Tomorrow is the anniversary of a big milestone for me. 10 August 2005 is the day I finally stopped being obese. I remember at the time just how important that was for me, seeing a 2 at the start of my BMI on the Boots scales.
To be perfectly honest, at the time that would have been enough. I had my big goal in my head, and I obviously wanted to get there, but by getting out of obesity I'd already achieved all I was realistically hoping to do, and I'd achieved the most important thing. Not being overweight is nice, but not being obese is, I'm sure, more important for my health even if I never achieved anything more.
Since then I've lost roughly another 50lb or so. I hadn't realised that it was so much more, but I guess it must be if I'm 154lb now and I was about 202lb a year ago. Here I was thinking that my weight loss had slowed down a lot, but I've still averaged nearly a pound a week over the past year. That's a pretty mind blowing thought. I could put on 50lb from where I am now, and still only just be obese - and that was a weight I was ecstatic to be at!!! I'd never actually thought of the numbers like that before I sat down to type this, and I've just nearly fallen off my chair with the realisation of how much that is.
Originally I never thought of myself as obese, but that was just denial. I was obese, and had been for a long time. The way I lived my life was clouded by, and caused, my obesity, and it was pretty much all I knew in my adult life. But now I've spent 10% of my adult life not being obese, it is starting to fade in my memory a bit. There used to be a time when I couldn't see my collar bones or feel my hip bones? Really? Did I really used to fit into those tent like suits? (Are they really ripped down the seams because when I say fit into them, I'm not being entirely honest...). Did I really go to the gym on that first day and struggle to do 3 minutes on the lowest setting of the exercise bike?
I don't miss the obese me, and I don't want her back. Yes there have been compromises (sleep and time in front of the tv being the big one!), but I remember weekends where my only source of comfort and entertainment was a bottle of wine, a pizza and a family sized slab of dairy milk. I wouldn't go shopping because the clothes didn't fit. I couldn't go running or do exercise (not that I wanted to). I didn't feel confident going out, and I was scared of the prospect of ever needing to go to the doctors because I knew what they would say. Sure, I let myself eat all the rich foods I wanted, but did I enjoy the heartburn and the "so stuffed you have to lie down" feeling? I wondered whether my career would ever go anywhere because, although I knew I was a good lawyer, I worried that clients and prospective employers would never see past my unattractive, uncared for bulk.
So I go to bed at 9.30 now and get up at 5.30 for a run. Once I ran over 12 miles before work, and I regularly run 8. What am I missing out on? Another night alone on the sofa with food and drink for company. Is that really worth shortening my life for and being unhealthy? No matter how hard it seems to drag myself out of bed or turn down that slice of cake, I can unconditionally say that it's worth it. It's worth every mile I've run, every vegetable I've eaten, every glass of wine I've turned down.
Sometimes I think of the past year as a year of maintenance as well as a year of losing. Obviously I have lost more, but the most important thing was to make sure I didn't regain the 60lb it took to get me to that first big milestone. And it's been a successful one on that front. It's nice to think of it that way, to remind myself that I CAN maintain, because I've maintained my non-obeseness very nicely over the past year. There's no reason I can't keep doing that, to maintain the weight I've got to now.
The other thing that starts to hit me more and more often is the number of new people I've met in the past year who just don't know. And those that do know never really saw, so it's knowing in a hypothetical sense, like I might know that a friend used to dye their hair red, but because I never saw it I can't picture it and they'll always be blonde to me. It's clear sometimes from the things they say to me, when they ask my advice about fitness and nutrition. They know that I'm interested in such things, but more from a sports nutrition rather than a dieting standpoint. Which would be right, to be honest (carbs, beautiful carbs, how I adore thee... and how I like the opportunity to have two or three breakfasts on long run days...). You can tell the difference between people who have known me for longer and those who haven't, one group ask for my advice on losing weight, the other on eating sensibly. I'd like to think that the second group have picked up on what I'm doing better than the first.
Everyone who has known me for two years or more tells me how much I've changed. I've changed since this time last year, and I'm sure I'll change over the next year. Maybe that's an integral part of living your way through your 20s anyway, maybe I would have changed between 26 and 28 no matter what happened. But I know that the changes have been good ones, and that given the choice I'd have no hesitation in choosing this life over anything that comfort food has to offer.