I may or may not have gained 25 pounds since I moved home from Africa and got married. I’ll tell ya, it’s painful even typing out those numbers. The good news is that 25 pounds didn’t actually look like what I thought 25 pounds would look like on me. The bad news is that it was still 25 pounds that weren’t there before, but had apparently gotten quite comfortable and were/are incredibly reticent to leave. I’d post pictures but, well, I’m not going to.
Last spring around this time, I’d been married for four or five months and was attempting to slip into a pair of capris that used to fit comfortably and now were wedged somewhere in the vicinity of my thunder thighs. I’ll be honest- I knew I had gained a few. My jeans weren’t fitting, but hey I worked in an office and who needs jeans anyway right? They could have shrunk in the dryer (they do that, you know). And the realization began to flicker across my conscience that there might be a problem. A few days later our small group took a picture together which was promptly posted to Facebook and the reality punched me in the face. I’d let it get out of control.
My reasoning? I was home from the famine and want of Africa and back in the land of Chick-Fil-A and never ended supplies of brownie mix and alfredo sauce and I could have it any time I wanted. Rather than taking that to heart, and acknowledging that SINCE I could in fact have it anytime I wanted, I did not actually need to eat it every time an opportunity presented itself- I chose to remain in the Africa mentality of “if it’s there EAT IT, eat it fast, and eat a lot of it because you never know the next time something will taste this good.” Sad. On a variety of levels. Oh Africa.
AND I had an incredible husband to cook for who loved my cooking skills (if you know Graham you know the look he gives when he’s so happy to be eating- who wouldn’t want to cook for a guys like that!). So we cooked and ate together. And it was awesome. And it tasted so so good. Oh food, I love you too much.
So that’s how I gained it. Now to the losing it.
First order of business- realistic goals. I may never weigh what I weighed in college. It’s true. And that’s okay (repeat 4x daily until I believe this). I will also never weigh what I did coming home from Africa. That was unhealthy and I can’t make that the new normal (hello eating disorder!). The Lord has made me just like he wanted to, and being angry about that is denying he makes good things. Losing 30 pounds is not going to happen. I can however lose 15-20 of those 25 pounds if I am willing to cut back and work hard.
Second order of business- know thyself. My metabolism is painfully average. Not unhealthily slow and therefore providing me an excuse for why it’s hard to lose weight nor is it freakishly fast like my ultra skinny friends who complain of having bird legs (I LOVE bird legs). In order to lose weight, I’m going to have to do it the old fashioned way. Recognize that to legitimately lose one pound, you must burn 3500 calories. (Calories are actually just scientific units of heat- interesting huh? Check it out here). That means one way or another I’ve got burn more calories each day than I eat each day until the deficit begins to add up to poundage. I can do that in lots of ways…but there aren’t the magic tricks or the miracle diets (at least not ones that are actually good for your body as a whole in the long run). How I’m doing that is smaller portions, creative cooking (Both by seeing ways to trim calories and equally important, by acknowledging the things you just shouldn’t skimp on and simply eating less of them. Fat free fettuccine Alfredo just isn’t the same), and upping the ole’ exercise regime.
Third order of business- um, do it. Since last spring, I’ve been working on what I lovingly call my flab- sometimes more consistently than others. I started with the exercise, but didn’t change anything we ate. Then we moved to Arkansas, started a student ministry internship so you KNOW we ate the good stuff then. When we got back, I cooked lighter versions of our favorites, but didn’t change the portion size (who knew the right portion size was so stinkin little). Finally around November I started attempting to combine the three. And in late February of this year we actually started doing that consistently. I’ve lost about 11 of those “Welcome back to America and Congrats on the Wedding” pounds. Yay!
Fourth order of business- know the value of “good enough.” We live in a results culture. We plan, we execute, and we get it done. I am a results kind of girl. I hate that it’s taking me this long to lose what came on so quickly (and tasted so good if I do say so myself). As I approach the year mark of being aware of the amount I had gained, it’s easy to get discouraged when I look at how far there is to go. It’s equally easy to get a bit overzealous on my good days, and redefine my goals to be much more ambitious. Either way, I’m learning to say “good enough!”. I’m thankful I’ve lost 11 pounds. And no, I will never weigh 122. That’s okay. My original goal of losing the 20 pounds is realistic and that’s good enough.
A final thought- I find myself constantly redefining why I’m doing this. Am I doing it for me and my self image? Am I doing it to be what I would consider to be “more beautiful” and therefore more acceptable to those around me? Am I doing it because being healthy is good stewardship of the body God has given me? I hope it’s mostly the last option. I know it’s not always that. I said it already, but at the end of the day I must acknowledge- at this weight or any other (more or less- most likely it will be both in season), the Lord makes good things. He does good things. Me with my thunder thighs- crafted by an all powerful creator who could have made me any way he wanted to- and chose this way. So good enough is truly good enough.
So my goal is to drop another 3-4 pounds by my birthday (that’s exactly one month from today). Think I can do it? Hope so!