working out on tour is hard. it is cold here. the days (as of sunday) of running outside are over for awhile. so late after rehearsal i head to the basement of our host house and do ten minutes on the elliptical and thirty on the bike. definitely not as much as i should be doing. tonight i didn’t want to do it at all, but forced myself because we were actually home by 6 pm which is very early for us. why do i obsess? because for 6 years i was fat.
my entire youth i was thin. so thin in fact that my mom took me to the doctor to see if i had worms. after that i got to eat pretty much whatever i wanted. the doctor recommended ice cream and shakes. i would have at least one chocolate cone with layers of peanut butter in between a day.
looking back this is not surprising. i biked probably at least 10-15 miles a day every day in the summer. i played all sports as soon as i was old enough. and once i got good at tennis? i was down at the courts anywhere from 3-9 (days i taught lessons) hours a day. and i rode my bike to get there most of the time. in college i was on the tennis team my freshman/junior years (red-shirted my sophomore year because of celebration tour). during grad school i quit playing as i didn’t have time to do anything but study, work on my paper, and do my assistantship. during the regular school year my assistantship was accompanying in the music department. in the summer, i was lucky enough to have one at the college library. but both of these were pretty much sit on your ass and do nothing jobs. i also went from eating meals (most of the time grilled chicken and steak fries) to eating meals and snacking (thanks to a new roommate who ate horribly and was fat). she worked at golden corral. my new late night snack (after i had already eaten dinner) was a baked potato loaded with cheese, ranch dressing, and bacon, that she would bring home after work each night. i went from being 105 to around 165-170 pounds. and i stayed this way for six years.
i call bullshit on all the fat people who say they are “comfortable” with their bodies. bullshit. you talk yourself into it, but it is NOT more comfortable than when you weigh what you should. it is not easier to find clothes, to feel good about yourself, to walk up stairs, to sit in chairs, to exercise, to play sports (except batting in softball—this improved, and i could bowl with a 12 pound ball for the first time ever—-but my softball fielding sucked, whereas before i’d been pretty good), anything. it sucks. but somehow, you justify it in your mind that you are ok with it. this is probably why i am pretty biased against obese people. because i’ve been there. and if you have a condition (thyroid, etc) then get some help. otherwise, start exercising and watching your damn portions.
my weight lose was actually jump-started a bit before i got serious. i had the flu so bad that for four days i couldn’t keep anything down. i lost 12 pounds. a week later i had put back on 6. then, a relationship i’d been in for 5 years ended. i didn’t eat for several days. there went another 5 pounds. being down to 160 pounds and miserable i started reading diet books, thinking maybe if i looked better i could win back the person i’d lost. susan powter’s book clicked. it wasn’t about starving yourself. it was about math. knowing that 3500 calories was a pound. and to figure out how many calories you expended each day from just being, and then either exercise or eat less or if you really wanted to drop weight, both. but not cut out any foods. just watch portions. eating more throughout the day in smaller amounts. knowing what foods you could eat a ton of because they had fewer calories–to balance the meal where you wanted sour cream. and it worked. it was not easy, it was not quick….and, the more you lose, the more you keep refiguring the math. it is the poor man’s weight watchers (except no fiber figured in). and four months later i was down to 120. so i bought new clothes (spring–all winter i’d been wearing layers) and everyone was shocked. my principal called me in and asked if i was anorexic. i said no, but that i understood how people could get caught up in the idea of losing weight. i would lose another 10 pounds before i settled in and put back on a few and found my comfortable weight of 112. this is where i feel good. where my body works efficiently. where clothes fit well. sometimes i am above a bit, sometimes i fall below (but not for long as i eat things i shouldn’t during these times). when i start to reaching 115-118 i start working out more and eat less again. anything over 120 it is too easy not to stop.
i will admit about a month in after i’d learned how to run multiple miles at a time, i started using the exercise part as a stress reliever too, and to combat loneliness. so i’d work out twice a day, putting in the equivalent of 7-10 miles a day. this was the obsessive part for me. but that didn’t last too long. all of this was during my time at st. gregorys, which i haven’t talked about yet. but it seemed fitting since i had to force myself to work out tonight. but my heart thanks me. so if you read this and you want help with the math, or motivation…i’ve been there. i understand. and i’m a phone call or a text away.