A Walk In The Park

Well, I never have proclaimed to be excellent at maintaining a blog and posting regular content, but I do want you all to know I’ve thought of you often. Does that count? No? Okay..

It turns out today I have something I want to talk about! First things first: for the last month my depression and anxiety, with the exception of a couple blips here and there, has been incredibly manageable! It feels like a goddamn miracle, Readers. It’s only taken me 6 years, but I think I’ve finally managed to truly convince myself that exercise and sleep are the “magic little pill” to making me feel like a stable human. The true test will be how I fare come late-August into September and then, of course, on into the Dreaded Winter. But right now I’m having mostly good or even great days and, boy, that is just fantastic. I’m reveling in the joy of it as much as I can.

Secondly, a big player in my consistent exercise has been: WALKING. I recently started wearing a fitness tracker again, not just to “wait and see” how many steps I take in a day, but to actively adjust my daily routines and habits to hit 10,000 steps on a regular basis. Part of this has been incorporating two to three 10-15 minutes walks into my day, especially during the work week. This has not only improved my focus in the office, but also revs up my motivation to accomplish other types of exercise outside of work. And even if I don’t go run or do any strength training, at least I’ve walked and moved my body and that totally, 110% COUNTS. This has been great for me because if I’m just having one of those days where I feel worn out and tired, or am maybe stressed and the idea of a full-blown workout makes me want to die just thinking about, I tell myself I have to go walk for at least 10 minutes. Usually by the end of that 10 minutes, I’m ready to either hit that run or do that lifting – and sometimes, I do that 10 minutes and still don’t feel great and go spend the rest of my evening on the couch or buried in a book. But that’s okay – because at least I got that walk in!

Maybe some of you are skeptical that walking counts as “real” exercise, so I’ll share a little tidbit from Sean Flanagan – just one of many science-based, body positive trainers/fitness writers I follow:

“Using the calorie cost of physical activity formula from the American Council of Exercise (HERE), below are some estimated totals for calories burned at different weights and lengths of time.  Since I mentioned how burning an extra 100 calories is a “relatively easy feat” above, I am using formulas to bring you to approximately 100.  I’m keeping the pace of walking fixed at 3 miles per hour so as to be realistic for most walkers.

250 lb person for 15 minutes = 102 calories

225 lb person for 17 minutes = 104 calories

200 lb person for 19 minutes = 103.6 calories

175 lb person for 21 minutes = 100 calories

150 lb person for 25 minutes = 102 calories

If you are weight stable currently and keep your food intake the same via strong nutrition habits, these little 100 calorie blocks every day could add up to just under a pound of weight loss per month.”

(To read Sean’s full article on walking and its fat loss benefits, head here.)

Desperation

I’ve been majorly absent, I know. In fact, it’s been almost exactly a month since my last update and check-in.

I’ve consistently forgotten to take progress photos and measurements for the last month, and when I did step on the scale the other day it showed exactly zero pounds lost or gained, so it looks as if I’m maintaining. That being said, I feel like my body composition is slowly changing for the better so scale be damned!!

I’m hoping to get my life together this week/weekend and get those photos and measurements done.

Some of you may be getting curious about the title of this post since none of what I’ve said so far lends itself to any type of desperation. Well, let me just tell you the last couple weeks have been a bit of a body image roller coaster – which is common when you’re me. Approximately two weeks ago I began drafting a post about how desperate I was for weight loss to magically happen to me. I was going to go on and on about how it’s just so hard and it’s just so unfair that starving oneself and pushing one’s body to its limits seemed to come so easily to others and not me. And so that happened for a couple days and then I sort of got over it and was like, “Hey, Jess, that’s silly. You know it’s all about consistency in good habits and experimentation with exercise routine and finding your sweet spot with a calorie deficit. Don’t be a whiner.” And I was like, Oh yeah, duh. And then… THEN… this kind of amazing thing happened last weekend. I sort of realized that… I’m actually okay with myself.

Whooooaaa. I know, right?

Friday night I went out and I didn’t really think about my size or my weight and what my body looked like at all. Then Saturday I went to the pool for two hours and, at first, when I was getting ready I was kind of stressing about what my body looked like in my swimsuit, but then sort of said, “Fuck it” and just threw on what felt most physically comfortable instead of aesthetically comfortable and by the time I got to the pool I didn’t even think once about what my body looked like in that swimsuit or if anyone else was paying any attention to me. I was just enjoying myself.

I took a little time to reflect on that the other night and one of the questions that popped into my head was, “…so does that mean this goal of purposeful weight loss you’re working toward isn’t really a necessary goal anymore?” But I think it is. And maybe “necessary” isn’t the correct word in this case, but perhaps “important” is a better choice. Having a weight loss goal that I’m choosing to work on over the next 12-18 months is an important goal for me to have for the following reasons: lowering my body fat percentage is a major factor for maintaining and improving my heart health, primarily in lowering my triglyceride and LDL cholesterol levels, and keeping my hormone levels healthy and stable. Plus, regular, consistent exercise is the very best thing I can do to regulate my depression and anxiety.

So really what being okay with my current size/weight/shape/whatever allows me to do is, for the first time basically ever, accomplish sustainable weight loss because I want to take care of and love myselfnot because I hate myself.