Thursday, January 20, 2011

National Body Challenge: Tiny Goals

I've written a few times about my battle with my weight here. Probably more times than you've actually wanted to read, but this is a great place to vent and complain and get good feedback. I received some lovely and supportive comments from healthy, active women last month when I wrote about my weight battle around the Reverb 10 prompts.  Over Christmas, my brother-in-law and sister-in-law kindly passed on a photo they had found of me at my highest weight. To say it was unflattering is an understatement. And I felt two things as I looked at this version of myself from seven years ago, proud that I've lost so much weight since then and hopeful that if I did it then and kept it off, I could do it again. I put that photo on my fridge for about a week. I looked at it everyday, and then just over the weekend I threw that away. I threw her away, because it hurt me to look at it and I'm ready to move on to the next step.

After taking a month to just think about it and a couple of deep conversations with good friends, I've decided to stop calling this whole thing a battle. Partly based on that feedback and partly based on my own frustration and anger around this struggle and my perceived failures. The word "battle" sounds so adversarial. Who am I trying to battle? Just myself. And does warring against yourself sound particularly healthy? Nope. I'm trying to change the way I talk to myself about this. So combined with changing the voice in my head, I need some more help. I can't just try to eat better and work out.  My deepest happiest inclination is to eat buttery, fattening, sugary, carbliscious things and only a salad when I crave it, lay around and read books and watch fabulous movies. And that's not good or balanced. So for my health I need to actively focus on weight loss. Hoping to start a family, I need to be in better shape. So I've signed up for something that I think will be a big help. And it's not a battle. The National Body Challenge!

I'm going with small, focused, controlled goals and I'm joining a community for support.  So I'll keep you posted about how it's going. I'm going to take some before and after photos, track my measurements and weight, which I refuse to share publicly (I'm too vain for that,) but I'll let you know how this challenge works for me. It's run by the Discovery Channel and has a lot of recipes, work out ideas and expert feedback. It's probably a lot like many other diets, but it's free and there are thousands of other people signed up. Other people just like me, some thinner and fitter, some heavier and more out of shape, but I feel better just knowing that there are a lot of other people trying to get focused, trying to make better decisions and trying to treat themselves with the respect and care that they deserve.

So I have two reasonable goals for the 8 week challenge:

1. Lose 16 pounds. That's 2 pounds a week. I think I can beat that, but my doctor has said that 2 pounds is reasonable and easier to maintain.
2. Work out at least 45 minutes, 5 days a week. And I'm setting up an exercise chart with STICKERS!!! and rewards at the end.

If I reach these two goals then I'm treating myself to a massage. Ah, a massage. I feel more relaxed and melty just thinking about it.  Cross your fingers for me.  And if anyone wants to join the fun, just let me know, we could have our own little Body Challenge Club, the more the merrier!


Joe said...

I'll join you woman!

bethany actually said...

I fully support you in your quest, and if it were a couple months further down the road and warm enough for me to walk outside with the baby, or if she were older and sleeping on her own occasionally so I could use the elliptical, I would be doing it with you.

Do you know the blog Dances With Fat? The author is funny and articulate. She writes a lot about Health At Every Size and is a champion ballroom dancer who happens to be fat. It's an interesting, thought-provoking blog!

(Not trying to say you shouldn't lose weight if you want. This post just made me think of that blog.)

sherrie said...

I would love to join. But I'm trying to find a easy way of exercising
Because I have degenative arthirtis in all my joints, and 4 tears in lower lumbar
And 2 fusions in the neck. If someone knows what kind of exercises to do
Then please let me know? I can't take any pain medications.
I am on adipex.

Shannon M. said...

I completely agree with your thought of joining the Challenge because there are so many other people just like you trying to take care of themselves. Works for me every time. Second, that five days a week thing is tough. Any race training program I've ever done is always 5+ days/week. Mentally it gets me. However, I found immense satisfaction in crossing out that day on my training chart as completed. I hung it on the fridge and it bugged the hell out of me if I had one not crossed off. I hope your chart with stars and rewards provides the same motivation! Good luck!

catiecake said...

I'ma share some things that helped me totally change my life in regards to my weight. I 100% stopped thinking of my weight as a character issue. It is NOT a character issue. People who are not overweight and have never been overweight think it's about self control or will power. They are wrong. People are overweight for lots and lots of reasons, but character isn't one of them.

I came to fully accept myself as a beautiful, sexy, desirable fat woman. I present myself to the world like a woman who believes herself to be beautiful. I also claimed the word fat. I am fat. It's not the best thing about me, but it's nowhere close to being the worst. Dude, it doesn't even make the top 10 of the worst things about me.

Another thing that I think is monumentally important is to not put a moral judgement on our food. Carrots are not "good" and croissants "bad". They are simply choices to be made. There is zero morality in food. I made the rule many years ago that I do not eat anything that isn't delicious. If something isn't delicious, I don't take another bite of it. I truly bristle when women talk about "being bad" because they're eating something they deem unhealthy. Srsly? You're not a rebellious teenager. You're a grown woman. EAT WHAT YOU WANT TO EAT.

I recently gave up eating all grains. It's something that I never thought I would be able to do, but the reasons why it's a good choice for me finally clicked into place and it's a largely effortless endeavor. I'm not suggesting this for you or for anyone else, but merely suggesting that when you've found the right thing and you're in the right headspace- it doesn't feel difficult. It feels like you're doing what you want to do.

Whew. Man, I can type a lot. What I REALLY want to say is this- you are beautiful and smart and funny and you can do absolutely anything you want.

Katie McMillan said...

Oh man, I sympathize so much with this. ::sigh:: I've recently recommitted to my weight loss/health goals and though it's frustrating because I don't feel progress yet -- well, maybe that's not true -- I'm proud of my calendar that I'm using to track my diligence. I, too, am using stickers! It's really the best thing ever. I'm using actual gold stars on a super cool calendar that I found. I just quickly jot down what I did and then add the star. Recently, too, I've started writing what I PLAN to do, based on my half-marathon training plan I'm following (oh, yeah, and running a half marathon? Something I NEVER thought I would do), and then I get the sticker when I've done it. Preplanning has been a huge help because it makes it easier to etch out the time.

You rock. :)

kassie lou said...

Guys, thanks for all the wonderful comments. You've given me a lot of things to think about actually. Bethany, Dances with Fat is fantastic! Catie, can I be you when I grow up? I need to work on the "good" versus "bad" thing with certain foods, but I've got a ways to go. Thank you, K/Caties, for sharing such a personal glimpse into your story with this whole weight thing. You both make me feel better.

TM said...

Hi Kassie,
I'm an ICT professional and am working with two others hoping to help people like yourself with the problems of weight. We are not part of the diet or fitness industry at all but we are health enthusiasts. We're building a (free) online tool which we believe can make a difference to many and are hoping it will be up and running before the end of February. In the meantime, if you want to follow us, we're on Facebook and twitter and have a working company name of Activillage (soon to be changed). We're at: and

Best wishes -- Teri

Katrina said...

Is it too late to join? I am in if it's not!!