Well, it happened!  This morning I stepped on the scale and there it was…the number I’ve been trying to reach for almost two years. The number I haven’t seen since I was THIRTEEN YEARS OLD!  The number my doctor said would be an ideal weight for me.  The number that reflects the hard work, life-changing decisions and weight-altering choices I have made.

I used to lay in bed at night and think about what it would feel like to weigh 165lbs.  I’d imagine what my legs would feel like, knee bones touching rather than being cushioned between fat.  Finger interlacing on my belly while my elbows touched the bed. Being able to see my feet while lying on my back.  I fell asleep many nights imagining what those things would feel like.  I knew they would feel good but I never thought they would feel THIS good.

Actually, that’s not true.  I knew they would feel this good but I didn’t know LIFE could be this good.   I never knew that I would be able to LIVE my life the way I live it now.  I mean, I knew that I’d be able to DO more things- that was the whole point in the first place but I didn’t realize is just how much my brain would change.  How in control I would feel.  How I would grasp the whole concept of living a healthy LIFESTYLE.

I’ve talked about “lifestyle” before.  I’ve mentioned that I never fully understood what that meant, so forgive me for repeating myself, but that’s the part that is most astounding to me.  Prior to now I thought a healthy lifestyle meant a life of deprivation.  That in order to live a healthy lifestyle I had to be perfect all the time and forever… after all, your lifestyle is what you live for LIFE right?  And life is your forever, no?

So here I am 49 days shy of the two year anniversary from the day I had gastric bypass surgery and while I’m not much of an advocate for the surgery itself I am grateful for what it helped me achieve.   The weight loss is secondary in my book– or more of a byproduct of what’s happened in my mind.  Gastric bypass gave me the hope I needed to believe that I could be successful and the tool necessary to not quit when the scale stopped moving. When I hit my first plateau at 2 weeks post op I couldn’t physically run out and gorge myself on junk food because I felt like a failure the way I would have pre-op.  Nope, the limitations of my surgery wouldn’t allow it so I didn’t have a choice but to stick to the plan.  As the months went on and more plateaus happened, sometime weeks and even MONTHS at a time, I never threw in the towel.  During the first year it was nearly impossible to do so, thanks to my “Tiny Tank” as Tracy Stevenson calls it, but over the last several months or so (my tank is not longer THAT tiny) I could have EASILY said “effit” and gone back to my old ways.

The change in my behavior is a direct result of what I learned during that first year post-op.  THAT’S where the value in Gastric Bypass surgery is for me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I had known then what I know now…”  But there are no takes-backsies and I am okay with that.  Instead of regretting my decision I am learning to live WITH it.  I am learning to eat more healthy fats in order to get more calories to sustain  my active lifestyle.  I am learning to drink extra water in days leading up to races and I’ve invested in a hydration belt and camelback for endurance sports to avoid dehydration– and to pack little snacks to keep me fueled.

So what now?What happens now that I’m at my “goal weight?”

When I posted a picture of the scale showing 166.6lbs three weeks ago on facebook, showing that I was 1.6lbs from my goal weight someone said, “time to set a new goal!”  While I understand that way of thinking, because we are so ridiculously scale obsessed, I didn’t respond to it because quite frankly, I’m over what the scale says.  I’m sure it will keep moving in a downward direction but I refuse to set anymore weight loss goals.

My GOAL is to live my life the way I’m living it.  I have no intentions of changing what I’m doing just because I’m “at goal”.  The truth is that I stopped “dieting” months ago.  I stopped stressing about calories and carbs and protein on August 1st after that four month plateau.   I hadn’t stopped because I’d given up, I stopped because I realized that I was in control.  I trusted myself to make good decisions.  I allowed myself to live without deprivation.  I ate when I was hungry and I made choices I could feel good about.  Most of the time that’s veggies with protein because that’s what FEELS good, both physically and mentally but sometimes it also feels good to eat pizza and cake and drink a beer.  I do track everything I eat on My Fitness Pal which helps me stay in check but my calories range anywhere from 1200 to 2000 per day and my carbs (which I believe is the key) stay between 100 and 150– most of which come from one rice cake per day, cheese, veg, fruit (apples, grapes and bananas) and some kind of “treat”- glass of wine, piece of dark chocolate or tortilla chips– I LOVE nachos!

So that’s it. This is my life. I am living it. And if you read last week’s post you can plainly see that the scale is a reflection of how I LIVE my LIFE.

Here are my tips for living a REAL healthy lifestyle in a VERY SMALL nutshell:

1) create some rules for yourself that will help you succeed

2) allow yourself to live

3) let go of regret

4) only keep foods in your house that you can feel good about eating

5) find something active that you enjoy and do it

Learn more about REAL FOOD, REAL FITNESS, REAL LIFE and REAL SUCCESS by following me on facebook, twitter and by subscribing to the blog on the top right-side of this page!

Set goals, make a plan and follow through.

Signing for races and completing them this year has been a huge incentive to help me stay focused.  Because of those races I have met some amazing people that will be friends for life, pushed myself farther than I ever thought possible and have proven to myself that I CAN DO IT.

Go me!

And Go YOU!

Keep it REAL, peeps!

Oh and here’s a then and now so you can be reminded why shoulder pads are out…