A blog about writing . . . and a lot of other things

Monday, June 25, 2012

In pursuit of washboard abs

I've mentioned several times that I'm participating in a Biggest Loser competition.  There are about thirty of us - friends and acquaintances - and if the competition goes anything like it has in the past, there will be a range of results.  There will also be a few outliers who manage to lose twenty to thirty pounds and start running marathons twice a week. I will try very hard not to hate these people.

My goal this time is to lose ten pounds.  This will not allow me to win the competition.  It takes more than that.

So why do I keep participating when I won't win?  Because it doesn't matter if I don't win the competition.  If I lose a couple of pounds, I have won.  If I simply manage not to gain, I have won.

Fat Amy.  I am not fond of this picture.
I used to weigh about seventy pounds more than I do now.  If you've ever been really heavy and lost the weight, you know how much work - physical and emotional - losing that kind of weight requires, and how horrifying the thought of putting it back on is.  I still need to lose about thirty pounds, but even more important is keeping the weight off.

Before I had kids I always assumed I was just doomed to be a fat person.  I wasn't one of those people that hits adulthood, eats too many pans of brownies, and has it catch up with their metabolism.  No, I always ate more than my metabolism could handle and was heavy from the time I was six years old.  There was no "getting back to my high school weight."  I'm thinner now than I was in high school.

Still fat, but much better now.
After my daughter was born I was so horrified by the condition of my body that I joined Weight Watchers.  Okay, I'll be honest, I didn't officially join Weight Watchers (at that time).  I just got the materials from my sister-in-law and did it by myself (I'm cheap that way).

Having kids has this effect on you sometimes.  Suddenly you realize that your health is important to more than just you.  There are people depending on you and kicking the bucket early would be a big disappointment for them.

So I tried to lose weight and it worked.   I was able to lose sixty-five pounds over the course of nine months.  Don't I make it sound so easy?  It wasn't easy, but it was possible, and I was so happy.  It's an amazing thing to learn after several decades of obesity that the trick to weight loss really is to eat less and exercise, that you really do control your own weight.

I'd be lying if I pretended that my only motivation to lose weight was my health.  I'm a woman and I live in the modern age of advertising when the media portrays women (compliments of Photoshop) sans anything resembling a realistic womanly shape.  I'm as vain as the next girl.

However, at this point it has a whole lot more to do with my health.  I've had the joy of having my body develop lots of problems at a pretty young age and also watching my father's health fail pretty spectacularly.  Thankfully none of my health issues are life-threatening, but keeping my body in the best condition possible has become a lot more important to me.  I still have many years left ("Good Lord willing and the creeks don't rise," as my dad used to say), and I don't want to spend them on a motorized scooter before I have to, even if Medicare will pay for it.

This blog post was not as much fun as I like them to be, but if it can be an encouragement to somebody then it's worth writing.  I'm as big a fan of food as the the next person, but it's not worth eating your way into an early grave.  You only get one body.  Take care of it.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have more crunches to do.  If I'm ever going to get those washboard abs, I'd better get to it.

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