Monday, February 13, 2012
It’s quiet here... and I have sore muscles. I’ve mounted (again) the effort to reclaim the health and fitness I possessed in 2005. At that time, I was a very healthy 17% body fat. I've backslidden to be sure, but I’m not currently the 36% I was when this began on April 19, 2001. I stepped on the scale at Weight Watchers that day and watched in horror as the scale finally found it’s balance at 184 lbs. That week I’d experienced the deaths of three friends from lifestyle related diseases. I realized I was setting a deplorable example for my then not-quite eleven year old son. The moment of truth on the scale was demoralizing to understate things. It took me 20 months to lose 50 pounds; I’m an incredibly slow (but steady) loser often losing one-quarter pound a week. (Really? I can spit that much!) At one point I was reminded I’d not gained three pounds a week, why would I expect to lose like that? (because, if we’re telling the truth, I CAN gain three pounds in a week. Heck, I can gain five pounds in a weekend!) But, finally, the Saturday morning came; I stood before my fellow losers and was feted as my 50-pound loss was recognized and celebrated. Yay me! But then came maintenance! In some ways, I had great motivation to maintain. I’d seen a woman with whom I’d worked when I was fat and she was skinny. She sized me up and said with a snicker, ‘well, let’s see you keep it off, now.’ That was almost all I needed. I say almost because in the ensuing 10 years I’ve gained (and lost) dozens of pounds (many of them several times to boot) but a very unwelcome 20 have returned and aren’t leaving of their own accord. Yes, intellectually I know what happened. I became careless with portion size/food quality and most important, activity. In retrospect, there were times when for a good two weeks I’d go to the gym every-stinkin’-day (excluding weekends, right?) But the workout was always tired and lame. A half-hearted bike ride beats nothing, I would tell myself all the while realizing my bum was overflowing the bike saddle. But then I found a yoga studio in Arizona. I bought the Groupon; 20 visits for $20. (Face it, I’m cheap.) I found I really enjoyed it. What a shock! The last time I’d tried yoga was as I was leaving the 180’s behind. I settled my considerable rear in the yoga studio expecting a long, lovely stretch. Wow. I was totally unprepared for that entire experience. I crawled to my car unsure which part of me was more uncomfortable. Needless to say, I didn’t go back. Which brings us to now. I’d found the scale creeping ever so slightly higher every week. I didn’t go back to Weight Watchers, although I’ve been paying a monthly fee for unlimited meetings and an online community, because I was embarrassed and because I heard the sneer of that long-ago coworker. I don’t know ‘what’ changed but it’s a whole new game now. I bought new running shoes and they actually made cute little insoles for my shoes. I learned I need to wear at least a half-size bigger shoe so I don’t lose my toenails (who knew?) but I'm vain and struggled to admit I bought a size 7 (shoot, if I could buy a pair of pants in a size 7, I'd be jumping around.) I signed up for (and actually attended the first meeting) a running group and registered (and paid for) my very first road race. I’m doing the Foot Traffic Flat Half Marathon July 4th weekend. Which means I’m running. Not just turning on the Couch to 5k app and walking for 30 minutes, feeling very virtuous. Running. Yikes. Saturday morning was my first run with them. Bearing in mind I’m NOT an athlete and haven’t considered myself athletic since junior high, I was anxious. I found no one there laughed at me; no one expressed skepticism that I could really do this, and conversely, I found people in the same fitness boat as I, people with whom I could run (and walk because, really, running 3 miles is much harder than I thought it would be) and best of all, I could talk while I was running (and walking) because I wasn’t trying to impress anyone…well, maybe that cute little boy who rode his bike to the running store then acted as a ‘pace mentor’ encouraging us. But he’ll be old someday, too, right?) As we’re stretching in Waterfront Park, I was thinking, hmmm, I can do this. But then we began running across the Hawthorne Bridge. Strange, I never noticed bridges have a rise in them. Let me tell you, they do. I feared my lungs would just stop inflating from the sheer fatigue of me breathing so hard/frequently. But I stuck with it. We crossed the bridge and I found something of a pace across the Eastbank Esplanade. And you know what? I made it. I finished the run with the group. No, I wasn’t the fastest but I wasn’t the last one in, either. I enjoyed it and was even able to do an easy walk/run yesterday. I took a 90 minute yoga class this morning, enjoyed my current favorite lunch (quinoa and chili beans with kale) and am off for todays’ run. I’ll make it this time. As in 2001, I’ll do this. I’ll be back at my goal weight by June 15 – and then, I’ll run my first half-marathon! I can’t wait. It’s gonna be a great summer!