I started jotting down a list of non scale victories a couple of days ago.
I’ve been meaning to do this for a while – but hadn’t gotten around to putting them all in one place. Then some of the people I spoke to during and after my talks in front of other Slimming World groups on Monday (who wanted to know how my life had changed) made me think that I should write everything I could think of down and keep the list updated when something new pops up.
Initially it was just a few bullet points when I began.
I pulled some of out of previous posts and others were things I’d not really talked about much or had mentioned in other contexts.
When thought I’d completed it I spontaneously decided to read it out loud to a friend as I sat in her car one morning. Surprisingly I suddenly found myself close to tears – and noticed that she (sitting next to me) was too. A lot of the things on this list still make me feel very emotional. I didn’t think they would – but the pain of a lot of the things I used to struggle with every day is still raw.
Sometimes very raw.
It’s a long list – and there are some items that I still find too personal, intimate or deeply embarrassing. Try as I might I just can’t bring myself to add them – but what’s contained within it are all real pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that I’ve been putting together since January 2016.
On their own they’re pretty cool (at least from my perspective) but not always particularly amazing in the great scheme of things. I’d even warrant that most people take them for granted if they’ve never been unable to do them or not struggled with mundane aspects of daily life like I did.
Together they’ve combined to change the way I live so much that my average day is completely unrecognisable compared to what it was when I was 34st 8.5lbs.
In no particular order my NSV’s are:
- I was unable to sleep in any position other than my left side or sitting upright at 34st 8.5 lbs. Now I can sleep on whichever side I choose (including my back) and no longer wake up in a panic because I think I’m suffocating
- I’ve walked the cumulative 3000 mile distance from San Fransisco to New York (and much more) since joining Slimming World
- I overcame Plantar Fasciitis, two torn calf muscles, ligament problems in my left thigh and shin splints caused by my weight and persisted with my walking and exercise
- I’m no longer taking medication to control my (type 2) diabetes – and have a HbA1c reading of 28 compared to 94 when first diagnosed
- My blood pressure is down from borderline hyper-tension to that of someone 20 years younger than myself
- I’ve dropped from the 8xl shirt and 66in waisted trousers I was wearing to 2XL/XL and waist size of 40in
- I haven’t broken any furniture by sitting or lying on it for over a year and a half
- I can buy clothes from pretty much any supermarket or high street store. They cost approximately 75% less than they used to at specialist retailers
- I can now fit into ALL cars and taxis
- I can take the train or the bus because I fit into public transport and can walk to and from where it stops
- I can fit in my bath
- I don’t get out of breath walking up hills unless they’re really steep
- I can mow my lawns without being in agony – and maintain my gardens
- I can stand up without grunting or straining from pretty much any position
- My skin no longer burns instantly when exposed to the sun (often it doesn’t burn at all now) and I don’t have dry eczema all the time like I used to
- I no longer wear glasses for reading and have dramatically improved eyesight due to my diabetes being under control
- I can sit in restaurant or cafe booths – in fact ANY kind of fixed bench or table seating is accessible – as well as garden picnic tables and plastic chairs.
- I can go to the cinema and not have to pay extra for premium seating because I don’t fit in the standard seat or am worried that they will break
- I can walk up to 17.5 miles a day and average 20,000 steps daily and 70+ miles every week. Previously I couldn’t walk to the end of my street 200 metres away
- I can concentrate for longer periods and take in (and retain) information a lot faster
- I need less sleep – usually 5-6 hours is enough now. I used to need at least 10 because it was so hard to get rest with sleep apnea
- I can now walk a mile in just over 15 minutes. When I first tried to do a mile it took well over an hour to an hour and a half with continual rest stops. I usually have to stop every 7-8 miles now.
- I can jog up stairs
- I can jog back down stairs
- I’ve taken large amounts of outsized clothes to charity and by donating with gift aid have helped other people by doing so.
- I haven’t had an alcoholic drink since January 26th 2016
- I’m now able to buy clothes from charity shops as well as deposit them and when I do they cost around 1/8th of what I previously was forced to buy
- I can take a selfie without hating myself
- I have climbed Snowdon
- I no longer have constant oedemas (fluid retention) in my ankles
- I can go outside wearing shorts without feeling self conscious
- I don’t need to get my shopping delivered and I often walk two miles to the supermarket and carry it two miles back home in a rucksack
- I can stand for long periods without crippling back, knee and tendon pain
- My knees no longer hurt all the time. They used to be painful even when I was seated
- I can’t hear my own laboured breathing when I sit and relax
- I no longer sweat all the time regardless of the temperature and I need to wear thick socks, gloves a coat and a hat to go outside in the cold
- I regularly meet lots of new people through my efforts, Slimming World and my blog
- I’m now confident enough with my appearance and fit enough to stand and speak in front of groups about my weight loss. Previously this would have been impossible because I quickly became breathless and physically shook from the effort of standing upright
- I can jog (although not very well yet)
- I no longer get publicly bullied and called names related to my weight by youths (and adults) on the street
- I’ve gone from eating (and burning) 7,500 calories per day to around 2000 and because of this my shopping costs around 2/5ths of what it used to.
- I can ride a bicycle again
- I can sit in an IKEA Poang armchair without fear of breaking it
- I can do press-ups
- I can climb ladders and use stepladders (none held my weight before) to get into my loft
- A lady recently referred to me as ‘hot’
- People I know frequently fail to recognise me in the street until I speak
- I’ve never spent more quality time with friends, family and people that I care about in my entire life – and when I do we’re usually exercising so I seem to be promoting positive behaviour in those that mean something to me
- I no longer make excuses not to meet up with friends I haven’t seen for a while (or don’t see them at all) because I feel embarrassed about putting lots of weight on since they last saw me
- My friends and family can hug me and put their arms all the way around me
So there’s the (current) list.
It makes for sobering reading – because, despite all of the things I now benefit from and the future that I feel is finally open to me – I still have a sense of loss.
I’ve wasted too much time with all of the above – and lived for the best part of two decades in a way way no-one should have to.
The only thing that I can say when I look back at that ruined and unhappy man, stuck in his armchair and with his world shrinking a little more every day is that he existed for a reason. He enabled me to be who I am now, and gifted me a sense of perspective that maybe few are afforded in life.
His pain isn’t something I can forget and it drives every moment of my present, and hopefully my future too…
Anyway – thats quite enough heavy stuff for one evening internet. I need to get to bed.
In the meantime here’s how yesterday panned out in the land of #onplanoctober
- Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
- 3 small tomatoes 30
- 300g ham 357
- Half jar pickled gherkins 57
- 3 Large apples 210
- 200g Aldi Smoked Mackerel fillets 692 (2 syns)
- 650g Aldi stir fry veg 338
- 100g blueberries 43
- 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
- 250g natural yogurt 154
- 500g carrots 210 (snacking)
Total calories consumed – 2351 (2 syns)
- Active/total calories burned 1520/4260
- Cardio minutes – 95
- Steps/miles walked 20,658/9.51
Fingers crossed for my weigh in tomorrow morning!!!