07 December 2009

slow and steady wins the race.

In conversations about the health benefits of moving to Philadelphia and bike commuting, I typically use the "fat summer" of 2008 as a point of reference.  I had moved to Utah, lost ten pounds from the stress, bought a bike, gained all the weight back, and then set upon a rather solitary, sedentary summer that included a lot of air-conditioned hours spent watching movies while consuming a steady intake of drinks, Pringles, Cheeze-Nips, Oreos, and the like.  It was a lonely time that was met with poor food choices. We've all been there.  There are basically no pictures of me from that time because I took special care to delete them along the way.  I had no energy, wore loose sundresses because my pants didn't fit, and was pretty squishy.  I didn't have a waist.  We don't have to talk exact numbers here, other than that I had a BMI of ~27- right in the middle of the overweight category.

Fast forward fifteen months.  There were some slow and steady changes made over time.  I started with not buying junk and drinking less.  I lost about 12 pounds doing that.  I moved to a city with a Trader Joe's where I do most of my shopping, making sure to toss a bag of spinach in with my groceries and skipping out on the treats (I bought sweets at TJ's for the first time in Philly this week... seriously).  The last 8 pounds came off as I embarked on a car-free lifestyle.*  This was unintentional.**  I should round out Fall Semester with 500 miles under my belt.  

I've mentioned the changes in posts along the way, but today was a big milestone.  I've lost 20 pounds since the "fat summer." My BMI is 23- right in the midst of the normal weight range.  I am decidedly less doughy. I've lost about four inches off my waist and now have an extensive collection of pants that are much too large.  Double chins in photographs are seldom a problem.  I weigh less than I did my senior year of high school in 2002 and any time since.

I'm not trying to brag-- but I really, truly believe in the power of lifestyle change.  There are lots of reasons to consider getting on a bike, and weight loss is a legitimate one.  Most days I ride between 2 and 6 miles, with the occasional 10 or 12 mile day.  So there you have it-- you don't have to run a marathon to see results!

*My comments about nutrition should be qualified to note, in earnest, that I consume lager and fried bar food with greater frequency nowadays.  That's slowed my weight loss but nonetheless, since selling my car, I have steadily lost weight without any gaining back. Eating everything I can- including glorious full fat dairy- has not stemmed the tide of weight loss.  So there's some logic there.

**No, really. My poor roommate can attest to the endless whining about being hungry all the time and how none of my clothes fit- and I couldn't even buy Gap Jeans any more because even the smaller sizes are cut too wide (I recommend J. Crew for bike-altered bodies) .  It was a very rough time for him. 


Flora said...

Congratulations Mel!!!! So proud of you! Its true about the not having to run a marathon. I calculated how much I walk and figured out that I walk at the very least 15 miles a week. The perks of not having a car.

Blaine Nickeson said...

great pics Mel. You're the lady equivalent of a stud!

MOM said...

You look great, can't wait to see you on friday!

JohnR said...

Congrats! I just came over here to ask you how much you rode per week, and here's a post with deets! You look great here, but you've always looked great. :)

I ride 12+ miles per day, and often exercise beyond that, and still seem to be able to gain weight. (and that's with watching the diet) It's been a little discouraging, but you've inspired me. thanks!