My body has changed a lot in the past 11 months. The loss of weight has also meant a loss of insulation, and I’m feeling cold easily for the first time in many winters. I need a higher temperature in my home and office, and more blankets on my bed when I go to sleep. The silver lining is that I’m getting prolonged use out of those pants I’ve been shrinking out of: I need the extra space at the waist band to accommodate leggings or a second pair of pants underneath!
To boot, I’m actually enjoying feeling so cold. Not only is it a reminder of the pounds I’ve banished, but I’ve also read that being exposed to chilly temperatures increases calorie burns — and therefore weight loss — because of the extra work the body has to do to keep itself warm. Its a win-win!
Keeping these things in mind has really helped me keep focused on staying active on days when it would be easier to stay inside, cozy on the couch, consuming some sinful TV shows and even more sinful food and drink choices. On Presidents Day earlier this week, we got some snow and ice that I was tempted to use as an excuse to stay inside and indulge. But I was on a 3-week streak of exceeding my daily VivoFit steps goal, and I was committed to making the streak last at least through the end of February. When I thought about having to bundle up in my faux fur-lined boots, hat, gloves, scarf, and coat just to walk to the gym, remove it all, get sweaty, and then put all my winter gear directly ON that sweat to come back home, I wondered if it was really worth the hassle… for about 5 seconds. The angry red arrow Jiminy was flashing at me didn’t allow me to entertain that silly question for long. In an instant, I changed my thinking to the bizarrely positive reasons to trudge out into the harsh conditions (It’s cold out there [and that’s good]! You need your steps!), and off I went. My streak is still alive.
Working out has also become a stress release. Instead of capitulating to stress like I used to, I now channel the negative energy into high-octane exercise that burns calories and frees my mind. I have had surprising moments of clarity about confusing or nerve-racking situations I find myself in while testing the limits of the elliptical. Physical activity as an outlet for emotional pressure: what a concept! Here I am, living the myth.
This isn’t to say that all of this is suddenly rote or even easy. I still have to convince myself that I have to work out on any given day, and then I have to internally cheerlead myself to the end of the workout for the majority of the time I’m moving. I’m just getting better at it, and I now know I have reason to believe that the arguments I have for doing the hard things are good ones. There’s certainly been improvement, and much positive reinforcement in the form of visible results, but it’s still hard.
Someone recently asked me what my “trick” was for the success I’ve had on my mission. I had a negative knee-jerk reaction to that question; there’s no freaking trick to this, for cryin’ out loud. It’s called I work hard. All the time. Weight loss and healthy living are NEVER not on my mind. That’s not hyperbole, people; I am NEVER not thinking about those things. They factor into every trivial decision I make throughout the day, from which way I will walk to the metro in the morning (long way or short way: which will fit best into my exercise plan for the day?) to what time I go to sleep at night (how tired am I vs. at what bedtime am I most likely to get a quality night’s sleep?). It ALL ties in for me. I’ve made it that way. That’s the only way this works. If it were as simple as having a trick, we’d all be thin and healthy.
The person who asked me that question probably just phrased it poorly and was only wondering if I had any tips. At least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe. But please, as a Recovering Fat Girl, I’m begging you: don’t ever ask someone who is obviously in the process of dropping a lot of weight, what her trick is. Semantics matter here. Implying there’s some shortcut or some magic at work takes away from that person’s hard work and trivializes the act of drastically transforming her life as if it were some kind of effortless gimmick. Affirmations and praise are fantastic, but if you’re uncomfortable asking the question you mean to ask, just don’t ask it. Better that than to dishonor someone’s all-consuming, seemingly endless quest to save her own life.
Whoops! Got a little hot under the collar there.
Fortunately, that kills calories, too.