pounds & persistence

my journey toward fitness and wellness and faith

Archive for the month “August, 2011”

Still here!

Weight: 244.7 lb

Yep, I’m still here, despite Mother Nature’s best attempts! In Maryland, we’ve suffered an extremely rare earthquake (a 5.8 magnitude no less) and then a not-quite-as-rare-but-maybe-more-serious hurricane in the same week. Within just a few days of each other really. So obviously, Mother Nature is having a riotous laugh at our expense, and yet here I am. Still losing weight. Or at least not gaining!

With all the chaos, it was hard to hit the gym, but I did manage to squeeze a few workouts in, keeping to my new mantra of “I just need to make myself a priority!” And, in that same vein, I have also managed to have a glass of wine or two while planning my lessons and a beer or two while celebrating the survival of the first week of school AND all the natural disasters. This, by far, is my favorite part of the Weight Watchers diet- the ability to give yourself permission to celebrate or indulge when needed. I know so many women who’s weight loss plans don’t allow them to have a glass of wine or a small gelato. I’ve tried so many of these weight loss plans myself. I know that restrictiveness is why they didn’t work for me. I also know that the new approach to food I’ve learned following the WW plan has allowed me to take my weight loss setbacks in stride and celebrate my achievements with renewed commitment.

One of these achievements is other people noticing my weight loss. I know it sounds funny to cite other people’s reaction to me as an achievement, but you don’t really notice your body changing when it happens as gradually as it has for me. I have, of course, noticed that I can use the next smaller hole on my belt and that my clothes fit better. But apparently it takes other peoples comments for me to see how over 15 pounds starts to show to others. It makes me excited. It makes me proud. It makes me hungry for 20 pounds, for 30, for 50 even. I’m so excited. And I’m still here, still working at my weight loss until I hit those milestone marks.

Busy busy

Weight: 257.4 lb

So, if you’ve read my blog regularly, you may notice that I took a bit of a hiatus for the last 10 days. That’s a long time for me. Was I on vacation? Nope, I posted to the blog almost every day that week! Was I sleeping late and soaking up the last days of summer? Nope, I posted many a morning after sleeping well after all working folk were clocking in. In fact, my hiatus wasn’t intentional, it was a result of sheer hectic chaos as I headed back to school last week. Each morning greeted me earlier than I had been used to in a while and as I tackled the seeming endless to-do list to get ready for the impending first day of school, I couldn’t seem to find a moment to do much of anything! In fact, my busy schedule affected more than just my blogging plans- I also had difficulty squeezing in a workout. At the end of the long week, I realized that I hadn’t exercised, at the gym, on my bike, in my neighborhood, ANYTHING, all week. I was sure I’d pay for it on the WW scale this weekend, since my numbers at home hadn’t moved much at all.

Thankfully, I was only up .4 lbs in my WW weigh-in, which should be easy to shed. But this crazy week did make me think about all the best laid plans and practicality and how I will possibly squeeze in exercise when my schedule is even more packed with students and papers to grade and lessons to plan! I’m realizing more and more that those who exercise are able to do so because they not only realize that it’s important for themselves and their health, but also because they make themselves and their health a priority, a fixed commitment that they will not mess with. This, for me, is hard. I feel guilty at times making myself a priority, especially when it comes at a potential inconvenience for my family. I think a lot of women feel this way. And it strikes me as oddly sad, since I don’t notice as many men suffering through the same conflict and guilt. So this school year, I need to make a new resolution. I need to decided to prioritize myself and my health and let the chips fall where they may. If other members of my family need to step up and help out, so be it. I don’t have to do it all myself, I just have to take care of myself. This is a resolution I feel I MUST keep.

C.C.

Changes

Weight: 245.4 lb.

As you may notice, I’ve taken some of the advice given to me and stopped obsessively weighing myself and posting it every day. I like to track my progress regularly and draw fresh inspiration from the number on the scale (you know, like a determination to see it go down) but I don’t want to fixate on that number as my only sign of progress. For example, the number posted above is the lowest weight I’ve ever recorded on this blog- yay me! According to my home scale, I’ve weighed in at some version of 245 for threes consecutive days now, so I’m finally starting to believe that I may have actually lost 16 pounds this summer. This is an accomplishment and I kinda want to tell everyone about it- friends, family, blog readers… even complete strangers who may have the misfortune to ring me up at Target where I’m buying a top just one size smaller than I previously bought! I’m obviously, and I think deservedly, excited. 

But even more exciting are the other changes I’ve noticed. For example, I’m beginning to get used to the concept of exercise and incorporate time at the gym with less protest from my body and view movement at home (walking the dogs, riding my bike, etc) as another opportunity for activity and fitness. This is a positive change. Also, I’ve begun to look at food differently. I hardly ever drink any more and abstain from sodas and frappuccino’s, preferring to eat my points, not drink them. Yesterday, I ate out for all 3 meals and I noticed that the foods I’m choosing in restaurants is different too- egg white omelet with mushrooms and tomatoes for breakfast, fruit on the side, a whole wheat turkey wrap with avocado and no mayo for lunch, and a grilled tilapia over linguine and Caesar salad with dressing on the side for dinner. It wasn’t hard to order lower point menu items, they all tasted great, and I was more than satisfied when I was done. The friends I was dining with for each meal didn’t poke fun at me and I felt confident in my choices because I’ve started to look at food differently and figure out which things are good for me and which things I should eat in moderation. I still enjoy splurging on an ice cream with friends or splitting a dessert with my hubby, but I track these points occasionally and move on. 

In an earlier blog post, I commented to a friend about my lack of success with the WW program and she made the observation that in reality, it wasn’t that the program had failed me, it was that I had failed to work the program. That observation has been so helpful these last few summer months as I keep plugging away even when the scale doesn’t change much or I am tired of tracking everything I put in my mouth. And, because of that, I’m starting to view  my food and my lifestyle differently. And this change, in my opinion, is really what lasting weight loss is all about. 

C.C.

Recipe Sharing

Weight: 248.4 lb

How cute is Selah Ward? It’s the last week of summer vacation and yesterday I awoke early to sweat it out in the gym, so today I lounged late in bed and watched Rachel Ray’s talk show. It was wonderful, in no small part due to Selah Ward and her adorableness! Did you know she’s from Mississippi? Did you know she has a parkway named after her in her hometown? Did you know she vacations there with her family every year because she wanted them to have hometown values and talk to people who just wanna chat with you because they’re friendly, not cause they want something from you? I was smitten. I also thought it was adorable that she doesn’t feel confident in her cooking skills, and I can relate.

Recently, I’ve been trying a variety of recipes from various websites to keep my points low and help my weight loss. Usually, my husband is very supportive & complementary about my cooking, praising my meals. Last night, however, he was not feeling the love on my spinach baked ziti (I think it was the spinach) even though I thought it was delicious. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find time to keep experimenting and improving my cooking repertoire even as school starts back up again and time is precious. Any meals you’ve made lately that were particularly yummy? Any suggestions for new, healthy recipes? Sharing is caring!

C.C.

Planning

Weight: 249.7 lb.

First, let me start by telling you how much I love typing a number each morning that’s less than 250 lb. It’s encouraging. And I am so freakin’ excited to think about typing a number that’s less than 235, then less than 220, then less than 200. In fact, when I get to less than 200, I am really going to throw myself a party! But I digress…

The start of school is now just over a week away and because of this, I’ve begun making plans for the fall. I’ve done some shopping, purchasing the necessary school supplies and some not so necessary, but lots more fun, school clothes to ready myself for the changing season. I’ve read or re-read the texts I’m teaching this fall and I’ve started jotting down ideas on video clips and worksheets to use in the text teaching process. So, like any prepared teacher, I’ve begun planning.

But even more important to me than the tests my students will take and the papers they will write, is my commitment to this weight loss journey. And this journey has been plodding along slowly, but surely, as I’ve been losing some small amount every week. It hasn’t been quick and easy, but at least I’ve been losing. But my life is about to get really busy. And I haven’t been that good about going to the gym the last two weeks, when my days are wide open and very available, so how will I find the time when I don’t have any time to spare? This will take planning.

Currently, I’m torn between two good plans. The first is to wake up early, really early, and get to the gym before I go to work. Since I have to be at work by 6:45 am and it takes me about 30- 45 minutes to shower, dress, etc., and since my workout will take 30 minutes if I alternate the cardio and weight lifting days, I should wake up at 5:00 am to be there around 5:20 and begin sweating. That’s early. And a pain in the butt, as I kinda like my morning routine at home. But it’s doable.

Then there’s the after-school plan. This plan again factors in just a 30 minute workout since I will alternate cardio and weight lifting days. But I get out of school at 3:00 pm, supposedly, so the earliest I would be home is 4:00 pm. This is hard on the puppies, who go in their crate at 6:30 am and wait for me to get home to let them out to pee and play. Also, there are often students who stay after for help or meetings scheduled after school, and then there is the copious amounts of copies to make and the long line for these copies, which all mean that I rarely leave at the 3:00 pm quitting time I’m entitled to.

Obviously, neither of my plans is perfect. Obviously, I have some thinking to do and some logistics to work out. But the important thing, I think, is that I’m planning. I’m setting myself up for success by planning out a system for that success. I know I won’t lose the weight I need to by just eating right, I need to burn some calories sweating too. And I know I won’t magically show up at the gym to burn those calories if I don’t plan for it now. Like any good teacher, I’m planning now for the success I want to experience later. I’m putting my health first and making myself a priority and this is a behavioral change to celebrate.

C.C.

Really?!!

Weight: 250.1 lb,

The best part of summer vacation is the freedom from work and plans and the flexibility to wake up late and lounge around watching morning television, like the Today show. And this morning, they were interviewing a columnist from Cosmopolitan magazine on a recent survey they had conducted of more than 70,000 people. Apparently, according to the results, 50% of the men reported that they would leave their girlfriend (they were unmarried) if she gained significant weight. The ladies went on to discuss how men could perceive significant weight gain as a sign that a woman no longer cared about her appearance or being sexually attractive to him and that their intimacy could suffer. They also discussed how men are judged according to how their partner looks. The Cosmo columnist even went so far as to state that there was evidence that a man with a heavy set partner was likely to be perceived as less successful or competent than the same man with a fit partner.

Ugh. Really, all I have to say is Ugh. I mean, I knew this information, we all knew this information, but there’s something so jarring about putting that information down in stark black and white on paper for all the world to read. And of course those of us who tip the scale a bit more toward the higher numbers suspected that the world perceived us, and maybe even our loving partners, differently because of our weight, but to confirm that information as more than just our imagination is kinda disheartening. I mean, I know my husband loves me and thinks the world rises and sets where ever my sexy behind happens to be (even though he stumbles through expressing that, like most men) but it’s sad to me that anyone would perceive him as less than the super competent, super sexy, super swagger man he is because of my extra weight.

However, I also want to highlight a comment that one of the women made in passing. She said that a woman who feels good about herself, who is comfortable with her appearance and who has found a weight she feels good about maintaining is likely to be more confident and, therefore, sexy. This is just a reminder that it’s really not the number on the scale that determines whether or not you’re attractive, but the voices in your own head and the feelings about your own body. I may not be at the weight I’d like to be or rocking the jean size I’d like to be, but I know I’m still cute and my husband is damn lucky to know that my sexy behind will be in his bed night after night, irregardless of what anyone else thinks. Like my aunt says, Sexy is as sexy does and that reflects well on anyone’s partner.

To read the results yourself, use this link and read up.

C.C.

Highs and Lows

Weight: 249.2 lb

Yep, that’s right. According to my home scale, my weight is under 250 lb. This is, as you can imagine, a big deal to me, and I’m super excited. Yesterday, when I stepped on the scale and saw a number that was just under 250 lb., I think I even let out a little squeal of glee, as I was sure this was going to be my daily high point. All I could think of was those last few pounds hanging on at my WW weigh ins, keeping me from my 10 lb. goal there, and how I vowed to my husband that this would be the week I would beat the scale and get my name on the WW center wall! Excitement was definitely building. And, I had the whole day ahead of me with my nieces and some cookie baking and some chat time and even a nice lunch and playtime with the dogs, so what could possibly put a damper on this high point in my day?

And then my niece burned her fingers on my watch. She reached right up and grabbed the edge of a piping hot cookie sheet while I was standing right next to her. Definitely the low point of the day. My sister-in-law took her to the doctor to be safe rather than sorry and the doctor assured her that my niece was fine, that she would heal perfectly, that she was not permanently scarred, that accidents happen and I should not feel badly and then gave her some ointment. My sister-in-law tried to drive home the point about accidents happening and the whole thing not being my fault and even called in my mother-in-law for reinforcements, but it was all to no avail. They could have saved their energy. I was already convinced that I was the worst caregiver. Ever. I mean, I had sole responsibility of the tiny two year old for less than 5 minutes and that’s the time she manages to suffer burns on her little palm and miniature fingers? There’s something wrong with that. So I ate three cookies and a couple spoonfuls of cookie dough when I returned home from the doctors office. And in the privacy of my bedroom, I crawled into bed to cry a little instead of heading to the gym to sweat a lot.

As I wallowed in my guilt and self-pity, it occurred to me that this was not the healthiest way to deal with extreme stress or negative emotions. That this wasn’t the friendliest coping mechanism for my waistline. That this pattern of behavior is exactly what landed me in the predicament where I have to lose so much weight, since I gained much of it during the fallout of a terrible break up and depression almost 10 years ago. Of course, yesterday I didn’t care, because I was sure I deserved every bad thing that could ever happen to me, but today as I reflect on this, I notice a pattern of coping with emotions that leads to negative self-talk and unhealthy choices. Once, I took up smoking to deal with my sadness. Often, I took up a lot of eating. In my low point, I’ll take almost anything that makes me feel better, even if I know that thing is actually bad for me in the end.

The funny thing is that it’s so easy for me to see the good in other people. I can seem to find a positive in almost any situation. And I’m aware when I’m being unreasonable and try to temper myself. But I at my low points, when I’ve screwed up royally, I can’t seem to find one good or lovely thing in myself and I’m over- aware of my own faults. I am my own harshest critic and then believe that everyone else is secretly thinking it too (or surely all the reasonable, sane people). I want to give up on fighting for anything better, to be healthier or happier, and believe that I deserve the hand I’ve been dealt or the hole I’ve dug and I should lie there and accept it. I can always find the grace to forgive others their mistakes, to shrug off shortcomings or missteps, but one wrong move from myself and I’m on the attack, loathing and fixating on every weakness. And I’m pretty sure that’s a bad thing.

So how do you fix a negative pattern? How do you cope more positively with your emotions? At WW, they talk about identifying the true problem you’re trying to fix with your food. They talk about identifying the emotions you are experiencing and the ones you are seeking from food. They talk about finding another way to meet those emotional needs, talking to a friend, journaling, playing with your kids or pets, instead. But basically, you have to first know what you are feeling and then learn how to cope differently. So maybe I’m already half-way there, since I’ve sorted out the what and the when. All I need to do now is come up with a different how.

C.C.

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