Down 100 Pounds; 55 More to Go!

My weight as of this morning: 15 March 2023. This is 100 pounds below my all-time high, which was in 2016.

I need to lose 55 pounds to get to 200 pounds, which will be somewhere in the ballpark of a healthy weight for me. And while losing 55 pounds sounds like quite a feat, I am at least encouraged that, as of this morning, I have already lost 100 pounds from my all-time high of 355 (in 2016). It has not been easy, and I expect it to get harder as I go. But for what it’s worth, I do believe I can do it—with help.


How have I done it? I can attribute it to the usual two answers (diet and exercise) plus a third: a mental makeover—which is mostly what I want to talk (briefly, I hope) about in this post. The mental makeover part has proved to be the key to maintaining the other two parts. I’ll tell you about it, but let me begin with a synopsis to set the stage.


I’m 57 years old, and have tended toward being overweight all my life. I did have a bit of a crush on fitness in high school, but it didn’t work out. And since then, regarding fitness, my life has been in a constant state of compromise and disappointment. In 2016, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes by a naturopathic doctor, with an Hemoglobin A1C of about 11 (>5.7 being healthy). Shocked into action, I got with the program and reversed it in just a few months, dropping around 40 pounds in the process.

And I want to insert here that I could tell in the doctor’s office that I had become something of a poster child (I don’t mean to exaggerate it too much, but I was definitely drawing notice among the staff when I would walk in for an appointment)—apparently for being one of the rare ones who actually did as I was told regarding diet and exercise, and got better! It would seem that this was surprising behavior, and not their first expectation!

Anyway, I would hover for a few years thereafter, ranging back and forth from about 330 to 293 pounds, and even getting back into the pre-diabetic range with my blood sugar. I had learned a lot about how to lose weight, but something just wasn’t right in my mindset about the whole thing, and I could never seem to stay consistent with the weight loss or the lifestyle that would produce it.

Getting a Fitness Coach

As luck would have it, I would meet a delightful person through my teaching and choral life who is something of a personal trainer. I had given her some voice lessons, and over time, the conversation led to my own need to “level up” with my own fitness. I wasn’t looking for a hands-on trainer, but more for an accountability partner, as I had observed myself enough over the years to know that my main obstacle was in my head.

I was right.

We started working on my fitness in late Summer of 2022. I got back on a passable-but-not-perfect version of my diabetes diet that the doctor had given me, and started very slowly to adopt some at-home exercises—some things I could do with no equipment, and some I could do with an exercise mat and dumbbells. I had already been walking consistently for a year or two at that point, and my weight was fluctuating between 293 and 313 or so. It was 302 when we officially began. And today, several months later, it’s at 255, so she has helped me lose 48 pounds. And I’m pretty sure that without her help, I’d still be hovering around the 300 mark.

As far as the basic accountability goes, I send her pictures of the scale each morning, usually including a blood sugar reading (it was 84 this morning) and a blood pressure reading. (115/68 was yesterday morning’s reading.) And if I’ve been having food struggles, I message her about it. I’ve learned that I’ve got to let her into my head in the struggling/temptation phase if I really want to get somewhere—rather than bringing her in to help me pick up after I’ve already blown it. (That latter is useful, but the former is where the better progress was made.) So, a lot of the battle has been in learning to surrender not just the truth about my failures, but the truth about my struggles and temptations to eat what I should not.

And the other part of the accountability is about the workouts. I keep it all on a whiteboard in my studio, checking it off as I go, and sending in a photo when I’m done.

I’m currently on a 30-day push, doing a double workout everyday, hoping to break through a plateau. I walk 40 minutes a day, do a stretching session (“Workout S”) and I alternate each day between Workout A and Workout B. This is yesterday’s board, and I had forgotten to erase the previous day’s green checkmarks.

The Mental Makeover

Let me say right away that the actual diet-and-exercise part of this successful-so-far plan has not been the hard part. The hard part has been the struggling with my mind to get it done. And this has included some severer mood shifts, which had even been increasing in recent weeks—and did not want to be around me in my Grinch state! And I write about it in the past tense, though I doubt I’m all done with it. But I have been making some progress!

In just these past few days, I have realized that after all these months of making progress at it, I was still hating the workout much of the time. And the more I thought on this, the more out of place it seemed. In fact, it had come up in response to my coach sharing somebody’s podcast episode about needing to learn to “love the process”. Hearing that message really triggered some big feelings in me, and in trying to analyze all that later, that’s when some of the puzzle started to settle into place (I think!). My mind has lately been exploding with all manner of thoughts, and this process prompted even more of it.

In short, I think I’m currently in the middle of realizing that while I had been willing to make changes, I was not yet willing to love the changes. That is, I had been resisting deep down inside—at a level deeper than words—and had not yet fully surrendered to embracing on the inside the routine I had accommodated on the outside. I wrote about that, whether directly or indirectly, in these places:

And I should also note another major theme in this makeover as it relates to the reality of the changes that needed to be made. My fitness coach treated me with much kindness and compassion—which, I’m sure, was necessary to keep me in the game. But it wouldn’t have worked had she not also had some sternness about the hard realities I was facing regarding my fitness. I wrote about her example specifically in this article about people wrestling to understand what God is like:

In short, it’s fairly obvious at this point that it’s mostly my psychology that had been holding me back. And I’m still right in the middle of learning about that, so I’ll post more as I go. But it’s quite obvious that there’s no way I was going to succeed at this by myself. I’m constantly thanking my coach for her help, and she’ll say dismissive things like, “It was you who did all the work!” And yes, I did the work, but if you look at the big picture, it looks something like how I spelled it out to her in a message just a couple of weeks ago:

You can argue, “It’s YOUR heart that’s doing the beating”, but it’s YOU standing there with the paddles—having shocked me a LOT of times so far to keep me going.

When we started last Fall, I was at 302. Perhaps I’d have gotten to 292 by myself, but there’s no way I’d be down these 48 pounds and counting! No way!

It has been a battle with my own will. And I’ve been winning it slowly, but I think that this recent surge has gained quite a lot of new ground, as I’ve decided to learn how to love it. I’m reminded of an old Dennis the Menace cartoon (which I’m sorry I couldn’t find for you). He’s sitting in timeout, and the caption says something like, “I may be sitting down on the outside, but I’m standing up on the inside.”

That’s what I was doing all those years—even while making some progress! I was still standing up on the inside. I was not fully yielded to the situation and the remedy in my will. I was in a state of emergency, but kept wanting it to be more casual than that. But for the last five days or so, my workouts have taken on a different tenor, since I began to suspect that I had been holding out on the inside.

And in the interests of brevity, I’m going to cut this off here, without getting into “decoupling” and the many other things I’ve been learning throughout this process. Perhaps I’ll write some more soon. And I suppose I should certainly get a new photo and put it side by side with a particularly unappealing photo from 2016, where I was probably at my worst.

But I’ll close this post instead for now with a short piece about the fruitfulness of having somebody trustworthy in your head to help out where you are weak.

This has been very hard battle—gutwrenching at times. It has pointed out more than any other just how human I am, and in need of moral and intellectual support. I’m so thankful to Kay and James for their constant support at home, and to Tess for the constant “lifeline” support through Messenger!

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go lose 55 pounds!

UPDATE 17 March 2023: Be sure to see this update, as my learning about myself continues: An Inclination Deeper than Words, Thoughts, and Feelings?

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