Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Don’t steal from yourself (Lesson #10)

Yeah. Like my desire for improvement in terms of ACTUAL WEIGHT LOSS!!!

I may be wrong, but I suspect you have to be on a weight loss journey yourself to really grasp how easy it is to lose sight of your small victories when the scale refuses to budge. I mean, I’ve been investing time and energy into something that doesn’t exactly come naturally to me. It’s been six months now. About an hour a day, three days a week without fail – except for a day here or there when I have to travel. I have gone from getting practically no (really vigorous) exercise at all to structured, planned workouts with a trainer. Why I’m not skinny by now is beyond me (lol).

Yeah-yeah-yeah. I know, I know, I know:

You spent more than 6 months putting it on, so don’t expect it to come that fast.

It’s all about calories in versus calories out.

Weight loss is 80% diet and 20% exercise.

You can’t outrun (or, in my case, outjog) your mouth.

This is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix. Give it at least a year or two.

Just keep doing things the healthy way. It may take longer, but it’ll stay off longer, too.

Yada-yada-yada. Whatever. I get it.

I know exactly how I put on the weight, and how long it took to do so. I was there.

But when the scale doesn’t budge (or when things don’t ‘change’ in general) when you’re at least trying, there’s a strong temptation to begin to question the utility of regular, vigorous ANYTHING.

How much better off am I now than before? I’m sure my routine is doing all sorts of wonderful stuff that I can’t ‘see.’ Wonderful stuff for my heart, etc., etc. And, to be honest, I got a gym membership primarily for those kinds of reasons. I needed to do something very deliberate in order to cope with the stress levels that are just part of the life of a busy, harassed, single parent, ‘reluctant’ career woman with a relatively active church life. I have no regrets about joining a gym; it was a great decision. But vanity is taking over and I’m like, ‘Wait a minute. It’d be nice to actually LOSE some weight, tool! How am I not losing weight? How is that even possible?’

You’re gaining muscle. This is a good thing. Muscle weighs more than fat, though, so it may take a while before the changes reflect on the scale.

You’re losing fat. A pound of muscle looks better than a pound of fat.

You’ll gain before you lose.

Blah-blah-blah. Yada-yadi-yada.

When did these theories emerge? And are they only for women in their 40s??? There was a time when if I wanted to lose weight, all I had to do was want to, and I’d lose it. What did a pound of this and that have to do with it back then?

Well, you were probably just one of those ‘skinny fat’ people who aren’t actually healthy.

(Well, ‘skinny fat’ people sure do look good.)

The danger with having these arguments with myself is that they are compelling enough to potentially make me fall off the bandwagon.  But I have a number of small victories to take pride in, and I’m not going to let my thoughts steal those away.

My sisters, trainer, friends, enemies, and acquaintances alike have all tried to break down the ‘muscle vs. fat’ thing for me like I’m a two year-old. They’ve tried many times. My brain has simply been unable to fully grasp the concept. Just when I think I’ve got it, I’ve lost it. However, I’m not so dumb that I don’t sort of think they have a point.

My clothes all fit better. Much better. As a matter of fact, I’m now able to wear some things that I’d long abandoned or forgotten about. I bought a black skirt and a couple of blouses 3 years ago – all really cute and really tight at the same time. I didn’t realize until after the fact that they’d all been cut rather small. I never wore them until this year. On a whim, I tried them on just a few weeks ago and they all fit! The skirt is actually so loose that it rotates around my waist during the day without my realizing it. How I am able to slip on that skirt is still the 9th wonder of the world to me. How could this possibly happen without MAJOR weight loss? I really don’t get it.

I always thought this particular skirt was too short. Now that I can get into it, I’m shocked to find that it’s actually a midi-skirt and really comfortable, too.

Sometimes these days, when I walk past a mirror, I stop and came back to the mirror in surprise: Does my face look thinner, or is it just my imagination? Nah … I must be imagining things …

But a few people (and I really mean just a few) feel like something’s different, too. A couple have actually gone so far as to say the magic words: ‘You look smaller.’ These have been people from out of town who rarely see me, so I have to believe them.

The most convincing incident for me to date, though (besides the black skirt) has been the few pictures I’ve taken of myself with my terribly outdated cell phone which everyone (including my kids) has begged me to get rid of. My sisters were so impressed that I actually took some pictures. One of them emailed, saying, ‘Ah-ah – even bathroom selfies? Well done!’ Anyway, my point was that the same week I shared these pictures with them, my workplace did some sort of publicity event and one of their related publications had my picture on it. They hadn’t asked me for a picture to use (which is great, since I wouldn’t have had any to give!), but they just used one taken at the office last year. My other sister emailed me about it, saying: ‘You look like a linebacker’ – hahahahaha! (She’s so mean, but she wasn’t lying.)

They all remarked, though, that I’d clearly lost weight, comparing my ‘pro footballer’ photo to my ‘bathroom selfies.’ Even I had to admit that there’s a big (no pun intended) difference.


Not according to the scale, anyway. Not really.

Does it matter, though? I’m sure I will lose weight. Eventually. (Whenever that is).

What matters more, though – my hang-up, or the fact that there is a change, that there is progress?

Is there any reason why ‘progress’ can’t be re-defined? I’ve learned to be open-minded about progress in other areas of my life and have found it so liberating and productive: with projects at work, with my children, certainly with my divorce. Why not just grant myself this same privilege? Why rob myself of the privileges I have freely given other people and other things? The privileges of flexibility, patience, and of just trying to see the best … or of trying to see the ‘bigger’ picture.


  1. Ada,

    Try breakfast daily and light snack with water for lunch and you will drop 20 pounds in no time.


    1. Thanks, Ichie. I know-I know-I know: I need to take the time to look into my diet. I'm 'toying' with this idea. I hope you don't mean I should skip dinner, though! Many thanks.

    2. Eat breakfast like a Queen, lunch like a Princess and Dinner as a pauper, goes the saying. Dinner before 7:30 makes for better digestion. Ichie

  2. congrats on trying and continuing to try. Good luck

    1. Thank you, MPB - I really need it!

  3. deal all kind of art supplies, art materials and art tools online in Pakistan at the lowest price. Enjoy cash on delivery. Shop With Confidence in