I think I can see the finish line….almost.

The music I normally listen to does not lend itself to a good workout.  I realized that pretty early on.  I mean, you can say what you like about James Taylor (the man is a genius, after all) but he just doesn’t cut it in terms of getting me on the move.

And so I’ve realized that my workout music is completely out of character for me.  Or at least, the songs that really keep me going are.  I mean, I like to think of myself as a pretty well-rounded person, musically speaking.  There’s not a whole lot of music that I’ll dismiss completely.  But before I started working out…well, you wouldn’t have found Eminem on my iPod.  I think that the guy’s a misogynistic asshole, so I don’t make a habit of listening to his stuff.  It’s basically the same shit over and over again.  There’s only so many times you can hear a guy rap about murdering his ex-wife before it gets old, you know?

….But damn me if he doesn’t make some pretty awesome workout music.  I’m sure that wasn’t his goal, but he kind of succeeded, anyway.  I think it mostly has to do with the fact that he always sounds so pissed off, you know? Like he’s gritting his teeth through the whole song.  Now, there’s still some of his stuff that I wouldn’t listen to if you paid me, but several of his songs have found their way onto my workout playlist.  My new favourite has to be “Till I Collapse.”

In other news: big loss this week! Four pounds.  I could barely believe it when I saw the number on the scale.  That makes for a total of 58.2 lost so far.  Only 20.4 to go until I reach goal.  I had a “deadline” set for myself; I wanted to reach goal by my birthday, May 22; but I decided to extend that a little bit, because I know I’ll only disappoint myself if I don’t make it.  So now, I’ve decided that my new “deadline” will be the first day of summer, June 21.  That gives me nearly another month, and I’ve calculated that in order to lose the 20 pounds I have left by then, I’ll need to lose an average of 1.7 pounds weekly.  Obviously I don’t expect to lose that much every single week, but I think I should be able to get there by then.  If not, I know I’ll be pretty damn close.

20 pounds to go.  Holy shit.  I never thought I’d get even this close.

All the little things

Even though I’ve lost 54 pounds in the past year, every now and again I feel discouraged.  Mostly when I have a week when I don’t lose anything at all.  It’s tough to stay motivated sometimes when you don’t see results at the scale.  Even though the logical part of my brain knows that I can’t lose every week and that there are normal fluctuations that will cause me to maintain — and, yes, even gain — some weeks, there’s a small part of my brain that whines every time I have a no-loss week.

It’s those times when I try to keep in mind all the little things that, even though they seem so insignificant, have really made up the bulk of my “whoa!” moments.  It’s these little things that keep me going during bad days/weeks.

For example: I’m thirty-one years old and, until six months ago, I couldn’t cross my legs.  At all.  I would try, but I could never do it.  Now? I can do it easily and comfortably.  Of course, every time I do it I hear my grandmother’s voice in my head: “DON’T CROSS YOUR LEGS, IT’S BAD FOR YOUR CIRCULATION!”, but that’s beside the point.  At least I’m *able* to do it now!

Also: I’ve gone through my entire life not being able to reach my hands up behind my back to undo my bra.  Seriously.  I could never get my hands up far enough.  I damn well can now!

I can stand with my legs together.  All the way down.  Again — I could never do that before.  Ever.

And as for the biggest “holy shit” moment, there’s a funny story to go along with it.  About three months ago, I was out for a walk.  And after a bit, I started to feel weird.  Like, as I was walking, I was thinking, “Something doesn’t feel right.”  So I stopped and took inventory of everything.  No pain, no dizziness, nothing out of the ordinary — so I continued walking.  But something still didn’t feel….right.  I stopped again.  Still no pain or anything, so what the hell was the issue?  I started walking again, and about ten minutes later it struck me like a bolt of lightning.

My thighs weren’t rubbing together.  At all.  Not even a little.  As a matter of fact…they weren’t even touching.

I thought I was going to pass out right there on the sidewalk.  I mean, honestly.  I used to hate summer (and wearing shorts) because not only did shorts look horrendous on me, but my thighs rubbed together so much that they ended up looking like those big red Swedish fish.  I would chafe, they would rub together so badly.  And I went from that to having them not touch at all?

No wonder I felt like something was totally wrong.

There are other things, too.  Like, I can feel my collarbones.  Can’t see them yet, but I can definitely feel them.  And I can feel bones in places where before, there was only fat.  And my calves aren’t fat anymore; there’s actual, visible muscle there now.

So these are the things that keep me going when I’m having a slow loss period.  I may not be where I want to be yet, but it’s obvious from all the little things that I’m getting there.

MYOB

I think there needs to be a new movement.

There’s already the “fat acceptance” movement, and the “health at any size” movement, both of which champion the idea that not everyone has to be at their “ideal” weight to be healthy.  Both great movements, and I hope more and more people embrace them as time goes on.

But I definitely think there needs to be a new movement, and I’m tempted to start it myself.  I’ll call it the “mind your own fucking business when it comes to anyone’s weight but your own” movement.

….The official name may need some work.

Seriously, though.  It boggles me just how often people seem to think that other peoples’ weight is any of their business.  I started to notice it not long after I started losing weight — people not only have this ridiculously distorted notion of how much I weigh, but they also feel free to share bits of “wisdom” like: “You don’t need to lose any more weight!” “You’d better stop, you’ll fade away if you lose any more!” and my personal favourite, “You must spend hours at the gym, I don’t have the time for that.”  (With that last one, there’s just no way to win, because if I lie and say I do spend hours at the gym, people think I’m obsessed, but if I tell the truth and say I don’t go to the gym at all, they think I’m starving myself instead.)

What I’d really like to ask all of these people is: “Why is my weight, or how I lost it, any of your business?” Because it’s really not.  I don’t particularly care if these people are perfect strangers, casual acquaintances, close friends, or even my own family.  It’s none of their business. When it comes to the weight I’ve lost, if people want to acknowledge it, fine.  There are ways to do that, though, without trying to stick their noses into what is essentially my business and my business only.  I’m not starving myself, I’m not killing myself at the gym (hell, if I were doing either of those things, I’d probably have lost a hell of a lot more than 52 pounds by now.) I’m doing this my way, and everyone needs to shut the hell up with their “helpful” suggestions and concern.  If I want suggestions, I’ll damn well ask, and I wouldn’t just ask anyone, so to have people assume that their feedback is wanted or needed drives me absolutely up the damn wall.

It’s sort of amazing to me that, when I was fat (and yes, that is the word I choose to use; I don’t use “overweight” because, hell, I’m still overweight, but I’m not fat anymore) people actually tended to keep their opinions to themselves more than they do now.  I can’t ever remember a time, for example, when people ever expressed concern over my weight and the harm it might be causing me when I was barely 5 feet tall and weighed over 200 pounds.  So where was the concern then, when I was at risk for high blood pressure and strokes and type II diabetes and heart disease? Where was the concern when I could barely walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded? Where was the concern when I couldn’t go into a store and buy clothes that I felt good in, rather than just whatever happened to fit? Where were all those backseat physicians then, and why did they only come out of the damn woodwork when I started making changes for the better, and those changes became apparent?!

When other fat people talk about how being fat is so difficult for them, I can sympathize to a certain degree.  You can’t do all the things you might want to do, physically speaking.  You can’t buy the clothes that you might want to buy, because half the time they don’t fit, or even if they do, they can be ridiculously overpriced.  And yes, no doubt fat people are discriminated against and ostracized.  But for me, personally? I’ve had more negative comments since I got smaller than I ever did when I was fat — and this time, the negative comments came from people who, really, should know better.  When I was fat, most of the negative comments came from people whose opinions I didn’t give a shit about, anyhow.  But now, the bullshit is coming from people who, at least for the most part, are at least somewhat close to me.  They may never mean for the comments to be negative, but to my mind they are, because the time when I needed them to be concerned about my weight was fifty pounds ago.  Not now.

So.  Let the “mind your own damn business” movement begin! (Even if it is only in my dreams.)

When the going gets tough…then what?

It’s February 11, 2012.  As of today, I have been officially losing weight for a year, a week, and nine days.  Up to this point, I’ve lost 52.4 pounds.  Which, I suppose, is a pretty large amount of weight; it’s certainly more than I’ve ever lost before.

I still have 26 pounds to lose to get to goal.  And I have to admit…at this point, it’s getting more and more difficult.  I guess I knew this point was coming, when I’d already lost *most* of the weight I wanted to lose, and things started getting tougher.  I guess I’ve just never actually gotten to this stage before, so I didn’t realize just how difficult it was going to be.

I’ve done some calculations (calculations that, I suppose, I probably should have done way before now, but whatever) and I’ve figured out that my BMR (basal metabolic rate) is 1554,5 calories.  Your BMR is, in a nutshell, the amount of energy or calories you burn per day at rest.  So basically, I burn off 1,554 calories a day by doing no exercise.  Based on my BMR, then, my daily calorie needs are calculated at 2,245 calories.  So, in order to lose one pound of body fat in a week, I would need to take in 500 calories below that (in other words, 1,745 calories.)

1,750 calories is actually a lot of food.  Or, it could be, depending on what you actually eat in a day.  I suppose if you were eating McDonalds every day you could rack up 1,750 calories in one meal.  But I don’t eat that stuff very often, so I could easily manage to survive on 1,750 calories a day.

So why is it so damn difficult to lose the last 26 pounds, then?

I’m still exercising.  I still get out and walk 90-120 minutes five or six days a week.  But I guess maybe that’s not enough anymore? I’m not sure.  I think (as much as I really hate this idea) I’m going to have to start exercising at the gym.  I’ve noticed, on the few occasions that I did actually go, that I can burn over 200 calories in 20 minutes on the treadmill, and 400 in that amount of time on the elliptical.  I guess, even though I do manage to walk pretty fast outside, that I can just go faster on the machines (I guess that would be because I don’t have ice and snow to deal with on the machines at the gym.)

If I could lose even 2 pounds a week (which falls into the healthy weight loss range) I could get this 26 pounds off by my birthday (which would be fantastic.)  I suppose I wouldn’t be heartbroken if I didn’t lose it by then, but I won’t lie — it would be awesome to have it gone by then.

It’s hard at this point not to feel discouraged, because this is getting to be so tough.  But I won’t give up.  As someone said to me the other day: “If you were climbing a flight of really steep stairs, and you tripped and stumbled three quarters of the way to the top, would you turn around and throw yourself down to the bottom of the stairs?”

So I won’t throw myself down the stairs.  I’ll start from right where I am.  And hopefully it won’t take me another year to get to the top.

Confessions of a (former?) fat girl

When I was in elementary school (and junior high, and high school) I went through some pretty vicious bullying.  It was all pretty awful, but I think the hardest period was elementary school, when the popular girls made me their target.  You’ve seen the movie Mean Girls, I bet? Well, yeah.  That.  Only I wasn’t Lindsay Lohan.  Of course, my bullies weren’t Rachel McAdam or Lacey Chabert, either, but that’s hardly the point, right?

Anyway.  Unfortunately, the ringleader of my “mean girls” was my cousin.  I’ll call her “Kelly” (I suppose I could use her real name, but there’s really no point, and even though she’ll most likely never come across this, I’d rather try and protect her anonymity, regardless of what she did.)  Anyway, she was, of course, one of the popular girls.  And she was the “pretty one” in the family, which only made things worse.  Worst of all?  She was skinny, dammit.

I won’t bore you with the details of what went on — I would imagine that most of the people reading this are female and no doubt know of the kinds of psychological bullshit pre-adolescent girls can put each other through — but suffice it to say that she was, pretty much, a little bitch.  As we got older (well, actually, after fifth grade, for some reason) the bullying stopped, at least on the girls’ part, and I mostly forgot about the torture she put me through.

I don’t see her much these days, even though we still live in the same town (and, in fact, work for the same organization, although in different branches.)  I did see her last week, though, at my uncle’s funeral, for the first time in about a year.

She’s overweight.  By quite a bit.

And I’d be lying, you know, if I said that part of me didn’t do a little internal dance.  Because that part of me felt like, well, maybe this was karma at its finest, you know?  She tortured me so much for being fat.  She never let me forget it.  And now here we are, twenty years later, and I’m not the family fat girl anymore.

I won’t lie.  It felt pretty damn great.  And while I would never, ever rub her weight in her face the way she did to me when we were kids, I can’t help but wonder what it feels like for her to be on the other side of the table for once.

Why, hello. I’m awful at updating.

Holy shit, it’s been over two months since I updated this thing.  HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?! I set out with the best intentions, planned to post every day. I guess real life got in the way? I don’t know.  Excuses, excuses.  Bahahaha.

Anyway, I will write a (much) longer post later, when I’m not halfway out the door for my walk.  There’s a lot I need to fill you all in on (yeah, because sooo many people read this blog, I’m sure.)

Later!

Demonizing food? I don’t think so.

I belong to an online support group comprised of people who (surprise, surprise!) are all either trying to lose weight, or have already lost it and are trying to keep it off.  For the most part, I find the board to be informative and helpful in my own weight-loss efforts, especially the section of the board devoted to my own eating plan (Weight Watchers.)

However, there is one thing I’ve noticed about the boards in general that is kind of bothersome to me personally.  And it’s not just something I’ve encountered online, either; it’s something that I think everyone may have noticed at one time or another in real life as well.

For example, this morning I read a post on the board from a member who was seeking advice on how to deal with a “slip-up” she had a few days ago (she ate French fries for lunch.)  Everyone gave advice that I’m sure was helpful in their eyes, and I’m sure that the member in question found at least some of the replies to be helpful in her situation.

But what I don’t understand (and again, this may just be me) is this idea that some foods are “good” and some are “bad.”  Like, bananas = good; French fries = bad.  Yes, I know that if I’m trying to lose weight I shouldn’t eat French fries at every meal, but…what in the hell is wrong, exactly, with having a serving of fries for lunch? In the same vein, what’s wrong with having pizza for dinner once a week? Or a bag of potato chips, or some chocolate?  Why do we have this mindset that if we want to lose weight, we have to cut certain foods (or even entire food groups, in the case of the Atkins plan) completely out of our lives?

I mean, good on you if you’re the type of person who can look in the mirror and say, “OK, I have to lose X number of pounds, and in order to do it I have to stop eating X,Y, and Z” and then actually go ahead and stick with that.  Me, though? I know I’m not that kind of person.  I know that there is no way in hell that I am ever going to be able to give up everything I love to eat for the rest of my life.  Not only that, I’m not willing to even try it, because I know I won’t succeed.  If I tell myself that I can never have chocolate again, I know exactly what’s going to happen — the first time I have a craving, I’m going to eat every piece of chocolate I can get my hands on.  So wouldn’t I be better off having a small piece of chocolate when I get a craving, rather than denying myself chocolate altogether and bingeing on it because I’ve attempted to deprive myself completely?

I watched Morgan Spurlock’s documentary Supersize Me last night and it only cemented my beliefs in terms of demonizing foods.  Yes, okay, McDonalds is not the healthiest option out there in terms of fast food.  It’s high in fat, salt, etc., etc.  All you have to do is watch that film once to know that Spurlock’s “McDiet” did some major damage to his body — and in a relatively short period of time.

But here’s the thing.  Spurlock, for his experiment, ate McDonald’s three times a day.  For a month.  For thirty full days, if McDonalds didn’t sell it, he didn’t eat it.  When one of his doctors suggested that he take a low-dose aspirin once a day for the duration of his experiment, he wouldn’t even do that.  And I ask you — who honestly eats McDonalds and nothing but for thirty days straight?

I ate McDonalds for dinner on Wednesday night.  Is it the best choice I could have made? Nope.  Do I feel bad about it? Nope.  Why should I? I’ve lost 45 pounds in ten months — without giving up a single thing. Sure, I probably could have lost it a lot faster if I denied myself everything that’s “bad” for me, but would I have been able to stick with it in the long run? Nope.  I don’t eat stuff I “shouldn’t” every day, but when I want something, I have it, and I don’t sit around ruminating over how I shouldn’t have eaten it, or how I’m really not “allowed” to have it.

I just will never understand how food became the enemy.