Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Maintenance Due for a High-Mileage Chassis

Sooner or later, it happens to each of us...the day of reckoning with our physicality.

I grew up in a household in which servings of food were oversized, given the influence of my paternal grandmother. Food was dished out by my mother at the end of the table, and we were expected to clean our plates of whatever was placed on them. There was always dessert, and it, too, was "required consumption." To refuse any food was considered a form of disrespect.

I was a decidedly non-athletic kid, and the last one anyone wanted on their team in P.E. So, the only exercise I got was walking to and from school, except when on one of grownups prevailed upon me to let them drive me. I hated the way I looked, but my excess weight was laughingly dismissed by my family as "just baby fat," even into my late teens.

When I finally escaped via a freshman year of college away from home, I quickly made a cadre of new friends and become active. Food was no longer the center of my universe, and I only ate what I truly wanted. The days of moping in my room were behind me, and without my focusing on what was happening, thirty pounds dropped off. Mom and Dad came for Student-Parent Day, about six weeks into the term. Casually bounding up to greet them, I was puzzled by their shocked expressions. Was I sick? Was I unhappy? Did I want to come home? To which I emphatically answered, No, no, and most definitely NO! I loved having the age-appropriate energy--and body--of a seventeen-year-old. It took my family a long time to adjust to Valarie sans "baby fat."

As the years rolled by, I maintained my weight (for the most part) a 100 -105 lb. range. Even after ballooning up to 154 just prior to delivering my son, I promptly got back to my prenatal proportions, only half-joking that, with a new child, I couldn't have afforded to buy a new wardrobe in a new size.

And so the scale stayed at that spot until I hit 40. Then my activity level dropped. My son and I had enjoyed weekends hiking in the local hills and at nature centers, but now he was a teenager who preferred hitting the arcades with his friends. I was working a full-time job, going to school at night, doing an unpaid internship--and resorting to fast food rather than planning to-go meals for my long days away from home. I saw the needle on the scale dial going up....WHEN I was weighed in at doctor's appointments. I would have rather not thought about the number, because I still "felt okay," and could jam myself into my skirts.

Lately, it's been a struggle, and I'm embarrassed to say I've been in a position of lazy surrender. So, after my most recent MD visit, I've gotten on Weight Watchers Online, and (drum roll here), I've begun to drop this ballast! I'm blogging this to go public with my effort, to be accountable. I want to report in to you each Sunday, my friends and readers, as I become svelte again. Here are some of my commitments:

1. To continue to follow the WW Online program to the letter. So many of my friends have had success with it, so I'm without excuse.

2. To avoid drive-throughs -- both food and ATM's. Anything I want to do, or eat, I need to walk towards it. That's what two feet are for!

3. To avoid the "comfort foods," of which I have a very long list. I deserve to be happy, but logically, how does ingesting an extra 500 calories address my mood or issues?

4. To be diligent about daily exercise. I preach about the benefits of activity to my clients, so I need to stop being a hypocrite. Part of this will be to skip the elevators in two of the offices I use. As I climb, I will be carrying my briefcase, purse, and thermos. The extra resistance should help burn a few more calories!

5. To be hopeful. I didn't pack on the pounds overnight. I need to remember that permanent weight loss and maintenance is an ongoing process.

No, I'm NOT doing this for anyone else, or for my upcoming high school reunion. This is for ME, and for the pretty clothes that are waiting for me in the back of my closet.

I will be posting photos--before and after--at a future date. Stay tuned!

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