Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Weighting Game

Making resolutions is a rare thing for me, and it's even more rare for me to do so around the new year. Thinking about what I want to accomplish for the next year is something I naturally do around my birthday instead. But there is something about the new year that makes is a good time to make a fresh start on being healthier, and so that's my big goal for 2013. Again. Getting healthier and finally finishing the freaking kitchen renovation, which has become rather embarrassing anytime anyone asks about it. The answer to that one is no, it's still not done, and yes, my kitchen cabinet doors are still sitting in the garage waiting for more spray-paint-friendly weather. To say I can't wait for spring is an understatement.

By setting only two big goals, I hope that it's easier to successfully accomplish both. But making a change to my usual routine and habits is never easy for me.

Now when I say I want to get healthier, what I really mean is, I want to lose some friggin' weight. And lots of it. Unfortunately this isn't my first rodeo. I've been unhappy with my weight for, oh, decades. When I was much younger, I wasn't actually overweight (looking back now I realize that at times I was darned skinny). Since college, however I've struggled to stay within my healthy weight range and have floated just above or under it. 

The Problem
Why I'm currently overweight is no secret of course. I like to eat. A lot. Unfortunately, I also like to eat crap. A lot. I don't love to exercise and I hate, hate going to the gym. But for several months of the year that's of the best options I have to get a decent workout. I will never be one of those people who enjoys working out (bike rides in the great outdoors, yes, everything else, hell no). The feeling I get after a workout is superb. But before and during? It's always a struggle. 

The Fix
How to lose the weight isn't a secret either. We all know the facts, eat less (and better), move more, repeat for the rest of your life. Doing that all the time, every single day, can be downright tricky however. 

The first time I really, seriously stuck to a healthy diet and exercise routine was 2009. Starting January 1 that year I used the free tracking tools at, ate better, exercised 3-6 times per week (burning around 2000 calories) and lost 35 pounds. I was so proud of myself. I kept it off until 2011 and then begin the much quicker slide back up. I gained that 35 pounds right back plus another 18 for bad behavior. A new medication may have contributed to that, but once again I had gone back into my old routine of eating lots of crap and never exercising.

So now I'm trying again, hopefully for good this time. I started on January 9 and am down 7 pounds as of today. Overall that's not bad, but it feels slower this time. And harder. I know I can do it, but I also know it's going to take a long time and that I can never stop trying.

One of the many annoying things about trying to lose weight is that I find myself more obsessed about food than ever. I'm constantly thinking about what I can or can't eat. Or trying to fight off a craving. Or adding up how many calories I have left. Or thinking about the next meal and whether I have a few extra calories to indulge a little, or not. It's exhausting. But it is getting easier.

One meal at a time, one day at a time. It's the key to everything, right?


  1. I made lots of resolutions this year, but have not made any progress on the exercise one...luckily, it is getting warmer here and lighter in the mornings, so leaving the house to go swimming in the morning might not seem like such a chore!

  2. Also, have not set myself 'lose weight' as a goal, but trying to plan meals, cook from scratch and exercise more as a starting point to make new habits..and hopefully lose a bit too..

  3. I've certainly had my ups and downs in terms of weight. For me, it all really boils down to two words - exercise and vegetables - everything else is just window dressing.

    I've never been very good at exercising for the sake of exercising. I just always hated it and felt like it was a sentence I had to fulfill. That all changed when I took up biking. I'm sure some of that has to do with CatMan, because going for a bike ride is less about getting exercise than it is about getting to spend time having fun with my sweetie. If you can find something that you can enjoy doing - especially when you're doing it with other people who are sort of "leading the way" - then it just feels like fun, and the heart pounding exercise part is just a fringe benefit.

    But... one of the habits from my "exercise for the sake of exercising" days that I've kept up is something called "slow weight lifting." It's basically just weight training with very light weights, but you do the movements as slowly as possible so that your muscles actually have to keep working throughout the entire motion. I keep a yoga mat, and some hand and ankle weights near the couch & television, so it's really easy to just roll off the couch onto the floor and do a few bicep curls or whatever while I watch TV. I really like it because there's no puffing or panting involved, and building just a bit of extra muscle mass really helps me keep the pounds off.

    In terms of food... well, being allergic to the point that I can't eat any processed foods really helps. But I find if I just try to make at least 50% of each meal vegetables, there's no way NOT to lose weight. One of my tactics is to do my produce shopping at Costco and challenge myself to eat it all before it goes bad. That usually doesn't leave too much room for eating much else! :-)

  4. Hi Candi,
    It is exhausting! I've tried so hard to make cooking fresh food a priority, and I have failed miserably. I don't know if it's just a form of self sabotage, but I actually cannot do it. And I have kids for heaven's sake!
    I was a terrible yo-yo'er in my teens and twenties - um, okay - I vacillated between anorexia and binge eating disorder. It was pretty bad. I wish I could tell you the one thing that changed everything as my weight has been relatively stable for close to 15 years, but I think it was a multitude of things. One thing that stands out though is a little book I read with the unfortunate title: The Seven Secrets of Slim People. Despite its title, it's not a cheesy diet's about tuning in to what your body really wants which is a lesson I continue to learn to this day. The book isn't even in circulation anymore, but I think there are many people covering the same topic. A program called "Are You Hungry?" comes to mind.
    I'm sure the last thing you need is unsolicited advice, but that's my two cents anyway. I am hoping that things get easier and easier for you every day. : )

    1. I know what you mean about fresh food and cooking. The book recommendation is helpful, Christine, thanks. It can't hurt to read a little bit about mindful eating. I watched the documentary Hungry for Change over the weekend and it fired me up about healthy eating. Although the idea of it is so much easier than the reality.


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