Tuesday, August 16, 2011

That sure would make me feel crummy too

After I finished my workout tonight, I, per usual, plop myself down on the floor in my towels near my favorite area of lockers. My favorite locker area happens to be right next to the scale, which I don't use, but there's lots of room to move around there. And since it's near the entrance, I think many people are wary of an inadvertent entry by a male, so they prefer to be farther back.

So as I'm sitting there on the floor, full and content from my 1/2 cup haricot vert and yuuumy chocolate coconut rice protein shake, I do my usual routine. I struggle to find my clothes in the pile of stuff I have, lose one sock, then the other, jam my sweaty gym clothes into the plastic bag, and contemplate whether I should stop at the library en route home.

As I'm sitting there, enjoying my post-workout/food/shower endorphin haze, a woman walks up to the scale to my left. She's making all sorts of noises of disappointment and confusion. I can hear her moving the 50-lb counter weight around from left to right, as she says "whaa?" to herself under her breath. She steps off. She steps back on, fiddles with the counter weight some more. She is clearly not sure what she is seeing.

Then I realize why she is confused; this scale only goes up to 350 pounds. She had moved the counter weights all the way to the right, but the balance bar stayed firmly put. Her weight exceeded the maximum for this scale.

I could now understand why she sounded so distressed. I can't even imagine how she felt. I felt sad for her.

Years ago in the summer, I was working two full-time jobs. I would work an 8-hour shift at once place, go home, eat some food, then change and go back to my 2nd 8-hour shift. It was exhausting, but I believe in hard work.

Both jobs required uniforms, and both the uniforms had extra room in the pants. So, after 2 months of working virtually around the clock, I hadn't gone anywhere else except work and home. If I ran an errand, it would be either in my uniform or my pajamas, since I basically never had a full-day off.

So one day, I put on a pair of jeans to go somewhere..... and they might as well have been spray-on jeans. It was the most_horrible_feeling_in_the_world. I had been wearing my uniform and not my street clothes, so I hadn't noticed I had packed on a significant amount of weight. I could hardly button them. I ransacked around my room, looking for the largest pair of jeans I had at the bottom of a pile. Oh good, my "fat jeans," I'll just put these on. Well, the "fat jeans" had become my "fitted jeans," and not a very good fit, I might add.

Both jobs were around food. One job was in a hotel, which also happened to offer an exquisitely huge continental breakfast spread. There were always leftovers, and of course, most of it garbage carbs: bagels, muffins, pastries, cookies, scones, pancakes, and French Toast (my favorite). And as I am not shy about helping myself to leftovers, you better believe I most certainly helped myself.

The other job was in a restaurant, and I was in the kitchen. This kitchen happened to serve pizza. I happen to be a huge fan of pizza. There are also a lot of mistakes in a place that prepares pizza. I will let you do the math on this one.

The moment you realize you have gained significant weight is frightening, because there is literally ZERO you can do about it at that moment. You are stuck with it. Sort of like the moment you've been walking around with food in your teeth, smiling at random good-looking strangers. But this is worse, because you just can't grab some floss and be done with it. Instead, you are forced to live in a body that not only you don't like, but that you didn't even know was larger than you thought.

This woman at the gym probably felt similar to what I felt when I (tried) to put my jeans on. I know she felt hopeless. It's hard enough hitting the gym and losing weight when you are a few pounds over your ideal weight. But if you're carrying so much extra, it's got to be so much more difficult.

The past 20 years I have worked to find what works for my body. Most of it doesn't work. Some of it does work. What doesn't work? Carbs, lack of exercise, not enough sleep, and putting convenience over health. What does work? Well, my contest-prep diet works. How much it will adjust after the show, I don't know yet. But I do know that nothing feels as good as fit feels, and nothing feels worse than putting on weight for a few brief moments of pleasure, when you have those brief moments of pleasure too often for it to be a "treat," and your diet is basically one big treat from morning to night.

This life is better.

I'm not a fan of sharing music, or listening to music others post. However this will be my only shared piece of music. It's been my all-time favorite, calming, feel-good song.

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