I’m assembling a Haiti wardrobe of ill-fitting garments.
This isn’t exactly a new problem. When packing two years ago, I basically dumped a drawer of old clothes into my suitcase and didn’t think about it again until I arrived in Haiti and discovered, to my horror, that I couldn’t get most of my clothes over my hips.
The Minister and I took turns wearing a pair of basketball shorts he stole from a workout buddy, sending them out each morning for the Haitians to wash with rocks in the riverbed. We called them the “travelling shorts” because they fit us both equally, undoubtedly due to the elastic waist band rather than the apparent magic that imbued the trousers of The Sisterhood fame.
However, two notable differences exist in my current wardrobe situation, the first being that I won’t be caught unawares by the issue, and, of far greater importance, the clothes I’m bringing this time all too big rather than too small.
Last night I posted the image below on facebook with this caption: Top pics: March 4, 2014. Bottom pics, same clothes minus 22 lbs., today, July 8, 2014.
It got a lot of likes, but also sparked questions concerning how, exactly, I lost the weight. Back in March, I shared my initial success and confidence in my path, and, now that I reached my goal, I want to elaborate a bit more on the details of what happened.
Like I mentioned in my prior post, I used a calorie counting app called My Fitness Pal. Use of the app was absolutely the single most important factor in my success. In the beginning, I liked to view the challenge of staying within my calorie limit as a game. What I mean by this is that I had to get creative when it came to finding ways to stay full, stay nourished, AND earn the foods I really wanted. Because let me be clear at the outset: I did not give up a thing. I ate chocolate, bread, and pizza-kind of a lot of pizza, actually. I ate The Baker’s frangipane tarts, chocolate chip cookies, and even pies. I went out to dinner. I drank wine. For me, there wasn’t another way, because whatever I did had to be sustainable, and, really, who can permanently swear off chocolate and pizza?
Every day I chose a “big ticket” item I wanted (see above) and then the objective was to do whatever it took to have the numerical amount left on my app to allow it. Tracking on my phone really DID make it seem like a game, especially as the app has a feature where you can scan barcodes on food to log it in automatically and then the numbers adjust accordingly. Like every good game, this one, also, has a big twist: exercise. When you exercise, you simply log in what you did, and—viola!—you get credit for what you burned, and your numbers go up again! Fun!
I exercised faithfully—still do—during the whole process, but it is crucial to understand that I had been doing the same program prior WITH NO RESULTS. In fact, I continued to gain weight. The fact was puzzling and frustrating to me until I realized the truth that weight loss really, truly IS, as my friend Joe said, a numbers game, and I was trying to work off ten times the calories than the amount I was burning. Turns out math really is good for something!
So now I’m packing a bag full of all my floppy garments and I’m leaving them in Haiti. I don’t need those clothes anymore. I have a whole new relationship with food, and, barring any new game changers, I don’t think I’ll ever need them again.