So I ‘splained I’ll be writing weekly and specifically covering a few areas like world change, new office, gardening and stuff, believing and stuff, writing biographies and stuff.
FYI, I don’t do embarrassment or shame. So next up is my little tale about deciding to lose weight, complete with measurements, pound counts and photos.
It was a cozy weekend morning in January when I decided to take a stroll down memory lane. Out came the old box of photos from childhood, high school, college. As I sifted through the photos I noticed something.
Some very disturbing images.
Of a toned, flat stomach and muscular arms.
Why were these disturbing?
Well, ‘cause they belonged to me.
And they gone.
Interestingly, I didn’t react with the old self-deluded mantras: “Well everyone gains a little weight after 30”, or “You still look great.”
I’ll be honest here. I’ve been doing sit-ups nightly since my early teens, typically eat pretty healthy foods, and am wildly energetic and more than moderately active. I’m curvy for sure, and pretty well proportioned with a heavy top and bottom side, proportionately smaller waist. I can get away with wearing bikinis and skin-tight dresses and know how to flatter my shape: My measurements were waist 29 inches, bust and hips 42.
This is what I looked like at 165:
But, at 5” 1’ and 165-170 pounds I was overweight. Somehow in the last decade I had become comfortable with an extra 20 and at times 30 pounds. Disease-free, childless, unmarried, in California, with a moderate income, and enough free time, I knew I had absolutely no excuse.
Those earlier, lighter photos drove it home: This is neither healthy nor acceptable.
So I decided to do two things: (1) Stop buying into the American lie of obesity. (2) Drop 25 pounds. This is what I look like at 145:
So far I’ve lost 15 and am still shedding. YAYYYYYY!!! Here’s what worked for me.
First things first: Figure out if, and why you’re overeating.
This can be tricky. You might not feel full, but if you’re eating whatever you want whenever you want it, chances are you’re overeating. For me, I had to admit I’ve got a little eating prollem. I am definitely a comfort eater. And definitely have an oral fixation. If my hands aren’t busy with something else, they are either bringing food or drink to my mouth. Didn’t take long for me to realize instead of putting cheese and crackers in my grubby little paws, I could turn to water, teas, and veggies with healthy dips.
Second, figure out what you’re really eating and what should change. For me, more veggies was key. And yes, I had to make sure to prep them right because I refuse to eat anything that doesn’t taste good. But it was an important difference to note that even though I was staying away from sugar, red meat, bread, and fried foods that was not good enough. ‘Cause my crafty, soft behind was overcompensating with other unhealthy foods like sweet martinis, cheese, pasta, potatoes, white rice, and chicken. Whoopsie.
Third, make cardio exercise a fun part of your lifestyle.
I mentioned my nightly sit-ups: My tummy is like the eighth world wonder. Somehow, it manages to be incredibly strong, squishy, and flat all at the same time. It’s because sit-ups be darned, lack of cardio layered my six-pack abs with fluffy softness. So, I had to flip my mental switch to really appreciate dancing and running (my preferred methods of cardio) are not chores for me. I truly enjoy them, and truly feel better afterward. That meant my regular ritual of “relaxing” after work no longer had to be sitting or laying down: It felt even more awesome to dance around or go for a run.
Fourth, understand the difference between thirst and hunger.
I dance a lot. If that means I’m out, usually a late night food stop would be involved. Problem was, I wasn’t actually hungry I was thirsty after all that glowing cardio. So now, instead of making a late-night run I’ll chug some water and deal with the food the following day. Don’t assume you’re hungry whenever you feel the need to consume something.
Last, stop acting like you’ll never eat again.
I don’t know about you, but I can definitely say there have been times at home where I’ve acted like a starving idiot. Like I needed to finish the entire pot of something solo even if my tummy hurt. Like there was no way for me to put away and return to some food the next day. Or out and about where I’ve convinced myself an item might not be on the menu next time. Be easy. Savor what you have, remembering your stomach is way smaller than you think.
That said, there are definitely some handy tricks I’ve learned that help:
1) Mama said eat your veggies. When you prepare to eat, drink plenty of water and eat your veggies first like mama said. What mama ain’t said, is veggies fill your tummy with better food so by the time you get to that fried chicken, you really aren’t able to finish it.
2) Exercise when no one’s looking. While watching TV I do sit-ups and stretch. (Okok my man’s usually looking then. It’s like a second show.) When washing my hands I do butt clenches. While in my office, I do standing stretches and isometrics.
3) Don’t tempt yourself. I’m no fool. I am not going to pretend I can have just one bite of the Claim Jumper Chocolate Motherlode cake. Or the fried cheese-stuffed prawns. If you can’t control yourself don’t bother putting a full plate of something crazy in front of you. Buy, prepare, and order food that’s good for you.
4) Again, stop assuming you’re hungry. Most times, we’re simply thirsty when we reach for the pizza. Try drinking a couple glasses of water first, and if you’re still feeling pangs in a few minutes go for the food.
5) Tone down your breakfast. I used to kick myself for skipping this meal, then realized it’s not about skipping, but not going for the chicken omelette with sausage and French toast. Fruit, cereal or fresh juice will work just fine.
6) Consider healthy fasting options. Juicing, vegetable, and raw food diets help you cleanse your system and get you over your food obsession. Most of us are conditioned to overeat. Without this I wouldn’t have been able to be so sensible about my choices regularly.
Most important, don’t be fooled.
Americans are the fattest people on earth. We are. While it’s also true we are obsessed with odd-looking, cosmetically-altered skinny celebrities, the fact is the rest of us fatties are just that. And our whole economy is set up to make it worse: We serve way too much food, and the more you get the less expensive it is. The better for you, and well-proportioned it is the more expensive. We sit around watching reality tv and movies and drive our cars to the corner or across the parking lot. So, don’t gauge your health on your neighbors, ‘cause they prolly got work to do too. Go by when you felt, really felt best. I know for me it was 25 (now 10!) pounds ago.