Welcome

Welcome to my blog. The purpose here is simple: to chronicle my thoughts, actions, plans, and goals in getting healthy in the year 2012. Feel free to look around and offer encouragement or suggestions.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Hunger Conundrum

I've found that, when it comes to the subject of hunger and weight loss, people tend to be in two camps. Camp one says you should constantly graze on low calorie small meals in order to stave off hunger pains and avoid stuffing your face to the extreme when you get hungry. I understand the logic. When you wait until you're hungry to try to locate food you're ravenous by the time you find food and are, therefor, much more likely to give in to the impulse to eat yourself into a stupor. I've been there, and it is no good. Camp two says you shouldn't be eating unless you're hungry. Mindless grazing, according to camp two-ers, doesn't do anyone any favors as there is no clear indicator of "enough". I understand the logic. If you aren't eating off of cues that signal you to start eating, how on earth can you expect to react to cues signaling you to stop. A snack in the name of weight loss can very easily become a snack, a post snack-snack, a pre-meal snack, and a salty snack to balance the flavor of the sweet post-meal snack you just had. I've been there, and it's no good. So where's the good? Personally I've been thinking the good falls somewhere in the middle. Forcing yourself to eat just to "boost your metabolism" is no healthier than starving yourself to "eat only when your body needs nourishment". I tried, and failed, setting an alarm to remind me to eat a very small portion of something every 2.5 hours. I think I failed miserably because I just had no inclination to eat. At all. And when I did feel a little peckish, it was totally outside of my schedule. I say if food is on your mind, even if you don't feel the tummy rumbles yet, grab yourself a little something. In all likelihood that's your body's way of gearing up to get hungry in a few and you should probably cut it off at the pass. And, as always, control is key. Pick something relatively light and full of good stuff. I've found that the more nutrient dense a meal, the less frequently I want to eat. For example, I'm currently hungry. I can't settle, however, on anything I really want to eat. On second thought, that didn't have anything to do with anything aside from my blog topic. I must need to eat.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Getting Back to Basics

I'm alive!!! I know I haven't really been good about the blogging thing, but I've had so many people ask me about my progress that I felt the need to write, to share, to update. First thing first, August in review. I began August at 277 and ended August at 277. Seriously, it was a total wash. I tried a lot of things; I felt like I was bouncing around trying to regain my equilibrium. I'll be honest. There was more than a hint of desperation in my actions. It wasn't so much that I was desperate to meet my goals, but more that I was desperate to see ANY progress whatsoever. I cannot describe how disheartening it is to be working so hard for no reward. That disappointment gets compounded when, out of a seething frustration or an enveloping despair or both, I snap back in the other direction and deliberately do something counterproductive. Think along the lines of downing two double bacon cheeseburgers. Yeah, I did that. I even acknowledged to myself that I shouldn't have given into the urge to indulge. I acknowledged when I made the decision to go get them, I acknowledged in the car, I acknowledged in the drive-through, I acknowledged as I stuffed my face. But then, acknowledgement has never been my problem. As September commenced, and with it came the realization that all my running around in circles netted no gain, I calmed down and took a few mental deep breaths. Honestly, I'm not sure what switch flipped in my head, but there's definitely a change in my perspective. I've returned to my workout routine, allowing no excuses. For the first time I've been going to the gym even after working overtime. Generally I consider it an either/or choice, but I've decided to allow for no interruptions. I've made my own meals this week and hidden my "fun money" card in an effort, that so far and with minimal exception has been working, to minimize my compulsive food purchases. Lo and behold, I'm finally seeing some downward motion on my scale. Eating right and exercising; turns out it works. Go figure. I have to say, I was getting concerned. Although, I'm not one of those to make excuses, I had considered getting my thyroid tested. It seemed to me that I was doing a lot of work to be seeing no results. Looking back, I was doing a lot of work, but I was also using that work to justify poor decisions. Thus the lack of progress. Hindsight, so they say, is 20/20. I've somewhat resumed my food journalism, although I'm still not nearly as consistent with it as I was in the beginning. It's on my list of things to improve, a list which seems to get longer by the day. For now, however, I'm concentrating on taking things a day at a time, managing my meals, and keeping my exercise schedule consistent. Here goes nothing!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How Much Is Too Much?

While at the gym today, some of the morning programs turned, as they often do, to fitness tips and awareness. There is an incredible emphasis in this country on being "fit" (translate to thin), so I usually take the information presented on such segments with a grain of salt. I was surprised to see that last week or so one of the morning shows (I admit they're all the same to me) had a professional on who pretty much confessed the BMI system is mostly bogus. Props for having the nerve to say that a "fat" person who exercises is, on the whole, more fit than a "skinny" person who doesn't. Anyway, on this particular segment, the resident expert was talking about calorie counting and over-exercising. I hadn't thought about what is considered too much, or compulsive exercise.  Over-exercising is basically when you feel a compulsive need to exercise excessively for extended periods of time daily. What is excessive? Many websites I checked are saying anything over the thirty or forty five minute mark can be considered excessive. I guess this causes me concern because my exercise regimen is longer than thirty minutes daily, and fairly energetic. However, in all of the articles I read, they referred to compulsive exercise in the cases of people currently at an optimal fitness level. There was no mention of what is too much when it comes to intentional loss. It almost seems to me that if excess got you into a physical fix, excess in the opposite direction should likewise get you out. But then maybe I'm just trying to justify my own excessive tendencies. I will say I haven't read anything that makes me overly concerned as of yet. I don't really consider my exercise essential to my happiness or well-being. Believe me, I can throw it over for a good solid nap anytime. Moreover, I'm not operating without a specific goal. I am concerned about what my mental state may look like once I've reached said goal. There were a couple of personality traits common to compulsive exercisers that I recognize in myself and I can easily see myself obsessing over maintaining my new sleek physique. That, however, is a long way off. I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. In the meantime, I intend to continue with my current plan and listen to my body.

On a positive note, lets talk a little about the weirdness of weight loss. Let me preface by saying I'm not one to look in the mirror. I never have been. I most likely never will be. While there is a pantheon of issues that cause and accompany my utter apathy toward my own reflection, it makes it all the more startling when I happen to notice changes in my own body. Like my side dimples. Oh, yes, I have side dimples. Sexy, I know. I literally looks like the skin on my side has finally found a rib and is clinging on for dear life. And I bet you can't guess the other place I'm noticing weight loss. Nope. Not there either. Give up? My toes. I have a toe ring I've worn constantly for the past five years or so, and I've had to adjust it more frequently this past week than ever before. Apparently I lost a little weight in my toes and the ring, as a result, started sliding around in circles. For those of you who don't wear foot jewelry, this is incredibly uncomfortable. I'd love to skip all this awkward middle phase and head straight for dead sexy. I believe I've already mentioned my preference for instant gratification. I do have to confess, though, I'm more than a little curious about what oddity will present itself down the road.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Juice Watch 2011, part 2

Sad news on the juicing front! My feeding chute broke! Insert "oh no!" here. I tried to fix it. I tried working around it. No bueno. I contacted Juiceman about the warranty. Hopefully they will be willing to replace my lid so I can resume my juicing. Until then, the juicing is on hold. Honestly, I have mixed feelings. I can't say I'm mad about needing to have to eat solid food once more. I like food. But I am disappointed I had to set aside my goals. I'm disappointed I didn't get a chance to struggle through this to the end. But c'est la vie. Now I have an opportunity to go see the cute fellas over at the butcher shop. There's always a silver lining...even in a hurricane.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Juice Watch 2011

It's day four of my juice fast and I won't lie to you. I've cheated. Regularly. Usually about once a day I'll eat something small, more because I'm overwhelmed with the need to actually chew something than because I'm actually hungry. Mostly I'll grab a handful of some trail mix I made. I think Monday I may have finished off a bag of tortilla chips with some salsa. It was only about eight chips and I reasoned that I didn't want them to go stale. I really need to square with throwing out food one of these days. I had one spectacular slip, though, which involved a cheeseburger and fries...so not only did I break my fast, but also my intent to not eat out. But it was my first meat day that I was surrendering, which I knew would be the hardest day of the week, and literally EVERYONE at work had beef for lunch. It was torturous. I made a side trip to Steak and Shake. I argued with myself about it the whole way; I argued on the way down the longest hallway ever (seriously, we call it the green mile) to get my keys and all the way back. I argued in the car. But eventually I was at the place and just couldn't not break. Funny thing is, it was pretty awful. I didn't even get that really delicious beef flavor I was after, just grease. The burger tasted like grease with onions....which weren't even supposed to be on the burger in the first place. The fries were worse. The only satisfying things about the meal were that it was hot and it was solid.

I guess I didn't realize that there is a powerful psychology that goes with eating. It isn't just the satisfaction of obtaining sustenance. It isn't solely the filling of nutritional need. If that were the case I'd be sailing through this fast. But there are all the other things I wasn't expecting to miss that make this the most difficult, cheats and all. Let's not even get into the social aspect of mealtime, and feeling a little outcast because I'm drinking my meal instead of chowing down with everyone else. I miss the taunt of the smells of cooked food and the contentment achieved by tasting the corresponding taste. I miss looking at the spread of food before you and deciding which taste to experience first. And there is an immense satisfaction in mastication. I miss the different textures of a meal almost as much as I miss the different tastes. No juice, no matter how delicious (and I've made some really good ones), can live up to that. There's a cycle of anticipation and gratification in every meal that is lacking on a liquid diet. I'm already thinking on what I want my first real meal off the fast to look like.

Hey that reminds me. I think I could really benefit from meal planning. So while I'm not actually eating, I'll take this time to plan out a couple of weeks worth of meals. I recently bought a bunch of discount cookbooks (RIP Borders, I'll miss you), particularly vegetarian cookbooks, since I have trouble coming up with tasty meals that don't include meat. Usually on veggie days I eat an assortment of sides. So I'm going to put those to good use and make some yummies. Maybe having a more structured menu will help me get over my boredom in the kitchen and the need to eat out which accompanies it. The tricky part will be finding the time and inclination to cook it all. Working third shift is tough on free time. During the week I feel like my free time gets eaten up by obligations I have to fulfill while stuff is open. Then by the time I'm done, all I want to do is sleep. Then I only get one free day, in essence, since Friday is usually occupied sleeping or fighting off sleep and Sunday I hurry to get everything done and tire myself out before noon so I can get sleep before work. I'm loath to spend my whole Saturday cooking for the week. I don't know, I'll work out some kind of schedule. I have six more days to figure it out, in any case.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New Tactics

So if I had to come up with two words to describe August, they would be the following: Epic Fail. Why? Well, to begin with, my exercise regimen has been pretty much a bust. I just haven't been doing it...any of it. Not because I have a valid excuse, just because I felt like sleeping instead. I feel like this is probably an endless loop I'm spiraling down. They say when you don't exercise, you don't sleep as well. When you don't sleep, as we all know, you're more tired during the hours in which you're supposed to be functioning, which leads me, at least, to prioritize sleeping over, say, exercising when I get off work. See? Vicious cycle. SO there's that. The solution is to just suck it up and go, which I feel like I may finally have worked up enough motivation to do. Second, my plan to not eat out at all was thwarted by an impromptu vacation. This, I can't regret. I needed a change of scenery and when my folks called and asked me if I wanted to join them on a sojourn to the beach, I readily agreed. While there, I did indeed, eat a lot of the food I brought with me, mostly peaches and trail mix and Perfect Foods Bars which I am addicted to. If you like peanut butter I highly recommend them. But I also ate dinner and breakfast out with the fam. With the exception of a foot long chili cheese dog, I made some very healthy decisions, I think, during those times we did dine out. I did a ton of walking, even schlepping a half mile with a case of 24 half liter bottles of water. Blame the insomnia for that one. I managed to return from vacation with no weight gain along the belt...but no weight loss either. Then there was, of course, my coworker's birthday dinner, as is tradition among our shift. I simply don't have the willpower to hold out while everyone else is eating yummies. I'm just plain not that strong. But I am employing a few new strategies to make up for my lapses. I bought a juicer. I'm juicing. I'm juicing fruits and veggies and about anything else that will go in the juicer. Right now I'm juicing for as many meals a day as I feel I can survive with. Monday I plan to employ a juice fast. Now before you go all wiggy on the term "fast" realize I've done my homework, at least a little. I'm only going to fast for 10 days, the remainder of August. This is to help me get back on track with my "eating out cleanse". Since I'll be drinking all the juice my little heart can stand, I'll still be getting a ton of nutrients; I'll probably be getting more than I am now. This nutrient intake should hold any effects of actual starvation at bay. I've decided to add kefir, a sort of liquid yogurt probiotic, to all of my juices to boost my protein intake and help keep my digestion on track. I'm also allowing myself milk...as much because I need to drink it before it goes bad as because I think it will supplement the juice diet well. And, of course, buckets and buckets of water. And I know I won't be starving, since I've been experimenting with how long a nice glass of juice will last me. Four or five glasses a day ought to reasonably see me through whilst staving off hunger pangs. As for the exercising I'm, first, making sure I get plenty of sleep by attempting to regulate my hours a little better. I'm also using a little OTC help when necessary. That way I'll have no excuses, flimsy or otherwise, to avoid hitting the gym first thing off work. Second, I'm thinking on Vegas. Every girl needs motivation, and I've decided I want to look cute in my as-yet-to-be-determined Halloween costume, whatever it may be. I mean, one cannot walk around Vegas all frumpy. It simply isn't done.Well, it is done but I don't want to do it. So, I'll keep you posted on my progress. I feel that this will be good for me, adding a kick in the pants and a boost to my forward momentum. And if not, hey, there's always next week right?

Friday, August 5, 2011

July In Summary

Ugh. Okay, here goes. I began July at 280 and ended at 277. It's progress, yes, but I spent a lot of time fighting myself this month. I really stood in my own way. My disappointment over the total lack of success from last month led me to an "I-just-don't-care-anymore" kind of place. There is a saboteur in my home and she is me. I have to give her credit. She's sneaky. Imminently persuasive and wielding what seems on the face of it irrefutable logic, I have managed to talk myself out of behaviors I know positively propel me toward my goal and I have, likewise, talked myself into nonproductive behaviors. And I won't lie, at the root of it all was a feeling that nothing I did mattered anyway. My lack of progress has definitely made me despondent. But I have decided to brush it off. I'm headed back to basics. You may remember a while ago I mentioned that I had not been writing in my food journal and was going to restart that practice. Well I didn't. I think the accountability that provided for me is a piece that has been seriously lacking from this puzzle. So today I began again. I even put it in a nifty looking journal instead of a spiral notebook. This time I am determined to keep it up. I also really need to put the brakes on the whole eating out thing. I've done it far too often lately, for sure more than the once a week I've told myself I'm allowed. I'm weak, and I want to be social with people...which usually involves mealtime somewhere. But I resolve to work my willpower muscle a little more often. I've been pep talking myself in the mirror. Aside from feeling a little nuts, I don't know if that's working at all yet. I feel great for a few hours after, chalk full of resolve, but that feeling wears off fairly quickly and I'm left with the same soft spots I've always had trouble guarding against.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Making Peace

So I literally just finished watching a documentary entitled "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" that I found to be incredibly inspiring. Basically it is about an Australian businessman who found himself overweight with an immune disorder that was caused by his obesity. In order to correct the wrong he'd done to himself through years of poor eating and lack of exercise, he went on a 60 day juice fast. This means that for two months the man ate, or drank rather, nothing but a variety of nutrient dense fruits and vegetables that had been run through a juicer. Every meal, every snack, every day. He also traveled around the US sharing his experiences, his goals, and generally asking people's opinion on the whole idea of fasting. Not surprisingly the general populace by and large thought he was nuts. What really caught my attention, though, was the number of people who flat out knew they had terrible habits, but had convinced themselves that they could not, or didn't want to, change. The reasoning ranged anywhere from "they make me crave it" to "when God says it's time for me to go, who am I to argue" to "if I'm dying anyway, I want to be happy." And although Joe, said Australian businessman, was never pushing his agenda or trying to convince anyone to do this but himself, he was met with some downright belligerence. It makes me wonder if, as a society, or as human beings even, we're really as okay with being fat and unhealthy as we claim. Everyone he spoke to seemed to have no qualms in admitting that they were the root of their own poor diet. Most had no problem admitting that a few simple changes would make them healthier, perhaps even extend their lives. But then, invariably, everyone had an excuse. If it wasn't "I have no will power" it was "there are challenges with my social/work/family schedule." Funnily enough, the one thing I never heard was "I eat this way because I like it, healthy or not." Everyone seemed more content to make peace with the consequences of their choices than to try to make any changes moving forward. It left me with the feeling that America knows our diet is killing us, but nobody has the gumption to even try a change. Well, maybe not nobody. Joe convinced two people to try his "reboot" for just ten days to see how they felt. You know what? Both stuck with it and both benefited from it.

I guess this resonated with me because of all the changes I've chosen to make. I, too, have heard things like "oh, I couldn't do it" from people who wouldn't even try. Now that the benefits of may changes are becoming more and more prevalent, I get asked a lot what I've been doing. And nearly every time there is a refusal to jump on board. Not that that is why I made the changes I made. I did it for me, no one else. And really that is the only way it works. I guess I just wonder why people seem to hold a few life changes so in awe when all it is is a matter of sucking it up and changing. If you want to change, do it. If you're unhappy, don't make peace with the way things are just because you're afraid it may be hard, or that you may fail, or that you'd feel left out or isolated. Is maintaining an unsatisfactory status quo worth that? I don't know, maybe this is just me thinking.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

My Incredible Shrinking Stomach

Today, my friends, I was defeated by a single slice of pizza. It wasn't even one of those gargantuan slices you get at NY style pizzerias. I got it at Whole Foods since I was about to fall over, having not eaten since 8am, and the slice was really appealing. It was a Pesto Chicken pizza and it was very delicious. So you can imagine my chagrin when I got about 3/4 of the way through and was full. Not I could probably finish this and my garlic knot and be okay but I know I shouldn't full. I was if I finish this and even look at my garlic knot I may possibly throw up in my moving vehicle full. We all know the difference. But I was surprised. Very surprised. Now, I've never been one of those who could demolish a half a pizza in one setting. Two slices has pretty much always been my limit, three if I was really hungry. But I have never in recollection been satisfied with a single slice, and for sure haven't been full from less than one. I consider this, in spite of being made to put down something so yummy before I was finished with it, a very good sign. You don't know this, since I haven't posted in a good while, but my scale and I are having a fight. It persists in showing me a number I do not accept. It doesn't seem to be mattering what I do this month: gym or no gym, doughnuts or no doughnuts, six small meals or two big ones. That scale isn't budging. I haven't written about it because I'm not a huge fan of admitting failure. Hell, I'm not a fan of failing, period. I don't do it often and I'm no good at it. But this is supposed to be a learning opportunity, a growth opportunity. So here I am telling you my scale isn't cooperating with my weight loss plan. But I take heart in a few encouraging indications that let me know I'm on the right track. First being, my kangaroo pouch is making its first visible retreat. You can't imagine how happy that made me, even if it is lopsided. I sorted my jeans a few weeks ago into on-the-way-to-too-big, just-right/slightly-snug, and keep-trying-maybe-later. My slightly-snugs are now solidly just-rights. I'm wearing them, quite comfortably thank you, as I type. I take this as a sign of improvement. And finally, I'm getting more compliments on my progress than ever. SO I'm trying not to take my scale's defection personally. I'm trying to keep on the right path and not give up. I'm trying very, very hard to climb over every hurdle put in my path. I could use the encouragement, though.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Feed Me, I'm Bored.

You hear a lot about emotional eaters. You know, the people who swallow their feelings of sorrow, or inadequacy, or rage, or whatever with a Big Mac and fries. In fact, I believe that there is a tacit implication that every fat person on earth eats their feelings. Why else would they possibly be fat? For some people, it's an accurate assumption. Some people have serious issues coping with, well, issues. I've watched myself closely and I can honestly say I am not an emotional eater. In fact, intense emotion completely kills my appetite. What I am may be much more insidious. I eat out of boredom. I find this a lot harder to a)identify and b)combat. The difficulty identifying this issue comes in that it is inconsistent. I don't always graze. I don't always overeat. I don't always even eat consistently. So how did I figure myself out? I'm on doctor's orders to do as little as possible. On Wednesday I underwent a very minor surgical procedure. The stitches I received meant that I was put on biological restriction at work, meaning they sent me home. I've been bored out of my mind and I found myself finishing an entire canister of mixed nuts. I couldn't bring myself to put them down. Being on Vicodin didn't particularly strengthen my resolve to put the damn nuts down. In fact I remember reaching for them and trying to talk myself out of it, telling me I wasn't hungry, I had just put them away, and I didn't need them. I ate them anyway. It wasn't until this morning when I was rattling aimlessly around my living room and peeked in my fridge for the third time (thank goodness I don't keep a steady supply of snacks) that I realized I was only looking for something to eat out of a total lack of anything to do. Having spent the past few days sleeping pretty much all day I didn't want to lie in bed and read. My doctor advised against serious exercise for at least a week...plus I'm scared of pulling my stitches or sweating in them. I was pretty much reduced to pacing my living room. And since I didn't particularly think narcotics and kitchens mix, I haven't made anything more strenuous than a sandwich since Wednesday.  I can't help but think that this isn't helping my weight loss cause. Of course, I don't keep unhealthy things, so I'm mindlessly munching on things like peaches and mixed nuts. There are many worse things that I could be eating, but I guess I'm more concerned about not exercising. I'm so inert without it. I really don't do much. But then again, what can I do? I'm under very specific instructions. I'm pretty much tired all day anyway, even without the drugs, which I now only take when I absolutely feel the need of them. I just feel like such a lump lying in bed all day.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

June in Summary

I'll be honest. I don't want to write this one. I am pretty much totally disgusted with myself this month, mostly because I can't pinpoint exactly what went wrong. I began June at 279 and ended at 280. That's right. Not only did I not lose, I gained. What makes it worse is the fact that I did lose. About mid-month I weighed myself at 272. Exciting, right? Not when you stop and consider that that means I didn't just gain one pound. I gained 8 pounds. In two weeks. Perversely, I've been getting more complements than ever. 


I can't bring myself to attributing this solely to eating wretchedly. The reason being that I didn't eat any differently than I had before I started this mission. If eating that way alone caused 8 pounds of gain every two weeks can you imagine how huge I would have been? I would have been my own planet. Don't get me wrong. Eating poorly sure helped this phenomenal backslide along. I have no doubt about that. I'm even okay with it. I wouldn't have traded anything I ate or drank over my birthday weekend or father's day because it brought me joy and I never deny my joy. But if it isn't just the eating, then what was the difference this week? Because, frankly, we're looking at six days, at most, where I threw my good habits out the window. In the grand scheme of things, I've screwed up more often and more seriously in previous months without the same results. Here's the difference as I see it: I hurt myself. A lot. On three separate instances in the last couple of months I strained a few muscle groups, some more severely than others, but all notable. You may recall in one of my recent blogs that I mentioned returning to the weights. Well I did that. The trouble is that I tried to pick up where I left off and improve on that. It was not a high quality plan. So I killed my legs, particularly my adductors and gluts. I was walking funny for about three days. Then I got on the ab machine, lost count, and decided I'd just go until I felt the burn and then do about 25 more. Let's just say I never got to 25. Turns out, the burn means "I'm done." But the most severe injury I inflicted on myself was with my arms. I made the mistake of working my arms after having seen that horrible flappy fat swing around. I can't remember what I did, but I think I probably pointed at something and my arm waved at whoever I was talking to all on its own. So I had a little devil telling me to handle that. Long story short, I couldn't straighten either of my arms for four days. That was when I first noticed a difference where the scale was concerned. So I wonder if the muscle gained from my little misadventures may have made the difference. I know it's cliched, saying it's muscle gain and not fat, but that is honestly the only thing I can think of that really set June apart from all the months that came before. Of course, it could just be denial talking. Occam's Razor pretty much says the simplest explanation is most likely the truest. The simplest explanation is that I ate horribly and now I'm paying for it on the scale. Frankly, as disappointing as it is, it really doesn't matter. I'm not letting this setback get in my way. 


As it is July, I'm beginning a new quarter, and thus raising the stakes. I'm adding more water. It will be hard, as I just got into the habit, really, of drinking my two liters. I'll definitely need to incorporate water into my work meals in order to get it all in. My portion sizes need to decrease. Honestly I don't feel like I did that at all last quarter, but this quarter might actually be easier. I should be eating half of what I used to, so if I have to I'll take what I normally would and put half back. I'm adding Thursday as a vegetarian day. I admit to being reluctant to give up my third meat day, but there can be no success without sacrifice. Sorry, meat, I love you, but I have goals. I'm supposed to do 30 minutes of weights daily and an hour of the gym daily. The gym I've already been doing, but we all know I struggle with weight lifting. I understand that it is important, but I still really really really dislike it. My restaurant outings should be reduced to once a week. I admit, I've been lacking diligence on this point. It was something I thought I'd be better at, but now that I recognize my weakness, I can build upon it. As for soda, it's down to once every other week. I really don't see this as a challenge. Giving up the soda has been a lot easier than I anticipated. But really, with all the water, who has time to drink soda?


So that is where I am. I'm a little lost, admittedly, but I have faith that I'll find my way back to the right road. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

My Kitchen Called...

...to say it missed me.

SO yesterday was my birthday. That means this previous weekend was my birthday weekend (my logic is astounding, I know) which pretty much meant I let my hedonism run rampant from Friday to Monday. While I have no regrets about it (I believe I mentioned my disdain for regret), I definitely feel the difference in my body that comes of eating out for nearly every meal and indulging in foods I normally wouldn't. Today I was back in the kitchen for the first time in days. In all honesty, it felt similar to coming home after a long vacation. You had fun while you were gone but nothing feels like home. My designated days were on suspension, but I've jumped right back into them today. It seems fitting that today should be a vegetarian day. There is nothing quite like eating nothing but vegetables all day to bounce back from horrid eating. My lunch of sauteed squash and baked sweet potato almost made me sigh with joy. I realized I miss cooking for myself. I'm good at it; as tasty and delightful as restaurant food may be, I can make just as good at home with the bonus that it is all natural and great for me.

I want to take a moment to let the hippie in me free to tout the benefits of eating as naturally as possible. I may have said this before, but nature gives you everything you need to live a healthy lifestyle. Why add a bunch of chemical additives, most of which are laboratory accidents, to something that already has tons of goodness in it? That's not food, that's a science project. I personally have become almost obsessive about reading ingredients and frankly it has done me a lot of good. There is no reason the food in my food should be the third or fourth ingredient in the can/box/bag/whatever. True story: a friend tried to give me a bag of frozen chicken breasts. I read the ingredients and CHICKEN was the third ingredient. In chicken breasts. And then there were about five ingredients after that, including artificial coloring to make the char lines. Needless to say, I did not take the filler-chemical-and-then-chicken breasts. But all of that can be avoided if you just buy actual chicken. Then there's no confusion. I buy all my meat raw, then vacuum seal it and freeze it myself. It thaws and tastes just as good as if I had cooked it straight from the tray. I buy all of my produce from the farmer's market, with a trip to the produce section if I absolutely have to have something that is out of season. Here comes an ultra hippie statement: everything I eat is of the earth and has passed through as few hands as I can possibly manage. I'm not saying you should eat all organic, grass fed, cage free, whatever other ungodly expensive earth friendly alternative is out there everything. I am saying that quitting the pre-made stuff and making your own foods from the most basic ingredients is the only way to truly control what you eat. Don't be fooled by claims that things are low fat, low cholesterol, low calorie, whatever. They get that way by sucking the food out of food and adding taste good chemicals with absolutely no nutritional value. Don't believe me? Go pick up a low fat whatever and its full fat counterpart. I will bet money as to which has more ingredients and more chemicals...you know, all that stuff you can't pronounce. You want low fat, low calorie? Eat all the vegetables you can stand.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Conscious Attentiveness

Weight loss is simple. By the numbers it is strictly a matter of consuming fewer calories than you expend. However simple is never simple. Weight loss is staggeringly difficult. There are a million things that can potentially trip you up and impede your progress before you leave your home for the day. It requires a willingness to turn your back on years of habit. It requires an ability to deny yourself the one thing you want most in a given moment. It requires nothing short of conscious attentiveness. What is conscious attentiveness?  Conscious attentiveness is a state in which every decision and action is carefully considered, measured, and executed with full cognizance. It's a term I've seen used in relation to yoga and psychology, but it applies to the weight loss process as well. It means looking past I want this to I want this but I'll forego this because I don't want the consequences of this. So right now you may be thinking, don't you always make decisions with cognizance? I mean, isn't the fact that it was a decision indicative of some kind of attentiveness? Well, yes and no. We, as living beings, eat. But how often do you consider why you're eating? A step farther, how often do you consider why you chose to eat what you ate? And farther still, how often have you considered the potential ramifications of eating what you ate before you ate it? Conscious attentiveness means considering, not only whether or not to eat, but what to eat, why to eat it, and what might be the outcome of eating it.....all before you put anything anywhere near your mouth. It is much more difficult than you might think. As Americans we have almost been trained to eat what is there. After a lifetime of eating what is convenient, it gets tricky not slipping back into that habit. After all, it is all too easy to gorge on junk or fast food and justify it by claiming to have been too hungry to wait. But that becomes a slippery slope that gets harder and harder to climb with each justification. I have come to understand that every meal needs to be carefully considered before I eat it. Just eating something, anything, isn't going to cut it if I want to continue progressing. It is more than just a good idea to consider what I'm eating and how it was prepared. It's necessary. More than that, it's necessary for every meal, every snack, every drink.

That being said, I'm trying to be as good as possible this week, as my birthday weekend is coming up and I fully plan to eat and drink badly. So the plan is to get a little ahead, if I can, so I backslide to where I might have been anyway without such concentrated effort. It makes sense in my head, even if that plan may have already been blown. Father's day brought with it a trip to The Cheesecake Factory, and the single piece of cheesecake I had, as undeniably tasty as it was, set me back three pounds all by its delicious little self. I intend to bounce back as hard as possible, but I've pretty much already developed a c'est la vie attitude. I refuse to be so consumed with a number on the scale that I start engaging in unhealthy behavior just to get to the number I want. I intend to apply some serious conscious attentiveness and eat like the healthiest week of food ever. Well, until Friday anyway.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

In Transition

I notice my weight loss much like I noticed my weight gain, not at all. While I get more and more friends and associates  commenting on my weight loss, I can honestly say that 35+ pounds lighter looks the same to me in the mirror as it always has. That is, until yesterday. Yesterday I visited the pool for the first time this year. While I was toweling off I noticed my lower legs look extra skinny. This goes along with my forearms, which I have been noticing look startlingly skinny while I'm driving. I commented on this to the friend I had with me and she said, "That's because you have tiny ankles...at least you don't have cankles." I'll admit, as a fat chick I have worried about developing cankles. I had cankles once in Vegas after walking the strip from Mandalay Bay all the way down to the Stratosphere Tower, a 4.5 mile walk, and back. That was, understandably, because my feet and legs were ridiculously swollen. Other than that I've been relatively cankle free, thank goodness. But enough about cankles. I guess the point is that I always kind of assumed I had hefty bone structure under all the fat, but it might not be the case. I'm kind of excited to find the small boned me that's hidden inside the fat chick.

That's another thing. Why do people insist on participating in assisted denial? I speak frequently about being fat. I never call myself fat in a derogatory or bitter way, but simply as a matter of fact. I AM fat. I made peace with that a long time ago. Sure I'm working towards not being fat anymore, but at the moment I'm fat and don't mind admitting it. So why is it that most people feel the need to vehemently deny that fact? Example: at the pool my friend suggested making a sarong out of my towel. While my towel was big, I was bigger and I knew that and said so. I said, "That won't work, I'm still fat." She scoffed at me and gave me this look that implied I was delusional. So I demonstrated. Sure enough, I was too fat for saronging. It made me wonder why admitting my fatness and being comfortable with it so clearly makes others so uncomfortable. That wasn't the first time, and certainly won't be the last, but I don't need anyone to deny my size on my behalf. Perhaps people feel that agreeing with me when I mention being fat might be rude, but I'd rather it garner no comment than enthusiastic denial.

But one thing is still true. At least I don't have cankles!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Overachieving...

So, moved by the need to show more than a measly five pounds of improvement this month, I really wanted to push myself as it came to my workout. I did that. This morning I set my cardio machine to a higher resistance and really pushed myself to keep up with the girl next to me, who happened to be half my size and probably a good five years younger by the looks of her. This evening, I am paying for my exuberance. I've been vaguely uncomfortable since I rolled out of bed this afternoon. My knees have decided to remind me I'm too old and fat to be running around like a twenty year old. My legs ache from the extra effort exerted this morning and I've had a nagging feeling I've put myself right on the cusp of an actual injury. On top of that, my lower back decided to add its voice to the chorus, bothering me more than it has in a long while. I was in the middle of stretching to try to ease some of my discomfort when I got a charlie horse the size of my fist in my hamstring just above the back of my knee. Talk about pain. I actually felt the knot, hard as a rock, through all the fat of my thigh. I immediately started yelping and hopping around like a crazy person, thankful nobody was around to witness (there are some distinct advantages to working third shift). After executing an emergency hamstring stretch, I hobbled over to, and tumbled into, the first seat I could find. Thoroughly chastened, I can admit to having learned my lesson. There is a difference between challenging yourself in a way that will elevate your fitness level and trying to accomplish too much too fast by biting off more than you can chew.  So I'm now left feeling a little discouraged, a little old, and a lot less fit than I obviously thought I was. Boo.

On a positive note, my chiropractor has told me that all my current exercises are ok, save two. I can't do any shoulder lifts or get on the machine that makes me push weight backward. I never liked doing shoulder lifts, so I'm happy to have a valid excuse to avoid them. I did kind of enjoy the back flexor (as I will refer to it), but I can see why that isn't the best option for me. I've fallen away from doing my weight training, but I recognize the need to get back to it. I am not really looking forward to it. It's the sore muscles. I don't like them. I understand them. I even understand why being sore is, ultimately, a positive thing. But I don't like them, and I really, really hate having to hear people be cheerful about MY soreness. They'll say "what's wrong?" or, "you're a little stiff today, huh?" prompting me to go into detail about my exercise plan at which point I invariably hear "you should be happy!" or "that means it's working!" or both. Nothing makes me want to haul off and hit someone more than hearing all about how I should be joyful at the prospect of daily pain. Bite me. So it is very difficult to refrain from using that as an excuse to avoid weight training all together. I won't. I've made a promise to myself and I'm intent on keeping it. Sometimes I might just need a little more of a nudge than others. I just need to suck it up and get myself lifting. Just not today, because I clearly need a little recovery before I get my fool self hurt for real this time.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May in Summary

As the most glorious month in existence dawns (I was born in June, can you tell?), it is again time to review the previous month. I began May at 284.2 and ended May at 279 even. 5.2 pounds in the right direction is nothing to sneeze at, but, as with April, it falls far short of my goals. May was the Month of the Yo-Yo. I actually hit 280 three times this month only to pop back up to around 286. I'll be honest. This month I really, really struggled. It was as if I had my momentum going and then just, poof, lost it. Totally. Complete and utter lack of motivation took over. As you may remember I attempted to alleviate this problem by taking a week long break. This did work, sort of. I had all the right urges to eat right and exercise...but that week off was the first time I hit 280 so I think I convinced myself that backing off a little was acceptable. I quickly realized that I had lied to myself again. I redoubled my efforts to eat better and hit the gym again. I did great for about a week, then hit a really rough week full of meetings, appointments, and exhaustion. I let myself slide with the idea that I was "too tired" to go work out and "too tired" to cook for myself. And as I let myself slide, the number on the scale again slid upward. As I acknowledged that I was too tired for exercise, but still, obviously, needed to do it if I wanted results, I compensated by barely eating. This was actually pretty easy as I had absolutely no appetite. I still don't, but I'm attempting to work around it. But May is behind me and I feel much better about the whole thing and my ability to succeed moving forward. These are the things we need to shake off and leave behind us. Now I need to be vigilant against the dreaded IWant monster. I gave in to the IWant today. I got myself some chicken tenders and a milkshake after debating with myself for about twenty minutes. The IWant is strong. I am determined (from here on out anyway) to be stronger. But the truth is, I'm a little weak and I could use some encouragement. Please feel free to give me a pep talk when you see me.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity jig. I went to visit a friend this past weekend. The plan was to visit her and her newborn. We planned to get her out of the house a little, play catch up, and of course I had to meet and play with the new baby. Little did I know I was going to take a short trip back to my old life as well. First, it made me realize that my old habits DID indeed constitute an "old life." I've been sitting here thinking "oh, I haven't changed all that much," but this weekend proved me wrong. For one, I realized I had fried food for the first time in so long I couldn't even remember. In fact, I was worried that it may upset my stomach, but luckily it did not. That pretty much confirmed this nagging suspicion I've had that I utilize olive oil a little too often in my cooking. Note to self, tone down the oil. For another, we ate out almost every meal. We literally made one meal out of six. I had to insist on making some veggies, because I realized I hadn't had a vegetable (onion rings so don't count) since Thursday. It was Saturday night at the time. The rest of the meal was grilled out burgers and hot dogs. Lastly, this might have been the least active weekend I've had in a while. I spent a lot of time alternating between a restless inactivity and utter exhaustion. I'm just pointing out some things I noticed that really highlight the differences I've made for myself. I feel like I'm leaving the impression I didn't enjoy myself, when I had a fantastic time. My friend was very accommodating to my various food "days," even taking me to a fish joint when she really dislikes seafood in general. She made an effort to make sure I had options on my vegetarian day in spite of not really knowing what that entailed. The poor choices I made were my own fault, but I feel like that's an entirely different blog.

On a totally different note, I've started seeing a chiropractor. My first adjustment was on Friday morning, before I got on the road. I've long suspected my back was out of alignment, and this was confirmed in the x-rays he took. Man, I've got troubles, none of which I'll go into now, but I will say that the x-rays showed me things were worse than I suspected. Why is this relevant? It may impact the kind of exercises I'm allowed to do. I didn't even think of it during my Friday appointment, but he handed me a list of do's and don'ts which basically said I needed to get my exercise routine approved. That makes sense, as I don't want to undo all of the chiropractor's hard work each week. I don't think I'm doing anything damaging, but I am concerned he might make me tone down the weights, at least as pertaining to my torso. My next appointment is tomorrow, so I'll keep you guys posted.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Recommitting

I have a confession. I've been bad. Really bad. I've become incredibly lax lately. I recognize in myself a dangerous contentment. My clothes fit again. I feel human again instead of some huge blob. I'm willing to look at my own picture again. There's an incredibly loquacious little devil on my shoulder. It tells me I've done good enough. It tells me things are only going to get more complicated from here on out. It asks me if I really want to toss my entire wardrobe (as if I'm anywhere close to having to do that) and start new. What I have is so cute on me, it says. It promises me that maintaining at this point will be easy, and I won't have to kill myself in the gym anymore. I must admit, I've been tempted by the sneaky little git.

Last week I allowed myself to extend my exercise hiatus. I let life stand as an acceptable excuse to only exercise once. I assured myself I was too busy. All lies of course, but what is done is done. This week I'm back in the gym. I've reunited with my TurboFire. My body thanked me with a release of endorphins the likes of which I haven't experienced before. For the first time I can honestly say I enjoyed the way I felt after my workout. No, you read right. I said I enjoyed it. That may be the only admission you get out of me so commit it to memory. Don't get me wrong, I in no way regret my "vacation" but I do recognize that I let myself drag my feet in coming back to what I need to be doing.

I haven't only been bad about my exercise. I've been sneaking myself food. That mouthy minion I mentioned whispered to me that I've been good enough to give myself rewards. Since I wanted them, I agreed, not seeing it for the trap it was. I found myself sliding off of my "don't cook it don't eat it" horse. I found myself letting more prepackaged foods pass my lips, telling myself that they said things like "all natural" and "organic" and "whole grain" and so they must be okay. Then I found myself eating cupcakes...on several occasions. I stopped keeping track of how many times I ate out. I let myself figure that if I couldn't remember it, it must not have been good enough to count. I've rationalized with myself that if I purchase a precooked meal at the grocery store it wasn't really eating out; it was more like grocery shopping. The only thing I haven't let myself go on is my soda rule. I've been deceiving and cajoling myself and for my troubles I've undone nearly a month's worth of progress. Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.

So I am here and now reaffirming my commitment to me. I hereby promise that I will cook my own food from only the freshest natural ingredients (side note: I am so glad to see a little variety at the farmer's market finally after the dearth of winter veggie options. If you haven't been, you should totally go.). I hereby swear to faithfully and consistently exercise with no excuses permitted. I furthermore aver that I will no longer allow myself to trip over my own complacency. I WILL reach my goal. Take that to the bank, baby!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ugh, men...

Being a woman is pretty awesome. We get to dress up, or dress down, or barely dress if we want and nobody seems to complain. We can wiggle out of some sticky situations with a small application of charm. People buy us stuff and vie for our attention. Nine times out of ten, if you ask me, I love being a woman. It's just, in my opinion, more fun. But every now and then I envy the male creature. This morning was one of those times. There's this guy who is there every morning working his butt off on the elliptical. I've been watching him for a couple months because of the fact that he goes so hard. I was trying to figure out how he does it every day without compromise. Anyway, I really saw him today without a machine blocking my view and this kid has lost half of himself! In like two months. And he was NOT a small dude. Don't get me wrong, he's still a little fleshy, but he's made some serious progress on the weight loss front. On one hand, great for him. On the other hand, I'm bitter. Not that he can help it...he's a man. It's just how they are designed. As a woman, I'm built to retain fat. Sad, but true. It's a prehistoric back up system to ensure I can nourish my infants during times of starvation, fat lot of good it's doing me now. Thanks Nature, good looking out. I'd love to have the ability to make a few small changes and see almost instant results. Would I trade that for the ability to charm my way out of traffic tickets? Maybe not.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Aaaaand BREAK!

Anyone who knows me knows I have a limited attention span. It's a shortcoming I've identified and try to work with. I've discovered over the years that I'm just not good at the long haul. I lose interest, become easily distracted, and eventually completely jump tracks and head off to do something else. As a way to prevent a potential derailing, I utilize the "take a break" concept. It works for me. When I get that, God-if-I-have-to-get-up-and-do-this-one-more-day-I-may-scream feeling I take a break. I do it at work. I used to do it at school. Now I've applied it to my "living healthy" regimen as well. I mean, I've done good. I've been relentlessly pursuing weight loss for the last four months non-stop. That is a personal best for me. I don't think I've done anything but breathe for four months straight before. And I have 30 pounds to show for it; or rather to NOT show for it. But I ran out of steam. The idea of going to work out on Monday literally made me sit on the floor. I'm not even joking. So I decided to give myself a rest week. It's an exercise hiatus. It's a vacation for sanity. I've already decided that any backsliding will be dealt with next week and accepted as a reasonable consequence of my health holiday. I'm at least attempting to maintain my eating schedule, although I've made some really poor choices, thus far. But that, too, I've decided to let go. I'll give myself a week of indulgences and start fresh next week. This is not to say I'll be diving face first into any chocolate mousse or consuming whole gallons of ice cream anytime soon, but if I happen to allow myself a few things I've been denied, so be it. I'm also taking this opportunity to catch up on some sleep, as I've been totally knocked out pretty much all week. This is good. I may have mentioned it before, but I don't sleep nearly as much as I need to. I'm already beginning to feel ghosts of the urge to hit the gym, something I never thought I'd feel much less commit to print. I think this break is going to be just what I need to revitalize my flagging enthusiasm.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April in Summary

April was a little disappointing, at least as far as the scale is concerned. I began at 290.2 and ended at 284.2 bringing my total weight loss for the month to exactly 6 pounds. While disappointing, this is not surprising. I've had a lot of setbacks this month, most of which have been mental. I've slipped back into my habit of not eating. As a consequence my energy levels have been down and I haven't been giving my all in the gym or at home with my TurboFire. I haven't been sleeping, which means as a whole I've been less active due to the fact that when I'm not working or working out I'm lying in bed trying to sleep. I've been trying to get rid of The Lazies, but they just won't go back to wherever they came from.

But I am not one to dwell on the negative. April brought with it some accomplishments as well. Thanks to the suggestion of a friend, I started measuring myself and know that, at least since the 20th, I have lost an impressive 5 inches around the hip/belly and 2 inches around the circumference of my bicep and also my thigh. I also notice a large improvement in my heart rate. I had to put in effort to get my heart rate above 120 at the gym the other day. That used to be my walking around heart rate. I haven't been struggling with cravings for sweets as badly as I have been, which, considering my incredibly persuasive sweet tooth, I always count as success. While I still struggle to get a full 2 liters of water in daily, I have been improving on my intake and I haven't been indulging in other beverages as often. In fact, I find that when I drink all of my water I don't want other beverages.

On to a subject I've been wanting to post about since Thursday. I want to talk a little about guilt, shame, and regret as they come to dieting. I don't have them. I'm not big on guilt and shame as a general rule, but especially not concerning the food I eat. My philosophy is that guilt and shame are pretty much pointless emotions. Considering the commission of one's actions, one obviously had ample reasons, be they good reasons or not, to commit said actions. Only when the consequences are negative does one think to regret or feel guilty. What good does that do? It certainly doesn't turn back the clock and change anything. It doesn't actively work to correct said negative consequences. Shame and guilt accomplish absolutely nothing but making one feel wretched, and nobody has ever been motivated to admirable actions because they felt wretched. As for regret, I have far more consequential things to regret than any meal I've ever eaten. Why waste all that energy on something that is done and gone and probably brought me joy? I refuse. I bring this up because of a meal I had with a friend. I may have mentioned my coworker with whom I'm cutting back on carbs for at least 2 weeks. Well she took it into her head that we should go have a meal at IHOP because she wanted a Colorado Omelette and figured that fit into the diet. Technically, considering the thing is a massive pile of meat and egg and cheese, she was correct in that nothing in it was forbidden due to carbohydrate value. But once we were there and she ate her omelette she began to feel guilty. She began obsessing over how many calories were in her meal. She began planning to skip future meals to compensate. I myself ate the omelette and the included pancakes with relish and never looked back. It was good and it was what I wanted. It was one meal out of a week of meals, and as long as I didn't develop a Colorado Omelette problem, I saw no issue with indulging. I guess I wonder if guilt, shame, and regret necessarily need to play a role in weight loss? It seems like the general consensus is yes, but I personally disagree. Is it not better to actively change your habits based on information and conscientiousness than to reactively change because of guilt or shame or regret or any combination of the three?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Badges of Honor?

I'm talking stretch marks. I haven't seen any in a long while. In fact, the last time I remember noticing them was when I lost a little weight a few years back (two full time jobs will do that for you). I did a little research and it seems that there are various causes of stretch marks: pregnancy, severe hormonal changes (steroid use seemed to be mentioned most often), rapid weight gain, generally being a teenager, and excessive and rapid weight loss. Most stretch marks seem to be caused by getting too big too fast and are described as angry red or purple marks that eventually fade to a paler, fleshier color. I don't think that's me. My stretch marks have always been stealthy, but then there was nothing fast about my weight gain. Thinking back, I've never noticed them except when my weight happened to dip a little. I think I fall under the rapid weight loss category. My theory, which may be way off base as I'm not a medical professional, is that the dermis of my skin has been gradually stretched over the years, which would explain the lack angry red/purple marks. Now, as I'm losing weight and slimming down, the dermis is collapsing revealing the damage that has been done.Think silly putty. We've all played with it. Do you remember the first time you played with silly putty and you tried to stretch it as far as you could as fast as you could? Do you remember tearing it in half that way? I do. But if you worked it slowly, pulling a piece here and tugging a piece there, before you knew it you had a big, flat, nearly translucent disc of silly putty bigger than your head. And it took some work to get all that flimsy ... whatever silly putty is made of back into its egg.

Unfortunately my skin isn't ever going back in the egg. Stretch marks, it seems, have no really effective treatment. Even worse, the deeper and more severe the stretch marks, the less effective the treatments get. I started this whole thing because I happened to see my bare tummy in the mirror and it is riddled with the suckers. Some are small, some are really long, and some look almost wrinkly because they've collapsed so much. Luckily, they are all really pale so unless you are standing right next to me or are intently looking for them you may miss them. Plus, it isn't as if I plan to show a whole heck of a lot of my bare skin to the general public anyway. I had dreams of maybe one day slimming down enough to contemplate a bikini. I've always wanted to wear one, but lacked the confidence when I was small enough to pull it off. I had enough sense to realize when I couldn't (which I wish some other women would gain but that is a whole different subject). Even now I have to settle with the fact that if I manage to get to a reasonable bikini size there will be the stretch marks to consider. As I see it I can view my stretch marks two ways. I could lament them and feel something close to horrified that my skin will never again be perfect OR I can be proud of them and rejoice because they represent a HUGE accomplishment. I choose pride and joy over shame and horror. So what if I'm streaky. I'll be a hot streaky mess, and proud of it! Perfection is boring anyway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

What I Don't Want

SO I go to Planet Fitness, which is supposed to be the judgement free zone, but sometimes I can't help it. Today was one of those days. I was working on my legs back on the weight machines when this woman walked by who, honest to goodness looked like a man in drag. It wasn't that her face was particularly masculine...but her body was. I didn't really help that she also was way too tan...you know the kind that makes your skin look like wrinkled leather...and her hair was 1985 bleach blonde. The whole look was unfortunate. Before I could stop myself I thought, "I hope I never ever look like that." Then I felt bad, you know, for judging. The thing is I've always had this fear of looking masculine. When I was a kid and my mom made me get my hair cut really short (in a super cute style I was too young and impatient to maintain) I cried because I thought I looked like a boy. Yes, even with my super big boobs I still have this fear to this very day. It is a big part of the reason I have, until now, avoided weight lifting of any kind. In my mind weights cause big muscles. Big muscles are for boys. I even had the thought today as I was trying to figure out how heavy I wanted to set the machines that I'd rather go too light and get less of a workout than go too heavy and get bulky. I guess I worry that I won't know when enough is enough...particularly since I can't see any muscle development because I'm still too fat to see changes in muscle tone. I actually had a nightmare that I was looking in a mirror and my fat melted off of me and I had a man's body underneath (with boobs). It was scary. Maybe I can ease my mind with a little more research on weights and women. There has to be some out there somewhere.

It never helps that when I'm back in the weights area, which I can admit to being fairly intimidated by, there are some men that tend to look at the women like the creature feature on Animal Planet. It's like the thought that a woman might want to improve her muscle tone never occurred to them. Depending on what you do, you may get looked at like you have three heads. A woman on the adductor machines (the thigh squeezy ones) doesn't get a second glance. A woman on the fly machine...what? When did they let women on those? Working on abs? No problem. Triceps, though will get you a double take. I'd find it funny if it wasn't so irritating.

On a positive note I finally saw a change on the scale after almost a month of no difference. I weighed 284 Sunday morning! Hopefully with my plan to be very conscious of my eating habits this week I can continue the trend. I think it's safe to say I probably won't hit my 10 pound goal for this month, being as I didn't see any change for half the month, but I'll take any progress I can get. I worked really hard today. I pushed myself to do an entire extra set of reps at the gym, I worked out at a steady and challenging pace on the Arc Trainers, then I came home and really pushed with my TurboFire workout. I feel like I hit a new level of effort, at least with that particular video. Overall, today, I'm very satisfied with my workout. And now I need some sleep because I wore myself out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Good Pain

So I confess to being an eavesdropper. I'm bad about it...enough so that I pick up people's conversations as I walk past on my way from one place to another. As I was leaving the gym this morning I heard a pair of ladies complaining of muscle soreness to one of the gym staff. See, my gym now offers "classes" where two or more people are guided through their exercise goals by a coach. He'll show you which machines to get on, how to properly operate them, and how long and intensely you need to work in order to meet your goals. These two ladies were, apparently, pushed beyond their liking. The one said she hated that she could barely move the next day because she was in so much pain. In response, the coach replied, "Yeah, but it's a good pain." Really? I accept a small amount of nagging soreness as a necessary evil, but when it gets to the point that range of motion is impeded I find that that to be a problem. Pain is your body's way of letting you know something isn't right. This includes pushing yourself too hard. Don't get me wrong, the human body is incredibly resilient. It forgives a lot of abuse, but it also has limits. If you push too far too fast you can really hurt yourself. It bothers me more than a little that a supposed health professional was counseling people to ignore those signs of over exertion.

Speaking of sore muscles, I finally started working regularly on the weight machinery at the gym. I decided to split myself into 3 sections: legs, arms, and core (i.e. back and abs). I work one section every other day. It's difficult trying to plan around my TurboFire strength training so I'm not punishing myself more than necessary. I'm still working out kinks in the system. So far, my prediction that I would be sore every day has come to fruition. Some days are worse than others, but something always hurts. I'm trying hard not to let that deter me. I found this ointment called Tiger Balm that has been a godsend. Sure it smells like camphor and menthol, but it works so you won't hear me complain. It has even worked wonders on my knees.

Actually, I've been very impressed with my knees. They've always given me trouble, even before I was overweight. I just won the genetic lottery that way. They haven't given me as much trouble as I was expecting. TurboFire features a lot of lunging. I admit to only going halfway with most of it, but it seems the more I'm working my knees the better they're holding up. Every now and then, though, they like to remind me they will never be 100%, but those days are coming fewer and farther between. Go me!

Ok, one more thing and then I'm done. I'm experiencing what you call a plateau. I'm stuck bouncing between 288 and 290. I'm not mentally where I need to be so I've been eating terribly and I acknowledge this. My coworker and I are going to try to jump start ourselves out of this rut next week by cutting out all starches. We're going in together and cooking for two all week to help ensure we both do right. Personally, I'm starting today. I'm hoping it will really help get me back in the zone. It gets discouraging to look at the same numbers on the scale for like three weeks straight. Meanwhile, everyone keeps telling me how good I look, but I feel fatter than ever, which only contributes to the backsliding. I can't wait to say goodbye to 290.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Variability of "Bad"

I hate that food has, more often than not, been relegated into one of two categories: good or bad. Everyone has an opinion on what is "good" food and what is "bad" food, and everyone's opinion differs. It makes it difficult to share with people my goals sometimes, because everyone seems to want to monitor what I eat and lecture me on what I shouldn't be eating. Here's my opinion: as long as it is as natural as possible, it's all good in small doses. Do I eat crap sometimes? Yes. Yes, I do. I refuse to feel guilty about it. I am very conscious of my portion sizes and I compensate for eating something that is less than nutritious by either intensifying my workout or eating extra great over the next 24 hours. A big one people seem to take issue with is butter. I've heard "you use butter???" more than once. I use butter, not only because I prefer the taste, but also because it has less artificial crud in it. Seriously, look at the back of a margarine box just once and then look at the ingredient listing for butter. While margarine has a long, complicated list that is very difficult to pronounce, butter has two ingredients: sweet cream and salt. Is butter a significant source of saturated fats? Sure. Does that mean exchanging a natural solution for a complicated chemical one constitutes a healthful decision? Not so much. In general, when it pertains to ingredient listings I am of the opinion that simpler is better. I have taken to reading the ingredient listing on anything I purchase that isn't in a raw state (by that I mean it's already assembled in some form or fashion) and I've put a lot of things I previously enjoyed back on the shelf. I'll go with whatever has the simplest ingredients, even if it costs a little more. I feel better for it. It could just be that I have convinced myself that consuming a bunch of laboratory accidents couldn't possibly be good for you and I'm experiencing some kind of nutritional placebo effect. Even if that is the case, I'll take it.

Monday, April 4, 2011

March in Summary

It took me a while to get back and I'm sorry. I have been very very disconnected from everyone lately. I'm not certain what is going on with that, but I'll try to be better. Anyway.

March was a little disappointing in its passing. I gained 2 pounds, rounding out the month at 290.2 for a total weight loss of 25 pounds since I began. That's not bad, mind you, it just wasn't my goal of 285. I tried, too, working my butt off both in the gym and with my TurboFire. I spent the last week of March really watching my food intake. Still it wasn't enough and not only did those final three pounds NOT go away, but two more joined them. It seems my changes are coming just in time. On the positive end, my body fat percentage has come down by 2.5% since February, which is awesome and might account for the weight gain, or at least some of it. I know that muscle is denser than fat, so adding just a little bit of muscle shows on the scale in the same way a lot of fat would. I'll watch the scale and if my weight gain is due to muscle gain, I should see big drops eventually. This is because I know that more muscle burns fat faster than just cardio work.

So we're in April. This month through June I am supposed to make several changes including: adding 30 minutes of weight training to my cardio daily, cutting my food portions by 1/4, adding 1 liter of water to my daily intake, and making the switch to whole grains. So far I'm floundering a little in trying to figure how to cut my portions. Do I load my plate as I normally would and then put some back? I've been trying to put a little less on my plate to begin with, but then how do I know I've reduced by a quarter? Also, do I cut down on everything, or maintain the same amount of, say, veggies and reduce, say, grains? I am also struggling to incorporate 2 liters of water. This is, interestingly, the daily suggested amount of water. It is a lot of water. I see why most Americans don't get this in. It is hard to incorporate it into my daily schedule. I imagine this will just be a matter of convenient placing. Previously, I've had my water in my kitchen fridge and I drank it mostly when I was cooking. I had the idea of putting one of my daily liters upstairs where I can get to it easily while I'm resting. I'm also going to have to figure out how to get my water at work, which is hard because we aren't allowed to have food or drink in our work area and we also spend several hours at a time in the lab with no chance to come out. Also, you can't leave things at work because they routinely "clean out" the cafeteria, which really just means they throw out things that have been sitting. As for adding the weight work, I just haven't done it. I have a meeting today at 2, so rather than hitting the gym and TurboFiring right after work I opted to get some rest so I'm not a zombie at my meeting. My plan is to go to the gym after at about 3:30. I'm a little intimidated by the weight machines, but I plan to go back there and tackle them. I'm breaking up the weight training into body regions and doing a different region each time. Today I think legs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In Case I Ever Wondered...

...which side of the sado-masochism set I fall under, I now feel firmly certain that I am NOT a masochist. There are some people that really love muscle exhaustion and take that quiet ache as a sign of a workout well done. I am not one of those people. I'm in a constant state of soreness, and everyone seems really excited about it. Everyone except me, that is. It seems that now that I've made the decision to commit to both the gym and my TurboFire program I'm doomed to a life of one thing hurting or another. Seriously, as soon as the ache leaves my arms, my legs hurt. As soon as my legs heal up it's my abs. I've felt muscles ache that I'm almost certain I never saw on that guy in the doctor's offices and anatomy textbook. You know, the one who's been skinned so patients can learn something while waiting for the doctor to get around to seeing them. Yesterday I worked really hard, both in the gym and again when I got home. As a result, my legs feel like any wrong move will cause my calves to snap off at the knee and roll up like a bad cartoon. My back took nearly two hours to warm up enough for me to have full range of motion. Also if I bend and lift just right, as I discovered in the middle of my workday, my teres major remind me forcefully that they are there. I'm taking a break today and it couldn't come a minute too soon. Pain makes me cranky.

On the positive side, I am beginning to really notice a change in the way my clothes fit for the first time. I'm talking about the stuff I wear every day. Especially around my thighs, my pants are getting a little looser every day. This brings me the joy that I keep getting told I'm supposed to feel about my sore muscles. I'm not, however, excited about the way my fat seems to be coming off. I feel like I'm losing everywhere but the two  places I'd like to see a change the most: my belly and my arms. I may just be exhibiting my neuroses, but I feel like all the fat in my torso is traveling to my kangaroo pouch and throwing a farewell party there. In fact, I had this weird dream that I got really skinny around my ribcage, and my legs and arms were like sticks, but my belly was as fat and flabby as ever. In my dream my fat stomach swayed when I walked like my cat's does. It really wasn't cool. Now, when I look in the mirror it seems like the bulge of my belly keeps growing while my face and everything else (except my water wings) get smaller.

The scale said I gained two pounds back last week, but I feel thinner so I wonder if I actually put back on fat or if I'm beefing up the muscle, which is denser. Since my body fat is down by 2% from when I started, which I'm coming to realize is a good bit, I'm voting for muscle. I guess that's just going to have to be worth the pain.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Part Of The Problem

So I've noticed a few things that I need to focus on improving upon. I got lazy last week and didn't drink my water. As a result I felt kind of crappy and got lazy about everywhere else too. Seriously my house is a mess because I just "didn't feel like it." What is it? Anything. I didn't feel like cleaning, or cooking, or doing anything more taxing than laying in bed reading a book or watching a movie. Worse, I really only gave the gym half an effort. In fact I think the only reason I managed to not gain weight was because I also didn't feel like eating all that much either. So that is one thing I am aiming to work on as I move forward. I really need to move beyond "I don't feel like it" to "I need to get it done." And this week I have been drinking my water and I feel worlds better. I've also been going to the gym in addition to doing my TurboFire. Speaking of, I am soooooo sore and trying hard not to use it as an excuse. I've been hurting since I started TurboFire on Monday and after the tone class I took today that is only going to get worse. My only hope is that I whip this pathetic lump of fat I call a body into enough shape that I'm not punished all week for each class. I have a feeling this is a long road.

Another point of improvement: my eating habits. While I still stick mostly to the plan the quality of stuff I've been eating has taken a turn for the worse. I've been giving in to cravings. I've been losing track of how many sodas I've had or how many times I've eaten out in a week. I've been indulging in very very sweet tea....and beer. Things like that have me questioning my decision making processes. I've decided it has to be because I stopped logging my food. I got into a wreck (not my fault this time) a few weeks back and as a result hurriedly cleaned out my car. One of the things to come out of my car and go into a box to be sorted later was my food journal. It is in that box still and I believe that lack of accountability has caused this downward spiral. So, as soon as I log off I'm dusting it off and recording again. Okay, maybe when I wake up.

I've fallen back into the habit of indulging my sweet tooth. It seems every time I fall off the anti-sugar wagon it gets harder and harder to drag myself back up. It's becoming clear to me that sugar and I aren't ready to part ways yet. I'm going to invest in some snack size candies to try to wean myself off. That way I can satisfy the need for something sweet by eating just one. I get the sweet taste without going overboard and seriously standing in my own way.

Now to some things that have gone right. One of my supervisors turned to me this week, looked me up and down and said, "You've lost weight." Period, no question. After gazing at me pensively for a few moments she concluded with, "You look good." I have to say this made me very happy. That it wasn't a question but a statement of fact, even more so. And I got a personal confirmation on two fronts: I can wear (comfortably) jeans I haven't been able to fit into in a year, and my fingers have gone down a ring size and are flirting with another. Both discoveries left me a little giddy. It truly is the little things, stacking one on top of the other, that are quietly whispering of my successes. I'm just eager, at this point, to keep them talking.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Have I Gotten Myself Into...

So I got a tax return this year and spent some of it on TurboFire. It's a cardio/weight loss program from Beach Body Fitness that focuses on high intensity workouts that are dancy and fun. I, admittedly, paid a lot of money for it, but the package comes with 10 "classes" and a schedule of when to do which workout. It also has some information on healthy eating habits as well as a suggested diet which I am largely ignoring. I bought it because it looked like a reasonably entertaining program and the before and after pictures looked legit. You know how some programs try to sell you a before and after picture that don't even closely resemble the original person? Not so, TurboFire. The pictures were obviously the same people, looked convincingly free of photoshop, AND didn't have that "results not typical" tagline. I was sold. I ordered a week ago and picked up my package today. I decided to go ahead and dive right in.

Holy Cow. If this doesn't do the job nothing will. It was everything it promised. The routines were fun and I feel confident that as I continue to do them I'll pick up on the transitions better. I'll be honest, all in all with the catch-my-breath breaks I took I did about half of the workout. Even then, my legs are still tingling over an hour later. This was the first workout I've ever done that made me sweat enough to immediately want to wash my hair after. I, in general, am not a big sweater. I've decided to go with the pre-program to work myself up to the crowning glory of the TurboFire system: the HIIT workout. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. Basically you go really really hard for about 30 to 60 seconds, then rest for the same amount of time and then go hard again. It cycles this way for anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes. I watched the HIIT and I don't think I'm ready yet. So I'm taking the extended class schedule in which I can take two months of doing the "easier" (I use this term very lightly) cardio, sculpting, stretch, and toning classes. This way I can psych myself up for the big leagues. I'm interested to see the other classes. The instructor, Chalene, is like a cheerleader on speed and I love it. I also don't feel bad when I see HER, the creator of this program, get winded. I feel like I've accomplished something just because I didn't quit. So far it incorporates a lot of kick-boxing which I actually enjoy. Now the test is to see if I maintain this enthusiasm for the next six months...and I think I just might.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Salad is for Suckers

So there seems to be this idea that in order to lead a healthy lifestyle, maintain a healthy weight, and proudly boast of a healthy diet you must eat salad. I say nay. I've never liked salad. I feel vaguely like a ruminant when chomping on raw lettuce and various other veggies. In fact, by the time I like salad, you know after adding all the meat and egg and cheese and fatty fatty dressing, it's no longer healthy. Salad sucks. I have serious doubts as to the trustworthiness of anyone who claims to love it. It could just be me, but it seems that liking salad is a lie we tell ourselves to make the fact that we have to eat it for the so-and-so-whatever-weight-loss-regimen bearable. The reason I'm ranting about salad is because of a conversation that a friend and I had yesterday. It pissed me off and since I'm still thinking about it I figured I'd write about it. He has decided to eat healthier. Yay him. He was telling me how good he was doing with his diet and mentioned with this tiny hint of smug superiority that he's been eating salad as a meal replacement every day. At this point I told him bluntly that I hate salad and haven't had a single one all year, even on vegetarian days. For a time the salad conversation was over. Then he mentioned wanting cookies. Apparently the quarter cookie he had as a sample sparked a need for more sugar. I understand, having just battled with my sugar craving not so long ago. I suggested he eat a piece of fruit instead at which point he turns his head and says "yeah, well, you need to eat a salad." THAT was the part that pissed me off. For one thing, I was genuinely suggesting a healthy alternative to a cookie binge. For another, I've successfully lost 27 pounds and counting without a single salad in sight.  Nobody needs salad. Screw salad. I resent being considered less dedicated because I refuse to eat them. And I will continue to refuse to eat them. I'm down to 288, so clearly the veggies I am eating are serving me just fine WITHOUT reminding me of cattle.

Friday, March 11, 2011

This Wagon is Clearly Unsafe.

I keep falling off it. Someone should look into that. I spent half of my week eating very very badly. Oh, technically, I never deviated from my plan. But everything I ate, at least the first half of the week, was either fried or baked. Oh, no, not the good "baked" as in chicken. I mean "baked" as in goods. As in before it was baked it was batter. I've been in the grips of a relentless sweet tooth. It seemed, as is often the case with sugar, that the more I gave in, the more I wanted. I would then feel horribly guilty and try to compensate by NOT eating anything. This, I know, is perhaps the least healthy of all the ways I could handle this situation. Starvation is never the answer....and it makes me cranky. About midweek I made a serious effort to curb this trend. I was successful in purging the fried foods, but I was weak when it came to the baked goods. I managed to walk away from an entire booth of yummies at the farmer's market today, so the sweets might be on their way out the door. We'll see how badly my slip has effected me when I weigh tomorrow morning.

I've been good about my working out. I didn't really slack this week, with the exception of today. I opted not to go this morning because I was exhausted. I still am. I never got to sleep, so in retrospect I should have just gone when I got off work as usual. Even if I did a slack "I'm tired" workout, it's better than none at all. I borrowed a Billy Blanks DVD that hasn't moved from my table, where I placed it after I borrowed it. Correction: it is now on the floor where my cats knocked it over. I'll get to it, I'm just intimidated. I've done a Tae Bo workout before and it about killed me. I'm giving serious thought to purchasing a similar "system" I saw on an infomercial. It comes with several DVDs and any other tools needed to successfully complete the program. The program, called Turbo Fire, focuses on dancing and looks somewhat "fun" as much as working out can be. It also looks a little intimidating, but if I pay for it I will have the incentive to at least give all the DVDs a try. The "before and after" pictures were impressive. If anyone has tried the Turbo Fire system let me know how it worked for you, or what you thought of it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I'm a Loser, Baby!

And it's not even killing me. I did my weekly weigh in and found I've managed to drop to a very svelte 292.6. I feel great! Lately, I have been feeling really, really good. I've been happy for no good reason, I dance around the  house just because I feel like it, and I've been singing at work (much to the chagrin of my coworkers, I'm sure). I can't say if it's because of all the exercising or the eating right, but perhaps there's something to all those reports that a healthier lifestyle improves the mood. Or maybe I'm just on an upswing. They happen too. I guess we'll just have to wait and see if this great mood continues as I continue to eat right and exercise.

I'm gearing up to make my changes for the second quarter of the year. I'll be adding vegetarian Tuesdays and some weight training into the mix. I'm a little apprehensive of the weight training, not so much because it involves weights, but more because I've not done it before. It will be totally new for me and that is always a little disconcerting. That and I really hate sore muscles, which, if done right, I should be having lots of. I'm hoping it's kind of like when you have a persistent headache that you keep so long you stop really feeling it. Surprisingly I'm less worried about the vegetarian Tuesdays than I thought I'd be. Surrendering my meat has been relatively painless. I eat a lot of beans and brown rice and other really filling things so I don't feel the absence of meat as much. Don't get me wrong, I still find myself looking forward to the days I'm allowed chicken or steak, but I'm also kind of looking forward to exploring my veggies more. Mostly I do simple, because it's faster, but I have come up with some really interesting and very tasty veggie combinations.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Call Me "Flexitarian"

I thought carefully about what kind of eating patterns I wanted to have once I've made my "lifestyle transition." I call it a lifestyle transition because that is exactly what it is. I want to be clear; I'm not on a diet. "Diet", in my opinion, is a dirty word (when used in reference to a restrictive eating pattern with the express purpose of losing weight quickly). Diets are temporary, ultra-restrictive, often unhealthy, unsustainable, and ultimately unsuccessful. I am engaged in changing the whole way I think about and prepare my food. This is, hopefully, a permanent change that I hope to keep enthusiasm for. I looked long and hard at what changes I felt needed to be made and came up with one glaringly obvious adjustment. I ate way too much meat. Too much meat? Is there such a thing? I would have answered no, but I was consuming meat as the main food product for EVERY meal. No exceptions. With the kind of lifestyle I lead there was really no cause for consuming such calorie dense sustenance with that kind of consistency. I have, however, tried the vegetarian thing and I was miserable without my meat. So I needed to find a middle ground I could stick with. For those of you who have read The Plan, you know that by the end of this year I will have split my week into three strictly vegetarian days, two pescatarian days (with fish and/or shellfish only), and two carnivorous days (call them free-for-alls). I thought it was just common sense and a plan I could maintain. Apparently there is a "movement" which is all about cutting back on meat. It is called flexitarianism. There was even an article in the paper about it.


'Flexitarians' find new path: Occasional carnivores - CharlotteObserver.com

Who knew this was news? I can't say I have reasons as noble as saving the planet or ensuring animals are happy before they are slaughtered. I just recognized an unhealthy tendency and wanted to work to change it. Look at me being trendy without trying!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

February in Summary

I began February at 300.8 pounds, and I ended it at an even 295. I have mixed feelings about my progress. On the one hand, five pounds is nothing to sneeze at. On the other hand, I know I could have done better. On the other hand (I feel like Tevye), being set back by a tragedy is understandable. On the other hand, I made more excuses than I strictly needed to and I knew it.

I made a few discoveries this month. The first, and perhaps best as far as my health is concerned, is that I have really lost my appetite for fast food. I've indulged a handful of times this past month and came away unsatisfied each and every time. Even my old favorites have lost their luster, so unless I am struck by an uncontrollable need for fries or am really running short on time, I think the fast food may be gone for good. I don't even mourn its passing. In fact, I feel really good about this decision.

I would really recommend that anyone who is stuck on fast food to leave it alone for a month or two. Go sit down in an actual restaurant and enjoy yourself. Better yet, cook. That's right, I said it. Make time in your schedule and cook for yourself. It is the best way to control what you are eating. Anyway, if after two months you still want the fast food I'd be surprised.

Second, I have found I have no capability to make reasonable amounts of rice or pasta. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, as I make whole wheat pasta and brown rice, but it means I have a ton of leftovers. Which brings me to discovery three: I am no good at eating leftovers. I just like variety and eating the same thing over and over doesn't appeal to me. I find myself letting food sit, which eventually needs to be thrown out and I hate wasting food. It would seem the solution would be to make less, which I believe I mentioned I have trouble doing. Oh, the vicious cycle.

I am also a self-saboteur. I know I was down to at least 294.2 midweek, but instead of continuing to lose I went to Chick-Fil-A and Sonic. Instead of drinking extra water and eating plenty of veggies, I drank soda and ate a triple chocolate mousse. I made conscious decisions to eat badly. It's a personality flaw I'm going to have to be very aware of if I want to avoid backsliding.

Friday, February 25, 2011

And Today's Excuse:

There are some days where the cosmos is screaming at you, "don't push it!" Today is one of those days. It started out innocently enough. I awoke early (having foregone work yesterday evening due to illness) with the intent of getting my car inspected so I can renew my registration. I arrived at 8am only to be told that it would be practically half a days wait and it would be better to come back tomorrow. So I drove back home where I kept forgetting why I walked into various rooms. The wind blew out my window screen and I feared my cat fell out the window (I found her just now, she did not fall out the window, but was spooked by all the wind and was in hiding). I debated for about two hours or so if I should go to the grocery store. It meant driving across town to the Whole Foods because I wanted a very specific cereal which is pretty much just sold there and some organic milk. After deciding it would be worth the drive to satisfy my craving I got in my car and was almost immediately hit by another driver. I mean I got maybe a mile from home. I'm still marveling at the fact that I managed to drive 12 years without an accident and have had two in the last three months. This one was not my fault, thank goodness. Anyway, after dealing with that I was determined to get the stupid cereal that drove me out of the house in the first place. I managed to maintain enough spirit to set up a mild flirtation with the very tall, very cute cashier, then I returned home. And after getting all my groceries settled I tripped upstairs and managed to skin my knees hard enough to draw blood.

So I am not leaving the house today, because clearly the universe has it out for me. I mean I bloodied myself on my own stairs. I am very clearly meant to spend the rest of today in bed and try again tomorrow.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

It's the Little Things

Things like being able to run up a flight of stairs without getting winded make me feel incredibly proud of myself. Why, you ask? People run up stairs all the time, you say? To that I respond, people might run upstairs all the time but I do not. I could barely walk up a set of stairs without huffing and puffing prior to my 2011 endeavor. I, my friends, have come a long way in just the two months I've been regularly exercising. If my improvement isn't an incentive to continue, I don't know what is. And honestly, even if I'm destined to remain larger than average, knowing I have improved my health and ability is worth all the hard work.

I went to the gym this morning and really worked out hard. I needed to because I skipped yesterday. I don't really have an excuse other than I really didn't feel like it. Usually I can overcome those sentiments and hit the gym anyway, but yesterday I just ... didn't. Another reason to hit the gym? The two chocolate iced Krispy Kremes I ate in this morning's meeting. At our monthly meetings our boss brings in doughnuts. Usually I'll have one and call it a day, but this morning the first one was so good that I couldn't walk past the box without getting another. So not only did I work my butt off in the gym, I am watching what I eat very closely for the rest of the day. I am also severely limiting my portions for the rest of the day in hopes of counteracting my earlier slip up.

On another note, I have been feeling really restless recently. I'm having a harder than usual time sleeping. I've not slept well since I entered adulthood (insert my mother's ever present suggestion: sleep study!), but lately it has been really bad. I'll sleep for maybe three or four hours and then just be up. At best, I get about two hours more rest before heading off to work. At worst, I never get back to sleep. I've been trying to avoid the use of sleeping aids, but I am really going to need some help if this phase doesn't break soon.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Surprising Progress

I fully expected to backslide last week. Due to the death of my grandfather I haven't been motivated to do much but sleep. As I stepped on the scale yesterday I expected to see a number beginning with three, but instead I found that I finally broke past 298, if only by a little. I weighed in at 297.4, showing more progress than I have since February began. It is a pleasant surprise.

I return to work tonight after taking a few days for bereavement, and though my heart may not truly be in it yet I plan to return to my exercise regimen in the morning. This small progress will hopefully inspire me to push myself once I get to the gym. I want to try to make 295 by the end of February and it's going to take a lot of hard work and discipline. I've already talked myself out of a soda binge and cookies; the week has barely begun.