I got an e-mail this…

I got an e-mail this morning from someone who said he was enjoying hearing about the weight loss stuff. I admit to being sort of relieved; I feel a little nervous talking about it, especially about doing well at it. It seems like there's so many people, including quite a few of my friends, who work really hard at weight loss and have very little luck with it. I sort of feel like I ought to be...I dunno. Complaining more? It's not easy eating less -- the first few days, I was so hungry! But my tendency is always to focus on the positive -- god, that sounds like a slogan, but really, it's just how I generally think about a lot of things. I don't stress a lot about my writing career -- about not having a novel by thirty, or not winning an award, or whatever. I just tend to be pleased by what comes along, and figure if I keep working, more stuff will come along. Similarly for the dieting/exercise stuff. But so far, the dieting stuff has actually been a *lot* easier than the writing stuff! Most days I can manage not to eat an unreasonable amount; most days I don't manage to write any fiction. So the pounds have been melting off, and I feel just a little weird talking about it. Like I ought to be struggling more, earning the right to be successful. I don't know if this is making any sense.

But in case there are some of you who are encouraged, rather than discouraged, by hearing about all the dieting stuff, I can give you some more specific details. I'm 5 feet tall; I should be somewhere between 100 and 120 lbs., I think. As an adult, I've never weighed less than 118, and I was really quite happy with that weight. That was about a size 6, if I remember right -- I was only there for about half a year. The dress sizes seem to correspond every ten pounds or so for me -- when I was 130, I was a size 8. That was most of high school and college, and a little beyond college. A few years ago I crept up to 140, a size 10. Still not so bad, though I felt definitely plump. And then I went up to 150, a size 12, and then 158, a size 14. Eep! That was when I really decided to try to change things...if I went up another size, I'd have to start shopping in large women's stores, and I really didn't want to do that.

So, the dieting. I took a hard look at what I was eating, and discovered that I was generally eating as much or more than the guys I dated. Considering that they were a) male, and b) generally at least eight inches taller than me, that didn't seem so good. I cut my portion sizes in half. If they ate a sandwich, I ate half a sandwich. Instead of eating rice and curry on a full size plate, I served myself on a salad plate. And I might still go back for seconds -- but I used to go back for seconds on that full size plate, which is more like fourths now...which I can't even imagine doing. I feel stuffed if I have seconds. I also switched to mostly having a yogurt for lunch, rather than a full meal. I often don't eat breakfast -- I just drink tea with sugar and skim milk. So far, it's working well for me as a dieting regime. I'm losing pretty fast -- about a pound every other day or so. After the first few days, I stopped being ravenously hungry. :-) I've gone from 158 to 139. I'm still sort of hoping to hit 135 before WorldCon, and maybe 130 by mid-September? If I stick there, I think I can be content...but if I'm feeling up to it, I might keep going and aim for that 120. It'd be really nice to be down to a weight that my doctor is happy with.

The amount I usually eat these days isn't what I want to be eating long-term. Long-term, a little more rice or bread with my curry, an occasional dessert, add a salad for lunch to my yogurt. That'd be nice. I think if I stuck to that, I'd be able to maintain my weight without feeling deprived, especially if I keep exercising. That's the theory, anyway; we'll see if it works.

Exercise I'm not so good at (and so I feel freer to talk about it -- isn't that strange? I guess it all comes down to not wanting to sound like I'm boasting. But sounding like I'm complaining all the time also doesn't seem so good. Oof. Tough line to walk. I'm surprised y'all put up with all this, to be honest). I can generally get myself to do some mellow exercise most days. Umm...until I stop, and then it can be weeks, or months, until I start again. I have a harder time getting myself to dance classes or the gym -- not because they're more work, actually. It's odd, but in some ways, they're easier to do, physically, because once I start, I tend to keep going. But they're so much tougher socially! I hate looking like a klutzy wimp in front of people, even strangers. And if you go to a dance class for very long, they're not strangers anymore. And you can tell yourself that they really don't give a damn how chubby and out of shape you are, but that just doesn't help so much, even though it's true. For example, I went to the first few weeks of the local dance class, right? Then I travelled for a while, so I missed some. And now I've been reluctant to go back, because I feel like all the other people have been going regularly, and they'll have gotten better, and they'll be laughing in their heads at how pathetic I am. Sigh. Totally stupid, but there it is.

And sports are even worse -- because at least in a class, it's really only yourself you're failing. If you're playing ultimate frisbee or some other team sport, it's probably more fun, but there's also the team aspect, and the winning aspect, and therefore the not wanting to let down the team aspect. So not only will people laugh at you, but they'll be annoyed with you for being such a sucky player and so out of shape.

At this point, I mostly try to think about this as a process, with stages. Right now, I'm stuck with exercising indoors, alone, 'cause that's what I can cope with. When I get a little stronger and thinner, then I'll go back to the dance classes. And when I'm in much better shape, maybe I'll go join some sports thing. It sounds like a lot of fun. I really like games. We'll see how it goes...

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