I’m going to start each post with this little ticker. While the numbers are run together on the left side, I figure that as the little scale begins to slide to the right, those jumbled numbers will straighten themselves out. BUT, the good news is that I’ve lost 2 lbs. already this week — most likely water weight.

The thing is, throughout most of my early life, I was UNDERweight.

I was a tomboy, playing every sport there was with the boys in the neighborhood, and riding my bike, and climbing trees and doing all that stuff. Throughout high school, I played every intramural sport there was, and joined the synchronized swimming team.

When I went to join the Army, there was a minimum weight requirement for my height, which was 103 lbs. I weighed only 93 lbs. The minimum was waiverable down to 98 but I still fell short. The doctor conducting the physical, most likely thinking that basic training puts weight on people, just put on the sheet that I weighed 98 lbs. (As an aside, I shudder to think of what direction my life would have taken had he not done that and I was unable to join the Army and leave that town…but that’s another story.) I should mention that I took up smoking when I was 17, and that probably didn’t help my weight at all.

In basic training after my true weight was discovered, my drill sergeant used to accompany me through the chow line, and load my tray with foods, and I ate every bit of them, but failed to gain any weight at all. Since she was a fairly heavy woman, I think that pissed her off that I could eat so much, and be unaffected by it.

After I completed basic training and advanced individual training, I was sent to Okinawa, Japan where I played softball “semi-professionally” for two years, until I married and became pregnant. At that point, I wore a size 3 petite. It was in this pregnant state when I broke 100 lbs. for the first time in my life. Following that pregnancy, I fell back down below 100 lbs. within a month or so and, three years later when I became pregnant again, I weighed about 98 lbs. I never saw that size 3 petite again following that second pregnancy. I was only down to a size 5 petite.

Through those years, following the births of my first two children, I continued to play softball recreationally, and as we all know, being a mother is a good physical workout anyway. I continued to smoke, which probably kept a lot of the weight off as well. My physical activity and the smoking kept my metabolism revved up quite well.

Just before I became pregnant for the third (and last) time, I was down to 88 lbs. However, during that pregnancy I gained 67.5 lbs. Since the birth of my son, I have never seen a weight below 130 lbs. Now, the thing is, 130 lbs. was about 5 lbs. heavier than I wanted to be, but that’s all. I LIKED being heavier. I had curves. I had BOOBS.

For the next 15 years, my weight stayed between 130-135 lbs.

In September of 1998, I quit smoking. For good. On the day I quit, I weighed 138 lbs.

When Lisa moved in around October of 2000, I weighed 147½ lbs.

By Easter of 2004, I weighed 67½ lbs. and went on a diet and exercise program, anticipating my daughter’s wedding in late August and determined not to let my ex-husband see how fat I’d gotten. By July, I had lost only 14 lbs. but was able to fit nicely into the dress I’d bought for the wedding. It was the same dress I wore for my OWN wedding in Canada that month. I was working out compulsively, riding my bike 10+ miles per day, spending 20 minutes or more on the strider, working my ass off, and had only 14 lbs. to show for it. Sure, it was just a bit above 1 lb. per week (which they say is the safest rate to lose), but I was really discouraged by how little I’d lost compared to how much I was working out.

But, during that vacation, I let myself get derailed and by the end of 2004, I was back up to 167½. It’s funny, because that seemed to be the mark that didn’t move for my maximum weight. 167½ — never 168 or more.

My weight stayed steady throughout 2005 and the early parts of 2006. However, I stopped having periods after July and, between July and November, gained 13 more pounds. The GYN put me on Madroxyprogesterone for 10 days. The idea is to force a period — and, after those 10 das, I had a period. I’m supposed to take it again if I go three months without a period again — I’m already two months without.

I believe that the menopause is playing a huge role in the RECENT weight gain, but cannot be blamed for all of it. A large part of the weight gain comes from the smoking cessation and, while I’m healthier for not smoking, I have to stop excusing my weight and do something about it.

What’s my plan?

Well, I’m not going to go into some drastic lifestyle change suddenly. It took years for this weight to put on, so I have to accept that it could take a long time (a year or two) for it to leave. That said, I started the new year by cleaning out and bagging up all of the leftover holiday goodies and sending them into work with Lisa. When I went grocery shopping yesterday, I tried to be realistic when it came to the cost of buying GOOD foods. Unfortunately, I don’t think Americans are fat JUST because we’re lazy. A large part of it is that the foods that are good for us are expensive, and it’s cheaper to eat crap that cause us to gain weight.

I stocked up on frozen vegetables, bought some apples, bananas and clementines. I bought wheat bread and spinach pasta. We always buy very lean meat, so that isn’t much of a change. I switched over to 1-a-day weight smart vitamins, so that I can continue to have good vitamins and minerals and not be deprived of anything while I try to lose weight.

I don’t do well with regimented diets. I think that regimentation is a good way to set myself up for failure. That said, I like to try to ease into weight loss programs slowly.

Since the first, I’ve only increased my water intake and exercised better portion control. I’ve lost two pounds doing just that. Imagine what I can do if I actually get up and move my fat ass around!

We’re having such a mild winter so far, I’ve decided to dust off my bike and get out on it. It’s 52 degrees out right now and sunny. We’re expecting rain later on, but heck, I can ride in the rain — or at least it won’t hurt me to ride in the rain. I’ve got a nice warm band to put around my ears (which are VERY sensitive to cold air), a good skip-proof CD player, some excellent CDs I’ve made for riding, so what the heck!

I have three bikes now, and I plan to take one into work and keep it in my office so I can ride the perimeter road around campus during the lunch hour (or just before it, so the traffic isn’t as bad).

I plan to walk to the other side of campus to go to the bathroom. Take circular routes to go check my mail. I already park a long way away from my building — that’s so people won’t ding up my vehicle with their doors.

I can do this — I just need to stay focused.

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