Thursday, November 13, 2008



I had to laugh mirthlessly when I read my post two posts ago about starting South Beach again on Monday. HA! The South Beach book did indeed arrive last week, and I have re-read most of it. . . but I never even went to the grocery store last weekend and have continued with the same crappy food habits I've had for the past several weeks. Bleh.

Perhaps with all the things I have going on, now is not the most realistic time for me to be tackling my weight problem. I resumed my usual weekly gym routine with MM this week (though boot camp ended on 10/29, I skipped the gym last week due to migraines on both Tues & Thurs), so that's a good thing.

When I think about losing weight, I usually harken back most often to 2003. Although I have lost 20-30 lbs on a few different occasions in my adult life, my 2003 Weight Watchers ("WW") experience was the one where it felt the most like I had actually made a lifestyle change vs. dieting to get to a certain weight. I lost 35 lbs in about 4 months and changed my attitudes about eating and exercise tremendously at that time.

The main thing that is different between THEN and NOW is that in 2003, I focused A LOT of time, energy, and effort on my weight loss (and just generally being healthy). I shopped 1-2 times a week; I planned healthy meals and snacks; I made a diligent effort to follow ALL aspects of the WW program, including eating the recommended numbers of veggies and fruits each day; and I exercised six days a week: a brisk 45-60-minute walk on three days with a friend, and 30 minutes on the elliptical followed by weights on the other three on my own.

Because I was a law student at the time, I had the freedom to choose to devote my time and energy to tackling this lifelong problem of mine. Although I attended classes 3-4 hours a day Monday through Thursday, the other hours of my week were unstructured, and I could choose to study when (or if, frankly!) I chose to do so. So on a given day, I could wake up with plenty of time to eat a healthy breakfast and pack lunch and a snack, go to class for a few hours until the early afternoon, and hit the gym after classes before doing anything else. That was my routine most days.

I wasn't working at the time; I was a full-time student only. I wasn't in a relationship with anyone. With the exception of my roommate, all of my friends were other law students. My family were all living in other states.

Equally important as the flexibility of my schedule then, I think, was my FOCUS. Studying the law is a very intellectual pursuit, and as such, can be pretty intense. I needed to occasionally step away from my law books in order to maintain my sanity and really to be a better and more effective student. Focusing on healthier eating and exercise gave me a welcome respite from immersion in legal concepts. . . . the exercise also afforded a much-needed physical outlet for my stress. (Many of my classmates chose to deal with the rigors of law school in less healthy ways--like drinking lots of alcohol--but that's another post. ;-) )

Contrasting that period in my life with my present life. . . . I now have a full-time job where I am generally expected to be in my office eight hours a day. I have a fiance who I will be marrying in just a little over two weeks. Within the past few months, we have bought and moved into a new house, and I am still not fully unpacked from that move and have not finished decorating the house.

I've come to the conclusion over the past year or so that I am one of those people who must focus a lot of attention and energy on eating in order to lose weight. I have been exercising pretty consistently for nearly a year--averaging 2-3 days a week since early January at least--and I weigh more today than I did on January 1, 2008. I've known for a long time that exercise alone won't help me lose any weight, so my experiences of the past several months only confirm what I already knew.

To put my current dilemma in a nutshell. . . . my focus is elsewhere now. I am focused on work (at times! lol) because I have to be. I am focused on MM and our home because I want to be. Every time I make a start on the path to healthier eating, I lose my focus and am unsuccessful.

The biggest part of the problem is that I think it is wholly appropriate for my focus to be on my job and on building my life with MM right now. I occasionally worry about my high cholesterol and the associated increased risk for heart disease that this brings. I more frequently bemoan how out-of-shape I am and how fat I look. But my concerns about my health and my appearance have not been sufficient to motivate me to change.

Without looking back at my archived posts, I am certain that I have blogged on this same theme several times before. I wish there were a way for me to discover what, in 2003, brought me to the point of mental readiness to make the commitment to put my focus on healthier eating and regular exercise. At the time, as I lost weight, I remember truly feeling that I had made a lasting lifestyle change. . . . but I can't remember what made me ready to start!

I started WW in January 2003 at 212.2 lbs, so I was within a pound of my current weight. AND I had weighed as much as nearly 230 prior to January 2003, so I don't believe it was the number on the scale that motivated me. I was exercising 3-4 days a week before beginning to change my eating habits with WW, so I don't think it was really a lack of energy that spurred me to change.


I suppose if I could figure out what motivated me back then, I could not only get back to working on my weight problem. . . . I could probably apply that philosophy to others and make a bundle, too! ;-)

And oh yeah, while I'm at it: maybe I could try to figure out why my home is so disorganized too. [sigh]


Cindy said...

Wow girl. Sometimes I think we could be sisters. I too lost a lot of wieght on WW in law school. I lost about 40 lbs and made lifetime in january 2002. Since then I've desperatly been trying to find the motivation I had back then. Why did it seem so easy? Or is that just the effect of time and perspetive making me think it was easy?

Either way, if you figure it out let me know!

And btw, enjoy this time... You're about to get married!!!

TUWABVB said...

I just wanted to let you know that I had the exact same experience as you and Cindy. I was running 3-5 miles a day in law school. I lost a ton of weight TWICE in law school and in fact was probably my lowest weight in my adult life during that time. It's hard to incorporate the effort it takes to be healthy into a life in which you have MUCH more responsibility than a student.

That being said, I think we can all benefit from the little changes. It sounds like you are a lot like me - it has to be all or nothing. And when it's "nothing time", I go to the other extreme and eat all those things I know are horrible for me. Perhaps we need to just make healthy decisions as much as we can at this point. But you're right, this is no time for you to be putting extreme pressure and/or deadlines upon yourself. We just need to learn to take care of ourselves without focusing on the end so much.