I wish I were more disciplined about staying fit. I’ve always struggled a bit with weight. I don’t think I’ve ever hit “obese”, but I’ve certainly been overweight. (Or, I may be in denial.)
Back in high school choir, the choir members had outfits that required fitting. I distinctly remember going to the store that was doing this and being told by one of the employees, “You’re a bit chubby here!” I considered that to be insulting and rude, and I never went back to that store.
But he was right.
During my undergraduate time at Goshen College, I spent one semester in Costa Rica. During that time, my eating habits were excellent and the food was healthy. I lost quite a bit of weight – don’t really know how much, but while I was there I had to put new holes in my belt to get it to fit my waist. When I came home, I took up biking during the summer. That was a good time for me.
When I started grad school, I had just gotten married. I also purchased a bread machine about that time. Not good. Well – the bread was good, but its effects, combined with my lack of self-control and my wife’s great cooking, made for a steady weight gain. Midway through grad school, I was about 45 pounds over my target weight, and I determined that I was going to do something about it.
And I did.
I ate less, I ate healthier, and I started exercising. I biked to work, went swimming in the mornings, and took up jogging. I actually got to the point where I was losing half a pound per day, and it was healthy weight loss. I wasn’t starving myself or anything unhealthy like that. I just did a major re-adjustment of my eating and exercise habits. And I got down to a healthy weight.
Then my first daughter was born, and my discipline disappeared.
About five years later, I had put nearly all of the weight back on. At this point, we had moved on and I had a postdoctoral research job. Happily, there was an Olympic-sized swimming pool at the lab where I worked, and I got myself back into some healthier habits, and got my weight back to a healthier level.
And then my second daughter was born and we moved to our current house, and after about five years my weight was going way up again.
Which brings us to this year. I determined that I needed to get my life under control again. I had used some gift money toward starting a YMCA membership, and once again I began a diet and exercise plan. It worked – I lost 35 pounds earlier this year. Really – I should have lost more, but I became a bit comfortable with my success. Then summer started, and I started spending time blogging, and…
Well, I’ve put back on most of the weight I’ve lost. Really – it’s one of the biggest challenges to self-esteem that I face*, so I’m working at self-control again. I need to reduce the food that I’m eating, and I need to get back into the swimming pool. (I love swimming, although I wish the water at the ‘Y’ were a bit warmer.) Staying in control of my diet and activity level is such a weakness for me. But I thought that if I shared here, it might provide a bit of incentive to keep working, especially with the upcoming holiday season.
* I realize that we could discuss self-esteem and self-worth, and where those feelings come from, and what they should be based on, and so forth. But it doesn’t change the fact that I need to modify my lifestyle. Which is to say – I guess I don’t particularly care to discuss those thing right now.
So – watch this space for updates. Perhaps I’ll reflect on other aspects of this journey that I haven’t mentioned here, such as the quality of food that we eat or the issue of justice and global nutrition. And I’ll appreciate any prayers for discipline and gentle accountability nudges.