For some strange reason, as I was walking to my car yesterday after work, I was thinking about ways that I've lost weight in the last ten years or so. Some have been more effective than others. Frankly, I don't seem to do well when I'm intentionally trying to lose weight, but it just seems to happen as a result of other circumstances. I'm not trying to lose weight right now (dude, that's why I got married!), but I am trying the Wellness Challenge at work, which requires exercise and moderation in watching TV. I'm mostly doing it for the money, but increased health would be nice too, I guess. Anyway, here are my weight loss "success" stories.
In my high school days, you had to have two PE credits. We were the only school district in the state that required more than one. I took racquet sports during summer school my freshman year. We mostly played badminton and ping pong (I'm much better at the former than the latter) with a dash of racquetball and tennis (again, former over latter). I then put off the other credit and a half until my senior year.
For the half credit, I did correspondence bowling through BYU. I'm quite terrible, but I do know how to hand score a game, so I guess that's worth something. Bowling isn't exactly a challenging sport, anyway. You can eat WHILE you play. There are cup holders built into the equipment!
For the other credit, though, I took an actual PE class, specifically aerobics. I wound up with it first hour, lucky me. Actually, it was pretty nice to have it first in the day, rather than in the afternoon when the day (and lack of sleep the previous night) had caught up with me. We did three days of aerobics--step, kickboxing, running (shudder), etc.--and two days of weight training in the circuit room. It was actually a really well-designed class.
I also changed my eating habits quite a bit. Not in an intentional effort to lose weight, but more in an attempt to never be hungry. My stomach is not very elastic, and I really try to keep it that way. It takes less food for me to feel full, which is rather desirable. So I would have a Sunny D in A-hour, a granola bar or Honey Nut Shredded Wheat in 2nd hour, a Go-gurt in 4th hour, something smallish for lunch (often a salad or bagel) in 6th hour, a snack before rehearsals/when I got home (varied, but I did eat a lot of microwave popcorn that year), and then whatever was for dinner. Basically, I was eating every two hours. It wasn't the greatest food, but it also wasn't terrible. I was still probably getting more vegetables and whole grains than half the school.
The results? Over the nine months of the school year, I lost at least 30 pounds. I don't know how much exactly, because I never knew exactly how much I weighed at the beginning of the year. When we were weighing ourselves in PE using the balance beam scale, I reached a point where I just didn't want to slide the thing over anymore. It was sufficient to know I weighed at least a certain amount, and the actual amount would no doubt have been depressing.
My weight went up and down a bit in college and afterwards; five years after I graduated high school my weight was up 15 or 20 pounds from my lowest. Then I went to the MTC, where food was all you can eat. Fortunately, the food was also terrible cafeteria food. I knew boys who managed to gain 11 pounds in two weeks(!), but because I was eating Frosted Flakes (even the cereal selection was lousy!) two to three times a day, I managed to lose 7 or so pounds in three weeks. Not a plan I would generally recommend.
Then, when I was actually on my mission, I developed vertigo. Nothing helped, and all the diagnoses were apparently wrong. One of the steps in my ridiculous treatment was a low-sodium diet. Because we ate with members every night, I didn't have a lot of control over the amount of sodium in my dinner, so I attempted to have no sodium during the day to compensate for whatever I'd eat at night.
Newsflash: No sodium diets are inherently bland. Sure, you can use lots of great herbs and spices, but I did not have that kind of time. So food tasted lousy and I didn't eat as much of it. This is probably better than the all-cereal diet, though not great. Still, my companion had gained forty pounds, so I had that going for me. We were at one lady's house and she looked at me and said, "Your ankles are so skinny! Have you been losing weight?" I told her I didn't really know, because we didn't have a scale, so she went and brought hers down to the kitchen to make me weigh myself. Voila! Another ten pounds gone.
Recently, of course, I got my tonsils out. This did not result in the weight loss one would expect. Despite basically not eating for a week, I really only lost a pound or two. My voice teacher said it looks like I lost weight, but that can happen from day to day or depending on what I'm wearing.
I'm really not interested in radical health or exercise plans. Jillian Michaels scares me, and the p90x guy gets on my nerves FAST. I can only stand so much protein in a day. I enjoy eating Doritos. Sure we're making little changes here and there; I'm gradually switching out all my plastic storage containers for glass or things I know are BPA free. I'm trying to plan meals and cook more from scratch. I make my own frosting, which doesn't actually make it healthy, but at least it makes it preservative free. I stopped by WinCo on my way home from voice last night, and am delighted at all the potential in the bulk food section. We've been wanting to make our own trail mix for a while now, because store-bought ones inevitably include humiliated grapes. Will it change our lives? Probably not. But as anyone who has ever taken a jar of change to Coinstar knows, a little change eventually add up to a lot. And hey, I might even lose some weight.
But don't worry. It always finds its way home eventually.