Thursday, October 27, 2011

Less of Me

When I was young, I was skinny. I also had a big appetite; my mother would joke about my “hollow leg,” because where else was I putting the large amounts of food I consumed? I could eat whatever I wanted and however much I wanted and my metabolism promptly took care of it.

That. Was. Awesome. (Note the past tense).

Even into my twenties, I didn’t worry about my weight or even think about my weight. I might step on a scale once in a blue moon, just for fun, but it wasn’t an issue. I was just skinny. Yay, genetics! After my first daughter was born, my baby weight fell right off. No effort needed. Ahhh, those were the days. 

Because I had it so set in my mind that I was skinny, it took me a loooong time to recognize that things had changed. Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight, of course—it’s a little at a time, then a little more, and a little more, until finally in my thirties I started to realize, hey, what the heck? I wasn’t slim, not anymore. So naturally, I promptly started eating less and exercising more.

Hahahaha! As if. Even as I became aware that I wasn’t thrilled with how much I’d gained, I kept right on with a lifetime of eating habits—did I mention I love food?—and, not surprisingly I gained more and more weight (what’s up with that slowing metabolism as you get older, anyway?). I’d try here and there to exercise and maybe I’d lose a few pounds, but then I’d gain it back. Or I’d try to eat less, but didn’t keep it up for long. I wanted to lose weight, but I didn’t want to work for it, or worse yet, suffer for it.

Then, maybe a year or so ago, my husband decided to lose weight (and if you ask me, he started out skinny). He was so disciplined about it—at dinner, he’d eat so little that it drove me CRAZY. When you feel bad about your own weight but don’t want to do anything about it because that sounds hard, the last thing you want to watch is someone else being super disciplined and getting super skinny—it’s one of those situations where you know if it bothers you that YOU are the one with the problem, but you still don’t want to fix it. Brilliant, I know.

Then we went to a family reunion last summer, and my sister-in-law, who is my age, walked in and she was . . . skinny. Looked fantastic. Oh golly. Oh jealousy! In the course of chatting while we were hanging out in the lake, we got to talking about weight, and she told me she’d used an app called Tap and Track to help her lose weight. You enter your stats (height, weight, etc.) and your weight loss goal—how much you want to lose and how fast—and it calculates how many calories you should eat per day. You enter in what you eat (it has a big database of foods), you can add your own recipes, or you can just enter calories, if you prefer. And when you exercise, you enter that in, and it adjusts your calorie allotment.

And . . . I actually got excited about trying this app. Me! Excited to try to lose weight! Who knew it could happen? But by this point, I was so frustrated with my weight and so tired of being dissatisfied with it (and tired of being jealous because my husband looked so good, and tired of the fact that I could have eaten him for lunch and still had room for dessert). I’d finally hit the point where I was ready to work on this, but I needed to do it in a way that worked for me. 

So I bought the app, and when we got home, I tried it out. I knew if I tried to lose too fast, I’d be miserable, get frustrated, and quit—I don’t like suffering and I don’t like being hungry—so I set the goal of losing half a pound a week. This was just over three months ago, and so far so good—I’m halfway to my weight loss goal. Who knew I could actually do this? And succeed?? Some weeks it goes really well; other weeks my weight stalls and I get frustrated, but I’m determined to keep trying. One bonus is that I’ve never in my life been so motivated to exercise, because when I exercise, I can enter that info into the app and it gives me more calories. So exercise=more food, and I am highly motivated by food (and it’s a good thing those donuts we made for Family Home Evening the other week are gone, because goodness, those were perhaps a bit too tasty. I got lots of exercise while trying to compensate for those donuts).

I have a long silk dress that my mother-in-law made for me for a family wedding. I outgrew that dress many years and many pounds ago, but now my goal is to wear it to the Whitney Awards gala in May. Can I do it? I guess I’ll find out. If not, heck, I guess I wasted money on that dry-cleaning bill . . . 


  1. You can do it! Good luck! I read this earlier and was thinking about what you said about half a pound a week. I think that's a great goal, because even if it takes you a long time to feel like you're making progress, you hit your goal weight over the course of several months and by then, it's a habit and a lifestyle.

    Oh, and I got Rearview Mirror this week! I'm going to try to squeeze it in before Nano!

  2. Oh, I'm so going to check this out. I'm stalled too because I don't eat like crazy but I cheat often enough to undo all the good work I did. So I don't gain, but I don't lose. Annoying! Bad Melanie, bad!

  3. Good point, Jordan--if I don't change my eating habits long-term, I'll just put the weight right back on. And I've actually lost faster than my goal, so that's been encouraging. I hope you enjoy RVM!

    Melanie, yeah, those plateaus stink. I'll lose for a while . . . and then my weight just SITS there and I'm like what's the deal? Then it'll start moving again. I swear it's hormone-related. And the app helps keep me more aware of whether or not I REALLY want that snack. If I do, great, eat it--but if not, maybe I can get myself to hold off rather than just eating it because it's there. But if I make peanut butter rice krispie brownies, I'm sunk.

  4. Way to go, Stephanie. Funny that I read this right after writing a (whiney) long post about this very same topic. You, go! I hope you look fab in that silk dress.

    "I got lots of exercise while trying to compensate for those donuts"

    lol ... that's exactly the balance you need!

    Also, I LOVED "Rear View Mirror". I'm going to blog about it on Monday. I have to tell you that you totally sucked me into not knowing which of the characters would be bad. I was emotionally attached to so many of them. It got so bad that I had a bad dream while I was reading it (toward the end when things were really getting tense), and my nightmare had the hero in WIP #1 being bad! What the heck!

  5. *my WIP #1. And I ought to know if he was a bad guy.

  6. Donna, I'm so glad you enjoyed Rearview Mirror! Yay! And sorry about the bad dream :) I once had a dream that the villain from my first book was chasing me, so I hid under a bush.

  7. I purchased the Tap and Track on your rec and it's got a really nice database. I think it will help me with accountability. I tend to want to snack throughout the day and I think that tracking it like this will help me make better choices. (Peanut butter M&Ms or almonds?) I'll admit, I haven't changed my habits yet, but, yikes, my breakfast was more than I thought. =(

    It really all does come down to calories, regardless of what kind of spin you put on it. HCG works because you're on a 500-calorie limit, not because you're injecting something made from the urine of pregnant women. Atkins? Eat more foods that fill you up so you end up consuming fewer calories. (Ok, I'm hardly a nutritionist and I will concede that there MAY be some chemical stuff going on, but I still say the majority of weight loss comes from consuming fewer calories.)

    Did you know: 1 plain m&m has 3 calories?

  8. Love this post! You found something that works for you and that is the key. There are millions of diets and exercise programs to choose from. You have to do what makes sense for you and will motivate you to continue. I wrote a post about diets a while back.

    One of my favorite subjects to blog about is exercising. Usually my posts are meant to be funny while I am self deprecating. But somewhere along the line I found an exercise routine that works for me. EA Active Sports for the Wii. My cartoon trainers have become characters on my blog.

    In a little over a year I lost 15 lbs. Let's not talk about how I've somehow gained back 5 and it's just sitting there on my lumpy stomach taunting me. But I lost the weight by having a positive attitude, exercising in a way I enjoyed, and setting realistic goals for myself. Your goal of 1/2 a lb. a week is perfect.

    Just don't beat yourself up over plateaued weight or even one or two lbs. of weight gain. Realize the body fluctuates all the time. And yes, it can be hormonal. TMI but I always maintain a 5 lb. weight gain every month during that one week. It may be the food choices I make but even when I don't eat comfort food I still weigh 5 lbs. more that one week and it comes off the next week. That's how it works for me and everyone is different.

    You're on the right track. You can do this!

  9. Jon, I hope it works for you! And I agree--one of the biggest things it's helped me with is making me much more aware of how many calories are in things and do I REALLY want that handful of M&Ms? And I had no idea a serving of Fritos was THAT small! Ack!

    Tristan, thanks for the insights and encouragement It's so true that you have to find something that works for you. If I tried to do one of those 1200 calorie diets, I wouldn't last a day. But exercising and cutting back on calories is working for me.