Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Despite the scale's attempts to conspire against me today, I'm having a very "I feel thin and pretty day" - so I thought I'd share:
I love that you can see my little witch behind me on my shoulder in this picture. She's belonged to my Grandmother for as long as I can remember and throughout the years of my grandparents moving to new houses and new towns, she was always a constant in the rec room. When my grandparents made their most recent move to a retirement home after my grandma's heart surgery, my mom asked me if there was anything from the house that I wanted, and I immediately asked for the witch. When she brought it to me she said "I have no idea why you'd want this thing - she's the ugliest little woman I've ever seen" - but to me she's not ugly. She reminds me of my inner child and playing in my grandparent's basement on visits, watching the CBC broadcast of "Pirates of Penzance" on repeat and singing at the top of my lungs.
You can also see one of my other little "secrets of success" - my Starbucks reusable cold cup with straw. It's a 16 ouncer, so I know it's 2 cups of water every time I fill it. It goes to work with me every morning and home with me every night and has seen gallons of water pass through it since I bought it. I was told yesterday by one of my favorite Starbucks baristas that I was lucky to have one seeing as they sold out of them early in the summer and you can't even get one online anymore in some places.
Last night at 11pm (otherwise known as bedtime in my house) I got the urge to purge. I had just finished a load of laundry and realized that many of the items I was folding didn't even fit any more, so I hauled out a couple of bags and started filling them. I'm pretty sure my "I feel pretty" day today is because I know now that I have emptied my closet of all items that are either Size 26 or 3x!!! I actually also set aside a bunch of winter items that were still lingering in my closet that are Size 22/24, but that I know won't fit by the time the weather turns again. I tossed some items that I have literally been hanging onto for YEARS and could never bring myself to get rid of and it feels so good to finally be free of those things that never did quite fit the way they should have - which actually had little to do with my body and more to do with the shape of the garment. For whatever reason I kept them around thinking that if I changed enough they might somehow fit. And now I just say - good riddance! By the time I actually get around to wondering where they went the next time I think about them, I'll be too small to fit into them properly anyway!
I feel lighter, my closet feels lighter (I can actually fit almost everything I own into it now), and by this time next week I'm sure that I will officially be down 10% of my starting weight (31lbs). On to the next 10% and my quest for Size 18!
Monday, July 19, 2010
After reading the recent Spark Article about "picky eaters" www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=whe
n_picky_eating_becomes_a_health_problem it occurred to me just how lucky I am that I LOVE FOOD!
So often we berate ourselves for our desire to eat, our "healthy" appetites and our inability to control ourselves in a grocery store - but after reading the article I realize that I would far much rather have it that way than to never have experienced the pure BLISS of fresh-caught lobster dipped in garlic butter, or a plump, sweet, juicy, ripe-red strawberry still hot from the sun in the field, or as KARVY09 recently blogged about - a fresh fig.
I LOVE FOOD - and that is nothing to be ashamed about. I have also been spending a lot of time recently rediscovering my love of making food - cooking, baking, blending and the like - if it happens in my kitchen, chances are it's a sacred love of mine. I read cookbooks and magazines, drooling over the colourful photos of food plated in the most delicious-looking of ways, though you will rarely find me actually using a recipe. I love studying the gastronomical field to get ideas, but my kitchen is my canvas, and I'm most certainly adventurous when it comes to the art I create. Sure I've had a few flops - but more than enough I find new and exciting tastes that just GO together that I never would have thought of before. If I could wallpaper my kitchen with photos from those magazines I would. I most certainly eat with my eyes and my nose before my mouth, and I think I can certainly credit my "super-spidey-senses" as my boyfriend calls them to my absolute love and desire for all things yummy. I'm one of those people who can tell you what's on the BBQ just my smelling it. It's one of my favorite things about summer - walking around the neighbourhood at about 6pm and just taking in all of the different menu options for the evening - pork chops, steak, hamburgers, chicken, corn - each have their own distinct and delicious char-grilled smell. I'm making myself hungry just writing this.
So why would I want to give any of that up? Why would I want to go on a "diet" and limit myself so much that I deny myself of one of my real, true loves? My inability to "break up" with food is what derailed me before in my attempts to lose weight. It is the most loyal and beautiful and delicious lover that I have ever had - so it is not a wonder that in the past I chose it over the deprivation diet. You don't even have to read that twice to know which one is more appealing. But in a "lifestyle change" there is still room for food. In fact, not only is there ROOM for food, but there's an acceptance of food and the relationship I have with it. There's also room and a new-found love for exercise, which in fact strengthens and makes MORE room for my relationship with food. There's room for head and heart and health - the trifecta of well being, which I will be honest is what has surprised me the most about this journey so far. Previous attempts saw me trying to cut out pieces of who I am to have what I always wanted - and isn't that a backwards way of thinking? To feel like you can't be WHOLE to be the person you want to be. It never once occurred to me that to be the person I want to be, I have to in fact ADD to myself instead of subtract from. I have to embrace my love of food, and find a love of exercise, and grow my ability to plan for myself, and expand on my current abilities to organize my life. I have to MAKE MYSELF FULL, not continue to empty myself of my loves. Because when we are FULL of life, we are also full of food, and the need to feed gradually goes away.
Yesterday morning I made some very yummy Ham & Cheese Quiche Muffins and some Oatmeal Pancake Muffins. For 25 minutes the smell in my kitchen as they baked was to die for. And when I pulled the trays from the oven and saw those puffy, golden brown, cheese-crusted tops, expanding from the pan, I was literally overcome with joy. I love it when things come out looking as pretty as they smell. I really should have grabbed my camera and snapped some pictures - but my boyfriend already thinks I'm crazy and I fear the photos wouldn't have done their beauty justice. Plus - we were hungry! I savoured every single bite. Delicious and healthy - and made by me. It makes me feel warm and tingly inside - and it wasn't just because the oven on a sweltering day in Chicago made my kitchen about 2000 degrees!
I am allowed to love food. In fact, I am expected to love food. I come from a foodie family - all just as adventurous as the next in terms of what we will try. My love of food feels like home. And in terms of my therapy and my process, there have been times that that has been a help and other times that it has been a hindrance. Eating has been and will continue to be an emotional experience for me. But EATING is helping me heal. Learning to love food all over again - this time with added knowledge of what I'm putting in my body - is an ongoing process. But it's an experience that I will never deny myself ever again. Because sometimes there is just nothing in this world that can replace the feeling of fresh-picked blueberries bursting on your tongue, or the taste of a medium rare NY strip steak with a side of baked potato.
It will be a while yet before I no longer feel like I have to eat to feel "full". But for the time being, I'm re-cultivating my gastronomy muscles. I'm the opposite of a picky eater, so I wouldn't mind actually becoming a little bit of a food snob. It just means that I care more about what I put in my mouth and what I will spend time eating. Saying no to things that I don't particularly like still isn't an easy task - but I'm sure I can hone my trash bin skills in the near future. When I am surrounded by the fresh fruits and vegetables of the summer, there's really no reason to eat less than the absolute freshest and best. And it is certainly the best time of the year to try something new, or retry something you dismissed before.
Alas - my lunch calls! So I'm going to go ENJOY it!
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!
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