Taking Off the Weight, Unawares

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Freedom .


I was up way too late last night. Well past 2 a.m. Shopping. In my closet. I found some great skirts, too. The tags were still on where I’d bought them two years ago. Man, I had a blast!

About two weeks ago, I had one of those moments where I suddenly realized my pants were loose. I mean, really loose. Baggy. To anyone watching me, they probably saw my frown and then a sudden dawning in my eyes as I rushed to my closet to see what else might fit. They probably wondered what was wrong.

I’m down a solid 2 suit sizes (yeah, I judge by suit sizes since that’s the uniform of the day) and the third size down is a little snug for now.

The scales haven’t moved much in the past few months, even though I’m down 15 pounds from a year ago. I’m not quite sure how that happened. Grape Fantas and Mint Milanos still prevail at moments when I need “comfort food.” Forget Atkins and South Beach and all that deprivation.

True, a year ago, I’d said I wanted to lose 30 pounds, but I really meant that I just wanted to be healthy and fit and able to wear whatever I wanted. I never really did anything intentional to make it happen. The weight loss has been extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemely slow, but it’s staying off, too, and I don’t think of myself as dieting or even being as “good” as I should be.

“I don’t understand,” I tell Shannon while we’re into the fourth mile of an evening walk. We’ve doubled our usual route because we’re coming home in half the time we used to. “I’m not doing anything different but I’ve been losing a little bit of weight. Just a half pound here and there, but it’s adding up and staying off, too.”

Flying By Night novel

“Yeah, me, too,” she says. She’s gotten downright skinny, even after a big drop in weight due to stress back in March. The weight has fallen off of her, too.

“Are you eating right?” I know she is, but I have to ask. I ask regularly of both girls. And yes, she’s eating just fine. No skimping and no silly bread-and-water diets. She won’t touch anything with beef in it, but when I substitute turkey in lasagna and spaghetti, it tastes the same and she eats every bite and contemplates (though she doesn’t) licking the plate.

“I don’t get it,” she says. “We’re both losing weight without really trying?”

We look at each other, confused, but keep on walking. Are we doing anything that’s different?

Then we realize and burst out laughing. The walks. The daily one-hour walks that have gotten faster and faster and with both of us in good enough shape to keep talking the whole time without getting winded. Of course. We feel a little stupid, but it’s a lighthearted kind of embarrassment that we’re both okay with. We’d started the walks just to burn off some restless energy and tame some hormones. Somehow in the past month, our walks have become habit, an enjoyable one that allows us to spend one-on-one time together, both of us chattering non-stop. The leg presses have gotten my legs back in great working order and I rarely feel the ache in my knees until the fifth mile has passed.

I tell Vicki about our discovery. She agrees that it’s the power-walking that’s trimming us down.

“But Vic,” I tell her, “I used to do this and I never lost weight.” Two years ago, my ex and I would take one-hour evening walks together, a stroll for him as tall as he is but brisk for me. This would be late in the evening after I’d already spent an hour on the treadmill and half an hour of Pilates or fencing. For about five out of seven days, back in the Fall of 2003, I spent 2.5 hours a day in exercise. And if anything, I gained weight.

So this isn’t so different, I explain to Vicki. I’ve done this regimen and more without this success.

Then Vicki points out how miserable those evening walks were when my ex and I would walk together for an hour and not have anything to say to each other after the first five minutes of my day and his day and possibly another three minutes of what the kids were up to.

“You had to hold things in then,” Vicki reminds me. “When you walk with Shannon, the exercise is fun—and that’s the key. You’re both purging, shedding, getting everything out that bothers you or worries you or scares you or makes you mad. You’re letting go of the weight you’ve held onto.”

Metaphysically, she makes perfect sense. And the walks are lots of fun and don’t feel at all like the work of a work-out.

I still have a ways to go, though, before I let go of enough to float away.


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