The year 2012 closed with me having major surgery on December 17th and recovering into January 2013. Like everyone else, a new year means a new weight loss goal. I have been struggling with my weight for years. I gained, I lost and I gained again. I was depressed, I hated my job and I had no social life. It was a struggle to get up in the mornings and I was back in bed the minute I walked in my front door after work and a heavy meal. My knees are arthritic and it is painful to walk, which was just another excuse to not exercise. Now I was looking at a new year and a new me and a new start. In February, I had a talk with my doctor who put me on a cocktail of Phentermine and Prozac. In March, I began doing Pilates on Saturdays and water aerobics on Mondays and Wednesdays. April brought me to Weight Watchers (WW) again. This time I was committed and had a better attitude and perspective on my life. In July, I attended a party where I was repeatedly insulted by comments like “she used to be the skinny one”. At the end of July, I received cortisone shots in both knees so I could finally walk up and down the stairs without pain. Now I am facing the holidays and I am ready for more changes. I went to the Sisterlocks webpage to find a consultant. The nearest consultant was booked through January 2014 just for the initial consult. I finally found my Loctician about 20 miles away. On December 14, 2013, I sat down at 7:00am for day one of a two day Sisterlocks install. On December 15th around 2:00 pm, I had 359 locks in a 4 reverse pattern.
Ronnie Mitchell Before and After Photos
On July 1, 2014, I officially weighed in and have lost a total of 50.8 pounds. I still hate my job (still looking for a new one); I increased my water aerobics to two hours twice a week; I am now doing level two Pilates; I walk three miles at lunch at least three times a week; every other weekend I do an hour fitness class at a trampoline park and I walk a five mile bridge on either Saturday or Sunday. I take an art class on Thursday nights and work with the Humane Society of Charles County, Maryland fostering kittens during the spring and summer months.
On October 28, 2014, I had officially lost 60.2 pounds and was comfortable wearing a size 8 in most clothes. The winter was harsh and I did not attend many WW meetings. When I did attend, I noticed my weight was slowly inching up again but I was maintaining a weight 11 pounds over my goal weight and 6 pounds over WW’s maximum number for me to enter lifetime and to stop paying. For 6 months I maintained the weight but never saw the needle drop again.
It is now July 2015. My Sisterlocks have fully matured and fall to my shoulders; my size 8 pants are getting snug and the size 10 is fitting too well. I have gained back 10 pounds and have not been to a WW meeting since June 2. Although, I am at the pool 3-4 days a week and still do Pilates twice a week and walk at lunch and walk the 5 mile bridge on weekends, I cannot seem to lose weight. Today I have decided to begin anew. Armed with all the tools I need to succeed, I am determined to reach my goal weight and lifetime by the end of this year. My plan and please feel free to join me will consist of:
1. Consistently attend my WW meetings
2. Diligently track my daily food portions (30 points) and keep my caloric intake at 1200.
3. Don’t confuse weight loss with exercise; No matter how much exercise you do, you must maintain your 30 points/1200 calories per day. Exercise is for health not necessarily weight loss. A quick explanation: When you exercise intently you will burn calories but you will also become hungrier and tend to eat more food. The amount of extra food you eat is often disproportionate to the amount of calories you burn. Reality check: I walked an hour and burned 250 calories. That 1 hour walk equals 1 bag of potato chips or a bottle of juice.
4. Accept the fact I will stray from my path to weight loss and know I will get back on track immediately.
5. Remember the changes I make are a lifelong change. I will never omit a food from my diet that I am not willing to live without forever. I will limit the high fat foods and sweets but never completely omit them. I cannot live a happy life depriving myself of foods I enjoy. Moderation is the key.
My weight loss experience has been one of self-discovery. I am still learning every week which foods my body can process and which foods my body won’t let go. I have learned it takes me a month to lose the 5 pounds I gained eating my German Chocolate birthday cake. I learned my body processes sugar in any form to fat if I do not exercise. I learned my body treats the sugar from fruit and carbohydrates just like sugar from candy and if I eat too much I will gain weight or just not lose any weight. I learned that if I lift weights and don’t modify my diet, I will have muscles hiding under a thick layer of fat. I am still learning ways to curb my cravings. I have learned that I eat when I ‘m bored and when I am stressed out or nervous. I learned that if I buy snacks I will eat them, but if I don’t buy them I don’t miss them.
As I get older, and my knees start to fail and my back begins to ache and my Achilles tendon becomes stressed that, I still have to be held accountable for what I eat or I will begin to gain the weight back. I have learned that ignoring the 2 or 3 pound weight gain will turn into 5-7 and then 10. I learned that it is very easy to fall back into old eating habits and routines. I learned that it is very difficult “for me” to maintain this path to weight loss. I also learned that armed with the knowledge of what works for me and what doesn’t, I can find my way back to successful weight loss and continue my journey to a healthy, active lifestyle.
I love “rockin’” my new body although I still feel fat inside. I love my new hairstyle and the freedom from wearing braid extensions, hair weaves and wigs. I love staying busy with new and old activities. Whether I reach my ultimate goal or not, this journey will not end until God calls me home. The most important thing to remember is to at least take the first step. You will never move forward if you never move at all.
So please join me in my journey to lose the last 15 pounds. Slow and steady wins the race but right now I am stuck in the weight loss maze. Help me reach my goal weight of 145 by the end of the year. Help me slip into a size 6 party dress for New Year’s Eve. I will post my official WW weight on Sunday or Tuesday from now until Christmas. We can do this!
Photo Credit: Ronnie Mitchell photographs provided by Ronnie Mitchell and Gary A. Johnson