Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Why Weight? Confessions of a Career Dieter

I know this might come as a huge shock to all three of my loyal readers, but I am overweight. I have a fat problem. I'm probably not described as morbidly obese, but then I'm afraid to check a medical dictionary for a specific definition of that term. I don't have hundreds of pounds to lose, however, I am considerably beyond an acceptable weight for my ever shrinking height. I am also well over an acceptable weight for my ever shrinking wardrobe.  
With age, my shape has become unusual if not unbalanced. I now look much more like SpongeBob Square Pants with the skinny legs eminating from a rectangular upper body. On the bright side, I have been noting that this physique is common to about a third of women my age.                                                  
I always tell myself that I'm in good company when it comes to my weight. After all, Oprah is hefty, and has been for most of her tv life.  Despite her private pain and public struggles with weight, despite having money, having chefs and trainers, she's still not a small woman.

 I don't blame anyone for my "fluffiness". There were no magazines with skinny models or tv shows with anorexic actors that caused me to have body image problems. I think arguments to that effect are excuses at best. In fact, too many people use excuses for their shortcomings...."I don't have time, my kids... my job...my husband, I'm too tired... too stressed...." and so on and so on.

On the other hand, some peoples' struggles, with weight or whatever the issues, might be traced back to childhood. I certainly remember being called "fat" by my peers. Strange though as I look at photos from my youth, I realize that I not only looked absolutely normal but I was even bordering on slim. I think that there must have been different reasons why I was sometimes called names. Not only did my classmates have their own insecurities, but also, now that I'm slightly more mature, I have come to understand that they were obviously jealous. Besides having the splendid name of a saint, I always sported the most lovely pair of laced up Buster Brown shoes to accessorize my pretty pink party dress. Envy, I see it now. That's all it was.

My leanest years were in my twenties when I lived on the 10th floor of an apartment building which, because of an unfortunate union dispute, had no elevator. I was fit, and the stairs were a breeze, even on laundry day. I owned no car, walked everywhere and played squash with my friends. After awhile, a car and an elevator arrived on the scene, parties increased, physical activities slowed down, and weight began to creep up, one draft beer, one chicken wing at a time.

I remember my first diet clearly. I wrote down my consumption each day, limited myself to 500 calories and became unbearable, obnoxious, but nonetheless thin. Oh, and those 500 calories usually included several cups of black tea which I counted at 35 calories a piece. Exaggeration couldn't hurt could it? It did. An unrealistic lifestyle and  the shock of being called "phat" while sporting a silver bikini led to regaining some of the weight. I was not yet ready to see myself as others saw me.

My next adventure was with a now defunct diet club. I don't remember much about it except that I ate a lot of cottage cheese on toast and created pancakes out of sliced and blenderized bread. Once again, my weight dropped. It was amazing. I didn't even have to cut my toenails, get a haircut or shave my legs to ensure a weekly loss. It was all so easy in my younger years.

Then I had children. One can only use them as an excuse for so long. I have surpassed the 20 year baby fat limit.

And so, over the years, I tried various diets. I never did anything drastic, expensive or fad-like. I avoided the urine injections and resisted the temptation to swallow a tapeworm. No preportioned dinners were delivered to my home and I did not consume small jars of baby food. I confess that I did try the cabbage soup diet and survived for about two days.

For awhile, I gave up dieting using the argument of balance in the universe as my defence. There's only so much fat in the world and every time one person takes it off, another puts it on. I was convinced I was sparing someone the terrible fate of weight gain through my own martyrdom. After sitting on the sofa, eating popcorn and watching a few episodes of "The Biggest Loser", I once again became realistic about how weight gain actually happens.

I've lost weight and I've gained it back. It's a vicious cycle. I dieted without concern for my health. Most of the time, I just wanted to look better...vanity. For some, that's a motivator. As I aged, it became less and less so.

Some of my best memories and most fun times were spent when a couple of my neighbours and I attended  a diet group together. We would encourage each other and go for walks in the evenings. It was relaxing, good for us and we had lots of laughs.

After moving away from my supportive neighbours, I went to a new meeting where I attempted to count points. I know this works successfully for many people. For me, it was not only costly but complex. Since I usually got up quite early in the mornings, I couldn't figure out how to get past noon without running out of points. One choice was to go to bed at 6 p.m. just to stay on track....not great for the social life.

So now, what am I to do? I have attended a non profit weight loss support group in my town for awhile. I lost some weight by monitoring my intake and exercising each day, changing my lifestyle, the only way. At least I was a healthy overweight person. Then I got ill and gained weight.

I suppose I am writing this out of my current state of fat frustration. My metabolism has never been great and now it's defunct, as is my motivation. My knees hurt and my breathing is suffering.

At my age it is necessary to reduce calories, eat thoughtfully and increase metabolism to maintain ultimate health. My "Bucket List" is too long to give up now.                                                      
My Wii Mii (before)
So like the alcoholic who confesses in front of an audience of his/her peers...I need to say that "I am Hilde and my caloric intake is higher than what I burn off ." I am hereby making a public pledge to get back to controlling my portions, eating healthfully and exercising. This is no longer for the sake of vanity, but for the sake of my health. I shall begin today and "this will be the first day of a lifestyle change that will last for the rest of my life".                                     

My Wii Mii (after)...The upper arms seem doomed forever!

No comments:

Post a Comment