Remember how I said that this wasn’t a weight loss blog? That’s because I created this site to be a home of all things healthy-living; I want to focus on being more active, improving my diet, and enhancing my life overall. But I can’t ignore that part of healthy-living is maintaining a healthy weight.
I’ve been “overweight” for as long as I can remember; I was a chubby kid all through my school years. I can remember my gym teacher in elementary pointing out that I needed to try harder to keep up. I wish the teacher had tried harder to include those of us who weren’t as athletically-blessed. Not that the teacher is entirely to blame, but an 8-year-old takes things at face value and I was told I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t keep up, so I ended up one of those girls who hated gym class for the next 10 odd years.
Eventually when I went to college, I made some attempts to change. One of the first diets I ever attempted was a special soup diet that was formulated to help surgical patients lose weight fast before surgery. The diet consisted of a tomato and cabbage soup as the main sustenance, and a variety of other foods based on a daily schedule. Looking back now, I have no idea why I was allowed to eat as many bananas as I wanted on one of the days, but in those 7 days I lost 14 pounds. As you can imagine, returning to my normal eating habits after those 7 days led to my regaining those pounds pretty quick. When I tried the diet again a few months later, I only lost 10 pounds that time, so I gave up on it (because losing 10 pounds was nothing? I know, what was I thinking?).
In terms of physical fitness, I started going to the gym at college. At best, I was a fair-weather attendee; I favoured going with a buddy so I didn’t feel so alone amongst the sea of fit people, but this wasn’t always convenient with class and work schedules. On my own I’d get myself motivated to go and I’d stick with it for a few weeks, but it would inevitably die off. I also started playing floor hockey. I enjoyed floor hockey because I was playing with my brother and his wife and their friends, so I knew everyone. But the team eventually broke up and I didn’t want to play with strangers so I quit.
I’ve mentioned the 17 Day Diet here before. I really enjoyed this diet both times I tried it because I found that I felt better when I stopped eating so many carbs and focused on healthier preparations (less oil, butter, cheese, heavy sauces, etc.). But, it was still a diet and being restricted on anything feels so confining that eventually I can’t take it anymore. I did much better the 2nd time around, last year, when I lost almost 30 pounds, but Christmas was approaching and I lost my resolve in the face of yummy desserts, turkey and gravy, and wine. Thing is, as much as I enjoyed the eating plan it still required an active effort of meal-planning and a lot of grocery shopping to replace vegetables that get used up lightning-fast when I’m not eating carbs at every meal.
I’ve always known I was lazy, but the acknowledgement that this was the part of me that needed improving before anything else, was the beginning of a whole host of realizations:
- I cannot lose weight if I depend on motivation alone, because motivation will always wax and wane; I need a stronger basis to stand on.
- I cannot follow a structured eating plan because I always want what I can’t have; I need to follow a general plan and allow for occasional treats.
- I cannot change if I keep hopping on and off the bandwagon; I’m either living a healthy and active lifestyle or I’m not.
- And I cannot lead a healthy and active lifestyle if I have self-made barriers to success firmly rooted in place; I have to either accept certain things as they are, or make the necessary changes.
I’ve realized that the number on the scale is only one indicator of a healthy life, and it’s certainly not the most important one; my level of activity, my time management, my diet, my hobbies and interests, and my overall quality of life are all more important. The greatest move I’ve made in my quest for a healthier life is making my 31 Goals. You might think that list contains some items that have nothing to do with my health, but you’d be wrong. Personal relationships, emotional connections, working the brain, overcoming fears, managing stress – these are all factors that can either help or hinder a healthy lifestyle. In fact, maybe my weight won’t matter at all if I can get a handle on everything else. Maybe it will just fall in line, adjust accordingly, suddenly become irrelevant. When I go, I won’t be defined by my weight, so why should I include it in my own definition of myself now?
That being said, I’m interested in conducting a little experiment. Like I said before, maintaining a healthy weight is part of living a healthy lifestyle. I’m working under the assumption that following my goals this year will lead to some weight changes; I’m not expecting huge weight changes mind you, but I am expecting that changing some of my habits and adopting a more active lifestyle will have a positive effect. In the interests of being open and honest about the process, I’ve decided to keep track of my weight progress online. So without further ado, I currently weigh in at:
Yep, shit just got real folks. At only 5’3”, I’m definitely heavier than I should be. It’s ironic that the scale should land exactly on that number, but it’ll make tracking that much easier for everyone who is as inept at math as me.
So the plan – I’m going to post my weight at the end of every month from now until my 31st birthday (happy birthday to me…?). If my weight decreases, I’ll assume I’m doing something right. If it doesn’t decrease, I’m going to keep at my goals anyways because they are all still worthy of achievement. It’ll be interesting to see how this little experiment goes. Stick around, won’t you?