As I continue to lose weight, I am meeting little milestones that keep me motivated. There's the Sunday weigh-in, of course. The scale doesn't lie, and it's satisfying to watch the numbers decrease every week. I'm a chronic list maker and recorder of things, and so I keep track of my weekly progress on a piece of paper that is stuck to my refrigerator door. My belt is another motivator. I've tightened my belt by two notches. In another two or three weeks, I'll need a smaller belt. I have several pants that almost fit. These are pants that I outgrew, but I'll be able to fit into them in a few weeks. I also have pants from when I was much, much lighter. I won't have to shop for pants for a while. I'll just take the pants I already own and wear them in descending order. I can wear all my suit coats again without worrying that I'll pop a button.
Lately I've found that I'm not embarrassed by pictures of myself anymore. I'm gradually beginning to look like the me I want to be. In pictures from the past few years, I look round…tummy, face, everything. Round. To be honest, one of the reasons I grew a goatee was to help hide my double chin. I don't want to look like a collection of spheres anymore. I'd like to have some angles again. (Even after I lose the weight, I'll keep the goatee. I kind of like it.)
My approach to this weight loss adventure has been different from years past. As I explained in Losing It #1, I've lost significant weight three times before, but I've always gained it back. In the past, I've gone into my weight loss phases with guns blazing. Whatever I choose to do, I tend to go all out. I'm not competitive with others, but I'm very demanding of myself. The first time I lost a lot of weight, I started lifting weights, but I couldn't just go work out for the health of it. I had to become a bodybuilder, and I approached each workout as if I were going into battle. After I lost weight for the Air Force, I started running, but I couldn't just run for fun and fitness. I had to start entering races, always trying to run faster and faster. It's no wonder I couldn't stick with the program when I was pushing myself so hard.
Now I'm no longer pressuring myself. This time my philosophy is to take it easy and approach it as a gentle lifestyle change. Several years ago, I was proud to be able to throw heavy weights around or run a fast 10K race. Now I'm taking long walks in the morning, happy to be interrupted when a cat runs out into the road looking for attention. I'm even thinking about taking up yoga to help improve my flexibility and alleviate back pain. While I couldn't push myself forever in the weight room or in road races, I will definitely be able to continue my daily walks even after I've shed my extra pounds. In fact, I'll want to take a daily walk.
That's the key right there, at least for me. Find an exercise you enjoy, and build it into your schedule. Don't think of it as extra or special. Just do it for fun and make it part of your life.
- Tom Godfrey
- Atlanta, GA, United States
- When I suffered a lip injury that ended my career as a classical trombonist, I thought my life as a musician was finished, but I fell in love with music all over again when Santa gave me a guitar for Christmas in 2003. Even as I was struggling with my first chords, I was planning a new performance career. As a trombonist, I performed with the Heritage of America Band at Langley Air Force Base, the Ohio Light Opera, and in pick-up bands for touring acts that included Rosemary Clooney, George Burns, and the Manhattan Transfer. Reborn as a jazz guitarist, I sing and play my own solo arrangements of jazz classics, am half of the Godfrey and Guy duo, and hold the guitar chair in the Sentimental Journey Orchestra. I have been a freelance music copyist since 1995 and have been music director at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation since 2011.