It’s holiday season, which is always a stressful time and made more stressful for people who are trying to lose weight. With Thanksgiving past, I am seeing the annual parade of posts about “hitting the gym” and “getting back on the horse.”
This is hard for me. I am overweight. Technically, I am “obese” although I don’t feel obese.
I’m not unhappy (per say) with my size. I would like to lose some weight, but at the same time, I am pretty happy with general shape, etc. Part of my “want to lose weight” is health. There are some numbers which are less than ideal and I would like to get them idealized again.
What makes this hardest is I know what it takes to get/keep my ideal weight. I’ve been there. When I graduated from college, I weighed 142lbs. This is right about “perfect” (according to the drs) for my height. I didn’t diet to get there, but I had managed to have a lifestyle that allowed me to exercise a lot. And by “managed” I mean “forcefully included” exercise.
You see, my senior year of college I spent a semester in Japan. When I got home, I weighed the “perfect” weight. And I won’t lie – I did enjoy that size/ weight. I felt like I could wear anything, do anything, be anything.
But it was at least partly due to my commute to/from school. It was 2 miles to and from school – 4 miles a day that I had to walk or bike. That’s above and beyond any walking AT school or if I wanted to go anywhere else. I didn’t mind the commute. It worked and I could do it.
Here’s the problem. Even when I lived 2 miles from the train station in Atlanta – those weren’t 2 miles I could safely walk. And it wasn’t pedestrians that terrified me. It was drivers. At least 1/3 of the walk to the train station didn’t have sidewalks and that made it unsafe. Beyond unsafe. No sidewalks in Japan? No big deal, cars went slow through there because there was so much foot traffic. Here in Atlanta? Pshaw- good luck sucker!
I have struggled ever since to find as much exercise to fit into my schedule. In some ways it’s worse being overweight now because I do know what it looks and feels like to be the “right” weight – I just can’t figure out how to get there. I have a ~30-40 minute commute (~12 miles) to work right now. That isn’t horrible – it’s pretty much the same time I used to spend walking/biking to/from school in Japan. So I know I can easily do 30 minutes of exercise twice a day. But on top of my already 30-40 minutes of commute? That means I really have to budget an hour “each way.” And Americans don’t have the same acceptance of “shit, it’s 95 degrees outside, of course you’re sweaty” that Japanese culture had.
As I listen to the complaints, I don’t have answers to my friends who are frustrated with their weight. When I look back at the pictures of my time in Japan, sometimes I am frustrated – how do I make that lifestyle more accessible? How do I add that into my routine in the states?