I don't know how it happened. Too much food, too much wine, too little exercise, middle age creeping up, surgical menopause ... I am sure all of it combined and contributed to the 40 pounds I packed on over the years.
But it happened gradually, and I didn't really notice until the day I stepped on the scale and realized that I weighed as much as I did when I gave birth to my daughter.
Of course, if I had been paying attention, I might have realized that the fact that I had about 30 pairs of jeans and 25 pairs didn't fit ... yeah, that might have been a pretty good clue. But I wasn't paying attention to anything other than the fact that Spandex was my new best friend and I had developed cleavage!
It was time to make some changes. And since I was already making changes -- my marriage was ending and I had decided to move halfway across the country -- it seemed to be a good time to do something about my weight, too.
But I wanted to be realistic. After all, I was in my 40s. And I had gone through menopause. Chances were, losing weight was not going to be as easy as it used to be. Chances were, I was going to have to work harder and get less results.
The first step was to sort through all those jeans. I had jeans in three sizes: 8, 10 and 12. And I actually reached a point where I couldn't even get into the 12s unless they came equipped with user-friendly Spandex.
Repeating to myself over and over: "Be realistic. Be realistic. Be realistic," I sorted them into three categories: (1) I can wear these, (2) if I lose a few pounds I can wear these and (3) there is no way I am ever going to get these zipped in this lifetime.
The day before I moved, I gave away a dozen pair of size-8 jeans that I was never going to be able to wear again. Most of them were like new -- and I think some of them had never been worn at all!
That left me with 22 pairs of jeans in my closet -- all 10s and 12s.
I moved. I started my new life, which included a new workout routine, a lot less wine and healthier food. Admittedly, not having a husband to cook for made it a lot easier to just fix a quick salad for dinner. Not having my husband may have also made it easier to imbibe less alcohol, but that's a story for another book.
For my workout routine, I didn't join a gym or buy a DVD. I simply did something that I knew I would enjoy enough to keep doing. I danced.
I put together an hour-long playlist of favorite songs to dance to (mostly classic rock and some upbeat country). I interspersed the dancing with a few spot-toning exercises and three miles on my stationary bike (which had doubled as a coat rack for much of the 15 years I had had the thing). And I was having fun! Every morning I cranked up the music and had a blast!
And you know what happened?
The weight started falling off. Apparently my metabolism didn't realize that I was older and menopausal. Suddenly, the size 12 jeans were way too big! Then the 10s got too big! And since I gave away all my size 8s, I had to go buy new jeans ... because everything I owned looked like I was wearing someone else's clothes!
Four months and 32 pounds later, I seem to have stabilized. I am actually hoping that it's not a plateau, because I don't want to lose any more weight. In fact, I would like to have those last 2 pounds back ... they came off my butt, which is now flat. My niece suggested I get some butt pads; I won't repeat what I suggested she do.
So now I am backing off a bit. Every other day I cut my workout routine down to half an hour. Occasionally I give myself a complete break and don't do anything at all! Interestingly enough, those seem to be the same days when I decide to treat myself to a chocolate cupcake and a dish of my favorite ice cream. Steak for dinner. With a baked potato. A glass of wine. Or two. Oh, what the hell -- I'll just have it all!
And then tomorrow, I will be back to dancing my butt off ... literally.
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