I lost five pounds in Vietnam. And no it wasn't because the food was terrible. The food was actually really good, for the most part (except that one pho place that Hoang took us to? The one I totally blame the really disgusting MOUTH ULCERS on? Not so much.)
I lost five pounds because it was hot and I walked for hours and drank exceptionally large amounts of water every day. Because you are cautioned against drinking any water out of the tap at all whatsoever by every alarmist travel book and Website in the world lest you come home with your intestines sticking out of your belly button, bottled water is the deal, fragile coastal ecosystem be damned. (Stupid environment! Blah! Buzzkill! Shut up!) The hotels are very nice and put the big bottles of water in the fridge in your room. And the big bottles at the local stores and in the market stalls, which are literally piled on top of each other so you could buy water every second of the day if you wanted to, are like 75 cents. (Oh how I miss having thousands of dong - that's money - in my pocket. I felt so rich.) I also lost weight I guess because I didn't really have time to eat a lot because we were doing things like crawling around in ditches by the side of the road to get photos and walking through fields and carrying backpacks full of cameras through factories. The smartest thing I did in a rare moment of planning and PERSPICACITY (that's my word of the week. Welcome to my planet.) was to pack a whole bag of Fruit Roll-Ups, which are so very tasty and lovely and became my favorite thing all of a sudden, and Luna Bars. The lemon and the peanut butter ones are awesome. And sometimes when I got overwhelmed by food I didn't understand in areas I was pretty sure would lead to the intestine issue I referenced above, I had something in my backpack that while not exactly scrumptious would keep my blood sugar level and therefore keep the hunger insanity at bay until the next solid meal. Ta-da - this is smart to do at home too. Keeping my sugar level will not only hopefully stave off the diabetes that I've probably been causing with the crap I've been putting in my body for far too long, but it also keeps me from eating far too much at one meal, which seems to be helping. I don't know - too soon to tell, really.
Plus Hanoi is a very walkable city. There's a ton to see and do so walking for miles every day seemed like a really sensible thing to do. I had this pervasive sense of "I might never be here again! I'm in Vietnam using a lot of exclamation points! I want to see what's on that street even if it's just like what's on this street!" And yet it somehow never was. I was totally drunk on seeing things I'd never seen before and I'd just keep going another block to keep that going.
I've been home now for a month and although I swore I wouldn't compound the stress of the last month of school with a fixation on weight because I want to hold on to the last shred of my sanity, I've managed to keep that off plus another pound. Yay stress and procrastination diet!
The other night I actually signed up for the Jillian Michaels program. I know. I'm so ashamed. But I wanted some structure and if I go anywhere near Weight Watchers again one more time in my life I'll quite simply weep. The Biggest Loser is an insane show that I was nonetheless addicted to, and at this point I just know I need to get this particular situation under control and I'll take whatever ripped, gorgeous personal trainer mascot I can get. Even just six pounds down I kind of have a waist again and I sort of want to take myself out on a date a little more. With (coughcough) more to go, I need a little bit of help. I have some big events coming up this summer and I'd prefer to be not only in primo shape for endurance purposes but also to LOVE THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE that I know will exist.
(And yes I did just type that sentence and no I am not erasing it because it's so embarrassing and grammatically incorrect that I think it should be left there to shine like it does for eternity.)
Now, I know all about self-acceptance and how you're supposed to love yourself regardless and you are not your weight and all that jazz. I've lived in this body for a long time now as a person who hasn't been thin, so I think I'm pretty much an authority on how it feels and how I feel about IT. And whereas I do think that there is a level of self-acceptance that's necessary at any size to keep anyone functioning and walking out the door in the morning, I also think there's nothing wrong with having goals that relate to your physical appearance and your health. I know I could put less pressure on my knees, especially looking at the SERIOUS troubles my overweight grandmother had that could have been alleviated some if she'd been able to lose some. I think of myself in 1999 - a long time ago to be sure and I know I'll never physically BE 28 again, I get it - and I know how strong I felt when I not only lost the extra 30 pounds I carry when I'm not being careful, but I actually had arm definition and NO MORE EXTRA CHINS. My eyes weren't squinchy. I smiled more and I was more confident. I don't see any harm in trying for that again, and I finally feel like I"m mentally and situationally ready to do it, which hasn't been the case for almost ten years.
So this is the first rah-rah message I get from Jillian, who I'm sure typed it herself:
"I told you it was simple math! You're on your way to 0 lbs."
One of us needs to adjust her expectations. I'll keep you posted.