Wednesday, October 12, 2011
I'm in a hard place. Son home on fall break so routine is disrupted. CANNOT SLEEP, and I mean, really not sleep..like 2-3 hours a night, MAX, and this for ages on end now. I am so bleary eyed I can't put two thoughts together, never mind execute a consciously healthy routine.
The last few days I have felt myself fading to the place of "I don't care". I HATE that place; that's the place I used to live. It is sometimes easy, but it is also ugly and unhappy. I simply REFUSE to live there again. I have lost 60 pounds and I'll be damned if I'm going back because my body is being mean to me...NO...I will win this thing!
I am overindulging in less than great food choices this week, and the pool is freezing so no swimming. With son home, I don't feel comfortable doing my exercise dvds, but I am heading out for the second day in a row for a long and strenuous walk. I did so yesterday out of sheer desperation, and it flushed out a bunch of bloat that was further weighing me down. (Unfortunately, it did not aid my sleep). Today, I intend to flush out some more sluggish bloat. And I will keep doing this until son is back at at school , and the heat is on in the pool, and I can sleep, and the world is right side up again. Until then, I will use new tricks. Cos I'll be damned if I'm goin' back....
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Oh, it feels good! The rhythm of slow and steady progress is really taking hold. I have days, lots of days, when I eat far less than ideal, or I ditch exercise, but I get up and try to do it better the next day. I take on teeny-weenie challenges, and when I do those well, I add more and stretch farther. I NEVER give up anymore; I NEVER allow myself to feel like a failure! And because of that, I am succeeding!
This confidence is permeating all aspects of my life. I am proving to myself that I CAN succeed in losing weight, getting fit, and caring well for my body, and this has given me a newfound sense of strength and optimism in other areas of my life. The serendipity of my improving physical strength, is that it is super-charging my mental strength. I have goals; BIG goals, and I now know, without question, that I can and will accomplish them!
Twenty five years ago I stopped living. I packed up all the special bits & pieces that were "me", shut them away in a suitcase, and attached myself to someone else's journey. The reasons for doing so are not important, but the fact that I did that to myself; that I gave up all the promise and purpose that had so driven and defined me prior, IS important. Because that little flame never burnt out, and as I hit middle age, it sparked and demanded my attention! I knew for certain I had to either reconcile to a life not lived, or I needed to make earth-shattering changes, and make them immediately. I made my choice, closed my eyes, and dove headfirst in to the abyss. At that moment, the only thing I knew for sure, was that my second half of life would be filled with all the richness I deserved. I had no idea of the "how", only of the "what": I WANT A LIFE WELL AND FULLY LIVED!!!!!!
And now, I am well on my way. Four years ago I took that dive, and created a vision of where I wanted to be on my 50th birthday. Almost every one of my goals was realistic, yet so very far from my then reality, they seemed unfathomable to my sad and weary soul. Well guess what? Three and a half years in, I have surmounted almost every one of those formerly unimaginable challenges, and I am damn close to completing the final two.
I can't wait until my 50th birthday, six months from now, when, armed with pen, paper, and more dreams, I imagine my action plan for the next 5 years . Who knows what I can do? I can't wait to surprise myself!
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Yesterday I hit 60 pounds lost. It's a big one for me, because I've not been at this weight since 2003. That's real progress. And I am SO happy about it!! But it certainly does not erase, or even ease the sadness that sometimes engulfs me.
I know I am a person with a highly emotive nature. I often wish I weren't, because it is a blessing and a curse; the passion is beautiful, but also painful. However, it is what it is, and I am learning to better cope with the trials this creates. That is the real purpose of this journey.
With months of practice, I have now developed some confidence in my ability to adhere to my path. I can now experience painful feelings and high anxiety, and know I'll come out the other side. I HATE IT (!!!!!!), but I can do it. It used to be I would quickly squash it with large quantities of fatty food. It never stopped me from feeling, but it did delay and soften the process.
Sometimes I deal with it by blogging. Alot of my blogs have been this brand of catharsis; the stuff needs to be released. Thank goodness for this venue. It is an important piece that was missing in my previous weight loss attempts; not just the writing, but the sharing of it with others who hear it and understand.
Sometimes I deal with it by swimming my heart out. I love how the swimming is sculpting my muscles and strengthening my entire body. Didn't happen overnight-- I've been at it for 2 months, and am just now starting to see the dramatic effects of a slow and steady commitment. I can't believe how much I enjoy the feeling of muscle and strength!
Sometimes I give in to the desire for a food fix. And even that's okay. Because I no longer allow pitstops to keep me off the track for any length of time. It is this, that has been the absolute, number one, critical key to my success thus far. It is cliche, I know, but simply true...no matter how many days I fall, I keep getting back up and right back where I left off. When I look at my tracker and see how many 3500 calorie days I have had in these months, I am amazed that I have lost this weight. In the past, I would be so disappointed in my "failure", that I would give up. Not now. It proves to me that the continual application of good habits works. Stringing together a bunch of good days really does serve as a buffer for the not so good ones. Progress--not perfection.
Thanks for being here, and for listening, dear sparkies. Now, I'm on to "70"!
Saturday, September 03, 2011
I started here on Spark in mid-April, 2010 at my all-time high of 338 pounds. I had just celebrated my 48th birthday; (well, not celebrated so much as endured the recognition that yet another year had come and gone trapped in my morbid obesity). I determined to lose 200 pounds by my 50th birthday in April 2012. I had a hunch that Spark was going to be a program that would suit me well, with its emphasis on baby steps. I am a lifelong perfectionist with an "all-or-nothing" mentality, a credo with an application far broader than just weight loss. Raised in a home of conditional, (or absent) love, and demanding expectations, I incorporated harsh standards into my own self evaluation. I had loving kindness for everyone else, but none for myself. I knew I must learn to modify this thinking if I were ever going to overcome the daunting obstacles and achieve the life-changing goals that lay before me...in every single aspect of my life. My philosophical goal, was, (and is), to find rhythm and balance through living by the principles of CONSISTENCY and MODERATION. I know in my heart, that this is the formula which will bring me peace, by soothing my mind, my body, and my very soul....
Fast forward to October 2010 - the first 6 months went well. I lost 43 pounds, and weighed in at 295. But then life threw me some traumatic curveballs, and I turned back to the only coping strategy I knew....numb the pain by gorging on food. I numbed myself all the way back to 325.
By May 23, 2011, the dust in my personal life had settled enough for me to feel up to giving it another go. I decided I would break this massive project in to 3-4 month, seasonal goals. Here is what I idealized for Summer 2011:
1. Establish routines (diet-exercise-water-tracking), & start to feel the rhythm of consistency.
2. Avoid processed foods and white grains.
3. Build to 30 minutes of exercise 5-6 days a week, (from a starting place of zero!)
4. Eat 1400-1800 calories a day.
5. Track calories every day.
Here is what I achieved during Summer 2011:
1. Having been at this for 3 months, the routine has become second nature. I struggle often, and frequently fall off my plan, but it has become HABIT to get back up after each fall. THIS IS KEY! I am developing confidence in my ability to persevere, an attribute that was in short supply prior to this venture! I chant my mantra: CONSISTENCY & MODERATION.
2. To be honest, I don't much care for whole wheat anything. I eat it when I can, but tend to eat that which I enjoy more, and limit the portions or the frequency. While I do indulge my fast food demon, I try to make it Chipotle more often than McDonalds. I eat everything I want, but I really do try to eat nutritious food of high quality whenever I possibly can. I also cook far more than before, and find that makes a HUGE difference. I know my body well, and if I were to cut down on this stuff even more, the weight would come off faster and easier. But I don't want to!! I want to live moderately, and to learn behavior management rather than comply with stringent rules that will stress me out and ultimately backfire. The 80-20 rule hits it just about right for me. CONSISTENCY & MODERATION.
3. Just this last week, I have reached my exercise goal of 30 minutes, 5-6 days a week. I take gentle walks, and I swim. I started with 10 minutes, 3-4 days a week, and have been building slowly. I choose to keep my exertion moderate for the moment, because it is what best fits with my overall philosophy of consistency and moderation. If I work TOO hard, or expect TOO much, I will scare myself off the path. I need a place to go as my weight comes down and my fitness increases. If I max out now, where will I go? This is a long haul process, and best for me to approach in a slow and methodical fashion. CONSISTENCY & MODERATION.
4. My caloric intake over the last 3 months averaged 1870 calories per day. When I set a goal of 1400-1800, it was with the hope that I would average at 1600. I like to bounce around from high to low, both for the metabolic boost, and because it allows me to live my life in a way that's comfortable. I like (LOVE) food, alcohol on occasion, restaurants--and I confess that I am drawn to fast food in a way that embarrasses me. I have partaken of all these pleasures, (as is surely evident from my average calorie intake!) I really do aim to stick to "plan" 80% of the time - - again, because the 80-20 rule supports my philosophy of CONSISTENCY AND MODERATION.
5. Calorie tracking is CRITICAL for me! It surely keeps me mindful. But the surprise benefit, is that it is when I have binged my guts out and my mind is telling me that "all is lost and I am hopeless", the tracker becomes my greatest ally. I do track everything. When my hopelessness tells me I have consumed 10,00 calories, I find out it has actually been 2400..or 3800 ..or whatever, but certainly less than my feeling-like-a-failure-self would have led me to believe. I then take that number and put it in the context of a week, which always softens the edges. I have had 4 weeks this summer, where my caloric averages well exceeded 2000. I then take that week, and put it in the context of a month. The point is, tracking calories serves as a reality check, and allows you to withdraw from a bad moment, and take a birds eye view of a long term project. A bad week, or even a bad month gets softened between the cushions of many weeks and months. The road is long, and we must be able to see beyond the stop sign at the corner to get where we are going. CONSISTENCY & MODERATION.
So, here we are as summer closes. The scale that has been tormenting me for weeks--(down 3 pounds--up 2--down 4-- up 8...)-- it defies logic, because the pounds gained often came after a spell of doing particularly well! That mechanical beast has put me in a miserable mood on more days than I care to count. However, the overall trend was down, and the careful tracking of the last months has allowed me to go back and find patterns. I now believe the obscene and maddening gains are hormonally related, and the scale will always catch up to where it should be. (One would not think it possible to either gain or lose 9 pounds in one week due to hormonal fluctuations, but I am living proof that it is so!). I find it difficult to use inches as a measure because on a monthly basis, the changes are too incremental to be rewarding, and frankly, I am never sure I am measuring in the same spot from month to month.
All of which brings me to today. I hopped on the scale, just "because", and not with an expectation of anything of significance. To my utter shock and happy surprise, I weighed 288 pounds!!! I have been bobbing around 291-295 since August 1, and was very upset when my August 22 read was 299! (Now I know it was hormonal - lesson learned). I have been chasing 288 for what seems like forever! That puts me at 50 pounds lost,(37 since May 23), and 25% of my goal completed. My measurements, as against my initial at 338 pounds, show a loss of 31.5 inches. THAT'S a reward I can see!!
I plan to do better with my calories for fall, (i.e. binge less), to increase my exercise to 45 minutes 5-6 days a week, and to incorporate mild strength training. I aim to lose another 40 pounds by December 31, 2011, for a total loss of 90 pounds. I will not lose the 200 pounds I originally planned to lose by April 2012, due to the lost months of late 2010/early 2011. But, I WILL lose them! And I expect that I will have lost 120 pounds or more by April 2012. Whether I am 50 , 51, or even 55 years old by the time I meet my final goal is really an artificial matter. With each passing month, I am getting stronger, slimmer, and healthier. With each 10 pounds lost I look better, and take greater pride in myself. With each baby step I gain confidence, and self respect.
My Spark friends have been perhaps THE most critical component of my journey thus far. When I rant because the frustration inside me is screaming, they listen. When I am as sad as a human can be, they hug me. When I have success, they cheer. They always let me know if I have in some way helped them! It is through their steadfast support, that I am learning to value myself. I have become more accepting of my imperfections. I am starting to show myself the same loving kindness I show my friends when they struggle.
I have been tuning my instrument, and I've put in many days of practice. I think I hear the overture in my long sought symphony of rhythm and balance...
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