Post #1986: Hold the lettuce, I’m on a diet.

I’ve been eating a lot of salads-in-jars lately. Awesome ones – with good protein like chicken/beans/cheese, fresh veggies, a little dressing. No lettuce – I think lettuce is a big waste of time and I’ve determined that one does not need lettuce in order to make a salad – but pretty much everything else that’s healthy and good in salad goes into my jars. The one pictured to the left is comprised of olive oil/balsamic vinegar, chicken breast, chick peas, feta cheese, green onion, grape tomato, yellow bell pepper, and cucumber – tip it upside down into a bowl and voila! Lunch without a fuss – the most convenient lunch for the office, ever.

But the real reason I’ve been on this salad kick lately isn’t convenience – but the fact that (as alluded to yesterday) I am making yet another weight loss attempt because I have grown increasingly unhappy with my fitness level and worried about my future health. Also, although I’m not the heaviest I have ever been – I’m uncomfortably close to it which means that my clothing is uncomfortable and I’ve got half a dozen cute frocks in my cupboard that do not fit at all!

I could go on about why this has happened, when I was otherwise fit only a few short years ago, but really it’s the same old story – I put on weight easily, I’ve been largely sedentary the past couple of years, and while I eat relatively well (healthy food and all that), like everyone, I can be indulgent with drinks and treats if I don’t strictly moderate  what I’m doing. (Just typing this out make me want a gin and tonic).

Anyhow – I’ve got about forty pounds I would like to shed and about three weeks ago I decided to get serious about doing it – so I re-enrolled at the YWCA, dusted off my MyFitnessPal account, joined a Facebook fitness support group run by a friend, and I’ve been given’er ever since. Exercising four times a week, keeping my calorie intake down to 1300 on a low/no-exercise day and 1600 on a high one, trying to eat less carbs and more good proteins – you know, dieting and exercising the old fashioned way (goddamn I wish there was a pill for this).

In the old days, I would have started out by going to the gym for a month or two, working out on the elliptical trainer to get myself ‘fit” before joining any classes.This time, however, I have dived right in to intensive cardio workouts with no preamble. So what if I have to take breaks every ten minutes or so – at least two workouts per week I’m doing it with a professional trainer to peppy music and that’s not so bad. The other days I might walk 6 km to work, or hop on a fitness machine to get my workout instead. I’m all about mixing it up this time around – and although I thought I might die during my first week, week three is starting to feel okay. In particular my really stiff calves and ankles have loosened right up, and I am already noticing a slight increase in my cardio capacity.

Also, I’ve lost two and a half pounds so far – which means it’s working! And I’m hoping it will keep working for the next forty weeks or so – because that’s how long this is going to take (probably longer, actually, I can’t imagine that I will keep losing one pound a week steady the whole time). It’s not inconceivable to me to do this, as I have lost this much weight (and more besides) before — it’s keeping it off that requires the forever vigilance. I am hoping that my mother’s struggle with Type 2 Diabetes is motivation enough for me to do so – because that definitely looks like no fun to me and I am most clearly at risk (genetically speaking) of developing it. I would rather than happen later than earlier, if you know what I mean (as in – never, could I please die first?)

I have to stop here and acknowledge that I really hate the fact that I overweight is something I have had to deal with for pretty much my whole life since puberty. I really hate the fact that people equate overweight with lazy, with indulgent, with mental health issues (my mother always told me that if you were fat then other people knew you weren’t well inside) – all the judgments. And I can’t stand the fact that I judge other people who have weight issues just as sure as I judge myself. And so this is an emotional thing for me, as it is for every person who decides to lose weight, because it means confronting all the bad feelings one has about oneself – which often go all the way back. I’m hoping to writing more about this as part of my own process of undoing the health damage my weight would surely do to the future me.

In the meantime, there is salad. Super tasty, nutritious salad – without even having to suffer the lettuce.

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