Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

That’s a misleading title.  I know exactly why I can’t lose weight.  I know exactly what I need to do.  Maybe after spelling it all out, seeing it in black and white, I will be encouraged to make the changes I need to make.

I have always thought I was fat.  Even when I was 17 and 85 pounds (I’m 4’11”), I thought I needed to lose weight.   Part of this comes from being built like a two by four–all straight up and down, not a waist to be seen.  In high school I was using appetite suppressants, until my friend Dan saw them in my locker and threw them away.  The beginnings of some awesome body dysmorphic disorder.


I gained my 15+ pounds in college, subsisting on french fries and pizza.  Fifteen pounds on a short person is like thirty on everyone else, I swear.  I lost the 15 pounds.  I gained slowly through the end of college and into my first years teaching; by the time I was married I weighed the most I ever have.  Luckily, my husband (who knew me when I was 85 pounds) didn’t care.  I cared, though.

About a year before my son was born, I went to the doctor and received a prescription for weight loss medication that was all the rage at the time.  I lost weight.  I was almost down to where I wanted to be; it was awesome but it still wasn’t good enough.  I still couldn’t reach that elusive goal weight that I set for myself.  So, I had babies, gained, lost, gained then lost again.  About 4 years ago I was probably in the best shape of my life. Then I was derailed by National Board Certification and have yet to get back on track. (If you’ve done National Boards for teaching, you know that there is about a two month period when ALL you do is work on your portfolio–bye bye Bow Flex.)

I don’t really need to know what to do–I’ve done plenty of research, tried and failed with the quick fixes, cleanses, etc.  I just need to do it.  And I need to love myself a little more for what my body can do.  I grew two human beings, after all.

So here, in black and white are my problem areas:

1.  I love food, mostly food that is really not good for me.  I love processed meat like bacon and  salami and pepperoni.  Cheese makes me giddy.  Haagen Daaz chocolate ice cream is my ambrosia.  I love bread and pasta.  I crave fried food.  I covet creamy sauces and soups.  I like my beer.  I know the answer is to eat less of that and eat the healthy, delicious food that will fill me up and keep me healthy.


2.  I hate cardiovascular exercise.  I can strength train for days.  I love yoga.  I enjoy walking.  I need to move, though.  I need to get my heart rate up for extended periods of time, and quite frankly, if I even have a slightly better offer, I will take it.

3.  I drink beer.  Maybe one or two every night.

I don’t want to reach some magic “everything will be perfect at this weight” weight.  I just want to fit into the clothes in my closet.  I want to not hate myself for my lack of control, my laziness, and my gut.

Here are the things I’m doing right:

1.  I quit smoking 4 years ago.

2.  I quit drinking Diet Coke.

3.  I increased my garden size by 100%.

4.  I started doing yoga regularly, and am walking a couple days after work with my friend and colleague.

5.  I eat breakfast every day.

6.  I joined my building weight loss challenge to keep me honest, and participate in the wellness program. For the wellness program I keep track of things like fruit and veggie intake, sleep, exercise, flossing, etc.  I turn my card in each week, and am entered into a drawing.  I actually won today…50 bucks.  Woohoo.

7.  My husband makes sure I have vegetables at every meal.

Here is my action plan:

1.  I will do at least 20 minutes of yoga 6 days a week.

2.  I will walk more–and perhaps figure out how to turn myself into a runner.

3.  I will only drink beer on weekend nights.

4.  I will start using my Bow Flex again.

5.  I will concentrate on making and eating healthy food, most of the time.

6.  I will try to remind myself that being overweight doesn’t automatically make any good qualities I have null and void.

The time to begin is now, I know.  I’m trying to not make drastic, unsustainable changes.   I’m not looking for miracles…I just want to fit into my clothes again.  I want to stop beating up on myself because of how many chins show up in a photo.  I want to enjoy every day and not waste time on negative self-image, and stop comparing my body to everyone else’s.   Is this too much to ask?




Just Relax…

532670_10150880466655886_1010234578_nI have never found it easy to relax.  By relax, I don’t mean simply doing nothing, or participating in leisurely activities.  I am always fidgeting, whether it is my foot tapping, my knee bouncing, or my hands wringing.  If I am sitting on a desk while teaching, my legs kick.   My shoulders are always up by my ears.   I have been known to chew my nails from time to time, and my pen caps have bite marks (we could get all Freudian with this, but we can save that for another post).  I have even been known to knit a row as my students write something down just to keep my hands busy and to keep from pestering them as they concentrate.

If my body is at rest, my brain is pinging all over the place.  I am not good at establishing a quiet mind.  If I am knitting, I need to read. If I am eating, I need to read or converse.  It is very difficult for me to let go even while getting a massage.  I worry, I plan, I write blog posts in my head, I have imaginary future conversations with people and rework past ones.  When I try to fall asleep at night, I like to say the alphabet forward in French and backward in English, over and over, perhaps just to crowd out the other “noise”.

Part of my new resolve for wellness is to learn how to relax both my mind and my body.

Captain J.A. Hatfield stated “This art of resting the mind and the power of dismissing from it all care and worry is probably one of the secrets of energy in our great men”.

The time has arrived for me to tap into that energy.

Unbelievably, I think I am on the right track, since I began attending yoga classes.  I have done yoga before, but I have not been able to grasp that coveted state of complete relaxation–shavasana.

I reached it or came darn close three times in the past month.  I focused my breathing like Sherri or Renee told me to, and I was actually able to “go” to a completely restful place.  It doesn’t always work, but I am close!

I have also been able to shut down my busy brain while at my acupuncturist’s office.  Just crossing Melissa’s threshold lowers my blood pressure–I’m sure of it.  Once she has inserted the needles and has left me, I have been able to focus inward and completely relax.  It is actually rather exhilarating.

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop. ~Ovid

What do you do to relax your mind and body?

A Simple Trick to Sitting Without Back Pain (That I Should Have Learned a Long Time Ago!)

My back has never been super healthy.  I have a rather swayed back (memories of my mom telling me to “tilt” come to mind when I write that), and I have ridiculously poor posture, especially at the computer.  When I attempt to sit with proper posture, my back gets really fatigued and maintaining good posture is very difficult.  Catch-22.

Until Sherri’s magic trick!  At yoga, my instructor Sherri suggested that one could just slip a rolled up towel or the edge of a folded blanket under the tailbone.  I suppose you could buy one of those “wedge” pillows, too.  It forces your body forward a bit.  Miraculous!  Amazing!  I was able to sit on the floor at my kid’s karate belt test for two and a half hours with this neat little tip.

Why am I just learning this after 40 years?  Did the rest of you know?  Why didn’t you tell me?

Happy sitting!