My Fatness Testimony

part 2

Maintaining a healthy weight is not the only thing that matters when it comes to physical fitness.  There’s also cardiovascular health, and bone density, and body fat percentage, and muscles, and macronutrients and micronutrients, and individual physiologies and abilities and limitations, and mental baggage!  

And all of these things are interrelated.

But getting to a healthy weight was the idea I started with, so that’s where I’ll start talking.  I’m not saying anything new, and I’m likely saying it less well than others have said it, but maybe my little voice will mean something to someone so…

There’s a formula to weight loss.  Take in less energy than you expend.  We take in energy by eating and we expend energy by being alive.  We can increase energy intake by eating more and we can increase energy output by moving more.  Two dials to adjust to get us where we want to be:  the energy in knob and the energy out knob.  Simple does not mean easy.  I know.  Getting these controls in a comfortable balance can take some practice.

In the U.S. we generally call energy by its unit of measurement: calorie.  It’s also know as a  kilocalorie or kcal.*  There are other units of measure used in other parts of the world (hello, kilojoule), but however you measure it is fine.  So, you can state the weight loss formula as “take in fewer calories than you expend” or calories in < calories out or CI

When I was a teenager and a young woman, I kept my weight mostly steady by occasionally increasing my energy output, my energy expenditure, my calories out, my CO, with exercise.  I also smoked cigarettes to manage stress.

When I got a little older, I had less time and inclination to exercise, I gave up the unhealthy habit of smoking and replaced it with the better bad habit of over-snacking, I moved from the city to the suburbs where driving is more of a necessity, I grew three babies in my body in five years, and then felt somewhat housebound by my responsibilities in raising them.  Oh, and sleep deprivation common to new mothers drastically decreased my non-exercise activity.  The result was that during the course of my marriage I put on about eighty pounds of fat.

Look out for part 2 coming soon.

*A kilocalorie is the amount of heat required to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water one degree Celsius. Please visit USDA’s Nutrient Data Laboratory for additional information.

part 3, part 1


10 thoughts on “My Fatness Testimony

  1. anitvan says:

    I have fatness. 😖

    I lost almost 65 lbs on the cancer/infidelity diet. Not really the best way to lose weight! I’ve managed to keep the weight off for the last 6 or so years…but menopause (i think) seems to be slowing down my metabolism. Put on 5 lbs over the winter – which is normal for me – but if I don’t get moving more it’s gonna stick around. I’m not giving up any more food so I hope moving more will do the trick!

    • Sara McDaren says:

      Yeah, that sounds like a really unpleasant diet. I think a lot of people fluctuate by 5 pounds or so seasonally. Moving more will work if you don’t overcompensate by eating more.

    • Sara McDaren says:

      If you want the cliff notes version of how *I* did it and YMMV, it was counting calories, walking, couch to 5k, zombies run, more walking, strong lifts 5×5, crossfit, more walking. The most fun and hardest and most effective were counting calories and crossfit.

      • anitvan says:

        I’m eating really well these days…instead of counting calories, which just makes me feel like I’m being deprived, I changed my focus to loosely following the recommended daily servings from the food pyramid..I say loosely because mostly I just eat whatever I want…as long as I get in my 7-10 fruit and veggie servings each day. We don’t eat much wheat anymore either, Ken has gotten sensitive to it over the years so it’s easier to just avoid it.

        You can see I take a very lazy approach, which is probably my biggest problem 😏

      • Sara McDaren says:

        Yep, counting is not the only way to cut, though it might be the most accurate way to know for sure if you’re eating an appropriate amount. I am slowly transitioning to a more organic way of tracking but I’m not there yet. I too will one day adopt the lazy approach! but I don’t ever want to be obese again, so I’m hesitant for now to let go of these tight controls. Mentally, it’s less draining for ME than being obese was. KWIM?

  2. learninglife203 says:

    “I gave up the unhealthy habit of smoking and replaced it with the better bad habit of over-snacking…” Heaven’s to Betsy YES! I put down the smokes and suddenly I knew hunger. Man…. I went from 125 lbs to 165 lbs seemingly overnight. It was unreal! I have to say if we quit that nasty habit we can do anything! When I think of all the things that weigh 80 pounds it blows my mind. It really puts the stress on the body from extra weight into perspective.

  3. Julie Scott Garrett says:

    Oh gosh, Sara, so far – minus the smoking – your story is my story. I’m working on it, though 😀 Joined an exercise class (2x week) and walking/hiking trails 3-4 days, to get me MOVING more. Now to work on the eating part… The trick is, exercising more means I’m hungry more, so the issue to work on has to be WHAT I eat vs how MUCH I eat.

    But YAY YOU!!!! You’ve come so far!!!

    I bet your family is really proud of you 😀


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