Thursday, April 1, 2010

I'm disappearing, shrinking I tell you!

It was some time in January when I decided to step on the scale. The truth glared at me - 218 pounds. I knew I'd gained weight, I could feel it. And here I was approaching the weight that I'd told myself was the "drastic measures" point, and my clothes were getting uncomfortable.

For well over a year, I'd pondered getting a gym membership, but the closest spot was a 24-hour place in La Grange that, to be honest, looked kinda foofy. I may be a woman, but a foofy woman I am not. And I dinna like foofy stuff (for example, I am allergic to the color pink. True fact).

Some of my better years in college were spent in the dungeon of a weight room at the University of Evansville where, along with a few other rats, I squatted, benched and deadlifted the days away as a member of the powerlifting team. And just about every day I went to school the first two years, I rode my bicycle the two miles (maybe it's more, I honestly don't know) from campus. I was, undeniably, in the best shape of my life. My resting heart rate late in my first semester of my freshman year was in the 40s. I weighed about 125 pounds when I got started.

Oh, I gained the freshman 15 sure enough. But it was 15 pounds of muscle, and by the end of my freshman year I weighed around 145 lean pounds. That was 15 years ago. Over the next couple of years, I put on more muscle, and as I started driving to campus, well, I wasn't using my legs near as much. By the time I graduated, I was somewhere around 175, but still packing around a lot of muscle. I loved it. And to be honest, I miss those days in the gym, with Coach Jeff Sellers barking at me (and everyone else).

But it smelled like a gym. And I don't mean it smelled like sweaty football players (though it sometimes did). I mean it smelled like iron. It smelled like 45-pound barbells, and the 2.5-, 5-, 10-, 25-, 35- and 45-pound plates. It smelled like dumbbells. It smelled like rubber floor mat. I've judged every gym since then by that standard, and none have quite measured up. But I have another standard - the gym has to be within 15 minutes of where I live, or I know damn well I won't go.

But here here was the truth staring at me on a white dial. 218 pounds. Foofy or no, it was time for a change.

I started out eliminating snacks, particularly at work, and making sure I was eating exact portion sizes. If I got the urge to snack, I drank a glass of water or hot tea (no sugar, ya whimps!). I tracked what I was eating on www.livestrong.com's Daily Plate feature I lost 12 pounds in the first two weeks doing that. TWELVE.

Finally, I swallowed my anti-foof standard and signed up for the foofy gym. They at least had a Smith machine (patooey!), dumbbells, and more than enough machines. There's an arsenal of treadmills, two elliptical machines, and one (count 'em, ONE) stationary bike, and one recumbant bike. There's no proper squat rack or bench, but this is better than nothing.

I started off relatively slow for me - 40 minutes of cardio (I prefer the bike) , some of the machines. After about 3 weeks, I decided to give squats on the Smith machine (patooey!) a try. I will never like this machine (and ignored the owner's attempt to direct me into a hack squat to, "save your knees"). It prevents a normal range of motion, but it's better than nothing, and I forgot how much I love, and I do mean LOVE the feel of the weight across my shoulders, lining up with my hips.

After a month, I could feel the weight loss in my hips and butt. My husband said the weight loss was noticeable (MOTIVATION!). My reporter asked me one day if I'd lost weight (MOTIVATION!) Now, almost two months later, I can feel it in my waist, and legs. And dammit, pretty soon I'm gonna need a belt, or my pants won't stay up. That's such a wonderful problem to have ... and it's motivation!

As of yesterday, I've lost 20 pounds. Since I've started keeping track, I've lost 8.125". Almost half of that came off my waist. More motivation!

I refuse to say I'm dieting - I'm not. "Diet" is a four-letter word when used in that context. I'm watching what I eat, but not really denying myself anything (except ice cream, which I didn't really eat that much of anyway). And I'm eating recommended serving sizes. I've probably cut about 1,000 calories a day out, compared to where I was - and it really was too much. I set goals and rewards for meeting them:

Goal 1: get to 200. Reward? BLIZZARD ... but I could only get down about half of a small one before my stomach protested.
Goal 2: Lose 20 pounds. Reward? Heine Brothers' sweat pants (Cuz I want Heine on my heiny!)
Goal 3: Lose 25 pounds. Reward? Dunno yet. I'm still working on that.
The BIG goal: Lose 50 pounds. Reward? A new tattoo.

The big goal would put me at 168 pounds. It'll be tough getting there, but if I keep this up, I'll be there by the end of the year, and hopefully .... by my sixth wedding anniversary in September. I have no designs of looking like I did in college (though, if I get there, fantastic), I just want to lose weight and feel better than I did Jan. 15.

Anything after that is, shall we say, gravy.