A long way to go

The following is the third and final part in an ongoing series of articles based on staff writer Amy Rumball’s quest to shed 20 pounds by summer’s end.

Skinny people suck! The idea that women have to be thin to be attractive is reflective of the skewed values of our male-dominated society. Current standards of beauty, which include the requirement to be thin, do not take into consideration one’s uniqueness and individuality.

In case it isn’t obvious, my weight loss plan isn’t going too well. My dream to lose 20 pounds by the end of summer has not happened. Technically, I still have another month to try, but the results so far are disappointing.

I truly did begin USF’s “Team Wellness” plan with the best intentions. As the program dictates, I met with a nutritionist, a personal trainer and a counselor on a regular basis. The problem, though, is that I somehow fell victim to the “tomorrow” way of thinking. Although I knew I should be drinking water and eating fruit, I often found myself finishing off a box of Cocoa Puffs or some other delicious treat and thinking, “I’ll start my diet tomorrow.”

When I initially began my diet – or “meal plan” as it is referred to in order to avoid the negative connotations associated with a diet – I managed to stop drinking soda and going to Starbucks several times a day. However, as time went by, I began to miss my favorite sugary sweets. Not only that, but I found myself getting mad that I was not allowed to do what I wanted. So, as every child and emotionally immature person does, I rebelled. I began sneaking to Starbucks and ordering Chai Cream Frappuccinos. It began slowly at first. I told myself it was only a one-time thing and that I would never do it again. However, the one time then became two and three times. Before I knew it, I had lost control.

Starbucks isn’t the only problem, though. Slowly, all of the foods I am supposed to avoid have somehow slipped back into my daily intake. I am now in over my head, and I can’t stop!

Luckily, I have my personal trainer, Rob DeFreese, to help me try to get in shape. Not only does he teach me the proper way to work out, he also puts up with my constant whining and complaining – something most people can’t do. I meet with DeFreese twice a week at Campus Recreation for one hour of exercise. My personal trainer is great – he designs a personal workout plan for me that takes into consideration my goals and limitations. I have already begun to have muscle definition in my legs and arms – definition that will look even better once I lose the 20 pounds of chunk on top of it.

Unfortunately, my attempt to lose weight has made me realize I have a problem with excuses. For example, following the meal plan designed by senior dietician Kim May requires eating five to six small meals a day instead of the antiquated three large meals a day. Not only that, I am supposed to record everything I eat in a food journal. Instead of doing this, though, I have convinced myself that it’s not possible to follow the meal plan because of its impracticality. After all, it would require me to pack meals and take them with me to school and work, which would also require me to tote a cooler around all day. I may need the exercise, but the last thing I want to do is to carry around the five food groups with me when my purse already weighs 50 pounds. I don’t have many outfits that coordinate with bright red plastic, either.

Another problem is I am supposed to eat every three to four hours at the same times every day. However, my schedule varies daily, and I still have not figured out a creative way to explain to my instructors why I am eating a three-course meal in the middle of a lecture. It’s hard enough keeping up with the notes in my art history courses.

As I previously stated, I am making excuses. May actually spends a lot of time designing individual meal plans for each person, taking into consideration their schedules and preferences. Despite the great resources offered at USF, I just can’t seem to take the advice I am being given.

When I began this assignment, I imagined how embarrassing it would be if I had to admit that I had not lost any weight. I thought that the sheer embarrassment of that situation would force me to become skinny. Unfortunately, that has not happened.

After two months of dieting, I am the same weight as when I started. However, instead of focusing on what I haven’t done, I am learning to focus on the small changes that I have managed to accomplish.

For example, I have developed more muscle tone, and I now go to Starbucks two to three times a week instead of two to three times a day. In order to replace the Frappuccinos that are sadly missing from my diet, I am now drinking water, which I had never done before.

Although I haven’t lost any weight, I have learned much more about wellness and weight loss. Because of “Team Wellness,” I have learned about and used the resources offered by Student Health Services, Campus Recreation and the Counseling Center.

More importantly, I have built a support system. Instead of facing the daunting task of trying to lose weight on my own, I have had the support of a nutritionist, a personal trainer and the readers of this series – people who have supported me despite the times that I have run the other way with my hands full of candy and soda. Because of my embarrassment and fear of failure, I found myself trying to hide the fact that I was struggling with losing weight. I found myself trying to find the best place on my body to stuff a Venti Chai Cream Frappuccino when I ran into people who were aware that I was supposed to be dieting.

As I’ve said all along, losing weight isn’t easy.