it enough to want to count calories or do any sort of “dieting”. For the first time EVER, I started to see the bigger picture and worry more about my health than my weight.

Once the weather got hotter (we went from cold to hot without anything in between), I started to feel uncomfortable again. I felt sticky and my clothes (even the new/used ones I bought), felt more restricting. My hands felt puffy like they used to way back when I was obese.

I am still about 85-90 pounds down from my heaviest weight, but I feel like I am that size again. Physically, things are harder now than they have been over the last 10 years. Not enough to sound the alarm, but definitely noticeable and definitely not comfortable.

Recently, one of my cross country kid’s mom took a photo while I was talking to the kids at our first practice. When she sent me the photo, I was, once again, shocked with the reality. It’s not a flattering photo–I’m wearing a sports bra under a shirt that is now too small, and I still have excess skin on my upper body that hangs over–but even bad angles and/or poses can’t skew the reality.

(I REALLY did not want to share this photo, and I cringe at the thought of clicking the “publish” button on this blog post because of it. But, I’ve always tried to keep it real here, and this photo is simply the reality.)

Current photo of my weight gain

And compared to a cross country photo in 2015, when I was about 140 pounds:

Comparison of 2015 and 2019

I am now at the point where I am not okay with the gain.

I know that I am the “queen of changing her mind”, and this is, yet again, one of those changes. I’m still not wishing for the body I had when I was 122 pounds–that took a TON of work and I just don’t want to do that again–but I would like to look at photos and not be shocked at what I see. I don’t want to feel embarrassed to post photos of myself, even when they are taken from unflattering angles.

All of this is to say that I think I’d like to start actively working on losing the weight I’ve gained.

I am changing my goal weight of 133 to a more realistic 144 pounds. I didn’t weigh myself today, but I’ve been sticking in the mid 160’s for weeks (months?) now, so that would be about a 20 pound loss. I think I looked good at 144 pounds, and I felt physically comfortable at that weight. I chose that number because it’s the top of my BMI range; and you know that I love the number 11 and its multiples (hence the previous goal weight of 133).

As far as the action plan for losing the weight… I definitely don’t want to do any sort of “diet” plan. I love the idea of how I was eating in 2017, where I was losing and then maintaining my weight very easily by simply eating less and listening to my body.

However, I don’t think I am able to get back to that place right now after being so far gone from it. I think that I might have to count calories for a while to get my portion sizes back down to what I had gotten so used to. (Here is my post about calorie counting my way back down to goal weight)

Restricting the types of food I eat has never worked for me (it leads to binges), so I am not going to do anything other than count calories. I have always liked eating by a schedule, and my magic numbers seem to be eating breakfast at 8:00, lunch at 12:00, dinner at 4:00, and snack/treat at 8:00. Lately, I haven’t been eating with any sort of rhyme or reason–I might go all day without eating until dinner time, or I might eat throughout the day all day long.

I haven’t been binge eating at all, and it’s hard to say why the weight is sticking on. I thought I’d lose weight when I quit drinking, but I must have replaced those calories with something else. I haven’t kept a food log, so it’s hard to say exactly what is going on. I do know that I’ve been eating way too much ice cream this summer–the good premium stuff!–and I imagine that makes up for the alcohol calories. I’ve also been far less active than I was from 2010-2016.

My mood has been pretty stable lately, other than high anxiety a lot of the time. I haven’t felt depressed or hypomanic, which is good. However, I’ve been VERY overwhelmed with things to do. Cross country has been my main focus for the past few weeks. I am loving all the new ideas I’ve had and having a smaller team this year (I have 12 kids on the team, 6 boys and 6 girls). The team is really fantastic, and I am excited to see how the season goes.

By the way, THANK YOU to those of you that sent me your old Garmins! Deb, Rikilynn, Catherine, and Christina, you are so generous and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your helping out our team. And Cathy, THANK YOU for the super generous Amazon gift card for our team! I bought some sports rings to use for musical hula hoops (our cheap hula hoops were getting destroyed each time we used them), some fun running socks and cool sweatbands to use for awards for my points system this season.

While I’m super excited about this season, getting everything ready has been very overwhelming. I’m a total nerd when it comes to numbers and spreadsheets, so I’ve spent lots of time making sheets for the kids to see all of their data. They may be too young for it, but some of them are pretty serious about improving their times, so this will give them a visual.

We have practice three times a week, and I am keeping track of their initial mile time, all of their miles logged, and their points received for attendance, mileage, and “extras”. I had a new boy come to practice on Monday, and afterward he told me, “I want to join again next year!” Hahaha, that was great.

Because I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed lately, I haven’t been working on the summer goals I’d hoped to achieve. I know it’s not too late, but I think I’d like to put most of those on hold and just go back to the basics and get that down pat before I add in other stuff. There is still time for me to complete my Summer Run/Walk Checklist, so in addition to calorie counting, I’m going to work on that.

Once the checklist is done, I may start another idea for fall to keep the momentum. But right now, one thing at a time. I’m hoping that by fall, I’ll be able to share some candid photos and not cringe! 😉

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