Friday, August 22, 2008
I ran into an old acquaintance last night. I hadn't seen him in over 15 years.
We were sitting at the bar in a downtown diner; myself and my companion, and the Frenchman. Although we were sitting only a stool away, I didn't know him from a total stranger.
The Frenchman made a phone call from the bar phone at the end of the bar. This placed him more directly in my view, and he looked familiar. Although his voice was barely audible in the noisy bar, he spoke loudly enough for me to hear the accent. Then, I knew.
The Frenchman has lived most of his life in the United States, but still speaks with a pronounced French inflection. When he returned to his seat, I reached out my hand and spoke to him. I reminded him who I was, and asked after his long time girlfriend. Recognition came to his face, and we spent the next hour catching up while watching Olympic coverage on TV. I introduced him to my friend and the three of us had a great time.
As we verbally strolled down memory lane, tossing around names and places from the past, the Frenchman stroked a hand over his head and lamented the thinner, greyer hair and the softer, spongier flesh of his ageing body. "Eeeet happons tue everywan", he laughed, "excaipt for yue!" He gestured toward me with both hands.
I was definitely on the spot, and immediately both men were nodding and slapping each other while critiquing and complementing my physique. Okay, he's FRENCH, after all. At least that's what I was telling myself.
The Frenchman asked my companion (whom he'd already ascertained was not my husband) if we were lovers, adding that he himself "shood only be sue luckeee!" The male bonding continued. My companion beamed that I'd "never looked better".
I sat stewing in a cauldron of flattery and embarrassment for several minutes, when the Frenchman asked me, in a serious tone, if I had spent the last decade working out, and made a biceps gesture. Before I could answer, he said "so yew have obveeoosly been making zee... you know, zee SACRIFICE", then he pantomimed pumping iron.
I nodded. Yes, le sacrifice. Le sweat. Le early morning commitment.
I'd never thought about it that way.
This morning, the word echoed in my mind as I set on on my daily 5k, as dawn barely blushed the sky. This is what I require. This is what it takes. This is what I must do.
This is my "sacrifice".
Except, it isn't. It's a just habit. A routine. It's clockwork.
I'd already decided several days ago (when volunteering to ride a bicycle 250 miles for charity) that I had reached a point where I wanted to- NEEDED to- take my fitness to the next level. And to do THAT, would probably require a SACRIFICE.
Looks like I ran into the Frenchman at exactly the right time.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
As my body gradually changes, I'm transfixed and amazed by the new me emerging. I'm constantly touching my arms, my hips, my abdomen, my legs; exploring the structure that had been hidden for so long. I'm like an infant discovering her own toes, or learning to blow spit bubbles, or turning a somersault.
I'm fascinated by my knee bones. My knees have lain buried under mounds of soft, billowy fat for most of my life; now, I feel hard angles and depressions. My hip bones are another source of fascination: as walk along with my pants slipping lower, I find myself pounding my fist against my pelvic bone, still dumbfounded that nothing bounces or shakes under the pummeling. In the mirror, I see shoulderblades that are no longer padded into obscurity. When I lie down at night, my stomach falls hollowly, sinking between my pelvis and my ribcage, and I run my hands over my sternum in abject awe.
Who knew that my FEET would get smaller? I've long since moved my wedding band to my thumb to keep it from falling off, but the shoe size thing is by far the most amazing. Not that they're any narrower (darn it), but my feet are fully a half-size SHORTER than they were before. That FLOORS me. And I have to mention that I'm also very fascinated my the fact that I can now see bones on the tops of my feet. Yes, they were pudgy too. And I suppose that losing 130 pounds must have relieved so much pressure off my arches, that they have snapped back, lifted up, and made my feet shorter... with a higher arch. Can you even believe that??!
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
In celebration of achieving a huge fitness milestone (finally under 200 lbs), I went shopping yesterday.
I resisted the urge to head to my usual places- TJ Maxx and Marshalls- and went to an upscale new shopping mall.
I am just awestruck by the choices available to women who do NOT wear "plus" sizes. I found clothes that fit, I mean really fit, in every store I entered. Maybe some of you can relate to how amazing that is.
I visited trendy stores like Anthropologie, Cache, and Arden B, and enjoyed the smiles and attentive service of the store employees (another amazing experience... seldom realized by obese shoppers). I tried on Prada shoes at Saks (amazingly comfortable, but the price tag snapped me back to reality). I was almost overwhelmed by simply... shopping.
In the end, I chose several body-conscious pieces to take me into fall. EVERYTHING has a hint of spandex to hold the shape and skim my new curves.
By far, the most amazing thing was finding pants that FIT. Not just pants that I had to settle for because nothing else would even go around me, but pants that really, truly fit, right off the rack. Like they were made for me.
Like a glove.
No sagging crotch, no gapping back, paper-sack waist. They FIT.
And the best news? Size 12 people. EFF'ING SIZE 12!
Here's the pants- the image does NOT do them justice at all. They are very long and actually need to be hemmed, and (in the words of my husband) "sexy as hell". More than I wanted to spend, but I'm so thrilled by finding pants that fit, you'll have to peel me off the ceiling right now.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Every so often, a sparkmember creates a poll asking people to list advice they feel is crucial to their success, and share it with newcomers and other members. Here are my lastest thoughts.
1. DON'T QUIT- stay the course when the going gets tough. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
2. EAT WITHIN RANGE- you absolutely MUST get your eating under control. Track it every day.
3. DO THE EXERCISE- seek to earn the MAXIMUM sparkpoints possible by doing all the exercise SP suggests, everyday.
4. COUNT VEGETABLES, NOT WATER- you should be eating 5 servings a day, minimum. Load up! You'll stay fuller and eat fewer calories.
5. TRACK YOUR FIBER- If you aren't eating enough vegetables, and you aren't eating whole grains, chances are you aren't getting the 25 grams a day most people need. Pay attention to this number.
6. TURN YOUR BACK ON THE PAST- Starting RIGHT NOW, you are no longer obese. That person is GONE. You are a FIT, HEALTHY person; so start acting like one, and start acting like you LOVE it. You are 100%, TOTALLY in charge of your fitness. Nobody can give you motivation, or rob you of it. Nobody can do this for you, and nobody can STOP you from achieving your goal. You are going to be fit, regardless of what anyone else thinks, says, or does; you don't need approval, and you don't need support. It's GOING to happen, no matter what.
7. SELF PITY IS COUNTERPRODUCTIVE- The only reason you do it is because you REFUSE to believe in yourself... how would that possibly benefit you??? Talking about all the sacrifices you have to make keeps your mind stuck in the past and encourages you to feel sorry for yourself. Instead of looking at things you HAVE to do to lose weight, think about things you will GET to do because you are no longer obese.
8. TEMPTATIONS and CRAVINGS are a MENTAL STATE- Temptations and cravings are a fact of life... we all have to learn to deal. Giving in to every treat that comes your way ensures failure. More temptations show up every day. Those treats will still be around tomorrow, next week, and next year. This is not your LAST opportunity to eat it (whatever it is). Never plan days to "cheat". You are not on a diet, and you aren't depriving yourself of anything; you are CHOOSING health and fitness. Instead, allow yourself special occasion meals with family and friends. If you ignore cravings, they WILL pass; you don't have to act on them to get them to go away.
9. BE POSITIVE- Don't complain about how difficult it is to eat right and exercise. You should be constantly BRAGGING to yourself about how you overcame the behaviors that kept you a prisoner to obesity, instead of embracing them over and over by insisting that you miss certain foods, miss sitting around, miss pigging out, and hate exercise. If you miss these behaviors, that could only mean you love being obese. The old you is GONE, and EVERY DAY is joyous because of that! Exercise is a BLESSING... the ability to simply WALK is a GIFT that should never be taken for granted.
10. HAVE A GOAL- You can't hit a target you don't have. Have a goal, a plan of action, and a time frame; and BELIEVE in your ability to SET and ACHIEVE it. If you don't have a wedding date, are you really planning on getting married? A goal without a deadline is merely a WISH. If you miss your deadline, set a new one right away.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
This must be the #1 post/question on the sparkpeople message boards.
Okay, here's my advice: Have a plan, and stick with it.
The fact is, that no one can do this for you. It doesn't just happen because you wish it, it happens because you have a GOAL, and a plan of how to get there, and a time frame to propel you forward without delays.
Your plan is like a road map, of how to get from where you are, to where you're going.
For example, if you are in New York, and you have a goal of going to Miami, your plan would be to keep going south until you arrive.
However, if you exit the freeway and head west, you can't expect the same end result, and you know WHY.
Obviously, if you don't stick to your plan, you won't ever achieve your goal.
Therefore, the single most important advice, for anyone trying to lose weight and get fit, is to STICK TO THE PROGRAM. If you don't, you'll get lost along the way, and the delays can only be fixed by YOU.
To hell with "baby steps".
Stop living like an obese person, and start living it as a fit, healthy, and active person immediately. Focus on that idea at all times, every day. Pour over every detail about how and when you will arrive at your goal.
When you change EVERYTHING, everything changes.
I've made a career decision. I decided I'm going to learn how to climb trees.
It didn't take much investigating to see that that's where the jobs are in arboriculture.
In the past, I was of the opinion that I would never be a tree climber, because there's no such thing as a middle-aged, obese, female tree climber.
Well, ONE of those things has changed... and there are indeed middle-aged, female, tree climbers out there.
Obesity held me back in so many ways. It seems miraculous, and surreal, that I've now achieved a level of fitness that makes me feel confident that I'm up for this physical challenge.
I've found climbing, rigging, and chainsaw safety classes this fall, and I'm going for it.
And that's not all- we've also discussed, more than once, the possibility of us relocating. I've known for some time that my husband would like to live somewhere else. He's not a city guy, he wants a yard and a driveway.
I want a degree.
The schools offering horticulture and forestry degrees are not exactly close by, we'd have to move.
Now we both have a motive.
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