When I decided to get stronger in January, I did not plan to lose weight. I just wanted to feel better. Years of battling anemia and other nutritional deficiencies left me feeling frail and I had enough. After six months of focused exercise, plant-based eating, daily green smoothies and fresh juices, I feel better than I have in years.
Along the way, I've dropped a little over 20 pounds and have reshaped my body in ways I didn't think were possible for me without cosmetic surgery. I feel blessed. Few people can say they feel their best ever eight years after WLS. Many gain back the weight they've lost before their fifth post-op year. I'm thrilled to be at a point where my concerns are related to performance and body shape.
Here are my stats compared to where I was in April of this year, when I started tracking my measurements:
Weight: April -- 174.6; Today -- 164.6
BMI: April -- 30.9 (obese); 29.2 (overweight)
Bust: April -- 38.5; Today -- 37
Waist at belly button: 37; Today -- 34.5
Waist above belly button: 36; Today -- 35
Hips: April -- 44; Today -- 41.5
Thigh: April -- 25.5; Today -- 23.5
Upper Arm: April -- 14; Today -- 13.5
Total Inches Lost: 10
The last time I documented myself at this weight was when I celebrated my first WLS anniversary back in 2006. I'm a little lighter now that I was then and all of my measurements are smaller, except for my waist and hips, which both 1 inch bigger right now. I assume I can credit my pregnancy three years ago to that extra inch in the waist and hips.
I've spent a lot of time over the last month thinking about the importance of my body mass index (BMI). I'd have to lose 25 pounds more before I'd get out of the "overweight" category. And though I know I should care about such things, I really don't. I am much more concerned about the function of my body than a label based on an arbitrary formula.
My goal for the next three months is to continue gaining strength by lifting heavier weights more often. I don't worry about the archaic myth of "bulky up." What I do worry about is my bone density and posture, both of which are improved by regular bouts of weight-bearing exercises. And as much as I dislike cardio, I'd like to increase my stamina. Though that's hard to measure, I think running a mile without stopping would be a good gauge of progress for me.
As far as eating goes, I'm content with my progress in that area. I'm doing a small amount of protein supplementation by adding vegan protein powder to my green smoothies. But in general, my focus is on eating whole, plant-based foods. I avoid processed foods, dairy, animal protein, coffee, sugar and alcohol. My meals are filled with an array of fresh vegetables, some fruits, lots of beans/legumes and a smattering of nuts, seeds and fruits for variety.
I can't wait to see the changes that become evident over the next three months. Part of the fun of this journey is the element of surprise -- whether it's finding out I'm capable of physical feats I previously thought were impossible or just observing the evolution of my body shape. It's a fun ride.