ColumnsWhat A World

Phase 2 is Complete

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Commencing final countdown to a new world
by Nancy Ford

My goodness. In nearly 25 years of writing this column, never before have I experienced such an outpouring of encouragement and kindness from those of you who responded to my recent endeavor to lose weight, as was related in the January issue of OutSmart. I thank you for your avalanche of well-wishes from the bottom of my heart as well as from various other, now far more easily accessible, organs.

Make no mistake, I have no delusions about being some grand inspirational leader for weight loss. I’m no roll model, if you will. I didn’t embark on this journey for any other reason than to enhance my own longevity. The positive effect that it seems to be having on others is
a bonus.

You are so precious, by the way, when you see me out here and there. Even shy. You don’t want to pry. You politely hesitate asking me what my total weight loss has been so far, but eventually your curiosity always bubbles through. You want numbers.

So, since you asked, here’s the rest of the story. Maybe what worked for me will work for you or someone you love.

In June of last year, I topped out at a whopping 265 pounds on a 5’2” frame, the equivalent of two small Kardashians. At first, I had no specific target weight in mind. My only preference was to have the scale start going down instead of up.

When I hit a 15-pound loss, landing
on 250 by mid-July (granted, it was
mostly water weight, but who cared as long as it was gone?), I started seeing the need for, and the advantage of, setting specific goals. Levels of hoped-for loss were assigned to upcoming dates on my social calendar: First it was “Thirty pounds by the big dance in August.” Then it was “Fifty pounds by the Christmas party.”

Then came the biggy. I had not seen the lower side of 200 pounds since the late 1980s. The feeling of accomplishment that rushed over me that morning in March when I stepped on that digital scale and it blinked “199.9” is impossible to describe to you; I will not even try. No joke.

As this issue of OutSmart went to press, I was holding steady at just shy of the 75-pound mark, and entering the final leg, Phase 3, of my weight-loss endeavor. Ultimately I’m aiming for the nice, round, total-loss number of 101 pounds, which will render me by no means svelte, yet nonetheless allow me to claim bragging rights to triple-digit, more-than-100-pounds, Big Loser, status.

After that, we’ll see what happens. Again, thanks for asking. Couldn’t do it without you.

Beyond the new wardrobe, beyond the clearer skin, beyond being able to climb rather than pull myself up flights of stairs and sit closer to my car’s steering wheel and get a better night’s sleep and simply breathe, beyond it all, the best part—absolutely the very, very best part—of this journey is when you share the triumphs of your own ongoing battles of your own bulges.

“I decided if you can do it, so can I,” you all recite as a mantra, verbatim, whether via congratulatory e-mails or in person. Then with escalating excitement you’ll tell me how much weight you yourself have lost, the pride and sense of accomplishment rolling over your face like Sir Edmund Hillary on top of Mount Everest.

Sometimes you’ll share little hints like “Throw a handful of blueberries into your high-protein Special K with a little skim milk and then microwave it. It tastes like cobbler!” or “Weigh yourself before your morning shower. Skin absorbs water!”

Thank you for all of your stories. What amazing gifts.

Here’s another helpful hint as you shed those pounds: go into the grocery store’s meat department and grab a brisket or a frozen turkey or any large slab of flesh or product equivalent to your weight loss, and lug it around the store a couple of times to illustrate your progress. When the meat department can no longer accommodate your poundage-loss needs, graduate to the dog food aisle. Those of you who may have seen me in Kroger last month, falling over myself while trying to lift two 35-pound bags of Purina Dog Chow, now understand what I was doing.

Years ago I used to self-deprecatingly joke onstage about my weight, enthusiastically embracing the BFD (Big Fat Dyke) identity. I had a bit about, if obesity is a disease, why wasn’t I calling in sick more often? Hi boss, can’t come to work today. Ate a half-gallon of Bluebell this weekend all by myself, so I’m calling in fat. Then the next day, Hi again, Boss…. Nope, not yet. Still big as a house. See you next week!

In the ’90s when liposuction hit the headlines, I built punch lines around my plans to found GALOMA (Get A Load Of My Ass) Industries, a processing plant that would suck the blubber out (“I’m sitting on a goldmine!”) and distribute it to the skinny needy.

Today there’s a different challenge: how to maintain that comfortable Big Fat Dyke mantle, while no longer being big or fat. I’ll let you know how that plays out.

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