Sunday, September 23, 2012
Why am I suddenly paying attention to how much people around me weigh? I think it's because I'm in an environment where living a healthy lifestyle is like swimming upstream. I think if I lived in Colorado or California, maybe the experience would be different. Here in Kansas City, we love our barbecue and IT SHOWS. After all, this is BEEF country where vegetarians are barely tolerated or dismissed as new age-y west-coast eccentrics. But I've also noticed something else.
Weight really is becoming a class issue. Even in Kansas City, the people you see at a chamber of commerce networking event or the suburban country club are going to be a lot thinner than the folks you see at Dollar General or Wal-mart. This week I visited all of these places and the difference is stark. I don't have hard data, but I would guess that only 20% of upper class or upper middle class people here are obese compared to 65% of less wealthy people.
So what's going on? I will grant you that the wealthy have access to gym memberships, walking trails and organic fruits and vegetables. As far as their grilling habits, I have no idea. Maybe they're throwing tilapia and veggies on the grill instead of pork spareribs and burgers like the rest of Kansas City.
I know the daughter of a colleague of mine who is a millionaire. After she had her third child she flew to the west coast to have a tummy tuck and liposuction so she could regain her figure. Predictably, the next time I saw her she looked absolutely fabulous. I know for a fact that these folks throw down on barbecue because they entertain regularly. But I suppose when you can leave the kids with a nanny in one wing of the house while you work out with a personal trainer in the other wing, a few spare ribs here and there is not going to do much damage.
Contrast that with the rest of us who are living paycheck to paycheck, shuttling kids to school or soccer practice and doing our own housework. It sure is a lot easier to grab some fast food than to come home to a fridge full of unappealing leftovers after a long day. And the weekends? That's for housecleaning, yardwork and visiting the in-laws and running all the errands you didn't have time for during the week. Given this kind of schedule, is it really that surprising that most of us are struggling with our weight?
In a nutshell, it takes real focus and effort to drop the pounds when you don't have lots of time or money, but we also know that it can be done. So if weight control IS possible for a majority of us, and 2/3 of us are fat what gives?
I really think it IS about our social circles. If you belong to one that has a lot of overweight people in it, then their habits become your habits. I think the wealthy and upper middle class belong to social circles that reinforce weight control. They probably dine at places that offer calorie controlled options, meet up at tennis clubs, walk the golf course and exchange tips on how they work out, where they work out and what fitness club or personal trainer they use. If all that fails, they share tips on the best plastic surgeons.
I know the friend of a relative of mine who married a wealthy man. Interestingly enough she had to sign a pre nup that included a clause saying that if she gained more than 20 pounds during the marriage, she would forgo her claim to his assets should they divorce. In other words, if she got fat he had every right to divorce her and leave her with nothing. So she was constantly exercising and just picking at her food. I met her once and she appeared to be 5'7" and weigh about 125 pounds. But she was also living in a fabulous house that overlooked the city and driving a fancy car. I'm sure she has a sense of urgency when that scale creeps up.
I happen to belong to a social circle where thinness is frowned upon and the most prized women are "thick" but only in the right places. When I meet up with friends, we are most likely to go to a buffet where the food is cheap and plentiful. My friends only become weight conscious when it becomes a health issue. So I shouldn't be surprised that although I've long wanted to be thinner, it didn't really happen until I got a sense of urgency.
So if people don't have a sense of urgency, then diet and fitness won't be a priority. For upper middle class and wealthy people, the sense of urgency probably kicks in after the first 20 pounds and is fueled by their social circle. Who wants to be the dateless fat friend? How can you join in on boutique shopping with your girlfriends if you wear a size 14? So off to that appointment with the personal trainer.
Anyway, I don't know what happens among the upper middle class and wealthy. I'm just guessing. Still, the bottom line for all of us is that weight loss doesn't happen with complacency. It only happens when it becomes urgent and that sense of urgency is what drives us to change. Aside from a personal health issue, the single largest contributor to our weight becoming urgent is driven by our social class. That's why the wealthy are thinner.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Now that I'm only 21 pounds from goal I know what I'm supposed to be doing to shed the rest of this weight. I'm supposed to be intensifying the exercise, cutting more calories and putting the nutrition into overdrive. Trouble is, I've grown accustomed to eating 1,600 calories a day and cutting my intake to 1,200 calories a day sounds painful. I'm still exercising, but it's slowed to about 30 minutes of aerobic activity 4x a week.
I KNOW I haven't been working as hard as I should. So it's no surprise that my rate of weight loss has slowed to 1/2 a pound a week over the last month.
My current goal is to lose 11 more pounds by the end of 2012. That's 3-4 pounds a month. Not bad, but once you throw in Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, 11 pounds might as well be 30. If I don't find some motivation to kick things up a notch, I'm not going to meet my goal.
How do I deal with this? I've returned to Weight Watchers for reinforcement and continue to journal and blog on SP. Should I jumpstart my weight loss by dropping the calorie consumption to 1,200 for a couple of weeks, then return to my normal 1,600-1,700 calorie intake? That will require me to drop my carbs, increase my protein, eliminate all packaged or processed foods and cut out desserts. In return, I might drop a quick 3 or 4 pounds.
I'm going to think it over. I'm glad that I'm still on program, but I need to either accept the slower rate of weight loss or make the sacrifices necessary to speed it up to 1-2 pounds a week.
Sunday, September 16, 2012
I spent yesterday shopping for clothes at some of my favorite second hand clothing haunts, most notably the Salvation Army Thrift Store. There's one about a mile or two down the street from me and about once a month, I like to go in there and shop for clothes. Yesterday, I hit the jackpot. I found three designer brand jackets and a sweater that will be perfect for chillier weather for only $15.
I also enjoy rifling through clothing racks at consignment shops, and any other second hand rose store in town. I've also purchased an item or two on Ebay. The secret is to visit the stores nearest the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Some people are not motivated to put their clothes on consignment, Craig's list or Ebay. For them, it's easier to just bag them up, drop them off and get the tax receipt.
I am working hard to build a fall wardrobe because almost nothing in my closet from last year fits me. I tried on some of my long sleeved size 2x shirts and they were just hanging off my body. I also had to bid adieu to my favorite pair of blue jeans. I played softball in them Friday although they were already sagging in the seat. They kept falling to my hipbone so I was constantly hitching them up during the game which annoyed me.
For my birthday, I got a gift card to my favorite department store so I can shop for new clothes. After my thrift store finds yesterday, I ventured into the store only to feel overwhelmed with choices. I ended up leaving without purchasing a thing.
Somehow, with thrifting you don't get overwhelmed because it's hard to find clothing that is your size, still in style and in good condition. It's like a treasure hunt. With retail, the challenge is finding stuff you like that's on sale, but it's much more expensive and not as interesting or exciting when you find something.
Obviously, I still plan to use my gift card, but I will need to be more strategic. I am going to visit some wardrobe 101 websites and figure out the most versatile pieces I should add before I use my card.
Anyway, it's all good and I'm grateful to have such a lovely wardrobe problem.
Onward and downward.
Friday, September 14, 2012
My SP plan is on cruise control as I continue to weave this healthier lifestyle into my daily living. I'm still exercising most days and most days I'm staying within my calorie limits. When I go out to eat, I focus on making healthier food choices and finding opportunities throughout the day to eat less and move more. Sometimes it's small stuff like parking my car farther away from a building. Other times it's bigger stuff like rejoining Weight Watchers and working out with a personal trainer. Day in and day out, I'm mindful of how much I'm eating and how much I'm moving.
This week, for the first time, my routine felt natural. In other words, it felt more like my regular habits and less like a "diet or exercise program." I've removed the deadline for losing x amount of pounds and am focused on maintaining this "click" in my head that's directing my behavior.
Wednesday was my birthday and I decided to celebrate by "taking the day off". What ended up happening rather surprised me. I ate out all three meals, because I was busy. For breakfast, I substituted an egg mcmuffin for my usual sausage mcgriddle. Then, at lunch time, I ate at Chipotle grill. I skipped the tortilla, sour cream and cheese in favor of salsa, beans and lettuce with steak strips.
That afternoon, we visited the Kansas City Zoo. I wanted to see my grandson's response to the animals. Well, anyone who's been to KC's zoo knows there's a lot of walking involved. The exhibits are so spread out that the zoo uses trains and trams to shuttle people between them. We decided to walk and ended up strolling around that zoo for over two hours.
Dinner was supposed to be indulgent. After all, I was celebrating. I ordered a gourmet burger, fries and a dessert. I ended up eating only half the burger and a few fries because the portions were so huge. When I got my dessert--I only ate a part of that, too. I was too busy talking, laughing and having fun.
What surprised me was that although I had given myself permission to take the day off, I continued to eat mindfully--watching my portions and skipping high calorie toppings that didn't seem worth it. I also got quite a bit of exercise and recorded everything I did on SP.
After nine months of consistency, I am hopeful that my behaviors have morphed into sustainable habits. Eventually, the scale will start moving again, but for the first time in a while, I'm not sweatin' it.
Onward and downward.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
It's always nice to get compliments. With 44 pounds gone, I am hearing it often, "Have you lost weight?" or "You look fabulous." or "You look so much younger." I enjoy the compliments, but I have to remind myself---that's not why I'm doing this program.
I am on program because I am prediabetic and no matter what my blood sugar reading is, I will always be prediabetic. I've succeeded in bringing my A1C to a relatively normal 5.7--down from 6.2. However, I now know that I will always have to be vigilant.
My choices are 1) stay on program, maintain a healthy diet and exercise and avoid diabetes; OR 2) go back to my sedentary ways, eat fattening food, regain the weight, become diabetic and then get back on program, maintain a healthy diet and exercise.
Believe me, I'm enjoying the weight loss from a vanity point. For the first time in years, I've tucked in my shirt and am wearing a belt around my waist. A belt because I need to keep my pants from gapping. It's fun to hear the compliments from family, colleagues, co-workers and friends. But, I have to remember how alarmed I was to learn I was prediabetic and how another part of my lab results revealed I had a "fatty liver." Huh? What's that?!? Yikes!
I want to live long enough to see my grandson grow up, finish school and get married. I'm a relatively young grandmother, so if he starts a family, I might even be around to become an active great-grandmother. When my grandson is 30, I will be 77. That's doable. I don't want him visiting me in a nursing home. I want to be driving, traveling and living life. That's what I want for myself and it will be challenging to do that if I become diabetic and at higher risk for all kinds of health complications.
Yes, it's nice to be in a smaller size, but I haven't erased my risk factors for diabetes. I still have a tire around my waist that needs to go. My journey is not done. Somehow, I need to keep chipping away at the last 22 pounds. My goal is to lose 12 more by the end of the year. Even if I only lose 5-10 more by December, I'm that much closer to goal. Anything I can do is better than standing still or moving backward.
Onward and downward.
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