Friday, April 19, 2013
BIG ALARM BELLS. After my birthday late last month, I could not believe it. That 141 was back on the scale -- just a pound shy of where I was 9 years ago, when I joined Weight Watchers. After just a weekend, I went from 138 back to 141 ! I was there again!
It made sense to be there a month prior. After my hormone -smashing past 12 months. I gave myself some time to grieve, and not worry about my weight. But now, after all that business, after I'd been working out and eating within my range, it didn't make sense anymore. Honestly, sadly, my 2 miscarriages were starting to become my "BUT." You know, that "but," that excuse you hold onto that explains why you aren't like everyone else. Why you can't lose the weight, or do this or that like regular people.
Honestly, that thought made me sick. I couldn't let such an emotional and hormonal trial flatten me. I couldn't flatten THAT trial into just another injury, either. I had to learn something from it. At least come out mentally stronger than I went in.
I've had a lot of medical excuses the past couple years. My arthritis keeps me from racking up the running mileage I used to. My orthopedist said I should not run very often. My shoulder injury kept me from lifting weights like I used to. My pregnancies - when I was in them - were so fragile-feeling, that I was afraid to work out at all.
I gained and gained. But now, 3 months since my last pregnancy ended, I know I have to stop being the victim in my life. It's time to be the HERO again.
I got promoted, and this just gave me more incentive. I DESERVE to be the way I want, to have the life I want. I deserve to exercise as much as I want to. I deserve to buy my groceries at health stores. I am worth investing in myself.
So I started reading Master Your Metabolism by Jillian Michaels. I am a huge fan of hers. And, yeah, though I hesitated to spend that money in the past, I just ponied up and bought that baby full-price.
I was starting to lose weight again, but the book has given me a huge boost. Sure, I already knew some of it, but the reinforcement alone is worth $12. And I learned some things too.
I've made a new plan for myself that is suddenly working something for my 2013 body.
I just finally had to realize I am older than the 2008 me. I also have to be less active. I took a look at my weight graph, and zoomed out out WAY out, to where I could see 5 years of data. I looked at what I was eating back at my lowest weight. (1800 calories!) And I looked at what I was burning : ( 2500 to 3000 calories a week!)
Sparkpeople used to freak out when I'd do my training runs, with WARNINGS that I was burning too many calories. I haven't seen those warnings in a very very long time. A lot has happened. My body has come out of a war. And, It is a new era.
The facts: My 2013 me can't eat 1800 calories and maintain 125 lbs. In fact, it can't do it at 1500 calories. My sweet spot with this body (and metabolism) is 1300.
The facts: My injuries mean I can't work out like I used to. That 9 mile long run I used to do on weekend to make up for that cake I ate just is never going to happen. I need more rest days. I need to build up slowly. I need to be OK with a slower pace.
The facts: I'm freaking short. And short people have a very hard time losing weight because we burn less than tall people every day. We have to eat less - hello, 1200 calories, my friend, and do more. And just accept it will take longer.
Those facts are new, and some are rough to accept. I wanted to be fitter and stronger than this at this age. I wanted to be more carefree, less cautious. I wanted to have higher goals than ones I've already met. I wanted different things. But - You just can't control what happens to you.
But you CAN control how you handle it.
I'm feeling jazzed now. i lost 4 lbs in the past 2 weeks. FINALLY I am below 138. Crazy as it sounds, I had almost resigned to my bigger body. I had almost given up because the pounds bounced back so many times. So much faster than I remember them ever happening before, when I was eating the same or less than before.
The truth is, hormonally, metabolically, and even emotionally - I am no longer the 2008 me. I can't eat like that or act like that anymore.
Breaking that 138 plateau has given me hope again. I can see that my body is a Rubik's Cube that keeps shifting around... and I'm figuring it out. I'm a half-step from solving the whole thing. From doing what I thought was impossible.
It feels mighty, mighty good.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
I had been so worried, about my knees, about my weight, about the altitude, about it all. But, in the end my vacation turned out okay. Better than okay. I went on 3 long and challenging hikes in Costa Rica and Peru, and I did just fine. The altitude did hit me in Cusco - I got horribly sick. But within a day I was sorted out, and able to hike a day on the Inca Trail, and Wayna Picchu the day after that.
It was beautiful, breathtaking, dramatic, and bold. My photos disappoint me because they do not capture the colors and textures and depth of the Andes well enough. But the experience was more than worth the fears and the sickness. I will never forget it.
Several days of challenging hiking and travel burst me through a plateau. I worked out a lot to get ready for the trip, and developed a new knee problem, but got my weight down to 140 the days before we left. 10 days later, that 140 was maintained without tracking at all. Granted, I was sick for several days at altitude and not eating much, but the days before in Costa Rica I had indulged too much. It all evened out, it seemed.
Then this morning, after a couple days' rest, I got back on the scale and it read 137.5. Usually I only log my weight in on Mondays, so that I am not just tracking water gain and loss -- but since on Monday morning I had just stepped off a plane, I figure today a Wednesday weigh-in is OK. I'm back on my old diet of mostly vegetables and coffee and fish, and I think it is working for me & my body is responding well.
How strange to have a vacation where I lose instead of gain! And I'm so happy, too, because getting out of my routine, and taking a risk has actually given me a measurable physical health benefit ... and a mental one.
It's a cliche to say that you need a vacation. At my work, anyway, it is a joke, because for years we have been understaffed and everyone actually needs a vacation all the time. But I think my trip proved that I really did need one. The change of pace and exposure to new things jumpstarted my health and my weight-loss goals.
I'm less frustrated now than I was before the trip. I feel accomplished in many ways. And, I feel like there is hope I can get back to the figure I was used to having. It's not a lost cause - it's proof: I just need to keep things fresh and keep challenging myself to try new and exciting things... and my body will respond.
Monday, February 25, 2013
WOW - what a bumpy road it has been in the past 2 weeks. The eating has been the hardest part. I simply fell out of the habit of telling myself "NO" over the past year, and it still feels uncomfortable passing delicious things up.
Exercise has also been the hardest part. Snowboarding went pretty well.... after 13 years since I've been on a board, getting back on was NOT like riding a bike. The first weekend, in Colorado, I did OK. The next weekend, in New York State, I hurt myself.
I'm still not sure what did it. Was it the spectacular fall off the ski lift? Perhaps landing on my knees once too many times? Or did I just overuse my knee? I don't know. But now, a week since, my knee's been getting worse. I've still been working out - doing the bike, rowing, and elliptical (backwards feels better than forwards) -- FINALLY getting back around my old intensity. For the first time in a long time, 30 Day Shred Level One felt too easy. I'm about to advance to Level 2. My knee hates me.
I've been watching Biggest Loser- always motivating and inspirational when I focus on my own health. But the knee is getting worse; there is pain when I straighten it out, pain when I walk on it or push off of it. My husband caught me limping at church on Sunday.
I don't want to be injured. (Who does?) I really really don't want this new injury to derail my efforts. I FINALLY lost 1 lb this week. It's not a lot, but it is something. And, I will take it. I just need to figure out more ways to burn calories without using my knee so much. I have an orthopedist appt this Friday. I'm somewhat worried I broke something. Best case, it's just tendonitis.
And eating. I have to keep eating less until my knee gets better. Like 1200 to 1300 calorie ranges.
I'm going to Machu Picchu in 2 weeks. Thankfully, we are doing the 2 day hike, not the 4 day. Even so, I should be working out to get ready. I'm not sure how to stay off my leg AND prepare for the trip. It's a catch 22. It's really not fair. But then, whenever is injury fair, in good timing, or easy to get through?
I'm just going to keep looking at that one pound loss, as something I have , something to be thankful for. Look at what I have got (ironically a loss is what I have got), and not what's holding me back.
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
I hate to write a whiny WHY IS IT SO HARD? post. But, man, it is. Except for a blip last week when I was eating right, and my weight dropped to 141, I've been doing a great job of maintaining the same weight for nearly a month. 144. I hate that number.
I've been exhausted. So tired. Weekend before last I was pretty prepared, I'd been doing a half-hour of stairmaster 4 days a week, I'd been eating relatively little. Then we went on a snowboarding trip in Colorado, where I actually ate pretty decently, but took lessons that kicked my butt. I wasn't burning calories as much as just burning my muscles. Falling down all over the place, getting up, falling down, getting up. It was humbling, for sure. And exhausting. I slept something like 11 hours a night, feeling like I had been beaten in a bar fight. Not that I know what that feels like. But I can imagine. Now. Then the next day, I did it all again.
After we got back from the trip, long flights back to the East Coast led to long nights at work. I intended to loosen up my sore muscles by working out, but instead I iced my legs while sipping red wine in front of the TV and catching up on Downton Abbey. The next weekend, we went snowboarding again locally. And it was harder than the time before. It was emotional, draining, and I burned nothing close to my usual calorie burn.
I went to the gym on President's Day, and while it felt pretty good to loosen up and ride the bike, my knee protested hours later. More ice, more wine, more TV. I can't put much weight on it now, and it makes me nervous. If I don't work out my lower body, I won't burn calories. If I don't burn calories, my weight won't budge at all.
Those thoughts make me reach for more pizza and more red wine. It's not a healthy cycle.
Strictly looking at the numbers, I do well for about a week, then I have a 2,100 calorie day just as I am about to lose some weight. It is either a party, or I blow it on something stupid like eating an extra meal because I am bored. Oh, and wine.
I have another goal - getting ready for Machu Picchu in March, and Costa Rica, where I will have to wear a bathing suit at the thermal spas. My knee obviously needs to recover in order to do the hiking (we're doing a 1 day hike, not the strenuous 4 day hike, but still). So somehow, I have to eat much much less (like 1300 max a day for a month)- and work out where I can.
When you're like me, you need to trick yourself into cultivating healthy habits. So, here are a few ideas --- I'm brushing off my juicer yet again. When I stick to it, it works. So, I am laying off the wine at home, and I'm going to replace it with my green juice. Another idea -- I've decided I will only shower after I go to the gym. Sure, that sounds disgusting. I like to shower everyday because I am a generally smelly person. But, it gets me to the gym everyday. And, yes, I have an injury--- really, when in the past few years HAVEN'T I had an injury. I know that if I stick to this- I will physically get myself to the gym everyday this month. And once I am there, I'll just suck it up and figure out what to do.
I've been working out and thinking about all of this so long I feel like an expert. Though I have no diploma and no great physique to show for it. I know the hardest part isn't learning what to do - it is making yourself do it. Doing it without thinking. And getting rid of bad habits. Changing instead of justifying. So, here I go again.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Here I am, back at Sparkpeople after about a year of inconsistent activity. Since my last blog post, I've had a real hard year, and an especially rough 6 months. Without getting into it, my hormone levels have been all over the place - which, coupled with no exercise for the past 4 months, has done a real number on my body. My weight is now at a 10-year high, 144, and though my hormone levels have gone down, my weight seems to be stuck there.
I haven't had this much weight to lose in a very long time. And, though I know I did it before, it's a lot like starting again for the first time.
The first part is getting my perspective in check. Get my head right & stop playing the victim role. I have to put the last crappy year in the past & not let it effect me any more. Count my blessings. Work is going well. I am happily married. I joined a gym closer to home. I have made active travel plans. And, I have the means to eat healthfully as often as I wish.
The hard part, so far, is getting out of my bad routine. Bad is (was), not tracking, spending too much time on the couch, avoiding the gym AND avoiding running. Letting every excuse keep me from exercising ("I'm tired, it's too cold, it's not safe, I'll go tomorrow, I'll get up early, I'm hungry, I'm going to stop at home first, I need to do some shopping, I need to relax.")
I need to get out of this bad pattern. And I have a recollection of what my good pattern was like. I used to sign up for races. Set goals, then set a training program that I could not deviate from. When I was real tired, or just not in the mood - I would GO ANYWAY. I would just SHOW UP with an intent of working out just 20 mins. And that would inevitably stretch out to longer.
Back when I last lost a lot of weight, I did not lie to myself. I weighed in every week. I wrote down EVERYTHING, and I ended up with at least a 500 cal differential everyday. That is hard to do. I want to think that just eating a salad instead of a sandwich will do the trick. But, it's not that simple. It is tough stuff until the weight is off and you can maintain.
I have to commit to MONTHS of weight loss. Not a weekend, or a day, or a week here and there. I need to think of it as MONTHS of exercise, PLUS eating lightly, and better. No exceptions. Less bread, more Veg.
I wish I had someone to kick my butt right now. But, I've realized I can't rely on anyone to be my gym buddy, anyone to drag me there, anyone to tell me I look too big or take my plate away. It's a blessing that everyone has been so kind to me in these past 6 difficult months. But, I shouldn't follow suit. I need to be harder on myself. And, I need to make it an urgent matter -- not wait for some sign, or a calamity, or a slap to my face to change me. Only I can change me, and I need to change me now.
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