I've had a few friends have a minor freak out that I am trying to lose 66 pounds (30 kilos) altogether, because they haven't felt I was that overweight.
The reality is that, even though I've lost 33 pounds, I'm still obese on the body mass index (30 BMI or more). You can calculate your BMI here. I know the BMI isn't perfect, but it's a better judge of what you should weigh than any other measurement out there. And it was the wake up call I needed.
How have I lost weight?
Eating up to 300 calories every three hours, up to a certain amount of calories.
That's it, pretty much.
Sometimes I budget my day so that I can have a big supper. Sometimes I hit my limit early and have to have a small supper.
When I absolutely have to eat something, when the munchies are overwhelming, then my rule is that I can eat as much of any raw fruit or raw veggie I want, that those don't count to the overall calorie count.
Once a month, on ONE day, I can blow the calorie count. And that usually involves a LOT of chocolate...
For three months, my daily calorie limit was 2000, which is 200-400 more a day than I'm supposed to have for my height - yet, I lost weight every week, without working out beyond my walking Albi twice a day. Then, when I hit a plateau - when I stopped losing weight - I dropped to 1800 calories a day, which is still more than I should have. And when I hit another plateau, I decided dropping more calories was out of the question, so I started working out more. I have to do at least one of the following, every day:
- 10-15 minutes boxing the punching bag Stefan bought me for our anniversary (he's so sweet)
- 15 - 25 minutes on this old mechanical stepper I have, while watching a bit of a silent movie (that Buster Keaton was a GENIUS!)
- 10 - 15 minutes of floor exercises focused on my abs, or with hand weights, focused on my arms
- Kellogg's Special K Breakfast shakes
- Yoplait Light Yoghurt
- Green Giant single serving veggies
- Turkey franks
- Coffee. Thank you, Mother Nature, for making coffee low calorie!
I have given up Coca Cola. And I miss it EVERY FREAKIN' DAY. Sigh... We don't keep any soda pop in the house, and when we are out and about, the only soda I allow myself is 7up or Sprite (for some reason, that's not addictive).
The best part of losing weight is that there are lots of clothes in my closet that I love so much and that I can wear now, and that's really great. Fantastic, in fact.
I'm also much more comfortable on my motorcycle. I am reminded of that every time I ride.
The downside is that losing this weight at my age takes an amazing amount of constant effort, often for very little pay off. My knees are horrific - I can't bend them at all with any weight on them whatsoever. And I have to count every calorie, every day. In one day, it's oh-so-easy to undo an entire week of work. This is going to be for the rest of my life. And that depresses me some times. I've had to learn to tolerate being hungry. But that really sounds so incredibly whiney... most people in the world are hungry at least once a day.
Another downside is that NO ONE has noticed my weight loss without my saying something. I've made sure Stefan knows about every pound I've fought off, and he's been very supportive, but I've not heard those words I've longed to hear: Have you lost weight? I thought I would at a recent family gathering, and at a recent professional gig with colleagues, but, no, nothing. Which I guess shows just how huge I had gotten.
And the final downside: no amount of exercise is ever as satisfying as a delicious meal that leaves me feeling full. I so miss that, every day. Eating only a certain amount that's based only on calories and not how hungry I am leaves me feeling somewhat unfulfilled, as I place the rest of my meal in a container to eat the next day for supper. Taking five bites of something just isn't nearly as good as taking 10.
It's startling how much my body changed at around 37 years old or so. Who else do you know that, in a year of riding her bike to and from work every day, walking her dogs twice a day, walking to get to anywhere she wanted to go, and getting in a car only to go somewhere to hike, gains 20 pounds in that year?! And then does it again the next two years as well?!?
My motivation to keep this struggle going: there are so many clothes in my closet that I love but that I still can't wear, and I REALLY want to. Whenver I look at them, I get renewed to reach my goal.
I'd also really like to look like a girl when I ride my motorcycle - I don't think most people can tell. I have bike pants I wore only once - then I gained too much weight and couldn't wear them any more. They are there, hanging in my closet, calling my name - and I know I'm going to actually look like a girl when I wear them (as opposed to a big black blob on a motorcycle).
I also hope that, if I ever get a face-to-face job interview, my weight won't turn off an employer. I wish that wasn't the world I lived in, but it is.
And, finally: there is an obesity epidemic in the USA, and it's spreading to other countries. And I am embarrassed to be a part of that epidemic, I'm embarrassed to be the stereotypical American that people in Europe and Asia make fun of. By the end of 2011, I hope not to be.