FishDreamer scribbles: It ain't over yet.

Monday, 23 February 2004

Big Girl

So today is the first day (for me, at least) of the 2004 Self Challenge. I did it last year, and lost 25 lbs. I kept most of that off in the meantime, but due to life and injuries and whatever, I haven't lost anything further since pretty much when the Challenge ended last year. I'm not, at this point, unhappy about that. If nothing else, I proved to myself that I can maintain a weight below what I was before I started.

Actually, I don't know what weight I was when I started last year. I didn't weigh myself until a week or two (or maybe three) into it, at which point I'm sure I'd lost something. I was then 210 lbs. I am now right around 185. This is where I get the figure of 25 lbs. lost. Not that it matters, but so you know.

I was a chubby kid. Apparently things were fairly normal and life was groovy until the summer I went to stay with my grandmother on the East Coast. I was around 8 years old, and I hadn't met a donut I didn't like. My mother didn't let me eat things like donuts very often, but my grandmother loved to feed me. I apparently rolled off that plane when I got home and waddled back to my old life. I'm sure I was a royal pain for a while, but my parents are not the most indulgent of spoilers and I quickly got back with the program.

I don't think that I was particularly heavy growing up, but I wasn't slender and willowy like my sister (why swam competitively). I was sturdy. When I was ten and we moved to a new town, I decdided to take up swimming too. I wasn't particularly good at it, but I worked hard and stayed on swim team until sometime in my sophomore year in high school. I also tried out track, ballet, tap, and jazz, and soccer. I went back to team sports after we moved again, and tried volleyball, basketball, and softball. When I went to school in the UK, I played hockey and swam and lifted weights. I didn't manage to try rounders or netball, I think they figured I was too old and too well versed in the American versions (softball and basketball, respectively) and would get into trouble.

I went to college and swam competitively up until the damage to my shoulders sidelined me for good. After college, I took up Jazzercise (which I would still love to do if I could find a location with convenient classes). I went and got really fat for a while, and then discovered triathlon and running. (Note that I weighed under 200 lbs at that time, but because I had no muscle to speak of I was bigger than I was last year at 210.) I got down into the 160s with the help of Weight Watchers and my triathlete friends. I got laid off, I got depressed, I got sick, and I got big again.

With the help of Mr D, I got over most of it. I now run, skate, snowshoe, and do yoga, pilates, tae bo, tai chi, and bellydancing. (Those are all videos I have, again I have trouble finding convenient classes although especially with the yoga and bellydancing, I'm still looking into it.) I have maintained at least a base level of fitness since I started doing triathlons in 1998, although the weight has fluctuated.

The point isn't that I'm some major jock, because I'm not. I have a bit of natural talent for athletic things, and I love to exercise. I think it's fun. I don't always want to do it, but when I go ahead anyway I'm always glad I did. I have been known to laugh when I'm out running, for the sheer joy of the feeling and the exuberence of being in the woods or on the trail or even going around the track faster than I've done before.

Yes, I know that's weird. But I'm really glad I feel that way.

So today I start again on the journey I made last year. I'm pretty excited about it. Last year, I didn't tell anyone until they started commenting on the weight loss. This year, I'm doing it with a friend. She unknowingly did it along with me last year, but this year we signed up together and plan to keep each other honest and on track.

My goal for this is to get past the plateau. I want to get under 80. [Heh. You all knew I meant 180, right?] At my lowest, after the Big Bulk I did in the late 90s, I was about 165. That's a good goal for me. I might try to get down to 150 or so. But right now, I just want to get under 180. Somehow last year, I couldn't do it. I have all kinds of reasons, and I make no excuses. I could have if I'd really wanted to. But I didn't.

I've seen discussions going on around me online, and in the rest of my life, about goal weight and how much exercise and working out and eating right. A lot of women talk about being the Fat Girl, and how hard it is to let go of that identity. I can't honestly claim that I was fat in high school, or most of college, although I was never thin either. I wore size 10 or 12 jeans. But I didn't worry about it. I didn't have to. I didn't get truly fat until I was about 28. I steadily gained a little weight here and some more over there, and then I met The German and started seriously packing on the pounds. There's some video of me at Christmas the year before we broke up and I just can't stand to look at it. That is MY ass? I had somehow acquired my mother's ass (when my mom was big, because she's not so much anymore either).

I didn't feel good when I was that big. I was uncomfortable with myself, my clothes never fit right, and I smoked a lot. I drank a lot. I didn't do much of anything. I will always be everso completely thankful to Sally Edwards and the fine people at Danskin, as well as my boss back then who did the race herself in 1997 and inspired a whole mess of us to do it with her in 1998.

I was unhappy and lonely and fat, and now I'm none of those things. I love to do one of my tapes (although I really wish I could find a good aerobic video that lasts longer than 40 minutes) or go running. I am getting stronger and building muscle and it makes me happy. I'm not planning to lose weight so I can reach an ideal, or to buy smaller size jeans (I'm going to be really sad when my brand new sexy jeans don't fit anymore). I'm doing it so I can run faster and dance longer. Losing weight will also help me with all the joint problems I have - less weight means less stress on the joints. Exercise keeps me healthier and happier.

So, it begins again. I don't intend to bore everyone with my daily workouts and what I'm eating, although I'll try to tell you when I break 180. I'm going to have fun and further tweak my life and my habits to be more healthy and happy.

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