Friday, December 4, 2009

Past Deadline: Barely Speaking to My Scale

Note: This column contains an obscure local reference that refers to a provincial politician and a federal politician (by name) who have been continually poking their noses into a municipal issue, causing great consternation. Just so you know when to laugh.

Now here is a surprisingly self-absorbed topic from me: weight loss. I know. It’s utterly shocking that I would be writing about this instead of the heady subjects you’re used to, such as world peace or provincial and federal interference in municipal decisions.

Alas, sometimes the ideas don’t come easily, and at those times we’re all stuck with the old faithful “body image issues” topic.

I’ve been running now for almost five months and have achieved a remarkable milestone for me: 30 minutes straight. Three times a week I make my legs carry me for a minimum 20-minute run, but usually it’s closer to 30. A couple of weeks ago I felt particularly energetic and ran for 40 minutes. The time on that run was a milestone in itself, and the distance turned out to be as well. When I calculated it out I realized I had run my first 5K. It was 5.3 km, to be exact.

As I plod along (I am not particularly speedy) I am still frequently amazed by the fact I am doing this at all. It all started at the persuasion of my Calgary friend – who is my virtual running buddy – with a minute of running followed by a minute of walking and repeated up to the 20-minute mark. Eventually the number of minutes of running replace all the walking minutes. I marvel at how the body can build endurance.

Being able to run for 30 minutes strikes me as a handy skill to have because one never knows when one will have to flee from an angry mob. I may not be able to flee quickly, but I should be able to flee far.

Something I do find somewhat disappointing, though, is the whole weight loss aspect of this venture.

A little over three years ago I went on a bit of a health kick and lost 17 pounds – getting much closer to what is an ideal weight for me. This involved a walking program, some swimming and a lower fat and cholesterol diet. Over the space of about three months I had trimmed down quite nicely. Then my schedule went bananas and I fell off the truck and here I am, three years later, more or less starting from scratch.

Since I started running in mid-July I have lost a whopping – are you ready for it – seven pounds. The first six happened a couple of months into the program. The scale has barely budged since sometime in September and, as a result, we are barely on speaking terms.

It’s not really the scale’s fault, though. I know there are differences between this year’s efforts and those of three years ago. For one thing, I’m three years older. My body doesn’t put up with my hare-brained eating schemes like it might have once done. It sensibly resists weight-loss programs that don’t involve a more concerted effort on the diet end of things.

As my virtual running buddy says, “Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but weight loss is 80 per cent food and 20 per cent exercise. Sad truth. I know it well!”

For a while I told myself it was because I was building muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. While there is truth to that, I kinda think most of the major muscle building has occurred by now. That’s not to say I haven’t noticed some changes. I have lovely calf muscles now and I think I have lost some diameter in the thighs. The area just above my ankles seems more muscular, too, which is fantastic because everyone knows thick ankles are every girl’s dream. But it’s about my butt. The shelf is narrower, but it’s still there. The saddle bags? Still there. The hips? Yikes. Where DID my hip bones go?

This just seems unfair and I want Scott Reid and Randy Hillier to do something about it.

It’s not as if I don’t know what has to be done, but why is it so much harder to snack on an apple instead of a brownie? The fact we’re heading into comfort-and-holiday-food season does not bode well for the already-crumbling relationship between me and my scale. I sense some New Year’s Revolutions coming on.

(Published in The Perth Courier on Dec. 1/09)

1 comment:

Sparky said...

Damn that 80:20 rule! Who made that up anyways?

And what am I doing up at 1am? Watched too much TV thats what. Now I'm screwed for tomorrow. It will be a meanest mommy day for sure! :)