Two Rounds Down, More Pounds Down

This past weekend saw the conclusion of my second round of participation in Reddit’s fitness community 90DaysGoal.

It’s very heartening to have a community to report to, that will give you positive feedback and helpful hints. For someone as solitary and independent as I am away from the keyboard, a community of cheerful internet strangers with similar goals is perfect. That means I won’t be pestering real-life friends who may not have the time, energy, or motivation to get moving or eat the same way I do.

And it also means that I have a fairly reliable supply of support from people who are motivated enough to post. I haven’t made close friends there, but at the same time, it’s great going along with these friendly strangers on the fitness, weigh loss, weight gain, and general health improvement journey that they share in their comments on the daily posts.

Round One: Physical Rehabilitation
My targets for the first round, which took place in the last quarter of 2011, were weight loss and physical rehabilitation for my shoulder, which meant lots of exercise and diet tracking. The diet tracking waxed and waned, but I was steady about my exercise until the new year. I stopped my physical therapy several weeks before visiting my doctor in February, as I considered my shoulder mended. My weight loss did not go very quickly. During that time, I checked in almost daily to the posts on 90 Days Goal, partly to keep myself motivated by making myself publicly accountable for the day’s activities.

Round Two: Carrots and Grilled Chicken
The second round, which encompassed the first months of 2012, became much less about exercise and more about weigh loss and eating a paleo-like, lower carb diet as per my doctor’s instructions. Following my doctor’s advice on food has turned out quite well, as I’m seeing more progress on it than I have seen on any of my attempts to change my diet. I checked in much less frequently, but I still checked in from time to time.

It seemed more important to post and comment when I was either having problems or enjoying success. When my shoulder was always sore, when I had just completed a physical therapy session while listening to Greg Giraldo in the spare room, when I hit a weight goal, when I mocked up my calendar… these were things I wanted to share with others.

When my weight wouldn’t budge, when I wasn’t feeling motivated to exercise, when I’d had a mediocre eating week…I did not want to report.

Round Three: Feed the Body, Move the Body
I’m preparing for my third round with 90DaysGoal. I’m still reading and posting in the community, though less frequently. I joined SlimKicker (another fitness/food tracking site that turns weight loss and exercise into a sort of social networking and slow-moving RPG hybrid). I’ve also been exercising some nights, though a major patch was just released for my favorite MMO, and that will be ruling all my free time.

I’m continuing with my eating habits, and that’s the main focus of my efforts at the moment, though once you’ve got the basics in place (planning meals, eliminating temptations, finding things you really like to eat), it’s really easy to maintain this style of eating. I hope that makes it easier for me to get back into exercise, since my eating will be under control. My calorie intake might have to go up, though. Looking at my daily totals these days, I’m really surprised at how little I’m eating. My past self would be very grumbly if someone told her she’d have to get by on about 1,200 calories per day by choice.

Currently, my weight is 175 and falling. I am amazed. And it’s getting less funny that my clothes don’t fit as well. I paw through my clothes in the morning looking for a shirt that won’t gape at the V-neck and show everyone what color bra I’m wearing that day. Belts are a must for most of my pants. I tried on size 12 jeans over the weekend, and they fit fine. I can’t even remember the last time I wore a U.S. size 12 – probably in my teen years. If I ever have disposable income again, it’s going toward new pants, for a start.

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