Goths at the Gym for VICE magazine. Photo: Matias Uris

Let me get this off my chest right at the beginning.  I have 0% will power.  If I want to have popcorn for dinner, I can’t fob myself off with a more nutritious option and tell myself to wait it out and eat a bowl of popcorn during the weekend.  That won’t work for me.  Chances are I will eat the salad and the small portion of whatever healthful protein du jour AND I will just end up eating the popcorn later that night anyhow.  I have learned it is just easier to give in to my baser cravings and get it out of my system.

Also: I am slow.  I am maybe one of the slowest moving people in the world. Slow to reach a decision, slow to act on that decision, interminably slow to carry out that decision.  I remember as a child, my mother on more than one occasion, shouting at me to hurry up and “get in the car/get to the dinner table/ get out of bed, Sarah GOD SARAH YOU’RE SLOWER THAN MOLASSES”. It’s true.  And I have not gotten any faster 30 years later.

I can also tell you that rewarding myself for goals met is not something that works for me. That bottle of perfume? I want it now.  It won’t wait til I’ve lost 5 or 10 pounds.  Chances are I have already ordered it and it is setting on my shelf and I am wearing even while I am typing this out.  I’ve probably already ordered another bottle of something else.

Excuses and personality defects aside, with regard to my weight loss for weirdos  progress, I will report that I have lost 12 pounds.  Now, you might be thinking “huh…12 pounds in 5 months doesn’t really sound like fantastic progress” and you’d probably be right. But to be perfectly honest, I am not really going at this in a hardcore type of fashion and I’ve got no deadline and I’ve no desire to buy new, smaller clothing every month, so why not take it slow?I am not about to give up my Monday night popcorn-for-dinner and my glasses of wine during the week.   I’m not in it to torture myself, I mean really.

But as to the changes I am making and the aspects of deblobbening that I am getting right:

  • I purchased a fitbit.  Yeah, they are gimmicky. No they are not absolutely necessary.  But I hate to exercise, and ANYTHING that gets me to move around a little bit more is worth it to me. I work a desk job from home, so in addition to all the activity I am not getting from a more physical job, it’s not like I even have to walk to and fro in a building to interact with co-workers or walk to my car to drive to lunch or anything like that.  I am in my chair in front of a computer in more or less the same position for 10+ hours.  The fitbit would have you believe that your daily goal is 10K steps a day and I was rather horrified to find out that with no modifications to my daily schedule, I was lucky if I hit 2K.  Now – armed with the fear of a wee gadget sticking its tongue out at me – I find myself infinitely more motivated to find small, strange ways to exercise during the day.  My work day has basically turned into a 10 hour long extended peepee dance. But I am surpassing the 10K step goal and I figure hey – whatever kind of movement it is, no matter how ridiculous it looks, it’s got to be better than none at all, right?
  • Walking (or any sort of exercise, I suppose)with a friend.  I have made a commitment to meet a friend twice a week for walking and catching up.  On Wednesday evenings we meet at the local library and walk around the pond, about 2 miles or so.  On Saturday mornings we meet for a 6AM beach walk which amounts to about 4.5 miles.  Sometimes we do a healthy meal after, sometimes not, but the food isn’t really the point – it’s that we are getting out of the house, we are getting some exercise, and having a friendly human encounter.  I suspect that last part might be especially important for me, since other than my live-in paramour, this might be the only person I see all week long.
  • Finding some exceptional exercise music.  I’ll admit, so far it’s just one album, but it works perfectly for me.  Daft Punk Alive 2007. In the meantime, you have got to fill me in on what you are listening to now whilst running or walking or crossfitting or milking cows or hoisting cadavers into the crematory or whatever you do.  I need variety.
  • Having some meals planned.  I am lucky enough to live with someone who will, for the most part, eat – and like – any homecooked meal that I put in front of him… so when cooking for myself, I automatically know that the other person I am living with will eat it as well, with no complaint. This makes meal planning for me so much easier than other folks might have it. Some recipes I have found myself preparing quite often and for which I can personally vouch for their tastiness: black bean soup, chana masala, tofu stir fry with peanut sauce and “zoodles” & sauce. For breakfasts it’s been steel cut oats with a dollop of skyr and fruit or toast and peanut butter if I am feeling lazy.  Lunches have been tuna salad or avocado-egg salad or canned soups, and a quick cucumber tomato salad. Simple stuff. It is during the weekends that I encounter trouble, as we are usually visiting friends or family and that usually means dinners out and cocktails and I don’t always make the smartest choices.  Especially after the cocktails.

I am not one for before and after pictures and anyhow, I really don’t look any different.  So you’re not going to see that sort of thing here.  I have, however, managed to wriggle my rump into my first ever pair of skinny jeans.  Oh, how I railed against skinny jeans! For years I wouldn’t even acknowledge their existence. They were the devil’s denim, I thought, and would never darken the door of my wardrobe.  I’m afraid I was wrong.  And I am wearing them today. And they are amazing.  You can only see my face in this picture, but I promise you, I am wearing them.



Also, amongst other things that wouldn’t serve as a proper weight loss reward because instant gratification is not soon enough for me, I am wearing this oversized cross tee shirt from Aakasha (recommendation courtesy Tenebrous Kate!) and it is pretty great.  One of my current favorite pieces.



I hope to report back in the next four months with similar results, but in the meantime, I would love to hear what’s been working for you, health and fitness-wise? Where do you run into problems? How do you reward yourself? And etcetera.  I am nosy and want to know all of your secrets!

BONUS: The ultimate after death workout experience!
Zombies, keep your bodies fit! Never stop training!

SUPER EXTRA BONUS: A lovely lady friend recommended the 7 minute workout to me, stating that it is quite remarkable, it has incredible effects and it is perfect for weirdos!
Weirdos? That’s US!  Let’s do it!

“In 12 exercises deploying only body weight, a chair and a wall, it fulfills the latest mandates for high-intensity effort, which essentially combines a long run and a visit to the weight room into about seven minutes of steady discomfort — all of it based on science.”

P.S. She also said it is quite unpleasant, but let’s do it anyway!

OTB says

This is inspirational! I have been trying to de-blob myself with no real luck, although I have recently committed to taking a 3 mile walk at least 3 times a week, more if possible. Hopefully that will help me resist things like, spending 80 dollars at the historic candy store; buying all the kettle corn and apple cider; eating all the ice cream.

S. Elizabeth says

Walking really is best. I wish I could say that I was walking with real intent (that's what they say you are supposed to be doing, imbuing your activities with a proper sense of intent) but you know what? Daydreaming is what walking is for! I think that's why it is the perfect exercise for me.
... I am mainly daydreaming about all the things I would like to buy though, heh.

Maika says

Well done! I think the pace of one's progress is far less significant than the fact that you are indeed making progress. I've also found that fitting into a new article of clothing is much more tangible and satisfying proof than a smaller number on the scale.

I work from home as well, so I'm always looking for ways to work more movement into my daily routine. Another friend of mine has a set of adjustable pedals under her desk in her office, so she can pedal while she works. In addition to taking walks, I alternate between using a stationery bicycle and working out with free weights and an exercise ball in my basement. I don't listen to music when I exercise because I found that a great motivator to get me down there on a regular basis is having shows that I only watch while I'm working out. I set up a simple computer and a little flat screen monitor and damn, watching Breaking Bad from start to finish had me down there every single day. So the key for me with regard to exercise has been finding a continuous stream of compelling tv shows to watch.

S. Elizabeth says

OH MY GOD! Working out to Breaking Bad! As if your adrenaline wasn't already pumping to the max - that is a very stressful show!
I am sort of doing the same thing...I am currently working out to ... ::whispers furtively:: ...Gossip Girl. Heh.

Anton says

I support whatever works for you. Congrats on doing stuff!

I am listening to Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack, as well as everything from The Glitch Mob. I find running to that makes me feel like I'm in a film and I can lose myself in it.

For me I have to write everything down. I have to be able to see the evidence on a spreadsheet even if I can't make myself recognize it in the mirror, or in the fact that I had to buy a belt last month to keep my favorite jeans up on the dance floor. But I can look at my sheet and see I've gone from taking 22 minutes to do one mile to being able to run one in a crazy burst of 9 minutes and 40 seconds.

For me, the entire motivation of my workout regime is "what will keep me safe when the zombies come? How far can I run before I have to stop? Can I swing a bat hard and repeatedly? How much weight can I lift?"

S. Elizabeth says

Yeah, I never really knew I was a Daft Punk fan, but it is so crazy good for exercise. Will definitely have to look into Glitch Mob - thanks!
And I am TERRIBLE about writing things down, it's like every bone in my body resists it, for some reason. What a weird thing to admit! But it's true.
Perhaps you are right though...mere survival is excellent motivation. Maybe I should be thinking less "fit into new jeans!" and more "ARRRGH DON'T SLOW DOWN YOU'RE GONNA DIIIIIIE!!"

Anton says

There's apparently some running app that helps you run intervals and stuff with a whole zombie story to it. I've never tried it but I'm very curious. It makes it into a sort of game.

I have to play a lot of head games with myself to maintain the motivation.

minnaming says

Congratulations on your continued deblobbification! I'm currently doing the StrongLifts 5x5 program and occasionally biking to/from work. My workout music includes podcasts from America's Test Kitchen, a Way with Words, and Welcome to Night Vale. I enjoy the frission of working on a deep squat while learning about competitive eating.

S. Elizabeth says

You know, for whatever reason I have never gotten into podcasts, I don't know why. I think these would be perfect to listen to while exercising.
Well, maybe that's not true...Thrilling Adventure Hour is a podcast, right? Have you heard it? If not, I think you might dig it.

lisa botany says

Twelve lbs is great progress! I think the trick is really to find whatever it is that works for you, rather than trying to fit into other people's ideas about how to get in shape.

I've been doing pretty well since I started getting more serious about health stuff back in June. My main change has been increased activity. I've been trying to walk 3.5 - 4 miles/day at least five times a week, and have even started incorporating some jogging into it, when my sad old knees and hips will allow it. I've been thinking about starting some good old-fashioned body weight exercises along the lines of the 7-min. workout, but...exercise is just so very unpleasant. Walking is really the only thing that I can handle because at least it's a natural, normal activity that's pleasant to do. Abdominal crunches and push-ups? Not so much. Maybe I'll get there someday... I've also been tracking my calories on My Fitness Pal, which I don't think is really doable for me in the long-term, but for now it's helpful. Some people get really wrapped up in quantifying every single bite of anything that passes their lips, but that's way too obsessive for me. I don't ever want to have that kind of relationship with food. Sometimes, you just need to eat the cupcake and not fret over it.

Being able to finally fit back into some of my old clothes has been a very motivating factor for me. I've been looking into Fitbit types of things too, but I really want something that will also monitor my heart rate, which I don't think Fitbit can do.

S. Elizabeth says

Yes! I know what you mean re: fitting back into old clothes as motivation. I have several "vintage" items that I bought from etsy sellers that I can't wear anymore and being able to don my weird, psychedelic paisley dresses again is a huge impetus for me to make progress here :)

And good for you with the jogging! I want to job/run...but I don't want people to see me doing it. So that is sort of a problem.

lau says

so proud of you, lady!

and really -- i think the longer it takes to lose weight the more likely it is to stay off, which is something i've always been so scared about in regards to my loss. the quicker to come off, the quicker to put back on, it seems. but i'm determined.

i was doing the 7 minute work outs and GOTDANG its harder than you would think. there are some great free apps that help keep track / time things, the one from johnsons and johnsons worked fine for me.

as far as workout music goes, i'm loving austra, future islands, andy stott and the like. hercules and love affair! party!

i've been bad about wearing my fit bit but am determined to start again, even if i don't think its going to be a particularly active day for me. its all about consistency and holding myself accountable and its so. hard.


lau says

also you look great! so purdy. i too joined the cult of the skinny jeans. where did you get yours? i need a new pair!

S. Elizabeth says

I actually got my skinny jean recs from you! The current pair are from Target...maybe once I hit my goal (whatever that might be, I haven't decided yet) I'll splurge on something fancier, but for now all my denim comes from le tarzhay.

Add Comment

Your comment will be revised by the site if needed.

Discover more from Unquiet Things

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading