This Labor Day weekend, the Husband and I truly labored. We both have home offices; mine in the comfort of the air-conditioned house; his in the sauna that is our garage. (What?!) So we rearranged, dusted, purged, archived, recycled, condensed, consolidated, and rearranged again until we managed to get both “offices” in the house. Dining rooms are overrated anyway.
During this process, I stumbled across a box of old photos. That’s always fun. Well, “always” is a big, absolute word. Old photos usually are fun. Most of the time: fun. Generally, fun. Sometimes, though, it’s a different adjective. A less-fun adjective. Because, sometimes, you find pictures like these:
When, now, you look like this:
I stared at these pictures for a long time. Because, here’s the thing: I can hardly believe that first photo is of me. That person has been gone from my life for so long, I forgot I was ever her. It’s not so much that I was thin – although, I’m not even gonna front: that was freakin’ awesome – it’s that I was in the best physical shape of my life. I could run 6-10 miles at a clip without much difficulty. I could bench press almost 150 pounds. I was 22 percent body fat. I could do 50 military-style push-ups. I was thisclose to being able to do a pull-up from a dead-weight hanging position. I wore my high school cheerleading uniform to a Halloween party about eighteen years after I graduated; and I rocked that shit harder than I did in high school. (But, child birth and hip spread … Dude.)
That picture also captures the time I was the emotionally healthiest I ever was. Getting dressed in the morning did not involve any type of core meltdown / tears / 35 clothing changes / calling in sick. I had no idea that things like Ativan and Celexa existed. Yoga pants were actually for … yoga. I had energy and lots of it. I felt really, really good - about my body, about myself, about life. Again, this wasn’t about being thin; this is the kind of pride that comes with consistently and consciously making good choices. Going for a run instead of sitting on my ass … um … blogging; drinking water instead of diet Coke; sitting at the conference room table for someone’s birthday cake while eating a peach and feeling pretty damn good about it.
Today (as in now, at this moment), I am forty percent body fat. Seriously? That’s nearly half of me. I weigh about 50 pounds more today than I did seven years ago. That’s a little less than what my daughter weighs now, so I basically added a whole person to my five-foot-two-inch frame. (Yes, that IS my real height.) Apparently, I’m on some kind of mission to gain a pound for every pound Helene gains, and I am doing way too well.
Now, I can bench press only about 50 pounds, and I can do about 5 military-style push-ups (mostly thanks to that sadistic asshole who puts out those P90x videos). (By the way, I totally solved for x. x = all the soreness. All of it. Everywhere.) I battle depression, anxiety, insomnia and constant joint pain. Weirdly, I can’t seem to numb any of that by eating an entire bag of PopChips. Believe me, I’ve tried. I can run maybe 3-5 miles at a 12-minute-mile pace before my knees start screaming, “WTF!!!!???” That probably stands to reason, seeing as I put about 350 pounds of additional pressure on them with each stride. (Yeah – did you know that for every pound of body weight you carry, you put seven pounds of pressure on your knee joint with each running stride? I can’t even …) My BMI puts me in the category of medically obese. OBESE. Of all the adjectives I might imagine could or would describe me, that wasn’t one.
The thing is, this is my fault. I didn’t just let this happen to me – I made this happen to me. No one was feeding me bacon rolled in maple-syrup-dipped pancakes at gunpoint. Those Voges chocolate bars didn’t buy themselves at CostPlus. I distinctly remember achieving my goal weight / BMI seven years ago and swearing – swearing! - I would never let my body get out of my control again. And then I broke my own promise – twice! A year and a half ago, I actually managed to lose about 10 pounds only to put it right back and then some. But, it wasn’t until I looked at those pictures that I finally admitted to myself that I have been my own worst enemy.
I can be my own best friend again. I need to stop making excuses: It’s not my stress; it’s not my thyroid; it’s not my age; it’s not because I have too much dairy/casein/gluten/carbs/soy in my diet. It’s very simple: I make bad food choices. I need to stop doing that. I don’t treat exercise like brushing my teeth, showering or eating – a necessary and essential part of my day. I need to stop doing that.
So, today, I choose feeling better – physically, mentally, emotionally. I’m going to write about this as a way of holding myself accountable, as a way to motivate myself, as a way to reach out to others who may have a similar experience, and as a reminder that every day is a choice (which is a GOOD thing).
Here’s the plan:
- I’m going to journal my food intake and exercise on SparkPeople. (I’m ProfMomEsq there, too, if you want to visit.)
- I’m going to eat smart - not just less – by choosing real, whole, balanced food.
- I’m going to move more – cardio and strength – even if I can do only 10 minutes at a time.
- I’m going to write about my progress so I can reflect on what I’ve accomplished and learn from mistakes.
Here are the goals:
- Reduce BMI to 20
- Reduce body fat percentage to 25%
- do 50 military-style push ups in a row
- do at least one unassisted pull-up from dead weight
- hold a chair sit position for 2 minutes
- complete a 6-mile run in 60 minutes or less
- like the way I look in the mirror – with or without clothes on.
I’m shooting for June 15, but I’m not carving the date in stone. As I like to tell the kids, we’ll be there when we get there.
Here’s some stuff I want you to know:
- I am deliberately not sharing my weight – not because I mind sharing it but because it isn’t where I want my focus. My goal here is to get healthy. For me, that involves weighing less, but weighing less isn’t the only thing or even the most important thing.
- I am not judging anyone, only me. I have to live in my skin; you have to live in yours. Right now, my skin does not feel comfortable to me, so I’m going to change it. YMMV.
- I am not on a diet. IMHO, diets do not work. I am changing the way I live – hopefully for good – so that I can live a long time. (Sending a positive vibe into the universe … )
- Much love to all of you who would tell me all the ways I might be fine as I am; I know you mean well, and I appreciate it immensely. But, there’s no denying the facts or the feelings. The numbers say – no bueno. My body feels – no bueno. My mind tells me – no bueno. As Sam Cooke says, a change is gonna come. It will be for the better.
So, there you have it. Brace yourselves for Weigh-In Wednesdays. You’ve been forewarned. :-)