Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Post

I have a guest post over at Adventures of a Thrifty Mama on a Trailer Park Homestead. It features one of my family's favorite dishes, Mexican Lasagna - check it out!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Obesity and weight loss

Most of the people reading this blog so far have met me in person, so the news that I am obese really doesn't come as any kind of surprise (for those of you I haven't met yet - um, surprise!). On June 1st of this year I weighed in at 363 pounds - my heaviest yet.

For those of you who have never been fat, let me try to describe what it's like. Imagine that some sadist came and duct-taped a beach ball full of water to your stomach, and two smaller water-filled balls to your chest. More water-filled tubes have been wrapped around your back, your upper arms, your thighs, and your neck. Now, imagine carrying this all day, every day.

Try to picture how hard doing everyday chores has suddenly become. Walking out to check the mail...trying to get close enough to the sink to wash the dishes. Showering. Sleeping. Getting behind the wheel of your car without your stomach catching on the steering wheel.

For me, the final straw came when I tried to garden earlier this year. I had spent all winter visualizing and planning my garden, and finally - finally! - the wet spring had given way to early summer, and the sodden ground had dried up enough to dig in. I excitedly got everything together, and began clearing the overgrowth in the front of the house.

Five minutes later, I was sprawled on the grass in my front yard, gasping for breath and aching in my knees and lower back. As I laid there, tears sprung into my eyes and I realized I was too fat and too out of shape to garden. After a while, I struggled to my feet and went inside, depressed beyond all reason.

But you know what? I'm a stubborn bitch, and I determined that nothing was going to stop me from planting those stupid strawberry seedlings. It took me a WEEK to clear a four foot by four foot area of ground, but I finally got it cleared - and it took another three days to get all the seedlings into the ground. BUT I DID IT. There was a sense of pride in that.  And when I stepped on the scale later that week, I discovered that I had lost three pounds from the effort of gardening.

I knew I wasn't going to be capable of having an extensive garden that year, and I resigned myself to a small garden area. It was very clear to me that my focus had to be weight loss and health, or else I would never have the big garden I had dreamed off, or the active life with my children and husband that I desired. So I began to walk.

First, it was just to the near corner and back. Only about eight house lengths, but I could barely make it to that corner and back again. After a while, though, it became easier. And then the day came when I was able to walk there twice without much effort. 

I then turned my attention to the far corner, which is a quarter of a mile away from my house - and uphill. Let me tell you, THAT corner was the death of me in so many ways. It wasn't the distance that bothered me so much as the uphill battle...which was sad because it wasn't that steep. But I made it, one rainy day in early July. I'm sure my neighbors must have thought I was nuts, standing at the corner doing a victory dance, but I felt too happy to hold it in.

The next goal was to walk around the block. After that, two blocks away. And as the start of the school year drew closer, I realized I was regularly walking a mile at a time, twice a day.

And the scale began to reflect the pounds dripping off of me with every mile.

I began to take joy in the feel of my muscles moving under my fat - joy in the newfound freedom and the lightness I was experiencing.  I began to think about walking a 5k, even though I still struggled to walk over a mile without a break (a 5k is 3.1 miles).  I kept pushing myself, exploring my neighborhood in new directions - and discovered, to my excitement, that just over a mile away there was a nature preserve, with hiking trails and a bike trail.  And to my shock, when I came home and tracked how far I had walked that day, I discovered I had walked 5.75k...without even realizing it.

So where am I at now? In June, when I started out, I weighed 363 lbs and couldn't walk to the near corner and back. Now I am at 335 lbs - a 28 pound weight loss - and walking a 5k twice a week.  I'm planning on training over the winter for a 10k in the spring, and I'm starting to work on jogging. Right now, I can only jog for the length of a house...but small steps lead to bigger ones, and I'm confident. Next year's garden isn't going to be such a hardship!

And my biggest Christmas/birthday wish for this upcoming season? I want to get enough money to buy a year membership at the local township gym. It's gonna cost me $265, but even if I have to save in $5-10 dollar increments, I'll get there. And then I'll blow everyone away with my progress!