Monday, June 10, 2013

Seven Pounds

Face it: Writing is a sedentary gig. I can't tell you how many blog posts and articles I've read about how this craft can be bad for my health. I even work for a health organization. So, I know all the "shoulds," right?

Maybe not.

Because I had my annual physical in early May and my doctor summed up my visit with a piercing up-and-down glance at my frame and the words, "You need to get rid of some of that."

Gasp!

I knew good and well that she was referring to the "few more" pounds I'd gained since my last visit. Of course, I blamed it on a salty meal a couple days before, lack of sleep the night before, things I should've done -- but didn't do -- before, like exercise and eat right.

Maybe I just needed to hear someone else tell me what I already knew. There's a definite level of accountability that came with my doctor's unflinching order. My mind immediately compiled a laundry list of the things I'd do as soon as I got home. And as my thoughts were racing, she rambled off her own suggestions: 1500 calories per day, an hour of exercise every day, and a follow up visit in three months.

Gulp.

I'd be lying if I said my gut didn't want to offer a few excuses or that I didn't feel the urge to be a tad bit defensive. (You know -- kids, job, life, time, yada, yada, yada). But apparently, the swift kick my doctor gave was just the extra motivation I needed.

I am proud to report that I have lost seven solid pounds in the last five and a half weeks. (Yay me!!!)

Now, as much as I've longed for a magic pill and snap-my-fingers solution to the 20 pounds (now 14) that vex me, I have to admit that no such cure appeared in these last 40 days. I just stopped eating too much. Granted, I first had to realize how much I was really eating. And I did that with the help of myfitnesspal.com (thanks to my sis-in-law for turning me on to the site).

It only took two weeks of diligent tracking to learn how much -- er, how little -- 1,500 calories per day really is. And when I told the magical site what my weight loss goal actually is, it told me that I only need 1,320 calories per day to reach that number. Oh. Wow.

Thus, I tracked. Soon I found that one day, one mindless run-of-the-mill day in my life, I nibbled away 1,000 calories in snacks. WTH? That stopped. I countered dinner outings with two exercise sessions on those days. Once I saw the scale begin to shift, I got downright excited. Today, I happily -- and comfortably -- tightened my belt one more notch.

Nearly six weeks in, I'm no longer tracking my calories online. I know what 1320 is. I weigh every day because that's what works for me. I don't drink calories. I've learned that bread is absolutely my enemy. I've known for years that Chinese food doesn't like me, and I've reached the point where I'm okay with letting it go. And after 40 years of eating two scoops of Very Berry Strawberry ice cream at Baskin Robbins, I've switched to treating myself to one scoop of the non-fat Vanilla yogurt on a sugar cone. All the sweeter because I'm inching ever closer to that Better Me I strive for.

The bottom line is I don't like the number I see on the scale, though my goal is getting closer. I'm not quite obsessed, but I am finally focused. Besides, I'll be doggoned if I go back to my doctor's office in six weeks the same way I left last month. She won't care how sedentary my writing life is. And hopefully the scale won't let her know this time.
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