Thursday, January 8, 2009


I started this blog as a way to motivate myself to continue a weight loss and fitness regimen that I began in earnest February 2008. So far, I've done fairly well and admit that bragging about my success is another reason I started this blog. Not because I'm vain (I am), but because reminding myself of what I did right will encourage me to keep going.

All of my life, I have been overweight. My smallest size was 12 but even then was brief--mostly in late high school and a couple of stray months between undergraduate studies and law school. My average size was 14. Then I graduated law school in 1998 and have been pretty much sitting at a desk since. As a result, my weight ballooned and I was busting out of the only size 20 pants that would still fit me. I don't know how high my weight got. I wasn't brave enough to weigh myself and face the truth. I also smoke and drank every night. So, yeah, there's that.

Back in early 2006, as I was nearing the midpoint between my 30's and age 40, I realized I had to do something or the weight gain would continue. I started a vague program of exercising and watching what I ate. While I had good intentions and it definitely helped me from at least gaining weight, it wasn't well-structured. I started by buying an exercise bike and pedaling for 15 minutes, 3-4 days a week. I switched from greasy, saucy lunches to turkey sandwiches and soups. However, I was drinking wine every night. I was still smoking (I did later quit the following year). And I scarfed food like a Roman bulimic on the weekends. I just assumed that 15 minutes of exercise every other day was going to cancel out the other bad habits. of many delusional tricks that my subconscious pulled on me.

Things came to a head last February '08 when I became ill with the flu and went to the doctor's office. After stepping on the medical scale, the nurse announced that I weighed 220 lbs. This was the first time I weighed myself and it put me in utter shock. Up 'til this point, I tricked myself into thinking that I was losing weight and just had to be under 200 lbs. I went home and weighed myself again on my crappy Homedics bathroom scale. Even worse--it said I was at 230 lbs! I had no choice but to admit that my weight loss plan needed urgent and extreme tweaking if I was ever going to lose weight. By "no choice" I mean I had no more excuses. Continuing to do the same thing but expecting a different result was indeed--as they say--insanity.

Immediately, I did the following:

1. Cut down the drinking to no more than two carefully measured 4 oz. servings of my beloved wine a day. I later cut out all weeknight wine.

2. Amped up my workouts as follows, beginning at 6:00 every morning:
a. 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week
b. 15 minutes abs every other day
c. 15 minutes lower body (butt, thighs, glutes) alternating days
d. 15-20 minutes weight lifting 5 days week (different muscles alternating days)

3. Maintained a food diary by logging my daily calorie intake on the website The Daily Plate.

4. Reworked my food intake. No, I didn't join Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or get on the Atkins Diet or whatever. Rather, this involved intuitive eating and common sense: serious portion control and only eating until I was satisfied, not full. For instance, I no longer ate everything on my plate when eating out. Instead, I took half of it home. No soda or other sweet drinks, just water and green tea and some juices to get my needed potassium and other womanly nutrients. I monitored my daily calorie intake to make sure I was burning off more calories than was being ingested. It really was disarmingly simple. I cannot rationalize my way around that formula. Nope. Plus, I still got to eat what I wanted, just in reasonable amounts.

Despite my past excuses ("oh, I have a bad thyroid;" "boo hoo, my metabolism went down the shitter since I quit smoking;" "now, I couldn't have eaten that much."), the weight came off.

I have stuck with the workout schedule. It is like a habit now, a part of what I must do every morning before going to work, like showering and doing my makeup. It is so ingrained that I feel like crap if I don't workout that day. I guess what they say about 21 days is true.

I am not sure how much weight, exactly, that I lost since I started. There was initially at least a 10-lb discrepancy between my home scale and the doctor's scale, and my home scale is wonky (per my Wednesday Weigh-In, I was at 175). But I know that I lost at least 60 lbs. over the last 11 months.

I am now down to the same size I was since I got married 14 years ago, and can fit in that dress again:

Here I was at Geneva-On-the-Lake in the summer of 2004, after gorging myself on ice cream and various other boardwalk junk food:


And here I am just this past summer at the same resort:


I do still have a way to go. My goal is to lose at least another 30 lbs. Lately, it seems harder to lose those last pounds and I have hit a plateau. Indeed, I haven't lost any weight at all since mid-November 2008, despite maintaining the exercise and calorie control. Of course, this is quite common, and I'm working to step up the workouts. But, it's difficult and very frustrating to have lost that momentum.

In future blogs, I will discuss what I am doing to improve my fitness and diet, and offer anecdotes on my past experiences. I will report my Wednesday Weigh-Ins. Why not? I've already embarrassed myself here. But mostly, I will probably bitch and complain and obsess.

Now, let's see how 2009 plays out....

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