Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Fit or Fat

I weighed in for unofficial Weight Watchers today and, drum roll please.....I've lost 10 pounds since starting all this madness mid January. Turns out "the experts" are right. Eat less, exercise more does really work. The amazing hilarious writer blogger Jen Lancaster is holding a contest where her readers have to tell a weight loss story. First of all, stop reading my little puny blog and click on that link RIGHT NOW. She is fantastic and will make you laugh until you spit water and then laugh some more. Her third book is coming out and you must buy it! Don't forget to come back!

Are you done wiping the Coke from your keyboards? OK, back to me. I have been reading some of the submissions and they are absolutely ripping my heart out. (Notice I have not submitted because I am a huge wuss and would never have the guts to comment on her site.) The whole issue of weight loss, perfection, acceptance, body image and everything else is so personal and crazy. I have been working hard to lose weight so that I would feel better about myself. Period. I am so incredibly lucky that no one in my life has ever said anything to me about my weight, ever. Captain Awesome met me when I was in college and basically hiked around mountains and had a great ass. Unfortunately after I got a desk job I also got cellulite. Sexy! He has put up with my whining about wanting to lose weight, complaining, buying too many clothes and then more whining and some extra complaining. He always tells me that I look the same to him no matter what I weigh. That may not be the most romantic idea but I get a lot of happiness and security knowing that my outward appearance is not what he loves most about me.

I also am sick about all the stories where parents (mostly mothers) have put 8 or 9 year-olds on diets. In this day of childhood obesity I think parents should encourage healthy eating and exercise but telling your pre-teen daughter or son they are so unacceptable they need a diet makes me angry. If they really are unhealthy then as a parent maybe you need to re-examine the foods you are offering them. If you just think they're "chunky" you obviously have some internal issues you need to resolve before setting your child on the road to a lifetime of stress. My mother is skinny. She's beautiful and curvy but the woman has not an ounce of fat on her and she's had four children. Growing up we never talked about weight in our family. My parents sacrificed so that my mom could stay home with us. She packed our lunches with a sandwich, fruit, veggie and dessert every day for school. (Yes, even in high school, I was a spoiled brat I know). At dinner we had salad, entree (meatless 2 days a week), starch and dessert (fruit with whipped cream in the summer). We had to try everything on our plates but we were never forced to finish. She taught us portion control and that balanced meals are better. Due to genes and good parenting my younger sister, L and my brother and I were all pretty scrawny kids. L and my brother are still skinny and amazing. My youngest sister, A, was a little heavier but not dangerously so. She got taller and became an amazing, confident woman with a kick ass bod. My dad quit smoking (yay dad) and gained weight. He now works out three days a week and has lost tons of weight. For all of our different body sizes we just didn't talk about weight, good or bad. It was a non-issue in my family. We knew we had to eat healthy foods because of heart disease but not to be "prettier". I had friends whose mothers obsessed about their weight and guess what? their daughters learned to obsess too. My mom was (and is) a great believer in the healing power of chocolate milkshakes so when any of us were having a bad day we piled into the car and went to get small shakes. In my house food did not equal bad.

It wasn't until I got to college that I learned that skinny=pretty=better. Because I did lots of drinking and did not eat healthy meals I gained weight. I also was very active and slept through many meals so I lost weight. I wasn't the skinniest or the fattest girl so I was ok with it.

And then I got a job. Lots of sitting plus available rich and tasty food was not good for my body. But here's where I got stuck. My mom had never seemed to work at losing weight and I had NO idea how to make this go away. I tried not eating but I got really crabby and headachy and hungry. I just kept buying bigger clothes. Then I switched jobs and got super busy and missed meals and fit back into my smaller clothes. Then I switched jobs and got incredibly stressed so that I was nauseated all day, missed lunch and worked through lunch and dinner on Saturdays. I got to buy even smaller clothes. Yay me! But wait, I still had not learned anything about keeping my body healthy.

When we moved to Ohio I was buying size 6's. I was bored and lonely and we ate out a lot. I didn't do anything active. I was soon wearing 10-12's again. I was miserable. Captain Awesome didn't complain. My family never said anything. I just felt sluggish and yuck. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. When Captain Awesome moved to NC at the beginning of the year I decided to lose some weight. I had heard good things about South Beach, I considered diet pills, I thought about fasting or cleanses and then I realized, these would not work for me again. Maybe in the short term I would lose weight but I would gain it all back and again have learned nothing. (For the record, I never considered Atkins-all that meat makes my stomach turn and any diet where I can't eat an orange just doesn't make sense to me).

My first week at the gym I weighed 150 pounds. Not terrible but at 5'2" it was not a good weight for me. I did research to find out what a healthy weight is for someone of my height and age. I did research to look at healthy nutritious meal options. I swallowed my pride put on a pair of sneakers and sweated my ass off in front of strangers. The first week I lost a pound. I celebrated. Slowly but surely it has been coming off. I have set backs and days when I crave Burger King. I allow myself the chicken sandwich and fries and then go to the gym. I learned what I like on salads (turned out carrots and spray dressing-balsamic vinaigrette) and make them at home. I have cereal if I'm not hungry for a full meal and then have a piece of chocolate cake.

Don't get me wrong, I am super proud of the ten pounds. But I'm prouder of the fact that I have gained knowledge. I'm prouder that I don't think of food as the enemy or eating dessert as "being bad". I'm finding the energetic me who is happy with herself, hips, boobs and all. Good luck to everyone trying to lose weight. It's hard and requires some growing up no one wants to do. Figure out why you want to do this and then aim high. You can do it!
End of extra cheeseyness-but I seriously do believe everything I wrote in this post.

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