I started attending Weight Watchers meetings on 17 June 2008. I've been on that journey for a little more than half a year longer than I have been blogging on here--but, I cannot doubt that by having this blog, my weight-loss efforts were maintained and encouraged with photography forays (walking!), cooking challenges (cooking for myself instead of eating out!), and constant exposure to thoughts of fresh fruit and veggies grown locally and organically (healthier things in my mouth!). This blog and the ones I read encourage me to keep my health at the forefront of my mind.
At my first Weight Watchers weigh-in, I clocked in at 278.2. I had been having a "biggest loser" type of contest with two friends (we were doing a percentage, because I, clearly, could kick their butts if it were just absolute value of pounds lost) and had already lost about 15 or 20 pounds. At the time, I'm not sure whether I cooked at home at all--I think most of my meals came from Papa John's or one of the many local Chinese-food delivery places. (That hasn't exactly changed that much, but what I order and how often have.) Eventually, my two friends kind of let the contest slide--but I kept going. I had incentive, I was getting great results, and it was just awesome to see what small dietary changes such as substituting whole-wheat pasta for the regular kind can do to one's waistline.
Eventually, however, those small, intermittent, incremental, or other changes built up to a significant shift in how I approach what I allow into my body. I still eat Chinese delivery, sure--but, instead of General Tso's chicken, crab rangoon, fried rice, egg rolls, combination lo mein, and wonton soup (I might be exagerating by implying that I ate all that in one sitting, but that wasn't always necessarily untrue), I order steamed broccoli with brown sauce and steamed vegetable dumplings with that yummy spicy/sweet/garlic/soy sauce from this one place I like. Better yet, I try to prepare my own meals in bulk and portion them out for later eating, but y'know, the life of a bachelor in the city often involves not cooking!
But then, also, these tiny, incremental changes in diet and behaviour that led to the weight loss happened to include a gradual shift to vegetarianism. I have been (mostly) vegetarian since January 2009, purely by accident. The moment I realized I had accidentally been vegetarian for an entire month, I ordered sesame chicken--and felt ill beyond belief. I still eat meat, occasionally (such as turkey, pot roast, shrimp, etc. at Thanksgiving), but those are exceedingly rare occasions. I'm not vegetarian for any political or ethical reasons--it's purely calorie-related. I can eat more vegetables prepared in a more healthy fashion than I can eat meat. I get the same amount of full, for longer, with fewer calories. Win-win!
So, about a month ago, on 26 October, I reached goal on Weight Watchers, weighing in at 185. "Goal" means I had reached the weight that was healthy for me and stuck within range of it for six weeks (maintained). (Although my goal weight is about 15 pounds outside of what Weight Watchers would consider a healthy weight to be for one of my height and age on the basis of Body Mass Index calculations, my body fat percentage is in the "athletic" range, and I would have to lose muscle in order to reach what BMI says is healthy for me--and I'm not willing to do that. In fact, I am working on building muscle. And losing skin. No one ever tells you about the massive amount of excess skin you'll have after losing over 100 pounds, do they...? It isn't too horrible on my legs and arms, but the stomach area makes me self-conscious.) Most of my weight loss can be directly attributed to the change in diet, but this past year has been more toning--I have only lost about 20 pounds since New Year's, and the only way I was able to do that was by being physically active (hence repeatedly broken collarbone!). Now that I'm a Lifetime member of Weight Watchers (I reached goal and maintained, so now I don't have to pay the monthly fee!), I got a personal trainer at the gym to improve upper-body and core strength.
Having Thanksgiving with my mom and all of my siblings for the first time in almost a decade gave me a weird feeling, and part of that was recognition of how much I've changed through Weight Watchers and my other endeavours. Only one of my siblings was interested in going for a walk post-binging, and after half of a mile, he started complaining about how long we had been walking. Walking a mile in freezing weather is nothing to me. In fact, it's irritating--I could be jogging, when it's such a short distance.
But, even as my eating and activity habits have changed drastically in the past two or so years, so has my gardening changed. In the past half of a year, I've lost only three or four plants, despite acquiring about 50 new ones. My ability to keep a large variety of plants alive has increased, and with time, I'm sure I'll even be able to help them thrive! For example, this Aloe "Firebird" that I picked up in August seems to be doing pretty well (or suffering horribly and trying to make babies as fast as it can to continue the existence of its species). Either way, it's flowering!
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