Monday, May 22, 2006

Starting at Ground Zero!

I didn't think losing weight would be an easy process. I've tried it too many times, in too many different ways. I've tried the Weight Watchers plan (twice), Slender Now (I'm dating myself!), the Weight Loss Clinic, and ediets. The latter is the only one with which I stuck for any length of time - about five and a half months - and I managed to drop 25 pounds, the most I have ever managed to lose, in that period. But as with every other program, once I quit, I gained back the weight - on this occasion, in half the time it took me to lose it.

Can I get a witness?

What does it take to find a program that works for one, and stick with it, either until a specific goal is reached, or for a lifetime? Until fairly recently, if you had asked me this question I probably would have answered with one word: willpower. Now I am beginning to realize more fully than ever that the answer is deeper and more complex. But that will have to wait until a future entry. Right now, I want to give you a little background on myself and the very beginning of how I came to be writing this blog.

If someone had asked me only a few months ago to assess my physical fitness level, I would have said something like, "Oh, moderately fit." Moderately. A safe word, smack in the middle of the fence between gymnast and couch potato. Yes, moderately sounded good: I could do a few pushups if I absolutely had to; I could walk a few miles; I could do some know. So what if I couldn't touch my toes? A lot of people couldn't. At least I could still see them. So what if even a couple of flights of stairs put me out of breath? I could still climb stairs. I walked in the evenings...occasionally. Yep, I was, at least, moderately fit.

And even as I would have said this, I would have been mentally crossing my fingers behind my back.

I would, however, most likely have continued on this path indefinitely, in spite of my dislike of my body's appearance, had it not been for a visit to my family physician. Almost all my life I had been aware of a ticking time bomb that lodged in the maternal side of my family tree - diabetes. It had reared its ugly head yet again, this time in a relative whom no one had expected to be diagnosed. For the past several years I had made a habit of having my blood sugar checked in a laboratory at least once a year. And each time the results came back as acceptable, I breathed a sigh of relief. Now, for the first time, I was truly worried, for not only was this relative the last one anyone would have expected - as they frequently said! - but he was not a sweets addict like me. Wasn't excessive sugar intake, after all, what caused diabetes?

It was not. For the first time I began to learn of the connection between diabetes and weight. Between diabetes and age. Between diabetes and a sedentary life style. Between diabetes and excessive carbohydrate consumption. I began ticking off warning points on a checklist - too many of them. I began to worry... and I went to the local laboratory to give blood.

That was in October, 2005. I was fortunate then - the diagnosis I had dreaded was "only" pre-diabetes, but it was enough to scare me straight - at least for a while. For a few months I monitored my blood sugar daily. Watched what I ate, exercised at least semi-regularly. And then I learned from a call to the American Diabetes Association that the readings on the monitor didn't tell me whether or not I had crossed the line into the actual disease, but how well I was managing if I had the disease.


I am not proud to say this, but for someone like me, that was enough of an "excuse" to gradually slip back into my old habits. The unhealthy eating patterns, once chastened, came crawling back and the exercise all but vanished. Both friends and family were concerned that I was heading straight down the hill to the land of diabetics. In the back of my mind I knew they were right. I was puffy, flabby, and too often stiff. I had reached my heaviest weight ever, at least as far as I knew, since I didn't weigh myself on a regular basis - I really didn't want to know! Something had to be done. I had to start over. I just didn't realize exactly what "starting over" meant until I met Matt Furey.

Who is Matt Furey? Tune in next week to find out.

-Treader Lucie-


Joyce and Wiley said...

You're being so honest with yourself! That's a great starting point, and we all need to take a close look in the mirror. I'm going to do that very soon. The vacation's over!

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