I can't stop thinking about how frustrated I've been and for how long. As always, hindsight is far sharper than foresight.
I now weigh 1 pound more than I did in 2010 -- ten years ago! During the last decade I gained, and now have lost 40 pounds. And I thought I was overweight in 2010 (I was! Just not as overweight as I would eventually be.)
Around that time, I started walking during lunch every day, so added a 30 minute walk to my day. I also stopped drinking soda. Neither effort yielded results. In fact, pretty much nothing I did got the results I wanted.
It's not like I laid on the couch for 10 years. In fact, I trained for and completed a half marathon, among other activities.
So, what's different now? Lots of things, but probably primarily, I have more time for myself.
My kids are 25 and 27 years old, so 10 years ago, I was in the midst of parenting teenagers. Now, they are both settled homeowners on good career-paths (though my oldest recently decided to go back to school to become a teacher).
I was also still working for other people 10 years ago, which meant a commute that took up a minimum of 90 minutes a day, and also spending at least 8 hours outside my home. Now, I work for myself -- no pointless meetings, no gossiping the in the breakroom, no office chatter -- which means I work for 4-5 hours most days and no longer have a commute. This is the biggest difference.
Not working in an office is a positive change for me in another way. I'm extremely introverted, and being around people uses a ton of my energy. Just being around other people requires some recovery time for me, and I never had that 10 years ago. There were people in the office, and my family was home in the evening. Don't get me wrong: I love my family and I loved spending time with them, but there was no time left just for me to think and feel and reenergize and I've learned that's really important for my mental health.
Along the same lines, I earn more money working for myself than I did working for other people. I can afford a gym membership now, and couldn't before. We spend more on food for the two of us than I ever imagined. It's not inexpensive to follow a low carb diet.
We now also have health insurance which means I can see care providers when I need to. (though not all of the specialists I'd like to work with, and it still puts enormous pressure on our budget) Seeing a physical therapist and an endocrinologist were super important steps in getting healthier.
Those three differences between my life 10 years ago and my life now are the reason that I've been (very slowly) losing weight for the last two years. The time factor has been especially important. I have time to look for recipes and to cook. Most weeks, I make a menu, list all of the ingredients necessary for each item on the menu, check to see what's on hand, then make a grocery list. Joe and I go to three separate stores to get the items we need most weeks. That all can take a whole day.
The gym is a 30-40 minute drive from my house, so I spend about 2 hours getting there, exercising, and coming home. Last summer, I was going twice a week most weeks. More recently, it's been three. Right now, I'm considering adding a 4th day. That's eight hours -- just for the gym. There's no way I'd have that kind of time to spend on exercise if my kids were home and I worked in an office.
In addition to the gym, I take my dogs for a walk or run most days. Monday is a 30-45 minute walk/run session PLUS the 2 hour round trip to the gym. On Tuesdays, I walk with a friend, usually for an hour or so, plus the gym. Three or four days a week, I'm dedicating nearly THREE HOURS to exercise!
There's simply no way I could have done that when I was actively parenting or working for other people. I especially couldn't have done it AND kept the house neat, cooked healthy meals, and spent time with my partner. It simply wasn't possible.
Yet, I felt like such a loser. I was doing what I could, and have read enough "success stories" to believe that it doesn't take all that much to get healthier.
But I'm here to tell you, friends, it CAN take all that much, plus a little. Because some bodies simply don't respond in any kind of visible way to 30 minutes of exercise three times a week, or to more balanced meals.
Along with all of the exercise, in order to lose weight, I need to keep my carb intake VERY low. Like 20 - 30 grams a day low. Consistently. For days and weeks in a row. AND I need to take medication to help my body process the carbs I do eat better.
I don't say all this to discourage anyone. I know success stories are fun to read, and often, they are very helpful. But I don't think they always tell the whole story. It takes much more than "a brisk walk most days of the week" and a "well-balanced diet" for me to lose weight. In some ways, I wish I'd known that those things don't always work.
This all sounds like I'm complaining. I'm not. At all. I feel FANFREAKINGTASTIC. This amount of exercise is excellent for my mental health. I have far fewer depressive episodes than I used to (none of them rose to the level of clinical depression, but I did get "down" much more often). I have more energy, which means I get more done around the house than I used to.
And even with everything I'm doing, I'm still losing weight much slower than what it seems like most people do. "Healthy" weight loss is one to two pounds a week. I've lost 40 pounds in TWO YEARS. That's not even 2 pounds a MONTH. (the meds may be speeding things up: I weighed 194 on Jan 2 and 186 this morning, which is more like "normal")
The point of all this is: If what you're doing isn't working, don't worry. Any effort to improve your health and fitness is well worth the time and energy, even if the results you want don't materialize. It's okay to go slow. You aren't doing it wrong. You are doing what you can.
Photo is my sweetheart and his cuddle puddle: one old Boston terrier, one puppy, and one kitty cat.