Thursday, September 30, 2010

Weighty thoughts

. . .or, rather, thoughts on weight.

When I met Fang, I was just about to turn 24, and I weighed 138 pounds. That is insanely thin for me; in high school, even when I was hyperthyroid, I weighed as much as 165 pounds. Last night, I stepped on the scale and found I weighed 182 pounds, which is quite a bit out of a reasonable BMI range for someone my height. (Yes, I know BMI doesn't work well as a measure for everyone, but in my family, it seems a fairly useful way to begin to measure fitness.)

So I joined Weight Watchers online--last night, just after stepping off the scale.

Today, I carefully tracked what I ate and charted my activity levels for the first time, debiting and crediting points depending on the food and the activity.

I feel like crap, all hypoglycemic and hyperthyroidy. Yay.

I biked into work today--a pleasant enough ride in the cool morning with a couple of downhill stretches. This afternoon I rode my bike home, 4.9 miles with the sun beating down and temperatures in the upper 80s but feeling like the 90s, about 0.5 miles of that uphill. I am desperately out of shape, and walked through the front door all red and blotchy, sweaty, heart pounding, and feeling faint.

I showered, drank a ton of water, and ate dinner. Only after I ate did I step on the scale: 178 pounds. No wonder I feel like crap; my body shed four pounds over the course of 20 hours.

People following Weight Watchers are supposed to lose a lot the first week--allegedly mostly water weight--and then lose a pound or two each week thereafter. I suspect I'll feel pretty happy with myself in a couple of weeks, but this first week is going to suck.

Things I'm noticing:
  • Riding 4.9 miles in work clothes in the warm sun, on somewhat roughly paved streets, some of it uphill, in a state where auto emissions laws seem significantly more lax than in California, is very different from riding on smooth bike paths, mostly in the shade, for two flat miles. I didn't think it would be that different, but hoo boy, for me it is.
  • I'm going to need to dedicate myself to more exercise. Fang has agree to take Lucas into preschool one day a week, and he already keeps him home one day, so that means I can bike into work two days a week, for a total of about 20 miles/week. It's not a lot, but it's a start, and it's equivalent to a full week of commuter bicycling in Davis.
  • I need to get up from my desk in the middle of the day and take a walk. There's a decent path by the river that I could walk, or I could treat myself to an occasional lunch-hour trip to the zoo, which is only about a five minute walk from my building.
  • I need to plan ahead so I have some kind of exercise I can do when winter sets in, and especially when it's dark before or after work. I'm loath to ride my bike here in the dark, even with lights and reflective tape, as Boiseans are nowhere near as attuned to bicyclists as are people in Davis. In Davis, drivers frequently looked over the right shoulders before turning right. Here, not so much, so I'm being extra cautious.
Want to help me reach my goal of shedding 30 pounds?

If you've been on Weight Watchers before, I'd love to hear about your experiences--what should I try to do, avoid doing, etc.? And if you live in a part of the world where it gets too chilly to exercise outside (I have asthma, and very cold air is my lungs' kryptonite), how do you stay active?


My Blogs ... said...

Friends started WW in the spring of 2009. He had a L-O-T of extra mass to part with -- so far, 102 lbs. are gone. Health is significantly better, but he aged dramatically with the weight loss. She hit her goal in 6 mos, is now maintaining. With both of them in the program and coaching each other, it is easy for them to follow.

Winter exercise? Who is going to shovel your snow? Lots of snow. Months of snow. With Fang's back.... Knitted scarf around chin and mouth, good warm cap, gloves and snow boots -- and a snow shovel -- will definitely keep you in shape.

Seeking Solace said...

I need to get myself back on track too. I have to get up from my desk and go for a walk. Not just for the exercise, but for the vitamin D because I work in a windowless environment!

Lisa V said...

Snow shoveling is pretty minimum here most winters. But I know of a lovely organization with an indoor track, treadmills, stair climbers, bikes, yada yada. As a bonus, your friend could work out with you and call it part of her job.

What Now? said...

I joined Weight Watchers at the end of March and have lost just over 25 pounds since then. I didn't have the dramatic loss in the first week that you're experiencing, but I had started exercising a couple of months before, so I was changing only my diet, not all of my habits. I didn't actually lose any weight when I started the exercise; it was only when I started paying attention to my food that I did, and it's been a pretty steady, slow weight loss ever since -- and I hope that slowness means that maintaining will be much easier. I've loved it because I've never really felt deprived (and it helps to have a supportive spouse who cooks with WW in mind!).

As far as exercise goes, I was worrying about what to do once school started and once it started getting cold and dark ... and then this summer we bought a Wii, which I love, and I think I've now got my winter exercise covered!

Best of luck to you, Leslie. I admire that you're tackling health and weight issues in your first term of a new job, but I think it's probably really smart. For one thing, my own experience was that starting a new faculty position is what put the kibosh on my own health and weight, so being proactive in this arena seems wise. Also, it will give you things to (mildly) obsess about that aren't job-related, which can be very healthy in a new job!

Anonymous said...

Cold climate exerciser here. I set up a NordicTrack skier and treadmill in our basement with a TV/DVD in front of them. Got all the components cheap through patient watching of Craigslist - was really lucky on the treadmill - this might be harder in your less populated area. The final requirement for this setup is earphones connected to the sound output. If I have the TV volume up loud enough that I can hear it over whichever machine I'm on, it wakes up everybody in the rest of the house.