This Lazy Girl Gets off Her Butt

Large size exerciserI’m basically a lazy person when it comes to physical activity. I don’t like to sweat or be hot, and my cranky knee makes a lot of things difficult to do. Floor exercises and the like are out because, frankly, I can’t get up off the floor easily or without a lot of pain. And I don’t like to hurt.

As you may remember, I hurt my back at the end of May which put a crimp in my packing and moving process. Literally – because moving in innocuous ways would send it into spasms and have me just sit quietly with ice on my back, trying not to hurt more. Trust me, I wasn’t about to start up an exercise program under those conditions.

So imagine my surprise to realize that I’ve been walking more on a regular basis than I have in at least a year, and I’m not even doing it at a gym. I park a mile away from my building and have been walking at least one way three times a week (there’s a bus that I can take if I’m late, it’s hot, or the knee is cranky). On my lunch hour I’ve been taking walks to explore the new campus, take pictures, and find little shops. And inside the library, I’m walking up and down hallways and stack ranges a few times a day, partly to figure out where things are but also because getting up and moving during the day keeps my legs from getting stiff.

I know I need to find a gym and do something more steady and official. But I think I’m going to wait on that for a bit, until what I’m doing now doesn’t feel like enough. For now I’m pleased with myself for pushing to do this much when I’d rather sit on the bus in the A/C and be lazy.

Officially a Connecticut Weight Watcher

Goofy foodYesterday I went to the 8:30 am Weight Watchers meeting as planned and signed up to make it my permanent meeting. I had my little registration card that I signed 5 years ago when I first joined up — the receptionist at my last meeting made sure I had it to bring with me so my continuous membership is recorded. I don’t know if that will matter at any point but I might as well be sure to get credit in case I decide to submit myself as an inspiring story someday.

They had me fill out a change of address form and I have to be honest – that was freaking me out because there was a place for goal weight. I haven’t ever declared one and don’t want to do it now when I have so very much to lose before it’s even on the horizon. My panic and distress at having to put something down must have been pretty obvious because the receptionist whited out the boxes and covered up the numbers. But it was a reminder that at some point there will be a goal weight to declare – just not today.

After getting all properly signed up and, oh yeah, weighed (down 0.2 lbs), I went into the meeting room and was surprised to have some people I first saw a month ago say hello. They remembered me and had noticed that I didn’t come back, something I’d never considered. As the room filled, people were chattering away about vacations and challenges, recipes and where to find certain foods. Although I didn’t know who they were, the topics were the same as in any other WW meeting I’ve ever attended, and people were nice and included me. I was feeling less awkward.

One guy was giving away Kim’s Light Bagels and I got a bag of 6 onion bagels. They are amazing – chewy, flavorful, and only one point each. Kim is from Connecticut and lost over 200 lbs on Weight Watchers. If you live in the area, the bagels are available at Stop and Shop plus a few others and are also available for sale from her website. As someone who craves bread more than anything, I think this is going to help immensely.

The meeting itself was productive and helpful. We talked about that “obesity is contagious” study and I told them that I was actually at that meeting, and had decided to officially join it, because thinking about the study had reminded me of the need for a WW community. I left feeling more plugged in and focused on moving on from the excesses of last week.

Of course then I went grocery shopping. This was not a smart thing and something I will avoid doing immediately after my meetings in the future, even if it’s convenient. Being in a big store full of food when I’m feeling a bit more relaxed because I’ve already been on the scale is not a good strategic direction.

Today, though, I did had a good day. I cleaned the apartment which has been looking kind of messy, and hung a few more pictures. Mostly they’ve been stacked in one place waiting for me to be settled enough to know where I wanted them, although my really huge picture went up in the dining room a while ago. Today I put pictures up in my bedroom, living room and a few other places, and am surprised at how much more settled I feel to look up and see familiar colors and images on the walls.

Food was easy today. I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full, enjoying some lovely flavored coffee in the morning as I ate my breakfast and making sure I got in the food groups. Funny how eating protein, fruits and veggies and not just snacky food is more satisfying. I hope I remember tomorrow!

Forging a new life

My birthday roses

I had lunch today with a new friend, someone I’ve worked with on a virtual committee for the last year and who works at the main library literally across the street from my building. We have a mutual friend in common, another librarian with music connections, and the conversation flowed easily as we got acquainted and figured out ways we intersected. I think J is someone I’d enjoy spending time with outside of a work setting and I like that I’m getting to know people in that way. It takes time to build relationships but I’m starting.

There is a cemetery that I pass every day on the way to and from work, with a second one not far from my building on campus. Both are old and close to the street with elaborate monuments and frequently flowers splashing color into the scene. I like that they’re just there, not homogenized or hidden away and difficult to find. Dealing with death is a part of life and somehow it comforts me to see them. It’s a balance and reminds me that since I’m not a resident of the cemetery, I want to really live my life to the fullest.

Anne in Feathers and Beads

I came back from New Orleans with pretty silver earrings from the French Quarter, a crystal jar and a plaque for completing service on the board, two pounds of Mardi Gras beads, swollen feet – and an additional five pounds. I knew it even before I got on the scale this morning at Weight Watchers. At least it’s marginally better to know there’s a gain without having that come as a shock actually on the scale.

And really, what did I expect? I ate dessert more often than I’d planned, and bread and cookies because they were easy and transportable. I had a few glasses of wine and one cocktail (some amazing Brazilian margarita thing that I can’t spell or pronounce) but that was really not much for being at a conference near Bourbon Street. There wasn’t a lot of fruit around and I found myself craving vegetables and salad, which is unusual for me who usually complains of eating salad until I turn green. I did eat lots of blackened fish and chicken and the flavors and tastes were wonderful.

Making the food choices was really hard. I was consciously aware in some cases that I was eating things that I was going to regret. Sometimes I ate only one instead of a handful or was able to push away the plate after being satisfied. My system isn’t used to a steady stream of this much sugar. At a conference we essentially work from 7am-bedtime with programs, meetings, and always networking. There’s pressure and tension that comes with that, as well as the fun, and it was so easy to reach for the handy carbs rather than seek out something better. Especially with feet so swollen that walking became a problem.

I have to not beat myself up for it. But I gained 4 lbs even before I went away and am discouraged to realize how damn fast I can gain what takes forever to lose. I need to make an appointment with my newly assigned primary care doctor here in my new health plan and am already bracing myself for hearing the “you need to lose weight” lecture (nothing like thinking positive, huh?).

In the last two years, I’ve been playing around in the same ten pound range. That’s actually pretty good for someone who has been morbidly obese her whole life. I know I have a lot more to lose to feel better; I want so badly to be under 200 lbs. But it’s no small potatoes that I’ve been able to keep from regaining everything, which is my usual pattern. I’ve done that over and over and over and I’ve been terrified that it would happen yet again.

I’ve restarted over and over again but it’s been difficult these last two years to get enough of a grip to refocus and really make progress. Maybe I’m just afraid of it. I’ve thought about not going to WW since mostly I seem to be maintaining but know that, for me, the consistency of having someone else weigh me is crucial. If I stopped going, more than just my feet would be ballooning.

I can’t promise forever. But here’s the plan for this week: Journaling. Planning meals out the day before so I know what to prepare and eat. Bringing lunch at least three days instead of eating out. Drinking one more bottle of water. Walking the mile between the parking lot and office at least one way, at least three days. The fridge is stocked with fresh fruits, veggies, and protein, and my swollen feet are fitting into walking shoes. I got weighed today so it’s a clean slate.

My feet look like water balloons

Water balloonsOne of the side effects of heat + humidity + wine + standing for long periods + no way to elevate my legs is that my feet swell up like water balloons. Which they resemble now and the tops kind of jiggle with the retained water, and I can’t wear some of my shoes. This always happens at the conference but it’s so very hot and humid here in NOLA that I have the balloon feet earlier than usual.

That didn’t stop me from dancing yesterday at the opening event. It was a dessert reception with food stations with such yummy things as white chocolate bread pudding, Mardi Gras king cake, fresh berries with berry sorbet, freshly made beignets, and chocolate boxes with flavored mousse inside. Way too much food and I ate more than I needed to, but since I didn’t have dinner, it sort of balanced out. Ha ha ha.

There was a great band that started by playing slow jazz, which fit the NOLA-themed event. But after a while, the tunes started picking up in tempo and I couldn’t sit still. I started out just getting closer to the dance floor to watch better but was quickly pulled into a little group of happy friends and that was it for the next hour.

My knee and feet were not very happy with me by the time I got back to the hotel but I don’t care and I’ll do it again at the closing banquet on Tuesday night, though I need to wear different shoes.  Or just kick them off and dance barefoot 🙂