Jun 29, 2013

Diet or Exercise?

Man, I just had an amazing work-out. I feel euphoric!

I never thought I'd hear myself say that (or read myself write that?).

In high school, I took sporadic sports but I was never really a jock. In college I completely abandoned all sports for baggy pants and all-night raves. Regardless, I never really thought of sports as exercise. In fact, I never really thought of exercise at all. I just stayed thin no matter what I ate. But then something happened in my thirties. My body changed. My butt and boobs got bigger. What?! I thought those were done growing! Then everything else got bigger. But, but, but I still eat the same way I always ate, I thought. However, that was the problem.

In my teens and twenties I could eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's for dinner then binge drink all night at a dance club, wake up the next day feeling fine and not gain one pound. In my thirties, I'd eat half a pint while spending the night on the internet and the next day I'd weigh like three more pounds. What? Come on. No fair. Before I knew what was happening I outgrew all my clothes. Something had to be done.

Also, around this time I started having more and more stomach pain. I wasn't certain what the issue was...ulcer? Something worse? I consulted my doctor and it turned out that my diet was way off. The proposed diet was fairly complex, but one main issue was that I was still eating like a college freshman when it was time to go out and buy real produce and actually use my pots and pans for real cooking not just toss some random frozen meal in the microwave.

I lost 10 pounds in a month on that diet alone. Now, granted, this diet wasn't designed to make me lose weight. Nay, it was simply designed to correct my diet and alleviate stomach pain. It worked wonders. Plus I got the bonus of losing some weight. However, losing that weight so fast made me wicked lazy. I used to swim and go for walks periodically just to get a little outdoorsy time and hopefully shed some pounds, but with winter (albeit mild in SoCal) coming plus my ridiculous new-found confidence in weight loss, I thought I could play video games all day, eat like a rabbit, and continue to lose weight. Nope. Did not work at all. I gained all the weight back. Yay. Go me.

So, the next thing I decided was that it was time for the dreaded exercise. Summer was coming, so I started walking and swimming again. Nothing. I mean, ok, I started feeling better getting fresh air and moving my body, but I, maybe, I shed three pounds. Not enough to really make a difference. Thus I began researching the internet for ideas. Still being pretty lazy, I opted for Wii Fitness. It made bold promises. Most of them fell flat. I'd lose five pounds one week, then gain seven the next, loss three, gain five. It was all over the place! Despite the fact that I worked really hard at being consistent about doing it.

I also tried various types of Yoga, but most of them, while, yes, they made me more flexible and feel inner peace, they did not help me lose any inches from my waist. In fact, they seemed to add inches. No, not good at all. I nearly gave up on it all and ate myself into oblivion, but then I got the Xbox 360 with Kinect and discovered Dance Central.

I exercised my way through nearly every song on Dance Central until I was sick of them all, so then I bought Dance Central 2, which had a handy new fitness section. I immediately launched the easiest, shortest one. I fumbled a bunch, but it was fun. Way more fun than the Wii (no offence Wii!).

Now, because I had so many ups and downs, I had completely stopped weighing myself. I was done. Don't tell me, I do not want to know. *with hands covering ears* La la la la!

But then I had to pack for a vacation and I noticed that all my clothes were too big. Wait a minute... I flipped through my calendar to find the last time I weighed myself. February. It was now June. I ran to my scale. I had lost 10 pounds in 4 months. Big whoop. But then I measured my waist... 5 less inches. WHAT?! Then I remembered, muscle weighs more than fat. In addition to Dance Central, I'd also been lifting weights (to get rid of those matronly upper arms - where the hell did those come from?!?). So, while I didn't lose much actual weight, I did go down several pant sizes. Woohoo!

Now, I must note, that this all started on a restricted diet, but as time passed I realized I simply could not keep up that lifestyle. I may not eat a lot, but I do like having my sweets every now and then, not to mention pizza and pasta. Yum! So, I told myself I was allowed to eat anything, but in moderation. Also, I reminded myself, every time I reached for a cookie or whatever that I had come so far and worked so hard, would I really want to undo what I'd done by eating garbage? Most of the time, the answer is no and I'll eat fruit instead, but sometimes (once a month) the answer is yes and so I indulge. I'm only human, after all, and happiness is key (and chocolate makes me so very happy).

Could that be the key to weight loss? Find something that you enjoy doing that gets your heart racing and makes you sweat 3 times a week coupled with weight lifting for tone and a diet of moderation only? Could I really get my body back to its college size, if not high school, all while enjoying a cream soda or chocolate chip cookie every once in awhile? Is that all it takes - exercise? I must tell everyone!! (Because even my Mum asked, "How did you do it?")

So, to sum up, all I did for 5 months is eat whatever the hell I wanted - in moderation - and exercise with Dance Central (cardio) 10-50 minutes 3 times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) plus the occasional Yoga routine then lift weights 2 times per week (Tuesday, Thursday) with Saturday and Sunday as make up days if I missed a workout and doing all that I was able to go from my "big girl" pants down to my favorite pair of college jeans. If I can keep at it and not gain back 10 pounds during the holidays, then I'm hoping to be able to fit into a Slave Leia costume by next summer. *fingers crossed*

[Update on the Slave Leia costume at Comikaze 2013: http://www.melissa2u.com/2013/11/cosplay-at-comikaze.html]

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