Monday, December 5, 2011

on letting go part II

I have been hesitant to write about this.  Because even though much, or all, of what I talk about here is personal, there is nothing as intensely personal to me as the way I feel about myself now that I've let myself go.  As of yesterday I am thirty pounds heavier than I was a year ago.  It hurts to admit that.   I'm 5'9" so I can usually hide a few pounds pretty well but this is different.  This is nothing fits need new wardrobe different.  This is catching myself in the subway window reflection and being embarrassed at what I see different.

I've never been skinny, or thin, but I felt healthy for the few years before getting hurt.  The first time I was able to slow down long enough to associate the pain in my foot with something that needed to be taken care of was on our honeymoon and that was over a year ago.  So that's over a year since I've been able to exercise*.   Do you know what happens when you like craft beer and good food and you don't workout?  Scary things happen.  Like 30 pounds in a year scary.

Last week I was given the green light by my physical therapist to try swimming.  She says it's still too risky for the bike (the muscles in my legs are so tight that the wrong move on a bike might tear a different ligament, a frightening prospect) and I knew to not even ask about my old friend the elliptical.  But swimming involves finding a place to swim, and, well, it means getting wet.  I used to walk the block to the gym in my workout clothes, get on the elliptical for 45 minutes, and walk out and home.  Getting wet just feels like such a hassle.  Spending time at the gym to shower and dry and change feels like more than my low workout enthusiasm can handle.  But there is another part of me, a small still not sold part, that feels hopeful again.  That this may finally be the thing that allows me to move in a pain-free way.  That I may actually feel good enough to shed some pounds**.

I see a slightly humiliating account of my public outing in a bathing suit in the near future.  

is this not what the cool kids mean when they say "vintage"? Because this I could pull off.

*I wrote about letting myself go and getting back in March, and the first outing to the gym in April, but the next day the repercussions were pretty painful and I knew I was more hurt than I thought. I never went back.

**That's the funny thing about weight gain. I probably could have fixed most of it this Spring by cutting back on food once I realized I couldn't work out, but by then I was already feeling bad, and it just can't happen when you're feeling bad.


  1. I ate an entire box of carmels yesterday because I was feeling bad. I get it.

  2. Ah, yes. I understand. I have also gained 30 pounds- although over 2-3, not one- because I married someone who likes to bake and eat good food just as much as me, and now we do those things ALL THE TIME. And we don't really excercise all that much. There was deifnitely a moment when I suddenly FELT different, though. It was a weird feeling to realized that I all of a sudden only had one pair of pants that fit.

    I've accepted that the weight I am at now is probably about where I'm going to stay for a while (I'm not willing to give up cookies, darn it), and have bought some pants that actually fit. Having clothes that fit definitely helps me feel better about it/myself, at least.

    I know it hard to deal with how you feel about your body when your body is suddenly different-- so good luck. <3

  3. I too was forced into the pool a couple of years ago due to some nagging injuries that made it hard for me to do other things. And I feel you on the pool being a bit of a hassle. The only thing that kept me going back was going with a friend - as soon as she moved away, I stopped going (though my injuries have mostly healed so I am doing yoga and the gym instead).

    One suggestion I have is to invest in a waterproof MP3 player. They cost about $100 but listening to pod-casts or music might keep you more motivated?

  4. Honey, I feel you. I gained nearly 40 lbs in under a year when we had a family crisis and my gym routine got interrupted + peanut butter and saltines sounded like the most comforting 24/7 snack ever. Bad combo. Then I just let it be for a year or two because I was too exhausted to get myself back in a routine. A year of major diligence did take most of that extra weight off, but I still tend to be a bit more of an emotional eater than I ever was before. I'm one of those people who *needs* to be working out hard at least 5 times a week for mental/physical sanity. I'm not quite back there yet and sometimes it shows.

    Be careful and take care of yourself. Getting into the swimming routine is harder than dry land stuff, but it does feel good. Thinking good thoughts for your foot!

  5. I blame craft beer (and maybe grad school and a bum knee) on the weight gain I experienced previously. I don't know if this is helpful or not, but I've been on a journey of becoming healthier over the last year or so. I'm still working on my goal, but one thing that helped me get started was only drinking beer on weekends. And if I had to have a drink during the week, I switched to wine. I also upped my protein intake -- 15 grams at breakfast and a protein bar around 4 or 5 in the afternoon. (I used to be afraid to eat those -- they have 200-300 calories -- but doing so helped keep my blood sugar up so I'd have energy to actually work out hard after work instead of half-assing it because I was too hungry.) Lifting weights helps too -- I used The Core Program by Peggy Brill (it's on Amazon) to learn about what I should be doing...and it's possible to do it at home with free weights.

    Just wanted to pass those things along because I wish I'd had them in my toolbox from the beginning. You'll get there, and remember to love yourself in the process. Associating activity and good food as a way to love yourself is also key (instead of comforting with carbs and fat or beer)...although I'm still working on this. :) You can do it! And good luck.

  6. Thank you all so much for the thoughtful comments! Good advice too. Now to actually get myself to the pool to sign up.

  7. I am so impressed by all these good thoughts-and as usual,your eloquent honest writing. I had lost 25 pounds for my daughter's wedding and now have gained it and 10 more! It is so easy to do...