This particular entry has been floating around in my brain for several weeks, now, and I am so hoping to be able to articulate what I want to say without a crap-ton of confusion. A current event helped me get it together, so here goes…
Just this week the “What’s Your Excuse?” image by Maria Kang made the rounds in the media, social networking and fitness sites. There was a lot of discussion about how she is fat-shaming by putting that image out there. I didn’t see it that way. My personal take on that image was that if we, as women, want something badly enough we can have it (an exception being that money tree in the back yard that still hasn’t come up), and that we can allow our excuses to prevent us from reaching a goal, or we can simply stop making excuses and prioritize what we REALLY want, and get out there and get it.
A year ago I may have very well been on the other side of the fence on this debate, simply because I was borderline obese, and was kind of in denial (ok, maybe more than kind of; I saw myself as a little plump), and my first thought upon seeing an image like Maria’s would have been, “Who the hell does she think she is? She doesn’t know me. She doesn’t know my situation, and who is she to be asking a question like that? Judgy McJudgerson Woman…Grrrrr.” Why is my current reaction just the opposite of the one I would have had a year ago? I think that, looking back now, deep down I KNEW I was sorry as all get out, and lazy; really lazy to have allowed what used to be a pretty dang good rack to get to the point that it was last winter.
I think I mentioned earlier in
the year that the catalyst for my “lifestyle change” was a fall I took in January that resulted in my having to visit my doctor. There they made me get on the scale and it told me I was weighing in at a cool one hundred and ninety-two pounds. Me! Seriously? Ten years ago I was weighing in at a comfortable 145-ish when Johnny and I got married. See why I was more than a little surprised by the number on that scale? By that point, I’d done Weight Watchers twice, and gave it up twice because it is literally humiliating to go to the weigh in and have the scale lady tell me, “Oh. Up a couple pounds. You’ll do better next week.” It doesn’t LOOK toxic to read it, but the tone, people…Delivery is everything, WW Ladies, so do be mindful of your tone when you tell those women that the numbers went up. Actually, you may not need to say anything, because most of us know how to read a scale and will feel bad enough without any narrative from anyone else. Just sayin’. A couple of years ago I started counting calories and made it down to 163 from 170-something and stalled. For a month. Then two months, then three. I gave up. And while I didn’t think my eating habits had changed? They had, because the following year, I was up to 180 and some change. Got it back down to 163 again, where it stayed, and then I kind of fell off the wagon. Whoops…
I never thought that I would post my “fat with chins” picture on my blog, yet I’m doing it. Why? Because maybe it will reach someone who doesn’t think she can get back down to a healthy weight, or that exercise isn’t for her, or that there is just no way that she is going to starve herself to be thin.
So, baby steps, right? I wasn’t going to call it a resolution, simply because I break the hell out of those things by the end of January, soooo, I signed up for the mud run, picked up a copy of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, and got to it. Of course, by mid-February I decided Jillian was the devil incarnate, LOL, and caught the weight lifting bug, and have been lifting regularly pretty much ever since, with a 5K or two thrown in for good measure.
The weight started coming off. And I mean good chunks of it; I rolled those numbers down on a regular basis. I hit 163. And OHMIGAWD, I stalled. Again. But I kept at it. I adjusted my calorie intake, I tweaked my activity levels, and I set goals. Specific, due date driven goals. One was bikini by Memorial Day. Did it. Even wore it to the beach last summer. In public and everything. Boom! At some point, I dropped down to 159, putting my BMI in normal range. High normal, but normal, nonetheless. I made it to that point without eating my way through one son’s unfortunate incarceration and my youngest son moving out before graduation, and the subsequent graduation SNAFU in June.
My next goal was my wedding dress. I wanted to be back in that baby by December of this year, because Johnny & I are contemplating renewing our vows and I thought it would be cool to get back into the dress. And I did. I got back into the dress three whole months early; in September. Here’s the thing: I believe my weight was sitting right around 157 when I took the goal picture in early September.
There is a lesson in the above paragraph, and that is: THE SCALE IS A LIAR! Sometimes the water retention from switching up a workout, or adding weights to the bar will result in some excess water weight. So can eating that bag of sunflower seeds. I love sodium, but it is really puff-inducing stuff, so I struggle to limit it. Measurements, ladies. The tape measure is your friend and mine. While the scale told me I was probably not going to get into that dress, my measurements said that I probably would, and the tape told me the truth.
Other lessons learned to this point? There are no evil foods. Carbs are good. Fats are good. Protein is awesome, and it isn’t just in chicken, thank God! I also learned that skinless, boneless, tasteless chicken gets old fast, so you have to be creative. Salmon is amazing. Avocados are a terrific and healthy source of fat. Y’all know how I love my wine, right? Still do. Still drink it. Moderation is good. Eat within your calories. Hell, you don’t even REALLY have to exercise to lose the weight, altho I like it because I get more calories. “Will Workout For Wine,” needs to be my bumper sticker, LOL. Okay, that, and picking up the heavy objects regularly has been a huge boost to my self-confidence, and has come in handy when one needs to move 60 pound bags of concrete or get a 40 pound bag of bird food into the house. I also learned that finding a type of exercise that you enjoy doing is a big plus. If you like and enjoy it? You’ll do it. I like Zumba and love heavy lifting, so when there’s a Zumba class I can crash, I will. I lift four times a week, and I dance around the studio every single time I hit a new high. (I pinched a nerve shortly after hitting a personal deadlift record last June and after a four week lifting break, I had to start over again with just the bar, and you can cool believe that I danced all over my studio this morning when I got to put the 45 pound big girl plates on the bar for my deads!)
Where I am now: My jeans all need belts. My blouses are too big (can you say RETAIL THERAPY?), and I am in the best shape of my entire life. I am 1.4 pounds away from my goal of 150 pounds.
Where do I want to be? Ok, to be honest? Because I am going to turn fifty in June of 2015, I am really thinking hard about working toward a fitness competition. Most likely the bikini division, but haven’t decided in the affirmative, as yet. I want to look the best that I ever have by June 30, 2015, bikini competition or not. CAN I do it? Oh, absolutely, I can. Do I WANT to do it? That is the question. I know that time-wise it won’t take much more time than I am putting in right now. Do I think I want to have the discipline that it is going to require to eat the way I need to so that I can achieve the goal? I’m still thinking about that. I’m going to do a bulk for a month or two, then cut, which will bring me to early 2014, and that still gives me plenty of time to work it if I want to compete next summer. Time will tell. I CAN tell you, though, that if I want it? I’m gonna have it.
I’m going to leave you with an image I did earlier today for a “fitsperation” thread over on MyFitnessPal. I’m not where I want to be, ultimately, but I’m a whole lot further along than I was when I had Johnny take the first image I posted in this entry.