Monday, December 23, 2013

The Grapefruit Lesson

This is going to be another post about weight loss.  Part of me does not want to be another triathlon blog about weight loss, because I do this crazy sport for so many more reasons than to burn calories.  But this is where I am at right now.  As I've mentioned in many a post before, I've been gaining weight.  I am currently about 10 lbs over my old normal, and 20 lbs over my marathon PR race weight.  My goal is to lose 15 lbs. I've successfully lost weight in the past and have enough knowledge on healthy eating and enough exercise that it shouldn't be a problem.  So why have I been bitching about this for the past year and not done anything but make it worse?

It comes down to wanting an instant result, and I'm not getting it.  On Biggest Loser, they lose 10+ lbs on the first week.  And they aren't triathletes, so why not me?  Ok, I know that is ridiculous and I know there are a zillion reasons why that doesn't work in real life, or at least for people with only 15 lbs to lose.  My logical goal is to lose a pound a week.  That is all I am shooting for.  And yet, if that happens, I feel disappointed.  A pound is so measely, barely beyond my scales fluctuations.  The thought that I have to be disciplined all the time to get a little tiny one pound change gives me the excuse of "well, just this one time, it will only cost you a pound."

I had an epiphany grocery shopping the other day when I picked up a 3 lb bag of grapefruit.  No, this isn't about the health benefits of grapefruit, though they sure are awesome, but rather what I realized when I had 3 lbs in my hand.  You see, I don't have a car and have to carry whatever I buy the 2 blocks home, and then up the 3 flights of stairs.  When I picked up the 3 lb bag, I was dreading it.  Huh, 3 lbs is kind of heavy, isn't it?  If I can just lose 3 lbs, think of how much easier it will be to run.  It will be like I lost this sack of citrus.  And on the flip side, if I pack on 3 more extra pounds, that will be like running carrying this bag of grapefruits.  I don't want to run with grapefruits!

Somehow, this more concrete example stuck.  We've all heard the gains you get in speed for every 5 lbs lost and whatnot, but this was a clear "wow, I don't want to run carrying that" experience.  To make the point even more drastic, I pick up my dog, who ways 20 lbs.  That is what I've gained. It's like the old skinny me is running carrying this dog.  No good.

So it will be a slow process.  I am sure I won't be perfect along the way, but my goal is that in 3 weeks, I will be down a bag of grapefruits.  In a few more, take off a sack of onions.  It comes down to the fact that those 3 lbs seem much more significant now, a baby step that actually will make a difference.  I'm thinking this is the real reason grapefruits are referred to as a health food.   

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