Sunday, November 21, 2010


One of the perks of working for a healthcare institution is that they prioritize preventative care and wellness - so much so that it's harder work to make unhealthy choices than healthy ones.
There's no sugar soda available, and the on-site options stress whole grains, low fat and low sodium. And they offer free Weight Watchers.

Ok, so a bit about me and size. I have been of greater than average size for my height since I was about 9 years old. I was never athletic, but I wasn't a slug, either. I've always been active, and relied mostly on activity to keep my weight in check, since I never really felt that I ate an unhealthy diet. In fact, I've often been somewhat proud of my weight, since 98% of those who find out what it is blanche because it's a number we have incredibly low expectations for, expectations that I shatter.

So I carry it well - yay me.

When I get tired of it or stumble into some motivator for change, I would join a gym and live there 4-5 days a week. Elliptical, weight training, 2000 meters in the pool - I would do it all and put everything else on hold for 3 months to lose a hard-earned 15-20 lbs.

So I joined Weight Watchers at work to see what it was all about. I had low expectations for losing weight through diet and figured if I came out 5-7 lbs smaller in January, that would be good enough.


I'm midway though week four and have lost 8 lbs without single visit to the gym. Yoga, of course, continues twice a week - and since I've been at it long enough for the flexibility stuff to be easy, I've asked my instructors to challenge me to gain strength (it's totally working, too. I can get into, hold, and come out of wheel pose without shaking. My goal... firefly.)

I found a pedometer outside my building (with instructions!) and have been making an effort to get to the suggested 10,000 steps. I average 7,000, but I can get to 8,200 without trying too hard. And I think that's the point. I want to make a change, but one that doesn't hijack my existing stable of interests.

I value my time and the things I normally do with it: knitting, reading, exploring, spending time with friends, cooking, and tinkering - all things that are generally at odds with being at the gym or highly active. I'm sure I could listen to books on my iPod or get my friends to go on a long hike with me - but history tells me that's a long shot.

I value Thin, but inconsistently. I highly value it when I come back from a store where they didn't have my size or the things in my size were unflattering. Or when I thought that Thin would make my life better. But that was a different time - pre-Physicist, pre-career-change, and pre-Oh-my-goodness-my-life-is-really-pretty-great-what-am-I-complaining-about. Lacking that high value on Thin, I just haven't had the incentive to sacrifice all that other great stuff to a gym membership.

Surprisingly, Weight Watchers allows me both: I clearly see the road to Thin without sacrificing the things I usually give up to slog my way to a measly 10% reduction in body mass. Based on how I'm doing so far, the ultimate goal they set (based on BMI - but don't get me started on that measure) seems totally doable - scary as hell (because what happens when you actually get the thing you thought would both a) change your life and b) be impossible to achieve without fundamentally changing who you are.) - but doable.

Here's to shattered expectations...

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