Monday, October 31, 2011

The weighty question

We are a fat focused society. Do not deny this. We complain about the whole range of the issue - from the diabetes and obesity epidemics all the way to the poor body image rail thin models give us. Diet and weight have been linked to cancer. We are supposed to develop good habits to control our weight.

We weigh ourselves, compute our BMI (what ever it really signifies), diet, eat or vegetables, try to get more fiber, and exercise, exercise, exercise. We are focused on fat. We are trained to believe fat is EVIL and causes our demise. (On candy filled Halloween I choose to blog about fat.)  Furthermore we need to eat 'right' as well. We are not supposed to eat the tasty things, only the 'good' things. I believe too much cardboard consumed leads to crabby people.

They tell us that we need to eat right to prevent cancer, diabetes, other ailments, and essentially delay our expiration dates. They tell us to exercise and get our heart rate up 3 hours a week - or what ever the latest recommendation is. They tell us to weigh ourselves regularly and keep a food journal. They tell us not to weigh ourselves daily and keep a food journal. (I tried keeping a food journal - it worked for about six hours.)

With all my medical misadventures in the past few years, it is not unthinkable that my scale has reached an epic level never seen before when related to my body. In all my appointments accompanied by my husband, I had one rule - he was not allowed to know what the scale said. I tried eating right (and what does that mean besides more vegetables and less chocolate?). I went to a nutritionist who told me that I needed to eat tiny bits of food and expect to lose weight very SLOWLY. I was not encouraged.

Last winter I took drastic measures and joined a gym which gave me a fitness plan. I had belonged to another gym for nearly ten years. I knew how to use the treadmill usually without pain. I read the little diagrams on the machines and tried to figure out how to use them but usually ended up with back pain. I decided I needed professional help.

I went to the new gym with optimism. It wasn't the best gym for me. The old gym was a five minute walk - past a bakery, Chinese restaurant, two pizza places and an ice cream shop - but it was very close to home so I never had the excuse that it was out of the way. The new gym is a good ten minute drive - more when its school bus time. 

At my first visit to the new gym, they actually listened to my list of ailments without fainting with shock. I have just a few limitations - no treadmill because it bounces, no twisting my back, no lifting more than 15 lbs ever, and then bad back, bad ankle, bad knees, tennis elbow remnants and lymphedema arm. They actually gave me an exercise plan and showed me how to use the machines. They have the good machines - ellipiticals and bikes with back support, hydraulic machines where you fight resistance instead of gravity. I usually do get there three times a week.

I even get three month check ups to help tweak my exercises. I was overjoyed that the first one showed 11 lbs missing from my body - I hadn't missed them. My next check up showed another 3 lbs missing. I now watch the scale go down slowly. Every so often it the scale ticks down another pound. I anticipate another year of weight loss at this rate and think I might have joined the gym for life. But the scale is going in the right direction so I am happy. And I plan on having my own little candy bar stash after tonight's trick or treating and see nothing wrong with it.

I am not aiming for a perfect weight and couldn't care less what my BMI is (because I really don't understand what it means). I will eat what I want and exercise regularly. Its a good thing I prefer lots of vegetables and fruits along with my candy bar stash. And no one will ever know what I weigh other than the doctor's office and my scale.

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