Monday, August 10, 2015

For Women Only - What NO ONE Tells You About Weight Loss

The GOOD and the BAD:  Part 1

Over the past 19 months, I have been on a journey to lose weight (and now keep it off) and become healthy and fit.  I have shared my journey with you on this blog.  When you lose a lot of weight, there are a lot of unexpected benefits and a few side effects, that you learn to deal with.  This is part one of the things NO ONE ever tells you about. (The Good and the Bad!)

Good!  Get out your wallet:  losing weight is expensive!   (Yes, good!)

My grocery bill is through the roof.  Lean cuts of meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and other dietary supplements (protein powder and bars) are lot more expensive than the processed foods that used to fill my grocery cart.  I pretty much shop the perimeter of the grocery store, with a stop in the middle aisles for cereal, peanut butter and iced tea or soda (for my 17-year old son).

Clothes!!!  I have dropped from a size 18 to a size 6 or 8, depending on what it is.  It is August and I have absolutely no clothes to wear for the fall because all of my winter clothes were size 16+ and have been donated.  While it is a drain on the wallet, it’s not too bad if I catch a good sale.  I went to my cousin’s wedding this weekend and I found a cute little dress on clearance for $19.99, which was not bad.  Still, it all adds up.

Of course, I couldn't buy just the dress...I got a new tank top for the gym, a new top and new earbuds.

The dress was really cute!  
Although this cost seems like a negative, it is definitely a positive for a few reasons:  there’s no guilt in spending money on healthy food; shopping for new clothes is a lot of fun; and you learn to adjust your budget.  I hardly ever go out to eat anymore.  I used to buy fast food at least once / week, but it’s not healthy so I rarely get that either.  One of my pleasures is wine tasting, which I have not done very much of recently.  All of this has saved me a ton of money.

Bad!  Skin

I know people who have had bariatric surgery and end up with a lot of excess skin, but I never thought it would happen to me.  I have been reading about what to do about it and everything says, “Build muscle and reduce your body fat.”  Well, I lift weights at least four days per week and my body fat is 21.6%.  If you look that up, that’s pretty healthy for a woman my age.  When I look down at my legs (or the scars of childbirth on my abdomen), it’s really not pretty.  I have looked online for remedies and they sell these wraps and things that look interesting, but I’m nervous about investing a lot of money in that for it to not work.  My moisturizing cream and vitamins contain collagen… I’ve heard that gelatin supplements help too.  I haven’t tried that yet.  One thing I know is there are no quick fixes for any of this, so before I go a little off the deep end, I’ll probably talk to my doctor and get his advice.  As far as surgical options go, I feel like there must be a better option. 
It's hard to capture what I'm talking about in a picture.  You can kind of see it around my knees.  It's worse on my abdomen.(which I won't take a picture of!)  And it's even worse when I'm doing push-ups and look down and see all this skin hanging.  It's just nasty.  Thankfully I don't do push-ups for a living and I'm the ONLY one who has to look at my legs when I do them.  I'm probably being overly picky about this, but I really just don't like it.  
Good (GREAT)! Energy 

I am somewhat of a workaholic.  I used to work 10 hour days, come home and be completely wiped out.  If I made dinner, it was something quick and fattening.  Maybe fish sticks and macaroni and cheese (no vegetable), Hamburger Helper (tomato basil, that’s vegetable enough, right?), pizza or McDonald’s take out.  Many times, dinner was a bowl of ice cream and a handful of cookies!  If I got home early enough, I would crash and take a nap.  After dinner, I would sit on the computer and play Farmville or watch TV.  I had no energy to do anything, not housework, not school work, let alone go to the gym and work out.

Since I started going to the gym faithfully, my overall energy levels have drastically improved.  Add an improved nutrition plan and I feel like the Energizer bunny.  It’s almost bizarre because I have a hard time sitting still.  On the weekends, I’ll go to the gym, go hiking and take a ride on my bike all in the same day. My husband thinks I’m a little crazy.  “You went riding yesterday,” or “You’re going hiking? You just went for a bike ride.” 

A perfect day:  morning workout at the gym (Leg day, uggh), followed by hiking and a bike ride.  Took the top picture of a tobacco farm in Connecticut during my evening ride.

Bad!  What happened to my beautiful boobs?

I used to have the most magnificent breasts.  When I lost weight, my boobs were the first thing to go.  I don’t know what size bra I wore before, because I always wore a sports bra.  In February, I got fitted for new bras (I had lost 50 lbs. and the sports bras weren’t working).  Victoria’s Secret measured me as a 32 DDDD.  A 32?  That’s small!!!  But a DDDD, that’s HUGE.  It was weird.  Try finding a bra that size, even at Victoria’s Secret.  It’s almost impossible.  My “sister size” was a 34 DD, which was a lot easier to find.  So I bought a few bras, and spent a fortune on them.  By the end of March, the bras were too big and my boobs were floating.  It was ridiculous.  So I bought some 34C’s (I can’t find any 32C’s) and these have worked for a while.  I still prefer the comfort of a sports bra, even though they make me look smaller.  I know I should get refitted because the floating boobs are back.  What no one has to tell you, because you already know – bras are expensive, so spending more money on bras is not exactly on a list of “Yeah, I get to do this” things.  The final straw is that at my annual mammogram, I had to go for a recall for a second set of scans because my breasts had changed so much, which adds a whole new level of anxiety.  But for the sake of breast health, we do what we have to do! 
Me (and my boobs)...before and after.
They really were marvelous!!
The truth is, I'd rather be thin and have no boobs than fat and have big ones.  Any day.
Update:  10/4/2015
This was taken at my Great-Aunt's 94th Birthday party.  I think it's hysterical, because if you look closely, you can actually see my floating boobs.  I bought the smallest bra I could find and it's still too big.  Time to go back to Vicky's for a fitting.  It's just so expensive there!

Follow me on Instagram @tracoleman99

Click here for Part 2Gym Hands, Gym Attire, ALL THAT WATER, and Hormones

Questions for you:

*Have you lost or are you trying to lose weight or work out and be healthier?  If so, what has surprised you about the journey that you did not expect? 
**Have you found any good deals on clothes lately?  
***Any suggestions for what in the world I can do about the skin?