Noted from the editors: Epicskyline, a member of the FoCC forum, has written about her journey and success with her fitness regimen.
It started at work. I wasn’t doing anything strenuous, just walking, and I turned a corner. Something in my knee shifted, and it was the most intense pain I’d ever felt. My knees had been causing me problems for years. I put too much stress on them in my work, which required me to hustle around on my feet for 8-10 hours a day.
At the time, I was about 130 lbs overweight. My BMI score classified me as being “morbidly obese.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t ever want to be morbidly anything. And at that moment, crying at work because I couldn’t turn around a corner, I had had enough.
As it happened, at the same time, my mother and one of my good friends were both raving about Weight Watchers and the results were obvious just looking at them. So on my birthday, a few days later, I made a decision: I would try Weight Watchers. Not the monthly subscription, but I’d do the pay as you go option, so that if it didn’t work out, all I’d be out is a minimal amount of money and some time.
The purpose of Weight Watchers is to make you aware of exactly what foods you’re eating in a day. Every food gets a points total and you have a certain amount of points a day that you’re allowed to eat. Because of this, you realize just how bad, say, a few slices of pizza are for your diet when those slices are THE ONLY thing you can eat during the day if you hope to stay within your points. Eventually, you learn to recognize which foods you like and can eat a lot of without doing damage to your progress.
The program comes with lots of ways to help you: points calculator, recipes with the corresponding points value per serving, and weekly meetings where you get support from the leader and others doing it with you.
It turns out I shouldn’t have worried. The weight began falling off. It wasn’t easy, of course, but as I saw the changes on the scale, it motivated me to continue. I discovered as I started monitoring what I ate that I really had no idea how to eat healthy. I didn’t understand what a portion size was. Heck, I remember my shock the first time I measured out a tablespoon of dressing for my salad: Wait, that’s IT? Are you kidding me??
Weight Watchers was just a template, and from there I started to figure out what foods did the most for me. For instance, Weight Watchers tries to sell you their frozen meals and snacks, but I realized that those had too many carbs and too much sodium for me, even if they were only a couple of WW points. Fruits and vegetables became my friends, water replaced all soda, juice, and sugary drinks in my diet. I had to pee a lot. I started experimenting with different vegetables that I’d never tried before, and learned that actually I love spinach and sweet peppers and, heck, even kale was all right.
The other piece of the puzzle was my movement and exercise. Like I said, I was a server at a restaurant, which meant that I walked around for hours a day, so my body was pretty used to movement already. However, I had always wanted to be a runner. I was jealous of people who could do it, because I couldn’t last thirty seconds of running without having to stop and catch my breath. When I was in high school and we had to run a mile in gym class, I once faked a heart condition to get out of it – and not even because I didn’t want to do it, but because I felt so self-conscious trying to keep up with my classmates on the track.
As my weight crept down, though, in those first few months on Weight Watchers, I began to get bolder. There was a park by my house, and during school hours it was mostly empty, so I would walk around it several times a week, and slowly I added a bit of jogging into my routine. I started out very simple: jog about 50 yards from this bush to that tree. Every time I came back around to the bush, I would do it again, just that 50 yards, which was tough enough for me that I would need the rest of the trip around the park to recover. After about two weeks, I pushed it to the bench just beyond the tree, then the baseball fields, then the basketball courts, until eventually, dozens of trips later, I made it back around to the bush again, a distance of a third of a mile. Over the course of that year, I went from barely making it from the bush to the tree to jogging six miles, twice a week. I’m a runner!
It was difficult. I had to make tough choices, but it was all worth it. I started losing weight on my twenty-eighth birthday and by my twenty-ninth birthday, I had lost over 100 lbs. I’m thirty-two now, and I can’t pretend that I’m as diligent as I had been in those early days, but I never feel afraid – even if I gain some weight – because I know that my lifestyle and my eating habits have changed so much that I could never go back to the way that I was before.
The experience of Comic Con is so different being lighter. For one thing, I can fit into the seats in Hall H and Ballroom 20 without trying to contort my whole body. It doesn’t hurt as much to sit in line on the ground for 10 hours. I can much more easily slip through crowds of people in the exhibition hall or outside of the convention center during those high traffic hours. I also have more energy throughout the week.
In terms of staying on a diet during the con, well, it’s pretty much impossible. The exercise is there most days (when I’m not camped out for 14 hours to get into Hall H), but it’s very hard to eat to my usual standards. Lots of water, of course, though I try to strategically drink water so that I can time my bathroom breaks during the day. I also carry nuts and dried fruit with me, and I bring whole wheat sandwich thins and peanut butter for a protein-packed breakfast to get me started. I try not to overdo it with the alcohol, and pass on dessert when we go out to eat. Overall, though, I remember that Comic Con is vacation. It’s my reward for all of my hard work, so I’m allowed to enjoy myself.
I know everyone’s circumstances are different, but before I started losing weight, I was sure I couldn’t do it. I didn’t realize I had it in me. It may seem difficult for you too, but I hope this post helped you see that you don’t have to be special or have tons of time or money to start getting healthy. You just need to find that thing that works for you. Good luck!
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