For a long time I've thought about writing this blog - the promptings of inspiration have been there but not the actual inspiration - so I've just allowed the thoughts to float around. And though I still don't feel inspired to write - I do want to get these thoughts down before they fade away because this summer is really different.
A year ago I finally broke through that 160 lb barrier that had held me in its grasp for more than a year. It felt great. It put me within target range of my old weight goal of 150 lbs. Clothes were fitting better. People were complimenting me on how I looked. Not too tall, not too short, a little chunky and squishy but well proportioned. And for a 59 year old woman, living in the rural (think FAT) south, I didn't look too bad.
One year later there is a physical difference. I've been at or below my goal weight for almost 4 months. Now, when I am naked and standing with my arms at my sides, they don't brush against my hip fat. I feel muscle and bone when I stroke my hand down the length of my thigh. My arms, thanks to a year of lifting weights, have a pretty definition to them. Interestingly enough, people seldom notice it anymore, yet the look and feel of me is really different this summer. It's fun too - this difference.
So what's not different?
1. For a long time the goal was to reach 150 lbs. Now, I'm not sure I want to stay at the goal weight I selected. I'm not 5'6" any more - I'm a full inch shorter - diagnosed with osteopenia. There's still a fairly substantial roll of fat in my lap when I sit down. It disappears when I stand up but it doesn't seem to be doing anything for me - it's not as if it were cushioning a joint or something. And since there are some pretty strong ab muscles beneath the layer - I am wondering if it's something I ought to dispense with. That means I'm still thinking 'Weight Loss'.
2. Also, I am not really sure how to LIVE at a maintenance weight. I suspect that I'll be tracking what I eat for the rest of my life. I've always thought of that as a "diet activity" - even though, yeah, yeah, I know the mantra ... "It's not a diet, it's a lifestyle"
Well, okay. But. Tracking still FEELS like a diet. So - where else in my life do I track and does that feel 'restrictive' ... like a diet? I track my money - and that just feels like real life. I track the moment I write a check. Always. And once a month I do a full look-over of our financial situation. I LOVE knowing about my money - how much there is - how long it would take to plan for a big purchase - How many options I have with my cash. Even if I've overindulged and need to rein in the spending, knowing I can do it - that it's only going to take some little tweaks, makes it exciting. Doing the money math is absolutely fun for me.
I also write down a to-do list at the end of each work day. I call it my Charles Schwab List. It doesn't feel like some burdensome work-diet. It just feels like being a good steward of my job. Each week I have 40 hours to make my work world absolutely wonderful. And if I do that most of the time, I can also let it slide a little - take things easy, take a day off to go have lunch with a friend. By keeping things written down I know I'm doing my part. It doesn't mean I can prevent every bad thing from happening at work. After all, I live and function in a world full of Other People. but it does mean that when Stuff Happens, I don't have to add guilt and shame to my plate of difficulties. Tracking at work keeps me safe.
So yeah. Tracking my food is NOT something I'm going to stop doing, probably ever.
Can I be okay with this? Can this feel like part of a normal life? Hmm. I think so.
Even though I can see the value of weekly meal planning, I've always resisted it because it doesn't take into consideration the unexpected - like sudden invitations or particiularly hard days at work that sap all my desire to cook at all. Making a week's worth of plans that I then don't follow just depresses me. BUT I can plan for a day. I've begun to track my whole day early in the morning. I usually know exactly what I'm going to have for breakfast so I can be specific with that. If lunch is going to be in a restaurant I allow a certain number of 'points' or calories. That lets me know what's left for dinner so that I can either shop for what I need for dinner or select from what's in the pantry.
So - yeah. Tracking this way is almost exactly like my Charles Schwab Things To Do list at work.
Ah well. I have meandered all around my current status long enough. It is sufficient to say that this summer Some Things are Different and Some Things are TheSame.
Here's an article about rural obesity that contains NO surprises for someone who actually lives there: