Monday, August 23, 2010

How to Lose Weight and Get Fit Without Really Trying

Live out of a backpack for a few months, walk everywhere (extra motivation in places where taxis are often dangerous) and eat a lot of rice and beans.  Seriously, it works ... I came back from almost 5 months in South America about 35 pounds lighter, many inches thinner and a hell of a lot more fit than I was when I'd left.

(I gained a pound or two back in Newfoundland, thanks to the vast quantity of fried food I consumed.  But it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd feared.)

Thank God.  I was tired of being "the fat chick", tired of looking in the mirror and thinking "But this isn't REALLY what I look like!".  I miss the days when I was effortlessly thin (lasted well into my 30's, but unfortunately did come to an end), but I am so, so happy to be back in thin-ish form.

And it was pretty much painless.  I wasn't thinking about losing weight, wasn't obsessing overly much about eating less or more healthily, or worrying about getting enough exercise ... it just kind of happened by virtue of the way I lived day to day, without me having to spend much time or effort trying to make it all happen.  It's a very nice side effect of travelling on a budget (so you mostly cook cheaply, which seems to mean healthier food, and walk instead of taking taxis or transit) in a place that's more challenging than North America or Europe (so you walk instead of taking a taxi, in those places where travellers might get robbed by taxi drivers). 

I love it.  I have no discipline when it comes to eating better; when I was at work and spending ridiculous amounts of time in the office, proper nutrition far too often went by the wayside.  I was sometimes disciplined about going to the gym or running (mostly for the stress relief), but there's only so far working out will take you if you're stuffing your face regularly with high-fat, high-calorie food and too much wine.  So radical intevention was required.

I'm not quite back to where I'd like to be (that requires about another 10 pounds and a lot more fitness to get me back to my black belt grading physique), but I feel so much better.  I love wearing a pair of jeans because I LIKE them, not just because they're the only pair that fit, and I've found all kinds of clothes in my closet that I'd forgotten about since I haven't been able to wear them in 5 years or so.  (Some of them I can't wear now, either, because they're now too big.  So Goodwill gets the benefit instead of me.)

And I love running again (even though it's frustrating to have to start all over again) -- finding out that I'm faster, without even training, makes me very happy.  Apparently it's easier without all the extra weight I was carrying.  (I still have some way to go, though, before I can hope to challenge the marathoning Steves I know.)

I'd forgotten, almost, what it's like to walk down the street and feel sexy.  But I have it again now ... well, with a bit of effort (not being one of those roll-out-of-bed-looking-hot natural beauties like Evangeline Lilly).

Problem is going to be not reverting to my old habits when I'm back to a regular working life.  It's easy enough when I don't have much stress (beyond where to go next, and worrying whether or not I'll have to rack up credit card debt by the end of the year), when I'm much more budget-conscious than I have to be when I have a paycheque (so I'm not eating out and making bad food choices, or splurging on the expensive wine).   Stick me back in an office for 18 hours a day and I might not do so well.

So ... duh ... maybe I don't go back to spending 18 hours a day in the office.  What a thought.   

P.S.  Oh, and my shoes still fit.  Thank God that never changes, no matter what I weigh.  Maybe that's why I like shoes so much.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad your priorities are straight re: the shoes.

    Great story, too! I love the way you write.