It’s fun to stay at the Y – M – C – A

So, I joined the YMCA.

It’s awesome!

Our local YMCA is as good of a state-of-the-art gym as any I’ve experienced in large cities like Austin, TX or Orlando, FL. What’s even better is the price and the fact that I am not locked into a contract. Plus, my health insurance will reimburse me $20/mo if I visit just 12 times a month. Because of my (cough, cough) age, that means this amazing facility only costs me $29 a month.

There’s an upbeat vibe at this YMCA and it makes me feel good just to “be there.”

I’m starting out my exercise program slowly, but there’s tremendous room to grow at this facility, including private trainers. My schedule is fairly flexible now, so I can get the the gym when there aren’t a lot of people there.

The good news is I’ve gone beyond losing my pandemic weight, and I’m on the road to getting back on track. I’m down 32.4 lbs now.

This, You Can Do

So, it’s been 18 weeks since I got serious about losing my 30-lb pandemic gain. The last time I weighed myself, I was down 28.2 lbs. That was a few days ago. I didn’t weigh myself today, and I probably won’t weigh myself tomorrow, but I’m confident I will hit this goal any day now, if I haven’t already.

The simple math will tell you that if you divide 30 by 18, I would be averaging about 1.67 lbs a week. That’s not exactly how it happens, but the loss is for real. Yesterday, I bought pants that were 4 sizes smaller. I love that.

Let me give you some tips about what works for me, as I’ve been able to lose weight like this a few times now:

  • Do not stress out about losing weight. Your self-image should be grounded in more important aspects of your identity than your appearance. For whatever reason you’ve decided to lose weight, be easy on yourself. Try not to even think about it. Look at it like another side-hustle project, like getting around to finally organizing the basement or writing your memoir.
  • Don’t weigh yourself every day, and don’t obsess about your weight on the scale. I invested in an expensive, wifi-enabled scale that measures my fat content, my water weight, my BMI, even my bones. Those numbers are constantly shifting… even my bones (?)…, but if you do everything on this list, you will lose weight. Be patient.
  • Skip everything sugar and carbs. No bread, pasta, rice, noodles, crackers, rice… No sugary desserts ever. Never. No fruit– too high in sugar. No juices with sugar. If you drink coffee, drink it black or get used to an artificial sweetener. I buy large packages of Stevia. My goto snack is sugar-free Jello. And sometimes nuts and cheese.
  • Empty your cupboard bare of everything that is wrong for you. Remove everything in your kitchen that comes in boxes, bags, and most canned goods. Throw out everything in the fridge and the freezer that you should not eat, no matter how much is left. I was fortunate there was a food drive in my town a few weeks into my new regime. I gave away three bags of food. The rest I gave to my sister.
  • Make a good, hearty breakfast every morning. I make eggs, bacon, tomatoes with a little avocado every morning. Avocados have carbs, but I’m careful. I also like to make omelettes with fresh vegetables. 
  • Learn to cook, in general. Buy Atkins, Paleo, South Beach cookbooks. Try to find a used bookstore. Cookbooks are cheaper used, and sometimes have good notes in the margin. I copy recipes I like and keep them in a folder for easy access. 
  • At restaurants (like life) ask for what you need. Look at the menu. If you want an entré, but you can’t have it with bread or on pasta, ask if the kitchen can make a substitution. I’ve never had an issue with this. My dining experiences have been terrific. Same goes for bar choices. Vodka, Rum, Gin all have zero carbs. Ask the bartender what cocktail options are available or can be creatively concocted without sugar. 
  • Walk, walk, walk. I’m a person that hates to exercise. But, I don’t mind walking around town. When you can physically walk rather than drive, always take that option. According to my Apple Watch, I walk a couple thousand steps every day just doing random things around my place. 
  • If you’re feeling frustrated because it’s not going fast enough or you hit a plateau, post an update on social media about the weight loss you already accumulated. People love that shit and will go bananas with support. I personally find that morally conflicting, but it does do the trick. It makes you feel better, and it will get you over the hump to keep going. 
  • Start a weight loss blog! It’s fun to track your progress. 🙂 

I Wanna Be Sedated

So, I’m down 22.4lbs. That’s only 8lbs shy of my goal to lose my pandemic gain. I will get there. And I’ll continue on my path from there.

How am I doing it? By walking around this beautiful, sleepy town. I’m not killing it on the Peloton or hiring a trainer or joining the gym. I’m just walking around. I gave up my car last September and I walk everywhere I need to go.

Living in the Midwest, life is simpler. It’s slower and more peaceful. But there is healthy food and healthy living here. I am not in a rush to lose my weight, or in a rush to do anything for that matter.

I’m content to take in the beauty around me knowing every step I take is leading me in the right direction. It gets lighter every day.

A Return to Tech Gadgetry

I brought my Withings scale with me out here to South Dakota, so it tracks all my stats. After some research, I decided to invest in a wearable. I opted for the Apple Watch over the Fitbit or the ones that are linked to my Withings scale. The Apple Watch has all the health tracking I’m interested in, plus it fills in gaps that complement my nearly all-Apple product tech environment. I also ordered new Airpods that should be here by Tuesday. Once those arrive, I am going to start walking a lot more.

The weather is really great now in my city. Walking alone should do me a lot of good. I’m taking it easy for this first phase. Like I’ve done before, I don’t want exercise to be a PITA or to be something I hate to do, or I will stop doing it. I’m actually interesting in tracking my progress.

I got the watch yesterday, and I can already see the difference having a wearable makes on the number of steps I go through just doing normal things around the house.

The good news is I’m on track. I’ve lost about 10 pounds since I last wrote, so I’m on my way to disappearing the fat person that’s clinging to my inner self.

Discipline and Creativity

I live across the street now from a well-stocked grocery store. I walk about 100 feet from my front door into this cornucopia of fresh produce. The best part about getting focused again on healthy eating is the “periphery” shopping. All the essential food is on the exterior of the supermarket. All the terrible stuff is in the aisles, so I don’t have to waste my time in those. I like buying fresh food too. I’ve mastered the discipline to only buy what I came to buy, and I have a list on my phone when I walk through the door. The fun part is the creativity that comes with putting together meals that fit within my boundaries (no carbs, no sugar) and that I know I can cook.

Technically, I live in a city here in South Dakota. The population of the city is about 29K which is the size of a small town in New Jersey. The whole state is the size of a small city, to be honest. But, I don’t talk much about that here. I’m happy to be here. It’s really not a bad place to live if you ignore the prevailing red state politics. I’m old enough that conservative ideology doesn’t impact me directly, and I don’t have any younger family here. That’s not to say I don’t work to help change the the culture here. But, it’s tough. I do my part.

I’ve lost a few pounds so far, but I’m losing faith in my scale. My water weight, for instance, is wildly irrational. It measured I gained 7 lbs in water weight in 2 days. Huh? The scale is expensive and it’s synced to my computer and iPhone, so I don’t want to buy another one yet. I’m just going to have to bear with it. I have a long way to go, so it doesn’t really matter what the scale says right now.

I have an interesting idea about a post I might do about the measurement I have for the fat percentage I’m carrying around. It literally measures out to be a normal-sized adult person. I will attempt to do that in a future post.

Blame it on the Pandemic

I was doing fine. Fine, fine, fine for a very long time. Until I wasn’t. Let’s blame it on lock-down and quarantine. I moved across the country in the spring of 2020 right as the pandemic was settling in to ground us all to a halt.

Look what happened:

To be fair, I wasn’t sitting at home eating ice cream and cake. I was eating pretty normally. But I did resume eating carbs, and there you have it. Simply adding a normal amount of carbs– I’M TALKING TO YOU, BREAD– to my regular diet, filled out all these fat cells lingering around in my body.

So frustrating.

So, here I am. Back on the Fatcinating blog. Back with my friends who will hopefully support me through another slog of getting this excess weight off. It’s not like I was down to my ideal weight anyway. But the extra weight is too much. It has to go. I’m not sure I can fit into the summer clothes I brought with me out here.

Ugh.

2019 Intentions

Lost Valley Ranch, Colorado.
Photo: @tessajoyxo

Hello 2019.

I got through the holidays. I decided I wasn’t going to forgo every chip, piece of bread, or occasional cookie.

I even thought, with moderation, I could handle some pasta.

So, for the three months starting with Halloween, straight through to New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t as diligent with the no carbs, no sugar thing.

Although, my daughter is keen to remind me that I have not been doing no carbs all along. That a lot of what I’ve been eating has carbs in it anyway. C’est la guerre.

All that aside, here’s the good news. I really only gained a few pounds. Like, maybe three in total. All my clothes still fit, and I didn’t have to deprive myself, piling up resentments over the holidays.

So, I’m back to normal, eating the way I have been, and the transition has been fine. I’m not craving bread and sugar or thinking about binging or considering tossing the whole idea of going back to bad eating.

Targets for 2019

It has given me pause, however. I’m starting to be concerned about why I won’t bite the bullet and lose what I need to in order to ride horses again. It’s still at least another good thirty pounds or so I’d need to lose. Not easy, but not impossible. It would require some discomfort. Some physical activity, but more disturbing is the mental commitment. I’m wondering why I have a block against this.

I think I’m going to have to work that out in therapy (again). For the time being, I did find several mountain ranches that offer riding as part of the visitor experience. See photo above.

I want to do this!

I’m kinda in a funk right now. In a bit of a self-reflective purgatory.

Oh well, thought I’d throw all this out to the world.

“I do not yield. Not one second to you. Not one second!”

Negative thoughts get in your head.  They eat away at your self-confidence.  I used to watch this phenomenon with interest as a cheerleader on the sidelines during football season.  I could tell when we were going to lose a game when the psychology of the team “turned.”  It was weird.  It was like an uncontrollable social contagion.  No matter how hard the coaches tried to pump up the star quarterback and all the athletes, if the team was spooked, the game was over. It was a sixth sense, and I could feel it every time.

So, when I saw that recent uptick on the scale, I was worried.  That’s why I blogged about it.  Thanks loyal readers for giving me some confidence.  I hunkered down this weekend and flushed out my system.  Drank a lot of water, swam, and I think I should be okay.

Here is some reverse psychology:

This morning, I happened to peruse my “Memories” tab on Facebook to see what I was doing last year.  I found this photo of me and my friend Jon: 

Of course, I had carefully cropped it so as to not post my gigantic self in the photo.  I’ve posted this photo before on this blog.

I think this dinner was the final straw, however, when I realized I had to do something about my weight.  That I wasn’t going to be able to enjoy the rest of my life that large. Again, I have to make the point that I am not shaming anyone who makes that choice for themselves, and who knows, maybe some day, I will be okay with it again. 

But, for now, I still want to do things that I can’t do as a large person. So, the trek to lose weight began last year at this time.

I decided to go to that same restaurant tonight.  I asked the waiter to take a photo of me. The photo’s not great, and you really can’t see much of a change in my weight, but I have lost over 50 pounds since that dinner last year.

So, in the words of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, (thank you ma’am), “I will not yield one second” to those negative thoughts.  I have made a lot of progress.

And I’m still in the game.

Update: Lost those 2.2 pounds plus .2 more this weekend.

down

 

Zut Alors! I gained two pounds.

IMG_8724.jpgAnd that’s how it begins.

You eat one Chinese takeout dinner with rice. One egg roll and some pizza at the local Tech Meetup and THERE IT IS.

Boom. Two pounds. Precisely, 2.2 lbs. 

Like the creature from the black lagoon, those fat cells jump back into your life to remind you they are simply laying dormant, deflated, ready to pounce– waiting to blow up bigger and stronger than before.

For nearly an entire year now, I’ve only lost pounds with tiny fractional variations up and down within ounces. This is the first time I’ve gained.

This is war.

War is hell.

The Long and Winding Road

Photo credit: Marc https://goo.gl/WAva8b

The weight is coming off slowly now.  Every week, fractions of a pound. Sometimes, I gain a little, and that can be frustrating, even if it’s just fluctuating water weight (I’m measuring everything now).  But I’ve taken care not to fall into the trap I fell into before and to become obsessed with losing weight, to let it control me and let the manic desire to be thin and “normal” to take over my everyday life.

I want to adapt to a new way of living.  I read a great article in the New York Times a few months ago that explains what I’ve been doing more or less.  I have a new relationship with food.  I changed the way I eat.  This, more than anything else, has made the difference.

I’ve lost about 53 pounds now.  Yes, I still have a long way to go.  But the difficult part ahead will involve some more introspection, psychological commitment, and good old-fashioned, patience.

I’ve mentioned this before, but it bears repeating. The excess weight that I wrapped around myself served as a fortress that shielded me from male attention.  It rendered me invisible so that I could ward off any possibility of romantic entanglements by making myself as unattractive as possible.  It was safe in that space.

I could start working out more rigorously and attempt to lose weight more quickly at this juncture.  But this would not serve me well physically or mentally.  First, on the physical score, it would be punishing on my body.  I do not wish to punish myself.  I deserve to be fair and kind to myself at this stage of my life.  I don’t hate myself for being fat.  I don’t even hate that I gained so much weight and feel fairly certain that anyone else who endured the shitty circumstances that I did would have found themselves in a fat suit too.  Second, on the mental considerations, it’s kind of the same deal.  I don’t need to shame myself into faster weight loss.  This is where I got into trouble before and eventually gave up because it just wasn’t worth the effort. Additionally, I am not conjoining my self-worth with my body image.  Something very important, and I’d encourage anyone who’s going through a similar journey to view these two as distinctly separate.  It’s unfortunate that society isn’t as enlightened, but so be it.

My only regret about this slow path is that it will take a very long time to get to the weight I want to be to do the things I want to do, such as ride horses.  But as I was discussing with my brother over the weekend, because it’s just one day at a time, one step at a time on a long road, at the point of my arrival, I won’t have to change a thing.  I will be “there.”  I will have literally changed the way I eat, sleep, exercise, meditate, process stress, etc.  There will be no interest in going back to the way I used to live.  In an odd metaphorical way, it’s like I’m walking down a very large mountain path with a slight slope that extends for miles and miles.  It may take years before I get to my destination, but when I finally arrive, it’s almost as if I will be arriving as the young woman I used to be before all that crap happened at the top of the mountain.