One woman's (sometimes whiny, sometimes inspirational, and almost always begrudging) journey from morbidly obese to merely overweight; come along for the ride, why don't you?
10 months in to my journey, I’ve lost 50 lbs. This is the half-way mark to my original goal of 100 lbs in a year, but I’ve realized that I might have been a bit unrealistic. This is not to say that continuing balls-to-the-wall isn’t possible… just that, for someone like me, it’s not probable.
I’m not making excuses, it’s just that I had to sit down and examine what was I could do that is sustainable for the next 50 or so years I’ve got on this planet.
Yes, I could exercise more…but then I’d hate it. Why? Because 10 hours of my day are eaten up by my day job and the other bits of spare waking time, I’ve got life to attend to. I think the fitspo pictures that cry out “don’t FIND time, MAKE time” are wonderful — but, for someone like me, that additional time is a luxury I don’t really want to spend miserably at the gym — and yes, I would be miserable at a gym.
The option, then, would be to dramatically reduce my calories — which would serve the same purpose but also be unsustainable. Therefore, I’ve found a ‘sweet spot’ of reduced calories (approx 1450) and increased movement in my daily activity that is still an improvement from where I was a year ago - even if it’s not where your average fitblr seems to reside.
In addition to my day job, I also run a videography business that eats up my weekends — I get a great workout running around with a camera during event days, but on weekends I’m not AT an event, I’m editing an event - and that leaves 2 whole days of basement-dwelling in a dark editing room, perfecting the final touches on someone’s big day.
The added required activity of summer - the digging, planting, weeding, mowing, etc… is helping me ramp up again on my activity, which is great. This has pushed me out of an approximately 2 month-long plateau.
I guess what I’m saying is that I’ve not given up… I’ve just scaled back. This whole journey is about discovering a realistic, sustainable, option for preventing me from ever getting back to where I was. I’m happy now to continue making progress, even if it’s slower than I’d originally planned. After all, slow progress is still SOME progress, right?
I am so sick of people wearing terrible clothing and blaming it on budget or size. I get that everyone’s style is different, but this habit of putting one’s self out in public, braless, in ill-fitting stretch pants and an unsupportive tank top at a family celebration, claiming that “I’ve gained weight, so I…” doesn’t cut it for me. Yes, I’ve written a piece about avoiding judgment based on appearances in the past - but this is not about whether or not someone dresses outside of societal expectations… this is about understanding what is flattering and what isn’t - and making the choice to present yourself based on that.
I am fat. I have, pretty much, always been fat - and one thing my mother did as I was growing up was ensure that I dressed for my size and the circumstances in which I would find myself. Obviously, if I was lounging in the backyard, my ensemble would be quite different than that I chose for a family gathering. It SEEMS like common sense, right?
What I hear so often, though, is that “I don’t have money to go out and buy…” from women who’ll pick up a pair of stretch pants and a t-shirt for any and every occasion. As someone who’s spent a large portion of their life shopping at the thrift store, I know what it means to be on a strict clothing budget. But you know what’s ALSO on the racks at the thrift store/Wal-Mart/Family Dollar/Target? Clothes that fit. Khakis, cargos, capris, button-down shirts, henleys, you name it - they’re there! Not only that…they, pretty much, cost the same.
My thing is, if you’re going to present sloppily - ADMIT it’s because you just don’t care about your presentation. Admit that you chose not to present in a way that is flattering. For the love of all that is good and holy, however, stop blaming your size. Yes, I’m irritated. Yes, I may be a little more upset than I should be… but, quite frankly, I feel like it makes the rest of us look bad. So, moving forward, don’t claim that you’re in housecleaning clothes at a graduation party because you’ve gained a few pounds… admit that there are clothes out there that fit - YOU just aren’t buying them.
(Photo credit: brendan-c / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
My new favorite group of people is The Usetabes… that is, those people you discover in your day to day life that used to be fat. No, not the ones who lost20poundsandneedtotelleveryoneonearthaboutitnow… Not people a year out from a gastric bypass who show you their pre- and post-surgery selfies*… no, people who, legitimately struggled with carrying a significant amount of weight and managed, through effort and a focus on health, to put it in their rear-view mirror.
Yesterday while on break at work, I was chatting with one of my employees and another rep who both shared in casual conversation that they both once tipped the scales at proportions even larger than my own (for their height). I found them inspirational because they spoke so simply about the epiphanies that lead them to get healthier -and the hard work it took to get them there.
What I love so much about the Usetabes that I talk with is the length of time they’ve put between themselves and their prior state of disrepair. In addition, the non-preachy way they discuss their journeys is something folks like me can actually learn from. They share their stories when asked, but don’t pipe in with, “You should… “, “What you have to do is…”, “THIS is what you should try…” every time someone mentions wanting to drop a few pounds. Why? Because they used to be that person who jumped on every tip, trend and hyperdiet that came about and discovered that the only way to really do it is to do it right.
With that said, I’ll continue to take inspiration from their journeys so that some day, I can be a Usetabe, too!
* Note: I am not saying gastric bypass/lap bands are wrong - many people need them to save their lives. However, the dramatic weight loss of a surgery isn’t always followed-up by a healthier lifestyle so a post-surgery shift in size doesn’t exactly portend a fitness journey (to me).
Ahhh, the natural workout - aka: Yard Cleanup!
Yesterday, I was tasked with cleaning up the front yard for the wife’s intended planting. This involved buying and hauling five 40-lb. bags of gardening soil to the front and clearing out what I can only imagine was once a rock garden (seriously - the mini-boulders I found under the old dirt were insane!). While I’m not a fan of dirty hands, I DID enjoy the benefit of an all-natural workout that involved digging, and subsequently carrying to the back yard, approximately twelve 40-lb. totes of excess soil.
Now I wouldn’t recommend this for someone totally out of shape - but for someone like myself who’s moderately fit but lazy…this is fabulous! My friend DID offer me her wheelbarrow and when I said, “Nah, it’s a good workout…”, her response was, “…and we all know how much you love to workout!” But, in cases like these - I actually do.
My thing is, I hate working out for workout’s sake. I will never, ever, ever, be one of those people who get on a treadmill/go for a run/go to a yoga class intentionally. Stuff like this, however, with a purpose, I can do gladly. To me, it just makes sense. I don’t know why I am so opposed to the forced workout, but I just am… and I’m sure it’s a big reason behind my late-winter plateau.
So-o, hooray for digging, planting and mowing - physical activity that makes sense for me!
(Photo credit: waitscm / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0))