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Monday, January 16, 2012

Losing Weight Publicly

I started a weight loss blog and to be honest, it's been too hard to keep up on both, so I am now, officially combining them.  As my friend Helen pointed out, losing weight is part of Mama Bean's World, so starting a second blog, just focused on it, might be hard.  My thoughts were to separate them because I didn't want this blog to become a bitch session about weight loss.

Oddly, it's been going along okay and it really has been incorporated quite nicely into my "real" world.

So, as you may or may not know, I started Weight Watchers right before Labor Day.  I'm down just over 10 pounds- nothing to write home about, right?  Except here's the thing-- I'm fine with it.  Most people gain 7 pounds over the holidays.  I didn't.  I've only had 2 weeks that I gained-- one week was only .2 lbs.  I've had 4 that I stayed even.  Other than that, I've been down every week- sometimes a 1.6 pounds, sometimes only .2, but I'm completely happy.

I would be lying if I didn't wish that something magically had happened and I was down 20 pounds.  But here's the scoop-- I already was exercising and I already eat fairly healthy.  Then why am I not skinny?  Well, I gained my weight fairly slowly- except for one chunk of it.  It was a lifestyle change.  I always say that switching from black tea to coffee with creamer = 1 pound a month = 12 pounds a year = 60 pounds over 5 years.  I also have a very sedentary lifestyle.  Throw in having kids and even though I love, love, love working out, the time to do it has been limited.  And those aren't excuses, they are facts.  I used to work out at 5 am.  My husband now teaches an early bird class and leaves the house at 5:45.  I'm not working out at 4.  I work too late to make that anything I would stick with.  Trust me, I've lost lots of weight-- and I've gained it back and then some.  Largely because I get all gung ho, start out with this killer work out plan and then either get hurt (ala my back) or get burned out.

This time, I very clearly decided to do it slowly, with a plan I can stick with.  I add something every month.  I am making small adjustments.  I am going to my WW's meetings (I've only missed two).  I'm fine.  I'm keeping pace.  My weight gain 2 weeks ago had me concerned--it was significant and literally over night.  Let's just say, um, things have worked their way out.  I've lost it all and then a little more.  Fiber is my friend.  And now I'll stop talking about it.

What is KILLING me is all the unsolicited advice I am getting.

Granted, I have made this public, so I expect to get "feedback."  When I ask a question at a meeting, I like everyone's input.  However, the constant insistence that I must be doing something wrong- not measuring, not tracking, not exercising-- it's annoying.  I am. And hey, you know what?  I AM losing weight.  I am doing it slowly and permanently.  My "bad" eating was limited to a few late nights a week of munching and not caring when I went out to eat 2-3 times a week.  I now am more aware.

So if you want to give me advice please do not take time out of your day to explain that fruits and vegetables are healthier than ice cream.  No shit.  Or tell me that if I exercised more, I would lose more.  Really?  Golly gosh darn, I'd never heard THAT before....

Here are the tips that I've actually found useful:
  • Park at the end of the parking lot to force yourself to walk more.
  • Set up a puzzle to work on so when you have the munchies, you have something else to do (I did point out that I would still have a free hand to munch with....).
  • Go to bed early and read.
  • Write down what you're going to eat the night before so you'll tend to stick with it throughout the day.

Here's what I have not found useful:
  • You should measure your food.  Thank you.  I have a food scale. I've done this so long I could win a game show called "How much does that weigh?"
  • Count your points.  Again, thank you.  I pay $49 a month.  I count my freaking points.
  • You should exercise more.  Okay, Einstein, here's my week.  If I exercise after 8 pm-- my only "alone" time- I will not be able to sleep.  It does not make me tired. I get 3 hours of cardio in a week at a minimum. 
  • You must not be tracking your exercise accurately.  Yes, I am.  I wear a heart rate monitor.  I know when I dial it in (which some days I do) and that the fitter I get, the harder I need to work.  It tracks that.  While nothing is fool proof, I trust it more than your assessment from afar.
  • Work out at home.  HA HA HA HA!  I can't even take a dump without an interruption.  Between an old dog that I've stepped on 100 times, a young dog that thinks I'm playing and 2 kids that suddenly find me the single most fascinating person person in the world--- it doesn't work for me. I'm happy it works for you.  Not me.  And I've tried it at 5 am.  Same thing.  It's frustrating and upsetting.  I HAVE lowered the bar and now try to do a 10-20 minute Wii Fit.  But even that is a struggle to do without ending it wanting to kick a pet or strangle a kid.
  • Anything cooking related.  I don't own a deep fryer.  I know how to prepare vegetables.  The fact that YOU just figured out how to steam broccoli in the microwave, makes me laugh.   I don't think I've ever served my children a canned fruit in my life.  Sometimes I go on a kick and even make my own bread. 
  • Don't eat fast food.  Wait- you mean a cheeseburger, fries and a milkshake are bad for me???  Thank you for the enlightenment.  
So if I seem a little pissy, it's just that this past week I got a barrage of helpful tips. 

I appreciate that every one of them came from the heart.  Truly, I do. 

But, please, I'm good.  I may need to vent here and there, but I'm good.  It may take me 2 years to get all this weight off and I'M FINE WITH IT.  I'm very truly changing my lifestyle.  I don't have "my" food and then everyone else's food. We all eat the same, healthy food at dinner.  I'm doing things I can stick with-- and sometimes that means having ice cream.  Because you know what?  If I ban it, the second I'm not "dieting" I will eat a ton of it.  Exercise is the same thing-- I'm doing things that I love, not just like.  If I love it, I will stick to it.  Running (or my attempt at it- which looks like speed waddling) and eating non-fat nasty ass cheese are not going to work for me.  Walking the dog and eating less of good cheese- that works.  If that means it takes a little longer, so be it.  And I refuse to eat diet foods.  I need to break the habit of eating cookies, ice cream, crackers-- period.  The diet foods only make me miss the real version more.

It may sound like I'm being obstinate, but I'm not.  I'm being realistic.  I know me better than anyone else.  If I ask for your advice, I want your input.  If I don't ask, I don't want it.  And if you've never had to lose weight- and I don't mean 15 pounds after having a baby-- SHUT UP.  You have no idea what it's like.  Period.  You know how to stay fit.  It's completely and totally different.  Trust me. 

Besides, at the end of the day, what I'm doing is working.  And that's all that matters to me. 

The reason I'm sharing this journey is because I hope, at the end of the day, my "little steps" process makes sense for others trying to lose a lot of weight.  It's not all or nothing.  It's really something is better than nothing, but adjust your expectations. And stick with it.  I have no doubt that I will be at a healthy weight a year from now.  No doubt.  It will definitely take another year to "get in shape"- but I will easily make my goal of being in my weight range in another year.

And I hope that if you aren't happy with your weight, you will join me!  I love that I have 3 friends that are losing weight and I was what got them started.  I LOVE it.  My little engine that could attitude- not an Jillian in your face attitude- motivated them.

Because I can do this.  I will do this.  I am doing this.


Helen said...

See my opinion, which I know you did not ask for, is that you're figuring out how to have LASTING weight loss, i.e., figuring out what works with your real life. So when you are long done losing and maintaining away, all those helpful hint givers will be back at WW counting points.

Also? I am totally competing with you for the "Hot Imaginary Friend" nametag at Em's wedding!

Mama Bean said...

That is MY title. You are Crazy Running Girl. Okay, so you'll be Hot Crazy Running Girl.

E. Jane said...

Figuring out what works for you is winning the weight loss war. I've never lost weight by tracking everything. I guess this is against traditional weight loss wisdom. But I don't need to track to know what I should be eating. Anyway, do what you need to do and you will succeed!

Helen said...

I'll take Hot Crazy Running Girl ;)

Grandma Rhonda said...

Love the fact that u keep going at it. I went on the "carb" diet for a year, never gained or lost one pound! My husband was diagnosed with diabetes, threw out everything sugar, and lost 15lbs., and it has stayed off! My catalyst was sugar, hope you find yours, And Good Luck!!

Stacy Le Piere said...

Lori, I LOVED your blog on this! You are SO RIGHT ON! I think this weight journey is very common amongst us ... and I think your approach is right on. As we go through "stages" with a growing family the challenges change ... and with that so do we ... and some periods we have more success than others with getting to our balance with it all. When I read your blog I thought it easily could have been me writing it! One day at a time .. little healthy changes ... a smile as we journey through ... and of course the occassional sangria!!!

Kristen said...

Good for you! It's amazing the kind of unsolicited advice people give when they notice you are losing weight.

I am also doing it slowly and steadily like you, and incorporating it into my life as realistically as possible. I am not calling it a diet. It's my foodstyle. Just that mental change in verbage is enough for me.

Honeybee said...

Great sharing. I agree to u that sleep early can really help to lose weight. People tend to eat more if they stay awake all night. I know a little about WW but would like to know more especially about counting points. Wish u all d best.

-honeybee from

Mama Bean said...

Honeybee- give a Weight Watcher's meeting a try. It wasn't anything that I expected and the first meeting is free. I think the new program is more about trying to get people to break bad habits-- less about calories.