What does a 9 hour desk job plus 2-3 hours on the couch watching TV, combined with the more than occasional quick bite at the fast food restaurant along with an adult beverage or two from time to time added to new medications that cause fatigue and lack of desire equal? About twenty pounds added to a frame that was already a little too heavy for my liking.
I have always struggled with my weight. My family falls into 2 categories – the half who seem unable to keep weight on no matter what they do and have metabolisms like hummingbirds, and then those of us who just smell food and gain 5 pounds. It was really hard as a child, and when looking back, I was by no means obese or really overweight, but because of theater and dance, I was always around these lithe little girls who seemed to have shed their baby fat at the age of two. From the age of 4 I was always aware of being the chubby one. Many fad diets and an under active thyroid during puberty didn’t help, so I never was the one you saw wearing the short shorts or skirts.
My obsession with dieting and my yo-yoing weight gave me stretch marks by the time I was 13 years old.
When I was living in New York, working as an actress, I did buckle down, join a gym and combined with my daily walking commute, did manage to get down to a healthy 135 lbs – just right for my 5′ 6″ frame. After moving to Atlanta, though, back in 2000, stress, and an unhealthy relationship that (in retrospect) really messed with my self esteem, I became an exercise junkie and borderline anorexic – eating only salads and the occasional piece of fruit. My weight, plummeted down to 110. Finally I was as thin as my sisters! I could fit into a size 4 jean! It didn’t matter that my hair was coming out in clumps, and I barely had enough energy to stay up past 7:00 pm – I was skinny! Then one day in 2004, something strange happened. I was walking from my car to my office, and my legs went completely numb. It was as if suddenly they had fallen asleep. I shrugged it off as a pinched nerve and went about my day. Later that afternoon at the gym, as I stepped on the treadmill, I found I could barely pick my feet up to jog, and tripped on the treadmill. I made an appointment with my doctor who referred me to a neurologist. At the time I was diagnosed with Transverse Myelitis. A lesion was found on my spinal cord, and I was told that often it is nothing, and that I was lucky to catch it early and treat it with steroids before permanent paralysis set in – but I should get the occasional MRI every few years because folks who experience TM, often develop Multiple Sclerosis.
Soon after this attack I left my job with the cushy medical benefits so, it was a good 7 years before I had insurance again, so, no doctor visits to follow up on this fluke attack. I broke up with the unhealthy relationship, and jumped into a healthy one with a guy who loves me, and unfortunately my cooking. After settling down into a comfortable marriage and taking a break from theater, exercise also took a bit of a back seat to spending time snuggling with my new husband and Furkids on the couch.
Then in June of 2011 I began to be plagued by headaches and double vision. After many months of mis-diagnosises, it was finally determined that I had Multiple Sclerosis. The treatment of steroids, and the following medications to treat the lingering nerve damage, fatigue and to stave off future attacks has left me feeling tired, unmotivated, flabby and gross. And 165 pounds. That’s right. I just publicly announced my weight. That gives me a BMI of 26.6 (Overweight).
So along with 99.8% of the population, I have committed myself to losing weight in the new year. One of my goals on the Big Adventure List is to lose 30 lbs by April 24, 2014. This will put me at 135 lbs and a BMI of 21.8 (Normal) – A very reachable goal in my book. But it isn’t just about looking good. It is more about taking control of my health. I want to eat cleaner. I want to get out and enjoy nature more without being winded. I want my joints to feel better. And yes, I want to look good.
So, my short term goals for this long term challenge are:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
- Bring homemade meals for lunches – No more BajaFresh, 😦
- Workout 3-4 times a week (Cardio and strength – Planet Fitness Membership already done!)
- Morning yoga / stretching
- Multivitamin every morning
- Cut back on alcohol consumption
- Smaller portions at dinner time and no food after 7:00 pm
- Go to sleep by 10:00 pm and get 8 hours of sleep
Wish me luck!