Thursday, July 06, 2006

Exercise & Weight Loss

I originally wrote this post for a blog that's a group weight loss effort. I'm not trying to lose weight, per se. I mostly post motivational things that occur to me. But since I've been walking, some thoughts occurred to me that I wanted to share with those who read this blog. I don't know if the weight loss blog is a public one, so I'm not going to link to it. Tech is one of the writer buddies I met on Forward Motion.

I'm up to seven laps on the track, three days a week. And a mile and a half on the Los Gatos Creek trail, two days a week. My jeans are getting loose, which is weird because usually when I lose weight or start exercising I notice it in my face, wrists, and ankles first. Not complaining, just observing. (g)

When I was reading Tech's post on patience, a couple of things occurred to me. One good reason to be patient is that it gives you time to see yourself as a normal person. We all think of ourselves as "fat people". Sometimes that image can derail you. It's important to see yourself as you are, not as you were. As you lose weight, take pictures of yourself in clothes that fit well. Post them up and look at them often so your mental image is the smaller you.

You can also use the set of pictures to help you see the weight loss. If you're really big, you can lose a lot of pounds, as reported on the scale, and not really see it in the mirror. But if you have a picture of yourself before you started, you can compare the current picture with the first one you took and you'll see the difference.

Also, even if you have to go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army or a consignment shop, as you lose weight, toss your fat clothes and get clothes that fit. Take more pictures. If you're wearing clothes that hang on you and look terrible and don't show your body at all, you can't get an accurate mental image. So you keep seeing yourself in your mind as the fat person who started this weight-loss program. And that's the person you'll keep trying to become. Plus, if you're clothes are too big, it's tempting to let yourself get big enough to look good in them again.

The other thought I had about patience is something my husband reminded me. It took a lot of years to put on these pounds. He's a bit discouraged because he hasn't noticed any weight loss and he walks a lot farther and faster than I do. (An aside: This is funny, since men tend to lose more easily than women. But if we diet, no exercise, he takes it off way faster than I do.) So his comment was that he doesn't expect to lose it quickly. And, he reminded me that it's about good health, not pounds on the scale.

We hope to be like the 90-something grandma of an online buddy of mine who slipped off a stool and broke her hip. She apparently recovered fine. But what's special about that story is that the stool was in front of a slot machine in the Bahamas. I'd love to be in good enough health to be able to travel when I'm in my 90s. And as much as we all want good health now, isn't it really about not being bedridden when we're really old? That's all about the true cliche--use it or lose it. I'm not saying that if we don't get that, it's our own fault. I just think there are things we can do to increase our likelihood of being that way when we're really old.

One more thing about exercise in general. I've been eating less food since we started walking. I'm not dieting or following any particular program. I just haven't been as hungry. That tells me I'm walking about the right pace and distance for me. I'm not overly hungry, as I would be if I weren't fueling the exercise enough. But, obviously, I didn't need as much food as I thought I did, either. It's not a huge change. Just substituting larger portions of salad and veggies for slightly smaller portions of meat and pasta/rice/bread, etc.

Ok, so what does all this have to do with writing? Well, it's already a very long post, so I'll do that essay tomorrow. Stay tuned. (g)