Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Becoming reacquainted with my hip bones

“Pasta doesn't make you fat. How much pasta you eat makes you fat.” — Giada De Laurentiis, Italian-born American chef, writer, television personality

ON CAUCUS night, February 1 here in Iowa, I was looking forward to wearing my "Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican" t-shirt. When I put it on, however, the most eye-catching thing was not the clever graphic, but my jiggly, fat belly!

I was aware that I'd been carrying some extra weight, but what I saw in the mirror was the straw that broke the camel's back. Using a scale at Mama Logli's (we've never owned one), I discovered that I weighed 118 pounds — the most I've ever weighed — and I made up my mind to begin a structured weight loss program.

I'm sure I should have researched all the available options, but that felt overwhelming, and frankly, I just wanted to get started doing something while I was still motivated.

We've known Dr. Deb, my NUCCA (upper cervical and cranial) chiropractor, for almost 20 years. Six years ago, I watched her shrink before my eyes: she lost 40 pounds, and she's kept it off ever since. Using her example, Paul and I — he decided to give it a go with me —opted for the same program she used, Take Shape For Life. which offered the added benefit of a coach . . . in this case her. It had worked so well in her life that she trained and became a coach herself. 

Although even at 118, I'm (inexplicably to me at least) still in the normal range for my height, and despite that to a person, anyone to whom I've mentioned being on a diet has questioned my judgment, I've been walking around in my body for a whole bunch of years by now, and I know what I'm supposed to look like and how much weight my frame was built to carry.

Deb is about the same size I am, so she could relate. She explained that it isn't so much about the number on the scale, but where a person carries the fat they have. Fat around organs (belly fat) is the most unhealthy, and that's where mine was.

Since I'd been grumbling to her about wanting to lose weight for at least four years, one wonders why it took so long to begin. That's because I was convinced that if I got back in the gym on a regular basis, I could work it off like I did once before.

The only other time I'd seen fit to do something about my weight was roughly 12 years ago when I had ballooned (that was my description of myself) up to 112, at which time I immediately signed up at the Y, hired a trainer (actually two) and ran, lunged, lifted, bench pressed, curled and aerobicized the 12 pounds off. I figured I'd just do it again.

That's what I'd been telling Deb the plan was for four years . . . except that I wasn't doing it, and for the same four years she's been patiently saying, "Well okay, but your success is going to hinge more on what you eat than how much you exercise." (I've poked around a little on the internet and found a number of references to a ratio of 85% food to 15% exercise for losing or maintaing a healthy weight.)

The other thing I felt we needed was a program that provided what Paul and I call "doses" because neither one of us had much of an idea what a sensibly-sized portion looks like, and in my case, up until the last few years, I'd been able to eat pretty much whatever I wanted, whenever and in whatever quantities I wanted — with impunity. Cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream; they all had my name on them (sometimes literally!!). 

This plan consists of eating four or five small prepackaged snacks spaced throughout the day, combined with a lean and green dinner in the evening. Walking or other non-aerobic exercise is fine, but high-energy exercise is discouraged during the weight loss phase. 

So that's our story, morning glory. Paul's goal is to lose 40 pounds, and mine is to lose 18 or 19. In the four weeks since we started, I've lost 12 pounds and Paul has lost 15.

We'll see how it goes from here. It hasn't been what I'd call fun, but it hasn't been hard either. And yeah, I'm glad we doing it. I can see a difference in how I look, and I can see a difference in Paul. One of the added benefits that I was told would occur (but I didn't believe) is that I've had more energy — at least until I came down with the darn flu. I'll keep you posted on my journey to find my hip bones.

Coming soon: How Racism Made Me Fat (and I'm not even kidding).

1 comment:

  1. It is odd how sometimes i miss posted blogs sometimes. Just seems random. Your program seems sound and certainly worked for you, so thats a win. Its interesting that there was to be no aerobic activity during the weight loss phase - perhaps your calorie intake was so low that added needs for fuel would leave a nutritional deficit? Was there a guided maintenance phase once you reached goal? We are lifetime members of weight watchers and that helps us remain at our target but perhaps you're not struggling? Congrats on finding the program that suited you - thats what works best.