Thursday, July 15, 2010
So it's week two of the scale not moving so much. It's still going down, but definitely not as much as I want/expect it to given how hard I've been working, this week in particular. I refuse to believe that I've hit another plateau already. If that's the case, it looks as though this isn't going to be as easy breezy as I thought it would be and like I'm going to be plagued every 15 pounds by another hold up. Ugh! It's frustrating to say the least.
I haven't spoken to the "experts" yet this week, though I have appointments with both of my therapists this weekend. I'm particularly anxious to hear what my nutritionist has to say since the last time she gave me advice I dropped 10 pounds in a month. Oh wouldn't that be nice again? I've read all the reports that Spark creates over and over again. I've done the math - added up my burn, and given that a deficit of 3500 calories equals a pound it makes no sense that I only burned 2800-3000 on weeks that I lost 2.5 pounds and over 5000 this past week for .5 of a pound. The numbers aren't working in my favour.
Add to that the fact that I'm just having a FAT week. Despite my successes and goal achievements, despite how hard I've been exercising and how right I've been eating, despite fitting into smaller clothes - I'm not feeling skinny like I was when I had just lost 25 pounds. There have been a few instances this week where I would catch glimpses of myself in a mirror and not be happy with what I saw. I know everyone goes through stages like that, but I can remember just a couple weeks ago doing my morning stretching routine and running my hands over my tummy and feeling how much smaller it had gotten, and looking at my developing arm muscles from my hard work in the pool and loving that my shoulders were looking so firm and lean. But not this week - this week I have done nothing but focus on the negative - the flabby skin I have flapping around over the muscle, the ripples of cellulite that cling to my thighs and stomach. And the fact that no matter how hard I try, the scale just doesn't want to move.
This attitude is what I'm going to start calling "Resistance Training". I'm resisting the changes that are taking place in my life right now and what is resulting is a negative outlook on everything that I'm doing. Resistance Training is what puts me back over 300 pounds. Resistance Training is what happens when I get scared of where I am and what is to come, and when the road ahead looks too long and daunting and unachievable. It's the part of me that's terrified to lose weight because I don't know a different life than the one I have lived as an obese woman. It's what happens when I am approaching a HUGE milestone in this journey - the most weight I have ever lost on a "diet". It's not knowing what will happen when I get to that point, or what happens after that point. It's accepting, and I mean REALLY accepting that this time is NOT a diet and it IS a way of life that I am learning to love - but cannot expect to change overnight. Resistance Training is allowing jealousy and anger and cheating, and frustration to have a place in my daily routine, and allowing the emotions that accompany them to overshadow the positive feelings and feedback that I am now very capable of giving myself. Resistance Training is dreading the fact that I have lost enough weight now that I will need to decrease my calorie limit if I want to continue to lose, but the lower numbers make me feel deprived before I even try them out so I cheat and binge to make up the difference. It's fighting the system any way I know how - which is doing nothing productive for my weight loss, but is somehow doing something for my own need to assert myself. Lord help me - having an argument with oneself is the most convoluted and complicated issue in the human process. Why can't we just understand our own ability to see reason?
So I'm going to try some new approaches this week to see if I can get over myself and my fear and move forward.
- Weigh myself every day. This was actually a suggestion in a recent Spark article that I thought was interesting. Weighing myself once a week has made Wednesdays like Christmas - do I get a present or do I get a lump of coal? I need to take away the excitement/frustration from that one day a week and focus more on the ebbs and flows of a normal weight loss and hopefully a steady downward curve. Maybe that will loosen me up a bit with regards to my weekly numbers.
- Decreasing my calorie limit to the new recommendations. Unless my nutritionist tells me differently, I'm just going to bite the bullet and get used to seeing the lower numbers. I had a rational discussion with myself today over what I feel like I can cut out of my lunches and dinners, and I think all parts of me are in agreement and are now on board with the fact that losing an item or two from the lunch bag is not going to kill me.
- Have fun and stop obsessing. This is becoming very "diet-y" because I'm spending too much time thinking about the "weekly burn". I need to focus less on the numbers and get back to checking in with myself and how I'm feeling in terms of fullness, restfulness, stress, and relaxation.
-Take measurements. I get to do my measurements for the month tomorrow and I KNOW I'm down in that category - so I can celebrate a non-scale victory and my 3 month Sparkversary! I'm looking very forward to my anniversary reward of a beautiful bouquet of flowers that I'll get for myself tomorrow. They can remind me all week of the amazing job that I have done so far so that the road ahead seems less daunting.
Resistance Training in the gym is using the weight of your own body to build more muscle mass. So I'm going to adopt this approach and shed my negative resistance to my own growth. Perhaps if I can adapt and use the weight of all this negative emotion to my advantage, I know I will come out stronger, leaner and more fulfilled in the long run.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
This merits a second blog post for the day. Check out THESE numbers.
I just swam an Olympic Triathlon distance in the pool. WHAT? After my 50 laps in 50 minutes last week I decided to see if I could best myself again. No excuses this time because I knew I had it in me, so I jumped in and just went for it. I got into the pool 5 minutes late this week, so I only had 55 minutes to swim. I knew I could do at least 50 laps - but last week I spent a full hour at the pool and did 50 laps OVER 50 minutes worth of time - meaning, I took breaks between each set of 10. Not tonight. I decided to see how far I could go without breaks, how long my lungs would hold out, how long my muscles could sustain without giving in.
Usually my routine is 10 laps breast stroke, 10 laps front crawl, 5 laps breast stroke, 5 laps back stroke x 2, 10 laps front crawl. Today I took out the back stroke and just switched it up between 10 laps breast stroke to even out my breathing and 10 laps front crawl x 3. AND I DID IT!!! (Well almost - I got to 58 laps and they kicked me out of the pool. But if I'd had just 2 more minutes, I would have made it to 60 - I knew I had it in me).
So awesome, my goal was 60. But what I didn't calculate was the actual distance until I got home. My pool is a 25 yard x 42 f standard competition pool. Olympic pools are usually 50m x 25m (or about double the size). Since there are so many people in the pool for open swims on Wednesdays, we all swim 1/2 lengths so we can fit in more "lanes" - so I swim the 42ft width of the pool and "there and back" constitutes a "lap".
So here's the math:
42ft = 12.8016m. Since I swim 42ft x 2 as a lap, my laps = 25.6032m. Multiply that by 60 laps and you get 1536.2m - well over the 1500m required of an Olympic Triathlete. Holy Crap. I was only aiming for 750m - the Sprint Triathlon distance. Little did I know I was already swimming sprint...I just forgot to multiply the pool length by 2! Oops!
So I win. For tonight, I definitely win. I don't feel bad about the scale defeat this morning anymore because this constitutes as a WAY-COOL non-scale victory. It's just too bad I have to wait another whole week to weight in again. I'm going for the Gold baby, in all areas.
If I can do this, I know I can start C25K training. If I can take my body from not being able to swim a full lap without being winded, to swimming for 55 minutes straight without stopping...god, I can't even believe I just typed that. I'm so proud. So proud.
And I have a fan! A woman at the pool has been watching my progress for a couple of weeks now. She's asked me a couple of times for pointers, but tonight I didn't have time to wade and chat, so she just watched. When I got out of the pool she was all smiles - "Girl - you are STRONG! I don't know how you do that. I can't even swim a full lap." I thanked her, and told her to have faith. After all - I started where she is now only 5 months ago. She said that it was nice to be able to follow my journey because it gave her hope that she could do it some day. Imagine - someone actually looking up to me for inspiration.
My muscles are sore - but my heart is full. I'm so happy.
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
Well...I lost a pound this week. Actually, I lost JUST UNDER a pound this week. And I'm disappointed.
But I'm not disappointed because I can't explain the low week. I'm disappointed because I thought I could get away with something, and it didn't work in my favour. It's the guilty kind of disappointment...and in a way, it's almost worse.
For the past few weeks now I've been dropping a lot of weight. On average 3 pounds a week for a month has made weigh-in mornings a little like Christmas at my place. So I awoke this morning to the same excitement. Let's see what little present the scale is going to give me this morning. I thought realistic thoughts (282) even though my fantasy was to see a big loss (279). I mean - why not? I exercised every day this weekend, and ate well...ok, well, maybe not SO well, but pssh, that hasn't mattered for the past 2 weeks right? Wrong. 283 - definitely not 2 pounds (the realistic thought) and DEFINITELY not my morning fantasy (getting to 10% of my starting weight lost).
Ugh. My stomach sank. No need to step on the scale again to re-check my number. I knew that this bad behaviour was going to catch up with me at some point. I had a guilty conscience.
So what went wrong?
Since I'm still at the beginning of my journey, I've been able to play a little with my calorie levels every week and still get pretty positive results. For the past few weeks I've been inching my levels up ever so slightly - a Vosges chocolate bar here, a glass of wine there, a dinner out to "celebrate" whatever darn thing I feel like celebrating. And up to this point, the scale has continued to reward me weekly with surprisingly large numbers. Awesome - I felt like I was getting away with something. So I continued "stealing" from myself by adding in those extra calories. And this week, the scale caught me - with my hand in the cookie jar.
I should know better :( I'm ashamed. I've had an emotionally tough couple of weeks - and I thought I was getting away with something AND benefiting myself. And don't we all want a free ride every now and again? No excuses though - this was clearly my fault.
So I'm fessing up. I have no right to be MAD at the scale. It didn't do anything wrong. It simply put up the number that I deserved. And I'm lucky that I even deserve that (thank you long weekend of exercise). I only ate within my calorie range for 4 days last week. And of those 4 days, only one was mid-range. The rest were at the high end of the spectrum. And even though the "bust" days weren't TOTAL busts, they were at least 200 calories higher than my upper limit. Close enough that you can look at the numbers and think that you might just sneak it through - but far enough away that by the end of the week, my deficit wasn't anywhere close to where it should have been. I'm actually glad that this happened when it did. I'm still down, but it's a good kick-in-the-pants reminder that I can't get too lax or I might gain - and I definitely don't want that to happen right now.
So - goal for the week is to get 7 days on target. Then next week I might be able to blow that 30lb weight loss out of the water!
Wish me luck. And a little willpower!
Monday, July 05, 2010
3 days. 3 blogs. 3 hours of exercise. This was the unofficial challenge I set for myself going into this long weekend. And here I am at the other end of it, successful! It hasn't been easy, and I've dealt with a lot of old emotions this weekend, but I'm happy and proud that I did what I set out to do which never would have happened before I started Spark.
I have actually been dreading this long weekend for a while. I knew that my boyfriend would be out of town at a conference, and I was upset that out of any weekend of the year, this dumb conference had to be held on one of the only ones that I got three consecutive days off. I'm not doing a show. Work is in its slow season right now. And the post-show craziness of getting caught up with life seemed to resolve itself at the end of June. I really was going to be boyfriend-less, plan-less, and tempted to revert to my old habits for 3 solid days of a pity-fest. But I was determined not to let that happen. So I vowed that I would use what opportunities I could to perform a mini-triathlon (swim 500m, bike 10K, run 5K) over 3 days. Swim, bike, run.
The first day was the bike ride. And I already blogged about how freeing it was to discover a new neighbourhood that I had never ventured to in my 6 years in the city and going on 4 in my current place. 6.24 miles = 10K check!
Yesterday was my "run" day. Considering I don't run yet and it was far too hot to start my C25K training, I decided to walk for a frozen treat and log some miles on the way. The day was hotter than hot, but I accomplished my mission and busted through some mental barriers that had been holding me back. 4.17 miles = 6.71K check. I blew right past that 5K mark and walked a personal best for myself.
Today was all about the swim. I was out of my element because I wasn't going to my regular pool. I was going to a very crowded, very public, outdoor pool that is across the street from my house but which I had never ventured to before. I donned my "cute suit" which is not my lap suit, left the goggles and cap behind and grabbed my beach towel and a magazine. To my surprise and JOY, I was literally "swimming" in my cute suit! It's a two piece tankini of which the bottom is now too big for my bottom and the girls looked like two little lumps of coal clunking around in the bottom of a stocking. No matter - I was elated. The water-bra would hold them where they needed to be just for today. So off I went to the park, past the kiddie pool and through the locker room to a sea of bobbing heads in the water before me. This is a BIG pool It's Olympic size - which means it's twice the size of my regular lap pool and it is PACKED. So much for being able to squeeze out a little corner to do my rounds. But I took in the sun and made it into an opportunity to people-watch and tread water for 45 minutes. I got a chance on the wall to do a few reps of some flutter kicks and pool push-ups (where you use the side of the pool in the deep end to hoist your body up out of the water without being able to kick off the ground) until I noticed a group of male teenagers ogling me every time I surfaced. Perhaps it was better in my too-big bathing suit to leave the push-ups until the girls were slightly more secure. Finally the whistle blew and the pool cleared for the next session. I toweled off, threw on my cover-up and meandered home to read my magazine in the sun. Ah - blissful. And to think - I still managed to squeeze 45 minutes of exercise into such a luxurious afternoon. So it wasn't my regular 500m lap swim, but I'll still get to that on Wednesday night and since last week I am now up to swimming 640m a night - well on my way to the standard sprint length of 750m! Triathlon complete!
So all in all, not a bad weekend for doing things I thought I couldn't. Emotionally though, it was a hard 3 days for me. I was without my partner in crime, the man I have spent every weekend with (almost) for the past two years of my life. I know our time is slowly drawing to an end (he moves to Germany in September) and I know that this weekend was only a foreshadowing of what is to come for me. My first reaction was to get mad. Why have all my friends forsaken me? A long weekend in July and not ONE invitation came my way by means of any of my "acquaintances" in the city - and I know A LOT of people. I was angry that I am always the one that throws the parties. I am always the one inviting other people to come over. I am always the one with all the plans. But why, when I needed it the most, was an invitation in my direction out of the question?
I realize now that I have spent the last 2 years in a comfortable place. I love being with my boyfriend, and he with me. We don't need a lot of other people, and he is not really a social butterfly by nature so we tend to hang out by ourselves. He has never prevented me from hanging out with my friends, but I have been more apt to choose him over them anyway - not exactly the behaviour that's going to ensure future invitations.
I wanted to curl into a ball and eat. I wanted to load up a full season of TV on DVD, hole myself up on my couch with the cats and eat a frozen pizza, or two. My old life was coming back to haunt me. The self that was so lonely, and so ashamed and so needy of the attention of others was hungry. But rather than sit around and wait for them to come to me, rather than be mad and use that pent-up frustration as an excuse to binge, I decided this weekend to take action. I posted my availability on Facebook and went out for my walk while I waited. When I had returned and showered and sat down again at my computer, there it was - an invitation to go to the lake and watch the fireworks.
I was nervous. Old me tried to make excuses for just calling it a night, staying home and watching DVDs by myself. "You're too tired", "You've already walked 4 miles today", "You've just had a shower and are already in your pajamas".
I picked up the phone and started to dial. One ring, two rings, three rings...answering machine. "Uh, hey Jackie, it's Jenn. Thank you so much for the invitation. I would LOVE to go out with you guys tonight. Give me a call and let me know what's up and what I can bring. And hey - thanks! I really didn't want to stay home tonight."
I got myself up, got dressed, and headed out to the 24hr Dominicks to pick up some picnic food - a huge veggie tray, hummus & pretzels and a sandwich for myself. All wholesome, healthy treats so I could stay on track AND have fun. I arrived at the pre-determined location to find my friends, anxiously awaiting my arrival and genuinely happy to see me. See? That wasn't so bad!
I had a great night. Food, friends, and to our utter amazement, the fireworks barge pulled up RIGHT IN FRONT of where we were sitting. I have never seen a more spectacular or up-close Fourth of July show in all my years in America. Wow!
So on this Independence Day long weekend, I feel like I have at long last found, embraced and challenged my own independence. I was out on my own in the world and I made it. I passed my own tests with flying colours. I surpassed some fitness goals, I combated that dangerous feeling of loneliness by admitting that I needed some time with my friends, and I surprised myself by being able to act on my REAL needs instead of acting on my impulses for need by eating.
It has dawned on me just how much I would have missed of this long weekend were I not making these significant changes in my life. I am LIVING - as hard as it is sometimes, I am LIVING. At 310 pounds and climbing, I was not living my life. I was surviving. I was making it through. But I was not enjoying it.
I am sad for how much of my life I have wasted. But I am done with wasting what I have left. I have the power to make things happen for myself right here and right now and I AM DOING THIS. LIVING - and living to the best of my ability and beyond- feels so darn good.
Sunday, July 04, 2010
Trust me - it's not what you're thinking.
I'm a "destination walker" - meaning I really hate walking unless I've got somewhere to go. So being that I wanted to get a good, brisk walk in today I decided to cash in on a Groupon that I've been meaning to use for some time now and hike to a tasty treat of frozen kefir on a VERY HOT long weekend day in Chicago.
There were a couple of locations for Starfruit that were within walking distance. One was on my way to work - a path I have tread a NUMBER of times, so I decided to take the road less traveled but about the same distance from my house. I filled up the water bottle, laced on the walking shoes and started out.
Not 10 minutes out of my door I regretted my decision. Even with a strong (HOT) wind, it was sweltering outside. I was convinced that the city pavement under my feet was omitting infrared gamma rays that were going to fry me on the spot. But I kept walking and drinking my water and looking for the shadiest streets along the way. One block passed, then two then four - I could do this - it wasn't THAT bad. My feet were on fire as I marched the final mile - looking for street numbers and wondering if my icy oasis was going to be closed for the holiday.
At last I found it - open AND air conditioned to the max. I stepped inside, drenched in sweat and ordered my treat - strawberry frozen kefir with a sprinkling of heath bar for crunch. Yum!
If you've never had frozen kefir before, I highly recommend it. It's like frozen yogurt, but tangier and SO refreshing. Not like ice cream where you feel like you have to drink a bucket of water once you're finished. This was actually thirst quenching. And at only 22 calories an ounce and hardly any fat, you can afford to have a good sized serving. WELL worth the sweat it took to get there. By the time I had finished my bowl and filled up my water bottle, I was ready to walk again.
As I started the trip back, my willpower wavered. I had a blister starting on my right foot from the heat and my legs were sore from yesterday's bike ride. Maybe I should just take the bus back. Or just take the bus half way and walk the rest.
But as I argued with myself I kept walking and soon found myself in a familiar neighbourhood. This wasn't THAT far from home. I could do it! I was sure I could. One foot in front of the other I trudged my way along the hot, hot streets dreaming of the cold shower that awaited me upon my return.
And then I saw it - those fabulous, wonderful, glorious golden arches. The McDonalds that is 2 blocks from my house. I had done it! I was never so happy to see that M in all my life. Sweaty, tired, sore - I rounded the corner and home was in sight. My pace quickened as I raced to the finish line wondering just how far I had actually gone.
One cold shower and a good, long stretch later I settled down to my computer and a nice, tall glass of water.
4.17 miles. 95 minutes. And 594 calories. I am a rockstar. I didn't think it was that far. I didn't think on a day like today I could walk it so fast. I certainly didn't think that I could walk almost the same distance that I biked yesterday. I didn't think I had it in me - but I did.
I can now walk over 5K. Heck, I can almost walk a 10K. I know I've done it before but I've never kept track of it or calculated it. But now it's official. Now it doesn't feel so scary or look so daunting. It's just one more day of proving to myself that I am so much more than I think I am. I am so much better than I have allowed myself to be. I am stronger and more capable and less afraid than Fat Me would ever give me credit for. I am breaking down her walls for good and I am so proud of what I have done.
It's amazing what a girl will do for a little frozen kefir! :)
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