Saturday, May 5, 2012

On Losing Weight

Today, I marked off pound number 60 of my weight loss journey, so I am going to talk about the weight-loss thing.  It isn't my favorite topic, but it is a part of my daily reality now that I have made health one of my highest priorities. 

I weigh 60 pounds less today than I did on June 18 of last year when I took the leap. For those among us who don't measure in pounds, that's 4.29 stone or 27.22 kilograms!  Nothing else in my life has changed very much except for when it comes to what I eat, how much I eat, and how much I move.  Oh... and my wardrobe.  I have been FORCED to buy new clothes.

I started off with a 6-day "cleanse" that I got from the Tahitian Noni company.  The other new tools in the arsenal I started out also came from the FIT line they offer.  Protein powders, snack bars, vitamins, probiotics and a fiber-filled lemonade drink that helps you feel full and keeps things, um, moving.  They also offered some guidance on calorie restriction and exercise.  UGH!  There is no magic pill or powder that will ever remove the  diet and exercise part of the equation.

I knew that if I was going to be 'all in' on this venture, I had to give the calorie restriction a try.  I have always resisted the idea of counting calories - it was just too hard.  I'd taken a brief stab at it years ago, and had a dictionary size paperback calorie guide that I had used to look everything up.  To be honest, it was a huge pain to manage, so I gave it up fairly quickly.  This time around however, I was the owner of a new iPhone, and I thought that I might be able to find a calorie counting app that would assist me in tracking the calories.  I thought correctly, and downloaded the free My Fitness Pal iPhone app.  Unlike many of the other free apps I had downloaded, this one didn't have advertising, and it was powerful, easy to use, and had cool tools I liked, as well as a companion website with even more features.  I have always been a sucker for FREE.

I had some products, that although gimmicky did help me feel equipped to do this thing, coupled with an application that made tracking my diet and exercise simple.  It was a good start, but it was my determination that actually launched the venture.  Had I not been firm in my resolve to do it this time, I would have given up the first week - it was so hard!  I was hungry and in pain all the time.  I had started walking for exercise, but it made my feet hurt so badly that even a short walk made me feel like a cripple.  I would slather my feet with Aspercreme just to get them to stop spasming and throbbing. 

I decided to try the treadmill since I could stop walking whenever I felt like I needed to.  10 minutes at a 1.5 incline going 2.0 mph and I was dripping sweat and panting like a dog on a hot day.   Yes, that's incredibly out of shape.  Once I got up to 30 minutes on the treadmill, I tried walking outdoors again, and with the aid of a lovely parkway that has benches I could rest on when needed, I eventually built up to a route of 3.1 miles. It was many months before I could walk it without rest-stops, and many pounds before I realized that my feet no longer hurt at the end of a walk, but I am there now, and I LOVE walking, especially outdoors. 

I set my target weight to something in the upper range of a healthy BMI, and on day 1, I had 117 pounds to lose in order to achieve that weight.  I am generally an optimistic person, but I must admit to being pessimistic about the possibility of losing that much weight, yet it seemed self-defeating to set my goal for something higher.  If I was going to do this, I should at least aim to be healthy, right?  My goal weight just happens to be the same amount I weighed on my wedding day 30 years ago.   I have 57 pounds to go until I reach that weight.  

Somewhere along the way, my pessimism has evolved into certainty - I know I can do this.  I don't care how long it takes me to get there, as long as I am making progress toward it, I will be fine even if it takes me years to get there. I think that I finally became okay with that thought the day I accepted that I will always have to be mindful of what I was putting in my body, and that I will always have to make it a point to get up and move.  I'm cool with that.

So in the end, the key to weight loss turned out to be:  Eat less.  Move more.



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