The Final Fifty











{February 19, 2013}   Hello.

By way of an introduction, my name is Stacy, and I am here to chronicle my quest to lose the last 50 lbs. between me and a healthy weight.

I say “the last 50” because I’ve already lost quite a bit of weight, 60 lbs. in fact, and I’ve been stuck more or less where I am for the last few years. Life, injuries, and excuses have gotten in the way during that time, so I’m really trying to keep myself on track this time. Here’s the backstory.

I first committed myself to working out and losing weight when I was about 26. At that point, I topped out at about 250 lbs., and my weight was already having a bad impact on my mobility. I was, in the truest sense of the word, sedentary. I went to school and worked, but I didn’t have the motivation to walk a mile to school, and once I got home, I would sit down on the couch and mostly not move for the rest of the day. I knew I was too young to feel so old, and that was enough to scare me into working on things.

That same semester, I took a class in evolutionary medicine. We spent weeks analyzing different kinds of hunter gatherer diets and comparing them to our own, westernized diet. Armed with what I learned in that class, along with my student pass for the campus gym, I set out to get healthier and shed some weight. I knew a few things setting out:

  1. “Dieting” doesn’t work. You cannot set out with the idea that you are dieting, because once you hit the weight you want and stop dieting, you will put the weight back on. What you have to do is to make new habits and adjust to them, and eventually they will become permanent changes.
  2. No one can stick to unreasonable rules. It’s better to set reasonable rules with a little flexibility so that you can actually stick to them. This may mean your weight loss is a little slower, but it keeps you from getting into a cycle of guilt that comes from not being able to stick to a standard that doesn’t work for you. People make crazy rules exactly because they think it’s a temporary change. You have to make rules you can live with forever.
  3. I had to start moving more

With those thoughts in mind, I set some reasonable, flexible goals for myself. I made a brief list of foods I knew I could cut out, and set a hard limit on them of once per week (though, I rarely even went that far.) I limited myself to one reasonable portion size of everything, with the caveat that if I waited 30 minutes and was still hungry, it was ok to go back for more. I went to the gym religiously and spent some serious time on the elliptical trainer, and sometimes flirted with the weight machines. And little by little, the weight came off. I think it took about 9 months for me to lose 60 lbs., which is less than 2 lbs. per week. This rate of weight loss, I believe, is what  kept me from gaining too much back in the intervening years, even when I was not eating as well or exercising regularly.

Since then, I have made attempts to lose the rest of the weight, most recently last year, when I began exercising regularly again. I joined a site called Fitocracy, which has taught me a lot about strengthening and weight training, as well as given me motivation by turning working out into a game. I did well for months, and saw definite improvements in my strength and cardiovascular health, before being derailed again, first by injury, and then when I had to give up my gym membership due to a lack of transportation.

So now I’ve started again, and this time I’m not relying on a gym membership. I am, once again, dealing with an injury (to my wrist). At present, I am unable to do any upper body weights with my dumbbells because of the bum wrist, so I am focusing on a long-held goal of mine. I’ve always wanted to be able to dance well. I danced as a child, until I got to be about 12, when the great laziness set in. I tried a few times to get into dance lessons when I was heavier, took a few ballet classes, tried to do tap and couldn’t even tolerate wearing the shoes. For some reason, I didn’t resume those efforts when I got to my lowest weight. I think in my head, it was something I would do when I finally lost all the weight. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to figure out that I could do it now to help me get there.

So I take a belly dance class at least once a week, and I supplement with DVDs at home. So far I’ve got belly dance and tap dance in the mix, with occasional yoga or pilates when my wrists can take it. I have a ballet boot camp DVD on the way, so I look forward to getting going on that one, too.

I’m also tracking my calories more than I did before, using an app on my phone called MyNetDiary. I like this app a lot because it updates the calories I have left based on what I’ve already eaten and the amount of activity I’ve done in any given day. It also tracks my weight, measurements, water intake, and nutrient breakdowns and gives me graphs and other data to work with. Being a total nerd and a data fiend, this really helps to motivate me.

And so far, it’s going well. I’m starting this blog so I have a place to post about what’s working and what isn’t. I don’t imagine many people will read this, which is fine as it’s more for me than anything else. I’ll post recipes and other things I learn along the way. Feel free to say hello if you stop by!

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