July 8, 2010 

Seriously, it's about time I finally did it. I know I've joked about it numerous times over the years in my articles. But seeing the number 275 pop up on the digital scale at the doctor's office last November was the final blow. (Well, it's not actually that bad. I have officially weighed my shoes, bra and wristwatch. They really do add 3 pounds.)

After shedding 30 pounds or so on my own, I finally broke down a couple of months ago and joined a gym. As if the scale wasn't bad enough, my new trainer – who'll I'll call "Brandon" – did a body fat analysis on me. 46% body fat. Now when people ask me what I am, I say I'm half German, half fat. Think about it. HALF OF ME IS FAT! That's like a slice of bacon. All of these years, I've been nothing more than a slabby piece of breakfast meat. Quite the eye-opener.

I'm proud to say that I've lost over 40 pounds and am now high on endorphins. However, it would be nice if my muscles and joints would be more cooperative. For instance, I've discovered I suffer from tight hamstrings. Odd. When I sat in front of the TV stuffing my face, my hamstrings felt just fine. Ditto the arthritis in my lower back. Before, it was content to mostly leave me alone. Now it seems that I've woken it up and slapped it in the face.

It would also be nice if the weight would come off more evenly. For every pant-size my waist goes down, my legs go down about four. Every time I lose a lot of weight, I spend several months looking like I'm wearing Hammer pants.

Speaking of dropping pant sizes, it's very important to get rid of your "fat" pants once you've lost weight. It makes it too easy to gain the weight back. Never wanting to be wasteful, I decided to donate my pants. To clown school. You should have seen the smiles on their faces. Well, except for a couple of grumpy ones that couldn't seem to stop frowning.

It's nice to get the compliments and positive feedback. The other day, my mother told me my butt was looking rounder. That's one of the kindest things she's ever said to me. It's also one of the creepiest things she's ever said to me. Then again, it beats the most common compliment: "Wow, you've really lost a lot of weight!" While that sounds like a compliment and is certainly intended to be one, don't we all mentally re-translate that in our heads? After a moment of reflection, what we really heard was: "Wow, you're a slightly smaller tub of lard than you used to be."

One thing I used to absolutely refuse to do was keep a food diary. Such a hassle. But I have to say that it is the one thing that helps me with my biggest issue: portion sizes. Using your fist is a good way to quickly figure out a healthy portion size. Before, I pretty much just used the edges of the plate. Twice.

Joining a gym and working with a trainer were also things I felt I didn't need. But once I gave in, I totally got into the whole gear-buying thing. This is where you can get really out of hand if you aren't careful. When it came to the clothes, I was perfectly content with the cheapo $5 shorts and shirts. I might have splurged a little bit on a pretty water bottle. The heart rate monitor watch was well worth the $27. When I got to the towels, I started looking at the really cool ones with animal patterns and funky color schemes. The price tag was pretty steep though. Fortunately, I was jarred back to reality just in the nick of time when I remembered that the main purpose of a gym towel is to wipe butt sweat off of benches. The $2 3-pk of thin dish towels would suffice.

Working out with a trainer for the first time ever is certainly an interesting experience. My trainer's a totally sweet guy, but I'm pretty sure that at least a couple of the things he makes me do have been declared acts of torture by the Geneva Convention. Try making prisoners at Guantanamo Bay do weighted lunges and see how quickly Amnesty International steps in.

When you work with a trainer, you have to shed all dignity as well. They're going to weigh you, measure you and stand really close to you when you're sweating. I think of my trainer the same way I think of my gynecologist: No matter how bad I think I look in a certain position, I know he's seen much worse. For example, at the end of our fourth session, he stretched out my legs; something that requires hugging my thighs. Rather than focusing on how my muscles were reacting, all I could think about was the visible stubble on my knees. (In case you've never seen me in person, I have very pale skin and really dark hair.) But when I remembered that a couple of weeks earlier, this same person wrapped a tape measure around my lower back fat, it didn't seem like such a big deal anymore.

In the end, there's nothing more rewarding – not to mention essential – than losing weight. It's hard work though; especially if you're a woman. Unlike men, we can't lose 50 pounds in one month by simply eating a hamburger without the top bun. And personally, I spend a lot of time wrapped in sports tape. Most nights, I can find at least one body part that could use a dab of heating rub. Hunger pains and workplace junk food often test my resolve. I'm considering writing a new book called "101 Practical Uses for Loose Skin". But for the first time, I feel like a healthy weight is finally within my grasp. One day, I'll be able to put the tape and heating rub toward the back of the shelf. You'll know I've achieved my goal when the name of my articles switches to "Musings From A Bikini Model".

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