Sunday, July 15, 2007

Inspiration, Part II

I started to answer Janet in comments, and started running on, so it's now big enough to be a post. Re loose skin: from what I've seen, and it's not like I've seen her half-naked because she is not an exhibitionist, she has loose-ish skin at the usual suspect places, back of her upper arm, etc., but not more than a small over-50 woman who doesn't exercise. It's not like, "Gross, look at all that excess skin!" Her arms look fine - they aren't as cut and muscular and veiny looking as Madonna's, but who wants to look like that??

I think that because she lost so slowly and sensibly and worked out so faithfully, her body was mostly able to keep up with the loose skin. I am no expert either, but that seems to be an issue with people who lose 100 lbs via surgery, rather than the slow, hard way. And we keep coming back to, yes, exercise is the key to damn near everything! Why can't shopping be the key? Or facials? The key is all sweaty.

If you saw her before this transformation you'd have sworn she was destined to have a generous butt forever, I know I assumed this was so, I was sure it was her body type and she could not change it. And yet, even the butt shrank - it went more slowly, but it did go - and she's in a 6 now. And by her own description, she was never thinner than "pleasingly plump" in her life. I've known her 11 years and she was heavy when I met her. It took a lot of patience and dedication to do what she has done, and she earned that body.

I'm not trying to be argumentative either, but my family tree is chock full of heavy women and it would be very easy to say that this is my destiny - I have been TOLD it is my destiny! I was a chubby, sedentary kid until I was around 14 or 15, and I stopped listening to "Oh, you are pretty just the way you are," because the funny thing is, the only one who ever said it was my mother. I didn't get thin until my late teens, I did it by exercising and changing how I ate. And lo, the pounds came off, and the chubby, sad looking 8th grader looked pretty damn hot in a bikini at 16, and who knew those small bones were under all that pudge? I didn't until I got down to them. I got overconfident that I had my weight issues licked and backslid periodically over the years, and have fought the scale all of my life. But I also will say out loud that my "fight" has been intermittent and half-assed for several years now, I don't watch my diet as I should and try to tell myself that because I'm going to the gym I should be able to eat whatever the hell I want, even though I know this is not true. So when I tell myself I'm fine because I'm thinner than any of my aunts were at this age, that is doing the same thing - accepting self-set limitations. I bought the whole "Oh, we all get heavier when we get old," story until my neighbor turned it upside down right in front of me. I'm really determined to break that pattern this year, and this is definitely part of it for me. My neighbor is inspiring, because she set out to make a change and never gave up. This applies to so many things in life. Accepting a body that makes us feel slow and tired and uncomfortable in our skin is just one of the ways we hold ourselves back.

10 comments:

sallyjo said...

I think it's the "aiming to look like I did when I was nineteen" part that bugs the Politically correct in me, and that now is probably not the time for me to admit I want to look like I did when I was 17, and had just come back from hiking in the mountains (And dropped, oh, ten pounds in a week).
And make that "intend to look", as soon as I get off my "I quit smoking so I'm fat" ass.

Catherine said...

What is un-PC about wanting to look the way you did when you were in great shape and felt really good about yourself? I could have said "like when I was 35" because I was in great shape then too, but 19 sounded like a more ambitious goal. ;-)

sallyjo said...

To be honest, it's because I did the "quit smoking and gain an unknowable amount of weight" and really, it's my fault. I have absolutely no discipline. Shoot, I found pictures of when I was 8 Months pregnant and I looked better than I do today.
I'll settle for 28. That's only 7 pounds heavier, and a lot smarter.

sallyjo said...

Hey! I just realized this means that not only do I suffer from Sloth, Lust and Greed, I also suffer from Envy! Now, what are the rest? I should get working on them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the inspirational story of your neighbor. I have slowly put on about 50 pounds over the past 5 years with some of the weight coming from being depressed about being heavy and self-medicating with ice cream... Anyway, I finally said, enough is enough, and started doing something about it. I was beginning to get a little discouraged about the amount of time it takes to see any progress, but hearing about your neighbor is helping me to refocus on the "slow and steady" aspect of weight loss. It is the best way to go and making lifestyle changes is the only way to have long-term success. It really helps to hear about the success of others, so thank you for sharing this story at a time when I needed to hear it!

Catherine said...

Slow and steady is the way to do it, particularly if you are "of a certain age" and worry about saggy skin, etc. I lost 11 pounds in the hospital and when I came home, I swear my skin looked like it belonged to somebody else and I just threw it on when I couldn't find my own - it looked too big. My ass was flat and sliding down the back of my legs. It was horrific. I put back 3 of those lost pounds, but exercise has improved my body so much, it's remarkable how we can still bounce back at 49.

But I was telling myself that because I was a good little born again gym rat, I could eat whatever I want - wrong. I am now inspired not just to continue with the gym and increase my efforts there, but to tackle my old nemesis, portion control. Because even healthy food will make you fat if you eat like a college football player. :-)

Catherine said...

sallyjo - I chose to make Sloth my sin of choice, and after I did, I lost the ambition to try for any others. Sloth is enough if you do it right.

Carolyn said...

I love stories like that. I've lost 83 lbs. since September and I don't have loose skin. I still have some flab and cellulite but I'm hoping that'll go its merry way by the time I reach goal (16ish lbs to go). I've worked out at least 5 days a week since I started, even at my heaviest I forced myself to run, which I think has really helped me from looking too, uh, "loose." Although the view from behind as I ran I can only imagine... And even if I did have loose skin at this point I'd still take loose skin that looks good in a pair of jeans than fat skin that looks fat in a pair of jeans.

Catherine said...

Wow, 83 pounds! Okay, now I have two inspirations! Congratulations, that's a real accomplishment!

sallyjo said...

I lost three pounds this month, by merely trying to eat well enough that I wouldn't collapse mid-day. This health thing might not be as impossible as I make it out to be.
And, miracle of miracles! my wednesday night by myself is actually by myself. I'm off to visit my bike.