Tuesday, April 14, 2009

What Matters

My weigh in was good; down 1.8 pounds. My Wii Fit says I am snugly in the 130s... Weight Watchers (later in the evening, and with my clothes, says I'm at 141... if I lose anything at all this week upcoming, I'll officially be in my weight range for Weight Watchers, too.)

Last night was our quarterly "You should get more exercise" meeting.

Sometimes I wonder about the people who decide the meeting topics for Weight Watchers... I picture a board room with a bunch of men who've never been on a diet in their lives, mocking fat women and trying to decide how best to torment them with the meeting topics.


I mean, I know, there's a limited amount of things to talk about when you're talking about Weight Watchers. Food, food, portion control, food, sugar versus artificial sweeteners, food, exercise, restaurants, food, controlling hunger...

Deciding on a meeting topic each week would not be a job that I'd want to do.

I wonder how long in advance they decide these things... do they map out the entire year, or do they map it out one season at a time?

Anyway, yesterday was the "you should work out, even a little bit" meeting. We cover that topic about once every three months or so. (The problem with being someone who's been at Weight Watchers for over a year is that I've heard it all before...) Of course, this year, Weight Watchers is doing this walking challenge thing; getting people to train to walk a 5K.

We talked about it a bit, and one of the girls at our meeting was seriously rolling her eyes. Carla's been a member of Weight Watchers since before Thomas and I joined... and she hates working out, hates exercise and isn't the least bit interested in doing any of it.... despite that, she's still getting thinner... she's not quite to goal yet, but she looks pretty good. So, you know, you don't have to work out. It's not necessary.

On the other hand, it does have a lot of benefits, and I know we've all heard them before.

Improves mood
Lowers the risk for certain diseases
Improves sleep
Increases lung and heart health
Improves the ability to concentrate
Relieves stress
Builds muscle, which aids in weight loss

Yeah, we all know these things, right?

What I have noticed, in my more than a year now of losing weight and increasing my workout is that none of those things matter to me.

I started my exercise program, at first, because I thought I should. I didn't really want to. But I thought I should do it, so we started slow. We walked a mile. I didn't particularly enjoy it. It was cold and after about half a mile, my back, legs and feet ached.

Eventually, walking became more than just an obligatory form of activity and I started looking forward to it as a time to reconnect with my husband and do something with my child. Quality time with my family. My husband and I got between 35 minutes and an hour or so to talk without the distractions of computer and television... over time, I started to feel better about walking.

I tried adding new exercises in; I did a workout DVD for a while. Thomas and I went out and played tennis a few times. I tried Couch to 5K. Some things worked, some didn't. I didn't stick with much for very long; tennis got more and more inconvenient as the weather got warmer and more people were inhabiting the courts; running gave me wicked shin splints and even after multiple attempts, I have not been able to continue running for more than three minutes... unless I'm jogging in place in front of the Wii, something that makes no sense to me whatsoever. The DVD got boring. But I did continue to get some activity in.

Then our apartment complex added in a fitness center. So, I usually hit that three times a week now, doing elliptical, walking, biking, weights... I joined and completed the 100 pushup challenge.

So, there we are in our meeting, talking about the benefits of exercise.

I said, "Well, working out makes me feel Hard Core."

Some wiseass from the far side of the room mutters, "Hell, you are hard core."

"It doesn't matter what I am," I said, looking over at her. She's been coming to Weight Watchers for about five months now. I smile a bit, trying to be reassuring. "It doesn't matter what other people say. People can tell me I'm doing well, or that I look good, or whatever. None of that matters to me in the slightest. I don't usually believe them anyway. What matters is how I feel. And doing pushups makes me feel good, makes me feel strong, makes me feel sexy. It may seem silly, but I feel better about myself for doing 100 pushups than I have for losing almost 80 pounds."


Sheryl said...

Thank you so much for your post, especially the part about walking. Right now even walking seems like a chore, my back and legs hurt. I am only doing it to keep my family from harping on me. I know it's good for me, so why don't I just do it - I don't know.

But I found your post inpiring that you have gone through what I am going through now. I will keep working at it and look forward to the day that it doesn't seem like a chore. Baby steps right?

Oh yeah, you also reminded me to get back on my Wii Fit, I'm sure it will have some smart comment when I get on, maybe I'll turn the volume down.

Have a great day.

Anonymous said...

I am the same way. It doesn't matter what someone says, what they think, or even what is true - the only thing that matters to me is how I feel. I feel strong and fit and that is helping me a lot right now even though the outside doesn't show it. Perhaps in time and with some major hard work, my outsides will match my feelings the way yours do...or at least get a leeeeetle bit closer.

Journo June aka MamaBear said...

Love the comment about the men in a board room deciding the topic of the meetings. ;-) Walking is my favorite exercise. I did it for a couple years before changing my eating habits. I didn't lose much weight, but lost a couple of sizes. Now that I'm doing both, including strength training, it's much more effective and I feel a LOT better. I like how I feel after exercise.

It just takes the DECISION that you want to be healthy. If you don't exercise, yeah, you can die skinny, but it won't be healthy.
Path to Health

Anonymous said...

You hit the nail on the head. We view weight loss as such a public thing that we often overlook the simple truth that much of the journey is a solitary, personal one. Lasting results come to those who maintain that level of personal integrity and avoid getting caught up in the oohs and ahhhs of others.

Mary said...

I love what you said about how exercise makes you feel good. It's so true!! When I do exercise that I enjoy, I feel like I am the sexiest woman and it doens't matter what I look like in the mirror. It makes me feel GOOD!!!

Rebeca said...


You inspire me all the time (re. twitter updates on your cleaning get me off my but and in the kitchen doing dishes)... you have done so well, I'm so excited for you!

Anonymous said...

This is very interesting and quite honest. I too have started many things and got bored with them quickly. I am amazed that I still go to the gym regularly.

I have tried the 100 pushup challenge a few times, but can't get myself to do it consistently.

Not everything is going to work for everyone. You do what feels good to you and to hell with what everyone says.