Part 2: My Weight Loss Story

You can read Part 1 of what drove me to begin hiking and spurred the first 15 pounds off and how COVID healed my brain pressure!  I felt like I had a second chance of living again without the brain pressure and I decided to "try" and see if I could lose any more weight besides the 15 that came off merely by hiking taking me from a size 20 to an 18.

I had always been a mostly healthy eater but I also had treats and ate fast food often but still, nothing that made sense as to why I was obese besides the medications and a decade full of surgeries, trauma and miscarriages.  To my surprise, I was only eating 900-1300 calories a day and maintaining on that and I chucked it up to menopause slowing my metabolism down.  (I had a hysterectomy in 2015 and went through what felt like menopause a few years ago.)  I thought well, there's no way I could lose weight because I'm already eating so little and this is just the way I'm going to always be.  At least hiking helped me lose 15 pounds but it had now been 3 years and no more weight had come off.  By the way, the doctor said I now had the heart of an athlete from my 3 years of hiking!!

I joined Weight Watchers in late May of 2022 the week of my daughter's high school graduation to just give it one last try and I was in a size 18 skirt and 2X/3X top.  I seriously thought it wouldn't work and expected this would be my last hoorah showing that I'm doomed to a menopause body forever.  That first week I ate ALL my points, tons of zero foods and ALL my weeklies - I thought you had too LOL!  I remember cramming my face full and feeling like I was going to be sick from all the food and I spaced it into 4 meals a day to get all that food in.  I thought there is NO WAY this is going to work.  To my surprise I dropped 2 pounds that first week.  I figured that was just water and eventually this wouldn't work.  Well, it worked every week!  I also started weight lifting after being so inspired at the weight loss and because I was adding in more exercise, I earned even more points and I ate all those too!  I was living in some kind of dream - eating MORE and losing weight!?  I was now eating an average of 1500-1600 calories and losing weight.

In 14 weeks I had transformed my body into a size 6!  

I remember the first time someone saw me that hadn't seen me since I was obese and they couldn't get over it and said I had lost a TON of weight!  People would ask me how I did it, and I would say I ate more and they would laugh thinking I was joking.  No really, I just ate more and even when I moved more, I ate EVEN more!  I ended up increasing my calories to 1700 and then 1900 and still transforming my body down to a size 4.  I was able to maintain my weight loss on a whopping 2300 calories a day - DOUBLE what I was maintaining on when I was obese!  (I stopped doing WW and points after the 14 weeks and switched over to calories/macros.)

However, after about a year of maintaining around 2300 calories, I decided that I wanted to decrease my exercise from 9 hours a week to 6 hours and now I maintain at 2100 calories.  Christmas cookies happened and I put on 3 pounds that I kept and so, my size 4's are a bit snug LOL!  I'm not sure if I will lose any more because my doctor actually stopped me and said that if I lost anymore, I'd look anorexic and lose muscle.  He told me I was small because of the muscle (and low body fat) and there was no reason to lose anymore.  It is true, I packed on 20+ pounds of muscle after having muscle atrophy from surgery and bed rest from my decade of horror.  But by the grace of God, I regained my muscle and then some and I'm still weight lifting now.  I got my body fat down but my body shape is different because of menopause - I had always had wide hips but not anymore.  So all those clothes I kept from my 20's - the skirts were too big.  You just never know how your body changes until you go through menopause.

One thing I was so afraid of was saggy skin and a deflated top.  I specifically prayed and asked God to not let either happen and I'm glad to say He honored my prayer and because I lost slow and steady and was consistent and weight lifted and hiked - it helped me not have saggy skin.  I also know the importance of CARBS and made sure to eat high-carb to keep fluid in my body; as carbs hold water.  More on that in the next post where I share my tips and how/what I ate.

Here's a picture of my old skirt with my new, size small, skirt: