Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Update

In February I posted an entry titled T is for Tuesday in which I confessed my issues with weight. I had done a little bit of research about my particular situation and felt compelled to make a public pronunciation at the time. I tracked back to that particular post because I realized that it is time for an update.

I got off to a very slow start . . .

But in April an announcement went around my office in New York inviting staff to participate in another round of an office pool "Biggest Loser" contest. The rules also stated that one must work from the New York office to participate. I objected from my home office in Minnesota. When they explained the need for someone else to weigh me and report my progress on the same scale every three weeks, I suggested that I could exercise my YMCA membership and have a personal trainier weigh me and send my results. My colleagues agreed and I paid my $20 participant fee. Let the competition begin!

I received some tips from the office, but I also had a new iPhone and a friend introduced me to the MyFitnessPal application. You can access this very helpful interactive tool on the internet with a regular computer, too. I began using the app to help me simply track my food intake and calorie output with daily activities and planned exercise. Over the course of six months I have lost 20 pounds and placed second in the office pool. I couldn't be more pleased and proud. My body Mass Index has dropped to 28.3 so I have officially shed enough of me to downgrade from being obese to overweight. My next goal is a BMI under 25 to be deemed officially "healthy" weight.

I know many, many people who struggle with food and weight and my heart goes out to each and every one. I dropped my first ten pounds by willing myself to cease drinking Coca-Cola. But knowing that this woman needs incentives and rewards, I gave myself permission to drink one Coke a week (usually on Friday) and to take one day off each week: I eat whatever I want and don't track it at all. I do my level best to eat healthier foods, smaller portions, and I track all my activities using the fitness calculator. THe daily net calorie goal really works for me. I try and walk at least twice a day for a minimum of 20 minutes, and if I can't fit that in I crank up the tunes on my iPod and take a 3 pm Dance Break for 10 minutes. (Yes, I have danced like a maniac in my assigned cubicle in the New York office. It caused incredulity and hilarity. I think it helped releive stress for others, too.)

I haven't lost as much as quickly as my friend who enrolled with Slimgenics. And I have other friends looking better and better using Weight-Watchers. It is clear to me that we have to do what works for us and not the same thing works for everybody. And our national bipolar culture of food, obsessing about being skinny yet producing food in huge portions with far to many non-nutritive fillers, designed to be eaten quivkly, sabotoges healthy eating habits.

I am grateful for the 20 pounds I have lost. I am even more grateful for feeling better in a healthier lifestyle. I am also hitting one of those dreaful plateaus. I began my backslide last week and gained two pounds. In fact all but one of us in the office pool gained in the most recent three-week segment. We appealed to the HR Department for help through our medical plan and we were warned. In the fall, when days grow shorter and temperatures grow cooler, human metabolism shifts to prepare for the colder weather to come. We naturally feel hungrier. So this is the time to lock elbows in our effort, support one another with good habits, be diligent in counting our calories and taking time to exercise.

It is also clear to me that guilt, shame, and helplessness are all completely unuseful in this journey. It really has become for me more about how I feel, physicall, emotionally, and spiritually, not about how I look. (Although someone noticing how I look now and then certainly doesn't hurt. Thank you!)

The next 20 pounds won't be as easy. Dropping the Coke habit was a good boost to get me started. Now I actually have to work at it, especially since I am not yet willing to give up my beloved beer! So I guess I just need to exercise more.

Feel free to friend me at MyFitnessPal where I am known as Bskov. Or just keep an eye on my counter on this blog on the right. I'll cheer you on and share my tips and trips in an effort to be accountable to myself, my community, and my committment.

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