Monday, August 9, 2010

This time I'm serious

Status Quo:
My story will likely sound like a cliche, so I'll spare you the details and melodrama... in a nutshell, I've been over-weight most of my adult life and it's been mostly fueled by an unhealthy relationship with food that started in adolescence. The problem grew with me as I had kids and struggled with the challenges of being a responsible adult.

The catalyst:
I recently took a vacation to Brazil, where I spent time with my family and ate. This trip brought back a lot of feelings of inadequacy caused by my skinny sisters and diet-obsessed mother. Everywhere I went in Rio, I was the fattest person there. Even people from my past who used to be over-weight looked great and smaller than me. One particular friend of mine has become a runner! She looks great! She can be found in pictures with me in which he had similar body types and I am so inspired by her.

I'm also inspired by my daycare lady, who has become half of what she used to be before my very eyes (She's on weight watchers) .

During my vacation, several family members asked me to take better care of myself. They all brought up my health risks in being obese, and said they wanted me to be well, and healthy, and here for my children. Being a critical thinker above all, I thought it was odd that they all gave me similar speeches. They all brought up the same points, and in some cases used almost the same words! I imagined them meeting behind my back for an intervention, memorizing speeches and singing cumbaya... More likely though, they just looked at me and decided to say something. This came from my deaf grandma, my aunt, my mom's best friend, and finally my mom and older sister.

It was uncomfortable for me to sit there and listen to this. I thought, and in some cases said: "Do you think I don't know this? Don't you know I'm the one who has to live with this weight?" I also played the victim: "If you lived my life you wouldn't have time to cook or exercise either". Mostly I knew they were right, and gave them a uncommitted "I'll try my best".

But something happened in this trip. While I defended myself from family members' concerns, I was eating like I was on vacation. Soon my body started protesting. Having had Gestational Diabetes, I'm considered high risk for diabetes. The last time I was formally checked was may 2007 and I'm due for another checkup. Maybe it was the humidity, maybe I wasn't drinking enough water, but most likely I was having too much sugar and my feet started swelling. Toward the end of the day, they hurt and I just wanted to lay down all the time.

The decision:
Once my trip was over, I had to endure 9 hrs in a tight airplane seat. The seat's arms didn't go up, and I was so bloated, the seat belt almost didn't reach to buckle! This experience felt very real. I decided, then and there, that I would get serious about my health.

I'm 32 and I live a busy life with 2 elementary-school-age kids, working full time, an irresponsible and financially slimy ex-husband, and enough stress to take most people down. My time is precious, and I haven't been using it the most productive way possible. I used to say I didn't have time to diet or exercise, but that's not necessarily true: I used to spend way too much time on the internet and watching movies/tv.

Somethings needed to change.

Steps to change:
It seemed over-whelming at first, but taking one step at a time helps. With me, I was so excited to get going on my path to change that I started doing these one right after the other, or at times simultaneously:

  1. Grocery shopping for healthier items (with the goal of bringing my lunch and snacks to work everyday and to have healthy snacks at home) --Check!
  2. Start walking with my coworker every day at lunch --Check!
  3. Try to do 20 mins of cardio every morning before having breakfast -- Hmmm.... hard to wake up sometimes. Working on it.
  4. Join a Gym --Check! (my gym has a daycare = very important)
  5. Join Weight Watchers --Check! Had my first meeting last Thursday.
  6. Track my food and exercise -- Checking... I downloaded apps onto my ipod touch that help me with that.
Instant results:
I know it sounds like an exaggeration, but I started feeling better as soon as I started implementing these changes. I started all this the day I got back: Monday July 26th. I was officially weighed at my gym on Tuesday the 27th at 222 lbs. By the time I joined Weight Watchers on Thursday August 5th, my weight was down to 212lbs. My feet and legs are no longer swollen, and my foot pain has reduced. I feel better, more energetic and comfortable. I'm also sleeping better and not having back pain.

I know those initial pounds are usually easy to lose (mostly water), so I'm also monitoring my body fat % at the gym. I've lost 2% body fat and my goal is to lose another 2% within a month, which brings me to...

Being 5'2", my BMI was around 40% at my gym weigh-in. According to the BMI chart, a 25% BMI (the highest point before being considered "overweight" for me would be 137lbs.
That would mean a total weight-loss of 85lbs. "85?" I ask myself, "Consider it done!"

The thing about these goals is that it seems really arbitrary: focusing on a number of total pounds to lose. If i focust too much on the greatness of the number, I might get discouraged, so I'm going to go 20 by 20:
- From 220, I'm going to 200.
- From 200, I'm going to 180.
- From 180, I'm going to 160.
- and finally, I'm going to 140.

And I'm not going back up.

I'm also going to measure my success by tracking clothing size (I'm curently an 18), Body Fat %, and BMI.

I've always thought, as well as heard from others, that a weightloss program would not work unless I was ready to change. Well, guess what? Something clicked (no pun intended, airplane seatbelt) and I'm ready. In fact, I'm already changing.

I'm hopeful, optimistic for the future, and loving myself more and more as I go. I can and will get healthier. I can and will lose this extra weight and get to a point where I've eliminated my risk of diabetes, lowered my bad cholesterol and am living a healthy active lifestyle.

Encouragement, tips and feedback:
If you're reading this, I can use your help. Feel free to say whatever you want, and I will read it with respect and an open mind.

Original weight: 222lbs
Current weight: 209lbs
Pounds lost: 13lbs

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