Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life Beyond Yarn

To read this blog it might seem as though my whole life is nothing but yarn and knitting. Perhaps a little spindling these days as well. That's mostly true. Yarn is my work; knitting is my primary leisure activity. Add a bit of time for errands and housecleaning, plus my weekly bowling excursion, and there you have the majority of my life.

A little something new has creeped into my consciousness these past few weeks and I thought I'd post it here to try to force it to become a reality. So here it is. I've been secretly working on something for the past couple of years. It's been a very big secret. Even I didn't know I was working on it. I think my husband has known for a long time, but he kept it a secret too.

So here it is ... I've been working on gaining as much weight as possible. It's been easier than one might imagine. All it really took was eating as though my body and metabolism were the same as they were when I was in my teens and twenties. I knew in my thirties that things were starting to change and also could not help but notice that when I passed the forty mark it was a whole new game. Any extra weight I carried began to land squarely - or more accurately, roundly - across my middle.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not one of these thin women who run around whining about being fat. I know how much some people struggle with their weight and I am neither so callous nor so ungrateful for a relatively weight-struggle-free life as to minimize that. No, I know I'm not fat. Not yet, that is. When I stepped on the scale a week ago for the first time in many, many months, the reality struck me that I have reached a threshold. If I allow myself to go beyond this threshold, I could face a really big battle in the future so best to bite the bullet (no calories in a bullet, right?) and try to get rid of this relatively small amount of weight right now.

I've gained about fifteen pounds over the course of the past two years. I'd like to take off at least ten of those. We'll see if I can get rid of the other five once I get there.

Why am I telling you this, you ask? I think it's just to force myself to stick with this plan. Once I say it aloud, it's more real. Once I post it here, if I don't follow through I will have failed. I can't quietly work on it and give up without anyone knowing of my weakness. And let me tell you, I do have weakness! I think that a life without cheese may not be worth living. I would lie, cheat and steal for a good maple-flavored bacon. "Give me mayonnaise or give me death" could perhaps be my motto!

My journey began one week ago today. I know I don't lose weight easily (what woman, particularly over forty, does?) and so I set a realistic goal: one pound per week for ten weeks. Weigh-ins once weekly. None of that daily discouragement when the scale doesn't miraculously show improvement on a day to day basis.

I am proud to report that at the close of week one I'm ahead of schedule with two pounds lost. (Don't laugh. Two pounds in a week is fine by me. Two pounds is 20% of ten pounds.)

The week behind me was both difficult and easy. It's most definitely difficult for me to resist fattening food. It was easy at the same time though because I'm keeping it simple. No fancy "diet" with special foods or recipes or rules to follow. Rather, I'm just eating mostly fresh vegetables and fruit, small quantities of lean meat, poultry, and fish, with the occasional slice of whole grain bread or bit of rice in the mix for variety. Add to that a few extra walks with the pup here and there, plus lots of extra bowling, and that's my simple plan.

The thing that I think has made this seem more feasible for me is to have a good variety in what I eat. We grilled up a ton of zucchini, mushrooms, onions and peppers on the barbecue and kept lots in the fridge for easy meals with a bit of chicken or turkey to round it off. We bought tons of oranges (my favorite), as well as some grapes and cherries to satisfy the sweet tooth. We've got some soy nuts when a crunchy snack is needed. Tuna packed in water is also in the house, with plenty of pickle relish in the fridge to moisten it up without using mayo. (Oh, mayo, mayo, how I miss you!)

And then there are my miracle foods: Canadian Bacon! Ohhhhh. Those Canadians are pure genius. 4 slices, 60 calories, almost no fat. Heaven. Oh happy day. And then there are the fat-free version of the old classic Saltine cracker. Perfect when tuna alone isn't enough or to give a little life to a low fat soup that isn't quite filling enough.

Wish me luck, my friends! If you've got a favorite low-cal, low-fat snack that tastes too good to be good for you, please do share. I'll take all the help I can get!


Medieval Needle said...

Sugar Free Jello and Fat Free Jello Pudding. Some nights I needed the chocolate. And the Jello was a perfect sweet treat when I did not want fruit.

nestra said...

SOUP! It can be a great low cal meal. My current fave is miso soup (mix from the asian market) kicked up a bit with some tofu I marinate in a spicy mix of soy and hot sauce.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for threshold recognition! I had personally run blindly past my own weight threshold before I woke up & started eating right & exercising. I can tell you from personal experience that you're very smart to set your goals now & work towards them, because it certainly doesn't get any easier after 50 & beyond. My favorite snacks are yogurt & graham crackers, but what has worked for me besides daily walking is asking myself if I'm really hungry before I eat. Often the answer is simply, "No!"