First of all, no one was harmed in the making of this video (at least not much, LOL... I'm not sure husbands are always the best resource in these situations)! We are SO not photographers, and he even less so than I, so this little project tested our mettle as couple. He is, however, my greatest cheerleader, and I could not be doing this without him at my side.
...and while I DETEST being in front of the camera, this was just too amazing to me to not share it with all of you... who are also people without whom I could not be doing this.
It boggles my mind that I can wear all of these clothes at once, and still not fill them out the way my body did at one time!
...oh! My journey beyond the bathing suit I'm holding up at the start of the video is detailed in pictures here:
For those of you who can't, or prefer to not watch a video, here are some stills that also tell the story:
July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
My jeans look pretty much painted on, and my t-shirt doesn't 'hang' on me as it's supposed to (READ: at all). Even though they are obscenely tight, I just could not bear to buy yet another larger pair. More to the point, I'd stopped caring, or even really looking at myself. I really didn't see how I would look any better, or that I would be any less embarrassed even if my clothes actually fit, so why bother? Numb and oblivious to my reality, was better than any other option.
Note the strain on the side seams, and the buckling at the knee... these jeans stick to my body *everywhere*. You can also see how my belly pushes out further than my bust.
NOW: August 4, 2016 - nearly 100 lbs. eliminated!
Then, believe it or not, I got bigger STILL. This is my all-time high:
September 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's First Day of School
I felt elephantine and ungainly. My clothes grabbed at me every time I moved.
NOW: August 4, 2016 - nearly 100 lbs. eliminated
I have been working a long time for the opportunity to take this picture... and while I always marvelled at those of others, I secretly doubted the possibility of truly being able to fit into only half of my starting-point-pants... yet, here I am!
(posted February 2012)
The red pants are part of an 'apres-ski' outfit I wore in my late-20s. They're from the late 80's... generous in the hips and thighs (just like me, regardless of my weight or size) and tapering in the legs.... and not at all forgiving. These red pants were part of my wardrobe well into my 30s. What strikes me most about the two pair of pants is that there really isn't that much difference between the amount of fabric in a size 18 and in that of a size 7/9... but the difference between the bodies they clothe is a transformation. 8 years ago a friend suggested to me that I would never again wear those red pants (an unrealistic goal), and that I should get rid of them. Little did she know just how determined I was... it just took my body a while (and A LOT of healing) to catch up with my heart's desire.
...and a transformation it has become! As the video shows, I can now wear these red pants... still a bit snug through the hips, but the shirt that goes with fits perfectly, and skims right over my booty (which is apparently now fashionable).
It seems to me that I am wearing smaller clothes at a higher weight at this point, than when I was at what I thought would be my 'goal weight' (I'm now thinking I may end up smaller than I was in my 30s). From this I'm guessing that my body composition is changing for the better, overall! I'm not entirely sure... this is an aspect of the journey that I find hard to grasp in terms of how it specifically applies to my experience, and my body. For instance, my scale which is supposed to accurately measure my BMI tells me I am still obese, and at 45% body fat... which I know to not be true. "?" My body doesn't seem to be well represented in this regard by the 'easy to use' tools. Still working this out.... I'm not worried about a specific 'goal weight' but I do want to achieve 20% BMI, and ensure I retain my muscle mass. At my age, and for the purpose of maintenance, I do not want to lose muscle and lower my metabolic burn (I'm sure you've all read about the Biggest Loser debacle).
(posted February 2012)
My new little almost black dress! For the last four years I've been daring to build a goal wardrobe. I know you're not 'supposed' to this, but to me it makes sense at this point, and I find it highly motivating.... Remember my ticker (eternally set to goal weight, regardless of where I really am)? I am most motivated by possibilities and the striving. I also never bought the clothes in what I thought should be my goal weight size, but a bit bigger (a size I believed I could get to)... just in case I needed some encouragement to keep going.
If I'm in the mood and have time, I peruse the sale/thrift store racks and I continue to pick a few pieces I really LOVE for no more than $10 a piece (that's my rule)... one of the things that HAS always bugged me about my heavier weight is that it costs A LOT more to dress fashionably. It's always the 'tiny' sizes on the sale racks. My purchases represent my commitment to this journey.
The dress above is a Costco dress... wool... the right shape, and I couldn't wait to wear it! I also have a vintage-detailed green suede leather jacket, just the right proportion for my short-waisted frame; a flirty hound's-tooth skirt; a pair of firetruck red denim walking shorts; and a crisp white cotton blouse (all still a bit small).
Like the pants above, I love pulling these pieces out, admiring them, and laying them over whatever I am now wearing. It's great watching the pieces below 'shrink' underneath the clothes I'm aiming to wear. The success is tangible, and I am so close to victory I can TOUCH it through the clothes. When I get to my goal I don't want to wear my *old* clothes. I want to wear new pieces that reflect my transformation!
...and the 'goal weight' dress ABOVE is now too big, LOL! I never anticipated THIS. I haven't decided if I'll have it altered (I REALLY like the dress), or if I'll sell it, and get a different one that fits my body as it is now (the tags and receipt are still attached... just in case, LOL). I have a new kick-a$$ black leather jacket (on for 75% off @ $25.00!) that looks awesome with it!
Here I have it pulled up 4" at the shoulder.
What do you think? Should I alter it, or let it go?
Here's a dress I bought for a wedding at the end of June, that fits quite well, I think (no pantyhose, no spanx, no rolls, no BOOM-badda-BOOM when I walk... my butt no longer makes me feel like I'm being followed). The dress is a little more booty revealing than I'd like, but that will continue to change, while the fit on top likely won't. At any rate, I feel really happy wearing it. I hope to wear it again for a wedding in October... might have to take in the waist a bit!
This is my newest 'goal weight' acquisition... bought it at the local thrift shop, LOL. I can get it on right now, but I can't do it up. What gets me about this outfit is the sizing. It's made in Bulgaria, and the tag reads:
B/F: size 36 (which is about where my hips will be when it fits, and exactly what they were at age 30, my goal standard)
D/N/CH/A/PL: size 34
I/RUS: 40 (who know how this sizing works, LOL)
GB: size 8 (which is in the ballpark)
E: size 38 (one way to keep you accountable.... like setting the clock ahead 5 minutes, LOL)
US/C: size 4
Seriously? A size 4?!? The smallest size I ever wore as an adult was 7/8, and I averaged a 9. I don't believe vanity sizing has done us any favours. My not-even-fully-developed-yet SLENDER-AS-A-REED ballerina12-year-old wears an adult size 3/5!!! Why does the size on our clothing labels matter so much? Shouldn't how we feel in the clothes and our own skin matter more, regardless of the numbers? Why do we allow this madness to so define us?
...And, now for the REAL story beneath the clothes
(I've recently developed a new appreciation for how artful dressing can improve one's silhouette, LOL...and even though it has been TERRRIFYING to put myself out here like this, I'm so glad that I have done so):
I've apparently gotten taller, LOL!
I've eliminated pretty much most of what I needed to through my core. Now the majority of the balance will come off my hips, thighs, and arms.
NOTE: next time I take pictures, I will need to buy new bikini bottoms, because these are barely staying up... if they were to get wet, they'd fall off!
...belly still needs some work!
...and a new for-comparison picture... my legs definitely need work!
... I hope those of you who need to are noting that I don't have any hanging skin issues... even though I'm 55... even though I've eliminated nearly 100 lbs.... even though I've lost the bulk of my excess weight in a relatively short space of time.
It DOES matter HOW you eliminate the fat... and if you have a lot of hanging skin, you are still fat... skinny fat. Skin does not hang if there is no subcutaneous fat pulling it down. Damaged skin perhaps requiring removal is 'crepey' and is a different problem. Do yourself a favour and avail yourself of the resources that will change this aspect of your journey. Most of them are detailed throughout my blog.
How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS' Weight
Excess Skin After Major Weight Loss?
Remember this sad, sad, SAD woman?
I can still remember the moment this picture was snapped... I was willing myself to smile, but all I could think about was how badly I hurt, how I wished I could send everyone home already, and how much I would hate the picture later... but seeing this picture after-the-fact, and feeling compassion and mercy for this woman is what ultimately gave me the strength and determination to finally do this. More than anything, THIS WOMAN needed my love, not my loathing... so I loved her well, and enough, to fight for her to have the life she deserves.
July 1, 2011 - The Divine Miss O's 7th Birthday Party
This picture is the moment I fully realized I was slowly dying, and I knew that my dying would be slow, painful, and a burden on my daughter. Every night I went to sleep (if/when sleep was even possible) wondering if I would wake up in the morning... my blood pressure was uncontrolled with a tendency to spike erratically - my cholesterol numbers were insane - I had a debilitating headache all day, every day - I couldn't manage the simple maintenance of daily life - I hurt everywhere - I was beyond exhausted - I wore my hair in an unattractive pony tail because I couldn't hold my arms up long enough to do anything else - and I felt helpless to change any of it because everything I tried just seemed to make things worse.
I'm now getting closer and closer to the following picture!
What I will look like at 'goal weight' (plus 26 years, LOL!):
_RAMONA, 30 years old (size 9).... Proud Godmother at my nephew's Baptism... I can't believe that not all that long before this picture was taken, at the very same size, I believed myself to be 'fat' (and I was told I was)... that somehow I still needed to apologise for my body, and for the space I took up in the world.
I am now smaller than I was when my husband met me, and my wedding dress is too big. I have turned my physical clock back over 17 years. I have healed a lifetime of chronic illness through sheer will and dogged determination (and the willingness to be open to possibilities). I have nothing for which to apologise... never have had.
So, no more apologies!
"I WILL respond to my body, my relationships and my life with an attitude of simplicity and with gratitude for the abundance they already contain - remembering that they are sufficient unto themselves. I WILL hold on to TODAY as though it is a precious jewel and live, moment by moment, savouring and incorporating the riches, value and learning each has to offer me. I WILL speak with my own authentic voice, and that voice will resonate in my choices, in my actions, in my relationships, and in the fruits of my effort. I WILL live my life as though I cannot fail; a life defined by consistency of effort; a life shaped by my passions and inspirations. I WILL be the hero of my own life and, by my example, that of my daughter's life." _RAMONA
"The body you are given will be yours for the duration of your time here on earth. Love it or hate it or reject it, it is the only one you will receive in this lifetime. It will be with you from the moment you draw your first breath to the last beat of your heart. Since there is a no-refund, no-exchange policy on this body of yours, it is essential that you learn to transform your body from a mere vessel into a beloved partner and lifelong ally , the relationship between you and your body is the most fundamental and important relationship of your lifetime. It is the blueprint from which all your other relationships are built." CHERIE CARTER-SCOTT, PH.D
'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)!
How far are you willing to go?
A Love Story... & Picture UPDATE... Anniversary Edition!
Groundhog Day? (...or my UPDATE/Before PICTURES don't look as awesome as I thought they would)
How I Am Eliminating 'EXCESS Weight'
CICO Shove Off! 'New Kid on the (Nutritional) Block' Hits Mainstream
What I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Losing a Lot of Weight
NOW... go take some pictures of your own!!!!!
The exercise is transforming... I can't help but see things I like about my body in the midst of the things I want to change.... and if you can't see the good in your own body, you know where you have to start. Begin by learning to love yourself.
Listen, no one likes their 'before' pictures... you're not supposed to, LOL.
...And I KNOW the pain that grabs at your heart when you look at them... the sense of shame and anger (even fear and paralysis) they can engender... but truthfully, you can't change - OR LOVE - what you don't acknowledge. The pictures help me acknowledge and honour myself in ways nothing else does.
Oh... and get a photographer who loves you to take your pictures... regardless of what the camera says, the loving words and collaboration can work miracles... the boost I get from the look in my husband's eyes as he snaps away (no matter my size) is more than I could ever hope to get from progress pictures!
Seriously... GO!!! Take some pictures!!!
...And you don't need to lose 100 pounds to feel better about yourself. You just need to lose ONE pound (maybe even the first step is simply not gaining any more... this was mine). And then you lose ONE MORE. And then you lose another. And then maybe you stay there and MAINTAIN for a few weeks/months. Then you do it all again... and before you know it... it becomes more than you could have imagined.
If I can do this, YOU CAN TOO.
Finally, I know I may not be able to thank each of you reading here personally, so I thank you now, for graciously reading and encouraging me over all of this time. I could not have gotten here without each and every one of you. There were a number of times that I felt like withdrawing and giving up. Yet, I'd log on and browse and maybe even share my doubts and you would all gather to console, encourage, cheer, kick my butt, share your own victories and trials... and I would be able to continue forward for a few more steps.
I carry you all in my heart always, and never forget for a moment that I never journey alone.... and neither do YOU.
My greatest hope for you continues to be that, despite any and all difficulties, your summer continue be all you need it to be... that good memories abound... that peace and joy run rampant and reign free... that love crowds out worry and strife and fills every nook cranny to over-flowing... that abundance becomes all you remember when you look back from the other side. I pray that the peace which surpasses all understanding becomes like a cozy sweater hugged close under starry summer skies, clothing a heart filled with wonder and awe, and which beats steady faith in all things and possibilities. Amen.
"I am worthy of positive changes today."
UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)
I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!
NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga
Paleo... Do you really know what you're talking about?
In Answer to Your Questions (Letter to Our Family Regarding Our Nutritional Plan: RESEARCH LINKS)
Words CAN Be Enough... page 4
(ponder this some and you come to see this SPARKjourney in a whole new light)
The numbers, for people who like this sort of thing:
Highest weight: 250 lbs. (Obese Class III - over 50% BMI)
Lost: 60 lbs. - maintained 3.5 years, regained 35 lbs. due to a return to eating gluten.
November 9, 2015 - 225 lbs.
eliminated almost 30 pounds before Christmas and maintained easily through to New Years
Jan 04: 196.0 lbs.
Jan 11: 192.6 Week #1 - eliminated 3.4 lbs.
Jan 18: 191.2 Week #2 - eliminated 1.4 lbs.
Jan 25: 187.8 Week #3 - eliminated 3.4 lbs.
Feb 01: 186.4 Week #4 - eliminated 1.4 lbs.
Feb 04: 184.8 Final total lost - eliminated 11.2 lbs. (measurements: 16" eliminated)
Feb 08: 183.6 - Week #5 - eliminated .8 lbs.
Feb 15: 180.8 - Week #6 - eliminated 2.8 lbs.
STALL: Feb 18 - 177.8 lbs. (stayed here for 2 weeks)
Feb 22: 177.8 - Week #7 - eliminated 3.0 lbs.
Feb 29: 177.8 - Week #8 - eliminated 0.0 lbs.
Mar 07: 176.4 - Week #9 - eliminated 1.4 lbs.
Mar 14: 176.4 - Week #10 - eliminated 0.0 lbs.
Mar 21: 176.4 - Week #11 - eliminated 0.0 lbs.
Easter Sunday: 176.2 Final total eliminated - 8.6 lbs. (measurements: 14.75" eliminated)
STALL: Weeks #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 (5 weeks)
GOAL: 30 lbs. before Picture Day! (didn't make it - eliminated only 2/3 of goal)
April 18: 176.0 - Week #15 - eliminated .2 lbs.
April 25: 174.4 - Week #16 - eliminated 1.6 lbs.
May 2: 173.6 - Week #17 - eliminated 0.8 lbs.
May 9: 173.4 - Week #18 - eliminated 0.2 lbs.
May 16: 171.2 - Week #19 - eliminated 2.2 lbs.
May 23: 171.2 - Week #20 - eliminated 1.2 lbs.
May 30: 170.0 - Week #21 - eliminated 1.2 lbs.
June 6: 170.0 - Week #22 - eliminated 0.0 lbs.
June 13: 169.0 - Week #23 - eliminated 1.0 lbs.
June 20: 168.0 - Week #24 - eliminated 1.0 lbs.
June 27: 166.0 - Week #25 - eliminated 2.0 lbs.
July 4: 166.0 - Week #26 - eliminated 0.0 lbs.
July 11: 165.0 - Week #27 - eliminated 1.0 lbs.
July 18: 161.8 - Week #28 - eliminated 3.2 lbs.
July 25: 159.6 - Week #29 - eliminated 2.2 lbs.
August 1: 158.0 - Week #30 - eliminated 1.6 lbs.
PICTURE DAY (Aug 2): 157.4 Final total eliminated - 18.8 lbs.
(measurements: 20.25" eliminated)
January 4, 2016
Weight: 196 lbs.
February 4, 2016
Weight: 184.8 lbs. - 11.2 lbs. & 16" eliminated
March 7, 2016
Weight: 176.4 lbs. - 8.4 lbs. & 14.75" eliminated
April 7, 2016
Weight; 176.4 lbs. - STALLED since March 7
August 2, 2016
Weight; 157.4 lbs. - 19.0 lbs. & 20.25" eliminated
I'm 155.0 pounds, today!
...and now to eliminate the last 30 or so pounds of EXCESS FAT!
Oh! Wait a moment... I already have THOSE pants!
Let's try for this instead, LOL: