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I have lost 50 pounds since last autumn when I started back to water aerobics in earnest. I’m not done losing weight yet, but 50 pounds is a nice round number and I am happy with what I have accomplished thus far. Obviously, I look better, but I also feel better and have gone from taking four different medications daily to just two (Singulair and Zyrtec). I have also gone from three different inhalers down to just one, and I use it rarely.

I am not on a diet. I have made specific lifestyle changes. My commitment to those changes cannot terminate.

Any weight loss program is an intensely personal and individualized thing. Having been engaged in the battle to control my weight since I was a child, I have learned a few things over the years. Specifically, I have learned what works for me. More importantly, I know what doesn’t work for me. And bluntly, some of what is advocated as part of mainstream weight loss plans simply does not work for me. In fact, some of the advice offered I know to be completely antithetical to weight loss success.

Unless I have occasion to visit the doctor’s office, I do not weigh and have no intention of starting. I can only tell you that I had lost 50 pounds as of Thursday, May 3, 2007, because I went by the doctor’s office and asked them to weigh me and tell me how many pounds I have lost. They pulled my chart, found the highest number reflected there, and then I stepped on the scale backwards, as is my custom, at which time they took a current reading, did the math, and congratulated me.

Getting on the scale facing backward is a trick I learned and adopted more years ago than I can remember. Why? Numbers are judgments. They have a life and meaning all their own. “I weight XXX pounds” can be a badge of honor or shame, depending on the day. The number pervades your consciousness, lodges in your waking thoughts, taunts you. If you finf you have lost weight, it can be an opportunity to binge, as in “Woohoo, I lost X pounds so I can eat dessert!” On the flip side, however, if you appear to have gained a few pounds, that fact can serve as an invitation to sulk, pout, and binge. “Well, I starved myself for X days and what good did it do me? I still gained weight. I might as well eat.” How many times have you said that to yourself or heard someone else say it?

People proclaim that “the scale doesn’t lie.” Maybe not, but it doesn’t tell the whole story, either.

Women, in particular, are extremely susceptible to temporary variances due to, among other reasons, temporary water weight gain.

More critically, if you are exercising regularly, you may not see a huge drop in your weight, especially at the beginning, even though your body is actually changing. Exchanging fat for lean muscle is not a one-to-one trade. So it is entirely possible to be developing muscles and seeing a dramatic change in your overall body size that does not seem as dramatic when viewed solely in terms of the number that registers on the scale.

What is most important is how you feel and whether or not you are decreasing your body’s overall fat percentage.

I judge by my clothing. My motto is: “Waistbands don’t lie.” And my lungs don’t lie. I knew that I had made significant strides toward better health through weight loss and exercise when I was able to wear clothes that I hadn’t zipped in several years and found myself able to walk further and further distances without having to stop to catch my breath.


  1. I’m not sure I want to join the challenge, but I did want to leave a comment. Congrats on your amazing weight loss! I’ve been on my own weight loss journey and know how tough it can be.

    Stepping on the scales backwards is such a cool thing to do!

  2. Barbara H.

    I joined the challenge — and even started a separate weight loss blog. I haven’t started a specific plan yet, so I will be interested to read yours. I have already lost a couple of pounds just by not popping something in my mouth every time I thought about it — and I didn’t think I did that all that often til I tried stopping!!

    Congrats on your weight loss.

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