Weight Loss, Motivation, and Suffering

Transitions have alweight-lossways been difficult and often turbulent for me. In my last position, in the last two years before I ended up on what amounts to an extended (maybe permanent?) vacation, I remember it taking me a good month before I felt like I had control of my schedule so that I knew when and where I needed to be at what times and could make arrangements for the kids. Since the children were older, these arrangements largely meant making sure I had food in the refrigerator for them and that they knew what time to expect me home and where to reach me in an emergency. It just always seems to take so long for me to feel like the transition is finally our life. But we made it through that transition and before I knew it I was busier and more stressed than I ever imagined possible. There’s a point to where trying to achieve too much is just…too much.

It was fun, at first.  I was often at events where great food, delicious food and drink were plentiful and paid for.  I was surrounded by people who were interesting, intelligent, and powerful. These people were movers and shakers and game changers in our profession. I was thrilled to be part of the team. I learned so much and it was exhilirating in many ways.  I was up and in meetings by 7:00 a.m. and usually not home until 9:00 p.m. It was a whirlwind of busy-ness for a good cause, but it provided me with a great excuse to eat, drink, and stay away from the gym (or off my bike).  It wasn’t long before my jeans weren’t fitting and nothing looked good on me. The larger my dress size, the smaller my desire to head to the gym or hop on my bike, something I loved doing just a few years earlier.

Two years of that lifestyle means I have work to do now.

A lot of work.  Sixty pounds worth of work. Work that is made more difficult by the fact that I’m now over 50.  I’m also far less motivated than I’ve ever been to do what I know it is going to take to get this weight off.  I know all the reasons I should be motivated.  The fact is, I just am not, at least not in the same way I’ve been in years past.  I’m not particularly invested in having a svelt body, though it is true that cute clothes are made in the smaller sizes.  I’m not dead yet.  I like wearing pretty things and I don’t like feeling fat and frumpy.  I’m not crazy about trying to get out and perform great athletic feats of speed and distance on my bike (like I might have been a few years ago).  And…while I know I should be concerned about my health, the admonition to just “do it for your health“, somehow isn’t exactly inspirational. It’s right up there with “eat your vegetables because they are good for you.”

But here I am, facing the weight loss challenge again, this time with far less motivation than I’ve ever had in my life. This time, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to have to do it by sheer will power. Instead of the speedy rabbit approach of quick weight loss from super high intensity training and calorie counting I used in the past, I’m going to take the tortoise approach and work at things more slowly, but more consistently over time. I have to look at this as a transition to a new way of life that I will adopt for the rest of my life.  Transitions are never overnight for me. They are rarely effortless.  They are sometimes even turbulent.

Bottom line:  This is just going to require some suffering. I have to face it and accept it.  There is no other way.  Suffer now or suffer much worse later.  For now, it’s going to mean passing on the pasta and bread when hot comfort food season is just around the corner.  It’s going to mean opting for table water, “Still, please,” instead of a cocktail when I’m out with friends. It’s going to require adding more vegetables and greens to the diet, eliminating the processed foods, reducing the amount of times we eat out. Worst of all, it means I must show up and exert effort at the gym and probably go walking around places just to  go walking around places in addition to working out at the gym.

Why is it all of a sudden so imperative now?  Well, to be frank, it’s not imperative, and I’m very concerned that I won’t have what it takes to stick with it in spite of having all the support in the world and all the time in which to do what I need to do.  I absolutely have no excuses and I’m still afraid I’ll throw the rope on this in a month…or less.  I know myself.  Making the transition to healthier eating and no drinking is going to require resolve.  Developing the regular exercise habits that I should never have abandoned in the first place will require steadfast determination.  It’s going to be painful.  I’m going to have to deny myself many things at a time in my life when I really don’t want to, because after all, life is short.  I have to do it, because I’m not even dead and I feel rigor mortis setting in.

You know what I mean if you’re over 50.  If you’re not, trust me, if you don’t stay active, rigor mortis doesn’t wait for death.  It sets in early. You get introduced to it the first time, when after sitting for an extended period of time, you realize you can’t get up and just take off, you have to rise slowly, stretch and then proceed with caution.  You become more familiar with it when you realize you feel stiff and sore most of the time in spite of the fact that you haven’t been to the gym in months.  And as you pack on the pounds you realize how very exhausted you are from just getting up and walking a short distance at a leisurely pace.  Yes, these are all the early warnings signs of that sad fact of life called aging.  I refer (only somewhat in jest) to our tendency to lose that flexibility and agility we had when we were younger as rigor mortis. I’ve got it bad.  In fact, I’ve lost so much flexibility and agility that I know my ability to catch myself if I trip is impacted.  I have difficulty reaching to tie my shoes (yes, pathetic), and when I get up after sitting at dinner or my desk, my first few steps are wobbly ones almost as though I’m intoxicated even though I’m not. I don’t feel great most of the time.  I tire easily.  I’m experiencing complications from the weight that aren’t fun and they are 100 percent avoidable.  It’s impacting my ability to do things I enjoy doing.  It’s time for me to just do something about it.  I might not be super successful, but I have to reverse this damaging trend I somehow got into out of convenience and coping with stress.

So today is DAY ONE.

These are my goals for this week:

  1. No alcohol.
  2. Walk 5 times this week for a total of ten miles.
  3. Go to the gym 4 times this week.  (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) Today, I just did 30 minutes of cardio, but by the end of the week I will be working on strength training and building muscle.  The walking will be my cardio.
  4. Portion control and clean eating.  Stay away from bad carbs.  Eat plenty of good veggies and protein.  Potatoes have to go.
  5. Get plenty of rest.
  6. Drink LOTS of water.  This could be the most challenging of all, besides get plenty of rest, because we know how I like to be up late at night.

I know I should take all my baseline measurements and all that but let’s just be real.  I’m supersize for my height and I’m not going to buy the next size larger jeans.  I’d like to drop three dress sizes.  Wait.  I’d just like to get into a dress and feel good about it.  I’ll do all that before/after set up later.  I’ve got plenty of pictures of my fat self that I can use as a comparison once my jeans are falling off because they are too big.  That will be comparison enough for me.

So, here I go.  I wrote this post hoping it will serve as a marker of the beginning of my quest and also as a bit of personal accountability.  To be clear, I don’t WANT to do this.  I MUST do this. The time is now. Wish me luck and perseverance.

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About Miz Insomniac

Usually, it's the kids who grow up and leave home, but Miz Insomniac switched it up. When her kids grew up she decided to make her dreams come true so she flew the nest. After making 12 trips across the pond and back to Europe, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East in 2014-15, Miz Insomniac now qualifies as a world traveler. She hasn't quite mastered the fine art of traveling light, but she knows how to manipulate travel plans to avoid missed flights and jet lag. A former hopeless romantic turned realist, she's stateside now reinventing her life in a new city, with new opportunities, and all the challenges that come with leaving a career, traveling abroad for a year, and then returning to a world that's nothing like she left it. Her overseas travel is by no means over, it's just not as frequent. She's different now, but remains a night owl. She writes when she should be sleeping...and while you probably are.

Posted on September 29, 2015, in Goals and Progress, Health & Fitness, Health and Fitness and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I applaud baby steps. I lost 35 pounds over twelve years ago. In my 50s. It “only” took two years. But I learned to make healthier choices and little by little they became habits. I’m still at my goal. The battle is never over. “Losing weight is hard. Maintaining weight is hard. Being overweight is hard. Choose your hard.”

    • Lorie,
      Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I especially love your quote about choosing your hard. That is spot on! And thank you for sharing that you lost weight in your 50’s. It’s so encouraging. Sometimes I wonder if this is just my old age body. I have to fight that thinking. I refuse to accept it. And talk about choosing your hard? I’d rather face my later years not having to fight and struggle to heave the extra weight around everywhere I go. Now that’s a hard I don’t want to choose.

  2. A while ago I posted a little series about healthy habits on my blog. You might find some help and/or motivation there. Remember to speak kindly to yourself.

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