Fit Life Adventure

An Ordinary Woman's Journey of Surviving Obesity


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Just My Size

 

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It is late August, so naturally the department stores are gearing up for Christmas. Seriously, I heard there are Christmas trees for sale at Costco.

This summer has been one of the most fantastic summers I have had in some time. I wasn’t sweating my butt off in jeans, I got to wear some cute dresses and rock some short shorts. My tan line actually extended north of my ankles and I bought a bathing suit that I don’t mind wearing. But I am ready for fall. I appreciate each season for what it offers but there is that imaginary line that I hit when I feel it is time to bid farewell to one season and embrace the next.

At this point in my weight loss/fitness journey, I am as close as I have been to being literally and physically half my size. Safe to say that should I lose this last 6 pounds, the summer clothes I am wearing right now will still see sunlight again next year. A few pounds will not make that much of a difference to the fit of them. I couldn’t be more excited for that. Investing in nicer pieces has been much easier this summer than last because of this fact. I recall last summer I was in the midst of continuous weight loss. I was often in that awkward “in between size” phase for most of it. God, the annoying belts I would have to wear! I hate belts. Especially in the summer. It just made it hotter and added more to fuss with when you really have to pee. When you drink as much water as I do, that is a serious issue.

 

When I couldn’t take belts any longer it was off to my seamstress to get her to take in the waist of my capris and jeans. I was there about once a month last summer. The money I spent on alterations likely paid her cable bill. Not that I was losing weight at such a rapid or unhealthy rate, but each month I was losing at least 8 to 10 pounds. While I could get alterations done once, even twice to jeans, there is a point at which the 2 pockets of the ass are practically on top of each other that you need to throw in the towel. I stretched the wear of these clothes because I knew that investing in anything else would be pointless as I wouldn’t be wearing them for a second season. I am so glad that’s over with!!

 

Shopping for clothes is something I look forward to now. It has become an addiction! I find it’s getting easier to eye pieces hanging on store racks and deciding if they’ll fit. That actually took way longer to figure out than I hoped it would. I imagine the store associates got pretty ticked off with me not knowing my own size. I would have to take a small, medium and large of everything I was interested in into the change room with me. I’m sure I was their least favourite customer.

 

 The emotional high connected to buying new clothes is pretty amazing too! I imagine this is what most teen girls feel like about their wardrobe. Seeing as I missed having all this fun when I was their age, part of me feels like I am making up for lost time. I kid you not, I will stand facing my clothes, all hung up in my closet and skim my eyes and hands over the fabric of these clothes. Touching them, loving them. Holding them out in front of me and practically giggling over how small they appear on the hanger. Sue me if you think that is a bit self indulgent. Never in a million years would I think I would find myself enjoying this particular activity.

 

I have gotten the lectures about not being too focused on the size it says on my tag. But I’m sorry – I get giddy with joy at the sight of the “M”s on my shirts and even a couple “S”s hanging in my closet. For those who are new to my blog, I was once a 2 XL. It is an incredible change -saving the space alone is incredible…means I can buy more clothes! I have come so freaking far that I think I get to enjoy this small fact. I do not by any means base my entire existence around fitting into smaller sizes, but I smile a little bigger picking out my wardrobe from day to day.

 

But tucked away, in the back of my closet, you’ll still find a couple XXL’s. They exist as a reminder of how far I’ve come. This helps motivate me and ground me at the same time. As much as there are so many painful memories when it comes to buying clothes (or in my case, not buying them) in years past, I never want to fully forget.

 


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Olympians, Pro Athletes, Extreme Weight Losers – The Ties that Bind

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I have always loved watching the Olympics. Summer or Winter, I love them both. As a young girl I would be in awe of the sparkly dresses that the ice skaters got to wear, and marvel over the poise of the gymnasts on the balance beam. There is a certain respect for these athletes that I had even as a child.

Simply for excelling in their chosen sport.

I am not an athlete. I play sport for recreation purposes only. So at best, we can call me athletic. I don’t assume to have much in common with Olympians or professional athletes. Except maybe one thing – the feeling of being renowned. Having your accomplishment celebrated by others and being called an inspiration. That sort of attention can be really overwhelming. The recognition and titles given to me as a result of my natural weight loss isn’t something I went looking for. People say to me all the time “You must feel so proud! What a great thing you did.” “You inspire me”. I constantly get compliments. I understand how these famous athletes can become full of themselves and arrogant. If you are not careful you could lose yourself in all the praise.

Anyone can be conceited. Pro athletes are celebrated so much. Just because someone is impressive in a specific field doesn’t make them a perfect human being. They reached a goal. Whatever that might be. Winning at something shouldn’t automatically make you worthy of respect. In my opinion, what makes you worthy of respect and admiration is how you handle yourself after winning. For as many humble athletes out there, there are also the arrogant, entitled ones. And I have little respect for athletes like that. In fact, I have little respect for ANYONE like that. In all fairness, I don’t imagine most pro athletes go looking to be celebrated as an all around stand up person and role model. They had a passion and skill set and they trained for a goal. The winners met that goal. It’s our perception and expectations that work their way onto these people. I do also get the argument that anyone in the lime light should hold themselves to a higher moral standard as others are watching their every move. The wise ones realize that their actions outside of their sport matter as well.

Losing weight doesn’t make me a good person. It doesn’t mean I have decent morals. It doesn’t mean I am worthy of respect. It just means that I lost weight. The struggle has switched from trying to lose weight to trying to stay grounded. My attempts to down play people’s enthusiasm and praise for what I have accomplished is more often than not met with “Oh no, you deserve it! Shout it from the roof tops, be proud!” I appreciate the compliments more than I can tell you. But just as I had to fight like hell to not allow the negative things that people used to say about me, define who I am, I also do not want to be defined as anything overly great. I still make mistakes and get things wrong. I still need a kick in the ass now and then. Please let me stay humble.


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Loose Skin and Other Frequently Asked Questions

You had over 100 lbs to lose, weren’t you afraid of loose skin? Do you have loose skin now?

Heck yeah I was afraid of loose skin! It takes watching the Biggest Loser to see what goes into a skin removal surgery and the amount of weight I wanted to lose was on that level. I remember the weekend before my new lifestyle began. I watched so many YouTube videos about lose skin. Trying to find someone who had lost weight naturally the way I was going to and seeing how they dealt with it. Most of the videos I came across were of people who had gone through gastric bypass. Nothing fit the description of my journey. But I did learn that building muscle was key to minimizing how much lose skin you might get. The simple truth is that living with a bit of lose skin is the far better option than living with obesity. Plain and simple. The anxiety towards it wouldn’t deter me from my goals.

I do have a bit of lose skin, but nothing very noticeable. Training the way I do today should help minimize it even more as the years go on. It does exist but it is extremely manageable.

How much more weight do you want to lose?

If I didn’t lose anymore “weight” from this moment on I would be perfectly fine. That’s the truth. I have come so far and am so happy with my physique at this pint that I’m cool if no more change happens. I am training and eating in a way that is supportive of the goals that I do still have for my body though. “Weight” is comprised of so many factors. By the end of the year I would like to lose about 5 more lbs of fat. But I would like to gain about 1 -3 lbs of muscle. I have that tricep bat wing thing going on. It used to consume the whole arm, now it just sits on top of the one muscle group. I’d love to get rid of that. As well I would like to try to firm up my legs and abs a bit more. No rush, just specific goals I have. The basic number I see on the scale may not reflect all of these changes to come. Thus the reason why a body composition scale is so important to measure progress from different points. So while the “weight” number may not be moving around as rapidly as it once was, I am aiming to continue to alter my body and get stronger.

What does a cheat meal look like to you?

To me, a cheat meal is anything that I am not cooking for myself in my own kitchen. I will never go to extremes at restaurants however. I am still smart about the choices I make. Despite asking for little to no oil, steamed veggies vs pan fried and lettuce wraps vs buns and bread, there is still a ton of sodium and ingredients used to prepare the food that my system is just not used to. Not only would I feel sluggish and retain a lot of temporary water weight if I were to eat a 1/4 pizza, or a fettuccine alfredo pasta dish, or fried Mars Bar to cap off a full course meal, my body wouldn’t tolerate it and I would get a serious upset stomach. I’m sure I would regret the indulgence immediately. So for the most part, I stick to chicken or fish dishes, I will enjoy a glaze or red wine sauce that it might come in and maybe a small appetizer. And this “cheat meal” happens 1x a week at most. For a guide to how my meals typically look, click HERE for a previous post all about my diet to lose over 140 lbs.

How do I start to lose weight?

You start. Now. The right time is this minute. You stop making excuses as to why it is a bad time. Excuses contain no solutions. You start by making a list of the things you know you could start changing right away. Like water instead of juice or soda with your dinner. A light Pam cooking spray instead of vegetable oil for your veggies, and a brisk walk around the block before you call it a night. Pick things to change that you know are going to be fairly easy to start with. And then do them. Every. Single. Day. Don’t stop. After a few weeks, make larger changes while still sticking with the ones you already made. Don’t stop. Consistency is the secret. The only way to get better at doing something is to do it all the time. It doesn’t matter what it is. Change something. You need to or you wouldn’t be unhappy where you are right now. A pattern will fall into place naturally and you would not believe the organic process that you will have created!!

As always, if anyone reading this would like to speak with me privately, my email is amgarant@hotmail.ca


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Have Your Crepe And Eat It Too

I sometimes get a humorous reaction from people when I say I love going out to eat. I am sure many people think all I do is munch on carrot sticks and chicken breast. So to tell them how excited I am to go to a buffet must be close to mind blowing. While this isn’t something I do weekly, or even monthly (to be honest it’s been over a year) I was legitimately excited about walking around the enormous food court at my city’s casino buffet and filling a couple plates worth of food. It really helped that the same day that this was taking place, I was also running in my 2nd 5K.

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Kinda took the edge off and gave me further reason to indulge and not feel so guilty.

Going off script in terms of my food choices isn’t something new for me. I battled through the holidays like a champ. But this was slightly different. This was my first buffet since my new healthy lifestyle. I knew I would be going up for a second plate – it’s a buffet for crying out loud, it’s what you do! BUT there was a dessert section. From cheesecake to an ice cream bar. I was excited about the main dishes, but in reality I could have skipped that part and hung out with the chocolate fountain the entire time I was there.

The group of friends I dined with were well aware of my new lifestyle but I wonder if they thought I would abandon all of my new found, healthy eating principles and go nuts? We were there to celebrate the homecoming of one of them, so given the special day, I could have given myself free reign to do just that. But I wanted dessert. Bad. I think balance is key – even at a buffet. So I kept my lunch options fairly tame, which I will admit wasn’t easy to do given the abundance of breaded meats, hell, bread in general, cheesy dishes and noodles galore. I ate lots of veggie dishes, some chicken, fish and salad. I was feeling pretty full but I had planned for dessert. I wanted dessert. Damn it, I was getting dessert. It was all I could think about and there was no way I was missing out.

So I ate my first crepe….with bananas, caramel, whipped cream and chocolate chips. People who say you just stop craving “the bad stuff” are delusional.

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I had prepared for this day well in advance. I gave myself a pep talk before and after eating. I told myself to practice mindful eating during my time at the buffet. I would be aware of my food choices and I would own them. I wouldn’t be too hard on myself or feel guilty.

I intended to skip stepping on the scale for the next couple of days. I knew I ate more then I usually would and there would also be water retention from the extra salt in the food and there would be no need to make myself feel bad about seeing a higher number. It all seemed do able and very rational. I easily ignored my own good advice. I woke up the day after and couldn’t wait to jump on my scale. Masochistic much??!! I just HAD to know. I don’t know what I was expecting. I knew my weight would be higher! As my left foot stepped on I thought about walking away. What was the point to this Amanda? I would gain knowledge I already knew. Then I put my right foot on. I debated closing my eyes before the numbers appeared and just walking away. Then it was too late. I saw the result. Quite a higher number and no surprise AT ALL! What was a surprise to me was my lack of self control to not step on the scale.

Initially there was small freak out but I quickly talked myself down off the ledge. I reminded myself of all the reasons why the number is higher and why it won’t be that high tomorrow. It is no big deal. I calmed myself down and pushed on with my usual day. I had a decent work out and I ate like I typically would. I still felt bloated, but again, that was what I should expect. A small part of my brain still wanted to wallow in the “bloatedness” and just lie on the couch for the rest of the afternoon. Mid way through the day I was really feeling sluggish and the thought was really tempting. I did need to do something to shake the feeling. I went rollerblading. I knew that physical activity would make me feel better. Crazy right?! I have come so far mentally that I shock myself!! Just a couple years ago you would have found me right there on my couch, watching re runs of “Gilmore Girls.” Now you’ll find me on the track beside my apartment. It feels really great being this in tune with my body and it’s needs.

It is much easier to preach about balance. Understand that I had to really fight against the urge to embrace my inner sloth. I had to consider the options in front of me and decide which one would actually make me feel better. I will work hard this week and stick to my routine and what I have planned. I will be successful in surviving my first buffet, post weight loss. Just goes to show you can have your crepe and eat it too.