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 Iâ€™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.
Iâ€™m down a solid 2 suit sizes (yeah, I judge by suit sizes since thatâ€™s the uniform of the day) and the third size down is a little snug for now.
The scales havenâ€™t moved much in the past few months, even though Iâ€™m down 15 pounds from a year ago. Iâ€™m not quite sure how that happened. Grape Fantas and Mint Milanos still prevail at moments when I need â€œcomfort food.â€ Forget Atkins and South Beach and all that deprivation.
True, a year ago, Iâ€™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 itâ€™s staying off, too, and I donâ€™t think of myself as dieting or even being as â€œgoodâ€ as I should be.
â€œI donâ€™t understand,â€ I tell Shannon while weâ€™re into the fourth mile of an evening walk. Weâ€™ve doubled our usual route because weâ€™re coming home in half the time we used to. â€œIâ€™m not doing anything different but Iâ€™ve been losing a little bit of weight. Just a half pound here and there, but itâ€™s adding up and staying off, too.â€
â€œAre you eating right?â€ I know she is, but I have to ask. I ask regularly of both girls. And yes, sheâ€™s eating just fine. No skimping and no silly bread-and-water diets. She wonâ€™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 doesnâ€™t) licking the plate.
â€œI donâ€™t get it,â€ she says. â€œWeâ€™re both losing weight without really trying?â€
We look at each other, confused, but keep on walking. Are we doing anything thatâ€™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 itâ€™s a lighthearted kind of embarrassment that weâ€™re both okay with. Weâ€™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 itâ€™s the power-walking thatâ€™s trimming us down.
â€œBut Vic,â€ I tell her, â€œI used to do this and I never lost weight.â€ 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 Iâ€™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 isnâ€™t so different, I explain to Vicki. Iâ€™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.
â€œYou had to hold things in then,â€ Vicki reminds me. â€œWhen you walk with Shannon, the exercise is funâ€”and thatâ€™s the key. Youâ€™re both purging, shedding, getting everything out that bothers you or worries you or scares you or makes you mad. Youâ€™re letting go of the weight youâ€™ve held onto.â€
Metaphysically, she makes perfect sense. And the walks are lots of fun and donâ€™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.