Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Competing Resolutions

Resolution Road was not my only new year's resolution. I always make more than one resolution; blogging just happened to be the resolution that I began as soon as the year started. I realize I have been neglecting this blog a bit in favor of another resolution: to lose at least 10 pounds by getting in shape (no fad diets). I procrastinated on this particular resolution because for me it was a very daunting challenge.

I've never had to lose weight before. In fact
, I've spent most of my adult life trying to gain weight! At age 18, I was 5 feet, four inches, and probably weighed in at 100 pounds sopping weight. I was just always skinny. It's in my genes. My older brother is a sweater-wearing twig. I was always pretty content with my body, but then my doctors gave me a complex about it because they always suspected I had an eating disorder, which was the furthest thing from the truth. I've always naturally eaten like every doctor will tell you you're supposed to: small, frequent meals. I don't eat a lot at once, but I have to eat all day long because otherwise I get really bad low blood sugar. When I was 18 or 19, I even took a prescribed hormone to help increase my appetite to put on the pounds. I gained weight and also had a pretty strong allergic reaction which included rashes, hot flashes complete with horrible night sweats, and best of all, I skipped a period and had to deal with my mom accusing my virgin-self of being pregnant. That was a lot of fun.

It took moving out of my parent's home for me to gain weight without the help of drugs.

I grew up eating very healthy. My mom made almost everything from scratch, and I ate a home-cooked
meal at the dinner table at least six nights a week. My mom covered all the food groups in her dinners, with usually two to three vegetable choices. I didn't even know there were such things as cake mixes until I was a teenager. The only food I was used to eating from a box was my favorite, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

I spent my teenage years in a household of seven, with a very limited food budget. It was always a fight for the last roll at dinner time, and food disappeared out of the cupboard almost as soon as it went in. I never had the option of eating much junk food, and I certainly never had the option to pig out on anything unless I wanted to be the jerk who ate two of something when there was only one of it to go around, and my obese stepbrother was happy to be the selfish jerk.

My eating habits changed at age 20 when I began buying my own groceries for my own apartment. Kraft Mac n Cheese, Pasta Roni, spaghetti with homemade sauce (my specialty), turkey dogs, Top Roman...these were my staples. I also started drinking whole milk instead of 1 percent. It took a little while, but I put on some weight and was happy about it.

When I went on birth control before my wedding, I put on a little more weight. As anyone can tell by my wedding pictures, I was still tiny, just a little more healthy looking. I've switched birth controls a few times, and every time, I've gained more weight. I was perfectly content with these weight gains, and my husband was thrilled that my always big booty had grown even larger, and I had more meat on my bones. It was a bit of a shock when I went from a size 5 to a size 7 pants, but I eventually adjusted and felt "
ok" about the change.

This past winter I put on weight I am
not ok with. In early fall I began feeling really ill all the time, with my main symptom being that I had even less energy than usual and was sleeping around 14 hours a night, and falling asleep in the middle of the day. I had a number of other symptoms, but the main point is that I couldn't work; I could barely do light housework. Walking from one end of my house to the other was about the most exercise my body got. Eventually, the only pants I owned that fit came with an elastic waistband.

I wanted to begin exercising as soon as the new year began, yet I couldn't find the will-power to start. In addition to being tired all of the time, I am in pain every day of my life. I have a horribly crooked spine that coupled with permanent
damage from a car accident, causes horrible back pain. When I go to a new physical therapist, the first thing the therapist says upon examining my spine and feeling the tightness of my back and neck is, "Wow!" I'm also at the beginning of Osteoporosis, even though milk has always been my favorite drink, and while I was never forced to clean my plate, my grampa taught me at an early age to finish my milk. My body is in bad, bad shape. I get winded walking two flights of stairs. My body creaks and cracks all day long. I'm hypermobile, so that adds to the pain and the difficulty in safely exercising because my joints overextend. All of this made it easy for me to procrastinate on my resolution to lose weight.

Things changed at the end of January. First, I used money to order Richard Simmon's Sweatin' to the Oldies. I generally hate working out. The only exercise I like is gymnastics and swimming. I don't have access to a pool, and I'd probably kill myself if I tried to seriously get back into gymnastics.
Sweatin' to the oldies seemed the most realistic option.

Second, after talking about it for weeks, my husband and I finally took a walk together around our neighborhood on the last Sunday in January. The very next day while my husband was at work, I took a walk on my own.

These two events led to my new devotion to exercise. My goal is to walk every other day, and on the days I don't walk, I do the exercise video, and everyday I work on looking a little less pregnant by doing sit-ups
. So far, I am doing really well with this plan. I am completely surprised and proud that I have an exercise regiment. I even made myself a calender to follow. The Richard Simmons' video is exhausting and I've yet to make it all the way through maintaining the aerobic pace, but I manage to keep moving the entire time, and even being able to do that much shocks me.

I have skipped the video twice in lieu
of working out on Wii Fit instead. I don't even own a Wii, but babysitting for family that does has its advantages. I absolutely love Wii Fit and I know if I had one, I would be completely devoted to it, contrary to the article I read today claiming no one sticks with it. (Yes, I thought the article was horribly slanted and poor journalism, but I think that about a lot of Yahoo articles.) I am the most competitive person ever, so exercising for the top score on a video game is ideal for me. I have overextended myself on the Wii and paid for it, but I better know my limits now.

I am very happy that since creating this plan 10 days ago, I have only missed one day of exercise, and that was the day I almost fell down from pain in my lower back. (I have to be more careful with the
Wii Fit yoga. Now I think I understand why my rheumatologist didn't want me doing yoga.)

It feels so great to know that I'm actively working to shape up my body instead of just complaining about it. My husband is really proud of me, and that encourages me even more. He just tells me, "You can do side bends or sit-ups, but please don't lose that butt."

Now I need to better balance my resolution to exercise with my resolution to write. My brain and body usually don't really wake up until around the time most people are going to bed, so I generally only have a limited window of when I can "function" and work on my resolutions. As of tomorrow I am canceling cable TV and Internet. I will be signing up for
DSL service, but times are tough and cable TV is not a luxury we will be able to afford, especially with my husband's workplace closing in less than two months. Living without cable TV will definitely free up some time I could devote to writing. Hopefully I'll be back on this blog soon, with something the masses might find more interesting. Since this blog is a resolution, I felt it was important to discuss the other resolution that is competing for my free time.

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