Friday, June 19, 2009

Why I decided to start this diet at this time.

In this entry, I'm going to address why I decided to diet at this time.

After all, I hadn't dieted in years.

Thinking back, I'm not really sure what happened. I used to know better than I do now, but those days have become a blur as I don't practice my memory of them that often anymore. I know that, my senior year of college, I was in terrible physical and emotional condition, and my graduation present to myself was a gym membership. I went to work full-time at Piece Goods and then went to work out in the evening before going home. I did that for a very brief time before having to move back home to Mom and Dad. I was exhausted, beaten, and took the summer pretty much off to regain some inner strength and peaceful soul. In the meantime, I had transferred my gym membership to Charlotte and drove every day to the gym, where I lifted weights, did some cardio, and enjoyed the saunas and the showers. I began to feel the positive effects of working out my 21-year-old body and got relatively healthy. I went on a diet plan that was all vegetarian, so for a year I munched on raw veggies and my "fast food" was a quick trip in to the grocery store for some veggies. I even quit sweets for a long time.

I was a healthy 240 most of the time - healthy but overweight.

I did go off the vegetarian thing - I don't remember why or how. Throughout my twenties I did some dieting - Atkins, ediets, cabbage soup, Jenny Craig, Body for Life - and went through significant stints of working out (weights and cardio) - but never really lost any weight as a result. Sometimes I had a little short-term weight-loss, but typically I stayed around 240-250, 235 if I was low, as high as 255.

I did have a strange hormonal thing in my late twenties, possibly a late-bloom of womanhood - I don't talk about it much. I went boy crazy, started menstruating regularly for the first time in my life, and started losing hair and weight - without really trying. Being boy-crazy squelched my appetite, and gave me the energy and enthusiasm to bike to the video store (a few hilly miles away) rather than drive. I believe it was then that I actually started running, because I'd never had the courage to before, I just remembered running got me real tired and gave me lots of asthma. But now I was a little crazy, and I jogged into the mirror on the treadmill a few more seconds every day until I'd built up to several minutes and started to want to pound pavement. I decided I wanted to achieve the goal to jog a mile.

Being boy-crazy eventually led to heartbreak, but once recovered from that, I did try jogging again. Building up to jogging a mile, through the neighborhood, filled me with a sense of power. Doing Body for Life filled my body with real power like I've never felt before or since. I jogged a mile, and the more I jogged, the more I noticed benefits, including fat loss, a well-tuned body and spirit, and improved breathing. And of course the runner's high. I exceeded my goal to run a mile - I was going to build up to two miles.

What happened then was that I got sick - real sick, flu, strep... - and because I don't have health insurance I didn't go to the doctor, and I didn't get better before getting sick again - I was under the weather all winter long, and when I finally came out of it - I discovered that my plantar fasciitis (read: intensely painful and inflexible heel) had resurfaced something awful - I could barely stand or walk. I remember that summer - I was housesitting, really wanting to jog, thinking "I'll just go until I have to stop" and not even being able to do 2 paces before the pain shot through. I tried stretching and not stretching, walking on it and staying off it. I didn't know what to do. I tried to keep active with Pilates, but Pilates just wasn't as good for what I needed.

Throughout my twenties I tended to rely on exercise more than diet to combat my weight. While I tended to eat more healthy foods than most people, I ate large portions and also succombed to a major major sweet tooth. But I was in decent physical shape. I suppose in large part, I was motivated to battle people's predisposition that fat=lazy.

So, I couldn't move anymore - I tried swimming and Pilates but after housesitting, I moved into an attic apartment in the ghetto on the other side of town and it all stopped. The neighborhood wasn't good for walking around in, and besides - there was a long skinny staircase up to my apartment, and I am anti-motivated from going down staircases (another plantar fasciitis issue - going down stairs hurts). I bought The Sims 2, especially to avoid going out and spending money on nightlife and entertainment. The Sims 2 is awesome, but it ran slow on my computer and I enjoyed the hell out of it, and could sit at the computer for 8 to 12 hours at a time, maybe even more.

I had a kitchenette, but I didn't consider the water safe, so I didn't cook much. I got onto Myspace and got hooked on a group there. A year later I moved in here, but continued to sit in front of the computer every free hour. I'm ashamed to admit this about myself, that internet addiction has brought a halt to every positive thing I ever was moving toward.

I haven't dieted, and my attempts to become the same sort of exerciser I was in my twenties have been half-hearted and unsuccessful. I feel no enthusiasm or energy to exercise. I accepted that it was just not my time for weight loss efforts, but wondered when that time would come.

I got as high as 292 at some point ("oh my God!, I hope I never get to be 300 pounds, or I may never get back!" I thought to myself, but I didn't really do anything about it, yet.) Now I suspect it's taken until this past year or two for my muscles to deteriorate so. Over the past year or two, I've been in the 280s, and begun to notice some really different stuff. My face was really ugly - the fat cheeks start to droop, looking frowny. The saggy double chin is probably hereditary, but it's not doing me any favors right now. I began to notice water settling in my legs - sometimes is felt very funny, almost numb-like. Sometimes I'd look down at my funny-feeling feet and see that they were puffy, whereas my feet are typically not fat and have a really big bulgy vein that's supposed to jut out from them. My water-retaining legs retained any indentations. I began to occasionally lie on the floor with my legs raised to get the water to fall out of my legs and feet. This was definitely new.

I was also bothered by my increasing inability to fold. It wasn't inflexibility, it was excess fat getting in the way.

What happened most recently though that really was a big issue for me was the reshaping of my belly. Basically, the area of my belly above the belly button grew out further than the lower part, and also further out than my boobs. This was not only unattractive, it was hard to dress. When I ran out of jeans, I went to Walmart to grab a new pair and they didn't have any. Clothing had become a total nightmare. I went around looking awful because they didn't make clothes in my size - plus-size and tall, not boot cut, not flared, not low-waisted. Pants had to fit around my waist when I sat, which meant they were loose on me when I stood. Suddenly it was in my face every day, every single day I put on pants that were uncomfortable and unflattering, I felt aggrieved, and that's when I began to realize, something had to be done, SOON.

Something else that happened, this past March, my Dad quit smoking. This was such a monumental effort for him, that, in support of his efforts, I voluntarily quit chocolate for a month. (I was too chicken to quit ALL sweets or sugar for a month.) But the truth is, quitting the chocolate was pretty major.

And when I was about 2 weeks into the non-chocolate phase is when something snapped. I was taking pictures of myself again, hoping for something I could use as an avatar on Facebook. All my self-portraits had been so ugly lately. I dared not smile lest I squunch my eyes away into a sea of cheeks. I think the pictures had something to do with it (tired of it being so hard to get just one decent picture of myself, tired of being ugly all the time, tired of not being able to even sit up straight because my belly was too big), and putting on those ill-fitting jeans everyday, and the fact that I'd been without chocolate for 2 weeks. I came home and signed up at on March 28, 285 pounds.

Why ediets? The meal plan. I was busy, I didn't know what to eat. Years of dieting and exercise had left me confused. I didn't have time to learn how to do it. I just wanted to be given a meal plan, I would stick to it, and thus it was in ediets hands whether I lost weight or failed. Therefore, I submitted entirely to the will of ediets, because I knew if nothing happened, I wouldn't be able to blame ediets, and I would have wasted my time and money.

I lost 5 pounds the first week! Without hunger or cravings. My legs immediately began got shapely again. So I stuck with it.

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