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Archive for January, 2012

I know everyone says you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, that each person and body is unique. And that sounds like sound, sane advice.

But I am not always sound or sane, and right now, I am just frrrruuustrated.

I know I’ve done good work so far. I’m down 33 pounds (was 34 until I gained one back because – why?!!!). But I am starting to have envy issues from others who are losing weight faster and more easily than I am.

And these issues are really about my frustration with the plateau I have hit. I have stayed about the same weight for a month now. And yes, part of that was from getting sick (twice!) and part of it was from the holidays (even though I was pretty much a fucking saint), but it’s still frustrating to be on a long journey and have that journey slooooow down. Because it’s not as if I’ve gotten to stop working hard.

I am sure I would feel better if the scale had gone down this past week like it did the week before, instead of going back up(!). And I know some of the reasons that happened: I got sick and didn’t exercise for 2 days and a third day was lighter than usual because I felt sick (and because it was my birthday). Also, because it was my birthday, I ate sugar-free, gluten-free, fat-free, dairy-free treats, but still… treats. So I get how it happened.

But still. Still! I’m not eating any fucking sugar! It was my birthday, and I told people not to bring me sweets! I did not have a cake! There were no chocolates or fro-yo or ice cream or CAKE. And there continues to be no red meat, eggs, milk, fried food, white flour, or even ALCOHOL. I mean, come the fuck on. And I still exercised 5 times in that week. Like really? That’s not fucking enough?

Apparently not.

My body is frustratingly slow at metabolizing. I have known this to be true for many years. And I have been frustrated by it for many years. It has often caused me to whine that old mantra of children everywhere: “It’s not faaairrrr!!!”

Why did *I* get the metabolism of a 50-year-old woman when I hit puberty? Why could my friends, all through high school and college, eat breakfast ice cream and midnight french fries and not gain lots and lots of weight? And why now, as we all get older and everyone else starts to face the sluggish metabolism I’ve known for so many years is it still easier for them to lose weight when they try?

Because that’s what’s bothering me right now. I have now talked to my second friend who has much more easily lost weight than I have for the past few months. I have worked so hard. And I know comparing has no real productive purpose and that my hard work is inherently worthwhile. But still. Still! It’s frustrating to hear that one friend lost 22 in 3 months – the time it took me to lose 12. AND SHE DIDN’T EXERCISE! Gaaaaah! I exercise ALL THE TIME. And still my body is like, “Eh, I think I’ll just hold on to these pounds, but thanks. Have fun getting up at 5:15am to go to the gym.”

Of course, it doesn’t matter. Of course, all that matters is my journey. And no amount of frustration or perceived unfairness will change what I have to do. If it takes me longer, then it takes me longer. If it’s harder, it’s harder. Not doing it because I’m not like everyone else won’t serve any purpose except to fuck my shit up and drag me back to where I started. And I’m not going back there. I’m on my path. It may be my slow path, but it’s good just to be on it. I’m lucky to be on it. It’s a blessing.

And as for fairness… I’m sure that all the sick, the oppressed, everyone who has ever had terribly, unbelievably unfair luck could easily point out to me that 1. life’s not fair and 2. I’m pretty fucking lucky anyway.

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I get a year older this week. For years, ever since I could do so legally, I have celebrated my birthday with lots of drinking. From my 21st birthday when my best friend from childhood got me drunk at a gay piano bar even though we were just supposed to get one drink because my father was having his prostate removed at 7am the next morning to my post-college years in Boston when birthday parties were always at bars and the party was only good if we shut the place down to my first year out in LA for grad school when one of my friends made me a t-shirt that said “Go Bender,” there have always been drinks. Usually lots of them. In the past few years, this trend has started to please me less. I can’t avoid hangovers, and more and more often the actual drinking part isn’t as fun as I remember it being. But even as I’ve started to focus more on the dinners, there’s still been drinking.

Until this year. This year, I’m not drinking. Because my trainer says so.

Alcohol is one of the many things I’ve agreed to give up for the time being in my quest for better health. This is not to say I haven’t had a drink in the past six months; I have. But my goal is NOT to have a drink, so I’m certainly not going to build an activity around it.

Building activities around food has also gotten harder. I still go out to eat – probably more than I should – but where I’ll go and what I can eat is much more limited. And I’d rather not spend a celebration staring at everyone else’s butter/sugar/salt yums and working mentally on remember why I don’t, in fact, want that cookie.

Now, I realize that the simple answer to all of this is to just not have a birthday party because, you know, I’m not a little kid anymore. But I do not ROLL LIKE THAT. I LOVE my birthday. I love celebrating it. And I don’t care that it’s just a random year in my 30s. Or that some grownups just have a nice dinner and then go on about there lives. I have lived another year and it is AWESOME and I am GOING TO HAVE A PARTY.

It’s just going to be a different kind. Which is all a REALLY long-winded way of saying that I’m going hiking for my birthday. And this is noteworthy because, as recently as a year ago, if someone had invited me to a hiking party, I would have been like, “Hiking can go fuck itself.”

Because I did not like hiking. I liked the views at the top, and I liked being outside. But I did not like how puffy and red-faced and sweaty it made me. I did not like that half the heat in my face was from shame as well as exertion. Because I was so much slower and breathing so much harder than everyone else. It was a slap in the face as to how out of shape I was, and I preferred to not examine that reality very closely, thankyouverymuch.

I hated having to pretend I was less tired and out of breath than I was. I hated being the last person to get to the destination despite all my pretending. I hated how the embarrassment of it all made me want to cry and how that made it EVEN HARDER to catch my breath. I hated having to pretend like it was fun for me.

My ex-boyfriend made it even worse by dragging me up Runyon Canyon once in 100 degree heat at noon and another time when I was wearing a skirt. I didn’t feel like I could say no because it would just reinforce how out of shape I was. I had to act as if I liked the idea! The time in the skirt, I lost my footing, fell and skidded across gravel, ripping the skin on my right calf to shreds. After that, I was done, just done, with hiking. And I didn’t do it again.

Until my trainer made me.

I put it off for as long as possible of course. I knew it would be ugly. But finally, in mid-November, she announced that I would be joining her to hike Fryman Canyon that weekend. I could pick if I wanted to do it Saturday or Sunday, but that was the only say I had in the matter. So I went, and it was very hard. But I did it without stopping (mostly because I thought, even though it felt like my lungs would explode, that I wasn’t allowed to stop). The beginning of the hike is steep, and the incline lasts for awhile. By the time I got to the first bit of level ground, I was wondering if it would ever end. But I was also getting to see this gorgeous view of the Valley and the San Gabriel Mountains:

The trail didn’t level out for long, and the top seemed like it would never arrive, always disappearing behind a bend in the trail that led to another incline. But then it did arrive, and I felt great. And the views were wonderful still. And my trainer was very proud that I hadn’t stopped, that I had done it all. And then we got to walk down. And I liked it.

I’ve gone with her most weekends since then, sometimes twice, and it’s still hard. But it’s not nearly as hard. And during the hard parts, I am able to remember that 1. they’ll end and 2. that it will feel worth it when I get to the top; I will feel powerful and good and full of energy.

So last weekend, when I was still trying to figure out how to celebrate my birthday, I went on another hike up Fryman with my trainer, and as I was huffing up the last incline before the top, looking out at the clear and sunny neighborhoods of the Valley, I thought of how much I was enjoy myself. I thought that I’d like to start the next year of my life this way. And so that’s what I’m doing. A hiking party.

And I like it.

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Well, hello there.

It’s been awhile. I maaaybe forgot to update here. But not – not! – and how’s this for awesome? – because I fell off the wagon into a giant pile of cream puffs and ho-hos. Ho no. I am still walking (uphill at a brisk pace) the path of good health. I just didn’t… write. Maybe it’s because it’s hard to examine such a big change while it’s happening? I really do what to keep a record of it though. So, new year, new effort.

As the title of this post states, I am currently down 30 pounds. Actually, 32 to be precise. It feels good to have worked hard, kept working hard, and seen good things come from it. I’m more used to getting frustrated and quitting, and so not doing that feels like such an accomplishment too.

Not that I’ve been perfect. I meant to write about the time I went to a tailgate and football game and drank FOUR mini-bottles of wine. And then in my infinite drunk “wisdom” had kettle corn and half a hot dog. That’s what drunk me thought was healthy. But it was not. And I felt like ASS afterwards. So much so, that I realized I didn’t want to be doing that (as much as I used to love doing it), that it wasn’t fun enough to be worth how crappy it made me feel. This is what change looks like.

I also meant to write about what it took to NOT eat all the plates and heaps of delicious food that I photographed over Thanksgiving. Holy god, there was a lot of opportunity for unhealthy eating. But I persevered in not eating it. Because I’m a mother-fucking rock star.

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