210 (Weight Loss and Health)

I’m delighted. For the past couple of days, I’ve been able to stand on the scales and see a number I haven’t seen since last fall — 210.0. Ever since I started losing weight a couple of years ago when my daughter was born, I’ve had a goal to hit at least 200 pounds. At the time I weighed in at 260, and I was experiencing significant health complications. The extra weight was adversely affecting my already very troublesome back and made my depressive episodes more likely to occur frequently and to last longer with greater severity. And since I am a comfort eater, the thing I tend to do when depressed is the very thing I shouldn’t do.

Within a year of my daughter’s birth, I’d trimmed 35 pounds off that initial 260, thanks in part to five months of what I call “New Daddy Freak-out.” As it turns out, one kind of stress causing me to pack on pounds, and another causes me to nearly stop eating altogether. Fortunately, I was able to use that to my advantage to get the weight loss process started and to change the way I eat.

I felt healthier than I had in years. It’s amazing to me how much of a difference shaving a few pounds off can make. Over the next year and a half, I managed my diet better and was able to be more active around the farm. I burned off more the fat stores I was carrying around and converted some of it into muscle, which itself helped with the fat-burning process. This last fall, I was consistently down to between 205 and 210 pounds on a regular basis.

Health professionals often tell you that you shouldn’t weigh in every day when you’re trying to lose weight because the numbers tend to change slowly over time, which many people find discouraging. For me, I’ve found it serves very well as a general measure of what I’ve eaten over the past 48 hours. If the numbers tick upward a pound or two, I know I need to manage what I eat a little better over the next couple of days to make up for it. Where before I had a very difficult time managing my weight, I found that after a year I could do so almost without even thinking about it — a far cry from where I started.

There was an unusually large amount of food over the holidays this past year (Thanksgiving through New Years). Our family was exposed to a number of delicious delicacies we don’t normally get to see, and by the time the calendar flipped over to the new year, I was weighing in consistently around 220. And of course, this has been the longest, hardest winter we’ve seen in decades, and my depression always becomes worse in the winter. More so this year due to the severity of the weather. Getting those ten extra pounds off was simply not going to happen. The best I could hope for was to keep from gaining anymore, so for the past couple of months I’ve been trying to actively rein in my eating habits a bit more so that they more closely resembled the habits I’d established over the past couple of years. And it worked! I didn’t lose any weight, but I didn’t gain any more, either.

My son arrived in the world nearly three weeks ago, and along with it some significant family changes. I was more prepared this time, though, so the stress I experienced for five months with the arrival of my daughter lasted a matter of mere days with my son. But it was enough to push me in the right direction. I backed off on my eating again — partly because I was too tired most of the time to be interested in food — and started shedding the weight. Now I’m hovering around 210 again, and I’m delighted. With any luck Spring will actually arrive soon (though Winter is certainly making a bid for sticking around as long as possible this year), and I can get more active around the farm once more. Being able to move and work will burn those extra calories, rebuild and retone some of the muscle I’ve lost over the last few months, and put me back on the path to fitness.

My goal is to hit 200 or lower before the end of the year. I’m anxious to see that number at my feet.

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