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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Impetus For Change

Dissatisfaction is the impetus for change. When we are satisfied, we grow complacent. Human nature follows the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy. And, really it makes sense. If things are good, if things are just as you like them, why on earth would you want to muck up a system that works? Answer: you don't. That's why people generally have to be pretty darn miserable to change,  well, anything. I mention this because I've gotten to a pretty darn miserable place. Now I'm not saying this to garner any concern or pity. I am, in fact, encouraged by my utter dissatisfaction with the way my weight loss journey is going. I've written recently about falling off the wagon once again, and this time I'm finding myself having a particularly hard time getting back in the sucker. In fact, my wagon is moving forward, full speed ahead, dragging me in its wake. But to day I had a realization. This is going to sound a lot worse than it is,  I promise you. I realized I hate my reflection. I know this smacks of a discouraging sense of self image, but that isn't at all where I come from here.

I'll be honest, my reflection and I have never really seen eye to eye. Like most women I have a hypersensitivity to what I consider my flaws. Regardless of what anyone else sees, I have always seen glaring flaws in my reflection. This has led to a dearth of mirrors in my home...as in I own none. That's right, not one. The only mirrors I have access to are those that come with my living establishment and those I rarely look into. More importantly, my mirrors mainly focus on the face. They are not full body mirrors. So I walk around, often, with a vague concept of how my body looks. I'll see other overweight women and try to mentally compare how we carry our weight to try to garner an impression of what I look like to others. The truth is I'm still not sure how I present myself. But lately I've been seeing a lot of me, not in mirrors, but in windows. Storefront windows and glass doors at night are great for bouncing a reflection of you around. I also saw me on a security cam. In every single occasion that I've seen myself in the past week I've been really, really disappointed in me. To me, the person I see is not representative of the person I am, and I need to change that.

Now I fully understand that what I'm seeing in the mirror is unavoidable. I'm in transition. The way I have lost weight so far, it's as if I'm shrinking from my extremities inwards. The result is that my forearms and lower legs are smaller. My face, neck, and chest are smaller. My gut and my hips...not smaller. So I feel like I look  fatter. What I need to do is put my nose to the grindstone and go ahead and transition already. But I've been caught up lately in a web of inconvenience and excuses which just adds to the dissatisfaction I'm feeling.

Never fear. Hope is in sight. In about two weeks my work schedule will be changing. Instead of having a broken day, all of my work will be in one giant block of time. This will be great, because it means that I'll be able to use my time more efficiently. I'll be able to get back into the gym without it being an exhausting ordeal. I'll be able to cook again without having to balance my schedule first. I'm really looking forward to it. My time of excuses is coming to an end, and I see change on the horizon.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Oh! What A Difference The Meat Makes

Of all the things I've given up, I miss my meat the most. Anyone who knows me knows that I have an affection for animal flesh that borders on the verge of unhealthy obsession. Sure, I can't stand the consistency of animal fat and you couldn't come off of enough green to make me eat chicken skin. Well, you could, but it would have to be a HEFTY chunk of change. In a way, that's been a saving grace for me. I don't really enjoy fried chicken because all the crunchy tasty is attached to icky skin. I avoid some of the more popular cuts of beef and pork because they're extra fatty. But nice, lean, muscle mass cooked to perfection? YUM. It saddened me to restrict my meat intake to twice a week. I really struggled with it, but I kept it up for over a year. It seems that may have been just enough time to forget why I cut back on my meat to begin with. Last week, I broke my eating pattern to have meat every day. I told myself that I was experimenting. I told myself that maybe I could include more meat in my weekly planning. I told myself that perhaps my original logic for cutting out the meat was flawed in the first place. I told myself a lot of things. In reality it was all a cover for the fact that I missed meat and really, really, really wanted it. Every day.

So I indulged.

And it showed...on the scale. A lot.

Now to be fair, I'm still not sure it's so much the meat itself as it was the way I was eating it. It wasn't as if I was eating grilled chicken breasts all week. I was eating Mexican, burgers, Chinese, chicken nuggets...basically anything my greedy little carnivore heart desired. I mean, if the goal was clean eating, I was eating as smutty as it gets. Add on a few sodas and some sweets and I found a lot of my hard work blown. To the discordant tune of ten pounds. Crazy what a week can do, right? So THIS week I'm back to my schedule...even if it is difficult, not to mention tedious, to explain to people.

This leads me to another problem I'm encountering. With my dog walking, I am out of the house a solid three hours in the middle of the day and any time outside of that has been dedicated to sleeping. It's tricky, since I want to avoid getting into bed much beyond 3pm, because then I can't get enough sleep. Then I drag at work and leave exhausted. Trouble is I get so focused on the fact that I have to sleep that I don't sleep and I leave exhausted anyway. So I nap BEFORE walking dogs, just so I can stay on my feet. Long story short, I don't get time to cook, what with all the sleeping...or trying to sleep. And I'll have less once I dedicate myself to hitting the gym with my workout partner to be. This means I have far fewer healthy options at my disposal and have been relying on fast food and quick fixes. This is also a contributor to my ten pound slide. I keep telling myself (a theme this posting) that one...maybe two... good night's rest will put me back on track and I can get my cooking done before my walking and then sleep like a baby after the gym. That's been the plan, anyway, for the past few weeks and I've yet to implement it. I'm thinking of other options. Maybe I need to cook all my meals for the week on Friday or Saturday. I hesitate to say Saturday because it really is the only day out of seven on which I can be social. I'd hate to give up my only chance at human interaction to spend time slaving in the kitchen. Or I can suck it up and run on less sleep. I've done it before, but I get cranky and that can tend to be...unpleasant...for those whom I work with. But I hesitate to do that because I don't want to trade one unhealthy behavior for another. Plus, sleep deprivation is counterproductive in the weight loss game. Anybody have any suggestions?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Hello Again

SO a lot has happened since I last typed. I've been getting a lot of feedback. There have been a lot of people who have said they read, and honestly it made me feel bad that I wasn't holding up my end of the bargain here. So this is kind of a guilt posting, but isn't that the whole point? Wasn't the idea to be held accountable in the first place. Success is bittersweet, it seems. On the other hand, my blog has been weighing heavily on my mind lately...okay, not so heavily, but it has been flitting through my head with astonishing regularity.

So what is this "a lot" I speak of? In no particular order: I left the country. I have been asked to be in a wedding. My weight has bobbled from 262 to 278 and back again. And back again. I got a second job and was informed that I'll be losing my first one. I may have found a workout partner...that may cover it. If I think of more I'll let you know.

Oh yeah, and I turned 30. To celebrate the death of my twenties I hied myself off to Costa Rica. It's always been somewhere I wanted to go and I was determined to have a stamp in my passport by the big 3-0. It was gorgeous, but I'll admit that I've never been as conscious of being an overweight American in my life. The people in Costa Rico, who call themselves Ticos, are much smaller, in general. I think in the entire week I was there I may have seen two extra fleshy Ticos. And they talk about you. Seriously. I went ziplining and felt like a fat-ass when they gave me a double harness. Oh, yeah, that felt good. And then one of the guides made a comment that included the words "que larga". I'm not fluent, but I do know "how big" en espanol. Then lets talk about when I went scuba diving and the horror that was getting in and out of a wetsuit. Listening to the teeny tiny Tico man snicker as we try to wiggle me into the super sized suit. Even the horses were in on it! I went horseback riding twice and one nearly flatly refused to keep walking and the other kept turning his head to glare at me. I spent at least half of my vacation embarrassed of my size.

It was easy for me to see why the Tico culture lends to smaller individuals. The transportation there is usually your feet. When it's too far to walk they'll bike. Compared to the US there were relatively few automobiles. And the food is different there, too. Here, clean eating is a movement. There it's a way of life. I didn't have a single processed food during my entire stay. Everything was all natural, mostly local, and really fresh. They also aren't much for cheeses or other dairy. So the diet is mainly protein, vegetables, and rice. Rice and beans with a side of plantain and optional meats, there called casado, is a typical meal. I had it a lot. Can you say delicious? It is now a goal to figure out how to properly make my own casado.

But let's move on. Returning from Costa Rica, I was more determined to eat better, but didn't. I could make excuses, but the truth is that I just didn't want to cook. I didn't want to shop. I wanted to make healthier choices, but didn't want to do all the work involved. I've been incredibly lazy.  I continue to be lazy. I acknowledge this, but acknowledgement is not enough. I was very active on my trip, so I came back lighter than I left. I ruined it, of course, by my frequent trips to fast food establishments. I've made a few half hearted attempts to get my eating under control, but I can't quite commit. It's why my weight has yoyo'd. I've been working with MyFitnessPal, on and off. I had been consistent, but I fell off of that wagon. Like any other, it's hard to crawl back onto it.

In order to be more active, in general, I got a second job walking dogs. I really enjoy it, in spite of the summer heat. It was my plan to keep going to the gym (which we can talk about in a moment) and walk dogs so that I wasn't spending so much time lying around the house. In truth I find myself so exhausted (more excuses, I know) that I spend all my spare time sleeping. In order to combat that, I've found myself a gym buddy. Let's talk about the gym...more importantly, how I haven't been in it. My gym attendance has been terrible. I really need to make my fitness a priority, but I clearly don't possess the impetus to do it on my own, so I've gone to an outside source. We haven't started working out together, but I really hope this keeps me in line. Particularly since I need to get myself together before I make my first bridesmaids appearance. We all know there is always one pitiful bridesmaid and I refuse to be it.

So I think now you're all caught up. I won't torture you further. I'll try to be more consistent. Yeah, yeah, you've heard it before.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Holy Clavicles, Batman!

Short, but sweet today.

A benchmark of my success has always been a clavicle sighting. I tend to hold weight around my neck. Attractive, I know. Due to all this extra neck fat my clavicles have become mysterious, mythical entities. Kind of like Bigfoot, I've heard that my clavicles exist, but I've not seen them so I'm skeptical. But slowly, very slowly, something has been happening. As I've lost weight my clavicles have been making peek-a-boo appearances on odd occasions. When I'd shrug or take a deep breath they'd surface briefly and then retreat to wherever it is they go during day to day operation.

Today I looked in the mirror and saw my clavicles without the shrug or the deep breath. They were faint, but they were there, two slightly canted horizontal slashes just below my neck. They were glorious. Laugh if you like, but the sight of a standard portion of my anatomy elated me. They also count as a pretty solid reaffirmation that I'm headed in the right direction. Who knew two little bones could make my day?

Friday, February 3, 2012

Starting Over

Don't die. I know it's a shock. Unexpected as it is, you may be totally unprepared for this.

I'm back to blogging.

I missed you. Sorry I stayed away so long. To make a long story short I hit a hell of a plateau which sparked a little bit of a funk and a very long hiatus from my pursuit of health. Oh I kept up token concepts, like my scheduled eating days, but a vegetarian day doesn't do much for you when you fill it up with pizza, ice cream, and grilled cheese sammiches. Hey, they're meat free so they count. I might have even put veggies on the pizza. My shaky logic showed in my waistline. Here's where I am with my weight: pretty much the same place I was in October. I'm actually up about 5 pounds, that being after I lost 5 in Vegas, gained about 10 while I recovered(we'll get back to that), got a little depressed and stopped eating , thus losing 5, then going on a cruise and finding 10, and finally getting back on the wagon and losing 5. That was confusing. Imagine how I feel.

Okay, so to make a long story long I have to take you back, WAY back, to October 2011. The last thing you heard from me, I had given up my health plan in favor of Las Vegas, Nevada. Well I went to Sin City and actually didn't go insane on all the food there. Add in walking about five miles a day due to the incredibly deceptive distance of things in the desert and I came back a little more than five pounds lighter. I also came back much, much lazier. The fact that I had an empty fridge and an empty wallet meant that I was looking for cheap easy ways to feed myself for about two weeks. Hello, cheap pizza; goodbye, five pounds of progress. Since I fell off a mule, yes I said mule, and seriously injured my knee, working out was, well, out. This, of course, did not do much for my resolve. In case you wondered, there's only so much of a five month plateau a sane person can take without questioning the point of doing something. Since my diet and exercise regimen were pretty much shot, I decided I no longer cared. The holiday season was upon me, and frankly I've never been one to pass up Thanksgiving in spite of the fact that I typically have at least two full blown Thanksgiving meals to attend. None of that stuff is particularly good for you, even the homemade stuff. After Thanksgiving I gave in to the terrible urge to step on the scale and promptly decided not to eat ever again. Of course, that's silly. One must eat. I did, however, totally abandon my appetite. I just had no inclination to put food in my mouth and enjoy it. Since I was only eating once or twice a day(I'd eat at work so nobody would ask me if something was wrong. Why is it that people think asking if everything is okay is a good idea? If something is wrong do you really think I appreciate you making me talk to you about it? Really? Sorry, minor rant over.) I lost around five pounds in the three weeks or so that I kept that up. Christmas came and went, as did New Years, without significant impact on my weight. Then I went on my 2012 Vacation Blitz. I went to Disneyworld the second weekend of January subsiding mostly on peanut butter sandwiches, home bake pizza, and fast food. Yummy....also, super healthy...right? No? Well okay, how about the floating smorgasbord Carnival calls a cruise liner? It wasn't that the food was particularly horrible. It was that it was available 24 hrs a day. Do you know what constant grazing on sub par cruise fare gets you? I do. Ten pounds heavier, that's what. I did have some really delicious, high quality, healthy food while visiting my Miami friend. I then ruined that trend by demanding a stop at Miami Subs(which, by the way, almost made me miss my flight). I returned to a sad number on my scale, a fridge that was once again empty, and restless energy I could never quite dispel. I bought a bunch of brown rice and canned veggies and stuff for grilled cheese sammiches(it's an addiction, get off me!) to combat my empty fridge. I hit the gym to combat the restless energy and the sad scale number.

I bought a used ipod touch. This is relevant only because it allowed me to access a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal. I like it. I will be the first to admit that I'm way too lazy to calorie count on my own. It's a lot of effort. This app, however, allows me to see in a tangible way exactly how much I'm eating with relative ease. They have a database of foods that I can access wherever I happen to be, whenever I happen to be eating. My job is to search and choose my foods; the app does the rest. If I can't find it, I can add to the database. When I'm cooking I can enter all my individual ingredients and how many servings it makes and this thing does the math for me and will enter a per serving calorie and nutrient count. I'm in love. So far, I've seen a little progress and have lost at least two pounds in my first week and a half. I haven't weighed myself recently so it may be more than that by now. Now if I can only convince myself that I do not need to eat up all the calories I burn working out just because my app tells me I can I might just make it off my plateau.

Anyhow, I took a hard look at the last year and I've decided I tried to do too much, too fast. So now I'm going back to the last place I saw success and starting to build from there. I'm still working out all the details, but when I know, you'll know.