Find Your Joy

I am not unique as a middle aged woman who needs to lose weight and is finding it difficult. I am definitely a sugar addict. Over the years I have attempted to lose weight using Slim Fast, Jenny Craig (multiple times) and Ideal Protein. Each time I was successful for a while, and then gained the weight back. This also makes me not in the least bit unique.

Last weekend my girlfriend Ruth and I saw a documentary called Fed Up which was really eye-opening. The first thing I liked about it was that it told us that although our country has spent decades blaming fat people for being fat (we’re gluttons, lazy, or both), it’s really not our fault. At least not as long as we remain uneducated about the ways that the food industry has contributed to our problem. The problem is sugar. All those supposedly low-fat options taste OK because they contain more sugar than their more fatty counterparts, and therefore they are more likely to make us gain weight. The documentary also talked about the way sugar addiction is similar to cocaine addiction, and how kids are targeted by advertising when they’re young and impressionable.

Anyway it was a very informative film and I encourage everyone to see it, but the point it made was that weight loss happens by educating yourself about what’s really in the food you eat. It’s not calories in calories out. The film showed us how differently the body responds to 160 calories of almonds vs 160 calories of sugar. Making the right food choices is key, otherwise you won’t lose weight even if you exercise every day. Especially as a peri-menopausal middle-aged woman. We live in a culture that bombards us every day with media that basically tries to “highjack our brains” (quote from the movie) and make us fail at whatever attempts we might make to eat healthier.

I am very lucky to have a girlfriend who is a registered dietician and is very knowledgeable about healthy eating options. She is also willing to go for walks with me, and her beautiful dog Lola (who has the most amazing warm eyes you’ve ever seen).

Bike Path

So, I have Ruth and some other supportive friends to help me learn about making healthy food choices, and to slowly overcome my phobia of cooking and prepare my own food so I’m not either eating a bunch of preservatives that are bad for me, or spending a fortune on healthy food cooked by someone else. The next thing to tackle was exercise.

I am beginning this journey at 211 pounds. I am 5’5″ tall and according to my scale am about 45% fat which is not healthy at all. I needed to find an exercise that I would stick with. Due in part I’m sure to my being overweight, I get lower back pain from standing or walking for just a few minutes. I enjoy bike riding, but before long I have pain in my shoulders and wrists. The seat isn’t that comfortable either; even a wide one. I enjoy swimming, but the local Y has only certain times when the lap pool is open. I work nights and sleep during the day, so my schedule rarely matches with that of a health club.

Then I started thinking about how much I loved being active as a child. I had a pink bicycle with a banana seat that I rode everywhere. My father and I shot hoops in our driveway. I loved playing dodge ball and red rover at school. How could I recapture that joy when I now lived in a body that was in pain a lot of the time? As I was contemplating these things, my friend Wendy posted this ridiculous picture on facebook:

Big Wheel

Suddenly I was flooded with memories of a green and black big wheel I had as a child. I *loved* that thing. It had these red noisemakers on the back wheels so I could maximize the annoyance to my neighbors as I rode it around outside. My father cut the noisemakers off after a while, but I rode that thing all over the place and had a wonderful time. Such speed! Such exhilaration! I got on the internet and lo and behold, there was such thing as a big wheel for adults. They aren’t cheap; you can find the least expensive ones at the High Roller website. I told myself that if I purchased one, I had to commit to riding it regularly. I went for it.

It took two weeks to arrive, and two hours to assemble (with some bloodshed). My maiden voyage to Ruth’s apartment was partially documented here:

I can’t TELL you how much fun I have had in the 4 days since! I have definitely rediscovered a childhood joy. My back doesn’t hurt, my shoulders and wrists don’t hurt, and I have already put several miles on it. I feel hopeful about being healthier for the first time in a long time! I’ll update here regularly with my progress.

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6 thoughts on “Find Your Joy

  1. I have two pieces of input…
    If you like to read, I highly recommend the book “The Science of Skinny.” Author Dee McCaffrey. Terribly titled book that you and Rith would enjoy and it seems to parallel the movie you watched. It also has an excellent cookbook. You can purchase a few staples that change everything and make this new way of cooking/eating easier.
    I had this conversation with my doctor a few days ago as she was lecturing me about my weight and upcoming menopause even though my blood pressure is excellent, my blood sugar is excellent and I have no weight associated health problems. I said… Doc it’s not about being skinny, or thin. I be done that. I even had weight loss surgery that worked for abut one year… I am now exactly the same weight as when I started. It is not about getting skinny, it is about staying skinny. All of the money and effort that takes is unsustainable. I am sometimes frustrated that this is my body but maybe that is just it… This is my body. Mine. And if fat is the worst thing I am, then I am going to be ok with that.
    Ps this is not advice…. Just my thoughts on the matter.
    So Go Girl! Big wheel on…

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    1. I’m OK if I’m always somewhat overweight. I mainly just want to eat healthy and get enough exercise. I want my joints not to hurt. So if I stop eating too much sugar and carbs and stop sitting on my behind all the time and I’m still overweight, I’ll be OK with that. 🙂

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  2. Awesome, Sophie!! You totally rock! What a great way to get exercize and have fun at the same time. That’s so important on so many levels. I can’t wait to see those pounds take a hike without you…and not come back. And I don’t watch TV, but I will definitely be there with all your buddies to watch when you go on Ellen’s show.

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