I'm officially in the range of normal for my weight. It's a large range (depending on which chart you use) and I am in the heaviest end of it, but technically I'm not overweight, and certainly not obese. It's taken a lot of effort, but it's good to be 35 pounds lighter than I was back in June. I still have another ten pounds or so to go, because I want to be squarely in the normal range. I would like the option of one day eating a cookie again without that tipping the scales into overweight territory.
Self-perception is a strange thing, though. Other people tell me I look slimmer, but I'm not really seeing it. I know I am smaller by looking at the clothes I can wear. I was an 18 and now I'm an 8. (My preferred swimsuit, however still fits best at a 14, because somewhere, somehow, I am always a size 14.) But when my pants are tight enough to stay up I still have some muffin-top stuff going on, so I don't feel any different. I have the same body issues, just different pants.
I got fitted for a new bra, finally. The ones I got the last time I decided to splurge on something nice were gapping on the sides and just weren't working, so I figured maybe I was a smaller size now. Well, yes and no. I went down a band size and up a cup size. I am now the tremendously unavailable size of 38 DDD. No more just picking up something at Target, I will have to stick with the specialty shops. Which is fine. It's worth it to have a bra that fits right.
Exercise I have a good handle on at this point. I've worked out a good schedule that gets me into the pool to swim a mile typically five days a week. I still resent the time it takes up, but I appreciate my ability to do it. However, exercise affects my shape, not my weight. The real work is in my food choices.
Eating is still a struggle. I'm sticking to a few simple things that I like, which isn't bad, just boring. It's hard to turn down foods other people want me to make a special exception for, but I don't think they realize such exceptions aren't rare, they appear daily. It's always someone's birthday, or we're being thanked randomly with cookies, or a neighbor makes bread and wants to share. Those are lovely things, and I always appreciate the thought, but I know if I indulged each time I'd be right back where I started. So I have to say no. Occasionally I cry over it.
Which makes me wonder if it's worth it. I can't really win. My choice is to either not worry about the food and be unhappy about how my clothes fit, or to be unhappy about the food and pleased with how my clothes fit. Currently I'd rather go with the boring food, because objectively it's healthier.
And it's hard to deny that I'm seeing health benefits after cutting out sugar, dairy, and wheat. I have splurged on a little bit of dairy once or twice, but it seems to
make my face itch. My skin is much clearer than it was a year ago. I almost never get headaches anymore, and the vague ones I sometimes get I can trace directly to lack of sleep. My heel pain is gone (I assume from being lighter). None of that makes it less hard to turn down a brownie.
I really don't blame anyone who makes the other choice at this point, though. There are advantages to being heavier, even if we're not supposed to say that. For instance, I may be strong from exercising, but on the whole I feel more fragile. I felt less vulnerable, more solid, at the higher weight. I'm colder now. I used to never get cold, and now I have a "house sweater" because I'm never warm enough. Sitting on any hard seat is uncomfortable. A fluctuation of my weight by a small amount affects the fit of my clothes dramatically. When I was heavy I had clothes that were simply "big" and worked in a broader range. Now if I'm having a "fat" day because my cycle is making me bloated or something, I have to go up an entire pant size and I can't wear half the shirts in my drawer. Plus there is the uncomfortable sense of having caved to the norm by losing weight. That's silly, I know, because I really am doing this for my health, but I resent how mean people are to the overweight in our society, and I will always identify with that group on some level regardless of my size. I have no plans to go back to being heavy if I can help it, but I'm not going to deny there were things about it that were just fine with me. Like being able to have pie at Thanksgiving.
But normal weight is good. I'm proud of myself for being disciplined and setting a good example. A couple of the kids have started walking on the treadmill in my shop because they feel they need exercise (since it's too unbearably cold to move around outside), and part of me hopes it's because they see their parents making a commitment to exercise so they understand it's a priority. (Quinn, however, didn't get at first the information coming up on the treadmill displays as he walked, and he kept announcing to me as I was working on my violin that he "gained another calorie!")
Next will be to see if there are measurable changes in my health at my annual doctor's appointment in a month. That will be interesting. In the meantime, I'm packing up lots of larger clothes for Goodwill, and hoping I don't fall off my food wagon and have to go replacing them anytime soon.