Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight – I don’t mean ten or twenty pounds, but a significant amount of weight – will know that there is a certain point when you start to feel the weight loss, not only because you see the numbers on the scale, but in other facets of life. I was not at my heaviest ever when this photograph was taken, but in terms of when I decided (again) to start getting serious about losing it, this is more or less what I looked like.
Today I am not quite twenty pounds lighter than I was in this picture, but it is close. It is also important to understand that after this photograph was taken I gained another (nearly) fifteen pounds. So from the time I started to get serious (in terms of the past year I was at my heaviest the week of May 29th) I am slightly more than 25lbs down. Not bad, but it really is just a drop in the bucket.
A drop it might be, but it is significant nonetheless. Let me outline some of the ways I am noticing the weight loss:
- I am able to teach Taekwondo… when you take a class, it is easy to fall behind, slack off, take a break or whatever. When you are in front of the class, and you want your students to give 100%, then you have to give that 100% too. You cannot bend over winded and hope nobody notices. Of course, you can also tell the class to do something… and watch over them as they do it. I am still guilty of that… but a lot less than I was when I started back in July…
- Among the things I do at Taekwondo that I had not been able to do for a long time are: push-ups (if you think that is silly, imagine doing push-ups with an extra 120lbs on your back… that is what it is like when you are obese), sit-ups (aside from them just being hard, your stomach actually gets in the way), jumping jacks, and even strenuous stretching.
- I am wearing pants that are a size smaller than I was wearing in May; in fact, I wore the same suit from the picture last week, and what had been pretty tight is now LOOSE. Thankfully there are good belts 🙂
- Speaking of belts, I have two of them that I bought from a booth in Pike’s Place Market in Seattle; I love the belts, but I am now wearing them on the last hole. Rather than punching more holes, I am going to take them with me to Seattle next month and ask the guy to shorten them from the other side.
- Back to Taekwondo, I wear the largest size dubok (Taekwondo uniform) that is commercially available – I have since I started. at my worst the slits up my sides were more than two inches apart… they are now much closer to half an inch. Additionally my belt (which I do not think has stretched) has a lot more hanging when I tie it properly… that is huge for me, since both my name and my Grandmaster’s name are on each end of the belt, and they are now legible without people having to assume the first letter or two.
- When I walk I can go much longer before breaking a sweat, and it is just easier to walk.
- Getting up from a sitting position – and especially getting out of the driver’s seat of my car – are much easier than they were.
Of course, here’s the thing… all of these gradual improvements do not change the fact that I am still 100lbs overweight. I am what the doctors refer to as Class 3 Obese. My BMI is 42.6, and I have a ton of weight to lost still. Well okay not quite a ton, but slightly over 100lbs.
There are two ways that I can look at myself right now… and depending on the day (heck, depending on the minute) I see myself both ways: I have 100lbs left to lose before my BMI falls out of the Obesity category… that is a very long way to go. However in three months I have dropped my BMI from 46.1 to where it is now, and I am making positive strides every week.
Oh by the way, that is something else I have realized: If I weigh myself every week I will always be down. It doesn’t work that way if I weigh myself every day. As you can see from the graph it occasionally goes up – this morning I was 1.5lbs heavier than I was yesterday morning. However I am still 2lbs down from what I weighed a week ago… 9.8lbs lighter than I was a month ago, and 21.5lbs down from where I was three months ago. Is that going to discourage me from weighing myself every morning? Hell no. I am not the sensitive type that will get discouraged from a day-over-day increase, rather it will remind me to stay the course, and maybe eat one less piece of whatever that day. I have learned not to take the day-to-day comparisons to heart.
I feel better than I did six months ago, that is for sure. I don’t know how much better I feel about myself, but that will come with time. Believe me, the weight issues are not the hardest part on my psyche.
I promised my Master and I promised myself that if by June of next year I am able to lose 75lbs then I will test for my 3rd Dan Black Belt. I am on track for that goal… I am four months into it (1/3 the way to June) and I am 1/3rd of the way to that goal. I did have some setbacks in that time, and frankly I expect to have more setbacks going forward. However if I can test at the weight that he and I decided on I will still be far from my ultimate goal… but I will be satisfied with my progress.
Until then? Well, I guess I have to take it one day at a time.