Monday, July 07, 2008

Fat Pants

Is it a bad sign when your fat pants become just pants? How about when the extra-stretchy gauchos that you only wear when extremely bloated or premenstrual (or both) become the pants you throw on with relief after spending all day squeezing yourself like a sausage into the dress pants that fit like a glove two months ago?

This is where I am at, folks. I'm back at just about the same weight I was at when Aaron and I met. That was 2005, and I had a sixteen-month-old, so I was still losing the last few pounds of my baby weight. This is 2008, and my baby is now a four-year-old. I turned in my baby weight excuse card a couple of years ago, so I can't blame this on that anymore. And, without the motivation of being in a new relationship and worrying about my new boyfriend seeing my wobbly bits if we decidenot to turn off every light in the city when we were gettin' busy, it's a lot easier to justify eating that extra slice of pizza or drinking that extra beer. I've gotten comfortable...too comfortable.

Yes, this is my fault. I lead a sedentary existence. Almost my entire work day is spent sitting on my dupa in front of my computer--the only exceptions are those brief moments when I walk to the bathroom or the kitchen or a conference room for a meeting. When I get home at night, I am up and about making dinner or doing laundry or putting things away, but when those things are done, I'm back on my butt, doing puzzles with Grace or watching TV or reading books. Much of our weekends are spent in the car, sitting again, traveling to visit family or friends or running around the city. Often I feel as though I don't have enough time to accomplish nearly all of the things I want to in a day, and priority-wise, exercising falls far below parenting and doing laundry and preparing meals and cleaning up the house and gardening. I get up at 5:30 each morning the way it is, so getting up even earlier and exercising before work seems out of the question when I'm totally exhausted as it is.

Then there's the other part of the equation--food. It's ironic...I worry so much about what goes into Grace's mouth but I don't think much about what goes into mine. I travel quite a bit, for both work and pleasure, and fast food is often too convenient to pass up. I love going to lunch with friends or going out for a girls' night, both of which always involve hitting up a favorite local eatery and eating to my heart's content. And then there are the summer festivals, the holiday weekends, the sporting events...all of which include tasty treats like brats and beer and delicious ethnic foods. The part of the brain that forces some people to pass up food in the interest of remaining trim and healthy? I don't have that mechanism...I roll my eyes at those people. And, naturally, what goes better with a good meal than a good drink? I shudder to think about how many calories I'm pouring down my gullet with each amaretto sour or Leinie's Summer Shandy.

Of course, genetics play a part in all of this as well. I do have a few skinny minnies in my family, but most of us are on the curvy side. I came to grips long ago with the fact that no matter how hard I try, I'm never, ever going to be a size 2. I probably won't ever be a size 6 or 7 either. It's just not in my genes. So I often ask myself why I should kill myself trying to attain the seemingly unattainable. What's the point?

I know that I'm not obese. I know that for my height and age, I am pretty average as far as weight goes. I know that there are many, many women (and men) that have a much, much harder time than I do losing weight, and they actually TRY. To them, I probably sound like a big whiner who should just get off my kiester and stop complaining already. But, I do also know that I am overweight and I am slowly gaining, and that is a slippery slope that is all too easy for me to tumble down. I know I am not as healthy as I should be. My BMI puts me well into the "overweight" category and if I don't watch it, I'll be back where I was seven years ago, in a dietitian's office planning out my daily menus and being lectured on my terrible eating habits.

One of my good friends recently hit a milestone in her life--she lost 100 pounds, and she didn't do it by following some fancy diet or taking pills. She ate sensibly, exercised, and kept track of her progress. I don't do well on diets and hate counting points or calories, so her method sounds pretty appealing to me. Using her as inspiration (you totally rock, Mo), I have developed a plan to (hopefully) help me get back to where I want to be:

-Call the family doctor and have blood work done. I have had thyroid disease for the past several years, and if my thyroid is out of whack, any amount of dieting or exercise that I do will be futile. I need to make sure my counts are where they should be.

-No more beer or mixed drinks, except on VERY special occasions (girls' night out does NOT count). If I want to have a drink at night, I will have ONE glass of red wine (hey--it's good for the heart). Same goes for soda, even diet soda. When I cut soda a couple of years ago, I dropped ten pounds.

-No more fast food. Period. When traveling, I will pack sensible snacks. When eating out, I will choose smaller portions or food off of the "lighter fare" menus.

-Small portion sizes at home. I will stop eating on big dinner plates and opt instead for eating off of a salad plate, and when the food on that plate is gone, I am done eating. Nighttime snacking will be limited to butter-free popcorn or something else high in fiber and low in fat and carbs. Drink 64 ounces of water per day.

-Exercise when able, even if doesn't seem like it'll make a huge difference. Instead of taking the elevator up to the office, walk up the four flights of stairs. Instead of parking in the nearest possible spot, park in the back of the lot. Take a ten-minute walk during lunch instead of surfing the net. Buy the Wii Fit game (if I can find it) and exercise after Grace goes to bed at night. Do more yard work. Opt to walk or bike instead of drive if possible. Get the family involved.

-Chart my progress and be realistic. This means weighing myself once a week and expecting to see a one to three pound loss instead of jumping on the scale twice a day and flipping out about each eight ounces that I gain. Measure success not just by weight loss, but also by the way that clothes fit and look. Blog about successes and failures to keep myself accountable. Set achievable goals and meet them.

Ok, so here is my first goal. Today is Monday July 7th. I weigh 150 pounds. Provided that my thyroid level is in the normal range, by this time next week, using the methods outlined above, I will be at or below 148 pounds, and I will be feeling a little more comfortable in my pants. (I realize that is a vague goal--I should say something like, "I won't feel the need to unbutton my pants immediately upon sitting down.")

I'm actually (shockingly) kind of excited about this. I know that it's not going to be easy, but the thought of fitting comfortably into my pants again and the prospect of feeling good about my weight again are enough to push me forward. Wish me luck!


Carrie said...

I'm with ya, girl! I have not weighed myself, but my pants tell me that my recent accomplishments have been erased by holiday weekend feasting and being too busy to work out.

My plan involves: More walking around town and less driving. Always look at the calories per serving on snacks and keep it to around 100 calories (wow, that's only 2 cookies!!). And all the gorgeous fruits are in season, for god's sake, so why am I even looking at cookies?

I allow the mixed drinks, but around here we like em with soda water. No calories, no artificial sweeteners.

chubs. said...

i ate taco johns for lunch and a box of hostess cupcakes for dinner today. i may need to join your quest. i'd like to see my feet again.

Anonymous said...

what I like to do when the weather is nice, is go walking after dinner and with the family. It is not stressful excercise, enjoy the weather, have family time and.....tire the kid out so they go to bed. Of course, this works only if the kid can be awake past 7pm