Saturday, June 19, 2010

Current status of weight loss

When I hit the two year point from the surgery back in February, weight loss had slowed enough that the plateau I was on was just the latest in a series of plateaus. Winter certainly has a tendency to be a plateau anyway. So by time I came out of the end of winter, I'd not only bottomed out at 308, I'd crept back up to as high as 328.

None of this was terribly surprising. In fact, virtually everyone who gets this surgery will stop losing by two years out (and that's a good thing -- if you never stopped, you'd starve to death!), and then regain a small amount of what they lost, and then tend to hold steady. (Or, actually, return to the regular weight curve that the population in general has, which is a small gain per year.)

That said, once the warmer weather made exercise more viable, I have been working on getting back in the habit of it, and it's made a difference. The increase has been stopped and slowly reversed. As of this writing, in mid-June, I'm back down to about 320.

Which isn't much, admittedly. My bike accident took me off exercise right after I got back onto it for a while, and a run of other health issues have also interfered. But really those are minor compared to the fact that I'm not eating as healthy as I would have to, to keep losing weight. Post-surgery my quantities are still substantially reduced, and I absorb less of what I eat, but I don't resist snacking on the kinds of things that dieters can't touch.

I could certainly tighten up my diet and start losing more weight, even get under the arbitrary 300, but I don't feel motivated. After several years of making diet my life, with the intensity necessary to lose 70 pounds in nine months, I'm really hesitant to make it be my whole life again. Nor do I want to give up the good food that I went without for so long. I don't eat badly, it's not junk food and cake every day, and there is good stuff throughout, but I don't eat like a dieter, either.

I could do it all, and my doctor I'm sure would want me to, but I don't find it worth it. My main goal was to get rid of diabetes, and I did that. My secondary goal was to get rid of some of the other health issues associated with my weight, like chronic knee pain and getting tired too easily, and I did that. I have more energy, and can do more things, than in years and years. My tertiary goal was to get rid of the inconveniences of my size, and I made strides there: I can fit in airplane seats and through subway gates, I can buy clothes at local stores, etc., but I also have some inconveniences since I'm still too fat to find movie seats comfortable, or to be able to ignore my size when it comes to picking furniture, and have to be carefully fitted for tuxedos (not like that comes up often!).

So what are my reasons to go back on a rigorous, demanding, life-shaping, denial-filled diet? My weight is not making a significant impact on my health, and it offers only mild inconveniences. The fact that people look at me as "a fat man" doesn't bother me much. If I weighed less, I'd be able to buy more clothes, but I am happy with the clothes I have. I might have more energy, but I don't feel any lack there. I just don't see anything in that that's worth giving up having a few cookies, let alone the kind of all-consuming diet, where you track every calorie and every minute of exercise and end up talking and thinking about nothing but your weight loss, that it would take to make noticeable progress.

So keeping up with my exercise will probably peel off a few more pounds throughout the summer (when injuries, illness, and travel don't preclude it!), and more generally, I will probably hover in the range between 310 and 330 for years. I'm fine with that. It's easy to get so caught up in the downward flow of numbers and start despairing when it ends, to obsess about whether I'm eating too much or the wrong things, as if it were still two years ago. We get warned about people who start abusing their freedoms and gain back what they lost, and so to be vigilant about not being that, we run the risk of obsessing again. But wavering between 310 and 330 is not some kind of slippery slope that can lead me back to 400 again. That's not going to happen because I can eat a whole burger at one sitting, or because I choose a burger once in a while. There's a comfortable range in between the extremes of "gaining it all back" and "giving everything else up again" and I'll stay in it.

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