It’s Not Working Out

This weekend I went to a friend’s baby shower.  She is a personal trainer and still looked fabulous though she is due in April.  We played the game where you guess how big around the Mom To Be is.  Since her belly is about the size of a volleyball, I simply wrapped the ribbon around my middle and added about an inch.  Turns out, I guessed the closest, off by about an inch and a half too much. 

Conclusion: pregnant lady’s waist is currently smaller than mine.  Freakin’ awesome.

I have been working on my weight with a nutritionist for 7 months now.  Since beginning this process I have lost a whopping 5 lbs.  I had lost more than that but then gained it back and lost a little and today…

“You’ve gained 2 lbs.”

I fought tears through the whole appointment as she tried to encourage me and to help me find the key to my losing weight.

“You worked out 3-4 times a week this month.”

“Yeah.  Running.”

“Your goal was to run 210 min. a week.  Did you do that?”

“No.”

“OK, how about your eating habits?”

“Pretty much the same.  Though I do find that running makes me very hungry.  I bought groceries one day after running.  They had Cuties out to sample in the produce area.  I grabbed 6 of them, a plastic bag and inhaled them while I shopped.”

“Well, that’s a good choice.”

“That day.  Yes.”

“I can tell you are discouraged.  Even though you did not reach your work out goal, you are still more active than most.  Have you always been active?”

“No.  I started to work out after I had my youngest son.  We had moved to MO from TX and the weather was nicer.  I would push the boys in a tandem stroller all over the neighborhood, up and down hills.  Also, I was breastfeeding so I burned 500 calories a day just doing that.  Since I had no friends or family in the area and my husband travelled a lot, I started going to the gym just so I had a safe place to dump my kids for an hour to get a break.  I did a weight training class called Body Pump.  I didn’t really like it but then I started to get amazing results.  I was down to 128 when we moved back to Texas.  I had beautiful muscle tone too.”

“You have mentioned that you liked weight training.  Did you keep up with that in Texas.”

“I did.  By the time we moved I was finished breast-feeding.  I joined another YMCA and did Body Pump two days a week and Belly dancing two to three times a week.  I was not walking outside anymore though.  Too hot and humid.”

“And then you moved here.”

“I moved here.  I gained 10 pounds during the move.  I like doing outdoor activities here when the weather is warm.  Winter is no fun.  Also, it took me awhile to acclimate to the altitude.  I still haven’t really.  The gym we belong to now doesn’t really have a weight training class or anything so my work out is self-propelled.  I mess with the weights sometimes.  I feel good about my form but I doubt I push myself the way an instructor does.”

She did some math based on my 5’00” height and pointed out to me that my caloric intake is much smaller than others because I am much smaller.

“You can’t eat as much as your friends.  I know that seems unfair but just remember that when you are dining with others.  When you kept a food diary I never really felt like you kept a bad diet.  You really don’t eat a lot so I don’t want to cut any more calories for you.  I think the key will be activity.  You have to increase it.  I think you need to go back to working out 5 days a week.”

I fought tears.

“What are you thinking?  Give me three words to describe how you feel right now.”

“Frustrated.  Defeated.  Fat.  Though I have been told that ‘fat’ is not a feeling.  I agree it’s not an emotion but you can feel fat.  I feel it in my clothes.”

She wrote the words down. 

“Why are you frustrated?”

Because I have this skinny woman telling me how she understands my struggle to get to where she is.  Doubtful.

“Because I have worked hard and accomplished so little.”

“You feel defeated because…?”

“Honestly?  Because I can’t find a loop-hole or that magic ‘thing’ that’s going to work for me.”

“And you feel fat because your clothes don’t fit right.”

“Yeah.  Running makes me feel great but I think it gives me a false sense of ‘fit.’  I leave the gym feeling strong, fit, sweaty, and I think ‘good for me!’  In the morning I still feel good and think I can skip that day.  Then I have to cut a pair of jeans into shorts because my thighs have rubbed holes in them.”

She set her notes with my words in my lap and then asked me to change the sentences.

“Not the first words.  Your feelings are valid but what you say after is most dangerous.  Change the last part by adding a more encouraging tag.”

So we changed that I have accomplished “so little” into “less than what I had hoped.” 

“You have accomplished things.  Big things.  It’s not a little it’s just more than you wanted.  Besides weight loss you have accomplished more self-awareness, you aren’t addicted to the scale anymore, you have lost 5 pounds and you have started running.  That’s a lot.”

“Yeah but I should be able to lose a pound a week.  I’ve only lost 5 in like 9 months!”

“Your goals for yourself are unrealistic.”

“A pound a week is hardly unrealistic!  The ‘lose 20 pounds in 2 weeks’ ads are unrealistic.  Possible? Yes, but not permanent solutions.  One pound a week is possible and permanent.  Realistically.”

“If this was all you did, if your full focus was on your diet and exercise, yes, this is realistic.  You are not allowing for “life” to happen, for the quick meal grab from Wendy’s in between after school activities, the neighborhood party, the snow storm keeping you out of the gym.  You are very hard on  yourself.  So you are frustrated because you did not accomplish as much as YOU wanted but you did make accomplishments.  How about the next one?”

“Defeated because I can’t find a loophole.  I want you to say, ‘oh!  You have gained weight or can’t lost it because of X.  Here’s a pill to fix it.'”

“Don’t we all!  You can’t find a loop-hole or quick fix but you do know that it’s not your diet but your activity level.  We know that has worked for you in the past.  Because you are little, it will require more than others but it will work.  Solution found.”

“That’s no big secret.  Everyone knows exercise will help them lose weight.  I just…resent it.”

“You feel fat because your clothes don’t fit BUT…”

“…but….I can increase my activity level and then they will?”

As I left her office Christina Aguilar’s “Beautiful” was playing quietly in the waiting room.  I kid you not.  I can’t make that stuff up.  I wanted to shoot out the speakers. 

Once in my car I started to bawl.  I picked up the phone to call Lauren aka The Body.  Whenever I work out there are certain pictures that go through my head for motivation.  One is me in my Grasshopper Pie Dress, performing old standards in a lounge bar.  Another is me as my superhero alter ego, The Force (recently renamed Chikara because it upset the Star Wars nerds in my life.) The third is Lauren.  I want her arms, her abs, her butt. 

“If you want to achieve that you just need to wash down a cheeseburger with a magnum of wine,” Lauren joked.

Whatever.  She kickboxes, runs and probably bench presses her husband while watching college football.

I sobbed and told Lauren about my 2 pound gain. 

“It is so hard!” she agreed.  “I am finding it hard to keep my pre-marriage weight because when I was single I could just eat a sweet potato for dinner.  Now it has to be more balanced.  I am sure it’s that much harder when you have kids and being in a house full of boys.  The boy factor is another issue.  I grew up with all brothers.  I remember that we always had two sandwiches for lunch.  I would be so offended when I would go to a friend’s house and their mom only offered me one sandwich.”

Ha!

“Look, we all have hang ups about our bodies.  Even the super skinny girls like Shalah…”

“Ugh.  She’s never been fat in her life.  I want her thighs.”

“They are magic.  She has her hang ups and me too.  I personally don’t think you need to lose any weight.”

Kind words.  The Body would be bawling too if she had my figure.

I got out of the car, sniffling and wiping the tears away.

“You OK?” asked the kind lady who had just exited the car next to me.

I gained two pounds!  Two pounds I tell you!!!

Realizing how ridiculous that would sound I just smiled and said, “I’m fine.  Thanks.” 

It’s just two pounds.

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About buddyandbug

Man and I moved from Texas to Colorado with Buddy and Bug. This blog is a chronicle of our adventures as we deal with homesickness and adjust to Mountain Living. “If you are a dreamer,come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hoper, a prayer, a magic-bean-buyer. If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire, for we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!” ~ Shel Silverstein
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2 Responses to It’s Not Working Out

  1. Stephanie Thomas says:

    Thanks Michal for your candidness! You are so much braver than I in your honesty and it shows in your writing. I am on my 2nd month of Weight Watchers and I can literally feel those emotions with you. I also see those factors of life she is describing. I see them in the ins and outs of each day and I feel myself sabotaging my diet when I just can’t deal with a moment. I gotta say sometimes that piece of chocolate helps me keep my sanity. How pathetic is that? I look back at the physical self I was and see why I could be that way at the time. I don’t resent my life only that I can’t control or balance it better. I am inspired by your determination. Thanks.

  2. buddyandbug says:

    Thank you. Keep it up girl! Jennifer Hudson makes me want to join Weight Watchers. She looks amazing and I know it does work so, keep at it!

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