Friday, February 08, 2008

In no danger of wasting away

For the last two months, I've been doing 30-40 minutes of cardio 5 times per week, plus weights 3 times per week. While I haven't been dieting per se, I've also been more careful about what I eat -- more fruit and vegetables, fewer cookies and chips. And I've lost a grand total of ...

Three pounds.

Good grief.

On the bright side, weighing three pounds less than I did is better than weighing three pounds more. And my overall health and fitness have definitely improved: climbing the stairs at work used to feel like summiting Everest, and now I can do it easily. Also, it's February, and I haven't yet had the plague that traditionally fells me sometime in December, just in time for Christmas. These are all good things. But still ... three pounds? After all that work?

Stupid middle-aged metabolism.

It's not that I hate myself because I weigh more than X number of pounds, where X = some arbitrary number between "more than a supermodel" and "less than I weighed when I was 9 months pregnant." My current weight isn't terrible; in fact, it's (barely) within the normal range for my height. But it makes me uncomfortable, and more importantly, it makes me not feel like me. The self-image that I carry around in my head is of me weighing X number of pounds, where X = "about what I weighed when G was a toddler, plus a pound or two because I'm older now." That's not what I see when I pass a mirror or look at a photo, and the disconnect bothers me. Losing P was enough of an identity crisis in itself; I don't need to add looking different, and not in a good way, on top of that.

I was mulling all this over last night while pedaling away on the stationary bike (mmm, irony -- almost as delicious as cake) and I thought that really, any sort of angst over appearance is foolish when you look at it from a historical perspective. If I were the age I am now in, say, the fifteenth century -- assuming I hadn't perished in childbirth or been carried off by typhoid -- I would have been pregnant as many as 20 times, experienced life-threatening and possibly disfiguring diseases, and have lost several teeth thanks to poor nutrition and dental hygiene. I'd certainly have no access to sunscreen or hair dye, except maybe henna. In short, I would not only most likely be a grandmother by now, I'd look the part too. Here I am, fretting because my pants are a size 10 instead of a size 6, when by the standards of our ancestors I'm preternaturally youthful and totally hot! Silly me!

I still want to lose the weight, though.


Anonymous said...

I'm a lurker, but I had to chime in on this one! Good for your for working out-- remember, though, everytime you lift weights, and everytime you do cardio, you gain muscle. Muscle weighs a lot! Don't base your weight loss off of the numbers on the scale only :-) You are probably loosing more fat than you think. Love your blog.

suedaz said...

I just bought a digital I can see in tenths how much weight I have gained as a widow these past ten months.

I am just now getting to the point where I want to exercise again, but the whole menopause hormonal trifecta ( less progesterone + less estrogen = weight nightmares)is a fixed race, IMHO.

Rob said...


I agree with what anonymous said. Because of what you are doing the "weight number" has lost meaning - as a measure and as a comparative.

The key things are eating healthy and doing the exercise. That leads to fitness and good health. Sounds like your immune system is already better if you've avoided getting sick this winter.

As for sizes, well, just remember the fashion industry is always fooling around with those numbers too. What's important is that your clothes fit and are comfortable.

Keep it up.

All Adither said...

Yeah, what anonymous said. I'm sure you've lost fat AND gained muscle. Muscle is a lot prettier than fat.

Also, I loved your historical perspective. ;)