Taking activity beyond the gym
Losing weight involves so many lifestyle changes. You have to change your diet, but that can really mean changing a lot. In my case, I had to completely make over my eating habits. I am a vegetarian, so I ate a lot of carbs – pasta, potatoes, rice, and bread. Oh how I love bread. I didn’t know it, but I was eating almost as poorly as possible for a diabetic. Ok, so I didn’t eat chocolate cake and donuts every day, but I drank plenty of soda, and regularly ate portions that were way too big.
So now I count carbs and watch my portion sizes and sodas are a rare (and also potion controlled) treat. The other big factor is exercise. I work out almost every single day. Every once in a while I’ll get tired and take a day off, but exercise really, really helps me control my blood sugar, so I do it most days. Once I lose all the weight I want to lose, it should be easier to keep my blood sugar under control without having to work out so much.
Taking the easy way out
I was checking out my body in the mirror this weekend, making note of the changes that I made over the past few months and gauging how far I still have to go. I look so much better than I did; but my body is far from perfect. And I started wondering, what if I could afford plastic surgery. I’ve always been very anti plastic surgery for myself – a view that was only reinforced after I saw the suffering my husband went through after he had medically necessary surgery for a deviated septum. Do that just for vanity? Nope, I don’t think so.
But now losing weight is actually a health issue for me. What if I could magically lose the stubborn little pouch at my stomach…the fat on my arms that disguises the Jennifer Anniston-like muscle definition that I know is lurking underneath…the jiggles on my thighs (which are definitely the area where I still need to lose the most) …and the extra inches on my hips. Then I could concentrate all my efforts on being as fit as possible, as opposed to working so hard to get thin and fit at the same time.
The power of exercise
Back in March when I started my getting fit plan, adding in exercise was a burden. I’d stumble home from the gym, or upstairs from the basement where I do my exercise videos, red faced, exhausted and sore. My muscles would actually shake when I was finished. And yet bit by bit, I started to get better at exercising. It started taking longer for my heart rate to go up. I could work harder and harder, and got progressively less wobbly at the end. And somewhere along the way, I actually started looking forward to working out. Most of the time, anyway.
Take today. I had
A lovely problem to have
I’m having a bit of a wardrobe crisis lately. I’ve lost so much weight that many of my clothes don’t fit me any more. The majority of my pants are so baggy they look like clown pants. I’m down to two pairs that are work appropriate, plus one extra that will work for business casual Fridays. Most of my skirts fit better, although I’ve outgrown (or should that be undergrown?) one dress and a few skirts and a couple of suits already too. Between that and the unpredictable weather, I’ve been having quite a struggle to get ready for work in to mornings. This morning I had to perform an emergency shoulder pad-ectomy on a suit from the early ‘90s after my plan A suit ended up being too big to wear. Last Thursday I realized my workout pants were sliding down my hips in yoga class! Luckily, that can be dealt with by tying the drawstring a little tighter for now.
Conquering my fear of the gym
Changing my diet and paying attention to portion control has had a lot to do with my weight loss success so far, but exercise has played a huge part in the way my body has changed shape. I actually belonged to a gym before I started trying to lose weight and get fit – I just didn’t go very much. I’d show up periodically for yoga class, but that was pretty much it. I didn’t like the gym. Everyone else seemed so confident and so in shape already, and there I was, an uncoordinated loser who’d let herself get out of shape, who didn’t know how to use the machines and who didn’t fit in at all. I was convinced I’d get on the elliptical machine and it would be exactly like the scene in Lost in Translation where Bill Murray’s character tries to use some piece of exercise equipment and it starts shouting instructions at him in Japanese and he can’t control it.
The Perfection Trap
I haven’t figured out exactly how much weight I should aim to lose just yet. I’m only 5 ft 1 ½ inches tall, so I’m not very big. The rule I’ve heard is that you should weigh five pounds over 100 pounds for every inch you are over five feet, which means my “perfect” weight is 107 pounds. I’m just not sure it is a realistic goal for me to have, as I haven’t been even close to 107 pounds since about the time I hit puberty.
So, I set the initial goal weight of 120 pounds, which be a total weight loss of 58 pounds. 120 pounds feels like it would be maintainable. But then I get to thinking about it, and I start to wonder. In order to be as healthy and as fit as possible, shouldn’t I try to get to my perfect weight? My cholesterol has improved dramatically since March, when high blood sugar was giving me off the charts triglycerides, but it is still high.
The story so far
Hi! Welcome to My DIY Experience, the Diet Channel’s first blog that isn’t written about any one particular diet. My name is Hillary. I started trying to change my diet and my life back in March, when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol and diabetes. Since then, I’ve completely overhauled my diet, my exercise routine (as in actually having an exercise routine) and learned a whole new way to live. It’s working – I’ve lost 28.4 pounds and gone from being a size 16 and miserable, to being a size 10 and sometimes even a size 8, and hopeful.
Why aren’t I following a particular diet? Well, I have a bunch of reasons. First of all, I’m terrible at following the rules, unless I’m the one making the rules, of course. That’s just part of my personality, I guess. I’m also an incredibly picky eater, which makes it difficult for me to eat pre-packaged food. Plus, I’m a hippie crunchy vegetarian type who worries about eating a lot of processed foods, and goes out of her way to buy local and organic. And finally, the more I learned about diabetes, the more I realized that for me, just going on a short term diet won’t do the trick. I have to make permanent changes to way I eat so that I can control my blood sugar. All sorts of scary health issues pile up for people who don’t manage this disease properly, and I don’t intend to end up like that.