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.

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.