How Did I Get Here and Where Am I Going?

My partner and I after hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a completely awesome experience.  That's us at our skinniest (also our dirtiest after three days on the trail).

My partner and I after hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, a completely awesome experience. That’s us at our skinniest (also our dirtiest after three days on the trail).

When I was in junior high, I was at a friend’s house when she asked me if I wanted a cookie. She opened the closet, pulled out a previously opened bag, pulled out two cookies each, closed the bag, and returned it to the closet.

I thought to myself, “People keep cookies?”

It had never occurred to me, because we never did. When we went grocery shopping, very often the Oreos were opened in the car on the way home. By the end of the day, they were gone, and I am an only child.

That’s a lotta cookies per person, and a pretty good representation of the terrible eating habits I learned growing up. This was compounded by not much in the way of activity.

It is no surprise that my mother was often terribly overweight, fluctuating from 50 pounds to 200 pounds overweight, depending where she was in the diet cycle (aside: happily, a health scare had her drop 150 pounds, which she has held steady at for several years now; unfortunately, after being thin most of his adult life, my dad seems to have gained what she lost). Needless to say, I was an overweight child, though I was lucky to never really get beyond the “chunky” stage. There was often fad dieting in my house, and when I was 13 I turned “vegetarian”. This means I didn’t eat meat, but it doesn’t mean I ate healthy. I ate lots of pizza, fish sticks, grilled cheese, PB&J.

As a young adult, I discovered a love of the outdoors and got involved with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Their active schedule got me out a lot – having an appointed time to get somewhere and knowing I’d meet up with friends worked for me, and I was really involved with them for a number of years. Over the years it led to backpacking, kayaking, rock climbing, skiing, biking, and any number of other adventures (I’m up to try anything once).  I also cleaned up my vegetarian diet, but it was never great.

Consequently, I’ve stayed relatively slim as an adult; most people who hear that I’m trying to get fit or lose weight say “but you don’t need to lose weight!” It drives me crazy! I could definitely afford to lose 15-20 pounds or so; I know that’s not a lot and the struggle is much more for other people. But trust me, when I’m naked, I’m not happy. No part of me is lean, and that’s where I’m trying to get.  I want to feel healthy!

Like many people, I’ve cycled through attempts. Up to a few years ago, when I tried to lose weight and “get fit”, I’d start counting calories and add in some cardio, and slowly I would succeed in losing 10-15 pounds (never actually getting to my goal weight or looking fit) before it I’d gain it all back. Two years ago we went to Peru and did the 26 mile Inca Trail trek; we trained and succeeded (aside: one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life, highly recommended) and I came back the thinnest I’d ever been. In spite of being happy and wanting to keep that going, I proceeded to eat everything in sight, and by that year’s Season of Gluttony (Thanksgiving to New Year’s) I had gained back everything and was completely disgusted with myself.

At the same time, an LA Fitness opened up in a location actually convenient for me to get to. I had been a member years ago; I liked their long hours, lots of classes, lots of options, the fact that you could go to any location (my partner travels a lot, so that is especially good for him), and the price was right (seriously, other gyms around here offer less services and are twice the price a month). My partner, also having gained back most of what he had lost coming out of our Peru trip, decided to do it with me. When went in for our “free” fitness assessment they did our BMI, and I’m pretty sure that’s the moment when my partner was ready to sign up for a Personal Trainer once a week.

Whoa, I wasn’t expecting that! It was a year-long commitment! That seemed like a lot, and it was expensive! But the truth is, I didn’t know how to do any of that stuff on my own, and I’d heard that we women are turning to mush inside as we get older, so I decided to do it, too.

I was very good in the beginning, dieting and doing cardio and doing my strength sessions. I never missed a session all year. But I couldn’t lose the weight…10 pounds came off very, very slowly. Worse, I had actually taken “before” pictures, because I was so sure that I would transform. It was very depressing to not see the results I wanted to see (truthfully I barely saw any results), and by mid-summer I had adopted the “why bother” attitude, eased up on the cardio (it takes too much time!), and officially gained all the lost weight back by Thanksgiving and once again be disgusted with myself.

Note: our trainer is great.  It’s not his fault I didn’t see results.  It is very clear to me that the blame for not getting the results I wanted all lies with me: not eating right, doing too little cardio, not doing my strength workouts as steadily as I should.  And oh, did I mention not eating right?

So that’s it. No more messing around. I saw a nutritionist. I did the cleanse to “reset” myself. I made a lot of plans. I’ve done a lot of reading. I’ve started cooking. I’m saving recipes all over the place. I set fitness goals for the coming year. We signed up for another year with the trainer. I’m ready. I’m in. Crikey, I hope it works this time.

One of my favorite bands, Guster (so much fun!!), has a wonderful song called “Come Downstairs And Say Hello”; it starts off slow, and builds the energy the lyrics are talking about. It seemed to speak to my situation, and I took the blog name right out of the song:

no more messing around and living
underground
and new year’s resolutions

to tell you the truth i’ve said it before
tomorrow i start in a new direction
one last time these words from me
i’m never saying them again

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