I'm Nicole, and I'm cheating.
I finally decided to start blogging my weight loss efforts, but I've been at this for a while already. It's been seven months as of July 8, to be exact.
I've struggled with my weight my entire life. Some time in the early 90s, I got good and goddamn sick of the whole weight thing. I'd wasted too much of my life worrying about being thin and hating myself because I wasn't, and I had had enough. I was also desperately lonely for a fair chunk of that time, and between filling up the empty spaces in my life with food and discovering the Internet and spending hour upon hour glued to my computer chair, I slowly but steadily managed to gain the equivalent of another person. Another overweight person, yet.
Lots of people snorted with disbelief when Kirstie Alley claimed she never realized she'd made her way up to 250 pounds. But not me; I've lived that. In 1999, when I stepped on a scale in a doctor's office for the first time in almost ten years and saw how much I weighed, I almost died inside. 245 pounds. How in the hell was that possible? Even so, the distress wasn't enough to make me change my ways. What the hell, I thought -- someone's gotta be the fat lady; it might as well be me. I had a wonderful husband, a good job, and a pretty fine life. So I didn't look like a supermodel. So what? I existed pretty well for the next few years behind that big wall of "So what?" And I continued gaining weight.
In the past year, it started getting very hard to ignore the fact that I'd taken this not-caring thing way too far. Arena seats and subway seats and restaurant booths were becoming issues. Worse yet, so was my health. My blood pressure and heart rate were starting to get scary.
And I knew I had to do something; I couldn't keep pretending that nothing was wrong.
Even though I started all this -- the exercise and the healthier eating -- in January, I never really planned to do any of it. I never said to myself "Okay, Self; for the New Year, we're going to get our shit together. Drop the chips and pick up the dumbbell." I just did it. I got on the treadmill (for a very short time in the beginning), and I did it again the next day, and before I knew it I'd formed a habit. My husband started treadmilling too, and on nights when I was lazy and didn't wanna exercise, knowing that I couldn't let him show me up proved to be a great motivator. I also started making a conscious effort to eat less. When I realized how much better I felt when I didn't feel as if I'd eaten enough to feed a family of four, it didn't even seem like a hardship.
As of today, I've come very close to losing 50 pounds. I didn't start weighing myself until three months into the process, so that's a guess based on how my clothes fit and how much weight I lost after we got a scale. Anything much more than that would put me far closer to having once weighed 300 pounds than I'm ready to admit, so 50 it is.
The difference in my energy levels and stamina have been amazing. I can walk for hours without my feet hurting or my back hurting and without having to stop and sit whenever a bench presents itself. I walk up the escalator in the subway station and don't feel like I'm going to die when I reach the top. I don't wake up with a backache anymore. And, to my undending shock, I've actually become one of those people who gets antsy when I don't exercise.
I've lost about three clothing sizes, three bra sizes, and nine inches off my hips. I still have a long way to go, but seven months ago I'd never have believed I'd be where I am now.
What am I doing? The most important component is exercise, exercise, exercise. I do a minimum of five sessions a week -- three cardio sessions on our treadmill and two weight-training sessions with the collection of free weights my husband and I have amassed. (My husband's also lost a good bit of weight, but as he's a very private person, I'm going to refrain from talking about him much except to say that he's kicked ass and taken names; he's reversed two health problems he had related to being overweight, and he's now at a normal weight.) When I can I also try to fit in a session with one of our yoga DVDs or take long walks at lunchtime, although the summertime heat and humidity have taken a lot of the pleasure out of my midday walks.
As for dieting, as far as I'm concerned I'm not on a diet -- and never will be again, barring a future doctor recommending I restrict something.
I watch my portion sizes.
I try to make healthful choices -- lean meats, complex carbs, lots of fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water. But if I want chocolate, pasta, or pizza, I eat an appropriate portion size, stop when I feel sated, and then get on with my life. I don't play the Good Food/Bad Food (and by extension Good Me/Bad Me) game anymore; I have to do something I can live with for the rest of my life. I do not stress about fat or about carbs; I try for balance.
I try to eat mindfully, meaning that I chew slowly, put my fork down between bites rather than shovel the next bite of food towards my maw while I'm still chewing the last bite, savor my food, and concentrate on how I'm feeling to decide when I'm satisfied. That also means checking with myself when I want a snack, trying to decide if I'm genuinely hungry or if I just want to eat to relieve boredom or stress. Emotional eating is one of my biggest pitfalls.
As of now I try to keep my calories between 1500 to 1700 a day; anything less than that and I'm setting myself up for a huge eating binge a day or two down the road, I've found.
What are my goals? The one concrete one I have now is to get under 200 pounds by early December. At my current rate of loss, that should be quite doable. After that, I don't know. First things first. I was eating at a Chinese restaurant a few months ago and got a fortune in my cookie that read "Haste does not bring success," and if there's ever been a better fitness and diet philosophy, I don't know what it is.