When you’re on the wrong track, how soon do you make it right?
I’ve gained and lost 30 pounds (13-14 kg) several times in my adult life. That’s quite a lot to creep up unnoticed! Why didn’t I tackle it sooner?
I am 169 cm tall (5’6-1/2”) and my weight history looks like this:
At first glance, you might think I had 3 kids, but two of the blips were just weight gains – oops! Seeing this as a graph helped me form some conclusions about why I have yo-yoed so much.
In university, a gym membership was included in the fees and I used it! I gained weight when I started working, to the point that I went to Weight Watchers and took off 25 pounds (about 11 kg). Mainly due to personal difficulties, I rapidly gained it back – and then had a baby! I took my good old time losing the baby weight, but didn’t get really buff again until I became single and got back into dating. Part of it was wanting to feel good, and part of it was wanting to feel competitive! A few years later I moved back to my hometown and lived off savings for a while. During that time I felt unsettled and gained weight again. But another break-up left me wanting to get back in the game! Since then I happily met and married Rom and for a while I just got lazy, before bouncing back about two years ago. And now my weight is creeping up again.
History tells me I will probably gain another 15 pounds (7 kg) before I feel compelled to do anything about it. So now I need to break the pattern before I am entrenched again. I have been inspired by a book I am currently reading: Doomed to Repeat: the Lessons of History We’ve Failed to Learn, by Bill Fawcett. The author describes situations like wars and recessions and how we should have known better than to get ourselves into our current messes, based on historical precedents. I thought – why not apply that to myself?
Then I thought, hmm, history shows I will only lose weight if I have another break-up! Which is not going to happen, so I need to teach myself some new tricks :)
I have a rare problem that affects my weight. I have strangely high self-esteem and I always think I look fine. What a weird affliction! But it actually does work against me because I tend to ignore all the early warning signs of weight gain: the numbers on the scale, snug clothing, or comparing myself to other people. I don’t take action until things get serious: I have to buy new clothes, I go from regular sizes to oversizes (at my top weight), I get chafed, I have to lift folds to dry underneath (sorry, TMI!) or I get short of breath walking up hills and stairs. Without those symptoms, I just carry on as usual.
No one ever says anything to me about my weight. Rom shows exemplary discretion, my family is used to the fluctuations, the staff at work would never show disrespect to the boss, and everyone else thinks I’m in the normal range, give or take a bit. So I can’t rely on anyone to speak up – it’s all up to me!
Another thing I noticed from my graph is that although I always aim for and reach 140 lbs whenever I go on a health-and-fitness jag, my average weight over the past 30 years (!) has been 150-155. It would be reassuring to think that if I just stayed there, I’d be fine forever. Unfortunately, at the 150-155 mark, I feel sluggish and not at my best. I start to become inactive, lose my fitness level, and snack more. Even though it takes a lot of working out to remain at a lower weight, I feel much more energetic and healthy in the 140s.
I should have learned through dieting and fitness plans that I always feel best when I eat for health and nutrition, rather than indulging in comfort foods every day, and that extremes don’t work (no snacks or no sugar are not sustainable).
It’s been good for me to look at my personal history and try not to repeat the bad parts of it. My goals this month are to work out 5 days a week, walk to and from work, and minimize evening snacking. For extra encouragement, I’ve brought a stack of fitness magazines home from the library. I don’t usually think about what I’d like my body to look like, and the magazine pix give me some aspirations!
I know there are lots of people out there who would be ecstatic to weigh in the 150s, whether they are overweight or underweight. I don’t mean for my weight “quibbles” to comment on anyone else’s weight or health issues which may be much more significant than mine. So, if you are commenting on this post, there is no need to use any numbers.
I’d be interested to know what it takes for you to initiate a change, and what techniques you use to stay inspired.