Friday, December 21, 2007

I've Discovered the Secret to Weight Loss

(drum roll....)

And the secret to weight loss is......

1. Eat less
2. Exercise more

Are you as astounded as I am? I'm going to make a million. Yes.

When I first started this blog a few months ago, one of the topics I wanted to write about was my body, how I screwed it up, and the steps I was taking to fix it.

I was a scrawny kid. Once puberty hit though, I started to "fill out." My entire adult life, I have always had between five and ten pounds to lose. Weight loss came very easy to me in my twenties. When I was in college, I put on the "freshman ten," followed by the "sophomore five" and then the "junior eight." I was a cow by the time I graduated. I quickly dropped the weight and then some, simply by eating salads, skipping dinner and jumping around my living room in front of a Jane Fonda tape. I was slim through my twenties and it was easy. I biked every week, rollerbladed, and generally ran around like a maniac. I was rarely home and I wasn't really all that interested in food. I liked looking cute in clothes.

My early thirties were less than kind to me in the weight department. I definitely started carrying too much around my core and was always struggling with 5-10 lbs. at any given time. I was still passably "average," though no longer slim, and by the time I got to my wedding, I was an easy 10-15 lbs. overweight. It didn't really affect me socially though. I was one of those curvy girls who could get away with it.

The aggravation of my "shana rishona" made me drop the weight out of sheer misery. I stopped eating because I lost my appetite for food, along with my appetite for many other things. I wasn't healthy. I was constantly tired, ate a lot of crap, stopped exercising completely. Even my skin was sort of blah. And then, as the misery accelerated, the weight started climbing on like nobody's business. I became a balloon. By the end of my five year marriage, I had put on close to 45 lbs. It was a nightmare. I was starting over, and I had no body. I was enormous.

The first few months of being on my own again had me dropping about 15 lbs. without trying. Just the fact that I could eat chick-food again and not have to cook for my ex-husband was a relief. I forced myself to get on the treadmill, though one of the ironic realities of weight loss is that when you are heavier, it is much harder to exercise.

I eventually hired a trainer, and she helps quite a bit in terms of strength building and endurance. The days that I don't work out with her, I'm on the t-mill. I'm much more conscious of what I put in my mouth and when I eat. I occasionally still feel myself reaching for the food when I'm lonely, bored or anxious, but now I catch it, and if I can't push the urge away, I'll eat a tiny bit and go on the t-mill for ten minutes instead. I hate exercising, but sometimes, I get into this space where my legs and arms are pumping away, and I don't really even feel them. My eyes are closed, the music from my Ipod is steady, and my body is on autopilot. I'm almost dreaming. I like being in that space. It's incredibly relaxing. I like the tired feeling afterwards, the release of energy. It has replaced my horrible habit of sticking food in my mouth when I need to feel something.

I recently had to do some traveling for work and I was gone for a few weeks. I was very, very busy during this time, both socially and work-wise. I ate when I was hungry, and didn't think about food too much...my days were so busy that I would just fall into bed at night. When I returned home to NY, I discovered that I lost another ten pounds without trying or thinking about it. So I am going to add another line to my weight-loss plan:

3. Keep busy.

Right now, I have about another 15 lbs. to get to a point where I would feel good and slim and comfortable about myself again. It is definitely not easy, but I feel like I am on the right track. I really don't want to diet anymore...I want to get to a place where I am just not focused on food anymore, where it becomes something I need to keep going, something that I enjoy, but not something I need to feel better. I want to spend the rest of my life in a body that I like. I think a lot of other things will fall into place when I am happier with the way I look. When I was fatter, men stopped looking at me, stopped flirting with me, stopped interacting with me as a woman. Now that some of the weight has come off, some of that has returned, and I am starting to feel like myself again. I like men. I like being girly and feminine.

I think that part of the divorce process is just making the journey back to yourself, whomever that self has now become. It sounds like a platitude. It's not. You have to figure out a whole bunch of stuff that you thought you already knew. Like how to eat. How to feel about your body. How to care about the way you look. How to change. Permanently. Uch, change is hard.

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