I have spent years being useless at following through with fitness and diet plans unless those plans are to sit on my ass binge-watching TV while compulsively eating something yummy. When I announced on my blog and Facebook that I was going to work out every day from now until I go back to work on August 10th, friends and strangers encouraged a more moderate approach. It seems like a fair suggestion, but I can’t figure out a moderate approach to fanaticism.
My favorite binge foods are ice cream, cheese and crackers, and gummy candy. This menu was appropriate when I was on bedrest with my pregnancies if by “appropriate,” I mean “ill-advised, but let’s look the other way.” That was six years ago. With that fetus safely in first grade, I’ve had to have some honest conversations with myself.
What do I want to look like? My body will reflect the way I feed it. Do I want to look like I eat ice cream, cheese and crackers, and continents of Sour Patch Kids? Nope. I want to look like this:
But I don’t have this body type at all. I’m sure Jennifer Garner, who recently lost over 200 pounds in the form of Ben Affleck, is a typical small-boned miniature person like all actors are. I can reach for a more realistic goal if I find a different role model.
Like myself. Just not my current size. I know it wasn’t that long ago I said I was satisfied with my body and shape and I’d stop trying to be something I’m not. That I understood and accepted I don’t look like Sydney Bristow and the body I was born with isn’t too shabby anyway. Well, I say a lot of shit I don’t mean. Sure, I mean it at the time. Or I really want to mean it.
It’s a rollercoaster and it always has been.
Six months ago, Hell, four months ago, my plan to work out seven days a week would have been ridiculous. My unrealistic, extreme plans always fail because the star of that show is always me. I’m ever gung-ho to start an eating plan until it comes time to eat the food I don’t like (vegetables, whole grains, fruit) and forgo the ones I do (yummy things). In mid-March 2015, though, I started taking spinning classes and I’ve kept that up for 18 weeks now. I’m stronger and my cardiovascular fitness is impressive (a resting heartrate that went from 84 BPM to 67 BPM), but my size hasn’t changed. I move more easily and with less discomfort from my chronic back pain. My body is the same size, but it doesn’t jiggle.
Why isn’t it enough? What is this need to be “thin”?
I spent a week from Monday to Friday eating no sugar, no flour or bread products, and nothing fried. Corn tortillas took center stage as my favorite “grain product.” I like to eat the same meal over and over which some diet plans say is perfect, and others say is treason. Meal planning bores me. I like very few things (I’m a vegetarian who dislikes vegetables). In order to use up the ingredients I buy before they go bad, I have to repeat meals. The week was mostly corn tortillas with black beans, eggs or egg whites, a little cheese, salsa, and greens. When I was 30, I would’ve dropped 6-8 pounds eating like that for five days. At my current mid-forties age, I can’t seem to make that scale budge.
Going forward, now that I’m not in my twenties or thirties, I need to stop looking for fast weight loss diets and focus on long-term sustainable lifestyle changes that will show results gradually but permanently.