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bear by san

March 2017



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are there probably fossils under your meat?

Pudge report part two, reference photos!

(If diet and exercise stuff is triggery for you, please page down. Also, please note, I totally support anybody's right to define the terms by which they live in their body and to be healthy at any size. I'm an athlete with prehypertension and three diabetic grandparents. For me, it really was a matter of life and death to become more active and take some stress off my heart and joints.)

Here's what I looked like in 2004:

Elizabeth Bear @ Worldcon 2004

Photo by Michael Curry. Wow, look at that Hammered ARC.

That's actually a flattering photo except for the giant zit on my chin. Here's an unflattering one:

Photo by Trevor Dufault, circa 2006. Tiny feet!

Shortly after that Worldcon, I realized that I was not doing myself any favors and that if I didn't want to die of diabetes and hypertension, I needed to eat better and exercise. There have been a lot of ups and downs, and I don't actually know what my peak weight was (I didn't get a scale until December of that year, when I had already been making efforts for a while) but I'm guessing it was roughly a hundred pounds more than I weigh now. So call that 290 pounds, since by year's end I was at 250 and change.)

More significantly, I couldn't get out of a chair without grunting. And we won't talk about my blood pressure. I lost a bunch more weight in the first half of 2005, and it came back in the last half when I was busy getting divorced. Sometimes, other stuff gets in the way.

Anyway, when I got back to the East Coast, I got pretty serious about exercise and tracking my food and limiting alcohol and simple carbs. It has not always been easy, and there have been setbacks.

But I ran five and a half miles this morning, and I dusted the dog by the end of it. Usually, he's the one dragging me.

Here's what I look like now, at 187 pounds:

Okay, it's blurry and my hair's wet. But I promise smell good!

I still am twenty-thirty pounds from my goal weight... but at this point it's a matter of protecting my joints when I run and climb. I'm healthy, I am happy with the way I look, and--as I said--I can run five miles.

Lessons learned: the Discipline (my personalized version of the Hacker Diet: tracking calories expended versus calories consumed, making sure I get enough protein, limiting simple carbs and eating plenty of complex ones and healthy fats) works, and leaves me feeling awesome. 130 pounds may be the socially acceptable maximum weight for a 5'8" woman, but it'd be fucking ridiculous on me. Staying healthy and fit takes a lot of work, but it's probably worth it. And I don't feel like I'm a third smaller than I used to be--and sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and think, "Where did I KEEP it all?!" I have lost more than the weight of my dog. And he's a big dog.

Morals of this story: It is often possible to get healthier, no matter where you start. I feel younger and more vigorous at 40 than I did at 33. Since I pretty much missed my thirties the first time through, I am going to retroactively declare those my eighties, and start over.


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It is often possible to get healthier, no matter where you start. I feel younger and more vigorous at 40 than I did at 33. Since I pretty much missed my thirties the first time through, I am going to retroactively declare those my eighties, and start over.

so much fucking THIS. 39 in a couple of months, and I can kick 29 year old me's ass in pretty much any direction I want. I've claimed to be, mentally, 27 since I was 18. I plan on being able to keep passing for 27 for a good long while if nobody looks too closely (or I cut my head off in blurry cell phone self-shots, as is my tendency).

40 is apparently the new 25. we are going to live FOREVER and be awesome while doing so.
The thing I like the most is how happy you look in that picture! Thank you for posting about the journey. It always inspires me to keep trying to do more active things, and just stay aware of my body in general.
How utterly excellent that you've met your goals using your own techniques on your own terms. And you look amazing, too.
You are looking very good.
You look incredibly fit. And happy in your body.

Yaygoyou! You're an inspiration.
What awesome progress! You're my hero!
"130 pounds may be the socially acceptable maximum weight for a 5'8" woman, but it'd be fucking ridiculous on me."

Point of fact: 130 looks slender-bordering-on-thin on ME, at 5'4". And my base build has less weight to it than yours (my blueprints forgot the boobs gene). On you, we'd be calling for an IV and protein feeds.

Having, as you say, been there since the East Coast start, I can say without any hesitation that you look, and are, amazing. :-)

EtA: also, I am with you on the age thing. I can be 34 again, and do it right this time?

Edited at 2012-04-05 04:34 pm (UTC)
Thank you, ma'am.

Yeah, I can't imagine what I would look like at 130. I think I was there when I was... 12?
You look really good. And I am impressed by the five-mile run. I started running in January, because I'm going to do a (sprint-distance) triathlon in July, and I still can't go a whole mile without stopping to walk. It's frustrating, even though I track my distance and time and I know my endurance is improving (and I haven't messed up my knee again, at least not yet. Hurray for cross-training.)

FYI, your post about doing sports even when you're totally the wrong body type is still one of my favorite inspirational essays about exercise.
I started jogging in 2007, and it. was. misery. I would do intervals between fire hydrants--jog to one, walk to the next. For a mile.

It's not fast, but it comes.

Also *hug*

I stand by that post. Climbing has gotten easier, but I'd still like to be one of these wiry little bastards when I'm on the wall...
Wow, that is an amazing transformation. Go you.
Very impressive! You're an inspiration.

I'm going to turn 62 this year and with my dietary improvements and increased energy (and mental acuity! Let's hear it for lack of brain fog!) I feel more like 42 than 62. And that's not just because 42 was a bad year either.
Looking healthy and happy, Bear. And as another 5'8" who would look like death on two feet at 130 (and feel like it, too), I hear you.
You are awesome. Your determination is inspiring. And you look fabulous. :-)

(Also you look happy, which may be even better.)
I know this might be interpreted badly, but in that last pic you look bloody fantastic. As in "I'd love to have that face & body on my Tv every week". I don't know how else to say it, really.

How do you find your motivation to exercise? I can't seem to be able to. I have put on an excessive amount of weight this winter. I need to slim down and I need to get healthier and eat better. But I just... can't. And that is so annoying in a WTF, self? kind of way.
Prehypertension was a great motivator. :-P

Sometimes what works is saying "I will exercise for ten minutes a day." Even if it's just a walk around the block. And sometimes one gets out there and realizes it feels good to me moving, and ten minutes turns into twenty or thirty before you know it.

Also, it doesn't have to be strenuous. When I was severely overweight, just walking hurt.

It's possible that some emotional trigger is preventing you from doing what you want to do. Identifying it and having a conversation--in writing, even!--with yourself may help. Usually we do things like that because some part of our psyche is protecting ourselves.

For me, also, logging my exercise in a fitness tracker like Sparkpeople.com or Fitday.com or Fitocracy.com helps. Fitocracy and Sparkpeople give you points for evercise. Sparkpeople also gives points for tracking food.

I treat it as a kind of resource management game. *g*

(Hope some of this helps.)

(And thank you for the very flattering comment.)
Congratulations! You look fantastic.

Also, 130lbs for a grown woman who's 5'8" seems low. I'm 5'7" and haven't been 130lbs since high school, maybe junior high?

I've been working to get down to 150lbs or thereabouts for a couple of years now. (That means I need to drop about 50-60lbs.) I tried jogging/running, but my joints cannot handle the repetitive impact, so I walk very fast instead. I'm not taking off the pounds as quickly and steadily as I wish, and I put weight back on during a recent depressive episode, but I'm determined and will get there.

You have been an inspiration, and proof that it is possible and within my grasp to achieve this goal. And also you have helped me maintain a realistic perspective on how long it will take and effort involved. Thanks.

Edited at 2012-04-05 05:27 pm (UTC)
My mom weighed around 130 when she was younger--but she's of a very slender build.

I am more of a tank, and hello, F cup. Just saying.

More power to you--walking is good, and the damned tracking calories--and making sure you are getting enough! and not too many.
Congratulations! What an amazing journey you have had!
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