Saturday, October 21, 2006

Glad I was fat

I guess I'm not really glad that I was fat, but along with everything else in life, you need the bad to give you better perspective about the good. When I was up there in the range of 200 pounds I knew I was unhealthy and a little more sluggish than I should have been but it all happened gradually enough that I couldn't feel the difference. I think that's the difficult part about gaining weight. No one gains 50 pounds overnight. I did gain it relatively quickly- about 10 pounds a year, but it's slow enough that I needed just a new pair of pants here, a new shirt there. Eventually I had accumulated 5 sizes of clothes in the closet. Some of the smaller clothes were still hanging there in the closet- as if leaving them in the closet made it more likely that they would magically fit one day. When my second pregnancy vaulted me over the 200 pound mark, I blamed pregnancy for slowing me down, not the extra weight, I had the skewed idea that I was still relatively healthy despite my weight. We ate reasonably well and I could keep up with M. who was a year and a half at the time- I must be fine, right? No. Wrong.

After C. was born I started paying attention to what I was eating. While I think we did eat good foods a good portion of the time, I was eating too much of the "good foods". It reminds me of that great Weight Watchers debate- are carrots worth 1 point or 2? The first part of the answer is that you probably don't need Weight Watchers because you've been eating too many carrots, and the second part is that even carrots can lead to weight gain if you eat too many. Although whenever I hear the suggestion that you should have some carrots when you're craving something sweet like chocolate I think that's a bit nuts. I have never eaten a carrot and thought "that was just as good as chocolate". For me the key was portion control- and the fact that I had none.

I'm fortunate that the weight partially came off faster than I gained it. It took me about 8 months to lose the first 30 pounds and then I lost another 10 in the next 6 months. I've been fluctuating within the range of those last 5 pounds for the past 6 months or so. I've still got about 15 more that I'd like to lose to get back to "wedding weight". Sort of like fighting weight for boxers, I'd like to get back to 140 pounds, where I was when I got married. I might have better muscle tone now, so if I look more fit at 145 I might be happy enough there. It wouldn't be worth it to stay above 150 just to retain Athena status for triathlons, so I'm hoping to no longer qualify when I race again. The best part about losing the weight is that I feel great and I can clearly see the improvement over how I used to feel.

I've heard people that criticize people who have gained weight and then lost it. They argue that it's more impressive to not gain the weight and live a healthy lifestyle in the first place. More impressive? Maybe. In a way I envy the people who have never gained weight, but in a way I'm glad that I did. I no longer take it for granted that I have energy to run, swim and bike. I can keep up with both of my boys and now I can fit through the tunnels at Chuck E. Cheese's, I do like Chuck E. Cheese's. I don't care if anyone's impressed that I lost weight, I didn't lose it to impress anyone. I lost it to be in better health so I can be a better role model for my boys. I'm not quite where I'd like to be yet, but I've got time.


Duane said...

Great blog entry!

Ellie said...

Excuse me? More impressive not to gain it at all than to gain it and lose it?? What are they talking about? Having been there done that I know how hard it is to lose weight. And I hate when the subject of eating comes up and someone says to me, "You'll never have to worry about that" or "You just run it all off." Because I still do have to worry about it, and I'd gain it back in a year if I let my guard down.

You are awesome!!

Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting on it!

Geek Girl said...

Yeah, that's a nice safe life - boring! Plus, self esteem comes from overcoming obstacles and meeting goals. First it starts with losing 5 pounds. Then, it moves to running for 5 minutes straight. Then, maybe, "what else can I do?"