Friday, February 24, 2006

weighty issue

I have never dieted in my life. Until recently I never had a reason to diet. Occasionally my weight would fluctuate and I would re-commit to rigourous excerise and before I knew it I was within a comfortable range. Granted, over the years my comfortable range has increased. I remember in college trying to GAIN muscle weight to weigh 130 pounds (I'm 5'9" I won't see 130 again). I have many explanations and reasons (okay, excuses) for my most recent weight gain that is 10-15 pounds beyond my ideal. I will share them becuase it makes me feel better. Almost two years ago I was super fit and very active. I was on an indoor soccer team, I went to the gym several times a week, I did yoga a couple of days a week and I did a lot of snowboarding in the winter and ultimate frisbee in the summer. When I returned from Costa Rica on vacation where I hiked, attempted surfing and ate very litte I dipped down to 135 - about 5 pounds under my norm.
Shortly thereafter some health issues that had been lurking but unidentified began to surface. After many tests and fears I found out I had asthma - which was a relief after some of the alternatives. During all the testing and throughout much of the experimental drug stages my physical activity began to drop off significantly out of necessity. My breathing capacity cut my endurance down to about an eighth to a quarter of its previous capacity. At the same time some of the drugs I was taking were making me hungry. Not just hungry - ravenous! I could not be satisfied. But I was still trying to remain active.
About the time my medication was helping me get some cardio endurance back again and I was continuing with the soccer team and other activities, another problem surfaced. My knee. I was always aware that my knee did not like activity - especially anything involving running. I had already had it scoped once in high school and after years of babying it I decided to play soccer anyway and enjoy myself. It caught up with me. One morning it ballooned to twice its normal size for no apparent reason. So I added another doctor to my ridiculously frequest list of appointments and went in to have it checked. He told me to go back to basics and no more soccer, running, jumping, etc. I started biking - my knee didn't like that either. Finally, last spring I decided to have surgery again to clean up the shredded cartilidge before I moved to NYC and had to walk everywhere. It went great and I had the greatest recovery time with very little swelling and I was back at the gym within a week. But by that time the weight was climbing. Mostly because I love food.
Then I moved and went from a 40 hour a week job to a 50-60 hour a week job and no gym membership. By September I was only able to wear the largest clothes in my closet and I was needing to buy more. But I refused to graduate up a size. I joined the gym in my building and struggled to find a time to go. When I finally hit a two week stint of morning workouts - I got sick. Then it was Thanksgiving. Then it was Christmas and lo and behold there I was making a New Year's resolution to lose weight!!
A couple of weeks into January I received an email from a friend of mine who works for Shape magazine. She asked if I wanted to participate in a test fitness program where I would lose weight and inches and I needed to commit to 4 days a week. Perfect, just what I needed for incentive! I signed myself up and dutifully kicked my butt out of bed before work every morning to do my 3 then 4 then 5 miles on the treadmill each day. I weighed myself and measured waiting for the pounds and inches to melt away. It didn't happen. Not one pound was lost in the 4 weeks and maybe an inch but that could happen at any time when it is a half inch off one area and a half inch off somewhere else. I was discouraged but blamed the program. I'm still doing morning workouts but I'm doing what has always worked for me - 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weights.
But I decided this might not be enough. Maybe I should think about dieting. I'm generally a healthy eater. I don't eat fast food, I steer clear of anything fried and after a near-addiction incident last summer with Ben & Jerry's (think a pint a week! maybe that should be added to my excuses above) I am pretty good about rationing chocolate and desserts.
I've always heard great things about Weight Watchers but never thought it would be something I would do. But recently a friend convinced me to try it on the internet because writing down your food really helps and the point thing works. I signed up this past Tuesday. I hate it. But in a good way. They only give me 22 points a day. 22 points!!! That is not very much food. If I eat anything more than pointless carrots (and no more than 5 or the points start coming) for a snack, I have nothing left for a real dinner. I think if you have the ability to cook this might work better but it is hard even getting a salad that isn't too many points - I like cheese and croutons and beans and things of substance. I'm still confused as to how fat free milk can add up so quickly.
But here is why it is good - not even a week in and although I'm hungry ALL the time - I think it is working. I cheated and weighed myself (because I obsess) and I've already dropped 3 pounds - a normal fluctuation but it has stayed off for 2 days.
In case anyone who managed to make it through this entire post is wondering. The purpose of this post is to make me accountable. I hate that about 2/3 of the clothes in my closet don't fit and the ones that do I don't like how they look. I need to change that. I can't go through another summer avoiding swimsuits. I don't like that cellulite has decided to find a home on my butt and thighs. I hate that I feel big most of the time since most of the women I interact with in NY are rails. I'm through with all of that. Enough. I'm going to be better, look better and feel better. I just hope that one day it will be okay for me to eat again.......... and still fit into a size 8.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Though I doubt you need it as much as you claim, Weight Watchers really is the way to go. It's how Ryan and I lost a collective 100 pounds about 3 years ago. Here are a few WW tricks--94% fat free popcorn. I have one for breakfast almost every morning. It sort of tastes like packing peanuts if you've had real popcorn recently, but after a while you get used to it. AND-- you can eat the WHOLE bag for only 1 point!!! And it fills your stomach for breakfast. It is/was a key part of my diet. Tiff

emily said...

ok, i am also trying to diet. to loose the last bit of baby weight. i keep going back and forth between dieting and exercising. i switch when i do one and thing "good hell, dieting/exercise coun't be as bad as this".

i want to exercise, because really- if i give up food now it's not just giving up food to loose weight. it's giving up food for the REST of my life.

i just don't know if i am ready to do that...

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