It happened! It finally happened! As of today I have officially lost over 100 lbs. which comes out to be 37.53% of my body weight.
I started this weight loss journey on August 16th, 2010 where I topped the scales at a devastating 267 lbs. This put me in the super obese category, which is even bigger than morbidly obese. Words cannot describe the pain of knowing there is a class of obesity with the word "morbid" in front of it, and to know that you belong to a weight class even higher than that one. I had let my weight spiral out of control and it was time to do something about it.
There is so much I want to say. I have dreamed of this moment for so long. I always pictured writing this amazing 100 lbs. lost blog that was going to dazzle you all and land me a popular blog award and now I am just sitting here, a bit shell shocked, not really sure what to say. Crying happy tears, for sure, but still in a state of disbelief. There is a part of my brain that is wondering if this is really happening. Part of me is terrified I am going to wake up tomorrow and it is all going to be a dream.
But you know what? Most dreams, the kind that end up leaving you feeling warm and fuzzy and amazing, don’t take you almost 4 years to get there. That’s the difference I think by making your dreams come true and making your GOALS come true.
When you lose a ginormous amount of weight, the first thing everyone wants to know is how you did it. Most people are hoping and praying that you are going to let them in on “the big secret”. The magic pill, shake, or potion that allowed me to get where I am today. I regret to inform you that no such thing exists. There was no world renowned hypnotist that put me under hypnosis, who snapped his fingers, and when I came to I had discovered I had a major aversion to chocolate but simply could not get my fill of cauliflower. I did not stumble upon some rare leaf extract that grows on an exotic flower on top of the tallest mountain in some 3rd world country. No matter how many times I perused eBay and Amazon, I was never able to find the diet pill that would melt the fat off me while I ate ice cream and watched The Walking Dead. Wouldn’t that be nice? To be able to lose weight while you ate crap and sat on the couch? Naive is more than Evian water spelled backwards. Some people have to learn the hard way.
Yes, the “big secret” is that there is NOT a big secret. I just got sick and tired of being sick and tired. I got sick of avoiding cameras and mirrors whenever I could, and being devastated, ashamed, and disgusted when I found myself looking into either. I was tired of being afraid that I was going to die of an obesity related disease and leave my son who was only 6, an orphan.
It got to the point that the instant gratification and temporary “high” I would get from food was wearing off quicker and quicker and it was taking more and more food to get me to that point. The sad part is how high the cost of those choices were that I was making, because sadly, more often than not it was my son who was having to pay for it.
I don't think I will ever be able to erase the look from my memory that would come across my son's face when I had to tell him that I could not take him on just about every single ride at the fair or down the slide at the park because I had exceeded the weight limit. Or all the times he asked me to play with him and I told him no, because I was too tired and had no energy, because face it. When you are 3/4ths of the way to 300 lbs., you get tired just walking across the room.
I feel like by being fat for more than half his life (he is 10 now) robbed him of so much joy, but I like to think I have made up for it by giving him another 30 or 40 years on this planet to be his mommy. There is no doubt whatsoever that if I had not decided to turn my life around, I would be dead by 50. I was eating myself to death and that is all there is to it.
So if the big secret is that there is “no big secret” then how did I lose 100 lbs? Two words. I am sure you have heard them before. Food and exercise. I stopped eating so much food and I got off my butt and started exercising. It’s a no brainer right?
Well if it was that easy we would not have an obesity epidemic running rampid in America, so we know it is not that simple. What it came down to was finding something outside of myself that would motivate me, drive me, push me to do what I needed to do. For me it was my son. You can go to my first page of blogs and read the “I tipped the scales at 267 lbs” and it will tell you a bit more in depth about hitting my bottom. More often than not you have to hit your bottom before you can get on top. So that blog can tell you more about why I decided to make a change.
I still don’t make the best food choices. I am not necessarily a clean eater. I hate almost all veggies, but I have learned to love fruit. I still eat pizza but I usually stick to Lean Cuisine pizza because I think it is delicious and I like knowing without weighing and measuring that I am eating 310 calories. I cannot imagine life without chocolate and it is now and always will be a part of my life. I eat whatever I want whenever I want. I just track it. I track everything that I eat. I have learned the hard way that I eat WAY more calories that I need to if I don’t log it.
The other thing I do is I workout. I workout like a dog. It is important for you to know that you do NOT need to exercise as much as I do to lose weight. In all honesty, most people who tried would end up injuring themselves. I have injured myself more than once by overexercising and I am learning balance. But I do extreme exercising for two reasons.
#1) I love to eat. I could never make it on 1200 to 1400 calories a day. Shoot, I don’t think I could make it on 1600 calories a day. I know many people who can. Steph-knee is my spark BFF and she is the master of eating 1400ish calories a day. I don’t know how she does it, but she has been doing it for a long time, successfully, and is less than 15 lbs away from writing her own 100 lbs lost blog.
But not me. I can’t eat that little. When I eat 1200 to 1400 calories a day I feel like I am starving. It is rare for me to eat less than 2,000 calories a day and there have been countless days that I exceed 2000 calories a day. However, when I burn 700 or 800 calories in a day with my exercise I can get away with that. You have to find what works for you. Most people would rather eat less so they can exercise less. I would rather exercise more so I can eat more.
#2) I LOVE working out. I never thought in a million years that I would love to exercise but I do. It has become a part of my daily lifestyle. I love to be drenched in sweat. I love how accomplished it makes me feel. I will never forget how much it hurt me mentally and physically to walk to the mailbox. I love countering that with a 5, 6, or 7 mile run on the treadmill or elliptical. I also love seeing my calendar fill up with pretty stickers.
This has become a major motivational tool for me on the few days that I did not want to exercise. I highly recommend the sticker method. Believe me, it works. I buy all kinds of stickers that I find appealing and every day that I do 1 hour of cardio I get to put a sticker on my calendar. You can get awesome stickers for $1 at any dollar store. You can also decide for yourself what you have to do to earn your sticker. It could be to walk half a mile or 30 minutes of exercise or 20 minutes of ST or staying within your calorie range or drinking 8 glasses of water. Whatever you want.
For me, the sticker, as silly as it may sound, was the extra push I needed to get through a workout. See, working out was not a problem for me most days, but I needed an extra push to help me lose more weight, so I got very strict about not allowing my sticker unless I did 1 full hour of cardio. That meant if I could only run 40 minutes on the treadmill I would make myself go do the elliptical to make up for the extra 20. Wanting to earn that sticker, forced me to lengthen my workouts and I ended up increasing my endurance level because of it.
The sticker method It is one of the cheapest, calorie free rewards I have ever found and it works. Here’s what my calendar looked like last month. The big stickers resemble 1 hour of cardio. The star stickers resemble my 30 minute P90X3 workout. No, I do not let my P90X3 workout count towards my hour, so that means 1.5 hours of exercise on those days. Yes, I told you I am extreme on the fitness. Reader beware. My journey is my journey. I am just sharing it with you, not suggesting you to do it. Do I recommend 1.5 hours of exercise a day, every day? Absolutely not! Do I recommend you go run out and buy a bunch of stickers you love and do the sticker method yourself? Absolutely. It is a good way to keep you accountable. I have done it for years and I have had months that had only 1 or 2 stickers for the whole month. Guess how many times I was able to say during those months that I was either gaining or not losing "I am not losing weight and I don't understand why!" Zero. The sticker method forces you to be accountable.
I am not sure what else to say at this point. My mind is drawing a blank, so it is time for the fun part. These are pictures my real life BFF took about a week ago (March 30th), after I had purchased size 10 pants/jeans for the first time in almost 2 decades.
These are some selfies I took last night (April 5th).
These are the infamous before and after pics that no 100 lbs. lost blog should be without.
This last before and after picture is extremely meaningful to me and is noteworthy because the before picture was taken 3 days before my wedding. For those of you who do not know my story, I met and married who I thought was the absolute love of my life on July 13th of last year. Two weeks after we got married he asked me for a divorce. I was beyond devastated and did everything in my power to try and make it work. In the next 2 weeks that followed, I found myself the target of verbal, emotional, and mental abuse. I stayed even after my husband told me I made him want to put a gun to his head and pull the trigger. One night my husband got so mad at me, that he beat his head on the counter repeatedly until it split open and began to bleed. That is when I took my son and I left. It was only a matter of time before the abuse became physical. I did not want to wait around to find out.
In the 1 month I was married, my house sold. How is that for irony? How many people do you know who have their homes on the market for years and don't sell? Mine sold immediately. So, unfortunately, when I left the home of my new husband my son and I no longer had our own home to go to. I am writing this from my parent's basement as we speak.
That is why this picture means more to me than all of them. Because like I said, the before pic was taken 3 days before the moment that I thought was going to be the happiest day of my life. In it I am wearing the engagement ring I had always dreamed of. But after heart break and heartache, and having to rebuild my life, look at my after pic. How huge is the difference?
That speaks volumes to me and I hope it is a source of strength and inspiration for you. Because, for the first few weeks of my separation I was broken. It could have been the turning point where I decided to emotionally eat my way back to 267 lbs. Instead, I chose to take the opportunity to rather than gain back the 65 lbs. I had lost, to tap into my inner strength and lose the additional 35 it would take me to get to a milestone I had been trying to reach for years. Trust me when I tell you that living well is the best revenge.
During one of the most horribly painful times of my life, I pulled myself up by my size 9 big girl panties (I wear size 6 now) and decided instead of mourning the death of my new marriage I was going to start a new life where nothing was going to step in the way of reaching my goals. Which got me to where I am now....the girl who has lost so much weight that she can put her ENTIRE body in ONE pant leg of the size 24 pants that she used to wear while her 10 year old son stands in the other pant leg.
The girl who used to wear this size
and now wears this size.....
My goal weight is 147 and I will not stop until I get there. I am less than 8 pounds away from having a normal BMI.
Nothing is impossible. Remember how I told you I used to get winded walking to the mailbox? Last month I ran a total of 128.5 miles. Who knew what I was capable of. I wish I could go back in time and talk to the 267 lb me. Do you know what I would tell her? If out of everything I have learned on this journey, if I could only tell her one thing I would tell her this. I would say, "Shelby. You know the big secret? Everyone wants to know "the big secret" behind losing a huge amount of weight. I know what it is! I have come all the way from the future to tell you. The secret is this. The secret is that...YOU CAN DO THIS! You CAN lose this weight and you are WORTH it."
I think the hardest part was not the journey itself, but believing in myself enough to start the journey in the first place. None of this has been easy. If it was it wouldn't have taken me this long to get here. But here is my bottom line, my motto, and my truth.
Being fat is hard. Being fit is hard.
Choose your hard.