After a very long journey, I’ve hit 24.7 BMI. I am now a healthy weight for the first time in my entire life. Serious question, though — When do I stop (and switch to maintenance)?

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http://imgur.com/a/BSxgsTr

Started out officially at 364.8, was likely heavier a few months before that. Began to count calories in a deficit using MFP while focusing on high protein and fiber intake. After starting at 2300, I gradually declined my caloric intake to maintain extremely fast weight loss. Once I hit 1200-1300, I determined that would be the lower limit after a brief test at 800 made me feel awful and was strongly advised against. At 235 lbs, I came down with a UTI and visited a doctor and told her all about my dietary everything and she signed off on it wholeheartedly, expressing to me that I'd effectively done a well as anyone she has ever seen. She did tell me that 1200 was geeat given the quality of food I was intaking, but did advise me to begin adjusting for exercise so I did. I didn't exercise a ton, just continued working my retail job and going out for occasional walks or Fitness Boxing sessions.

When I started this journey, I truly hated myself and my body. However, after coming this far, I can't say that's true anymore. And that might be one of the strangest feelings. I've done something hard to do. I look and feel a lot better about myself. I won't lie and say I'm content, the sort of hunger for self-improvement is still pretty strong. And loose skin sucks — it's an unpleasant reminder and kills my self-confidence. That being said, I don't have the most egregious case I've seen, and with clothes on it's mostly a non-issue.

The other primary goal was to increase my attractiveness. I've never even so much as kissed someone. For a long time that didn't bother me, but after sort of falling in love with someone online and then them cutting me off after a year, it kind of caused an enormous hole in my heart along with a tear in my psyche. For a year or two it really depressed and upset me, but now I appreciate the fact it happened and don't harbor any resentment at all. If it weren't for that I probably would have died without ever really living or endeavoring to be healthy. It was an awakening of sorts… I realized I want to experience more things like that, even better ones. Now at 27, the sort of biological clock is ticking and now it's my biggest desire.

Going from so heavy to where I am now was odd. For the first 125 lbs, I genuinely felt like nothing but decrease in clothing size hapened. But once I hit 235 I really began to notice things. Being able to fit into seats. Even smaller clothes. More energy. Smaller shoes. Less pain. Easier breathing. At 210, I stared to lose a lot of neck fat and it caused me want to express myself more. It was this odd thing — that after 27 years of looking in the mirror — I finally started to look like me. And that me wasn't so bad after all. And that I could now do things to make me look even more me. At 190, I started to notice bones, veins, body parts… And it made me feel human. I'm not sure how to explain it but, after spending a third of my life watching life pass me by, I now feel human enough to join in instead.

Ya'know, most my life, weight was not a struggle. It was something I avoided and ran away from. Ignored. And when my parents would insult me, peers mock me, strangers classify me, things wouldn't fit, places too small, it felt like it never really hurt. It was something I'd grown to accept and desensitized to. I realize that wasn't the case. Now my weight is no longer a defining characteristic of who I am. My parents beam with pride when they get to talk about my weight loss. Insults are way more creative and funny. Strangers see my face, what I'm wearing and what my personality is, rather than predetermining my person from my size. And everything designed to accommodate a normal human accommodates me wonderfully.

Sorry to delve into the more mental part of it. My last post here, at 235, was far more inclusive of the how's and what's, the process, the physical. But as I was writing this I had to really hold a lot of tears back. I never really realized how much life was affected and lost from mindlessly binging thousands of calories. And for what? To ease boredom, for a little taste-induced dopamine, to cycle through the depression-eating loop once more? And for heaven's sake, I still love food. If anything I appreciate and understand it more now. I've tried things I'd never consider before. If anything, learning moderation allowed me to enjoy things even more, to slowly savor and appreciate treats instead of gunning them down in seconds.

I don't know how to be super inspirational but if you were like me and drowning in a cesspool of negativity, there is simply no reason to not try your best for yourself and succeed, lest you dive ever deeper into it. Because when you do finally surface from it, you won't be able to fathom how bright the sky above really was. Don't make excuses, I've made them all for you already. They don't work. Willpower does. And willpower sucks to cultivate and realize. But if you do, you'll see its myriad applications were well worth it and extend far further than anticipated.

The only question for me now is where to begin maintenance. The concept of eating 2100 calories per day is really exciting. I'll be able to keep what I've worked so hard for and extend my diet to include a fun or spontaneous indulgence every so often. I'm not really sure what the stopping point will be. If it's happiness, well I suppose I'm mostly there already. But I am a bit of a perfectionist. And after hating this journey for so long I've grown to kind of like it. I suppose 170 might be the endpoint. Roughly estimating excess skin and unreachable fat to weigh around 12lbs, that'd put me smack center of the BMI charts and well into the fitness level of body fat. Seems like a happy middle ground. What do you guys think?

Side note: I very much appreciate seat cushions and things that make me warm. Hard things feel a lot harder and cold things feels a lot colder, these days. Haha.

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