pounds & persistence

my journey toward fitness and wellness and faith

Archive for the category “Diet”

Pounds

So, it’s still POUNDS and persistence around here. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of the persistence- taking my injections routinely, logging time on the elliptical more frequently, slogging through the ever- increasing demands of my job- but I haven’t talked much about pounds. I have good news: I’ve lost a few.

I haven’t really been all too focused on the pounds as I’ve been striving more for a healthy lifestyle, but as a natural byproduct of working out more and eating better, I’ve shed some. My hubby and I were recently talking about my diagnosis and he said that one of his biggest frustrations can be that he doesn’t always feel like I do everything in my power to be as healthy as possible. The doctor said that exercise will strengthen my body and is good for people with MS. And I don’t exercise regularly. The doctor said healthy eating will give me important nutrients and is good for people with MS. And I don’t always eat well. I know it would make my husband feel so much better if he felt I was taking my disease seriously by doing everything in my power to fight it, including a healthier lifestyle. This thought has really resonated with me and inspired some changes.

I think I’d like to set some goals. I’m do much more motivated when I have them- look at what my sister and I did at the bike MS ride this June! Only, I’m not sure what to set or how to achieve them. I feel like I’m on the right path, but need an extra little kick to get my locked and committed. I don’t know yet what that kick will be, but I do know it’s important. It’s important to my hubby and it’s important to my health. At least those factors are much more motivating than numbers on a scale! And the numbers, I hope, will fall as a byproduct of my other motivations.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes!

Summer is here! The sun is out and so is school! In honor of this, I am making ch,ch,ch,changes! First, a new look. Fresh for summer, I decided to put some RED in my hair! It’s bright red, almost kool-aid color, but I’m diggin’ it.

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A new ‘do wouldn’t be enough of a change, however. This blog is all about POUNDS and persistence, and what better way to shed some pounds and prove my persistence than with some exercise. My hubby has been talking quite a bit lately about getting some kind of exercise machine in the house so that he can use it too. He swears that since he got a promotion at work in September, he’s not only been more stressed but also less fit, as he is no longer getting the kind of physical exertion he used to. And so we went to look at treadmills and ellipticals and stationary bikes and after much measuring and speculating, ended up with an elliptical trainer!

 The ceilings in our row home basement are low and so we needed to put any exercise equipment on the upper floors, and a treadmill would just have too much impact to go in an upstairs bedroom. So, we ended up rearranging the office to now look like this…

We’ve had it for almost two weeks and, except for the days directly before or after the bike race, I’ve used it every day. My hubby is also loving the convenience, though neither of us really loves to work out. However, getting to watch our favorite shows on the iMac while we sweat sure does help! Hopefully, this step, coupled with the red meat free diet I’ve been embracing, will help me shed pounds AND feel well. Baby steps really…

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.

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.

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.

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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