Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On Losing Weight

In high school I was 30 pounds underweight and I remained underweight to some degree until I was 25. Over the next 10 years, I gained weight. At the end of July, I weighed 200 pounds. At 5'11'', that put me at about 20 pounds above a healthy BMI. As of two days ago, I weigh 175 pounds. I had lost 25 pounds by the beginning of November. My weight has remained stable since.

It was hard and then it was easy. I got the MyFitnessPal app and started calorie counting. I ate breakfast between 7 and 8: two pieces of whole wheat toast with lox; an apple, an orange, or a banana. I ate lunch between 11 and 12:30 and dinner between 5 and 6:30. For each meal I had a quarter to a third a pound of some kind of meat, which could be baked skinless chicken breast doused in lemon and sprinkled with pepper, baked salmon sprinkled with dill and doused with lemon juice, or tilapia cooked in olive oil; whole wheat pasta with butter or olive oil; and vegetables, which could be a sweet potato baked in olive oil, broccoli, or green peas. After each lunch and dinner I would have a small piece of dark chocolate, the purer and bitterer the better. I ate a snack in the mid-afternoon, which would be an apple or a banana, and another snack at 10 pm, usually whole wheat toast with butter.

I would work from home in the morning, which would allow me to prepare a healthy meal for lunch. On the days when I couldn't be home at lunchtime, I would eat a piece of baked chicken I had cooked the previous night, along with some bread, and an apple, an orange, or a banana. Sometimes I treated myself to sushi. I would eat less healthily if I was out with friends, but would try to steer my group to a particularly nice place. I figured if I was going to break my hard-earned good habits I might as well make it worthwhile. But for the most part it was salmon and tilapia and chicken and butter and olive oil and pepper and dill and apples and oranges and bananas and broccoli and green peas and sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes and lox. I only drank specialty teas I bought at my favorite hangout in Ballard and club soda I bought by the case at QFC.

I did hot hatha yoga about twice a week. I jogged three miles for thirty minutes three or four times a week, usually around Green Lake.

I weighed myself every morning and kept track of my progress on my app. Then I found the constant checking had a terrible affect on my psyche. So I stopped. I saved approximately 350 dollars a month from eating healthy and almost never eating out. I put 200 dollars each month into a savings account.

I used to get cravings at night. For the first four weeks those cravings were unbearable. I don't get those cravings anymore. In the end it wasn't that hard for me as it must be for so many others. I could probably lose a little more weight if I tried, but I don't know if I will. I didn't go on a diet. I changed my lifestyle.

I was able to lose weight because I had no responsibilities to anyone but myself and my career as a graduate student/TA gives me mostly flexible hours. I have the right to design my own schedule, to run out and get fruit at 9:30 at night if I realize that I need fruit for the next day. I don't have to worry about finding time to pack a lunch in the morning as I prepare my kids for school. And if I don't pack that lunch, I am free to take a little extra time looking for the one semi-healthy food option in the area where I'm working. I have time to take an hour out of my day to exercise. I can afford to pay for my yoga class. I don't live in a food desert.

You become less lovable as you get older, and in our society, you become more hateful as you get fatter. If you say unkind words about black people, women, or gay people you are a terrible person. If you say unkind words about fat people you are essentially declaring your preference for what you or what society has taught you to find attractive, so who can blame you for following the dictates of your libido? I can't see myself dating a fat man. I'm a little happier than I was five months ago, but I'm just as shallow and morally degenerate.

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