Starting My Weight Loss and Diet Journey
It's the first month of a new year, a new decade even, and one of my goals is to slim down. I'm a 24-year-old writer in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and I'm not ashamed to say that I've had similar resolutions every January for the past 12 years. Some years it was, "I want to fit into a size 2," others it was "I want to be 102 pounds," or even "I want a beach body like Beyoncé." But I just weighed myself and the results weren't pretty. Obviously, the motivation of a thinner body hasn't been enough get me moving or make me eat better over the years.
And after over a decade of being varying degrees of overweight, I've reached a point where I don't necessarily believe that losing weight is the key to beauty, success and eternal happiness. What I do want to do is become a lot healthier. A recent trip to the doctor revealed an elevated blood cholesterol level (mine was 220 mg/DL. The ideal is under 200 mg/DL) and after years of steadily gaining a couple of pounds every year that I couldn't shed, I've literally ballooned over a dozen pounds and went up a pant size in the span of a few short months. It's definitely time for a change.
Besides my own vanity, I'm motivated by a desire to live longer. That may seem like a strange goal for someone in their 20s, but I've seen my share of premature death in the past few years. My maternal grandparents died too young at 65 and 70 and during the 12 to 15 years that I knew them, both were ridden with a myriad of health problems: Type 2 diabetes, stroke, hypertension, cancer, heart attack. Other family members have suffered from the same preventable diseases plus battled obesity, lupus, gout, cardiac arrest and arthritis. I know that my age is one of the only things keeping me from falling into a similar pattern and I also know that now is the time to make the changes that will keep my heart healthy.
Standing in my way is an erratic work schedule that often finds me working into the night or penning stories from coffee shops (with a number of tasty treats in plain-view, all day), a hatred of most mainstream workouts, including jogging/running, spinning and aerobics. I adore yoga, but that's not necessarily a pound-shedder.
Another hurdle for me is my long, glorious failed track record. I went on my first diet in middle school after I sent away for a no-fail, 100% successful weight loss program that I found in the back of Seventeen magazine. Since then I've seen nutritionists, joined gyms, tried trendy new-age tactics like The Master Cleanse and acupuncture (both of those actually work, by the way, but only for as long as you continue them) and just about every other eating or fitness plan out there. My failure normally comes after the first few days of being exhausted, sore, burnt out with my mind reeling from how many calories that Weight Watchers frozen meal actually had in it.
This time around, I'm approaching things differently. First off, I'm not going on a diet. My goal is to be more conscious of what I eat and to eat good, home-cooked food without lots of sodium. I'll also be trying out different forms of exercise that do not involve gyms to see what I enjoy and what works for me.
So that you can track my progress, here are my stats:
Body mass index (BMI): 45.7
Blood Cholesterol: 220 mg/DL
And here's what I want to do about it:
*Lower my BMI and blood cholesterol by losing weight, consuming less sodium and strengthening my heart.
*Find exercises that I don't hate and will look forward to performing regularly.
*Learn more about other risk factors that can compromise my heart health.
Over the next several months I'll be documenting my progress on this blog and adding more goals to the list.
Now you know my story, what's yours?