I weigh X-3. In order for me to be healthy, I need to weigh X-22. (I was at X two weeks ago).
Having lost 22 pounds (or more) on several occasions — 5 major ones that I can think of, none of them pregnancy related — I know exactly how to do this. The problem is, however, that when I try to lose 22 pounds at 37 years of age, it is significantly different from when I lost 22 pounds at 18. Or 23. Or 27. My body does not react the way it used to.
At 18, I came back from Australia (6 month student exchange) and weighed 37 more pounds than what I had when I left for it. (I had actually just got done losing 15 pounds BEFORE I left). It took about six months, going to the gym maybe twice a week, taking the occasional walk, and eating smaller portions. That was it. Done.
At 23, I was a newlywed looking at my wedding photos, and particularly the rehearsal dinner ones. I had gained about 23 pounds. I remember crying on the floor of my Oceanside apartment, my then husband helplessly watching. I started walking 4 times per week, cut back on the food, and it was off in about 4 months.
At 27, we had just moved up to Washington. That 23 pounds came back. (Do you see a pattern here? Big change = big eating). I joined a gym and ate Slim Fast for breakfast, Lean Cuisine for lunch, and frankly whatever I damn well wanted for dinner. In about 5 months it was gone.
At 32 I was charged with losing 30 pounds, by my doctor. I was in Grad School, my son was a very active toddler and then preschooler, I rarely saw my then husband (he worked nights, I was working full-time and in the aforementioned school). We had friends staying with us who knew cooking and wine, and so I ate and ate. When I got to the doctor she diagnosed me as pre-diabetic, and told me to knock it off. She handed me a 1320 calorie diet, and I had to weigh everything. I also had to work out at least 4 times per week, for at least 30 minutes, and I had to break a sweat. In about six months the weight was off.
Then I got divorced.
Interestingly, the weight didn’t pile on with the divorce. Therefore, it isn’t necessarily negative things that drive my weight gain, but it is big change. Here I sit, with a couple of more Big Changes coming my way (nope, not yet, only 2 more months and then I can talk about it) and I’ve known about the Big Changes for about four months now. Four months of Big Change eating = I am now back to where I oughtn’t be.
I’m currently using an iPhone App called “Myfitnesspal“, which has an online counterpart, and is free. I log everything I eat and it tells me where I’m at during the course of the day not only calorically, but nutritionally. For example: I have learned that one (1) Rainbow Sprinkle Top Pot Doughnut is 2/5 of an entire day’s caloric intake. I have learned that 4 cups of salad (which gets me full) is about 1/12th of a day’s caloric intake. I have learned that white wine is calorically “cheaper” than red, and that on days where I’m “good” the scale will not necessarily be kind to me the next day, but on days where I’m “bad” it will not necessarily be mean, either. (A recent evening that included steak and wine resulted in the scale telling me I had lost a pound. A recent evening that included all of 4 cups of lettuce and some vinaigrette resulted in the scale telling me I added a half pound. It’s vexing.)
I also have fitness requirements, having learned that I need to be committed to an event in order to keep me honest. The difficulty in this lay in my schedule: I have an active boy child, who participates in Karate, Boy Scouts, and Baseball. Somehow the stars have aligned so that Saturday rides now conflict with Saturday games, and Tuesday spin conflicts with Tuesday games. I’ll still do the STP, though. I may do it slowly and I may hurt like hell the next day, but I’m on for it.
It would be really, truly fantastic to just take it off and leave it off.