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Friday, November 13, 2009

Skinny "jeans" without skinny "genes!"

You know, I used to think skinny people were just skinny by nature, and I was...well...not. Whatever the gene was, I was missing it. I tried many times to trick my body into believing there was a smaller person inside that double-digit frame -- but the weight crept back on after each fad diet attempt. I wasn't satisfied with the size I was, but I was just going to have to live with it.

Everywhere around me, knowledgeable health professionals were talking about healthy eating and exercise, but I wasn't listening. Temptations, excuses and quick fixes (think Acai Berry -- the "miracle fruit!") were always right around the corner. I walked by the gym, looking in at all the "naturally" skinny people. They must be there for the fun of it, right? They certainly don't look like they need to be there, so they must just like this torture. I was missing that gene, too. Urg.

Now, I like to think I'm a pretty intelligent person. In fact, I know I'm an intelligent person. So what was going on? Was this my way of justifying my lack of exercise? Was it how I justified my "healthy appetite" for not-so-healthy foods (and drinks!). I was an "average" size. Not overweight by medical definition, but not small either. If I was just this size by nature, then what difference did it make, right?

One day, I just decided to prove these health people wrong. All the other diets failed, so this miracle plan of "healthy eating and exercise" was bound to fail, too. They'll see! This is just my size!

So I got started at the gym with all those "naturally skinny" people in their designer gym outfits. I couldn't afford a trainer, so I watched what they did. I took group classes, and realized that they were as much fun as cheerleading in high school. I'm clumsy most of the time and I fall down a lot, but for some reason, I can fly over that step! I made a couple friends at the gym, and they would call me if I didn't show up for a class. It always helps to have people expecting you -- makes you get off the couch!

I also stopped with the fad diets. No more eliminating entire food groups! No more starvation! I was going to follow the simple rules of lean proteins, whole grains, and veggies. I cut out carbs at dinner and stopped snacking in the evenings. What I found was that, with the right flavors and spices, this healthy food was actually good. I liked what I was eating, but I was eating a LOT more than I ever got to eat on those crazy diets. This will never work! I'll show them! This is just my size!

And then it wasn't...I was getting smaller, almost immediately. I was eating. I was full! Me, the eater, full! I liked the gym. It was hard to get in the car, but once I was there, I enjoyed it. It feels SO good to work out. And my bank account was getting a workout, too -- boy is it fun to buy smaller clothes!!

I was never so happy in my life to be wrong. And if you know me, you know how much I LOVE to be right. But this time, I'm admitting it. I WAS WRONG. As hard as it may be to swallow at first, you have to eat right and get your body moving to lose weight and keep it off. It will work. I'm living proof. Now in my 30s, I'm smaller than I was in high school. Don't even get me started on the college years...I was looking at old pictures recently and my face was the size of a bowling ball! If there was a gym at my school, I certainly didn't know where it was. I was too busy having beer and pizza in the middle of the night to think about working out. Whoa!

After several years of this lifestyle change, the weight has stayed off. I'm a good 25-30 pounds lighter than when I started. I enjoy my nights out, but at home, we stick to the "svelte" plan that you've been reading about in my posts. Healthy food can taste great! I don't have a gym membership at the moment, but I ride my bike, walk, run and I do some other simple tricks. I take the stairs instead of the elevator and park far away from the store (even though it is SO hard to resist "rock star parking"). I also carry the groceries from the store instead of using the cart, pumping them like weights. People look at me funny, but that's ok!

Most importantly, I'm not kidding myself anymore. I realize that those fit people at the gym are fit because they are at the gym. I realize that my body needs fuel in the form of nutritious food. And I realize that now I'm actually in my skinny jeans without any skinny genes. It's the best feeling in the world.

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