Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

I’m home! Well, I’m at work, but I’m in Chicago, and that’s close enough. I couldn’t be more thrilled that my whirlwind tour de United States is O-V-E-R, at least for the time being. Word to the wise, business travel is not all its cracked up to be. Even with a dozen people traveling with you, there’s something very lonely about being on the road on a regular basis. At least that’s how I feel when I travel… lonely and detached from my people (except when @ is with me, then its not so bad).

So, today I implemented what I think is known as a “good behavior” or a “healthy habit” in some circles and decided that I shouldn’t “wait until Monday,” to “start eating like a normal human being.” I should start now. Today. As in Wednesday (is in Wednesday?). Who cares if it’s the middle of the week? This might as well be the first day of the rest my skinny bride life.

By the way, for those of you who are turned off by the use of my term “skinny,” please realize that I mean it a “toned, trim, and happy about my figure” way, not a “scary and anorexic” way. “Skinny” as a word, has a nice cadence to it despite maybe poor connotations, but frankly, I don’t want to be forced to use like 12 qualifiers when I talk about this process. I will continue to eat. That, if nothing else, is something you can count on.

So we start today. The sad truth is that if I wait much longer, I’m going to be forced into a shopping trip to buy jeans a size up, and no one needs that kind of blow to their self-esteem.

Rule #1: When we go shopping for new jeans, it will be because the ones I’m wearing right now are too big. Not because they are too small.

I have joined (rejoined) Weight Watchers. I have a long and storied history with the program, beginning four years ago (approximately) when I lost about 18 pounds with barely any effort. So what happened? Well, I gained it back -- story of my life -- but maybe (just maybe!) it was for a worthwhile reason. When I first lost the weight, I was in graduate school. I was a smoker, and I didn’t exercise, save a 20 minute jaunt on the elliptical maybe once or twice a week at best. I kept the weight off until I gave up smoking once and for all. I gained it back, but for awhile, I didn’t really make a big deal about it. Continuing to be a nonsmoker was far more important to me than a few pounds. A few months later, I found running, which made me hungry, but surely all this exercise would mean an eventual weight loss.

Nope. Not for me.

I tried to go back on Weight Watchers, but when you focus on training for endurance athletic events, it’s difficult to stick to a plan that works by (primarily) limiting your calorie intake. I even went so far as to try to talk to a Weight Watchers meeting leader about how, pray tell, do you balance losing weight with running -- oh say -- a marathon? The leader who is older and probably “doesn’t get it” said, and I am paraphrasing, “You don’t. Pick one or the other.”

I assume she said this thinking that I would, obviously, pick Weight Watchers. Not a chance. I can’t (nor do I want to) imagine the circumstances under which I would have to give up training for endurance events, and frankly, mid-marathon season, I was hanging at the low side of my weight, and the need to lose 10 pounds (15 at the most) was not a priority.

I looked into a nutritionist. I thought about my options. I decided not to worry about until after the marathon, and until I was nearing the end of my business travel for the year.

So, here we are. Why did I go back? Because the best advice I’ve heard about losing weight is that if something worked for you before, there’s a really good chance it will work again. You know, with a little bit of… what’s that called… oh yes… willpower. Maybe some motivation. Some dedication.

I know what I can and cannot do. I cannot NOT eat carbohydrates or attempt some similarly ridiculously restrictive diet. I do not like the idea putting various types of food “off limits,” because when you tell me I can’t have that bread over there, I will -- within an hour or two -- eat a loaf of it. I also know that I have three long months before I begin training for my next major race, the Indianapolis 500 Festival Mini-Marathon, which means that for the time being, I don’t even have to figure out the training versus diet mess.

Finally, understand that talking openly about weight loss in this forum has always felt like the so-called “third rail” for me. Not that this is political, but it’s just so personal, and I’m so freaking weird about it, and I’m worried that each of you will get annoyed with the “Wahhhhh… I’m fat” nonsense, that it feels untouchable. I love my 12 readers (yes, I have 12 now), and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable. Or me uncomfortable. But at the same time, I imagine there must be others who struggle and care, or just care whether they struggle or not. And, I guess I hope that this will keep me honest… to a degree.

Bear with me.

Tonight’s Workout: Master Swim, 90 minutes, approximately 3000 meters scheduled. Yikes!
Tonight’s Dinner: Whole wheat penne with pasta sauce mixed with goat cheese + a salad (if I have the motivation to stop at the grocery store).

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