Friday, May 13, 2011
This striking words were "spoken" to me by SparkFriend BUTTERCUPP77. I wanted to believe her. I truly wanted to. And I've been questioning this same thing for a while now. As I've watched my girl SUGIRL06 move onto a maintaining phase that includes intuitive eating and mostly ignoring the scale, I wondered if she really had something there.
Look, I have been considered "overweight" or even "fat" or "obese" since about the age of 5. Anyone who sees me would label me as unhealthily overweight. And I know from experience that most that don't know me would assume that I'm lazy, that I don't exercise much, if at all, that I eat twice or three times as much as a "normal" skinny person, and that the combination of poor diet + overeating + inactivity has both led to my obesity as well as my maintenance of a hefty 320 pounds. What has saddened me lately is that the recognition for my 90 pound weight loss has subsided as my numbers refuse to move again. Have I changed anything? Am I overeating all the time? Have I stopped exercising? Have I gone back to my old habits? No. Still, I feel the assumption from those around me (not Sparkers, of course, who have seen me struggle in all my blasted glory for the entire duration of 2011) that I have given up the fight and have, in some way, failed.
This week there have been several days that I have eaten a little more than my Spark levels call for. I'll admit that freely. What I won't admit is to any binges, any mental hunger, anything that is any sort of self-sabotage. Those nights I overate was either 1) because I was hungry after I should have been "done" for the day" or 2) days when I ate when I wasn't hungry because I "should" according to my plan.
Yesterday, my youngest son said to me, "Do you know what Logan hasn't done since 12:00?" I asked him what, afraid of what the tattling would be on this time. "Eat!" It was around 8pm and with the way his brother had reported this to me, I got scared. I turned to Logan, "Why aren't you eating?" Immediately I jumped to the conclusion that my son was starving himself because someone at school called him fat. (He's not. Yes, he has a belly and ample thighs - which he gets from my side of the thunder thigh family - but my son is not severely overweight or obese and should NOT be worried about being called "fat".) "Did someone at school say something to you that made you think you shouldn't eat tonight?" He looked at me, seemingly confused, and said, "My stomach just didn't seem to want to eat."
Interesting. Basically, my child just told me that he didn't eat because he wasn't hungry. And I heard myself tell him that sometimes we have to eat when we aren't hungry. WTF!?!?!? WTF did I just tell my son? Eat when you're NOT hungry? Where the EFF did I get that idea?
From dieting for the past 25 years is where. And now I'm starting to wonder if it isn't the most counter-productive biggest pile of bull I've ever been fed.
Eat when you are NOT hungry? WTF?! Haven't I been told by society that I got fat by eating when I wasn't really hungry? Weren't there times growing up when I cried because my father insisted that I finish the food on my plate, and I was forced to comply even though my stomach and brain both knew that I was full and had had enough. Wow! I've been fed this lie my entire life.
Suddenly, my entire year's progress came into view. I have NOT been eating intuitively. I eat all the time when I'm not hungry. I've even bragged that I can "train" my body to tell me when I'm hungry by setting it on a schedule of eating every 2.5-3 hours a day. But there are days when I'm not really hungry, but the time has come to eat again, and I tell myself, "Eat now or you'll be ravishing later and will make bad choices." WTF?!
And all this week, I've been forcing food down my throat during the day, ignoring both my brain and my stomach, just because my schedule and plan tell me "eat yogurt at 3pm"...not because my stomach said, "Phew! Ran out of energy down here! Could you please replenish the supply?" And then, somehow, I magically think that I can tell my stomach at 9pm that I am not allowed to be hungry because it's too close to bedtime and because I've already consumed my calories for the day. I tell my stomach to shut up and ignore the hunger pains and sometimes I go to bed early so I can forget that I'm hungry. Is it any wonder that my body and brain and stomach all seem confused? I'm sending a whole heck of a lot of mixed signals!
So when BUTTERCUPP77 said, "The scale is not an accurate measure of health" I wanted to believe her. I don't want to be the 320 pound woman who has lost an entire person since 2004 and yet is seen as a failure because she is still 320 pounds - way over the lower end of the obese range on any scale anyone ever measures. It just doesn't seem fair to me that the world considers me one way when I'm still active and eating healthier than most of my skinny friends and coworkers who are NEVER questioned about their weight, health, or activity level.
So I did some research online. I typed in those exact words in Google and came up with some interesting results of studies.
Those are pretty much BUTTERCUPP's words. "Weight is not an accurate measure of health." And it isn't about an opinion someone had. It's a study that was done and reported in The Archive of Internal Medicine. When comparing 4,500 adults, some skinny or "normal" and some "overweight" and even some "obese" it determined that many of the overweight and obese adults are actually healthier than those "normal" people. Please note that this blog was written in 2008 and reported in the NY Times. Why have I never heard about this? There have been whispers, but I never heard any of the studies. And while I knew that I lived a healthier lifestyle than some of my skinny friends, I still always considered them healthier, and figured they would live longer because they were of "normal" weight.
Let me give you one snippet that just about blew my mind. "Losing weight makes it more likely you'll die sooner." WTF?!!?!? I read this whole article nearly in tears. Am I actually HARMING myself by losing weight? Certainly that can't be true. I've been told time and time and time again that restricting my diet and exercising will lead to a longer life. Seriously, that's what I've been fed for more than two decades. "You're fat = you will die sooner" has been ingrained in the recesses of my brain since about the age of 8. Could it be wrong?
Also discussed is this never-ending myth that fat people are fat because they eat more than "normal" people. I know this is a load of BS in some cases. I have a friend growing up who could have doubled for Kate Moss. A waif of a thing, whenever we ate together, she took down 3 times the amount I did. She never gained an ounce. She's still the same waif-like creature she always was. We all know that some people hit the metabolic jackpot at birth, and I certainly know that I'm not one of those people, but you hardly ever hear research that suggests that we all basically eat the same and STILL some get fat and some don't.
The case that hounded me the most? The prison experiment. They increased the caloric intake of prisoners over a period of time, expecting them to gain 20-40 pounds on this whole equation of calories in vs. calories out we've been touting for years. One guy consumed 10,000 calories in a day. You know what happened? Sure, he gained a few pounds, but then his metabolism went into overdrive and the weight gain stopped. And when he went back to eating regularly, those few pounds melted off and he went back to HIS "normal" weight.
How about this snippet?
"Do fat people who lose weight, do so by taking on “normal” eating habits? Some studies indicate that a high proportion of the few fat people who keep weight off, do so not by “normalizing” their eating habits, but by becoming effectively anorexic"
Wow. Okay then.
So what does that mean? I'll be 320 pounds forever? Should I just accept this fact and move on with my life?
In a way, I'm thinking - Yes.
Now don't send out the search party for me just yet. I'm not saying I'm going back to breakfasts, lunches and dinners of McDonald's Sausage McMuffins and Big Macs. What I'm saying is this.
What if I forget that the scale exists? What if I stop monitoring myself altogether? What would happen? What's more, why would I ever think that it's a good idea to ignore my body's cues that it is either hungry or full? Doesn't my body know better than me what energy it needs and when to sustain the body's functions? What if I just ate healthy foods when my body told me to? What if I followed my own set rules for healthy foods, but only ate when my body indicated that it was necessary?
I know some of you are thinking, "Well, DUH!" But, let's be honest, I NEVER learned to eat properly as a child. Until the age of 4 I was good. I let my mom know when I was hungry. She often tells me that people asked if I was anorexic. (AT AGE FOUR, PEOPLE!!) She said, "I'd call you in for lunch and you'd just stay out on the swings and say you weren't really hungry." I ate when I was hungry, not when I was told I should. I ate as much as I felt was needed to sustain the energy level I needed to play outside and perform the tasks of the day, and then I stopped. At age five, my father came home and insisted that we work on his schedule. He picked the meals and when they would be eaten and how much would be consumed - and you either conformed with the restrictions he set for you or you risked the belt. I made the connection between his arrival at home and my immediate increase in weight a long time ago. The weight came on slowly at first, but after a while, it was unstoppable. And most of my family is overweight or obese, so it stands to reason that I had all the factors built in me to make a fat person, but I needed the right system forced upon me to gain that status.
So if the scale and/or weight is not an accurate measure of health...what is?
What is "health" anyways?
Basically, it's soundness of body and mind, being free from diseases, and this one word - vigor - pops up in the definition as well.
Vigor is energy. Active energy, strength, force, fortitude. "Exuberant and resilient strength of body or mind." or "Substantial effective energy or force."
Free from diseases? Check. I have brought down my cholesterol levels to healthy levels. I have good levels of the good stuff and low levels of the bad stuff. My resting pulse is around 60 = good. (Normal range = 60-100. I'm actually on the LOW end, which indicates a higher level of "heart health".) My blood pressure is pretty good, although sometimes my bottom number is a little elevated, but never high enough to cause too much concern. As far as I know, my triglycerides are down to healthy again. I don't have diabetes and the doctor no longer seems concerned that I'm going to get it.
What about vigor? Active energy? Well, my husband says too often that I won't stop moving. On my day off on Wednesday, I was so impressed with the sunshine that even though the humidity levels were high, I piled everyone in the car and we played 15 minutes of basketball. I got tired quickly, but everyone else seemed to be the same amount of tired. I could've kept playing, but Hubs was like, "Woah! This is hard!" I didn't seem to be panting anymore than he was and instead of just going home, I wanted to play some more, so we switched to volleyball. I had the energy to run after the balls in the sand even though running in sand is extremely difficult (newfound respect for all sand volleyball players and people who run on the beach!), and the only reason our team lost was because Logan can't hit a volleyball in the right direction yet. *lol* (He just punches it up in the air with one hand without really thinking about how to hit it OVER the net, focusing only on hitting it.) We play tennis. We go for walks and hikes. I can last for hours without needing a break. I am no less fit, really, than the "skinny" people around me.
So am I healthy? Yeah, I think so. 320 pounds or 130 pounds, I think I'm healthy. (I would NOT be healthy at 130 pounds, however, considering my fat-free mass is already over 170lbs.)
So since the words, "Keep it up!" have been bugging the HELL out of me lately. And with my newfound discovery of how calorie restricting and living this hell of a diet - yes, I said diet - I'm changing gears.
1. Eat healthy, good for me foods. I don't think this has ever been a question in my mind. Fruits, vegetables, complex carbs, non-processed foods, cooking at home with less sodium. All good things to live by for anyone, no matter their size.
2. Stay active. I will continue to go to the gym and lift because it makes me feel strong and powerful and because I *love* the muscle definition I can actually SEE under the fat. I love playing sports and having the ability to run (kinda) and jump again like I did as a child. I love that I'm no longer restricted because my stamina is low. I love the sunshine and the cool spring air and, sometimes, even the humidity - and the feeling of sweat dripping off my forehead.
3. Ditch the scale. I'll still use it no and again just to see if I've gone down. The only reason I need these numbers to lower is so that I won't be forced into a box of "can'ts" by weight restrictions on things I've always wanted to do - like ziplining. The scale is only good for knowing what my number is to report to the doctor and my insurance company's program and to anyone with weight restrictions on things that could actually KILL me if my weight is beyond the recommendation set. (Dying after a fall from a zipline because I don't know if I fit under the weight restrictions imposed upon by the gear used = stupid.)
4. Eat when I'm hungry. I have to learn how my body WANTS to function. Maybe it's okay to have days when I'm just not "feeling it" and just am not really hungry and other days when I need a little more energy to get through. Maybe my body knows best. So far I haven't had much luck in the past few months tricking it...time to adjust and see what happens.
5. Stop eating when I'm full. There is NO SHAME in not cleaning a plate. There is no shame in getting a small portion first and going back for seconds if I think I'm still hungry. There is no shame in saying, "No thanks, I'm kinda full."
6. Continue to track, just so I know how everything is working out. I like tracking my calories and fitness levels because I feel like I'm learning some valuable lessons about how I work - both my body AND my mind. Why did I get so gassy the other day? Why is my stomach revolting with irregular BM today? Having those tools to go back and reflect upon might help me learn what my body craves most and what kind of energy it needs to sustain normal life functions - a key to good health.
7. Finally, and most importantly, ditch the negative self-talk. Health involves a sound MIND as well. Something I told the AB girls the other day was, "I don't want to be quietly fabulous. I've lived my whole fat life that way. Only until I came here did I feel brave enough to live out loud, strut, dress my fat a** sexy, and run around like I friggin' OWN this world!" So I'm going to hold onto that. Today I wore a dress that I bought at Old Navy. It shows too much cleavage to be appropriate at the boys' school (prompting me to zip up my jacket before I went in) and more leg than I ever before would have been comfortable with (with before was ANY leg, even an ankle), but it makes me feel flirty and sexy and cute, and I want to continue to feel that way no matter what size or weight I am. I want to feel like I have EVERY right to this world than any "skinny" or "normal" person does BECAUSE I DO!
Screw the scale and numbers. Screw dress sizes. I want to FEEL healthy inside and out. I want to take good care of my body and my skin and my hair and nails. I want to feel PAMPERED by MYSELF. I want to do things that are good for my mind and spirit, even if nobody else agrees that I should do them. Even if SOCIETY thinks I should hide my fat butt under a rock, I'm going to show them that this HEALTHY FAT GIRL can SHINE and SPARKLE and create waves of ACTIVE ENERGY throughout her life and the lives of those around her.
I'm going to be me.
Let's see how that goes...
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
So I focus a little too much too often on the scale and the tape measure...don't we all? Someone told me the other day, "Think about all you can do that you couldn't before!" I answered "Whatever..." but I shouldn't have dismissed them like that. NSV. Non-scale victories. Here we go...
* I AM a size 24. That means I can once again shop in the clothing stores. I can go in, pick out a size 24 and it will fit. It might be a bit snug, or might be a little loose, but it will fit. I no longer have to shop through mail-order catalogs and guesstimate my size by just picking the biggest size available, or picking the one down from that because I'm too ashamed to even click on the highest size.
* I can shop in "regular" stores as well. Granted, I am still limited to a small selection of stretchy tops and sweaters in the largest size available, but picking out XL and XXL shirts in a Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy make me feel like I belong...especially when I realize that they don't only fit, they look good on me. I no longer feel the shame of walking by these stores with jealousy and rage coursing through my veins for what they have that I can't have.
* I can shop according to what I like, not just what fits. Because I've taken the time to open my world of fashion to a wider range of options, I do NOT have to simply settle for the cheapest thing that fits my body. I can put something on, and if I don't love it, I do NOT have to buy it. Period. I have the option of LIKING what I wear now and that's HUGE for me...a girl who has always been a little obsessed with fashion.
* I'm no longer just the personal shopper. I have an uncanny ability to keep up with trends, to know what looks right on a body (just not MY body). In the past, I have spent more than a few hours walking the mall with friends, picking out outfits they should wear. I know how to shop according to their skin tone, their personal style, their body shape - and I can't tell you how many times I have heard, "You are GREAT at this! You should be a personal shopper!" (Hell, I wish! Would be a TON of fun!) I never let my friends see the jealousy that rang into me...how much I wanted them to be MY personal shopper for a day. I can now say that on several occassions I have tried on clothing in a dressing room NEXT TO my friends in the SAME STORE. At the end of trying on a piece of clothing, we emerge and critique each other's outfits. I have to say that it's 100% more enjoyable to me than just sitting on the bench in the fitting room waiting to see my gorgeous friends in their new picks.
* A mile no longer sounds like a marathon. I now choose to park near the back of the parking lot at the store (mostly because I'm protecting my new baby and her pretty paint job). I don't see any issue with walking all the way from the back to the front, circling the store a half a dozen times to get the things I forgot on the first few times around, visiting several stores in order to compare and get the best deal. A full day shopping is no longer out of the question. Yes, I am still sore after because of my current back injuries, but I can do it without wheezing and having to sit down every 5 minutes. I can't tell you how many meat coolers, deli displays, and bags of dog food had been chairs for me at the grocery store that now get a reprieve because I'm too busy to stop. Now it's hard to stop me from moving and my boys often have trouble keeping up.
* Three words -- Less Shaving Cream.
* Six words -- Less time spent in the shower. Actually, six more -- MORE time spent in the shower. *lol* If I'm running late, I can take a super fast shower now. If I have more time, I can stand in the shower longer to enjoy the hot water upon my back. Again, I have options.
* TV marathons and movies are reserved for nighttime viewings when the sun has set, or rainy days when outside play in the mud doesn't seem very inviting. But when the sun is shining and the weather is warm, I want to be outside playing tennis, walking, working in the garden. I no longer see the sun as something to make me sweat, I see it as a welcome invitation to enjoy the world around me.
* Planes don't scare me or make me nervous anymore. I can buckle my belt on most big airplanes without the assistance of an extender, and even on the small planes the need for an extender is dwindling.
* I can breathe again. I have a coworker who, after a quick trip down the hall and back comes back breathing heavy. It's sort of sad because I remember once being like that, not too long ago. In the past year, however, I have been caught several times sprinting down the halls to get wherever I need to go in a hurry. *snort*
* I have muscles. I can see the shape of my arms, shoulders, chest, waist, and legs taking form. Yesterday, while lifting weights with Hubs, I looked in the mirror and thought once again, "I have great arms under there! I can see them taking shape."
* I care about myself. I care about my appearance and feel I have the freedom to make those choices without trying to conceal every part of my body out of shame. I can wear things that make my shoulders look great. I can wear dresses because I want to. I pick my nail polish colors and makeup according to my whims, not trying to make the only acceptable parts of me look half-decent in an effort to conceal the other parts.
* My husband says several times every weekend, "So where are we going today?" or "What do you want to do?" Yes, sometimes it's annoying because there are days when I just want to stay home and veg out on the couch, but he's come to learn that we're now an active family. We play sand volleyball together, tennis, we take walks and hikes and enjoy getting out and doing things that help us enjoy the beauty of WV.
* I'm more alert and awake....most days. When I stay clear of heavy sugars and those awful draggy carbs (not complex carbs, mind you), I last throughout my 10-hour shift. Unless, of course, I haven't gotten enough sleep or I'm dragging due to injuries. On a whole, I have more alert days then dragging ones now.
* I used to drink a 2-liter of pop in a day easily. I now drink a gallon of water in a day easily. And my body LOVES me for it. I've become more regular and experience less of the regular daily bloat I used to experience daily, even though I still have the same "sit down" job, my ankles don't swell as much anymore and I feel better, cleaner, more healthy inside.
* I don't mind dressy a little sexy/slutty for Hubs now and again...because sometimes I do actually feel it.
* I encourage pictures that will help me see my progress, instead of hiding in shame of my bulk.
* The limiting of options has all but disappeared. I still worry about weight limits because of what the scale says, but I don't worry anymore about my ability to do things. The world can limit me, but I will not!
* I'm strong! I can lift 300+ on the leg press machine. I've moved on to "advanced" exercises for the most part. I'm a regular gym rat and it shows with my 20lb dumbbells and grunting through hammer curls and hyperextensions (traded for the back extension machine, which I've now outgrown because I can lift the highest weight available on it more than 20 times without any difficulty).
* I can jump! I still worry sometimes, but I can do it without much fear anymore. I can do jumping jacks (though I still hate them) and jump rope (even though it's hard) or spike a ball in the sand or jump up to serve the tennis ball. I can jump again...something I haven't done since the age of 16, really.
* My knee doesn't pop out anymore. It still makes a motion like it's going to, but it catches itself. Not since I was 12 or younger have I experienced such a long period free from "popping out incidents" as I have in the last 6 months or so.
* I'm more obsessed with finding my next adventure in activity than finding my next adventure in high calorie foods. Chocolate cake doesn't rule my life every day. I don't go to the store once a day or a week or even once a month anymore to grab as many sweets as I think I can stand. I have very few hidden binge moments (I think 2 in the past year that were serious?). I'M taking control, thankyouverymuch!
* Hubs can help me up from the floor. Yes, I still have some maneuvering to do to get from the floor to standing again, mostly because I don't 100% trust my knee and squatting seems like a silly thing to try right now. But you know when you put your feet together and someone who is standing grabs your hands and helps pull you up? When we used to do this, it was a severe workout for the hubs. He did most of the work as I struggled to get my muscles to lift me. Now it's a simple 1 - sit, bend knees, 2 - grab hands, 3 - lift process. Hubs and I noticed this last night and it was nice to think about how far I've come there.
* I've become the source of encouragement for people around me. I lead the lifting routines at the gym, and there are many times (like last night) when Hubs craps out and gives out on doing a set before I will. I push myself hard and I feel the rewards of it later...and Hubs has moved into resisting my suggestions more and more. He'll admit freely now that I've got a one-up on him at the gym. I can lift almost as much with my upper body as he can (stupid men and their natural upper body strength!), but I lift more often and with greater ease and I push myself harder. (Plus, I can lift much MORE with my lower body than he can. *big grin*)
* Two more words -- great sex.
* Finally, my kids have become active little buggers. Their vocabulary has changed. They ASK for vegetables with dinner because they don't think it's a complete meal without them. They have learned to cook several healthy meals and I encourage them to keep learning. They know about portions, they understand nutrition better than I ever did, they understand how important water is and how important activity is to keeping your body strong and healthy. They've seen their mom change and I think they like this upgraded version better because she's willing and able to play and do fun things with them without tiring.
* One more thing about water -- my entire family drinks water more than anything else in my house. We rarely have soda in the house, and refuse to buy it at restaurants because the price of a soda is just stupid nowadays! We save pop/soda for "treats" and really enjoy them when we get them, but we don't see it as a regular part of our lives.
* My car's seat belt fits. Every car seat belt fits properly now.
* Turning sideways is somewhat of a thing of the past. I can squeeze through tighter spaces now, often without even having to turn sideways. Behind the chairs of other people in the conference room, down the hallways, etc. I can move to make room for others, instead of the other way around.
Finally, what other NSVs am I looking forward to?
* The end of the belly apron.
* Chasing after my kids.
* Hiking for days straight without fear or exhaustion.
* Biking again without fear of falling off or that stopping will injure my knee again.
* Shopping for pants in a "regular" store. (I LOVE New York & Co. stuff, so I'm looking forward to being able to shop there, as well as the Gap and Banana Republic.)
* Fitting all airplane seats without an extender.
* The end of limits from weight limits - horseback riding, ziplining, etc.
* Using this newfound strength on the hiking trails and on the water -- I can't wait to feel how I can row now. I can't wait to try white-water rafting (something I was always afraid to do before). I cannot WAIT to see what summer sports holds for this new body of mine.
What are your NSVs? Think hard. Even the smallest change can spur you on to greater ones, because, in the end, no one will know your weight or likely your clothing size unless you tell them - they will make their assessment of you according to how you live. Want to inspire others? Live a healthy, active life and show them how freeing it is to be in shape!
Monday, May 09, 2011
I sucked this weekend. Seriously, I was all over the place. I've been extremely emotional lately and yesterday was a "last straw" kind of day. I feel sorry for the kids and Hubs, who are trying so hard to forgive me for every mood swing but, I know, are having a difficult time understanding. What's wrong? Honestly, I'm not quite sure.
It could be the fact that I feel like I haven't lost ANY weight in 2011. I've been hovering in the 320s for so long that I feel like it's a permanent nightmare vacation that I just want to escape from. I'm stressed because work has been annoying, with homework assignments planned to test me in my job duties, which I don't feel I deserve or am afraid I will fail (likely the latter). Then you can add to that troubles with family, struggling to understand life and how some people seem blessed with all of the things I want to provide my children, feeling like I'm on a never-ending hamster wheel and am getting nowhere, feeling abandoned by friends and my boxing instructor. I haven't boxed in more than a month, which is something that usually relieves some tension, but even though I've contacted my instructor twice and he's stated that he will get back to me with times to schedule another appointment, the longer it takes for him to get back to me the more I assume he never will and the more I wonder if I should be hurt or angry or sad or what by it. And add to that my stress with the upcoming wedding, the fact that I don't yet have a bridesmaid dress and was told by one place it was impossible to get one in time, the fact that my friend has not been very much help, even though she understands the whole wedding timeline situation much better than I do. Add to that the stress that Hubs has decided he will not come with me to the wedding in July in Utah and I will be forced to go alone...again. Oh, and the fact that Hubs' job situation is failing, which makes me wonder if I need another job on the weekends, which will rob me of all my days not spent indoors working and will further stress me out. AND add to that the fact that I seem to be the ONLY person getting random calls at work because our new Receptionist thinks I can answer every question about this place so she sends me every call she doesn't know what to do with, making it impossible for me to get my work done, but I'm still expected to do it. *SCREAMS!!!*
After another holiday of feeling unappreciated by the Hubs, I struggled to not cry, to hold it together, to not get loud or angry, to be understanding of what he was thinking...and I failed miserably. So my Mother's Day was pretty much like any other Sunday, being annoyed by Hubs, annoyed by the kids, feeling the pressure of still not being under 320 (320.2. Seriously!? *screams*) and the pressure of trying to follow this past week with another that will put me UNDER 320 (PLEASE?!?!!?!). I snapped at Hubs and acted like a friggin' child, and I'm not at all proud, and more confused than ever at my behavior and my unhappiness and my distress.
Look, losing weight is hard. It's hard to be surrounded by people who don't have to think about calorie counts and minutes spent exercising. Add to that the desire to do more and the unwilling and unable body with which I'm finding myself, I'm frustrated and angry and bored. I've been doing this for a year. Last time I started this whole mess, I gave up right after my year mark. I just couldn't do it anymore. This year I'm struggling so hard to just hang on, but I'm struggling every single minute of every day. It's hard. I know I don't need to tell you all that, but it is.
I'm back to feeling lost and alone.
Back to feeling abandoned.
Back to feeling restricted on a diet.
Back to feeling fat.
Back to this confusion I shouldn't be feeling. I've lost almost 100 pounds in this past year, so how could I be here still confused a year later? And how can I still be so fat?!
Yes, that has snuck back in. As I explained to my nutritionist, I have been here so long, at 320-330 area, that I don't really remember what being 420 felt like. So I've lost my frame of reference, and all I see in the mirror, on the scale, in pictures is fat me. I don't see what I've done. I've even gone as far as to distort progress pictures. I just don't see the progress anymore. I have such a distorted self-image and a sincere sense of hopelessness of escaping this that I've begun avoiding cameras and mirrors for the sake of my own sanity.
I feel like I'm starting at step one all over again.
I've tried just accepting that...telling myself, "Fine! Accept who you are right now and start here as day one. Forget what came before and start from here." But that frustrates me even more.
Friday, I started out well. I packed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for me and Ethan when I took him to the oral surgeon. I resisted the donuts at Tim Hortons save for ONE Timbit. ONE. I have never been able to eat just ONE Timbit. I was feeling pretty accomplished.
And then I felt tired. No workout Friday. I drove to Parkersburg (about 45 minutes away) and back to the house twice. Once to take Ethan to the surgeon, then to meet mom for a Mother's Day dinner. It was nice to see her. I did good at dinner and ordered oven-broiled fish, which I couldn't physically stomach after all the fish I'd eaten all week. I rewarded myself for a good week with a new book from the bookstore and didn't get home until late. I was running from about 10:30am until about 10pm.
No workout Saturday either. With the best intentions, I dressed for the gym and met my nutritionist at 9am. I poured out my heart to her. She told me to stop trying to be so perfect. She told me that if I could only get 4 days of being "on" in during the week (my work week, when my schedule is set and it's easier for me to follow), then I should focus on those 4 days and try to do my best with the other three. The important thing was getting back on track and finding my grove again. I explained my current self-distortion problems and although she seemed to feel sorry that I was in that place again, she urged me to just keep going and had no other advice to give. We talked about how to make up a good plate using a diagram and how to eat healthy without restricting too much. But instead of following that discussion with a workout, the sun was shining and I didn't want to be in the gym, so I said I was working out outside, which I didn't do. Instead I went home and prepped the grocery list for the week, and then went shopping, felt awful that I didn't save Hubs enough money on the grocery bill than he had expected, and then went home to cook out. It was a relaxing day and I enjoyed it, but my eating was a mess and I freely admit that. I ate a slice of wheat toast with peanut butter before meeting the nutritionist, and then didn't eat again until about 3pm. And then I ate too much. *sigh* And couldn't seem to stop all night.
Sunday? I went the whole day just sitting/laying around. Finally around 5pm I figured Hubs had no interest in taking me anywhere for Mother's Day. He had made the pancakes I requested at around 3pm and then headed out to be with his mom and left me home with two bored boys. I had already run out with them before he was up to get a paper (for the coupons) and eat some lunch at Taco Bell, and now we were just sitting around bored, watching old episodes of Project Runway. At around 6pm, after I had cooked some chicken for my lunches and put the Salsa Chicken in the slow cooker for tonight, I gave up and went back to my bedroom to read alone. At 7pm Hubs showed up and said, "Alright, let's go!" I had already relayed when he left that I had wanted to go to the park. I was enraged. 7pm? The sunlight was fading. The day was wasted. It might as well be any other night when I have to rush after work to enjoy some sunlight before the sun sets. I said I didn't want to go anymore. He insisted, and we went. I walked off without him, he followed. He followed me through the marshy, swampy, muddy mess I traversed to get to the upper lake at the park. I needed peace and I was looking anywhere I could think to find it. The whole time I was telling him how unhappy I was, he didn't make a sound. I had already blown up and told him he was the worst husband ever, so it's really no wonder. We played some tennis and it took me a good long time to finally forget my rage enough to smile, then laugh, then actually have some time. All it took was a VERY short run along the path alone (without pain! and without running shoes - OOPS!) and some tennis fun with the boys wherein we hit tennis balls as far as we could and my oldest son, Logan, ran off to retrieve them.
All I can think today is -
Esther, WTF is your problem? You're making EVERYONE miserable.
I hate it.
I hate the way I acted.
I have no clue what set me off.
I don't know how to stop it.
No, I don't want to see a therapist, so please don't suggest that.
I just need to figure out what the real problem is and work through it.
I've gotten through it before, I can do it again.
All I know is that I'm frustrated, confused, angry, and that has led to me being downright hateful.
Apologies are in order, but I feel like "But that IS how I'm feeling? Why should I apologize for saying how I felt? How is that any fair to me?"
See, boys and girls, Esther is a mess right now.
So what am I doing about it?
Right now, I'm just pushing through.
I ate my eggs and oats this morning.
I drank my coffee.
I packed my meals.
I went to physical therapy (where my PT was out so I didn't get to relay the event I had with my back a few days ago, which, again, made me feel abandoned).
I read my book on break.
I'm drinking my water.
I had my snack of PB sandwich and strawberries.
I had a salad for lunch.
I used my lunch break to sit outside in the sun and read.
I bought a Shape magazine, hoping that would help, but I don't want to read it.
I don't want to be reminded of what I can't do.
I don't want to feel like the fat girl again.
I don't want to see their skinny bodies and hear them talk about how easy it is when it really feels so hard right now.
I'm in the process of talking myself into exercise tonight. It might not be exactly what I should do, but if I could get some tennis or a walk in I'll feel alright with that.
Just get through these four days, Esther.
And then shoot for five.
Just do the best you can.
Make an opportunity happen where possible.
Ignore the excuses whenever possible.
And forgive yourself for your lack of perfection.
Forgive your body for not doing what you want.
Forgive the aches and pains and see it as healing, not pain.
So, yeah. There that is. I got nothing else for you. I can recommend positive blogs if you'd like. I've read a ton trying to cheer myself up and snap myself out of it. Just let me know if you need one of those because, as for today, I am ZERO help in that department.
Friday, May 06, 2011
I spent yesterday learning about food.
Yes, that sounds strange coming from someone who has lost over 90 pounds in a year, but it's true.
You see, way back when, I was eating pretty much the same thing every day. I knew if I followed the same eating pattern, I would end up with near perfect results. (I'll admit it, I do seek perfection a LITTLE too much when it comes to reaching my ranges.) After a while, the plan got boring. And then this new little plan came along and I was back to doing the same thing, this time with less vigor.
What I've learned so far from this eating plan:
1) It really does regulate my body, but I wonder if that's not more from eating at the same time everyday than eating the exact same food.
2) I don't know if I could eat another piece of tilapia. Each time dinner time rolled around, my stomach would get queasy just thinking about that fish. It tasted just fine, and I actually didn't mind eating it...it seemed more mental and every time that day would roll around, the exact same thing would happen. *shrug*
3) As far as this eggs and oats thing goes? That is a winner! Cooked together with some brown sugar stirred in my bowl when it's done? YUM! I just had another batch and I have to say that this one grew on me really quickly! I'm keeping it!
4) Yesterday, my body told me that I was 10 minutes late for my next meal. Yes, TEN MINUTES. I know that my body works best on a schedule, but this is the MOST fine-tuned I've ever gotten it.
5) The broccoli, rice and spinach dish by far is my favorite meal other than breakfast. This one is going in regular rotation.
6) Even though I was eating "perfectly" I had no idea how to make a meal that would fit these goals on my own...something I realized yesterday when I tried to figure out next week's menu.
7) And, finally, when I deviate from the plan in a BAD way...I pay for it.
Last night we went and had the whole Mexican dinner. Because we were concerned with money at the time, and I could see Hubs glaring at me as I studied the menu, I didn't pick the chicken fajitas I always get that are one of the healthiest choices. I caved and got a cheaper, non-healthy choice. *sigh* I'm paying for that decision today, and I paid some last night. Heartburn, upset stomach, too much time in the bathroom. It hasn't been an easy night or morning. But....I have learned a valuable lesson. If you don't have the money to eat healthy out...you don't have the money to eat out. I'm not sacrificing my health and my body's progress because the bank account is low. I could've gone home and cooked up a healthy dinner instead and saved even more than going out and eating crap.
So, yes, I spent most of the day when I wasn't working, doing research on how to build a healthy plate. I'm going with the 60/20/20 plan. 60% carbs, 20% protein, 20% fat. Funny how I never learned how to really work this before.
Did you know?
* There are 4 calories for every carb and protein, but 9 for fat?
I knew there were 9 for fat, but I didn't know there were 4 for carbs and protein. And to me, it was a huge eye opener. 60/20/20 makes it seem like you can have just as much fat as protein but I KNEW that was wrong. Turns out, protein is less calorie dense, so you can have more of it. Same with carbs.
*Using the 4,4,9 information, you can figure out how many calories, carbs, proteins and fats you can fit into each meal?
That was fun to learn. I made myself a cheat sheet, which I will use to help plan my meals, using the fall-back meals in this plan as a fail-safe in case I can't come up with anything that fits right.
*If you balance each of your 6 meals to the 60/20/20 equation, you'll be balanced for the day?
It takes some of the guesswork out of it for me. Balance each meal pretty close to dead on and I won't have to fret if the day is good or crap.
I have an appointment with my nutritionist in the morning and I'll be going over a lot of this with her. I need her to teach me more about building a healthy plate. We need to get a list of options that I can use to create the meals I actually WANT to eat. While this set meal plan has taken the guesswork out of it, I want to be free from the constraints of eating the same thing day in and day out for the rest of my life. It's time to merge the part of me that knows a balanced diet works to the part of me that wants to continue to enjoy food and indulge every now and again.
One final note, this one less about food. YOOVIE said, "Do something today that makes you feel free." So I did.
I skipped the gym. With the sun shining so brightly and the knowledge that the next week looks like RAIN, STORMS, RAIN, and more STORMS, I wanted to enjoy this time I had. I grabbed Hubs and the boys and we headed up to the park where I played a good bit of tennis. It felt wonderful. It felt freeing. AND, I'm actually getting better at it! BONUS! My serves generally go where I want them to now, and I'm returning a lot more than I was a year ago. It was a great day, a great lesson in using fun, active activities to free your mind from the burden of "I HAVE to work out." AND? I used any down time to do crunches and lunges, so I got a good lower body workout in too (plus, tennis is a LOT of lower body work already).
Now onto to today. Going to have to alter the plan a bit as I'm taking my youngest to an appointment today with the Oral Surgeon in Parkersburg. I just ate my eggs and oats breakfast, so I'm packing with me - water, Chobani yogurt, granola and a spoon. :) I know this is good for me, and I can eat it wherever I am.
Happy Friday to you all!
"Do something today that makes you smell really bad."
YOOVIE said it. Take it or leave it. I'm either going to kill it on an elliptical tonight or Just Dance until it hurts...and smells. :)
Thursday, May 05, 2011
You are stronger than you think you are.
You are stronger than you imagine.
Strength is not purely physical. Check the dictionary! It talks about mental strength, and moral courage too.
I was strong yesterday.
I ate healthy.
I indulged only what would still allow me victory in the end.
I said NO to Hot and Ready Pizza.
I forced myself to push everything out of my mind at bath time and just enjoy...
...even though the kids were screaming.
...even though Hubs was screaming at the kids.
...even with the TV on.
...even when the light kept flickering out.
I kept going. Each time an obstacle came up, I fought my way through it with the strength I had and the desire to succeed.
YOOVIE said, "Do something today that makes you feel strong."
My strength did not come from the number of pounds I lifted.
It did not come from a number of crunches or squats.
It came from sticking to it.
It came from being unwilling to give in.
It came from knowing when to say yes, and knowing when to say no.
It came from doing what I wanted and needed for my body and mind.
August Wilson said:
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.”
And how about Alex Karras?
“It takes more courage to reveal insecurities than to hide them, more strength to relate to people than to dominate them, more 'manhood' to abide by thought-out principles rather than blind reflex. Toughness is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles and an immature mind.”
Yeah, I've never heard of them either...but after that I'm thinking I should know who they are.
But, Mahatma Gandhi said it best, I think...
“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”
True dat, Mr. Gandhi!
It takes strength to battle your demons.
To say NO to food that will give you momentary pleasure but longer moments of regret.
To champion through when the world seems to be signaling a time-out.
To stand up and say, "NO! I will stand up for myself. I will do what I need for me, for my happiness, for my strength and beauty and love. I will fight whatever it takes to prove to myself that I am important."
And as I reflect upon yesterday, and I remember all the ways it could have gone wrong. As I see all the paths that could have been taken and I triumph and bask in the glow of pride for feeling like I took the right paths nearly every time, I'm reminded of something.
The fight isn't over.
Every day is a struggle. Some harder than others.
But every day is also an opportunity to prove my strength, or to build more through failure.
And I like it.
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