And so it begins…

November 16, 2008 at 10:43 pm

Twenty-one.

According to colloquial lore, some conditioning expert somewhere said that in order to form a habit, the same behavior must be performed in response to the same stimulus a minimum of 21 times.

The logic follows, then, that to make a major lifestyle change, that change must be put into effect for at least 21 days.

21 days. That’s not so bad, when you think about it. It’s three weeks. Not even an entire month! Surely I can do anything for 21 days, right?

As I write this, I’m 35 years old.  I am married, a mother of four children (three boys, one girl), and I divide my time between the usual trappings of suburban housewife domesticity (driving kids around, keeping house, making dinner, shopping, etc.), a small home-business I’ve created involving ad-supported websites for subdivisions, and our family’s participation in Missouri’s virtual school program.  (In other words: I homeschool, but with state supervision.  If you’re interested in hearing about that, though, you want my ‘MoVIPandMe‘ blog, not this one.)

In other words: I am a busy girl.

But as rigorous as my schedule is, my lifestyle is still entirely too sedentary.  Web design requires a lot of sitting.  So does homeschooling.  So does folding laundry, and so does driving to and from soccer practice and gymnastics class.  As a result of this (in addition to the fact that my body has carried, birthed and fed four babies) I am now 5’4″ tall and I weigh between 235 and 240 pounds.

Not good.

By every clinical definition, no matter how forgiving, I am firmly in the category of ‘obese’.  I know this, I have known it for a long time, and it bothers me.  There was a time,  back in high school and college, when I was actually pretty by most people’s standards, and my vanity is therefore stung everytime I look in the mirror now.  Moreover, as I said: I turned 35 this year, which means I am now officially skating down that dreaded slope toward middle-age, when my body will biologically give up whatever drive remains toward fulfilling biological imperatives and begin its slow grind to the inevitable halt.  Therefore, health issues are bound to be a problem soon if I don’t get myself under control, and I’d rather like to live long enough to witness my kids’ adult lives and (ideally) my grandchildren.

So I am resolved to make some changes.  The problem is, of course, that changing is hard.  I am a creature of habit, and like every other human creature out there, I like being comfortable and well-fed.  Making decisions to do things that involve deprivation, discomfort and frustration goes against my instincts, and therefore I generally fail at efforts I’ve made to set down better lifestyle habits than those to which I am currently prone.

Besides that, the reasons FOR changing have been nebulous.  Sure, my health is important.  Sure, I miss feeling pretty, and I miss shopping in the ‘normal people’ section of stores when I buy clothes.  Yes, I miss getting up in the morning and facing my closet without the sense of dread that comes with not being entirely sure anything you have will actually fit you today.  But these things do not set me apart from anyone else I know, regardless of size; everyone wishes they looked better or fit into a different size.  Everyone is aware of the effects of age, the need to be healthy, etc.  Until something happens to really put it in perspective, it’s easy to acknowledge such things to be important and then conveniently ignore them when someone offers us a plate of cookies.

For some people, that something is a health issue, either their own or that of someone close to them. Thankfully (and I do thank God for this), this is not the case with me. I have no health problems to speak of, and no one near me does either.  And so far, I have not run into anything I really wanted to do that I found I could not do because I was too fat to do it.

So how did I get here?  I arrived here thanks to a visit to a local amusement park, mainly.  I love amusement parks, I love roller coasters and thrill rides.  Unfortunately, the fact that I have four children under the age of nine means I haven’t really had the opportunity or the ability to go to an amusement park and ride the ‘adult rides’ in nearly a decade.  This past summer I FINALLY had the opportunity to do so, and when I stepped up to get onto the first roller coaster, I suddenly realized just how much my body had changed since the last time I’d tried to do something like this.  I was able to get in, but not without considerable discomfort and pushing, and I realized that if I didn’t get a grip on things, odds are next summer I won’t be able to ride at all.   That’s not good.

I realize this is a pretty trite reason to suddenly care about my body and my health.. but it doesn’t matter.  During a previous effort to lose weight, my husband and I joined a gym and had the opportunity to work with a personal trainer.  I met mine, who was nice enough, and one of the first questions she asked was ‘Why do you want to lose weight?’  I don’t remember what I said, but apparently my first answer wasn’t a good enough reason.  I think I offered, instead, some lame rationale on the grounds that I worried about the example I’m setting for my daughter, and she lit all up. THAT passed muster.  The whole exercise made me indignant, though; I was THERE, wasn’t I?  I was paying hard-earned money to be there, I was making the choice to go; what right did anyone have to judge my reasons for doing so as either good or bad?   The indigence I felt over this exchange made it all the easier to quit going to the gym at all a short time later, which in hindsight may have been what she was after.  Stupid gym memberships.

So I refuse to analyze my rationale, or seek approval for it.  The bottom line is that I’m here.

And I have twenty-one days.

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Entry filed under: ADF.

Round 1: Fast and Feast Diet Round 1, Day 1: ADF


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