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.

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.

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.

Exercise Improv

I suck at swimming.  I’m a disgrace to my Zodiac sign (Pisces).  I marvel at the way people just glide through the water, effortlessly.  It’s as if they have a secret motor beneath the surface propelling them forward.  How is that even possible?  Nonetheless, because my heel is still on the mend, I need to swim rather than do any other kind of aerobic exercise.  I won’t win any Olympic awards for my swimming performance or style, but I will get in the pool and get my heart rate pumping.  I will say that after ten minutes or so, I could actually feel my muscles.  That was pretty cool.  I’m guessing I’ll build up stamina over time.

I have to put my TEAM weight loss program on hold.  Very disappointed in that.  I will also start weight-training tomorrow with my trainer.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep losing weight if I don’t exercise.  I don’t think I’ll gain weight, as I’ve really tackled the eating thing.  I simply don’t eat foods that are not healthy or will put the pounds back on.  It’s easy now, and even rewarding when I find something new I like to eat.

That’s all for today, just wanted to make a note that even if you have to make adjustments to your weight loss program, all you risk is a little embarrassment in form.

Lawdy, Lawdy, I’m Doing This!

Getting your mind and body disciplined to lose weight is a lot like learning to ride a bike, I think.  At first you’re wobbly, insecure, easily thinking, “I can’t do this!”  But, with a lot of encouragement and the will to keep going, you start riding on your own!  That feeling of, “I’m doing it!  I’m riding a bike by myself!”  is pure elation.  Even if you need training wheels to get started, that liberating feeling when you’re cruising down the street on your own is pure joy.

So, I am starting to ride free of training wheels.  My mind is locked onto getting to my goal weight, and my body is responding to the physical training I’ve put myself through.  I signed up for a TEAM weight loss program at my gym and am really enjoying it.  OH, it’s not easy, but that’s part of the fun. I actually jogged yesterday on the treadmill and was not out of breath or had any chest pains.  Like a miracle, really.

Another good analogy:  exercise is like marital sex (for women, I guess).  You kinda don’t want to do it (nag, nag, nag), but when you’re done, you say to yourself, “Jeez, why don’t I every want to do this???”  No more explanation needed. 🙂

In the spirit of massively greater transparency this year in 2012, I’m going to start posting my weight so anyone who’s interested can track with me.  I started at 300 (count ’em!!) pounds.  I have had some rocky loop-de-loops, but am progressively moving toward my goal weight which is around 160.  So, even though I’ve lost a lot by most people’s standards, I still have a long way to go.  Stay with me!

I invested in a Withings scale.  Highly recommended.  Already finding some interesting data points. For instance, I weighed more after I came back from the gym, but my total fat percentage was lower.  Cool!

Here’s where we are today:

Owwww!

Last weekend, I overdid it.  I mentioned that the ATX100 workout was particularly tough.  It turns out I’ve pulled my groin muscle.  (That always sounds dirty.)  After all these years, I didn’t even know I had groin muscles, but there is no dispute now.

I also have another weird development with my foot called, “plantar fasciitis” which, of course, I researched extensively on the web.  Now, it’s important to understand that I am not a hypochondriac.  Nearly the opposite.  I kind of hate the medical establishment and have always felt lucky because I never have health-related issues.

But. alas.  This wrinkle has interrupted the pace of my progression regarding exercise.  I can still walk on the treadmill or anywhere else, but I can’t take on anything more aggressive.  It’s really okay, as I’ve told many of my friends and family, I’m not really in a big rush.  I’ve read enough to realize that 80-90% of long term weight loss is mostly about food.  I’ve become really disciplined about what I will and won’t eat.

To that end, I’ve finished the Gary Taube book.   I realized that most of the advice in the book was synonymous with the Atkins diet.  So, I bought the latest Atkins Diet cook book this weekend.  I’ve already planned a week’s worth of Atkins meals.  Again, no carbs, no sugar.  Pretty easy.

The best news is I had to travel last week to Las Vegas for a company outing.  I was able to find food within the parameters of no carbs, no sugar, but I probably drank more than I should have.  I stayed with white wine, but  I’m not sure that’s the best alcohol choice.  When I weighed myself when I came home, I was at the same weight.  No gain, no loss.  But, that is a win for me.  It would have been very easy to get off track in that circumstance, and I’m glad I didn’t.

Finally, I bought a new scale.  The new scale is weighing me in slightly higher than my other scale, so I’m just going to have to absorb that adjustment and move forward.

And so it goes.