Monday, June 30, 2008

Wardrobe Worries

I'm in the midst of a wardrobe malfunction. All of my clothes have shrunk!

I am at the point where I either need to buy new, bigger clothes, or lose some weight. For 13 weeks I've been hobbled - six of those on crutches. I've gained 10 pounds, and one by one, I've had to abandon pair after pair of pants because they became uncomfortably tight. And I hate tight clothes. Hate. Really really.

When I found out I was going to have surgery, I went to Deseret Industries and purchased three pairs of pants that were at that time a bit too large for me, just in case this happened. It's a good thing; those pants are now the backbone of my sorry wardrobe: a pair of light grey wool slacks, a pair of blue denim jeans, and a pair of tear-away warmup pants. I try not to think about it too much. And I don't. Except for when I am getting dressed or see myself in the mirror wearing the same sorry pair of size %$&! pair of blue jeans. Again.

Now that I'm off crutches and walking better, my activity level is up a bit, but I'm not in any stretch of the imagination ready for vigorous aerobic workouts. So I guess I need to get serious about reducing my calorie intake.

I really really hate diets. Hate them. Really. I guess that's probably an obvious statement to anyone who knows me, since I'm very obviously significantly overweight. I'd like to say that four pregnancies messed up my metabolism. I'd like to blame it on my mother. But I must face the sad fact that I got overweight by overeating. I think I'm somewhat addicted to sugar.

In 2002 I weighed a bit more than I do right now. I was having knee pain (deja vu, anyone?), and went to the doctor. He diagnosed me with Patellar Tracking Syndrome or something fancy like that and sent me to see the physical therapist, who told me that the quadriceps muscles on the front of my thigh were weak, and if I would do certain exercises to strengthen them, my knee pain would go away. He was right. He also pointed out that a gym membership would cost much less per month than visiting him would. So I signed up at one of the gyms in town.

I decided that it was time to get serious, so I also bought the book "Body for Life" and launched a very strict diet program, which seemed to work quite well. For 6 days a week, I balanced my protein and carbohydrate intake, and avoided sugar, white flour, juices, and excessive fats. My diet consisted primarily of oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat bread, cottage cheese, vegetables, fruit, and lean meats, all carefully proportioned.

The Body for Life program also had detailed exercise guidelines. Six days a week; three days weight training and three days of bust-yer-butt cardio.

From January to July of 2002, I lost 30 pounds. I felt better, I looked better. And then I got complacent. I was still 30 pounds over my ideal weight, but I was doing so well, I figured I could ease off a little. And the desserts crept back in. I maintained weight within 5 pounds for about a year. But since 2003, I've added a few pounds here and there, slowly creeping upward until I've gained more than 20 pounds back. The last 10 weeks of forced inactivity have caused a loss of muscle, which probably means that I could actually be fatter than I was at my heaviest six years ago.

Enough. This injury has made me appreciate the simple feat of walking in a way I never had before. Being 60 pounds overweight certainly hasn't helped my knees, and in fact probably contributed to my current injury. Walking, jogging and clogging on an already bad knee while overweight most likely accelerated the degeneration of the cartilage due to the extra pressure.

I always rationalized that being thin was nice, but that as long as I was active, my weight wasn't a big deal. I always wanted to be thin. All I had to do was look at past pictures to remember what I looked like as a thin person. But I wasn't motivated enough to actually adopt the behaviors that would make me thin.

I think I'm there now.

I guess I'll go with what I know - back to Body for Life, at least the diet part, for the next month until I have the green light to return to normal activity. Time to get that gym membership again so I'll have access to the low-impact cardio machines and all the weight training equipment.

Anybody have tips on ignoring all the 20-something bust-job gym babes that poured themselves into their spandex? If you're one of those women, smack yourself, please.


  1. Oh my friend... Are we twins??? My story is similar to yours in so many ways. :) I have no idea how to ignore the sticks at the gym. I used to take an aerobics class five days a week and worked so hard at it. Our teacher kept saying that if we worked hard, we could look just like her. After a year (plus) of this hard work, we learned that she had a boob job and had only one baby. I was so discouraged that I quit and have never been good at exercise since. :)

  2. I can relate a LOT. I have struggled with my eating for years. Happily, I'm not in that place today.

    Being somewhat addicted to sugar would be like being a little pregnant. It's pretty much an all or nothing type deal.

    There is always going to be someone younger and firmer at the gym. It sounds like there may be more of them in your gym than mine, but they are everywhere. They have nothing to do with me. What they have has nothing to do with what I can achieve.

    There's this lady at my gym. I've been watching her for months and months now. She's probably in her mid 70's. She has worked her butt off pretty literally. She wasn't too overweight at the start -- just not toned with a bit of pudgey. About everyone in the gym was younger than her and a lot were more toned than her, but I doubt she gave it a second thought. She certainly didn't act like she did. She's one buff lady now. She's got stronger arms than me for sure and her legs are more toned than mine even if we can do about the same weights. I think she's awesome.

    As a final thought on the eating. It doesn't always have to be a big struggle. It doesn't always have to be this willpower battle. No matter how tough a person is, they can't fight all the time. Some people can fight enough to lose weight and some can fight long enough to even keep it off awhile, but why should food or fighting it or giving up on fighting it (and trying to accept overweightness) be the center of my universe?

  3. Have you thought about swimming for some aerobic exercise while you are waiting for your knee? If it wouldn't hurt your knee it might be a good idea because it takes the weight off the joints. I know that my arthritis was much better while I was swimming regularly. My ob-gyn couldn't believe how much I lost in the middle area of my body when I went back for my annual check up after your dear husband was born!

    I just signed up with our old gym last month. It is hard to make time to go back but I know that I have to do it so I can keep up with all of you guys. It's not the same now it is co-ed but I am thankful for the good looking sticks. That means the guys are not paying any attention to me!

    One other observation. It took me a long time to realize often when I thought I was hungry I was actually thirsty. So now I try to have a drink first. Then I can decide if I really want to reach for the sweet or salty snack. It also helps me to have cut veggies available. Less calories, more fiber:)

  4. "I am thankful for the good looking sticks. That means the guys are not paying any attention to me!"

    Oooh I like that attitude - great point!

    Yes, swimming would work, I think. We went to the pool for the afternoon last week and I spent an hour doing some kicks on the side of the pool (I got lots of dirty looks from the little 'edge hugger' kids). I was amazed how tired I was after doing that. Water work is deceptive that way.

    Thanks for the ideas everyone! (Hint - that does not mean you can't post more!)