Monday, January 29, 2018
Little Miss Crabby Pants Talks About Weight Loss
The talk essentially was "You're on the other side of 40, you have a family history of Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease and you're over 200 pounds. Get your weight under 200 pounds."
5'9" does hide more sins but I had crept up to a size 18. Plus, as much as I hated to admit it, my stupid doctor was right. I started to get better with exercise right then and there....only to fall off the wagon around April. And I laid in that ditch for a while until August, when I kicked my butt back into gear. I have since lost 25 pounds. Why am I blogging about this now? Because it dawned on me recently that when it comes to the cold, hard truth about weight loss, the romance genre has a pretty crappy track record. Case in point, the book I'm reading now where the Southern Fried Heroine is still eating fried chicken and potato salad while guzzling sweet tea and drinking Coke - but has somehow magically lost a dress size simply because she's remodeling a house.
Not that I'm bitter.
So here it is. The Highly Unvarnished Truth of How Little Miss Crabby Pants Lost 25 Pounds and Still Finds Time to Whine.
Disclaimer: I'd be remiss to not mention that there are very real socioeconomic factors when it comes to health, diet and weight loss. A box of Kraft macaroni and cheese is a heck of a lot less expensive than fresh vegetables and lean cuts of meat. Don't believe me? Pay attention at the grocery store sometime. Anyway, this is to say that I have disposable income and while I budget, I don't have to make hard choices between "eating healthy" and paying the rent. Other folks can't say the same.
Step One: Find Motivation That Works for You.
This started for me at the Montreal Romance Novel Meetup back in August. We walked. A lot. The last time the lower half of my body felt like that was after I spent eight days in London in 2014. I realized I had to get serious again and I bought a Fitbit (I have the Charge 2 model).
Having an "electronic nagger" has been great motivation for me. It also made it really easy for me to start keeping a food journal - which I had always heard works, but I'm not going to lie - it's a total drag. I started out by counting calories. Mind you, I was still eating junk - I was just eating less of it and trying to up my activity levels. And it worked. I lost 15 pounds within a few months.
Step Two: Face Reality When You Hit Your Plateau
I was at 17 pounds lost when Thanksgiving hit and was able to maintain. However, I was stuck there for a while and even gained back a couple of pounds at Christmas. Yep, time to face cold, hard reality. Counting calories had gotten me this far, but I now had to make some changes in how and what I was eating. And let me tell you, if I thought counting calories was a drag? Yeah.
Say farewell to carbs and sugar. OK, so it's not like I've fallen off a cliff and gone to the extreme. However I have limited my intake considerably. Given that I'm hopelessly addicted to sugar, I've been surprised how much easier that has been to give up than carbs in general. Dear Lord, I miss bread. Pasta not so much, but gods I miss bread. I'm not proud. I'd run over anyone reading this for a croissant right about now.
Step Three: Make Your Peace With Exercising
You know those people who say they "feel better" after exercise? That they get a "runner's high?" Yeah, those people are nuts. I dislike exercising. Always have, always will. But the whole high blood pressure and heart disease history in my family means I really need to be serious about cardio. The trick is finding something you can marginally tolerate.
I'm lucky in that I live in a warmer climate. I'm not trying to exercise through two feet of snow and freezing temperatures. My exercise of choice is mainly walking/hiking. I also have my own elliptical machine at home, but I tend to only use it during the work week, if I use it at all. Since I moved to a new Bat Cave in early November, my average has been around 20 miles a week. This includes your basic day-to-day walking around and more brisk exercise walking. I mostly walk at a nearby park, but sometimes I just walk around my neighborhood.
Step Four: Things I'm Still Trying To Figure Out
People ask me if I feel better. Um, not really? I'm not noticing a huge difference, although you think I would after losing 10% of my body weight! I chalk this up to missing bread and hating exercise. Also, I have the knees of a 70-year-old woman and they're a bit achy today after a long weekend of walking (12 miles - I hurt).
What has been great? The clothes shopping. I finally broke down and bought new work slacks because the old ones made me look like a circus clown. I went from an 18 to a 14. That being said, it's hard to gauge your progress through the vagaries of women's clothing sizes which are seriously messed up on a good day. To give you some idea? I bought some nice dresses recently. One is a size 14 (OK) and the other is a size 12. A 12. There's no way on any logical plane of existence that I'm a 12 right now. But there you have it.
Step Five: Figure Out Where You Want To End Up
My goal is to hit the weight I was when I graduated college. I feel like this is realistic and doable. And then I'll need to shift my focus on to maintaining my weight loss.
Step Six: Don't Feel Like a Freak
The main reason I wanted to write this blog post is to assure anyone currently struggling with fitness and weight loss that you are not a freak. Little Miss Crabby Pants is here to keep it real. Keeping a food diary? It sucks. Counting carbs and sugar? It sucks. Exercise? It sucks. None of this is fun for me. It's not always easy. Frankly it's a drag. But what's the alternative? Ignoring my family medical history, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best? So yeah. Here we are. No, it's not easy. And take a moment to celebrate your successes, even if they're small ones. Find a way to maintain an upbeat attitude and your sense of humor.