Sunday, July 23, 2006

Comfort is my racket

Have I ever mentioned to you how very much I dislike dial-up internet service? I have? Then I won't bore you by telling you how hard it was for me to get online yesterday, and in order to preserve what little of my sanity remains, I gave up.

The connection seems to be fine this morning. Perhaps it needed a blog rest.

I've been known to say that 'comfort is my racket,' meaning I'll do anything to stay in a place – physically or emotionally – that feels comfortable to me. As long as I don't have to struggle, I'm fine with the way things are. Only when the cons of a situation outweigh the pros do I feel the urge to change. I've operated like this all my life, and I don't think I'm much different from most of the rest of you.

Several things happened around the end of last year to create my own little perfect storm of discomfort, which led me to commit to a more healthy, fit lifestyle. It's not that I haven't been trying for the past several years – I just wasn't uncomfortable enough to explore all the options and do all the necessary work. I wanted to be thin, but I wanted more to be comfortable.

It's tempting to look for an easy way to lose weight. Watching television doesn't help. If commercials aren't suggesting you ask your doctor about the latest pill du jour, they're proclaiming that their product makes weight loss 'easy, fast, simple!' [Okay there are some beer and car commercials, too.]

Three commercials yesterday, for Hydroxycut, Nutrisystem and Bowflex, really set me off. All had great-looking spokespeople praising the products and claiming their weight loss was fast and easy.

In order to lure you in, even the plan I use claims you'll 'lose 10 pounds in five weeks!' That's a steady, reasonable expectation, not unrealistic at all if one's metabolism is cooperative. [Do you think exclamation marks help weight loss?]

eDiets' Glycemic Impact plan is pretty easy to follow. You print out the week's menu plan, make sure you have the right foods on hand, prepare some simple recipes and eat what they tell you. My losses haven't been as dramatic as two pounds a week – I'm averaging less than six pounds a month – but I'm losing steadily as long as I eat what I'm supposed to and do oh, about 10 times as much exercise as my body naturally wants to do.

There it is: Move more, eat less. [To which I would add: Eat the right combination of foods!] Why is it that I really want to move less and eat more, when it clearly doesn't support my final goal?

I'm a little more than halfway to that magic number, and here's what's happening. I'm starting to feel normal. I can wear shorts and capris that stay on with a button and zipper, instead of an elastic waistband. I don't huff and puff going up a flight of stairs, and the dumbbells aren't so heavy that I grunt and groan when I lift them. I noticed yesterday that I was breathing normally – not panting – after a spurt of jogging during my long morning walk.

Normal, for me, and especially at this point in my weight-loss effort, probably isn't such a good thing. It's too comfortable. I have to be vigilant and prudent and disciplined, qualities which aren't quite normal for me yet. Normal people have second helpings. And dessert. Those aren't on my plan, no matter how normal zipping up a pair of shorts feels.

In a recent comment to Lainey, Mrs. More wrote:

"… the bottom line is, sometimes we have to be a bit hungry."

Thanks for the reminder, Mrs. More. I needed that.


Stretchy said...

I went through the same "finding normal" phase... when I threw out all my big sweatshirts & sweatpants. I used to think "normal people" ate cheesecake (or other treats) daily. Then normal shifted a bit, & I began to think "normal people" worked out a few times per week & only had the cheesecake a few times per week. Now I think " normal people " are pretty darn active, enjoying the endorphins, sleeping better & eating good food when hungry.
I used to think normal just meant the usual, "the norm" --But it can also mean healthy, mentally stable, & functioning. I wasn't functioning very well when I was heavy, my health was going downhill fast. Mentally stable? still working on that one.

Rona said...

First of all, I actually DO read your blog on a semi-regular basis in spite of any misinformation Nancy Peterson may have passed along last Thursday. I am constantly amazed that you have this wonderful stick-to-it-iveness and determination. I have finally convinced my body that yes, we can walk at least a mile every day, and more than that, we will exercise everyday. Big hug and a thumbs-up for you.

mehitabel said...

All right, Debbi, you have hit Hero Status with me. I am really good at making menu plans, buying the right food... and then it falls apart. I'll be too tired to cook, or I'll get sucked into going out because it's quality time with friends, and by then the food is... rancid? Tired? You're really right about the comfort thing, too. I know my activity level is getting better because I can make it through a 5-hour shift at work (which involves being on my feet, mostly on the run, up and down ladders, shelving books, etc) and still be functional. I even did my first 8-hour shift this week, woo hoo, and it would have been perfect if I had had a decent lunch instead of a pepperoni pizza from Target. Sigh. One step at a time, I guess!

Greta said...

I think that it's about the time that I start feeling "normal" size and physically fit that I start feeling like taking a break from my weight loss efforts. That's when what's necessary is to remember the reasons we started doing this in the first place or to create new reasons. The one thing on our side is habit. Just as bad habits repeat themselves, so do good habits repeat themselves. Six months into a fitness plan we are in the habit of eating right and exercising. It does not take nearly the same energy to keep it going as it does to get it going in the first place. Still I think it's really important to tap into our personal reasons for putting out this much effort and make sure that the reasons are fresh and relevant.