Maintenance · Weight Loss

My Own Personal Fat Camp, Phoenix Arizona

When I was offered a job transfer to Arizona from Massachusetts over 3 years ago, my general attitude about it was “why not?”  I wasn’t particularly thrilled with Massachusetts, I didn’t know much about the American Southwest, and it seemed like my skills would be better suited to the work in the Phoenix location (they certainly were).  I started looking into it.  Interesting landscape, crazy weather.  Let nobody try to tell you otherwise: a dry heat is definitely more pleasant than a humid heat, but 115 degrees is murderously hot no matter what.  You simply cannot do anything outside during the day in the summer and summer lasts from June until October (or November if it was this year.)

One of the first things I thought when I considered moving to Phoenix was “If I’m going to live somewhere that hot, I’m really going to have to lose weight.”  Hot is so much hotter when you’re fat.  In fact, this year I really did not mind the summer half as much as I did the previous two years, being at a healthy body weight.

Sometimes I feel like Phoenix was my own personal fat camp.  Much like the contestants on weight loss TV shows, I was completely out of my element.  I did not have any of my old family or friends around me.  I had no obligations but work.  All of the sudden there was nobody asking me to go out to the bar, nobody coming over for brunch.  It was just my boyfriend and me.  He wanted to join a gym, so we did that about 2 months after settling in.  And the rest is history.

I know what an amazing advantage I had in this cross-country move.  Many times it is our friends and loved ones who make it difficult to change ourselves.  It’s not that they don’t love and care for us, it’s that they are used to us the way we are.  I can’t imagine how infinitely more difficult this would have been around some of my best friends back in Philadelphia.  Not that I blame them.  They just made it that much easier to keep making poor choices… and in all honesty it was pretty fun.  I’m not sure what would have happened if I had not moved.  With not much else to put my effort into, changing my lifestyle became my main focus.  And I had a helpful coach, my boyfriend.  Thankfully, his best coaching technique was to let me do my own thing then answer questions if and when I asked.  He never pressured me to lose weight at all, and he never tried to discourage me either.  He’s the very definition of “supportive.”

Fast forward to now, I’ll be 34 in a few weeks and I’m saying goodbye to fat camp.  I’ve had my current job for going on six years, and I’m transferring again to the SF Bay area in California.  My general attitude about moving to California is “Oh hell yeah!”  I’ve wanted to move to CA since I was about 13.  Moving to Phoenix always felt like I made it 90% of the way to where I was trying to go.  Just a minor three year detour.  I’m really grateful for the detour.  Now I’m moving to the place I want to be as the person I want to be.

On the left: me three years ago taking a photo of my new rental home in Phoenix.  On the right: me 2 weeks ago taking a picture of my new apartment in Redwood City (which by the way costs quite a bit more than my house in Phoenix, but let’s not talk about that.)

I'm leaving something behind in Phoenix: about 120 lb.

I could tell you the reasons I don’t like living in Phoenix.  They extend well beyond the weather.  But I didn’t just lose weight in Arizona, I also found out how life-changing it can be to focus on the positive and let the negative pass me by.  Overall, I have enjoyed my time here even though I knew it wasn’t permanently for me.  So instead I will tell you the best thing about the place besides the extremely low cost of living: the sunsets.

amazing sunsets in Phoenix Arizona

8 thoughts on “My Own Personal Fat Camp, Phoenix Arizona

  1. Awesome reflective post Kate, I wish you the best of luck in your new location. So grateful to have met you along your weight loss journey & see how much your life has changed for the better. It reminds me what I have to look forward to as long as I stick to it. Thanks for sharing so much with all of us. 🙂

  2. K8 thanks for writing about your changes and letting go of the past to make a new. Wow, I really needed to hear this right now. Perhaps we will get a chance to meet, wow.. so close to Sacramento. There are a lot of health nuts in the bay area, perhaps you can run the Bay to Breakers? Wow..SImply amazing, I am so very proud of you.

  3. Denver is ranked number 5 in the healthiest cities in America. That statistic is whatever because who knows what goes into deciding that. But since moving here I have always felt like a reason that it’s not number 4, or better. I contribute to it’s being less healthy. Not for much longer though.

    Yay for Cali! I’m very excited for you.

  4. I want to thank you. You have helped me make healthy choices, but I am so struggling with motivation. I am seeing a therapist on Wednesday. I am in Phoenix as well and wish you safe travels and best of luck in SF.

    -Buffy

  5. So glad to see your post Kate – was afraid you were leaving your blog behind in AZ too! I have followed you a long time and enjoy your insights especially as they relate to the way your diet has evolved. As a part time Arizona resident I can relate to some of the (unsaid) hard parts about living there. I also concur that living somewhere new – even part-time – makes it easier to form new habits regarding diet and exercise. I do so much better when I am in AZ in being consistent with exercise – at home there are just so many distractions and old ways of doing things that get in the way. That will be my focus in 2012 – exercise everywhere and don’t use location as an excuse to eat poorly. Enjoy your new surrondings – with your new body and attitude!

  6. I know first hand that you will love it in CA, being a native Californian and all. Your transformation is inspiring to say the least. I loved the post. Felt like I hated AZ right along with you while reading. Enjoy CA!!!!!

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