pounds & persistence

my journey toward fitness and wellness and faith

Archive for the month “July, 2011”

10 Pounds?!

Weight: 251.6 lb

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Hello readers! If you’ve been reading my posts, heck if you’ve read any previous post of mine and then todays, you may notice that the above number is the lowest number yet that the scale has turned up. I’ve been clawing my way toward weight loss for the last 6 weeks, and this number reflects about 10 pounds lost on my own home scale. I have a WW weigh-in today, however, so we’ll see if their official scale agrees.

In preparation of my weigh-in, I’ve been implementing some strategies- some silly, some serious. The silly strategy is my breakfast, which was delicious and is pictured above. However, peaches and coffee really isn’t a practical breakfast, and I’m aware that such light fare will not satisfy me in the long term, but with my weigh-in just around the corner, I figured something light would hold me over until I could indulge in a real breakfast later. Maybe even at Sam’s Bagels. Yum.

On the serious side, I’ve made a concerted effort to move more this week, and not just at the gym. Though I’ve kept up, for the most part, with my gym workouts, I’ve also tried to incorporate more bike rides and even trips to the pool and another trip to the zoo. And I think these activities will pay off- yesterdays trip to the Baltimore Zoo with my husband, his sisters and my nieces burned 25 activity points according to my WW app! So I’m hoping that I’ll be able to continue to incorporate some of this activity, like walking the dogs or going for a weekend bike ride with the hubby, even as I head into fall and a busy school schedule in just a few weeks! Hopefully this will catapult me to even more pounds shed from the scale… Wish me luck!

C.C.

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Sexy

Weight: 252.2 lb

Let’s talk for a moment about attraction.

At some point in your life, everyone has felt attractive. And everyone, at some point, also knows what it is like to feel very unattractive. Heck, anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows how it feels to worry about whether or not your partner finds you attractive. And plenty of us worry about whether or not perfect strangers, or maybe the one perfect stranger, will find us attractive. There’s a lot wrapped up in our perception of what it means to be attractive and how much others perceive us to be so. So, when circumstances make us feel unattractive, it can be a crippling blow.

I recently had a conversation with a close friend who just had her second baby. She is working her cute little butt off to lose her baby weight and get in her pre-baby shape, but it’s coming along a bit more slowly than it did after her first. And she’s a bit frustrated and more than a bit tired of feeling a bit gross. While I can’t relate to the feeling of my body stretching beyond what should be all reason and then attempting to spring it back into shape, I can relate to the idea of battling hard every day and still feeling like I haven’t achieved my own, or maybe one else’s, idea of sexy. That maybe I’ll never be truly attractive. And this idea is not helped at all when I see paraded in front of me people that do fit this ideal, that are what I imagine my husband, and likely millions of other people, find to be sexy. In my mind, any lull in our intimacy or distance between us is immediately attributed to this, immediately attributed to my inability to reach this level of attractiveness. I know this is crazy and even idiotic thinking. But on any given week, when I’ve worked incredibly hard, yet again, to watch what I’m eating and sweat out a pound or two and, yet again, have not seen the rewards of my labor in an instant size 4, I am especially susceptible to this kind of idiocy.

Here’s the thing- at the end of the day, I know my husband loves me and has chosen to spend his life with me for much more than my dress size. I know that I am beautiful and sexy and the most important person in the world to him. These are the facts- the non-idiotic, non-crazy truths of the situation. And yet, feeling sexy is sometimes the same thing as being sexy and these feelings can sometimes be hard to come by. I think my friend would agree, as exhausted new mothers don’t often find spit up to be aphrodisiacs. So what’s a girl to do?

I’m not entirely sure! I wish I had the perfect answer and that all women could take my piece of advice and never feel unattractive again, but I know it’s an ongoing battle. All I can offer is my own strategies.

  1. First, remind yourself of the actual reality of the situation- that sexy is in the eye of the beholder and there’s a lot more than a jean size that goes into making you attractive.
  2. Second, wear something cute. Find some fun accessories or a nice little dress that is a no fail solution to making you feel attractive and wear it on your low days. It’s ok if you wear it five days in a row, too, on an especially low week.
  3. Third, don’t neglect perks like a fresh haircut and a cute manicure. These little perks just help make you feel more sexy. And if you are going to save pennies on these luxuries, do it in a smart way- these fun home manicures are awesome, easy to do and cheaper than a salon manicure (especially after tip!). Also, if you’re going to go cheap on the haircut, make sure you pick a stylist at your bargain salon whose hair cut or personal style YOU like! If you like the way they look, they are more likely to share your sense of style and understand what you want. You’ll get a good haircut for cheap!
  4. Lastly, find a friend you can whine to about your body image issues. They’ll help remind you of reality without feeling like it’s their responsibility to affect your view of yourself, a burden which your partner should not necessarily take on! I’m lucky to have a very supportive partner, but I feel like my perception of myself is my own responsibility and not his.
Hopefully, these tips will help others when they’re struggling with feeling unattractive. And if it doesn’t, email me and I’ll remind you of how sexy I find you!
C.C.

Deviation

Today, I’m not going to talk about my weight or my weight loss. Today I’m not going to talk about dieting or going to the gym or sweating my ass off to get thinner. Today is July 25, so I’m going to talk about Chris Techtmann.

I just did a google search for Chris Techtmann. It brought up his mySpace page, complete with a blog entry written in Chris’ unique, compelling, expressive voice. It was a letter really, and it wasn’t to me, but I was glad he posted it and I got to read it, got to peek into his brain. The google search produced a twitter account in Chris’ name, one he never posted to or followed anyone on. The search produced last known addresses and stated that he was 31 years old. But this is a lie. Chris died two years ago today when he was only 29 years old. Chris never even got to be 30.

Chris died of a Heroine overdose. He battled his addiction for years. It utterly changed him, morphed him into a shell of the man he once was, but I remember that man. I remember him when he was young. When we were young, Chris and I were crazy about each other- crazy about our friendship for a very long time and then, later, about our romance. We thought we were unique, special. We thought we had a bond that no one else had ever experienced. We were passionate and naive and melodramatic and misunderstood. We were sure we’d be together forever. But life had other plans and the older we got, the more twisted our relationship became. For years after our messy breakup we tortured each other with our attempts to salvage a friendship, relationship, romance, something. In 2007, I finally married someone else, and in 2009 I got the news that Chris had died. We spoke only twice in the interim. So why would I take today to remember him and rehash this painful, complicated saga?

Because it’s painful. Because it’s complicated. Because he was beautiful and unique and because we can’t control the way our lives are shaped sometimes. It’s amazing that death can force you to carry with you someone you weren’t sure fit into your current life. It’s amazing that you can miss someone so terribly after putting them out of your mind. It’s amazing that death allows you the perfect prism to see that person and the awful burden of never forgetting them. It’s amazing that death can fix a fractured relationship we couldn’t work out in life.

I don’t wish things were different between Chris and I. I don’t wish that our breakup had never happened or that I had married him instead. I love my husband and know I made the right choice. I know that Chris and I would never have managed to be friends, really. We would never have managed to eliminate the intimacy or the passion or the yearning or the anger from our relationship and therefore, it never would have been platonic. We could never have been so close, so connected, and then just be casual friends who double dinner date with our spouses. There was never a happy ending for Chris and I. And so, in some ways, his passing allows me to be close to him, to remember him and linger with him, in a way I never could have in life. But it’s also incredibly tragic that the rest of the world won’t get to benefit from the Chris I remember, the Chris without the drugs, the Chris that he could really truly be. It’s terrible that he won’t marry anyone or have children or buy a house. If ever there was a man who would make a terrific father, it was Chris, and he really knew how to throw a backyard barbeque. It’s awful that he will never write again or smile again or share his incredibly generous spirit again.

So today, I am sad. Today, I’m a little heartbroken. And not for me, and not for my story with Chris, but for the loss that the world as a whole suffers without him in it. Today, July 25th, I remember and I miss Chris Techtmann.

Movie Madness

Weight: 253.0 lb

On Sundays, my husband and I get up early and go to church. Well, it feels early to me, and likely many readers out there as well, though my husband has typically already been lying awake, staring “quietly” at the ceiling or “silently” reading his Kindle for the last 45 minutes to an hour while he waits for me to stir. Ah, the joys of being married to an early riser… Anyhow, this Sunday morning tradition has allowed me the joy this morning of discovering that, a mere 8-9 lbs down, my clothes are fitting better. This morning I easily zipped and comfortably wore a cute little black skirt that had been squeezing my waist in all recent wearings. That, my friends, is one small victory that I will cherish and I spent all day saying to my husband “Babe, how does this skirt look? Do you like it? ‘Cause I think I look HOT! And look at the way it FITS!” as I twirled in a circle in front of him. Must have been maddening, but he readily agreed each time.

Of course, Maryland is in the middle of a KILLER heat wave (literally, some people have died from overheating on the east coast recently) and so, after church, we decided to go sit in a nice air-conditioned movie theater and take in the new Captain America film. To maintain this more svelte figure, I have shied away from the concessions stand at the movie theater recently, but given my giddiness about my cute skirt, I figured maybe I’d indulge a little. I pulled out my iPhone and started searching my WW app for all sorts of concessions temptations only to discover that even Raisinettes were 10 points for a movie theatre box. 10 points! Who can afford THAT kind of indulgence?! Of course, I skipped the candy in favor of a large Coke Zero but my indignation still stands. Anyone know of a movie treat that isn’t a whole meals-worth of points? Or bring something from home that’s tasty during a film? Suggestions here would be great, because I know I’ll face this dilemma again on our next date night out…

C.C.

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Weight: 253.8 lb

Ah, breakfast. My favorite meal of the day. I love breakfast and breakfast foods, especially coffee. Since my Keurig, I drink a tremendous amount of it, it seems. And now that I’m working the WW plan, I thought I’d try to cut back on the points consumed in my morning coffee (I know it’s only 2 points, but imagine the food I could actually CHEW with 2 extra points). So I got this new, fat free version of a creamer I’d already enjoyed and very excitedly punched it into my WW points tracker only to discover that… it was the exact same points value as the other, non-diet creamer. Huh?

The only logical explanation to this is that labels lie. Or that fat free isn’t the only thing that’s important when cutting calories. In fact, the carbs and sugars in both the fat free creamer and the original creamer are exactly the same AND the fat free creamer has only 10 less calories, which kinda makes the fat free creamer no better for me, or at least no less points. In fact, the skinny version of this creamer is only cutting out 1.5 grams of fat, which makes me wonder why it’s labeled skinny at all? I just think it’s funny that we have had such a fat-free/low-fat food craze in this country (it was just before the high-protein food craze, remember?) when actually you’re probably saving yourself hardly any calories or grams of fat and it’s actually not helping you in the ways you may think.

On the up side, I also discovered that pancakes, which I absolutely adore and which I was sure were at least 5 points a piece due to their sheer deliciousness, are actually only 2 points each, so I can have 3 (seriously, 3!) and my favorite cup of coffee for the 8 points I allot for breakfast. Pretty sweet if you ask me! Sometimes, you gotta love it when labels surprise you.

C.C.

P.S. The WW weigh-in went OK- lost 0.2 lb. according the their exacting scale. Not great, but better than a gain! It’s only 7 lb. total for 5 weeks of weight loss work, but it’s better than nothing!

Bummer…

Weight 254.8 lb.

Hmmm, the scale hasn’t moved in a downward direction. This is disappointing, because I’ve been to the gym or been exercising every day! I mean, if I’m going to embarrass myself so thoroughly, shouldn’t I have a number to show for it?! I CAN NOT be hitting a plateau at this ridiculous weight- it is simply not possible. But, for the last two weeks the scale really has not budged, despite my working out and eating within my allotted points value. Comments? Suggestions? Points of clarification even? I will not stay at THIS weight forever, so we need a plan people! Help a girl out! I’m sooooo not looking forward to the WW weigh-in in just an hour…

C.C.

Sweet Sweat

Weight 254.2 lb.

Ah, sweat. I do it so well. I do it so often. I’m often covered in it. I know this is kinda disgusting, but one is really supposed to sweat at the gym, or your really just wasting your time. And besides, I come from good sweating stock as both my mother and my father would be red faced and pouring in no time flat. These are my defenses- are they working?

The fact that I even need defenses speaks to just how embarrassing it is to sweat. I mean, as a girl, you’re really just supposed to glisten and even then only occasionally. But no, I actually really do sweat. And yesterday, at the gym, I was in full-on sweaty girl mode when I ran into a student at the gym. And then another. And then still a third. And each student was gracious and excited to see me and did not seem to notice or judge the fact that I was a red-faced, sweaty, stinky, kinda gross mess. They didn’t seem to care that I was wearing spandex pants and a sweaty cotton t-shirt or that my hair was sticking out in 6 directions- a look I never would have braved wearing to school, no matter what the “Spirit Day” was that week (and honestly, what could the “Spirit Day” be to justify that wardrobe? Rock Climber Day? I mean, I’ll do Pajama Day with the best of them, but come on…) I guess these students just chalked it up to the whole being-at-the-gym experience and let it go. It was still kinda embarrassing though.

And then this morning, my wonderfully fit mother wanted to go for a bike ride with me. But first, since she is so fit and I am so very not, she rode the 12 mile loop around the airport solo and then had me meet her. And after 6 miles together, I looked over at her with my beet red face and huffed “How ya doing?” while she serenly smiled back, not a hair out of place. At the bitter end, after what seemed to me to be a grueling 12 mile ride, she sailed into the parking lot like the picture of biking perfection. Seriously, they could have taken her picture right then and used it as an ad campaign for biking in America. Meanwhile, I’m huffing and puffing behind her just hoping that this ride will finally end. I had never sweat so much in my life- literally covered in it. I almost look like I had showered in sweat, as my hair and clothes were so soaked, but she looked perfect, hardly even glistening, despite the ridiculously hot temps and the 24 miles she had just finished. Maybe I don’t get my sweating from my mother.

The last two days have been a study in embarrassment. It’s not cute or sexy to look like you might die from the physical strain of your workout. But it is exhilarating to do things you heretofore did not fully believe you could actually do, like complete a weight lifting circuit workout or bike 12 miles with your mom. I mean, I suspected I could do it, but I wasn’t really sure, and I was too afraid or too embarrassed to try. So, yeah, sometimes this whole attempt to lose weight leads me to embarrass myself. Quite often in fact. But it also allows me to push myself and overcome obstacles that were only ever in my own head, left there because of my fear of embarrassment. And that, my friends, is truly a victory. That truly makes the sweat sweet.

C.C.

Hard Work

Weight: 254.2 lb.

My husband has an expression about money. When we’re buying a big purchase and he’s swiping the credit card or handing over a stack of cash, he’ll remark “Wish it earned as fast as it spends!” That’s definitely how I feel about weight loss- wish it lost as quickly as it gained! I mean, one bad decision, a couple of splurge-y meals or a weekend of carefree eating and you’ve gained a few pounds! But one healthy decision, a couple salads or a weekend of working out and working hard, and the scale might budge a pound.

At the end of the day, dieting, much like earning a pay check, is hard work. And so are most of the other worthwhile things. Like building character. In fact, hard work, dieting and building character are all so closely related, I’m surprised people ever talk about one without talking about the others. I know I’m certainly in the midst of a character building season, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Lately, I’ve been learning a lot about where my hope lies, where I find my happiness. I’ve been exploring the concept of what I value, what is dear to me. In fact, the sermon at church yesterday was about just that kind of idea, and seemed so well timed to me. I’ve learned that, in the past, I’ve used food to soothe an emotional need- I’m feeling stressed, so I could use some chocolate; I’m feeling worried, I could really go for some mac & cheese; I’m feeling happy, let’s celebrate with cheesecake or ice cream! And it’s great, truly wonderful, that I’m capable of feeling this range of emotions, but the way I respond to them may need some work. Essentially, I’m realizing how much I need to re-train myself.

Training is hard. Anyone with a kid or a pet can attest to that. And I’ve somehow trained myself that exercise is horrible and that eating whatever I want is fun, even necessary in certain emotional states. But now that I’ve begun the process of evaluating my emotions when I’m drawn to certain patterns, I need to change those patterns. At my first WW meeting, our leader told us to that it was important to celebrate successes, big and small. She also told us that not all successes would be on the scale, that it was just as much a success to realize that instead of watching a movie with your usual bowl of ice cream in hand, you now chose a bowl of cherries or a cup of tea. She told us that these behavioral changes or mental shifts needed to be celebrated. So today I’m going to celebrate the fact that I’m acknowledging these emotional triggers of mine and seeking to do the hard work to combat the urges when they occur. I’m going to celebrate that this hard work will build character and help me respond more positively to even my negative emotions. At least I know, and knowing is half my battle.

C.C.

Stalemate

Weight: 253.8 lb

So, I seem to be at a small stalemate with my weight loss this week. The last several days, my weight has been exactly the same when I weighed in. Hmmm. And at night, I’ve been super desirous of snacks, even low point snacks, like skinny cow ice cream or 100 calorie packs of chocolate covered pretzels, or both, which is what I had last night. It’s kinda been a snack-fest really. Even though my dinners are plenty large enough, ample and filling, I still want something to munch on at 9 pm. This probably isn’t helping me lose any weight.

And then there’s my activity this week. I’ve diligently stuck to the personalized training plan given to me by the trainer at my gym, so I lifted weights and did cardio Monday, Wednesday and this morning, but I wasn’t that active in between. I didn’t ride yesterday, even though my husband did. I didn’t walk the dogs Tuesday, even though I was home all day and could have. This probably isn’t helping me lose any weight either.

But, once again, this is about a lifestyle change, not just a quick fix. It’s ok if I stalemate a little bit. It’s ok if I don’t have activity points for every day. It’s even ok if I snack. As long as I recognize these activities and attempt to improve them, it’s ok. Today I think I’m going to go to the zoo with my sisters and their kids. That will involve a lot of walking and a lot of activity points. Maybe that’s just the kind of thing you do in an active lifestyle that helps you win the stalemate.

C.C.

Success…

Weight: 253.8 lb

So, yesterday, according to the scale at my local WW center, I hit my 5 lb milestone. Actually, I surpassed it with a 6.8 lb loss over the last 5 weeks- yay me! And last night, since I had a bunch of extra points and a reason to celebrate, I had 2 glasses of wine with dinner.

At this point, riding the high of a successful weigh-in, I’m feeling pretty good about this process. Two of my sisters are currently doing the Body for Life diet. My youngest sister used this diet after she had her first son and dropped all her baby weight and then some. She looked amazing. And now, after just having her second son 7 weeks ago, I have to say that she is starting to shape up again. However, when we went out the other night, just the 4 of us girls, with two of us on WW and two of us on BFL, I was struck by how many things you couldn’t eat on a diet program like BFL. I mean, you can have ice cream, but only on your free day. And the program gets great results and gets them pretty quickly, all things considered, but you can’t really work the program while you’re pregnant and there are a lot of restrictions. This same sister and I were talking yesterday about how on WW you can really eat anything you want, it’s just a matter of how much you can have and how many points you’re talking about when you eat it. I can have a slice of cheesecake if I want, but I might blow my points for the whole day. Or I can have pasta, but if I choose to make the dish with a high fiber pasta, I can eat more for the same points value than if I make it with regular pasta.

I like this system, because it teaches me to shift the way I look at food. There aren’t “good” foods and “bad” foods, there’s just food and some of it does more for your body, gives you more bang for your buck, than others. You usually know the bang for your buck foods because they’re low points. Most fruits and veggies, for example, are 0 points- you can eat cart-fulls and not earn a single point. So, this encourages you to snack on these fruits and veggies and therefore re-charge with food that benefits your body. But you can still eat ice cream and have a glass of wine! I think this is important for me in order for me to truly make this a lifestyle change- this ability to still indulge in the foods I enjoy, within reason, whenever I want them. I don’t have to save them all up for a “free day” and then go hog wild- that didn’t work for me and I “cheated” a lot as a result. I’m hopeful that the WW approach to food and the activity will continue to resonate with me and I’ll be able to shed even more pounds. I’m halfway to my 5%- I can’t wait to wear my WW pin!

C.C.

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