I Want To Wear My Shirts Tucked In Again

Loch Lomond, Scotland - Summer 2004

Okay, so I know that tucked in shirts are not exactly what folks are wearing these days, but I would really like to be able to flaunt my unfashionable side in public. Why, you may ask … because it would mean I had reclaimed my waistline. As we’ve moved into a new year most of us are working on something. Along with half a dozen other clear goals, I want to work on my fitness level and drop that new middle before my hips and bustline merge completely together.

I think I have made peace somewhere with the woman who said mean things to herself only a few months ago and frankly I’m not sure how or when it happened. While I weigh more now than I have in years, I am much more gentle with myself in terms of name calling and I think I can let go of what I should look like and get on with what I do look like.

There is a level of acceptance that makes it possible to see the larger picture which really IS about health and fitness. Maybe turning fifty had something to do with this shift … I’m not sure. What I do know is that my chief concern now in losing weight and getting rid of my middle ground has more to do with the health benefits such as decreased risk of diabetes and heart disease than it does casting a thinner shadow.

Plus, I secretly want to be able to be strong enough to do pull ups from a dead hang like I was doing in the photo below.

Or strong enough to climb stairs from the underside like I did in late 2005 when I needed to paint a wall and didn’t have a ladder tall enough to reach. My friend Patrice took this with her cell phone while I was  hanging and painting about 20 feet from the floor below. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the smartest way to do it, but I got the wall painted and had a little workout that day.

The photo below is one of the most recent. John took this on Christmas day with his camera and I can tell you now the bulge stretching the fabric around the sleeve is sadly not muscle.

The picture of us together in the snow was taken by my daughter Miranda and might give you a better idea of what I’m talking about regarding my midsection. I know you can’t actually see my waistline here, but I am definitely not looking fit.

When I was 29, I lost 42 pounds. I called it my post pregnancy weight, but by then Miranda was almost three. I used several resources to make that happen and followed a healthy diet and exercise plan. It took me about five months and it stayed off because I made the changes to keep it off. Twenty years later it’s time to revamp the program and while I don’t have so much to lose this time, I am looking for a little support and a program to follow.

I found SparkPeople online and after giving it a review, I think it might help me address both the fitness and weight loss aspects along with developing some new habits with my nutrition choices. While they have loads of great online support pages, you may be interested in browsing though the SparkPeople blogs of real people working on their own goals. I forgot to mention that it’s FREE!

I doubt I will take time to blog about the process on the SparkPeople site … I’ve got too many other things on my plate (no pun intended) but I have a catchy name over there if I do decide to share. I call myself  NONFATEXPAT.

If you have any experience with SparkPeople, I would be interested to hear your stories.

7 thoughts on “I Want To Wear My Shirts Tucked In Again

  1. I had the same issue. I cut out all “white food.” Cookies, crackers, bread, chips, high-sugar foods, pasta — all of it and it made a huge difference. Now I eat mostly protein and veggies. I allow myself one ounce of dark chocolate “at least 70% cocoa) after dinner. I drops a whole size. Now, if I want a treat — fries or such — I can go ahead and have it once in a while. It really wasn’t a big deal at all. When I look at food now, I think nutrition and not taste treat.

    Good luck!

  2. I joined Spark people in September. I do recommend it but it is a very involved site and is hard to do unless you do it 100%

    I lost 12kgs in 2010 which is about 26 pounds. I know that many people who use the website are in need of losing much larger amounts but on my small frame it felt like a huge amount.

    I did the exercise tracking which really motivated me not to skip a day. I downloaded a free phone application that allowed me to enter my exercise and food tracking from my mobile instead of the main computer at home.

    The most time consuming but beneficial part of the site was the food tracker. Every mouthful I ate had to be accounted for and typed in. Sometimes with a new food item it took longer to find the food item in the nutritional database than it did to eat. This stopped me from eating little things here and there. My food favourites list built up with a lot of time and commitment but now that my favourite meals are saved it is potentially much quicker to type in my days intake.

    Not being based in America means that many of the brands that they have stored data on are not the foods you can buy in your local shop. I had to type in the nutritional data on many many food items in my cupboard in the first few weeks.

    I particularly liked that it kept track of the carb, protein, fat content of my food. If I had some unused calories towards the evening I knew whether I could have a carb based snack or fruit etc. I was blown away by the differences between certain meals I thought were similar in “healthyness” but when input into the Spark people system showed up huge differences in fat etc.

    I feel that I have only used a fraction of the resources the site offers. The danger is that I could spend all day on Spark people reading articles and recipes or interacting with other users. While I was committed to losing my weight I found that there are only so many hours in a day and the time spent exercising and using the Spark people website had to be balanced by less time spent blogging and especially reading or commenting on favourite blogs.

    It was worth it and I have reached my goal weight now and feel so much better about everything. My health, my shape etc. Now I can try to balance a new lifestyle with a return to blogging and still some exercise but with a balance between the two.

    If there is anything else I can answer for you my email is ginabaynham@gmail.com I would be very happy to connect on the actual website if you like and I could offer you support through it as a Spark friend while keeping your blog for your “normal” life!

  3. Are you still running? I haven’t seen any posts/pictures recently where you talk about it. I’m trying to get back at it after taking 6 months off.

  4. I won’t be doing the SparkPeople I don’t think due to the hours I haven’t got but could sure do with a healthier diet and exercise regime. Count me in on your buddy scheme if you’ve got one. Even just walking up and down the flight of stairs at home 10 times of an evening is a start for me. I am *so* uncomfortable at the moment, physically, it’s unreal, and felt so much better at 25 lbs lighter, that I’m hanging onto that memory to help pull me through to success.

    I wish you luck with your goals. I have never ever been able to do a chin up in my entire life, hats off to you. I could however beat even the guys at squat weights when doing rowing circuits at college, although my knees have since given in. Half of all this and success at, it is in the determination to do it, I think. Don’t get dissuaded, and use any means that works to help you stay on track.

  5. I like that you’re approaching this as ‘fitness’ more than weight-loss or body-sculpting. I’m sure – with one..will come the other. But more important – is that you feel good. Funny how turning 50 can change our perspective..and priorities!!!

  6. hi elizabeth,
    we have met in person many times and we have both been very quizicall !!!!!!!
    im one of the four ratbags that take part in the quiz on wednesdays, im the one who when we were talking about the lovely day you had for your anniversary, we started to talk about how long we had all been married and mine was 32 years so hope fully you know which one i am .
    Anyway we have obviously found your blog ,love your pictures and the stories that go with them .
    I love taking pictures not as good as yourself but i have a go .
    I was interested in the blog about sparkpeople, i need to loose weight and i need inspiration i wanted to give running a go to but im unsure how to get started so ill take a look at this site and see if it will get me going .
    I was also looking on the internet to see if there was a local running group in my village but no luck i always think you need another person to get you going im also not sure about how safe you are running down lanes on your own sometimes but i will give this site a go .
    probably see you on wednesday , karen

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