Welcome to the end of Week 21, ladies and gentlemen! Tomorrow begins Week 22, and I’m looking forward to it.
First things first: a brief update on John’s condition. I’m concerned that in processing my own feelings about the events of the last few weeks, I may have presented the situation as more alarming than it has been in reality. So many of you have been so quick to offer help, resources, and anything else you might be able to provide, and we deeply appreciate the kindness and support! At the same time, we want to be sure that we’re clear: John is still the same happy, hard-working, overgrown kid that we all know and love, and he’s in the hands of several doctors that are overqualified to treat the issue. Until his very simple, in-and-out surgery happens at the end of August, the effects of the anemia are indistinguishable from the general tiredness we feel from participating in 20/20. Nothing has changed for us aside from facing the potential that this COULD have had — and didn’t.
If there is ever truly cause for concern, we know that we are loved and blessed beyond measure to have you all in our lives, and we will be the first to ask for help when and if that day should come. Until then, please rest assured that the Washington Bruce clan is heartier, healthier, and haler at this time than we’ve ever been in our lives. Though this has been scary and unexpected, none of the things worth fearing have come to pass, and they aren’t likely to do so in the kind of healthy environment we’re cultivating right now. We no longer feel the need to worry about what’s going to happen next, and I hope that we can pass some of that trust and certainty on to the rest of you as well. Things always happen for a reason when it comes to us and our life together; we think of this as one more clear sign that we are on the right path toward a longer and brighter future.
Offers to drive John to and from his surgery are also deeply appreciated. While I am still nervous about the prospect of doing that myself, I am confident that I can do it, and I’m prepared to take things as slow and steady as necessary to make sure that John gets whatever he needs. I’ve been doing a lot more driving in recent weeks, and I’ve learned to drive on freeways, so only the extra traffic and unfamiliar streets are going to be new. I had a long talk with my therapist about whether this should be an opportunity to push through my over-reliance on myself, or an opportunity to push through my fear of driving, because BOTH are very necessary – but in the end, I feel ready to face this. The more I avoid it, even for valid reasons, the more my brain wants to validate the fear and turn it against me. The best thing for me here is to choose bravery, and I know that I have the courage, the will, and the strength to do that. I couldn’t have said that six months ago, but today, it’s the truth.
Moving on to today’s post. I have an update about last week’s measurements, and then it’s time for some fun!
Our measurements last week confirmed what we’ve been noticing lately; both of us are swimming in the clothes we used to wear! Even the newer items in smaller sizes are starting to grow a little bit baggy. Both of us have lost an inch or more on all our measurements since Week 15; our hips and waists continue to see dramatic shifts of 2-3 inches at a time. My BMI at this point has fallen by almost 6 points! I’m still overweight, of course, and my doctors have all but guaranteed me that I’m still going to be by the end of the program – and it’s OK. The 1-2% of body weight thing might be well and good for a non-diabetic with no hormone issues, but my body has always been unpredictable since the day I was born – and no two bodies are ever the same. It sounds as if I’m meeting or exceeding all their expectations for a type 1 diabetic in their program, and I’m just going to have to keep working hard throughout the 12 weeks of “maintenance” that follow the end of the program.
Long story short: once we finish our 28 weeks on the program, we enter the second phase. This is intended to be a maintenance phase for people that have already reached their goal weight on the program, and involves slowly weaning us off of the mandatory parts of the program over 12 weeks. (Personal training sessions become twice a week instead of three times; dietitian visits move to bi-weekly instead of weekly, etc.) Both John and I will most likely have more weight to lose, so the process will look a bit different for us. That said, we haven’t gotten into the details yet because there’s still a lot of time left to go, and who knows where we’ll be seven weeks from now! I know that I’m already planning to keep my personal trainer for three days a week, and I’m already seeing my therapist on my own; given that, I’m expecting to keep doing what I’m doing for the most part. Most folks are telling us that we’ve learned so much and changed so well that they’re not sure we’d find any benefit in extending the actual program. At this point, we have the knowledge and the habits we need to succeed; the biggest question is how well we can manage those things without such a constant presence from our teams.
John and I went shopping for new clothes again last week, as both of us were tired of falling out of our pants. After an extended visit to DXL (the local men’s big and tall store,) we discovered that John officially cannot shop there anymore! For the first time in recent memory, he’s wearing regular, off-the-rack sizes from head to toe! It’s a brave new world for him, and it was such fun to introduce him to my favorite non-plus-size store (Eddie Bauer) and watch him run around like a kid in a candy store. I love Eddie Bauer because they’re local, they’re simple, they’re durable, and they’re usually soft and comfortable items intended for travel, camping, and outdoor pursuits. I didn’t know what else to recommend on short notice, because my own fashion sense tends to assume plus-size too! It’ll be a learning curve for us both. Neither of us is interested in luxury brands, so it’s a matter of choosing how we want to represent ourselves, now that our choices aren’t as limited by necessity. I suspect that fit, style, and a reasonable price point will continue to be our major selling points!
For my part, I can now shop at Eddie Bauer and other regular stores too – for shirts. Alas, like many curvy women, I have miles to go before I sleep when it comes to my hips and thighs. I’m thrilled for John and I’m living vicariously through him, but there is still a tiny part of me that is SCREAMING at the injustice of guys losing so much weight so much faster than ladies! That said, as of this weekend, I am back to the same size in jeans that I wore in college, which is a big deal for me. If I can drop one or two more sizes, I’ll be in regular-size territory AND the smallest I’ve been since I was a young teenager. For shirts, I’m now at the smallest size that Lane Bryant carries, even for non-stretchy materials! Outside of plus-size shops, I vary between a large and an XL depending on the cut and material. The last time I bought shirts in that size was at the turn of the millennia…
This leads me to the fun stuff I mentioned before. Because so much of our old clothing no longer fits us, John and I tackled our closets this weekend to clear out all the items we can’t use anymore. You’ve all seen the photos from me downsizing to prioritize workout gear; this time, John’s involved too, and we’ve gotten rid of EVERYTHING that doesn’t fit. This means that John has now gotten rid of a good 90% of the clothing in his closet, and I’ve reduced mine by a good 50-60% from what was there after the last purge.
Neither of us owns dressy clothes anymore. I don’t own a swimsuit or pajamas. There’s no point in spending money on pieces that need to fit so well when you’re changing as much as we are! Until we stabilize, folks are just going to have to accept us and meet us where we are – in yoga pants, gym shorts, and jeans! We lost a lot of good friends today; shirts we used to love, dresses that used to make me look great, and suits that I’d marry John in all over again. But we’re making room for new things we love, and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’m looking forward to seeing what the new, improved John and Amy do with their new style freedom!
For your viewing pleasure, we’ve taken photos of the occasion. I’m trying something new with this batch – clicking the link below will take you to the relevant album on Google Photos. For those of you that used to follow some of my older blogs, and/or view our photos before the arrival of Facebook, this is the next evolution of what used to be called Picasa. It should just work; you’ll get the photos at high (but not perfect) quality, and at their full sizes. I don’t like the way this blog shows photos when I add them myself, and I often have to make them smaller or less detailed than I’d like, so I’m hoping that Google Photos will allow me to share them with you all in a better format without requiring me to change the entire blog or resort to using Facebook again. It does mean you’ll have to click the link to see them, though, rather than just having them show up here!
And that, as they say, is that! Thanks so much for following along, folks. I still can’t believe it’s been 21 long weeks since we started the rest of our lives! Every day still looks a little brighter than the last, even though it still continues to be one of the biggest commitments we’ve ever made. Though our bodies, our minds, and our tastes may be changing day by day, what hasn’t changed at all is our hearts. I hope the world can handle what we’ll bring to it when we’re done!