December 9, 2011

Roses and thorns

It's almost the end of the year, and I'm getting a little introspective. Looking back on my goals for 2011, and thinking about all the progress I've made - not just weight-wise, but also overall mental and physical health. I'll write about it all when I have a bit more time - this week has been quite busy and shows no sign of slowing at the moment, as it is finals week, and now I am heading to the office to make my final exams for my courses. Yesterday was the last day of class and my students applauded as I thanked them for a fantastic first semester. Given all the semester's struggles, that little moment of recognition felt great.

I haven't shared a weigh-in in a while, so I suppose I'm due for one. I've still been weighing daily, but like always, I typically just look at the number and then carry on; since Ben has been recording and sharing his daily weights, I've started keeping track of mine in an Excel spreadsheet.

I'm not sure if it's seeing the numbers there (and being forced to remember them and note patterns) or general motivation or what, but it's working.

Another visual:

Nothing feels better than moving forward in a good direction.

193 is the lowest weight on weigh-in day that I've recorded since August ... before I left Chicago. My lowest weight so far is 192, and I'm trying not to count any chickens before they hatch, but I'm feeling good about making progress from here.

I was looking over my other progress spreadsheets (yes, there are several) and realized that in 2010, I lost 80 pounds. If I get to 185 by December 31, it'll be another 80 in 2011. Not to mention that 185 is already an incredibly significant number for me, as it would move my BMI from obese to overweight. It's a big goal, but I'm feeling confident and ready to reach it.

The bumpy little rough patch marks a significant time in my life, full of countless changes; and as frustrating as it has sometimes been, I have no regrets about an entire semester of weight maintenance. But the time is right for me to get seriously focused again. No dilly-dallying. No excuses.

December 6, 2011


On Saturday night, Justin and I headed to Fresno, a small city about an hour south of us, for dinner. He said he wanted to go to The Cheesecake Factory, and my whole body tensed up. I told him that it's the worst restaurant on the planet in terms of calories and sodium, and he said he just really wanted their Thai lettuce wraps. I could have easily made them at home (and the next night, he did - just as delicious and certainly healthier), but that wasn't really the point, I suppose. Sometimes, you just need to get out of town.

We shared one order of them, and both immediately said "no, thank you," when the waitress asked if we were interested in any cheesecake or ice cream. I've been a little concerned about our eating lately (I'll be writing about that later this week), and so this was a very good thing, I thought. No pressure. I honestly didn't want it, which was a great feeling - in the past, I'd eat a piece there *and* take one home for later (which almost always meant "later that evening, when my friends weren't watching").

Since we'd driven an hour or so to get there, we decided to walk around the mall a little bit, to stretch and explore. It was pretty standard, as far as malls go. But it was nice to walk and talk and enjoy some good company.

The first shop we went into was Brookstone. If anyone is unaware of this place, it's a fascinating little odds-and-ends place - the front displays were bathrobes, a plastic shelf for holding your iPad while you read, and a massaging chair. We went over to the display of massagers and took turns trying them all out on each others backs through our coats. Absolutely glorious.

We returned to the front of the shop and Justin asked if the sales clerk would give him the five minute demonstration of the massage chair that was advertised on a sign posted right next to it. He sat down, and the girl started fiddling around with the buttons and switches. He said it felt incredible, and I continued to peruse the store while he made small talk with the clerk.

I made my way back about a minute later, and the clerk was telling Justin that the chair is a very popular model, and that athletes use it to relax their muscles. Justin looked at me and smiled, and said "You should get this!"

Then, the response I anticipated, but that surprised him.

The sales clerk looked at me and said, "You're an athlete?"

Deep exhale. I bit my tongue and shoved my hands deeper into my coat pockets.

"Yeah, kind of."

Justin looks shocked, and defends me. "Yes, she is. She's a runner."

And the clerk looks me up and down, and the conversation ends there.

I'm used to people reacting like that. After decades of being this way, I've come to understand that people don't expect much of a big girl. It's not right and it's not fair, but at least it hurts less than it used to. I know the truth, and I use it for fuel. Right now, we're standing in a gadget store at the mall. Tomorrow morning, I'll be running eight miles - five fewer than I'll be running in six weeks at my first half marathon.

A few weeks ago, Tim reminded me of one of my absolute favorite motivational sayings:
if you have a body, then you are an athlete.
One of the greatest lessons I've learned on my weight loss journey is that you can't judge anyone based on outside appearances. I might not look like someone's ideal image of an athlete. But I also don't look like I used to 150 pounds ago. My body is perfect the way it is - and so is yours. We are wonderful and lovely and capable of amazing things.