I'd had those moments before. Be all rah-rah about it, lose a few pounds, get less rah-rah, and gain it back. I turned to fad diets because why the hell not, and because I wanted fast results.
I still want fast results, but for once I wanted to approach the whole thing with a realistic bent. And I didn't want to dive in hard, because the Boy's wedding was approaching and I didn't want to buy clothes for it that would end up not fitting on his wedding day. With his bride's help, I picked out some spiffy things that I liked, and I was damn well going to wear them.
Still, I lost about 6 pounds before the wedding, and promptly gained back 3 because of the food we ate that week...and I was totally cool with that.
When we got home, the Spouse Thingy and I both decided to be sane about this for once. No more fad diets. No Jenny Craig (even though we liked the food), no Nutrisystem, no keto or paleo or Whole30. Just...be sensible. Nothing is off the table. But accountability is definitely on the table.
I'd been using MyFitnessPal for years (1449 day streak, woohoo!) but not as seriously as I could have. He downloaded it, and we started paying attention. Since I also have a Fitbit scale, I was able to look back and track when I'd gained and when I'd lost, and go back and see how and what I was eating. It was a little disheartening at first, because I really haven't been overeating in the last few years.
I just hadn't accounted for a dead slow metabolism. By every metric I could find online, I should have been losing about a pound a week. I kept my intake to 1300-1400 calories most days, rarely going over 1500. I didn't allow for the things that set me apart from most people: zero--and I mean zero--growth hormone, which even at my age would give me a bit of a boost in terms of lean muscle mass, which aids in how much energy you burn; hormones out of whack because of the pituitary tumor, and a host of other things.
The answer, the same as it is for anyone, is to burn more calories than I take in. Common sense. No one is immune to the laws of thermodynamics; if you burn more than you take in, you're going to lose weight. The problem is figuring out where the tipping point is. Just because the average person of your height, weight, and gender can eat 1500 calories a day and lose a pound a week doesn't mean you will, as well.
And I had to get that into my head.
I dropped my calories bit by bit until I figured out where I needed to be to lose. I wasn't happy about it because it's not a lot of food. I like food. When I dropped to 1100 a day--less than the minimum recommended for women--I started to lose. And while I didn't feel hungry, I knew I needed more.
So I started riding the hell out of my pretty electric bike. It was my favorite toy, so that wasn't a problem. I wore a heart rate monitor, tracked the calories I burned, increased my mileage, and ate back less than half those calories. It was enough to get the scale to move, and I got to eat a little more. Win-win.
But eventually, it took seriously long rides to get to the calorie burn I wanted. I love my pink bike, but 20 miles takes a while, and this town is small and riding the same streets 10 times a day gets old. My heart rate wasn't getting as high as it had, and while it was technically still in the burn zone for my age, I didn't feel like I was getting a good enough workout.
I've been following this one guy online for a while now, reading posts he's made about his journey to fitness. Last year around this time, he was over 400 pounds and had also had enough. He has kids, he wants to play with them with the energy they deserve. So he sat down, did the math, figured out how much he was taking in every day and how much he needed to cut to lose...and then bought a bike.
He started with a cheap bike from a big box store, and hated it. He hated it so much that after a few weeks it wound up in his shed, and he started asking online about why other people seemed to ride so easily, even heavy, and he couldn't. The answer--get properly fit for a bike. Then get a better bike. It didn't have to be expensive, but it needed to fit his body and riding style.
So he did, the ride was easier, and a couple weeks ago he did his first century ride. 100 miles.
He weighed himself the morning of the ride and was 190 pounds.
I'd already gone to a local bike shop and had a casual fitting, and bought a road bike. Riding it was a hell of a lot easier than I expected, though I honestly don't think I could have taken off on it the way I have if not for all the miles on the electric bike. But reading about his victory and how he got from 400+ to riding 100 miles in a day, and knowing how much happier he is, made me a bit more determined.
|No one said I couldn't take Starbucks breaks...|
I'd be lying if I said I don't care what I look like. I don't like being fat. I really hate my turkey-waddle-multiple chins. And along with my weight goal, I want to be able to wear a tight t-shirt and feel great about it.
Mostly, I want to be okay.
And just as much...I want to be able to get on the not-pink bike and ride for hours at a time. Maybe not a century ride, but a half century would be aces.
No more fad diets. No torturing myself over food, no telling myself that I'm cheating for eating pizza, that I'm being bad if I have a cookie. Just...pay attention to what I'm eating, keep moving, and for once, don't give up.
No more dieting at all.
Eat. Move. Be well. And bike, like, a hell of a lot.