{Forty By Forty}

For the first time in a pretty long while, I had nothing prepared for the blog today. I sat down to figure it out and realized that I don’t have any recent makes pictures to share, and I am in mid-read of the next installment of the BSC reread series (usually a good standby post when I’m at a loss for something else).

So today I thought I would talk about something I’ve mentioned on my Instagram account a few times, but never really here: weight loss.

It’s generally a topic I avoid. First off, I hate talking diets. Hate it. So I tend to avoid it because I disagree so whole-heartedly with the way most people diet (I prefer moderation to restriction). I also think everybody is unique and that there’s no diet plan that is “one size fits all,” so what works for one person may be a disaster for another. I know what works for me, but I don’t pretend to be an expert or that my own personal success methods will work for others. But I can tell you that I avoid fad diets. I try to eat a balanced diet, but sometimes the balance goes way off, and it’s then that I gain weight. To lose it, I need to shift the balance again. To maintain I can stay comfortably in the middle.

First off, a little background. I used to be extremely overweight. Thankfully, I was in relatively decent health despite being a 225 pound twenty-two year old. Weight had always been a struggle, but it was in my college years that it really became a noticeably large problem, one that I ultimately decided to do something about.

Right: March 2002, close to my heaviest weight. Left: August 2015, my most comfortable weight (NOT lowest though!).

In August 2003, I bought an at home workout program (The Firm, which I highly recommend!) and started eating better. By the time I finished my first year of teaching in May 2004, I was down eighty-five pounds, weighing in at about 130-135. I learned over the next few years that that weight, while considered a healthy range for someone my height, was simply not maintainable for me. It was too stressful, and I started to feel like I had to constantly exercise and restrict what I ate in order to keep the pounds from creeping back up. I avoided bread like the plague during the weekdays but then overindulged in it on the weekends.

This is the very reason they did creep back up for a few years, until I recommitted to regular workouts and eating better. I did it a little differently the second time around, going slower and not restricting any food groups. I ended up at 160-165 pounds… and stubbornly stayed there. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get past that number. I decided that was my body’s comfortable weight, and I’ve been happy with that ever since. In the before and after you see above, I am not at my lowest weight but at the comfortable weight.

Since turning thirty-five a few years ago, I’ve noticed it’s just a tad harder to keep weight off, and while I still don’t think anyone should restrict their diet, I do have to be a little more on the healthier side of the balance scale. When I don’t, weight starts to creep up, especially if I’m not keeping up with regular exercise (which is usually the first thing to go when I get busy, something I still need to work on!). Add quarantine eating to that, and I found myself just creeping up and up and scale the last couple of months.

In mid-August, I recommitted to losing weight again. I created my “Forty By Forty” plan. It’s more or less exactly what it sounds like, to lose forty pounds by my fortieth birthday in March! And as of this past weekend, I am halfway there… and still have three months to go until my birthday! It’s been slow and steady progress, just the way it should be!

Of course, I didn’t think to take any before pictures (I never do!), but I have some makes pictures from mid-August (the left photos) to compare with makes pictures from the last few weeks (the right photos). The changes are fairly subtle, but they are there!

I will admit that this year has been easier since I have not been going to a ton of holiday events in November and December, so hopefully I’m equipping myself for when events start back up.

For people who are curious, I eat a relatively balanced diet. I do eat less bread when I’m trying to lose weight, but I don’t eliminate it entirely, and I still eat things like rice, potatoes, and other starchy vegetables so it’s not a low-carb diet by any means. I usually do what most people would consider “cheat days” on the weekends, but not always (and sometimes the whole weekend is less healthy). The only thing I massively cut down on is sugar, but even that’s not eliminated entirely. I avoid processed foods 98% of the time. I just finished six weeks of Megan Davies’ #mbf and #mbfa programs, but have now moved back to The Firm. I try to mix up my exercise routines frequently so that I don’t get bored. Boredom is a motivation killer!

So that’s that! I will update on this every now and then, but I am not about to turn this sewing blog into a weight loss advice blog. Back to sewing business on Friday (or at the very least the BSC!), assuming I get some time this week to take pictures of my latest make!

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