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.

“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.

Fat Shame on Me

A couple weeks ago, I was having a pretty lousy week (understatement).  Instead of going all DEFCON-drama-1 on social media and posting the truth about my miserable state of affairs, I opted to update my Facebook friends on my weight loss progress.  This news will typically, oh hell– predictably, generate glowing feedback, and I was sheepishly trolling for much-needed attention and support.

But, even I was surprised at the result.

down 46.5

Facebook will occasionally tell you what your most popular post or photo is.  My most popular photo UNTIL THIS ONE (see image to left), was a snap of my kids looking very attractive on a park bench in Brooklyn. This post far surpassed that one by nearly a third.  Once Facebook’s feed claw gets ahold of a popular post, it keeps serving it up to your friends and voilà: 162 of my Facebook friends reacted to the post with a like, a wow, or a love. There were over 30 comments of good cheer and a few questions.  So, I achieved my goal of getting attention, but it really unsettled me as the post kept racking up “social” points.

Granted, I did this for attention, so that’s on me.  I literally created a “piece of content” with this news as a cheap attempt to feel good about myself during a pit of depression.

Getting that out of the way, I had to ask myself, is losing weight the best thing I ever did? After over a decade on Facebook, and all the achievements I’ve accomplished in that time, is losing a few dress sizes the most notable? The most laudable? The absolute pinnacle of my success?  If we went to the grave with our most popular post on Facebook chiseled on our tombstone, would this be how I was remembered?

“In January of 2018, she lost 46.5 pounds.” 

Seriously? What does that say about me? What does that say about our society that looks is so paramount that it trumps everything else?  It’s made me feel terrible for exploiting my weight loss for attention in this way, perpetuating the myth that ONLY thin is beautiful and right. It prompted me to re-examine, as I have earlier on this blog, having empathy for and self-identifying with the health-at-every-size movement.

So, in the end, I fat-shamed myself.  Shame on me.

p.s. I’m not ending my weight loss.  Just not holding it out as some great accomplishment in and of itself.  In subsequent posts, I’ll  attempt to explain the whole mind, body, spirit makeover path I’ve been on. Need to push through this dark period first.

BeFit not BeFaT!

JustinI’m continuing on my path.  Justin, my trainer, and the co-owner of the BeFit Studio where I submit myself to his sadistic antics every week is pictured in the photo on the left. Although I tell him every time I see him I hate him, and I hate his wicked routines, I keep showing up.

We were discussing today, while I’m making progress having lost about 40 pounds, I still weigh as much as a football player.  We were trying to agree on which position now fits me best.

Where I probably started at as a burly Offensive Center, I could now possibly pass for an Offensive Lineman.  I told him my goal was to be a skinny Quarterback, but he told me some Quarterbacks can be big too.  In other words, I have some more flexibility and can start to feel some strength in my muscles, but I have a long way to go to get into fighting shape.

On that note, he convinced me to buy a bike.  I did that today.  I bought a sweet Fuji quasi-Mountain bike.  It cost more than I wanted to spend, but I decided it was an investment.  Florida has a lot of bike trails.  You can literally ride for miles on bike trails.  I have kind of hit a plateau with the personal training, and I need something more aerobic to get me moving the extra pounds around.  I think a bike can do it, so I’m going to try it.  Plus, it will get me outside in the winter sunshine.  I like that idea.

2018_FUJI_CROSSTOWN_23_LS_LAVENDER

I made a promise to myself that when I started this whole, “I don’t want to be fat anymore” thing that I wouldn’t do anything that was horrible, like exercise I hated or starving myself to the point of feeling miserable and surly all of the time.  I told myself I was going to give myself a break and take it slow and EASE into a new way of living.

I’m doing that.

So far so good.

So, still at it.

The other day, I was in a dressing room, and I was shocked that I was fitting into pants sizes 4 times smaller than I’m used to.  That was really incredible!  I texted Justin, (because I have no life and there was no one else to text, of course).  He was happy for me, and reiterated that he knew we were making progress. But, I was over the moon.  Wow!  This is really happening.  I will be on a horse… soon.