I've thought about this thread several times since I first saw it, and have been writing this post in my head since then. It's going to be a long one, so settle in, skim it, or skip it, as you prefer.
What do I love about this so far? Everything. Even the challenges that come with the gains are what I think of as good problems; I'll explain as I go along.
But here's why I want to post this. I would like to offer encouragement to the most courageous people I know--you. I am angry for some of you; I had an easier path of this than many of you, and my struggle was very difficult. I know there are people who have been around this forum for as long as I have, and longer, who have the most stubborn metabolisms ever, who have been disrespected by medical caregivers and the general public, and yet you soldier on. I write this for you as well, in hope that you will keep kicking over rocks and one day find the answers. My sincere wish is that every person who reads this will be on this thread someday themselves writing their own version of how great it feels to have lost the excess weight.
You know how it feels to wake up in the morning, and have that nanosecond of a day of possibilities ahead of you, and then you move and remember? Oh, yeah, still fat. And you have the whole day ahead and suddenly it's not full of promise, it's an ordeal instead of a gift? Rolling over in bed takes planning and conscious decisions and resolve, and then execution.
Well, now it feels like a gift. I wake up instead and in that nanosecond of `here I am again' remember that I am still not-fat, and the day lights up with promise. Because no matter what, it's not a day in which I will have to struggle to move my body through the sea of air, to fight gravity. Even rolling over in bed is just something I think of and do, like a fish flipping on the riverbank, a singularity of decisionexcecution, and there is joy in that simple thing because it feels good to move the muscles.
If I had to pick one single favorite thing--but I won't--it would probably be just to move. My breathing was labored before, and now it comes with ease and I use it to sing and play the flute. I feel the working of my diaphragm as it flexes like the muscle it is. My legs are strong and slim (by my standards) and feel as resilient and flexible as willow trees. Sometimes I lean backwards from the hips to stretch out my spine, and just hang there because it feels good. A week or two ago I was on my back, curled upwards until my legs were pointed at the ceiling, and then brought them over until my toes touched the floor above my head, and my knees almost went down next to my ears--the plough position, for the yoga-knowledgeable. Just because it felt good to do that.
Clothes are really fun as well, and I have far more than one person needs, but there are worse things than that. What's worse? Standing in the fitting room staring in the mirror at something that looks like crap and knowing you're going to buy it anyway, because it's the biggest thing in the store, and it fits. That's worse. Cycling between 3-4 dresses that are the biggest ones you own, and it's all you've got that's clean and in passable repair. So the only choice is, hmmm? green or blue? The downside? First day I had The Boxes (we all know what they are) unpacked and my closet full of options. Too many options. I walked into my walk-in with a cup of tea and looked around and walked back out, frozen by too much choice. Now I spend time each weekend picking out and trying on outfits so that I'm not late for work. But it works for me, so I'm happy. Favorite garments? Long pleated plaid woolen skirts. Lovely and warm. How many do I have? Don't ask. A lot. I like them. End of *that* story.
How does it feel to know that all the clothes hanging up fit me? That the things that fit last week still fit? It's great. That I can select clothing based on what's appropriate for the day and activity and weather and my mood and inclination? It rocks! I dress up every day, and I love it.
I feel like a role model. As a teacher, I feel like that is part of my responsibility, to present myself as one who represents possibility to my students. And I have students asking me about that, and parents. They want to know how I lost the weight, and I tell them. That feels wonderful, to know that I can inspire and guide others to make this change. The clothing helps me feel good about how I look, and it's easier to present myself in a positive way.
I feel really good about changes I've made in my health. I feel like I have the opportunity to be around a lot longer, and to have more fun doing it. My son told me last year that he had a dream that he and I were rock climbing together. I spoke to him a few days ago and suggested that we try some cliff-climbing in Ireland someday, and he said he would love that.
That's probably the best of the best thing about losing weight. My children are so happy for me, generously so. Not even a whiff of `why didn't you do this when we were little kids?' Just, "You're so tiny!" "You look fantastic!" "You're there." Making my kids proud of me? Priceless.
Probably the most challenging thing for me is my skin. Thank goodness for the clothing, because it covers a multitude. I have stretchy shar-pei skin and stretch marks and skin tears. But even that is what I think of as a good problem. I see progress and toning and I treat it gently. I oil it and spread vitamin oil on the skin, and I really believe it's improving. I'm not a fan of the idea of surgery for myself--it seems unfair. All of my body has been through this together, so to cut some of it off, especially the parts that endured the most and leave it discarded in the trash while the rest of us prances on? Just not me. All for one, one for all. I really believe that their is hope and healing for my skin, and that's one of the challenges remaining. Meanwhile, clothes!
And just to clarify--that answer is not everyone else's answer, and I don't pretend that it is. For those who need or want surgery, I wish them the best of all possible outcomes. I'm just trying to say that for those who hesitate to lose because they are afraid of tiger stripes, come on in, the water's fine. Don't let that fear stop you.
What's great about the weight loss? Everything. It's worth all that it takes. For me it was a journey that took almost all of my adult life. I'm thrilled that whatever time I have left I get to spend not being fat. Everyday I get to wake up, and remember, and smile . . .