Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Not Before You're Ready

My husband, Steve, and me at our son's recent graduation from his trade program. | 4 February 2016
My weight has been a struggle for, well, the past thirty years. Except for the periods when I have been pregnant*, dieted, or have gone on obsessive exercise binges, I have gained weight at approximately half a pound per month. I have an appetite that will not quit, and I have never found an exercise program that made me happy.

Well, over the past few months, a few things have conspired to push me to the point of readiness to make some changes.

At my annual check-up this month, I learned that I had ballooned back to my all-time heaviest: 160 pounds. On my 5'2" frame, that gives me a BMI of 29 -- overweight and close to obese. I'm already diabetic and have a family history of heart disease and stroke; the health implications are serious.

But anyone who has ever tried to motivate someone else to change has faced the truism that change must come from within. No amount of love, encouragement, judging or shaming will make anyone behave any differently if they themselves don't want to. 

And, frankly, I didn't want to change. I like food. A lot. Eating is one of my favourite things to do and always has been.

But in that picture at the top of this post, I did not fit into a single dress or skirt in my closet. Even the pants were so snug that I had to wear a shirt draped over the front to hide the stretched fabric. And it became increasingly difficult to get a decent selfie picture. (Hold the phone high above your head and stretch out your neck so there are no double chins.)

Rosy cheeks and glasses steamed up after a walk in the cold, cold winter.
I wish I could say that my health was the tipping point for me, but it isn't. My vanity is.

When I quit my last job, I intended to walk every single day and to build from short strolls to energetic walks and hikes. And I did it. Adopting a high-energy dog got me out of the house on a regular basis. I made it my job to get out and walk him.

I did not lose any weight, not an ounce, but that wasn't my objective, so I wasn't worried, as long as my weight was stable.

And then Stephen retired. And suddenly, there was a back-up dog-walker in the house. And Brian finished high school (but hadn't enlisted yet), so there were two back-up dog-walkers in the house.

In the struggle between my good intentions and my lethargy (especially as days shorten and become gray in winter), I found I was walking less and less frequently. And for shorter spells. And I started gaining weight again.

Clearly, I had hit a wall and needed something to kick-start me.

Then, just before Valentine's Day, my friend Kathy posted a blog about her months-long journey to lose 65 pounds, following an unsupervised program that included regular, daily activity and a food diary. Nothing revolutionary, but certainly something inspiring.

So, over the past week, I've shaken things up a bit. I've made some changes and put some tools in place to keep me motivated. In my next post, I'll tell you about what my plan is.

* Because of persistent nausea, my pregnancies tended to incur a net weight loss.


  1. Good for you! I just started a new challenge a week ago too. I had gestational diabetes and I know that means I am at risk for future problems too. Being only 5 foot 4, extra weight is not only really noticeable on a smaller frame, but a huge stress on your back and knees. I've been pretty active for the last year; but this was an extra kick start because the holidays messed me up a bit. So, back to the grind!!

    1. I had gestational diabetes as well. At the time, the nutritionist warned me that I should probably stay on the diabetic diet forever. I looked at him like he was smoking some kind of narcotic, though I knew he was probably right.

  2. I am not there yet (though my weight definitely is) I applaud your decision! It's the motivation that is my problem and my vanity is not stronger than my lazy. I'm glad you're willing and so very able to make the change!!

    1. I totally get the laziness. I'm not sure I'd have the energy if it weren't for my SAD lamp and being retired.


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