So a while back I did a post detailing part of our financial goals for 2011. The second part to our goals is focusing on my health, particularly lowering my weight.
It may not appear that weight loss has much to do with one's bank account, but it has everything to do with one's future financial stability. This is an investment so the Me-Down-the-Road won't develop diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, and a host of other things that cost money. Crude, perhaps, to frame one's health in the context of the almighty dollar, but it's no secret that people can become financially crippled from medical bills.
Anyways, the last couple of years I've done a lot of talking and thinking about getting healthy. But given my fluctuating work schedule coupled with high levels of stress, I could never get the ball rolling. Sometimes you have too many things in your life competing for your energy. I made the call to let work and keeping us financially afloat take precedence over my health.
So at the beginning of last year, I decided to make 2010 the year of me. I was subjecting myself to the mercy of an adjunct system that was never designed to or could ever accommodate steady work, I had had terrible troubles getting a PhD application out the door due to depression, and was suffering from overload in all senses of the word.
It was time for things to change. Once I got my rejection letter (which, side note, I think was maybe a good thing ... I don't fuss over it at least ...), I set up 4 very specific goals:
- Find a stable income
- Move out of the area
- Decrease stress, which was dependent on the first two
- Lose weight, which was dependent on all three
I achieved all three within the first six months of the year, and did manage to trim a little by taking a water aerobics class. Once we moved, it took a long time to adjust from academia to publishing and weight loss got lost in the shuffle. I did take advantage of the bike trail near our home for evening walks and started getting in lunch walks downtown during the summer and fall. Once winter set in, goodbye maintaining weight and hello going up a few belt notches.
I really do feel that sometimes, you just have to clear out space in your life to improve your health. It's like tackling a messy room. You can clean it and move things around so it looks like you've got space. But that's a big difference from cleaning and actually moving things out. I feel like I've purged a lot of negativity from my life and now I'm left with this one battlefield left to tackle.
I was reading a blog on fat activism and body acceptance the other day. Something the author put her finger on really perked up my ears:
Forgot about how you look, but how you feel.
So many people emphasize the aesthetics of their body over how it actually works for them. They want to look a certain way or be a particular size. But what about how their body functions?
This is the mantra I want to focus on, not my looks. However I feel when I look in the mirror, it pales in comparison to how painful my body feels. I am 5'6" and in the mid-180s. My body aches from the extra weight, I don't remember the last time my shoulders and back didn't hurt, I have plantar fasciitis that will not heal, and I find asthma pops up during high-intensity cardio.
Aside from minimizing future medical costs, there's also the present toll on my wardrobe.
It's kind of hard to see from the picture, but that is 104L container of clothes that are too small. This has been added to for several years now and represents hundreds of dollars. I would have a fantastic professional wardrobe if I could use these.
At this point, I refuse to buy anymore clothing at my current size, which ranges from a 16-18. That's officially plus size, which in my mind = unhealthy. There's also no point in purchasing clothes at a size that isn't sustainable, that I don't intend to keep for long, and that might encourage me to keep being complacent.
On the upside, most of these clothes are only a size or two away. I have no illusions of being a skinny as I was in high school. I want to be a figure 8, something reminiscent of Hollywood glamor girls of the 30s and 40s.
But the important thing is for the function. I want to be that crazy couple that goes on hiking trips, goes canoeing, plays basketball or tennis. Mike is a runner, and it would be great to do that together. Or even to remotely have a compatible fitness level.
I feel confident that with this frame of reference, I'll be able to really make an impact this time. My current plan is to start out small:
- Walk during my lunch breaks. I get an hour, and 10 laps around the office is 30 minutes.
- Use my workout DVDs several times a week: Tae Bo, Stripaerobics, and Biggest Loser.
- Take advantage of the mall for additional walking
- Do weightlifting with my medicine ball, resistance bands, and weights.
Here's to a body in motion for 2011!
Question of the Day: What are your health or fitness goals for the next year?