Monday, September 28, 2009

Where was I.....?

It's funny how time evaporates as we get busier. My intention was to blog every day, but now eight days have passed since my last installment. Sigh. And truthfully, my mind hasn't been on weight loss, either. Upon returning home from Hawaii, I had to finish up preparations for my Fall quarter classes, something I'm still working on, and also help my son get ready to leave for college. I haven't been exercising much, nor have I done much hypnosis. So while I haven't gained anything back, I know I haven't lost anything either.

What's on my mind right now is the urge to de-clutter my life and home. My garage is full of crap; my yard is overrun with weeds; my desk is overflowing with papers, files, and half-completed Do Lists. The rosters and gradesheets of my classes need updating. The clean laundry I folded last week is still sitting on my bed, though the piles are smaller because I'm just taking clothes from them to wear every day. How I would love to just stop the world for a week so I could catch up, clean up, and start fresh. It's hard to stay focused on healthy living when so many other plates must be kept spinning. C-Man and I have noticed how other obligations have taken priority over our workouts now that the Hawaii trip has passed. But really, life never gets less complicated (does it?). Other people seem to do it. Why can't I?

But the urge to get rid of stuff is a healthy one. In fact, too much clutter can create stress - can literally weigh people down. (That goes for emotional clutter, too.) It's not uncommon to hear self-improvement gurus of all sorts advising people to simplify, scale back, and free themselves of the trappings of modern life. If you're feeling frustrated, unfulfilled, trapped, or what have you, start by purging the baggage - the leftovers. That means, if you haven't touched something for over a year, get rid of it. Lighten the load, as it were. That idea is very appealing right about now.

One thing I did get rid of recently is my bathing suit. I'd had the same suit for the past five years, and while in Hawaii, I noticed that it was becoming threadbare in the back. There was this little spot that I at first thought was wet sand, but on closer inspection, I saw the the nylon fibers had worn out and only a transparent mesh was left. As the week went on, these bare spots spread down the back seam, and then I saw the same thing happening in the front. My suit was dying.

That suit deserved to be worn out. I trained for a triathlon in it; I swam in many bodies of water in it; I braved beaches and pools in it, even though I still cringed to be out in public revealing my big fat body. But this suit helped me out a lot. It was called a "Slimshaper," or some such thing, and it was made of comfortingly sturdy fabric that trimmed, supported, and disguised a multitude of sins. It had racing stripes down the sides which enhanced the waistline, and had a little zipper in the front that could be flirtatiously lowered if the mood allowed. I actually felt pretty good in it. That suit had a big job to do, all right .... and it did so admirably.

I'm telling myself that that will be the last "fat swim suit" I'll ever have. When I took it off for last time in Hawaii, I said a little thank you to it. . . the poor thing. It seemed appropriate to leave it there in beautiful Kauai. Good-bye, old friend. Now if only everything else could be disposed of so easily and peacefully.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Aloha, Hawaii ....

... and we're home. I look at this photo, taken from our hike up the Na Pali Coast, and almost fall into a dream. The trip was everything we hoped it would be. Better, even. We had just the right balance of kick-back pool/beach time and ambitious treks and wanderings.

So the question is.... how was this beach vacation before having reached my goal weight? In a word, wonderful. While I didn't exactly feel like a bathing beauty, I was comfortable and happy. My boyfriend made it even easier for me by not ogling all the hot young things in their bikinis, or at least not very obviously. It was nice to realize that no one looks at me as harshly as I do myself. I simply relaxed and enjoyed myself.

Another notable realization was how much we had both benefitted from all our G-Ball workouts over the past month. Not only did we both look trimmer, we had a much easier time while kayaking and hiking as we would have otherwise. Specifically, we took what I consider a very vigorous hike straight up and straight back down the NaPali coast to a secluded little beach and back. C-Man is part-mountain goat and he was unphased, but I've never been real good at trails that gain a lot of elevation quickly, or have long stretches where you have to look for your next stepping place. And even though I was tired, cranky, sweaty, heat- exhausted, blistered, and hobbling on my bad ankle by the end of it, I had at least done it. I don't honestly know if I would have been able to before improving my fitness this much. (In truth, I was seriously considering ordering a helicopter to relieve me of the trek back!)

The point is that I was able to have this memorable experience and sense of accomplishment that I wouldn't have had before. Too many times, I have let my weight and self-image keep me from experiencing life in it's full flush. Not anymore. I am 48 years old and only have so many good years left. I intend to make the very most of them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

... And One!

Tomorrow is the big day! Clothes are scattered all over my bed awaiting the final packing decisions. I'm one of those people who always seems to bring too much or not enough. I have also tended to bring the wrong stuff - too dressy, too sloppy, too warm, not warm enough. Not this time. I am determined to bring exactly the right clothes, for both weather and occasions. (It helps that most of our time will be spent in the water!) And while neither of us has achieved the fitness goals we'd envisioned when this whole idea got started, we are feeling good about our progress and the commitment we have made to changing our habits.

C-Man and I have done our GMF workout several times this week, noting how we've improved in strength and endurance. Mind you, we are both still dripping like Robert Hayes in Airplane! by the end, and some of the exercises are really HARD!, but there's no doubt that we're getting better at it. Yesterday he told me that I'm looking smaller, specifically referring to my butt. (Really? Cool!) I don't see it yet, but I'll trust him. However, I can see that his arms are looking downright cut. I suppose our main areas of concern, our mid-sections, will be the last to show real results.

I do regret not taking this effort more seriously before last month. As C-Man said, it seemed so far away. Also, I had convinced myself that the small steps I'd been taking were sufficient to make the weight come off. It's so easy to delude oneself about the actual efforts being made. It's so easy to get distracted, to get stressed, to get discouraged, to get angry, resentful, or even bored. What this current process has reminded me is that changing one's body and living habits is a major undertaking. It requires more than just patience, as I've already discussed. Instead of being a straight clear path, this life course is fraught with pitfalls of many kinds. Success can only be achieved with a commitment to keep going, and not look back. Just get back up and keep on going.

I must constantly tell myself that I can and will do it this time. I can change my body and my attitude. I figure that it will take the better part of a year to reach my goal weight, and perhaps another year after that to stablize my emotional responses to weight loss and body image. That's a long time, and a lot of blogging to come! But that's ok. To be successful, people must be willing to do what is necessary, right? I am willing. I wish it could be easier, but I am willing.

For now, I have a trip to prepare for. I doubt there will be any new posts until after we return on Sept. 19th. Our plan is to eat lots of fish, fresh fruit, and be active every day. Beyond that, we'll be taking a break - a vacation! I leave town grateful to C-Man for providing this trip and being my fitness partner, and for all the encouragement I've been receiving from everyone. I'm also grateful that we are going to Hawaii after the peak tourist season, and for
secluded places like Secret Beach. Until later, Aloha!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Three Days ...

Just a quick note for tonight. Today I decided I needed some "new" clothes for the Hawaii trip. I have several things that I wore in Mexico last year that will be fine for this trip, and while they are a little baggier, they still fit. Rats. As I've mentioned to many people, I hate those commercials for weight loss products which show a woman squealing, "I lost 18 pounds and 3 dress sizes!!!" I lose 18 pounds and my watch gets loose. Anyway, I hesitated to buy anything at all, citing the typical objections of the overweight shopper: 1) I don't deserve to buy new clothes, 2) Nothing will look good anyway, and 3) why spend a lot of money on clothes that aren't supposed to fit in another few months? So what's the answer? Value Village!!!

I popped in there not expecting to find much, but I walked out with quite a few things - several tops, a beach cover, some great shorts for hiking and/or playing in the ocean, and even a colorful dress. The damage? $38.00! At that price, I don't care if never wear the stuff again. I can donate it, in fact, and have it end up right back where I found it, and where the next chagrined plus-sized shopper can give them yet another new life. Ah, the great circle of apparel.

More later, y'all. Time to color those stubborn greys and apply some sunless tanner.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Four Days to Go

It's been over a week now since I've blogged. (I still can't get used to that verb.) I had a friend from out-of-state come to visit last week, my daughter started back to school, and a few other distractions kept me from the computer, but I didn't stray too far from the plan here. However, as C-Man wrote in his blog yesterday, the workouts stopped dead. I did take a couple good walks with my houseguest, including the stairclimb from the Seattle waterfront to Pike Place Market. Oh, my aching knees... . I could have done my G-ball routines during the week, but I didn't. Still, except for sharing a piece of "Chocolate Orgasm Cake" at the comedy club Friday night, my friend and I both ate pretty reasonably during her visit. She understands and supports my efforts, having battled some weight issues of her own. It helps to have friends who have also lived through the weight-gain trifecta: marriage, children, and divorce.

And now there are four days left until the 11th. I am both excited and depressed. C-Man mentioned pre-vacation blues in his last blog, though I don't think we're depressed for the same reasons. What I am feeling now is a very familiar disappointment in not having lost more weight before an important event. The next four days will not find me in a smaller size or sporting less cellulite. Sure, I have lost a few pounds and made some real improvement in my overall fitness. But the beach, the swimsuit .... the same ugly story remains. I will not be the sleek, buff, trophy girlfriend I want to be; I will not be prancing around joyfully in my first bikini. Not this trip, anyway.

Nevertheless, I am choosing to be positive. Where normally I would let myself spiral down into a miasma of self-loathing, today I am taking the long view. This process is working. The longer I stay with it, the easier and more natural it will get, and the closer I will get to reaching my goal. There is no other option but to keep going. In the meantime, I can still enjoy this vacation for the special, romantic getaway that it is. It's not as though I'll be turned away at the boarding gate: "I'm sorry, Ma'am, but you're too fat to go to Hawaii. Please try again next year." Overweight or not, I am in a good place. Remember that woman who took six months to lose ten pounds? It will happen if I just stay focused on the goal. Iamnotafailure-Iamnotafailure-Iamnotafailure......

And meanwhile, I know how lucky I am. Yesterday afternoon, C-Man came by for a workout. He also surprised me with a very cool pair of hiking sandals. And they even fit! (I have duck feet - practically no shoe fits.) He enthused about the hikes we're going to take, and how we can play in the surf in these sandals without risking injury on sharp rocks and such. He looked happy and full of anticipation. Then after our workout, we sat down together and he asked about the events of this past week. As I told him what I'd been up to and how things had been going, he listened intently and smiled sweetly at me. I saw love in his face. I almost stopped talking so I could just stare back, returning his gaze. This was not a look of disappointment or disdain. He is not only fully prepared to be seen with me on the beach, he is counting the seconds until we get there, thighs and all! How lovely.

So, yeah! Dance like nobody's watching, right? Heck yes! Hawaii is waiting and life is good.