♫ Getting Twiggy With It ♫

♫ Na na na na na na na nana na na na na nana
Gettin’ Twiggy wit it!
Na na na na na na na nana na na na na nana ♫

Initially I was thinking that I might go ahead and rewrite the lyrics and actually post a new song, but as I read over the original lyrics for “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It” I was reminded just how horrible that song was and I just couldn’t do it. I have spared you the horror of both the original song as well as a new version written by me. You’re welcome.

Let’s get started here with some results. Jenny and I both felt uncertain heading into the meeting. Even though we did good with sticking to the plan and everything, we just weren’t particularly feeling like we had lost weight so we didn’t know what to expect.

Jenny: ±0 lbs
Jason: -0.6 lbs

Jenny stayed the same, and that’s not too bad really when you consider that we had gone out to celebrate our 10th anniversary during which we decided we weren’t going to track anything. We still made reasonable decisions for things that we ate, but we weren’t going to bother with restricting ourselves too much on a day that only comes once per year and is truly worth celebrating. (Technically it comes twice per year since we were both married and sealed, and those two happen to be about 6 months apart. Details.)

Now on to the topic of the post here, which is me stepping away from the technical analyzing that I usually do and sharing my personal thoughts and feelings on weight and weight loss in general.

Background: Emotions & Thoughts
During meetings when you have a big loss to celebrate or you’ve reached a milestone or something, the leader likes to talk to you about it in front of the group to try to get some motivation out there to the other members. They ask you things like what you did to lose that weight, how you feel, and so on. Personally, I’m not a person who feels a whole lot of anything to be quite honest. That’s not to say that I don’t have feelings, I just don’t experience them as often or to anywhere near the same degree as other people. So when the leader asks me what I did to lose the weight, I can answer that question without any hesitation at all (tracking and pre-planning our meals for sure). But when she asks me how I feel about it? Uh…I feel pretty much exactly the same way I did 3 years ago before I started trying to lose weight again.

Everyone else she talks to is always saying it feels great or amazing, that they feel fantastic and have so much more energy. I don’t really get any of that. I lose weight and I basically feel the same as I did before I lost it. Losing weight doesn’t have the same impact on me that it does on everybody else, I guess.

I was talking to Jenny about this a week or so ago when we came up with the idea of the post, and we talked about one of the big differences between the two of us from our childhood. Jenny grew up as a skinny girl, and was skinny until her PCOS kicked in and started sabotaging that for her. For me, I’ve always been fat. I was born fat, I was a fat kid, fat teenager, and I’ve been a fat adult ever since. The only times in my life that I ever wasn’t fat was when I hit growth spurts and even then it wasn’t so much that I was no longer fat as it was I had grown so tall in so short a time that I just didn’t look fat for a few weeks. Being fat is a part of who I am. It has been one of the things that has defined me as a person for so long that it’s just become a permanent part of me.

When I call myself fat, I’m not doing it in a derogatory way. Me calling myself fat is no different than me saying that I have blond hair, that I’m a Texan, or that I love pumpkin pie. So when a leader asks me how it feels to be 70 pounds lighter, I basically lie to everyone else in the meeting and tell them that it feels great. But in reality, I don’t feel any different at all because I’m still fat and I still feel the same now as I did 15 years ago. Being fat doesn’t make me feel bad. It makes me feel uncomfortable sometimes, sure. And like most other people, I’ve looked in the mirror before, really looked, and been upset at myself for letting it get so out of hand. It has its drawbacks for sure, but it doesn’t carry the same negative context for me as it does for so many other people.

I didn’t start losing weight because I was feeling bad, I started losing weight for two reasons. First, because if my wife ever decides that she wants or needs to do something to make herself better, I’m not going to make her take the journey alone. If she’s going to do anything related to dieting or fitness, then I’m going to be there to support her 100% and I’m going to do it with her for as long as she needs. PCOS provided that need for her, and I’ve been on board from the start. Second, I’m not ready to die yet. While my weight hasn’t prompted anything life threatening (that I’m aware of), I don’t want it to ever reach that stage either. My dad had a heart attack at the age of 35. It wasn’t entirely due to him being overweight, and he’s still alive and kicking some 20 years later, but it’s something that always lurks there in the back of my mind.

Progress: Physical Health
When I just talked about not feeling anything different, I’m talking emotions there. There are certainly differences that come from losing weight, it just doesn’t happen to have quite the same emotional or psychological effect on me. When I started working for my current employer five years ago, going up the stairs to the second floor would have me winded for several minutes. Now I can go up and down those stairs several times and feel perfectly fine. I can take my dogs for a long walk, and even jog with them (when Sophie isn’t having so much fun that she decides it’d be fun to trip me) and after a few seconds of catching my breath I’m ready to go again. Before all the weight loss, if I would jog across the street with the dogs I’d be breathing hard for at least a block.

So physically, there are definitely some differences between how I feel now versus how I felt before. It’s not at the same level that other people seem to have. I haven’t discovered some brand new well of energy that makes me want to get up and go run a marathon or anything. But still, I certainly feel much better physically and that’s a great feeling. I don’t love exercise, and I never have, but I can do exercise now and not get winded nearly as soon or for near as long as before. I can run a 5K on the treadmill in the morning before work and feel good about it. My times suck compared to people who actually enjoy running, but I can still get it done.

Wake-Up Call: Visuals
Going back to fat being a part of who I am, let’s talk visuals. Because I identify being fat as part of who I am, it’s hard for me to notice the changes in myself when I lose weight. It also hindered me seeing that I had gained so much weight, which is part of how it all got so out of hand in the first place. People would tell me that they could see the changes, that they could tell I had been losing weight, but I couldn’t see it myself. When I look in the mirror, I don’t often really stop to pay attention to how I look, to notice those differences, I just see “me” and move on.

Last week or the week before though, I was getting dressed and I happened to see my legs and I mean really see them. Something caught my eye and kicked me out of auto-pilot and I actually looked at them and saw that they were smaller. I took the time to really look at myself, and suddenly I could see what everyone else had been talking about. I started paying attention then and suddenly other changes became apparent as well. I only buy new clothes about once per year, so I could see changes in how my clothes fit pretty easily once I actually started paying attention. I have a pair of slacks that my legs completely filled so that when I sat down they were firmly stretched all around my legs, and now I can grab a good four inches worth of fabric in my hands. I didn’t know that the size of my legs was changing at all, but the proof is certainly there.

I finally let Jenny talk me into getting some new clothes a little while back, and within just a few weeks of that shopping trip I apparently misplaced my butt. I don’t know what happened to it, the thing just straight up disappeared. The new shorts that we got during that trip don’t even fit me anymore. If I’m not wearing a belt, they fall down if I’ve got anything at all in my pockets. Now I don’t have any shorts or pants that really fit me because I lost my butt (such a horrible problem to have, I know.) Thank goodness the belt still keeps them up for the time being, or else I’m going to have “wears suspenders” as a new addition to my personal definition.

After losing 70 pounds, I knew that there would be physical changes to my body, but I never noticed them until that point. Jenny would tell me I was looking better, and people that I work with would say the same things, but I couldn’t see it myself so it always seemed like they were just trying to be nice to keep me in the game or something. We started losing weight almost three years ago, and it took me until just the last week or two to actually realize the physical changes that have happened to my body. Not because there weren’t any changes until recently, but because I never bothered to pay attention before.

Getting Twiggy With It
Now all of a sudden my legs are skinny (skinnier), my butt disappeared, and all of those X’s in my shirt sizes are starting to leave as well. Being fat has always been a part of who I am, but that’s starting to change now and it’s a change that’s never happened before so I’m having to figure it out as we go here. It’s going to take some time, and certainly some more weight, before I completely clear that out of my system, but I think I can actually get there. I think I can reach the point where “fat” no longer has a place in my definition. It will always be a part of who I was, but it will not always be a part of who I am today.

I’m getting skinnier, and I’m starting to be able to actually notice it and accept it.

And that really does feel fantastic.

♫ Na na na na na na na nana na na na na nana
Gettin’ Twiggy wit it!
Na na na na na na na nana na na na na nana ♫

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