Monday, December 26, 2011
Sure, we could attribute my emotions to the pretty number I found on the scale this AM (301.8), but that really isn't it. Honestly, it was because I was just able to be in the moment and enjoy myself and my family.
Let's get this out of the way. That number? Could be a total fluke. My body and the scale have them. Still, good or bad, I will keep recording every Sunday's weigh-in.
Yes, the pain is still there.
No, I haven't been working out.
And, no, I wouldn't call my diet lately "healthy"...but, I've tried to be conscious about it. I've enjoyed my treats in moderation. At family gatherings, I try to stick to eating my proteins first and trying to limit the amount of foods that, while tasty, I know hold a lot of fats. And, more than anything else, I've been listening to my body. Yes, there have been days when I've only eaten twice...and while I don't recommend that (especially for the way my body usually works), I've noticed that some of the "heavy" meals around this time of year fill me up for a while. Don't get me wrong, I'm not stuffing myself until it hurts - not anymore. I keep telling myself -- this is NOT the last time you'll see this food. In fact, with my new-found skills in the kitchen I'm fully aware that I can make these tasty dishes whenever I want. Better yet, I can usually alter them to better suit my dietary needs.
Still, I'm not calling it a total victory. I'm sure I'm losing muscle mass right now while my body rests, but I'm trying to forgive myself for that. When I end up driving home in tears because I'm in pain just from surviving the day, I know that pushing myself through a workout is likely not a good idea right now. Like I said, I see the Chiro on Tuesday, and I hope that really helps. On my own I've been trying to stretch and rest as much as possible.
As much as I hate to say it, I've been looking to the new year as a new beginning. I know how cliche this is. I know how much the easiest thing that ruins a "diet" is a Monday. I'm not going crazy as a final "last meal" type effort to end the year, though. I'm just trying to relieve some of the stresses I put on myself and reformulate a new plan for the new year. Sometimes the best times for me are the times I spend planning. And any good plan takes time. This way I'm able to evaluate what I WANT to do and formulate it into a plan that works with what I CAN do.
I've got a rough outline for my workouts for the month of January, and an even rougher outline for February. The goal is to work out 5 times a week, 30-60 minutes each day. At least 2 days of ST with cardio, and the rest of the days with cardio alone. I've got written down some workouts like 2 runs a week (just to get myself back into it), Zumba (heavily modified, of course), and 30 Day Shred. The thing is, all 3 of these things are things I cannot do right now without serious pain. That's going to mean that I'll need a back-up plan just in case any of these things are things I don't think my body can take at the time. I've considered just making fitness time goals, but I really want to burn some calories this year somewhat consistently. I think I'll make a list of different workout options and how many calories each will burn - a sort of workout playlist that I can choose from each workout day (that may actually be a good idea - to make a playlist for each workout...hrm...).
Other than my workouts, I'm ready and willing and able to get my cooking/food/nutrition back under my control. I have to try to figure out, again, how this will work for me. I can't devote a lot of time to cooking most days because I leave the house at 7am and don't return until around 8pm or later. Plus, I have kids that need to be in bed at/around 9-9:30pm...so dinner can't take that long to cook or they'll be up until 11pm every night and, while they'll eat nutritiously, they won't get any sleep. Can't sacrifice one for the other, not if I don't have to. So my options are:
1) Find healthy meals that cook in 30 minutes or less. (Maybe I can prep the ingredients the night before to help cut down on time.)
2) Batch cook on the weekends. (It has worked in the past, but it makes for very crazy weekends, which make me sleepy and tired for the week...it's like non-stop go, go, go...and I'm finding that I really need that downtime.)
3) Find meals I can prep and then either Hubs/kids can toss it in the oven or sits in the crockpot and cooks all day.
I'm not sure what the best option is right now...but I'm considering my options. Through my girl, KITHKINCAID, I found a blogging site where this girl cooks like EVERYTHING in her Crockpot. My only problem is the hours spent away from home...too often things overcook because I'm not there to control it and because it's hard to cook in the AM when I'm exhausted so I'm a "put it in at night" kind of girl. The last thing I cooked turned into toxic waste...so I have to figure out my timing OR...I've already spread the word around my family that I REALLY want one of those programmable slow cookers for my birthday (in a couple weeks). A girl can dream, right?! Would certainly solve some problems. Of course, I could combine the idea of prepping ingredients the night before, tossing them in each AM, and then have the boys turn it to warm when they get home at 3pm or at some set time. In that regard, I've picked 5 Crockpot recipes for January to try.
One thing I KNOW will help is the 8-cup food processor my MIL got me for Christmas this year! I was so friggin' excited. She said she remembers the day she came over and I was in my Chicken Salad craving phase. Instead of submitting myself to the sodium and unknown ingredients in pre-made chicken salad, I thought it'd be brilliant if I made it at home. Of course, when I got to the point of shredding the chicken, I sat for over an hour with two forks shredding all my chicken by hand. A tedious process and certainly showed my commitment to healthy eating! *lol* Now that same recipe will be done in NO time. Chicken is already on my shopping list...time to find an amazing, healthy chicken salad recipe! I'll also be able to make great hearty soups now, plus I'll have a quick way to chop up things like onions and green peppers, which, oddly, have made their way into the majority of my favorite recipes. (Who knew? I use to avoid these like the plague until I discovered that, when cooked right, they taste AMAZING in yummy, healthy dishes.)
I also haven't quit my idea of the "Year of Adventures" but I've retooled it. A few months ago we took a day trip with some of Shane's family to caves in Kentucky. I had so much fun that day and it was a great way to "travel" without spending a crapton of money. Plus, looking forward to trips keeps me going. So, I'm thinking, what if I plan a weekend/day trip each month for my family? Maybe include some extended family and/or friends now and again, but I'm not going to work too hard at that. I'm learning how much I crave the companionship of my boys (including Hubs). I traveled too much without them this year and it made me long for them. I've got a few ideas for "trips" already. Green Bank, WV where they have a ginormous telescope which would delight Logan to no end to see/explore. The Ohio Caverns, which I visited as a kid but the boys have never seen. The Serpent Mound in Ohio which, again, I've visited but my boys haven't. Plus, I'm trying to plan my last week of training certification in DC around their school schedule so we can find more things to explore while we're there. (Now I have a great sushi restaurant in Chinatown to take them to! *lol*) I want to plan fun, active trips that will keep us going - things that interest us and maybe even educate my children in some way.
Finally, I'm thinking of adding in a high calorie day each week. NOTABOUTTHEFACE does this, and it works for her. I've avoided it like the plague, afraid that I'd just go nutters that day...but I once felt the same way about weighing in every day once upon a time...now I do it by second nature - and it's taken the sting out of the numbers on the scale for me. My body acts like a crazy person on the scale sometimes, and I've learned to accept that. Plus, I get to keep an eye on when I'm doing well and when I need to readjust. Maybe the high calorie days idea would keep me focused the rest of the week and, after a few weeks of adjustment (I'm guessing), stop me from seeing "High Calorie Days" as binge days. It's all an experiment...and I'm just toying with the idea for now. I'm working on thinking about whether I want to consider what's an acceptable "high calorie day" and what is not...I'm considering everything.
Another thing I've been planning? Rewards. Honestly, I suck at this. I tend to guilt myself out of my awards, even if I earned them. I find a way out of them, telling myself I wasn't perfect so I get nothing. Instead, I've considered giving myself "levels" of rewards. For example, for January, I have something like 21 scheduled workouts. If I get all 21 in, I get a full makeover. Hair, nails, a new outfit, even color for my hair. The reward then cuts down as my commitment wanes. If I only get 20 in, I get a partial makeover. If I only do 19, I get even less. But only if I REALLY slack do I get nothing. (I think the lowest it goes down is like 16.) I think this might break me of my idea of perfection, which still spurring me on to doing the best I can.
Planning is my friend.
But all that was done a day or two ago. Today, I just lived in the moment. It started Friday, actually. I've been taking care of myself - skin, hair, nails. I know that goes a long way to boosting my confidence in myself, which helps in other aspects of my life. I've been enjoying my kids, cleaning my house, doing what needs to be done without stressing myself over every tiny detail. And it's been a great mood booster. Sometimes I'm just way too hard on myself.
Friday, I got my nails and makeup done, picked out the outfit I wanted to wear and that made me feel good, and met my mom in Parkersburg for Christmas. (Her gift to me? Wireless headphones! SQUEEE! I'll review them and let y'all know how it goes when I finally get out there again. I wanted them for runs, so I don't have some stupid, crazy cord tucked in my shirt annoying me on runs. I can just stick my phone in my pocket, put the headphones on and GO!) I had a great time visiting with my mom and my brothers, and my oldest brother's new fiancee (she's been with him for years, though and she's fabulous!).
Yesterday, I managed to take a nap, woke up in time to shower and pick out the outfit I wanted to wear and that made me feel good, before heading up to my MIL's to celebrate Christmas with her. (Present? My food processor (and other fun stuf)...I'm sensing a theme here! *lol* One of my favorite special gifts was a mug that says "The Multitasking Mom" with my name on it...I felt like someone was noticing and appreciating all my efforts!) And then we came home and I got the whole clan rallied together to clean up the living room in record breaking time so we could all celebrate Christmas morning around the tree in a stress-free environment. (I wish I could get them to do this more often.)
And then, today...I actually slept in past everyone except Logan. This NEVER happens for me on Christmas (though...I must say, I was up super late because falling asleep was an issue...). We opened all our presents and I was thrilled to see how happy my boys were with all the great gifts I picked out for them. Everyone enjoyed their presents and then we popped in one of my HP blu-rays (Got the complete set!! YAY!) and I made a huge breakfast - a dozen scrambled eggs (a little overkill, it turns out...Joey got the rest *lol*), bacon, sausage, and biscuits (and I even bought myself the reduced fat ones...hey, any way I can help myself...). I ate sensibly, but didn't over-stress or deprive myself, and that gave me the energy I needed to even clean up and do the dishes so none of my boys had to lift a finger. (Which I know they were grateful for...and which cleared space for my new toy...and Hubs' new toy, which I'm equally thrilled about - a coffee grinder! *lol*)
I got myself all primped again - even redid the nails and did the toes too! - and then headed over to Hubs' uncle's place for a final HURRAH! to the Christmas festivities. I got some books, which is awesome because, large as my book collection is, the amount of unread books has been dwindling quickly and I was just thinking how I needed to restock! *lol* I got some wonderful compliments (his family is always filthy with them - no matter what my weight, his G'pa has told me every single day since I met him that I am absolutely beautiful and keep getting more beautiful every single day. He gushes over me and - I admit it - it feels fabulous! ;) ) and was conscious of my food intake. I had some ham, a little bit of scalloped potatoes, a bit of the baked beans, about 1/4 of a cup of mashed potatoes (maybe...we were scraping bowl, I admit, or it would've been a bit higher) and some of my MIL's famous homemade noodles. (Now that is one food I cannot make whenever I want so it'll be a cold day in hell when I turn them down! *lol* They are, hands down, the most amazing noodles I've ever tasted - and I grew up visiting Amish county in Ohio and feasting on their amazing noodles, so I know good noodles!). And, yes, I had a piece of pie...but that was it. I got a small piece and enjoyed every bite (again, MIL's famous Graham Cracker Pie, which I also cannot make and will not turn down - especially after missing it on Thanksgiving this year!! *lol*), and then I was done.
Why am I telling you all this? I don't know. It's so blissfully....normal. After the crazy year I had, I needed these past three days of feeling comfortable around people and not worrying about how I was being judged. I even felt like I was showing off my new body...even though I "only" lost 20 pounds this year, I feel completely different. It's been over a year and it feels like real life now, not something I'm trying to fake. I keep thinking, with the horrible year I had (and yes, I realize that's relative...it could have been worse), I stuck with it and I'm ending the year with the same positive outlook on what's to come as I started this year with...sometimes I think that was the most important lesson I learned this year...and I probably needed it. I will probably look back on this year with thanks for how it set me up mentally and taught me to keep going.
As for the pain, it's still there. I still hurt. I'm surprised it hasn't gone away more, but I feel a tiny bit better every day. I'm seriously hoping that Tuesday's appointment will work out some of the remaining kinks, or at least put me on a path to doing that after I talk to my Chiropractor.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas. I hope that you have great plans, dreams, and goals for the new year. Just one more week left and the clock ticks over...and we get to spend most of the year wondering (and likely hearing theories on) whether we'll make it to this date in 2012. *lol* Either way, I tend to spend every month setting myself up for a life lived well and full and healthy and happy...even if I don't always get there. Sometimes trying is the best we've got...I cannot stop trying. For myself, for my family, and for whatever time I do have left.
And then, in two weeks, I will celebrate my birthday...not as a different person, but as a more confident version of myself. I'm breaking out of the confines of the shell I was forced into as a child. I've had to learn how to find my voice again. As I told my mother, you can say all you want that your childhood is full of "bad" things you should just "get over" but sometimes it takes a long time and a lot of effort to relearn how to value yourself when you're constantly forced to deny that part of yourself. How you're treated as a child can develop ideas in your head about what you're worth in life and teach a person how to treat themselves. Sometimes it takes not "letting go" but overcoming...and that, in itself, is a difficult process. It's become a huge part of how I treat my children. I want them to develop positive ideals for themselves. I want them to know when it's right to stick up for yourself and when it's best to push yourself and sacrifice that quick blissful moment of pleasure for a longer lasting pleasure that may take longer to achieve.
Okay, I'm rambling. It's late. I just needed to remark here for my own journaling efforts how it was that I had a happy Christmas. Too often I overstress and ruin it for myself. It's nice to know how to let go of all those ideas of perfection and just be in the moment. Weird lesson to have to learn, right? *lol*
Thursday, December 22, 2011
I keep walking forward, though it doesn't feel like I'm making much progress.
I have to accept that the scale is likely not going to change in the direction I want right now.
I'm having difficulty with my workouts, which ALWAYS affects my eating. It's one of the big "AH-HA!"s we discovered (I say we because I discovered it a few weeks ago in my 'last' official meeting with my nutritionist) this year.
If I can exercise, it boosts my self-confidence.
I feel like a rockstar. No amount of evil looks can "beat" me because I know what I just did or what I'm going to do. Exercise is my defense mechanism against the world. Suddenly all the pre-judgements I assume others make about me are made unimportant because, in my heart and because of my efforts in the gym, I know they are untrue. (And if you want to blah-dee-blah about how I shouldn't let what others think affect me, go for it, but it will fall on deaf ears. I've come to respect the fact that I cannot change who I am, what I can do is learn to manage it.) I smile as I walk by them looking at my stomach. I laugh in my head. Even a snicker or a joke doesn't touch me because I feel like I constantly have the comeback of, "I did XXXX today...what did YOU do." I know that even the skinniest and fittest looking girls struggle with healthy eating and exercise and it just humors me to think that some of them, while hating that I prejudge them as having it "easy" (And, yes, I am working on that...meeting you lovlies has helped me realize what a misconception it is), many of them are prejudging me as lazy or having given up. When I work out, I know it isn't true, so it simply bounces off me.
When I work out, my confidence is boosted.
When my confidence is boosted, I feel more able and ready to take on the world.
I don't worry about the stressors that might come up because I feel somewhat invincible. I did what I said I was going to do - which means that when it comes to other aspects of my life, I can follow the same path. That's especially true when it comes to healthy eating. The difference is night and day. If you were to watch me cook dinner after having skipped a workout (even if it's justified by injury), I will do it begrudgingly, angry, and bitter. Having done it might help a bit to boost my confidence, but it doesn't have nearly the effect that a good workout challenge met does. I stand there thinking about how tired I am, how sore. My head filters in all the excuses for me about how "hard" my life is because, and this is key, I'm actually just feeling guilty about that missed workout and I'm trying to make myself "feel better" about it instead of wallowing in that self-hatred over missing it. If you watch me cook dinner after doing the workout I set out to do for the evening, however, you'll find me sometimes whistling - whipping together a great dish, sometimes even without a recipe. My mind floats through all the wonders and joys I have in my life and how thankful I am to have the family I have, because I feel like super-mom, super-wife, and super-woman all rolled into one. Once again, I am invincible. Suddenly it doesn't matter that I had a difficult day at work, that I'm tired after a 10-hour shift and 2 hours driving. None of it matters...I'm still going because I set out to do it and I've proven that I'm true to my word.
When I workout regularly and as planned, my self-confidence is boosted, which makes the other aspects of healthy living almost "easy" in a way.
Eating works because I'm happy to do it. And all this snowballs into a positive force that I can get behind. When people talk about "motivation," this is what I think of...and it makes me laugh that they think it's something you just have or don't have. It's not. You have to build it, make it. And how do I make it? By doing what I say I'm going to do. By following the plan I know works. Being honest is SO important to me - and when I can check the goals for that day off the to-do list, when I know I said "I will do XXXX" and I do XXXX, that is when I feel like I'm finally being honest with myself. I no longer have to make excuses out of guilt and self-hatred because I've built up this wall of self-confidence and self-respect that doesn't allow those ugly nasties through/over/around.
It's not perfect.
It doesn't always happen.
But if I go back and look over my journey thus far - over what has worked, when I have "failed" or dropped off the progress, it all adds up to one thing.
Exercise = Success.
Now, this may not be true for all of you. I know there are people out there who can get by just eating lower calorie counts and not working out a bit and lose weight. I won't judge you on that. You are doing what you need to do. And while I firmly believe that a life without regular physical activity, even if it DOES lead to weight loss, is not a full life, is not making you as healthy as you could be or at all physically fit, I won't look down on you because you are doing what YOU need to do to get healthier. None of us are perfect. The most fittest person I meet and see, the ones who always seem to know what exactly to eat and when and workout religiously like maniacs and look fabulous and always seem 20 steps ahead of us? Honestly, they bug me. Because I know in my heart it's a bit of a lie. They MUST have bad days like the rest of us - they just aren't willing to fess up to them. I call LIAR...and, as I said, honesty is EXTREMELY important to me.
And, yes, I started out doing "chair exercises" for the most part.
I kid you not, 15 minutes on an In-Stride cycle (which I still have, by the way) while watching TV was the most I could get myself to do when I started back in April of last year. I was that out of shape.
But while my body seems battered and broken right now, it still feels like "athlete" to me. And the thought of putting myself back in the chair makes me want to disintegrate into a ball of dust. It feels like going backward. It feels like doing nothing. It feels fake and ...it makes me feel "FAT" again. I haven't felt "FAT" in a LOOONG time now...because of that self-respect wall and how "dirty" that word feels. I don't let that word in anymore. So to go back to what I did when I weighed over 400 pounds makes me want to quit, because it makes me feel fat. You can judge me all you want for this emotion. I know how ridiculous it may sound. And, NO, I am not saying the people who use these type of exercises to be successful are "fake" or "fat" or any bad words I would assign to myself if I were doing them again. Please understand, they provide a huge source of inspiration and garner HUGE respect for me. Because they are HONEST about what they can do and they do the best they can do at what they do. In my book, that makes them Awesome and Wonderful individuals who deserve the greatest amount of respect from ALL of us.
But... (and that's a big but) ...I just can't accept that. At least not right now.
That is what is honest.
If I do that...it feels like giving up every dream I've ever had for myself. And, right now, that might just kill me, sink my ship, and make me drown in my own self-pity.
So, while I respect all of you and your successes and appreciate your advice, please just know this about me.
Sometimes it IS all or nothing.
I've tried everything I can this ENTIRE year to change that...but I (obviously) haven't gotten very far. When do we stop trying to change who we are and just accept who that is and work with it? For me, that's been the past couple months. I stopped trying to change myself. I stopped trying to adapt to what works for everyone else and have reflected upon ME and what works for ME and what kind of person I am and what I need to do to work with that and work with the challenges and put it all together in a mess of crazy confusion that just seems to work.
Accepting all of this, I have also accepted that my goal of hitting 299 before the New Year is highly improbable. Not if I want to see the numbers that follow. Not if I want to be honest with myself and build myself up for future success. This is not the end of a diet. I am not 5 pounds from goal and severely desperate to see those numbers on the scale. This is my life, and I cannot ruin it for a few weeks with drastic measures just so I can have a moment of happiness that will fade quickly into regret and dread and may even harm my body more.
I have to let it go.
I have to be honest with myself.
299 will come. When it needs to. When I need it. When I'm committed enough to getting there.
And, very likely, after what I've learned about what works for me, it will come when my body is working again how I need it to in order to do my scheduled workouts.
And I don't mean a total all-or-nothing attitude.
I'm being realistic.
It's like a phrase we use at work, that is built into the law regarding persons with disabilities and their ability to perform a job (and the protections they are granted from other persons' perceptions about whether or not they can perform a job). Can that person perform the essential job functions WITH or WITHOUT accommodation. Can I perform the major essential functions of the routines I love, the ones that boost my confidence and rebuild my wall, with or without modifications? When I can, that's when this will work again.
Right now, the pain is almost unbearable. I called the chiropractor again and asked that they move up my appointment. I go Tuesday now instead of Friday.
And I will talk to CC honestly about what I'm experiencing and how it is affecting me both physically (I can't concentrate most days because I can't sleep most nights, which is, in turn affecting my weight loss as well) and mentally. I feel broken and if he can't figure out how to "fix" me, or at least give me a way to manage it, then we need to find someone who can.
Yesterday I consciously did not work out. I took it as a rest day and, instead, did some of my stretches before going to bed and tried to rest up. Because I knew that today I'm going to try to workout again. I cannot tell you if I will be in Zumba again or if I will try something else -- elliptical, treadmill, rowing machine, boxing, stair stepper, bike ...whatever. All I know is that I've promised myself 30 minutes of SOMETHING in that gym and I HAVE to do what I say I'm going to do. I just HAVE TO...for myself...to rebuild my wall.
It hasn't helped so far, this accepting my limits. But I keep thinking if I just keep trying it will. I miss feeling like a friggin' rockstar. (I can tell you honestly that walking out of a Zumba class before it's over with tears streaming down your face and not really sweating all that much because the moves hurt too much and you've modified so much that it makes it almost "lazy" as a workout does NOT make me feel very "rockstar.") I miss feeling like I could high kick someone in the face or punch them if they looked at me wrong. (Not that I would, but I like knowing I could.) I miss the feeling that I could chase you down if you tried to steal my purse or insult my children. I miss feeling like a size 4, no matter what the tag on my jeans say, because I just feel so beautiful inside that it resonates throughout my entire being. For now, I'm simply hoping and praying that one day, and if I keep trying, just sticking by this "JUST GET 30 MINUTES" and checking that off consistently, I will start rebuilding my wall and that will be ENOUGH. It's not as quick going as some of my killer workouts but, maybe....just maybe...if I keep it up I'll rebuild it with those tiny steps.
And please note that I'm not writing all this and telling you all that I'm in pain to have you feel sorry for me or even to justify myself to you. I do it to justify myself to me, and to understand. I want to look back later and be the girl who says, "OMG! I remember how hard that time was...and I made it through and look at me now!" I'm hoping by talking it out it will both let me understand, process, and move through it, but also will stand as a living testament one day to what I came from, what I worked through, and what I triumphed over. Because I fully intend to triumph over this.
And, yes, I know there are others out there who have it worse than me. Please understand that I'm not appreciative of that. I tell myself that all the time to make it through difficult runs and workouts. I do many of my workouts for them - dedicated to those who cannot and wish they could. It keeps me in check. But also understand that I am not them, that is not my life and not my journey and those are not my struggles. I can only work with what I got. I know the person with no shoes should remember there are people with no feet...but if I've got my feet and I don't want to lose them via frostbite, I had better stop feeling sorry for the guys with no feet and start finding myself some damn shoes to protect these babies. Somehow, I think that's what the guy with no feet would tell me. He'd tell me it was hard, but he triumphed over it and learned to deal, but I don't think he'd look down at my feet and smile and say, "Yay! You'll be joining me soon!" He'd look at my feet and say "Get some DAMN shoes, ya idiot!"
I'm off to find me some shoes.
To rebuild my wall.
To work with what I've got.
And to pray that one day I'll look back after passing this storm and be proud of making it through. Because, no, this isn't the toughest challenge someone could face, but it's been one of the toughest for me so far in my life. Working through it will make me stronger...and I can't wait to show you my muscles on the other side. ;)
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I ate considerably better, while not exactly "on".
I'm quite sure I went over my calories, though I'll never know because I didn't log anything...and I don't care to right now.
I'm still fighting that "UGH!" feeling, mostly because I hurt still.
My head is telling me it's time to get back into the game. If only my body would respond appropriately, I'm pretty sure I'd be able to follow that motivation and build upon it.
But, alas...my body still aches in every corner and crook and crease and bone and joint and nerve. (I was going for some alliteration, but it too, like my body, fell apart.)
Last night was my first night back in the gym for a real workout in two weeks.
I actually had this moment when it hit me how long it had been since I'd seen those all-too-familiar walls. Of course the guy at the front desk prodded me with a "haven't seen you in a while"...but, thankfully, I wasn't in a mood to take it wrong or get defensive. I didn't feel the need to defend myself about NEEDING a week off and about actually working out every day the week before, but just in DC, not at home. Instead I smiled and nodded. "How are you doing?" he asked. Heh. How do I even begin, my friend?
I got dressed and it felt strange, but familiar and good.
I saw some friendly faces and smiled.
I joked around with my Zumba instructor.
And then I had THE WORST experience I've had in Zumba since the first day I tried it and my knee popped out and I stumbled out crying.
I tried to be upbeat and positive.
I reminded myself that it was about moving, not about perfecting.
And I'll be damned if that wasn't the one night Ms. I'm a Back-up Dancer for Britney Spears wasn't in the building.
Yes, yes...I'm sure she's nice enough. But I wanted to trip her. I told myself that I was just overreacting. It was my jealousy popping out. Here I was, unable to "hit it" like I usually do, and she's making Zumba moves look like a hip-hop dance performance (complete with the one leg of the sweat pants pulled up...friggin' poser!). Of course, then I realized that I just didn't like her AT ALL when my Zumba instructor stepped away to get a drink of water, knowing her regulars could lead the class in the first few moves of the next song, and Ms. I Got Rhythm decides TO TAKE MY INSTRUCTOR'S SPOT.
I swear, hand on whatever holy book you decide to put in front of me, I almost PUSHED her down. If you want your own dance class, then go get one. Don't go stealing other people's and acting all "I'm better than you." I don't care if you ARE actually better than me, I lose all respect for your talent when you get too self-assured and act like an ass in front of me.
I swear I tried my best not to focus on Ms. I Know I'm Perfect, even though it was hard, but even when my focus wasn't there, I kept getting distracted by aches and pains and pulls and tugs throughout my body. With each song I was having to adjust more and more. Smaller steps, tiny hops, little to no core movement...it was going downhill fast. And about 20-25 minutes in, it all broke down. I broke down. I fought my way through one or two more songs, though I don't quite remember as everything in those last few minutes were blurred by the torturous screams from my hips and knees and back and foot.
And I did the only thing I knew I could. I felt the tears coming, so I quickly picked up my water bottle and headed outside of the room to stretch...and cry. Some of those tears were for the patheticness I was feeling. I used to RULE the Zumba floor. I was getting SO good. And now, I felt, I was right back at square one (though not exactly..I am still able to jump, whereas I could NOT do that before). But most of those tears were from the searing pain in my hips and back.
How does it still hurt? I took over a week off. I did very little other than that one day I had that huge event which required me to be on my feet for several hours, walking around the venue, catering to people, and doing no less than 50 squats in order to dodge under video cameras recording the event. Other than that one day, I rested.
So...why? Why does it still hurt SO much. It's like that week never happened. I got NOTHING out of that week other than a few moments of peace for myself.
Confession? I'm scared.
I'm scared because I do not want to face the fact that I may have to kiss every dream I ever had, everything (activity-wise) I ever loved goodbye.
Trail hiking? That's out.
Running? No way.
Zumba? Not unless you want to spend the night in agonizing pain.
Core work hurts, so that will cut boxing right out of the picture.
Even biking hurts my hips now.
And lifting weights? Don't make me laugh...or gag from the pain I'd feel.
What the hell does that leave? Honestly.
No, I can't swim unless I'm willing to risk hypothermia.
(Again, there is NO pool around where I live that is indoors other than the one in the senior center, which closes before I even get home from work. So swimming is OUT.)
So what else do you got for me?
I swear if I hear one more person tell me, "Why don't you just do XXX?" like it's an original thought I'm going to punch them. I know they mean the best but I kid you not, everything I have tried so far has caused pain. From Yoga to Lifting to Dancing to Boxing to Walking - EVERYTHING.
So my only other option?
Do it anyway.
And that scares me too. It means more days/nights spend hurting and trying not to say anything about it because I get tired of hearing it out of my own damn mouth.
And it scares me because people around me keep having to have major joint surgeries - hips, knees, etc. and I'm scared that I might be next on the list. (But how do they fix a jacked up pelvis?)
Sometimes I just get scared because I wonder what caused this. And thankful that I have two boys who will likely NEVER have to worry about getting this if it is, in fact, hereditary. (Although both of my sons asked me for "a little sister" for Christmas last night and I nearly punched them...instead I just laughed uncontrollably. Could you even imagine adding that into my current problems?!)
I spend each day trying to fight.
Trying not to cry.
I feel lost.
No, I feel the loss - the loss of my spirit, my ability, and my sanity.
It's not that I don't WANT to do the right thing, it's that it hurts SO much to do anything. The least amount of pain I feel is laying completely still on the couch. Even the bed hurts most nights.
I have no choice.
It's going to hurt.
And I'm just going to have to do it anyway.
Because maybe I will "work it out".
Or maybe stretching will help (hasn't yet).
Or maybe building stronger muscles will better support those joints.
Or maybe losing more weight will help alleviate some of the added pressure.
Doing nothing is...doing nothing. And even that hurts.
So I guess I'd rather hurt doing something.
So, I have to rejoice in the little things.
In order to ignore the nagging headache that follows me daily from the mess that is my back. Counting down the days until my next chiropractic appointment and praying to whoever will listen that it will help or, miracle of miracles - make the pain go away.
Yesterday's little things?
- Home-cooked meal. (Granted, my boys cooked it because I was crying on the couch, but still...)
- Brought my lunch to work and ate that instead of ordering in.
- And I completed 30 minutes of agonizing Zumba...with severe modifications.
At least I'm moving in the right direction again...I hope.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Last week, I wrote out my frustration and then I shut down. I shut down everything. For one whole week I just stopped going through the motions. I stopped fighting, pushing forward. I just stood still for one week. Most people would say I went backward. In a way, I did. Sure, I regressed into old habits. Not cooking because the day was busy. Grabbing a muffin because there's no time for anything else and I just don't want to force myself through the carrots. Call it whatever you want, but for me, it felt like standing still.
I've worked my arse off this year. I've been beating myself because I haven't been PERFECT - because I'm not always on. Because I don't complete every workout 100%, because I take nights off. But something I've realized when looking back is -- that's no different than what I've always done. In fact, I've worked harder this year on healthy eating and exercise than I have my ENTIRE LIFE. I focused on healthy foods a great majority of the time. When faced with options, I tried to play it "healthy safe" while still having a little fun. I worked out. I worked out HARD. I worked myself up to running 5 miles. And, no, I didn't "burn out" or whatever, I could've kept going - I have more energy now than I have MY ENTIRE LIFE. I kept getting injured, yes, but that's no different than any other year. The weight used to cause problems, now the exercise does.
Maybe it's this time of year - you know, one year coming to a close and reflecting on it and all that - or maybe it was this week I spent standing still, but I've come to realize that I didn't fail this year. I didn't sabotage my efforts. I lived a life - a life full of ups and downs, bad days and good days and - let's face it - I've had more good days this year than bad ones.
Now don't get all excited. This is not me "seeing the light" in any way. The thing I'm realizing is - I worked HARD this year. I fought for it. I bled for it. I sweated for it. I ate right and exercised a great majority of the time. And after all that, I have NO CLUE why I've lost almost nothing this year.
Yes, I said almost nothing.
Most of the people in my life don't understand this feeling. They call me ungrateful (I hate that word - not because of the meaning, but because of the spelling). They say I should triumph in whatever accomplishments I have reached this year. They don't understand the empty feeling (NOTABOUTTHEFACE described it PERFECTLY though! THANKS!) that comes when you've been at it so long, you've been fighting and fighting, and you've barely moved at all. They don't understand the struggle to get here, and the realization of knowing it's not even halfway done yet.
I started at 466.6 pounds.
I'm at 308 (or thereabouts) now. I have lost almost 160 pounds. I have almost that much still to go. (131 more pounds will put me at 177, a "healthy" weight).
And, for the record, I have been fat for 25 years.
Growing up I did weight watchers.
I remember walking around the track in middle school, just trying so hard to lose weight - to be like the other girls. (And I remember listening to a mixed tape from my husband - then boyfriend - *lol*)
I've eaten my fair share of tasteless "low calorie" meals. I've ignored and rejected and refused my fair share of cookies and cake and ice cream in an effort to slim down.
I took classes on how to eat right that were prescribed by my doctor.
I drank diet soda, because I was told that was best.
I ate Weight Watcher "desserts" that did nothing to curb my cravings - so I would eat 3 of them instead of one.
I forced down carrots and celery raw...and hated it.
All 25 years of "trying" to lose weight, and now finally doing it, and then hitting this friggin' wall? It's maddening. And the most frustrating part is that no one in my real life understands my frustration. They don't understand that even after losing A PERSON, I still don't look the way I think I should. I can't wear the clothes I want to. I'm still taken for someone who is fat, lazy and unkempt. Don't ask me how I know this look, ask the 25 years I've spent seeing it.
Still, I have to say that this is the farthest I've ever made it on this "journey" or whatever ya'll call it. Most people would rejoice in their efforts to say they're back where they were before having two kids, back where they were in HS. But even in HS, I was the "huge" girl. So getting here is less WOOT and more ABOUT FRIGGIN' FLIPPIN' TIME. UGH!
And after a year of fighting:
- Major Work Changes
- Family Issues/Stress
- Issues with Birth Control Meds
Not to mention the new emotions arising out of a conversation with my mother about my father, but the fact that he is now in the hospital basically dying (congestive heart failure)...
Yeah, this has been a rough year.
I learned that my pelvis is misaligned - and will likely never be fixed.
I learned that my hips are off because of that.
I learned that I have a calcified ligament in my neck, which will likely mean that migraines will always haunt me.
Basically I learned that no matter what I do, the damage is done and the work ahead will be constantly plagued with injury, readjustments, pain, and popping ibuprofen and soaking in ice baths like it's my friggin' job. And what do I get for those efforts? Not much. A mere 20 lbs on the scale...and the same looks out on the road...the same clothing sizes and stores...the same reflection in mirrors.
So, yes, it's frustrating. And that's what I was trying to get away from this past week. A week off. Eating whatever I wanted. Not going to the gym ONE TIME to actually work out. I just needed a week of not putting myself through the paces, not berating myself for what I could've done better = what might've gotten that scale to move.
A perfect week for it too, since I had my monthly weigh-in at the gym Friday. *sigh* Whatever, right? I even committ to my non-committal. I was up about 6 pounds from last month, but still down one from that Sunday. And most of the weight can be attributed to water weight. General bloating.
The woman at the gym said, "Well you really didn't do much damage." Gee...thanks. Nice to know that I can do "not much damage" from a week off, but I can't seem to lose a friggin' POUND when I committ to working out EVERY DAMN DAY.
I know that I can't keep going like this, though. It would catch up to me. I know this from experience. I fought last time for a 100 pound loss, and then stopped and gained back half of it. So, I know better. This morning started with my 1/2 a bagel breakfast. I brought a salad to work and some carrots (gag! I really do NOT care for carrots...lesson learned. Plus, I don't think carrots or celery are to be eaten raw by anyone ...unless you're a rabbit. For me, these will always be simply carriers for other types of food - carrots and ranch, celery and peanut butter. I will not be buying either for a snack unless I plan on the calorie punch that comes from ranch or peanut butter in my snack). And, I ate some carrots...coated in ranch. And then? Then I ate 2 of my protein bars, a little peanut butter cup, an Andes mint (Ugh...my stomach HATES peppermint right now!), and a small bag of Cheez-its.
See how hard these habits are to break?
Just last week I ate:
And the funny thing is, I eat those things anyhow on "plan" so it wasn't even like cheating. (And no, I am NOT counting the ice cream I got from DQ the other day that was somehow carbonated and tasted like Root Beer Ice Cream, which sounds good, and tastes good for a couple licks, until it hits your stomach and you want to yack!) I guess that's how I "lost" a pound. *sigh*
After that week, I have no pearls of wisdom for you. I've vowed to be in the gym no less than 3 times this week -- and actually WORKING OUT while I'm there for at least 20 minutes. I have vowed to myself to try to run when the mood strikes me. (Today I heard a coworker ask if they wanted to go for a run...they meant in the car, but all I could think of was road under my shoes...so maybe that urge is reemerging.) I have vowed to attempt to eat healthy each and every day, but not to allow myself to get caught up in my "slip-ups".
As much as I want to think it might go differently, the truth is I'm only getting out of this year with about 20 pounds lost. I probably could've lost a few more if I had a few more on days, but - for the most part - this is what I could do with what was given to me. It's disheartening for me, but it's the truth. I have to allow myself the pat on the back I deserve for making it through such a trying year. And I have to then let it go, and move on from here.
I know everyone around me says "Who cares if it takes until you're 50?" Uhm, I friggin' do. 25 years, people. Most of them spent dieting, spent being told how unworthy I was, how not important, how unpretty. I understand now my worth and value are not tied up in my weight. I also understand that my beauty does not fade or go away just because I pack on a few pounds. (And, thankfully, I have a husband that reminds me more regularly than ever now that I am one of the most beautiful women he has ever seen.) But what you don't need the classic a-hole in your life for is telling you that the cute clothes you see the other girls wearing are NOT available in your size, or that you have to shop in a DIFFERENT store because you're, well, DIFFERENT, and that no matter how hard you try to fake it, they will always see your rolls. That you don't need anyone to tell you. That you don't just learn isn't true...because that is fact...fat facts of being fat. And I'm still living with them. Have been for 25 years. Take another 50? Why, so I can wear a sexy corset and some fishnet stockings to my 80th birthday party?! Uhm, no...thanks. The time for that is fading as we speak...
So, yeah, I don't want it to take until I'm 50. I need to find some other way to work this out. I need to figure out what the hold up is and get moving. I WILL lose more than 20 friggin' pounds next year. I've got 130 yet to go...somehow I have to find a way to get there that doesn't leave me wanting to bash my head into the wall repeatedly on a very regular schedule.
No plans yet. But the rest felt good. It felt good to have no pressure on myself. And I went from being angry at my life and "my journey," to hating myself for ruining it in one week (*lol*), to just accepting that sometimes everyone needs a break. Even the best athletes, after training for hours day in and day out, take a break. They splurge and indulge and do the things they didn't have time for before (for me, it was spending countless hours at home with my boys just enjoying them, or spending time with the Hubs). And then, once that break is over, they get back to work. I'm getting back into it slowly...but I'm getting there. (Have to remember, this is still Christmas time, so stress is high and I'm busier than ever trying to make sure everyone's taken care of and everything's in order for the big weekend this weekend - all of which starts Friday at lunch with my mom and brothers.)
I make no promises, save one.
I'm not quitting.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Yep. I'm a good girl on my trip. I walk until it hurts. I run and/or otherwise workout every day for at least 20 minutes. I try to stay away from the "bad" foods we all know and love. I limit myself and try to make the most of it. And I gain weight.
So, yeah. This is frustrating. I've been battling what to do for a few days now because right now I just don't even want to think about it. Life is crazy and getting in the way. My body is sore and worn out and just plain tired. I don't want to spend countless hours in the gym if they aren't going to count for anything. And I'm sick and tired of people viewing me as lazy because I'm tired after work and because I hurt ALL OVER and I don't want to move from the couch after I get home. I can't give anymore because I have nothing left to give.
I hurt. A lot.
And that makes me consider whether the "worth it"s are there right now for me to keep going. Plus...I'm heartbroken. I want to succeed and I THINK I'm setting myself up to do that...and allow myself the ability to not be so harsh on myself. I tell myself that no one can be perfect. And, yet, if I'm not perfect with my weight loss efforts, this is what I get.
And I don't want to hear about travel = weight gain, because I know that isn't a die-hard fact. I eliminated the whole "eating out all the time" by cooking in my hotel room. I had nights where I was flat out bored out of my mind sitting in my room because I was afraid if I went out I would be "bad" and eat "bad" things. I tried not to socialize too much because that just leads to more temptation, more eating.
And for my efforts, I gained weight. Just weeks ago I was THIS close to 299. Now I'm just gaining back all the weight (however TINY amount it was) that I lost this year. And instead of falling back on, "But I FEEL great!" or "But I look AMAZING!" I fall back and hit my head on concrete because -- here's the cold hard facts -- I HATE the way my body looks. I'm sure it looks better than before (Duh!) but back then I wasn't concentrating so much on it. Now that I focus on it so much I have learned to hate every bit of it. What's worse, as I've lost weight, I can actually SEE what my body shape would look like without so much extra weight. I can SEE it, but I can't seem to get there. And that's pissing me off. And I hate my body for it. And a million people can sit there and tell me not to hate it, because it carries me around and does so much for me, but my body is a jerk and ugly as hell right now and I hate it.
Note I didn't say that I am ugly. I don't believe I am. But standing naked in front of a full length mirror makes me want to smash the glass or just curl into a ball in the corner. I don't feel attractive. And I haven't lost a pant size pretty much all year, so I really haven't had ANYTHING to look forward to in that regard. Sure, I can walk into an Old Navy and buy an XL, or sometimes even a Large, shirt, but I'm only fine if I don't look down because the parts of me down match and I don't feel the tiniest bit attractive anymore. This has just about killed my intimacy with my husband, poor guy.
Add to that the "jerk" factor of my body. The fact that no matter how much I condition my body to be tougher, I keep falling back into the same injury hole with no way out. I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. If I take it easy, I don't burn enough calories anymore. My heart is great. It's excellent, actually - beating at an athlete's pace. So it requires a little more push from me to get it to where it needs to be to really burn calories now. But when I push, my body nearly breaks. I have no delusions of running a half marathon because I can't seem to run 2 miles anymore. I hurt. Everything hurts. My feet, my hips, my back, my neck. I'm getting headaches again...my full-on dizzy migraines have returned. The chiro helped for a while, but it seems like once my body gets used to a treatment, it ignores it and I break all over again.
I'm sure you can all hear it in my voice - the anger, the frustration. And I'm going to thank you right now for your words of support and encouragement because I won't be able to thank you later. I'm too angry. Too bitter to even hear anything. My own head and my broken heart are talking so loudly that I can't hear over them anymore.
I would hate to think I've come this far and gotten all this way and this is it. Is this all I have? Is this all I can take? Do I have to go on another 5 year hiatus so that my body can catch up?
And, yes, I may sound like a child when I say this, but it's not flucking fair. It's not fair that some people can power through, lose all the weight, and move on. And me? I'm stuck in limbo land - fighting my inner demons, fighting a body that no longer wants to move because it's just plain tired of hurting every single day. I want to wake up and go to work and go through my normal routine without fighting back the tears from the twinge in my neck, the throbbing pain in my lower back, and the ache of my hips whenever I move. I don't want to sit on the couch and dread having to get up because my knees hurts so much and because I know that as soon as I move, even if just to turn from one side to the other, I'll feel every pain and ache in my hips. I'm sick of grimacing through life.
Look, I know I didn't gain weight over night. No, this took a LONG time to put on. But if it's going to take me the same amount of time to take off as it did to put on...well, I don't think I have that kind of patience in me. I started gaining weight at the age of about 5 years old - right after the man who people call my "father" came home from prison and started making my life a living hell. And I didn't finally turn the corner to changing things until 2004. I don't have 2 decades worth of patience in me.
Before I left for DC I told the Nutritionist that 299 no longer seemed impossible. It still doesn't. Neither does 230. I stand by that statement. What seems mighty improbable, though, is the ability for my body to take 2 decades more of this nonsense - for my heart to fight through 2 more decades of heartache, of disappointment after rough weeks I fought through, of putting in the hours and getting no reward. I don't think my body will hold up, and I'm almost 100% sure my heart doesn't have the strength to fight through that for that long.
I'm a strong woman. I have fought through a lot. But I struggle with the fact that no matter how hard I push, I seem to end up at the same point of origin time and time again. I don't like settling for next to last place - not after all the effort I put in. I don't like putting my body and mind and spirit through all of this pain and turmoil, only to have people breeze past me who aren't doing hardly anything. I got through some of the roughest years of high school with the idea that when reunion time came around I would end up better than they did. It was a lie. When I got there, they were still better than me - more successful, thinner, prettier. Nothing had changed. The only difference was, I had fought tooth and nail to maintain my same sorry existence, while they had breezed through following life's simple formula.
The realization is, some people are bound for greatness. Some people aren't.
Some people come by this easily. Yes, for jebbes-sake I understand that everyone struggles, but they don't fight tooth and nail and fall down 15000 times just to get an inch along the path. I've spent so long trying not to "diminish" anyone's journey, their struggles. But, if at least for right now, I refuse to believe that everything I see in them, all their ability to just make it through practically unscathed is a seething lie. I can't see how they could be struggling so much and putting on such a great face of "I'm great! This is fine! I could do this all day." Maybe I'm just not a good liar. Who knows...but for right now, I refuse to diminish my own journey.
It might be too difficult.
There, I said it.
I might not have what it takes.
I'm no longer sure.
And, I might fight for the rest of my life and never get there.
And I'm starting to think that more and more as time passes.
I don't have time to waste. I know everyone wants me to be patient and take it slow and just believe that it will happen, but...
A) I don't know that I believe it WILL happen. I believe it COULD, but I don't think all of the power over that is in my hands.
B) I'm SICK AND TIRED of waiting. Why must I wait while others forge ahead? And what am I waiting for then? I'm about to be 31 years old. I have spent 26 years being bullied and picked on and looked down on and treated like garbage. I've had my accomplishments dimished by just one look at me. I've had my world crash down on me more times than I care to count. 26 years is a LONG time to live fighting against all the horrible things that people are thinking about you, that you know they've been thinking because of those moments when they blow up and want to hurt you and they spill the beans about what's really in their hearts. I know because there are those who aren't so shy to say so, who don't care about hurting your feelings. There are those moments where those you love come to you to "voice their concerns" about you and you start to realize they know NOTHING about you.
So if it's going to take me another 20 years...if I have to wait until I'm 50 years old to be the weight I want to be, the weight I've been crying and fighting and dying for since I was a teenager...what's the point?
I'll have passed the stage in life where it's acceptable for me to dress and act the way I thought I always would have if I had just been able to break through the embarassment of how I look. My kids will be grown and there will be no one to chase around and play with. I know my life won't be over at 50, but I have plans that involve being the age I am now, and being with the people I'm with right now...those people will be old and grown or possibly even GONE by then. And so I will have lost the opportunity to do and be what I wanted to be because I was stuck in the holding cell for 20 years.
Just so you know, this rant blog is my way of doing a few things:
1) Letting it out. Because I'm sick of feeling this rage without having anywhere to place it. (And yes, it has turned from frustration to anger to blind rage.)
2) Letting you all know that if I drop off the face of the Spark planet...well, at least you know why.
3) It's better than crying at work. Which is all I want to do lately. I'm sick of hating my life. I want to enjoy it. I'm sick of obligation after obligation with no possibility of reward to follow.
So, yeah. That's it. A fine way to end one of the most tumultous years of my adult life. I don't know what the future holds. This may be a breaking point. It feels a lot like a crossroads in a lot of ways. I have to make a choice and I need to make it soon because I have got to stop fighting with myself like this. Something has to give - either me, or the road. Unfortunately, I'm easier to move...
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