A friend asked me the other day “How is the weight loss experienced by you?”
It is easy to name the functional changes since starting CrossFit in January or to provide statistical information on weight, sizes, capabilities. Experience is harder as experience of weight loss includes baggage both personal and from society and emotional challenges related to history of weigh loss.
Over the next few posts, I will try to articulate the experience of losing weight, and today, will start with the Physical experience
Picture that you have a weight vest on, and over the last 20 years you have added 5 pounds per year to the pockets. You never take that vest off. Your body has adapted to carrying the weight as it was added, not really noticing the impact until the load of the vest is literally killing you. Now, picture that you start removing a pound a week or so at a time. At the end of 6 months, you have removed 45 pounds from that vest. That is how my body is experiencing this weight loss.
Last fall, climbing the stairs were a challenge. My body was struggling with carrying and moving 270 pounds. If I slipped or stepped on a piece of crooked sidewalk, my balance was unable to keep me steady. Falls were common as were twists to knees. My knees were under pressure and were failing to recover from those twist injuries. This manifested for me in taking one stair at a time: move one foot up, bring the other foot up, lean heavily on the armrail. It also meant that if a misstep occurred, I was falling down stairs. Truly, falling up & down stairs was a fairly regular occurrence – which just reinforced the slow, one foot at a time, stair ascends & descends.
With 45 pounds gone, my body is less challenged to move that weight, gosh, it thinks it is on vacation. With CrossFit activities my knees are more stable and with the easier load, climbing stairs is now easy. Walking a block means I don’t watch my foot placement to the same degree knowing that should I misstep that I will just unconsciously alter my balance. Getting up off the floor required hands and supports, ie pull the footstool and use it to push up from. Now, it is just a fairly simple stand up.
It isn’t just the weight though, the weight translates into inches. So, imagine how wide that vest was, and it got in my way when I tried to bend, reach or stretch. As the weight reduces in size, I can physically do things that many humans take for granted. Putting on socks is just bending my leg. Putting on a bra is just reaching around to close the clasp.
The belly fat in particular was an issue. I quit buying any shoe that was not a slip on. Why? Doing up a shoe was not something you wanted to do in public. I had to move fat and pull leg to get my foot into a position that I could tie a shoe. (Doesn’t make considering going to a gym easy when you are putting on runners). So, reflecting back on what life was life, it is amazing to experience again doing things without planning how to do it: from getting dressed to grabbing something off a shelf.
My analogy though, isn’t close to perfect, as the vest wasn’t just external. Much of it was abdominal obesity. This means that the fat is located inside your abdominal surrounding your organs. Think on what that does to just your natural ability to breathe, for your lungs to expand, for your intestines to function, for your heart to pump. My breathing is significantly better as that fat is reduced. My organs just work better or seem to as evidenced by a decrease in resting heart beat.
So back to the question, how is weigh loss experienced by you?
Weight loss is experienced physically by feeling less exhausted, lower blood pressure, organs working better, as well as the ability to do things such as put on socks or buy shoes which have buckles.