Monday, June 01, 2009
To add to the current issues in my life, my weight loss has decided to slow to a glacial pace. This not only stinks, it cries out for some fairly drastic measures. After all, I am nowhere near maintenance. A good 45 or so lbs. need to be lost before I even hit the top end of healthy BMI. I feel like yelling at my body, "We're not through yet!"
My body, of course, is not listening.
What do I mean by a glacial pace? Wellll, when I started off, and for about 11 months or so, I lost a good 10 lbs., on average, per month. Then that slowed to about 7 - 8 apiece for the following 4 months, with a bit of a surge in April when I had my appearance and its attendant insanity (I lost 7 lbs. in one week, a feat I do not imagine I will ever duplicate).
Now, though, it's a whole 'nother story. On April 20th, I weighed 200.8 lbs. Today, June 1st, I weigh 199.0, same as last week. That may not sound so bad but it's been up and down, and the pièce de resistance was 199.2, which is what I was from May 4th - 18th, and then just .2 less on May 25th and today. It's been sticking around for weeks. Here it is, 6 weeks after April 20th, and here I am, just .6 off that day's weight.
Hence alli may have (hopefully just temporarily) stopped working for me. According to the alli site, you are encouraged to only use it for 6 months as that's when you lose the most weight, but the reality is that it can work for up to 2 years. I've been using it for 1 year and 4 months plus. Hence I am close to the end of my useful time with it but not quite there, assuming all of the planets align. I realize that the 2 year dealio is an outside estimate.
But I've got to do something just the same. This is a lovely weight, and I am a size 14 when I used to be a 28 and all of that happy stuff, but the bottom line is, this is not the finish line by any means. Vanity aside, I'm still clinically obese. I refuse to take this lying down and, in fact, that's a part of the changes that need to be made.
A few ideas, mainly culled from the alli site:
1) More, and more intense, cardio.
2) Less weight training, allowing more recovery time, but more intense when I do it.
3) More water.
4) Tip the balance more toward protein than carbs, but keep the upper limits and keep the totals and the daily calorie total.
5) Go off alli for a month and see how it goes.
Putting it into practice involves the following:
1) Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, leave the house 15 minutes earlier and walk to an earlier bus stop, rather than weight train at home. Go to the gym on those days (I already do) and try for more intense cardio, e. g. faster, steeper, more resistance. Continue using resistance bands every day.
2) Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, regular lifting but w/35 lbs of weights instead of the 25 I've been using. Continue lifting as per usual at the gym, e. g. using the same machines and the same free weights there. May or may not rethink the second part of this, as that still gives me lifting every day, I just lose the at-home stuff.
3) Try for 9 - 10 glasses/day of water. This means 4.5 - 5 of the big bottles/cups versus 4.
4) Because my main protein sources are chicken, fish, beans and tofu, I'm looking at alternatives. I may end up with a third serving of dairy every day, and that will most likely come in the form of fat free yogurt as milk would make me live in the bathroom even more than I already do. Calcium has been a nutrient I've had some trouble getting enough of, so this is helpful. I also eat plenty of the protein sources I mentioned above, but I clearly need to do more. #5 will actually help with that, as I can go a little over on fat if I have to (as we all know, protein is often wedded to some fat).
5) I stopped taking alli on Sunday 5/31 and will stay off it until Sunday 7/5, AKA 5 weeks. I will continue to watch the fat and calorie content, and track. We may go to some naughtier restaurants during the time off. Of course that's not a great thing to do but my husband has been incredibly patient during this whole thing so some of that is for him. Plus I have noticed that sometimes I need to be a bit naughty to get things to work for me. Protein, again, will be pushed. E. g. if we go to Vinny Testa's (Italian, with huge portions), my strategy is to have something like chicken marsala rather than pasta, light on the sauce, plus a salad, light on the cheese, walnuts and dressing, and of course watch the portions. I don't intend to go to restaurants any more than we have been, just to a different one or ones, to see how it goes. That will be an interesting balancing act. Certainly it will be a test to be sure that I don't tank everything by doing this, plus it's good practice for maintenance, to make sure that such things don't make the whole process go kerflooey. We'll see what happens.
In the meantime, I also don't honestly know what I will do at the end of the 5 weeks, what I will use as a measure of success or failure. The scale, to be sure, and the tape measure, absolutely, but what else? I will not completely give up on alli as I have a good 4 months' worth of it in my house and do not wish to give it away (I'll give away clothes, but giving away drug items seems wrong, not to mention potentially illegal). Hence it doesn't truly matter to me what happens by July 5th, as I will return to taking alli, although that will probably determine whether I go on it again for a month and then off again, or do something else. But that is all in the future and need not be worried about just yet.
I love ruts and dislike change, particularly complicated changes, and this one's a doozy, but I see that I am going to have to move the slider bars on cardio versus weight training and on protein versus carbs, and this is a way of doing just that.
On July 5th, I will hopefully be at a lower initial weight than I am today, or at least have better measurements. A new adventure in the making.
We shall see.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Yes, something's wrong.
I cannot say, it is to protect a family member's medical privacy. It is not the family member referred to here: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_pu
72272 That particular person recently had a good checkup, to our family's great relief.
So it is another one, and the reason for the seemingly incongruous song is because that person is overseas, yes, in Italy. It's doubly hard, to be so remote, and so worried and so distracted and, well, you know the drill. Of course what I am feeling is nothing compared to, compared to ....
It's been a few days I've known about this, and it's been reflected in my status updates, if you've been watching. Today, in the interests of somewhat further disclosure, is a better day, the best so far, with some encouraging news. Small progress, and there will be small progress, only small stuff, for a long time. It'll all come in its own sweet time, no matter how much anyone wants it to happen faster. Sound familiar?
Don't know if we'll go there. Might, might not, it depends on what happens.
Sorry if I'm distracted. It is for, well, obvious reasons, even if I'm being overly vague here, know that I appreciate you all.
Thank you for listening.
Monday, May 25, 2009
... and it ends with one, too.
I am back, and today also just so happens to be our 17th wedding anniversary. It's a good day and will be mainly filled with barbecuing and walking and/or playing frisbee, plus we'll probably watch the ballgame but that won't be the centerpiece of the day.
Life has changed since I started losing, and in about a billion ways, many of them subtle. It sometimes seems trivial to note them but they aren't trivial. They add up to meaning. They amass into something. There is there, there.
What's new? Well, for one thing, I'm wearing a pair of size 14 shorts, and a size L tee shirt that is oh so tiny. Two years ago, I'd've been wearing a pair of size 3x or 4x shorts, that is assuming I would've wanted to bare my legs at all, and they would have ridden up the insides of my thighs every time I walked. You know what I'm talking about. And my shirt would have been a nondescript tent in a size, um, 2x, maybe a 3x. Not a lot of choices when you get up there.
I used to shop by fit first, then color and style. There weren't a lot of things up there so I needed to get the cloth to cover my body. Then I'd worry about how it might actually look on me. Now, dare I say it? I actually think of ... style.
It's not a dirty word.
And the barbecue! Check it out! Today's menu: cod, skinless chicken breast, tofu, Yukon Gold potatoes with skin, peppers, three different kinds of mushrooms, onions (all of the aforementioned will go on the grill), and a delightful side salad, served with a skim milk smoothie. The grill stuff is marinated in either Mrs. Dash's salt-free stuff or a combo of balsamic vinegar, garlic and celery seed.
How will the homemade marinade taste? Helfino. But it's an experiment. What's not to love? It's all good stuff.
Most of the food will hit the freezer when the day is done. We'll have barbecue for months, and will add more to the stash as the Summer goes on. There's just something about pulling out barbecue for dinner when it's snowing outside.
And this morning -- it's all affected by my weight loss, or rather by my journey. An omelet made with Egg Beaters. Extra veggies. No, wait, more veggies! Fruit! Fiber One bread with jam!
Oh yeah -- water water water and more where that came from.
How does losing weight affect me? How has the loss affected me? Oh there's more, gentle reader. So much more.
Like walking between tables at a crowded restaurant without having to turn to the side in order to fit. Like paying less for clothes. Like going to a gym instead of hauling myself home for an afternoon of chips, napping and the PC. Like chatting up the fishmonger and getting something good and good for me, and experimenting with new tastes, rather than staying in the same old rut. Like having a former coworker hit on me ("I see your wedding ring is on your middle finger now. Does that mean you're separated?" Uh, no, it means that's the only finger it currently fits on, but nice try just the same.). Like bigger and wackier things like my story being published in my company's newsletter. Like waking up and grabbing the weights first thing, instead of something else. After all, a day without lifting weights is like a day without sunshine, isn't it?
When you look at yourself in a passing mirror, and think, hey, there's less there. Or, get this -- I was standing at the bus stop downtown, eating an apple after having gone to the gym, and caught my reflection in a passing bus. But I initially didn't know it was me. And then I put it together -- apple, that woman was eating an apple. That woman is normal-sized. She's not stuffing herself into clothes as if they were sausage casings. She's not looked at with disdain by anyone because she dares to eat something in public (even something healthy, don't kid yourself, there are people who are nasty enough to make a comment even on THAT if you're obese). She's just a gal.
I am her and she is me, and that faraway look you see in my eyes is me focusing in on my goal like a laser beam.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It's time for the month in review. And, since I'll be off to Cape Cod for a few days with the Dude, I may not be around much until Monday or so. The laptop will be with us but I really just want it to check food and directions.
Without further ado.
It has been, eek, one year and four months since I started alli, and close to one year and three months since I started Spark.
I started off at 346 lbs. I am now 199.2. I've been stuck at that weight for a few weeks but it's under 200 so I'm happy.
Bicep 12.5" This is tied for a personal best. Originally, it was 19", so it's down 6.5"
Bust 41" Originally, it was 55", so it's down 14" Good golly, Miss Molly!
Band 35.75" Originally, it was 47.5", so it's down 11.75"
Waist 35.75" Originally, it was 49", so it's down 13.25"
Belly 39" Originally, it was 59.5", so it's down an astounding 20.5"
Keister 46.25" Originally, it was 64", so it's down a pretty dang cool 17.75"
Hip 42.75" Originally, it was 54.5", so it's down 11.75" This is lagging as my belly continues to drop. It'll be at my knees before the end of this journey.
Thigh 22" Originally, it was 32.5", so it's down 10.5"
My average inch loss is 13.125" (over a foot, baby!)
My average inch loss without the outlyers (Bicep and thigh) is 14 2/3"
No wonder I don't have to turn to the side to get by anywhere near as often as I used to.
I started off as a 3x/4x/26/28 up top and a 4x/28 below.
I am currently a 14 all around but the other day I got on (as in, zipped AND buttoned!) two pairs of size 10 slacks.
Now, they were stretchy and all, plus I had not just a muffin top but the whole dang bakery.
They will be wearable by the end of the Summer if not earlier.
As for up top, Mediums are a hit or miss right now. I bought myself a Land's End size Medium (10-12) Winter jacket for next year. Except for having to scootch it just a tad on the hips, it already fits.
Anybody want/need a nice size 1X systems-style (it's a Columbia Sportswear knockoff) Winter Jacket? It's blue and white and very warm.
Oh and I also started off as a 44DD (really should have been a 52D, but I was too vain to actually buy a bra that fit me back then).
I am now a 38C. Ooh la la ....
Aside from the obvious info re sizes and measurements, my body is absolutely changing. With my remaining belly fat sliding into my hip area, I've ended up with what is not hard to see as a flat-esque stomach, a characteristic I have never had, not even when I was 16.
My face continues to get more angular, and resembles how I looked in High School. I am a 1979 graduate.
And I weighed 124 then.
Hey, I was actually on television!
I feel like I've mentioned it a thousand times already, but I really and truly was. See:
Spark People set it up, with a huge shoutout and thank you to GrantM, publicist extraordinaire and all-around cool dude. Please show him some love -- he does a lot of fantastic things around here and they mostly go unnoticed.
So, it is, right now, weird as anything to mention the TV thing and know that I've done it. But it does offer some renewed motivation. And, as a result, I also ended up being mentioned in my company newsletter. Now, I swear this is true, I've had people from other departments ask me what I eat for breakfast.
With warmer weather coming (someday), the chicken soup meal had to be put into semi-retirement until October or so. Who wants soup on a hot day?
Hence I concocted a tomato-coconut curry sauce. It's fabulous over rice. The new replacement meal will be chicken, tofu, brown rice, mixed vegetables and the aforementioned sauce. We'll enjoy the whole meal (we've just been dabbling with the sauce so far) in a couple of weeks. Can't miss bean week, dontcha know.
I continue to make sure I visit my gym three days per week. If I don't work at the end of the week, I cram three days of the gym into the start of the week, and vice versa. I do feel that a rest day in between is helpful. And it's not like I rest or anything: I still lift weights and walk. But three days in a row (like I did this week) is still somewhat tiring for me.
The average amount of calories I burn in a typical gym session is about 325 and rising. When I started off, it was around 200 calories less than that for the same amount of time.
I have also been grabbing more fitness opportunities. Going out to play frisbee with Mr. J. Getting off a stop or two before mine. Walking around downtown with my mentor. Jogging to the printer. Fitness is all around, you just have to grab it.
I feel pretty good. I am around 55 above my goal and, since I've been plateauing a bit, that's something of a drag. But I am otherwise doing marvelously well if I do say so myself, and I'm happily looking for newer and better ways to do what needs to be done.
While I love Boston Terriers, maybe my avatar really should be a chameleon.
Off to the Cape.
PS I urge you to click the Youtube link and see just how cheesy a video can be. The dang thing's got cholesterol!
Monday, May 18, 2009
Well, maybe you aren't. But I know I surely am.
It's inevitable, I suppose. It's that all of the things that make me up as quirky or odd have also manifested themselves in my weight loss journey. And that's not a bad thing.
When I first started, I absolutely hated, hated, hated the idea of drinking water. Water? Brr and blech, at the same time. Cold and bland was not going to cut it, and keep in mind that I started in January. In New England. Ice was not going to be in my vocabulary unless I was slipping on it in front of my neighbor's driveway.
So I changed it up, and realized that the water did not have to be barely warm enough to be liquid for it to provide me with a benefit. Now, it's not absolutely, positively 100% ultra stupendously perfect. It would be, I suppose, if it were cold as anything, and not have a decaf tea bag dunked in it, or sweetener thrown in it, or a flavor stick dissolved in it. Yes, if it were frigid and bland, I might -- just might, if I was really good and lucky and the stars and planets were all properly aligned -- lose .0000000000001% more weight than the way I have it, which is either boiling or close to it, with one or more of the aforesaid flavor options going on.
But I don't care. It doesn't matter. The flavor sticks, the steam, the sweetener, they make it possible for me to drink the water. Take them away and virtually no water is drunk. So which is worse? A flavor stick and a higher temperature, or no water? Gee, whaddaya think?
Same with the bottle or cup. For me it's about ritual. It's not exactly a Japanese tea service, but I like having my mugs. My bottles. My little sticks all lined up and ready to go. My tea bags. I sound like I've got OCD, but it helps me to remember -- drink four of these and the daily water requirements are done.
Walking isn't always easy to fit in. So I get off two stops earlier and, get this! I don't even count it. It's just serendipity. I pretend to myself that the bus broke down or it was going express and that was the closest I could get to my home. In the meantime, I still walk.
And then there's sweets. On my page it says that a part of my plan is lying to myself about why chocolate is evil. Well, of course chocolate isn't evil. Morality doesn't enter into it. There may be less than pure morals on the part of manufacturers of foods that are not so good for us. Yeah, I'll buy that. But food? Once it's ready for the table (unless you eat exceptionally fresh -- e. g. still swimming -- sushi), it has no consciousness, no mind. But I tell myself a little story anyway. And the story goes something like this. I don't eat red meat or pork. This has been true since age 13 for red meat and since age 0 for pork. So far, so good. Hence I tell myself, when something looks particularly tempting, that it's made from lard. Look, beef-flavored cookies! Wow, how'd they put a whole ham inside a cheesecake? Amazing how it says french fries, and they seem to be made with potatoes, but didja know they're really made up of pork? That pie is really a cleverly disguised burger, dontcha know.
I push foods away from me, if I have to sit at a table with them. Sure, I can reach a foot or so, but I don't. Eh, it's too much effort. Those tortilla chips are SO far away. They could be on Mars for all I know. I cannot bring myself to make the effort to grab one. Or a dozen.
Like my friend said to me when talking about the side effects I can get from taking alli: People Need to Get Over it. And he's right. Long as I do what I'm doing, the ick factor is minimized. And I'm not going to let it stand in the way of me taking the help I need, and getting this done. I'm not going to put squeamishness ahead of my health. I'll barrel through, and get over it, and set my mind onto it in whatever way I can spin it so that I make sure to do it. That's another thing I do because it needs to be done.
So, yeah, I'm a little nuts. But the gist of it all is that I do these little things, and I follow these little rituals, and they help me to get where I need to be. And, don't be so quick to laugh -- I bet you've got a few of these, too. A special mug. The right pair of shorts. The perfect go-to recipe for just when it looks like you won't have time to do much of anything other than dive headfirst into a gallon of Rocky Road.
Whatever you need.
Whatever it takes.
Even if we all look a lil weird while doing so.
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