I've been trying to figure out how to write The Weight Entry. Yes, that's right. Weight.
Here's the scoop. I have been overweight since... forever. Basically, since adolescence. I've been what the BMI scale determines to be "obese," however, I dare to say that's wrong. I'm healthy. I haven't had a medical issue/condition pretty much ever, and other than a yearly-or-so cold, I don't really get sick. Knock on wood, of course, but there you have it. I enjoy riding my bike for 25-50 miles at a time in mild weather and I'm on my feet all day at work. So let's just get that overweight-but-weirdly-healthy part out of the way.
But that still leaves the overweight part. My "ideal" or "healthy" weight is somewhere a good thirty pounds less than what I am. So says those impersonal BMI scales again, so let's just take this with a grain of salt, shall we?
Back in June, two things happened, or should I say, culminated. One, I learned that I didn't win a scholarship to go to grad school this fall, so I had to wait an extra year. I had been stressed about this for months, and was depressed afresh when I learned that my plans would have to be put off. I got lazy. I ate terribly. And that leads me to the second thing, which is that I weighed myself one day and realized that I was the heaviest I had ever been in my entire life, none of my clothes were fitting, and I felt like shit.
I learned a very interesting tip from Neil Gaiman right around that time: focus on the mountain that is your goal. It may be in the distance, far off, and you haven't even reached it yet. But whatever you do, work toward your goal. If you do this one thing, will it help you get to your mountain? Will it send you back down it? His commencement speech from earlier this year rings loud and clear.
So I decided to just change the way I ate. I actually forbade myself to do exercise because I knew it would spark my appetite. So I cut my calories to somewhere between 1200-1600 per day, made sure to drink lots of water, and ate monounsaturated fat in just about every meal as a rule. I still go to restaurants and eat enriched pasta, but not every day. I still drink countless beers on nights when I go out, but not every time. I drink so much more water than I ever did before. It's been seriously challenging, but also quite fun. I've been able to experience a lot of interesting cuisine because of it -- and hardly ever feel as though I was dieting. I think the key to that is simply this: it's not a diet so much as a permanent change in how I eat. I don't intend to stop eating this way. It's awesome. I love it. I feel 100x better being healthy than working toward some goal called "skinny." Of course, it's impossible to completely rule that out. As a woman, I'm programmed to think that's the goal of all goals, right? Oh yeah, and to marry a multi-millionaire. With a yacht. Naturally.
Well, you know. But what I really want is to look awesome in a pair of jeans, to wear a size medium instead of a large, and maybe most interestingly... see what I look like at a healthy weight that I have never, ever been before. How will I feel? How will my face shape change? What kind of new, fun clothes will I be able to try -- and feel confident in?
Today is a day for small rejoicing, because I just reached a milestone of 15lbs lost since June. This of course leaves me with quite a way to go, but fifteen pounds, in the scheme of things, is great news for me. It's the most I've ever lost on a diet, to begin, and also well past the point in any such diet that the excuse of "water weight" or "just a fluke of the scale" can be applied. It's real, healthy weight loss, and I'm happy to say that I feel great and I fit into most of my old jeans already.
One trick has worked exceptionally well for me when it comes to achieving small goals. I shop at Goodwill and other thrift shops, or the Target clearance racks, constantly. Let's throw TJMaxx in there for good measure. I think I have a fun, if a little eccentric style, and I like to try new skirts and jeans and whatnot whenever I can find them on the cheap. Over the last couple of months, I've had great success motivating myself to shed a couple more pounds by purchasing a skirt or a pair of jeans that I'm in love with, but are still just slightly too small. One size too small, let's say. Or just small enough that once they stretch out a bit, they'll be fine. But today, they don't fit. And I buy them anyway. Because I love them immensely, and I want to wear them so badly that I try them on week after week until they finally fit. Et voila! Next up is a skirt by Fei I found the other day that will fit before fall is out! I'm determined.
Hopefully I'll get up the courage to share some o' my style here. Right now, the annoyance is that none of my previously favorite clothes are fitting correctly anymore. A good problem, but a problem nonetheless, and one I'll address soon. ;)