Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's Been Fun Putting It On, But Now It's Time To Take It Off

143 

I can't remember exactly when we came up with this… or if it was something that my brother made up on his own. Maybe we picked it up somewhere else and I simply can't recall… I just remember that during the time that my brother was going through the leadership program that I had gone through, we were saying "I love you" a lot more than we ever did before. Our secret way of saying this was to tell or write each other "143". I (1) love (4) you (3) 

Sweet, isn't it? We haven't expressed it to each other in a while, but every so often someone in the family will bowl a 143 and we will all share a cute moment of "Awwww!!!". I suppose this is the only mediocre bowling score I can accept without feeling too bad about my game. 

It's been a while since I weighed myself. In fact, I specifically stopped weighing myself in an effort to work on my self image. Historically, I've become quite obsessed with what that damn scale says to me. So much so, that I found myself weighing in two or three times a day and analyzing everything I'm doing in between these weigh in moments. One pound in either direction would either ruin my day or put a smile on my face until the next time I stepped on. My emotions would swing so drastically from side to side that I decided to just let my clothes do the talking and give the numbers a break. 

Well, now I'm down to one pair of jeans. Not that I own…. that fit me. And they are those stretchy skinny jeans so I'm not really sure that even counts. I have seven pairs of expensive jeans hanging in my closet and for the past three weeks, I've been washing the same pair over and over again so that I have something to wear every time I go out. I decided to change things up the other night and went to put on another pair of jeans that claimed cruelly to be the same size as the ones I've been wearing. If I had been able to button them up, I would have had to wear an oversized sweatshirt in order to hide my fluffy muffin top. 

I know that I've been gaining weight. I've spent more time drinking beer and putting in songs for karaoke than I have counting the calories that I'm burning on the treadmill. My arms and back have slowly lost the definition that they had just a few months ago as my weight lifting workouts have been tossed to the side, replaced with hour long cardiovascular sessions to burn off as many Pabst Blue Ribbons as possible. I've even started doing something that I told myself I would never do: I've started to wear my yoga pants out in public… and not because I just came from yoga class. 

It's been beautiful and quite warm the last few days here in Vegas. On Friday, Steven and I decided to hit the pool in my apartment complex for a few hours. I grabbed three or four magazines, we packed up some beer and munchies and went to enjoy the sunshine. 

We laid out on our chairs, turned on some Pandora and I dove into one of my Sport Illustrated magazines, trying to catch up with everything that had been going on in the sports world that week (actually, I was a few weeks late… that magazine is very difficult to keep up with!). Having forgotten his book at home, Steven picked up one of the other publications I had brought to the pool: Shape Magazine. I had to laugh a little at how we must've looked; him reading about beauty tips and weight loss secrets and me engrossed over C.J. Wilson's young pitching career and Derrick Rose's feelings on the LeBron James fiasco. It's always fun to be on the other side of the stereotype. 

Suddenly, Steven asked if I had read a particular article called "Are Friends Making You Fat?". It talked about how difficult it can be to maintain a diet when being out socially. It mentioned the challenges of asking for a club soda when everyone else around you is enjoying the latest and greatest microbrew. Or when your friend orders a huge platter of nachos and insists you have some because you are "looking too skinny lately." It was a pretty good read about how we let outside forces influence what we know is best for ourselves. 

Steven was really inspired by the article. He has also been concerned about his weight gain over the last six months while he has been unemployed. Like me, he had a job that required a lot of moving around, lifting and sweating. Therefore, he didn't need to worry so much about his diet or the amount of beer he drank. He is a thin guy by nature so just having regular physical activity on a daily basis was enough to keep him in good shape. We both learned the hard way how much we had been taking our jobs for granted - perhaps in both the physical and financial sense. 

"We should quit drinking beer for two weeks. And exercise every day." He was very excited about this. He figured with the amount of beer he had currently been consuming combined with the physical activity he wasn't doing, two weeks of a no beer/daily workout would improve his body quite a bit. I couldn't argue with him. Like I said, he's a thin man anyway so with just a little attention to detail and I'm sure he'd be right back in the kind of physical shape he had grown accustomed to over the years. I liked his plan. 

I told him sure, I could get on board. And then I started thinking about my week… well geez, my bowling partner Bob always buys me a couple beers on Wednesday nights… and they are just Michelob Ultras so not many calories there. I should still be okay to drink those. Oh, and what about Friday nights now that we are bowling in tournaments and I have a chance to have a drink or two with my brother. Yeah, I don't really want to give that up. And then gosh, some of those karaoke songs are just so much easier when I have a buzz going… plus how can I turn down $1 cocktails on ladies night? 

"How many exceptions are you going to make?" he asked me. Hmm… there's a brick… okay, fine - I can drink water at karaoke and maybe I just won't bowl in the Friday night tournaments to resist the temptation. But I'm not giving up my beers on Wednesday. There's another brick… 

"Okay, fine. So at karaoke, when you tell me you want a beer, I'll just tell you no." And, the rest of the wall goes up. 

With a righteous and independent tone, I replied, "Um, no… if I want a beer, I'm having a beer." 

I knew the minute I said it that it came from the Defensive Coordinator on my sideline. I wanted to take it back the minute the words left my mouth but the stubborn part of me said, "well, the play has already been called. Too late to change it now." 

Steven gave me the smile he gives when he's been offended or becomes defensive himself and said, "Then I'm not going to do this with you. There's no point in setting goals if you are just going to have a beer whenever you want anyway." 

Ugh… I hate when I let someone other than the Head Coach call the plays. I mean, there's a reason he's still just the Defensive Coordinator, right? 

We dropped it… but later on that day, Steven made his own declaration that he was going to quit drinking beer for 30 days. He said that he didn't have any desire to quit drinking completely, but that he really wanted to get in shape and knew that this sacrifice would be a good start. Of course, I supported him. And I was already thinking myself of what I was going to do to focus on my own health and well being. 

I recently signed up for an indoor cycling workshop that would teach me some basics on how to teach an indoor cycling (otherwise known as spin) class. This is on my resolution list and when a new friend of mine told me he was taking the class and sent me the information, I jumped on it. Unfortunately, I haven't been attending Spin Classes regularly since early February. Luckily, because I have been hitting so much cardio lately, my stamina is still very good. However, with the class taking place in just over two weeks, I suddenly had all sorts of incentive to get back on the bike and really get working again on my technique. 

So, yesterday morning, I woke up, got my things together and went to the gym. I was still thinking about the conversation Steven and I had the day before and decided that it might be time to finally weigh myself and set some goals of my own. 

I walked into the locker room and got all my gear out. I put in my headphones, locked my locker and looked over at the scale. I took a deep breath. I told myself to just accept whatever it said, own it, and know that I had made a commitment to do something about it. I reminded myself not to get upset or angry with myself. After all, it's not like I had been trying really hard over the last few months to stay in shape and then not getting results. I had been having a lot of fun without worrying about the consequences. Then I pulled out one of my old tricks from my leadership training: it's not about right and wrong or good and bad; it's about whether or not something is working. And if it's not working, avoid the emotional response. Take responsibility, own it, and shift. 

I put my shoulders back, held my head up and walked over to the scale. One more deep breath and… step. There it was. 

143 

Last year, when I wrote the blog about battling with my weight for most of my adult life, I weighed 120 pounds. That's 23 pounds in about seven months. Ouch. 

I kept my word to myself though. I stepped off the scale, kept my head up and fought back tears… reminding myself that I've been down this road before and have used my bread crumbs wisely. I can get back to where I've been. Now, I'm not sold that I want to go all the way back down to 120. After all, my karaoke name is T&A and at that weight, I had lost most of my T and my A wasn't far behind (no pun intended). I think I am most comfortable when I am hanging around in between 125 and 130. Still a bit of a feat having broken the 140 mark. 

I left the locker room and hopped on a bike. I focused hard on my workout and put in a really good hour of sweat equity. When I was driving home, I thought again about the conversation that Steven and I had and realized why I had gotten so angry and guarded when we talked about sacrificing beer for our better well being. I knew then that he was definitely on to something. I mean, isn't that why I put the Rules in place to begin with? Didn't I want different results in my life? 

On the other hand, of the many things I learned from Jeremy, one thing that is always at the forefront of my mind is how much he despises rules in general. We used to talk about how making rules as a way of punishing ourselves only leaves us with a void that we, eventually, feel like we need to fill. This is not inconsistent with my feelings of how important choice is. By simply making better choices using the power of responsibility without the negative association of "rules", we will not only provide ourselves with the results that we want, but we will feel more fulfilled and content in general. 

It is self love and self worth that propel us through our darker times. I saw it with my brother. I see it with many others around me. I see it with myself too… but that other voice can be so loud, can't it? 

It's easy to tell ourselves that we will get up and start fresh the next day. We've made bad choices, we haven't loved our bodies or our being and we weren't the best person we could be. We go to sleep at night telling ourselves that we will get up and try again tomorrow. But what happens when the tomorrows run out? Will we be able to look back and be okay with what we've made of our lives? 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I, too, am changing the way I've been treating my body and I am making better choices. Not just to reach the kind of healthy weight I want to be at, but to reach the kind of healthy mind set that creates true happiness. Instead of making the kinds of rules that I made for myself before, I simply remember what the scale said to me the other morning. I remind myself of that every time I make a choice in regards to food, drink, activity and life in general. 

I don't look at it as the scale telling me that I weigh 23 pounds heavier than before. I acknowledge what it was REALLY saying to me this time… 

I love you. 

5 comments:

  1. Yeah I shun the scale a the gym. Anymore, my concern and focus isnt how much I weigh (a lot, but I'm a bigger guy) but are my times improving?, did I put in more miles than last time?, did I go further before stopping running than last time? Just concentrate on concrete indicators that I'm improving and making progress. Otherwise I'd just drive myself crazy LoL

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  2. Permission granted to post a comment from Steven.. thanks, babe!! :)

    That's crazy! I'm pretty sure you and your brother picked that up from somewhere because I remember 143ing people for a short time. I have no clue where I heard it or picked it up from. Hmmm....it's going to bug me now.

    I know exactly how you feel. I have done the exact same thing the past 6 months. I used to weigh 142 and now weigh 168. Wait....what? 26 lbs in 6 months. What the hell am I doing? It is hard for people like you and I because we are kind of a big deal, not to mention social butterflies. When everybody is drinking it makes it 10x harder not to drink as much. I want to be on their level dammit *sigh* "Hi, my name is Steven and I'm addicted to food and beer." Is that such a bad thing? Now I know that it can be if it comes with a side of lazy sauce (lazy sauce is the BEST!).

    I also love me some karaoke and agree that some songs are more fun to sing buzzed. I enjoy fight nights drinking with my brothers, and what's better than grabbing a 12pk of PBR, a Little Caesar's pizza, and laying in bed watching Lie to Me? Ummm...6 more months of this and you can just call me Steven the Hut.

    I know it's time for me to make a change. Everything we do is because we choose to do it. I agree with you and Jeremy talking about how making rules as a way of punishing ourselves only leaves us with a void. We just need to make good choices in life.

    Quitting smoking cold turkey is hard. I know exactly what my brother went through now and I'm almost to the point to where I do not even crave for one. Quit drinking....FORGET IT! I really think that no alcohol for 30 days with a combination of eating better and working out might be good for me. It will also make that beer I drink on May 2nd taste AMAZING!

    Thank you for all your support in both. Your aunt nailed it when she said your pictures really don't do any justice and that you are a total knock out. You are absolutely beautiful just the way you are. But I know exactly how you feel and you have my total support in anything you do.

    It's a little embarrassing that all your readers know I was reading Shape magazine....ok not really. It was loaded with sexy females and I got some good tips. lol! Hope your upcoming spin class goes well. If you din't know already, I seriously 143 and Less Than Three your face!!!!!

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  3. So I suppose you're not coming to tomorrow night at Straight Up? I'm quitting smoking...promised in August I'd give it my best shot after the Final Four, and well, here we are. You don't have to drink, I just miss both of your happy asses. (You too, RDoggy).

    Besides, 230 don't want to hear it.

    --Aaron

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  4. What a crazy coincidence after I read this article I looked up at the time 1:43 pm

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  5. 143 was a pager term for I Love You...if you kids were older than most of my underwear you'd remember.

    Love you guys and I will do my part to keep you healthy.

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