You are looking great, they say. How much have you lost, is always the question that follows.
I have no clue, but those jeans that were lying in my cupboard for over a year ... I give my butt a little tap as I do a half turn and boast that I didn't have to squish myself into them.
With just over a month and a bit to my very long a waited America trip, I set out to achieve on thing. I haven't told anyone this before, I don't even think I've told my bestie. All I wanted to do was climb on the plane, sit in the snug airline seat and not panic that the seat belt wouldn't close or that the arm rest wouldn't dig into my sides while I tried to breathe all my extra weight in to not spill over onto the stranger sitting next to me. This is not an exaggeration. I've come a long way from having to call for the seat belt extension, but I still felt the overweight stress and squish into small space when I went to the Netherlands last year June.
It was clear and simple ... I was determined to do a 24 hour travel stint to the USA fitting comfortably into an airline seat and into a pair of jeans that once fitted beautifully and made me feel the same way. I don't know what weight that would equate to and I don't care. I haven't cared for a long time, but when I went through my big (excuse the pun) weight loss in 2012, my trainer kept on shoving me on the scale and looking at the point something I had lost or gained. I doubt I'm the only person who finds the scale traumatic and daunting.
Honestly, it didn't take me long to realise that not fitting comfortably into an airline seat or seeing a picture of myself on Facebook and wanting to hide away for the rest of my life, was much more of an indicator than staring at the pounds jump up and down on a scale.
I don't know what I weighted, but certainly, hips don't lie.
When we got together for parties, two things happen with my friends ... we dance like no-one's watching and we take pics like everyone is.
When lugging around extra weight, both are very unpleasant and I remember hardly being able to breathe, from the being too unfit and overweight to dance and trying to breathe in the whole damn time for fear of what the photographs would look like.
Screw the scale! A year a got to the day, I re-framed my goals and turned them into a purposeful promise to not do the things I wanted to do with such a heavy heart and body.
I had no clue that this acknowledgment & decision would be so life changing. It took a few month of still thinking the scale and finding the perfect diet would help, but then something settled and I stopped.
I stopped worrying about everything except one pair of jeans, one thing I knew was bad for me and one thing I knew was good for me.
I hung the jeans on a hanger, like I wore the every day, knew that anything with refined sugar was bad for me and that I had to get up and move with some form of exercise. That too, took a few months and would stop and start, going back to craving bread or a slab of chocolate at midnight. I would drag myself around a few block, tell everyone I hated gym, throw myself on the ... but then I stopped for the last time.
I stopped and did something so extra ordinary, so in line with what Project Me is all about ... I gave myself a chance to do it my way, in my own good time.
I STOPPED LISTENING TO EVERYONE AND TRUSTED MY OWN PROCESS!! ... Yes, it's that difficult to do as humans.
It still took another few months, what with everyone carrying on about cutting out carbs completely or never touching a fruit again and only losing weight if you feel your muscles tear and your body feel like it's going to cave in.
Then one day the blinkers went on and my way kicked in. I thought about what had worked for me in the past and I knew that food as natural as possible worked and I loved to dance.
I didn't tell anyone, except who I wanted support from and I knew wouldn't question my methods. I hardly blogged about it, except for the profound realisations that my process brought my way and although the jeans button up after only being able to get to my hips ... I can't breathe in them just yet, but I finally feel like my choices worked and after acknowledging my own transformation, from such a simple life decision, I was so excited to share.
I did it my way! I didn't care what anyone else said ...
If goddess made it, I could eat it. Yes, that simple ... as natural as possible for 80% of my day. I love chicken sausages, so I didn't stop eating them, because I made up my own rules. I did cut out all stimulants and haven't had coffee or any kind of processed sugar for that 80% of the time. Would you like the scientific formula for how I got to the 80%? Yeah well, I thumb sucked it and it worked for me.
Dance and walk ... that's what I love to do, so I went out and bought an exercise step for those good old fashioned aerobics steps classes I used to do years ago. I got 2 and 4 kg weights and bought a very good pair of walking shoes. In 10 minutes, when this post is finished, I will be dancing around my bedroom, hopping on and off the step and thinking that my 4kg weights need to go a little heavier. Every second day, I do this and if I don't feel like it, I just put on music and dance, then once a week I walk with a very special and supportive friend of mine ... and then we go for breakfast.
It was the same dear friend's birthday party a year later and on Saturday I felt like a princess. No ... I felt like a dancing queen.
I could actually dance. I felt lighter (literally) and had one of the best times I have had in years. All the dancing around my room, when the world said I should have been at a gym and eating whatever I wanted, with my 80% rule ... it all paid off.
It pays off every day that I head out into the world and feel confident in the formula that I worked out for myself.
I climb on a plane in less than two months time and I plan to wear those very jeans to a dream country music experience. I plan to do this with confidence and self pride that I did it my way ... my time.
This is a tough one to explain, but don't even listen to me or try figure out my formula for you. Take my word that shutting out the noise of the world and finding the faith you have in your own choices for what works for your body is the only way to do it and then start to listen to yourself and your body.
My real advice is to ignore the scale, because a picture like this, when all I see is fit, fab and happy, could never be overshadowed by me being able to answer the next person who asks me how much I have lost ...