Thursday, February 25, 2010
As I've mentioned in previous blogs, I still struggle with this healthy lifestyle. Two weeks ago, when I moved to Southern Ontario, I was in the best shape I've ever been in. Walking daily, weights, strength training, aerobics, running - two to three hours of working out per day. I counted calories religiously, and tried to make the healthiest choices possible. And for two years, that worked. Oh sure, I slipped up periodically, but I always got straight back on the wagon.
In the two weeks that I've been here, I've literally fallen off the wagon, and slipped under the wheels.
I'm tired out - tired of calorie counting, and constantly worrying. Tired of feeling guilty when I don't work out. I feel...burned out...but I also feel like I've lapsed into the person I was two years ago.
In only two short weeks I already feel a difference - my muscles don't feel as toned as they were, I don't feel as energized or as motivated. I'm already avoiding mirrors.
I hate being without my workout equipment - and its not an excuse for why I'm not working out - but it's slowly becoming one. I've tried to acquire a new route to run/walk - unfortunately I find the new route to be boring, or maybe there are too many people and I no longer feel like I'm having "me time".
And my eating habits....oh my eating habits...they have tanked. I don't even want to guess as to how many calories I have been consuming lately. Not to mention that I've been regularly indulging in beer (because naturally, you need beer to watch hockey)
Yes, this is a change I'm going to have to adapt to. A new city, a new job on the horizon - I can't let all of my hard work come undone, and I will have to find new routines. Blah! Such a vicious cycle!
Monday, February 15, 2010
Last week, I packed up my life, either for the long or short term (depending on how things go with the job market ).
I'm not a big fan of moving - in reality, I have lived in the same city for the majority of my life. Yes, I had short stints in New Orleans and England, but I've been fairly stagnant in Northern Ontario.
Back in December, my significant other was forced to return to Southern Ontario, and it became apparent that I would need to make some changes for the sake of the relationship. Granted it is our eventual goal to return to the North, but times are tough, and the economy is rough, and blah blah blah (I'm sure you read the papers).
The hardest part of this move (regardless of how long or short it is), is having to readjust my workout and diet. I am not a fan of gyms - mainly because I lived in the country, and running outdoors was enjoyable. Now that I'm in a city, flat and dull, I can't stand the idea of choking on exhaust fumes. Even harder, is the fact that I was forced to leave my workout equipment up North. Finding the motivation to trudge into a gym has been a huge challenge.
Several days ago I ventured into a small gym, and after an hour was bored to tears. I have never understood how people can use treadmills - I feel like a hamster on a wheel.
My diet is also taking a kicking. While I have enjoyed meeting new friends, and my boyfriend's family (the potential in-laws...eeks...), I have been indulging in foods that are definitely on my banned list. Not wanting to be the spoil sport who comes off as the "picky eater", I have eaten a ton of junk. My wondeful boyfriend (this is a bit of sarcasm), has actually lost weight on this junk food kick...and while I haven't gained weight (yet!), I know that I'm on a slippery slope.
This is actually one of the scariest things for me. Picking up my life is not immensly stressful - but the idea of returning to 300+pounds - that scares the bejesus out of me. I remember how quickly I gained the weight, and I absolutely do not want to go down that path again. My boyfriend knows a bit about my struggle, but it's not truly something he can empathsize with - or with the daily battle I have with eating healthy versus wanting to indulge in every available sugar-laden delicacy I can sink my teeth into. I still see myself as the 300 pound girl, who everyone stared at when she walked into a room, and I still have esteem issues relating back to those days - it is not something that he can fully understand, and it's not something that I can fully explain.
So this week, I need to refocus and adjust to a new life, that will include a new workout regime that *hopefully* either see me in a gym, or sucking back the exhaust fumes as I return to running outdoors. Now if I can find a set of weights, and a balance board, I will be set!
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I often get asked how I lost weight initially. Generally, people hope for an easy answer - e.g."I sat on the couch for 10 hours a day, loaded up on carbs, and the weight literally drained away..."
It wasn't that simple...or enjoyable.
The other hope is that maybe (hopefully) I found a miracle diet...one that was easy to follow, didn't require a major adjustment to my eating habits, etc.
I joined SP because I was starting to have trouble with my own lesson, and needed to remind myself of how far I've come, and that the battle isn't over. Prior to joining SP, I started this battle (no exaggeration) on my own. I didn't do a miracle diet, I didn't join a group, go through gastric bypass (another major assumption), or anything else. Unfortunately, it certainly wasn't a simple solution.
In order to loose weight, I had to change my entire lifestyle. Obviously I have no regrets about that. I had to start eating healthy (and for as naive as people like to play about eating healthy, believe it or not, most of us do know *how* to do it, just *choose* not to). I also needed to modify my belief of what I considered to be fitness- walking to the freezer to get a bowl of ice cream was not an example of cardio...
And so I tell people about my "miracle diet"; which is not a diet at all - its a permanent change. A diet is just a period of time...what I have done needs to be permanent. More often than not, the response I am given is:
"Oh I can't do that...I love *insert junk food-type here*, far too much. I would end up finding it in the drawer and binging!!!"
So here is the simplest lesson I have learned through this whole ordeal....the one secret that I share, time and time again...the one secret that truly ensures that you are in control of your own habits...
Before I give you that secret, let me tell you something about myself first...
I love food. I spend approximately 75% of my day thinking about food. I can't pass a bakery without drooling over the cakes. I would far rather eat junk food than I would healthy food. When I am stressed out, I will easily eat 10,000 calories in a day . And I am never, ever full...I could eat 24/7 (well, maybe not, but almost!)
So here is my secret...
"If you don't buy it, you won't have it to eat."
Yup. That's the entire secret of my weight loss. As soon as junk food enters my house, I will consume it with great gusto. I quickly realized, that if I could just walk past it in the grocery store, it wouldn't be an issue when I arrived home. Trust me, I do struggle with walking past all of those scrumptious calories, but it is worth it in the long run.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
After 2 years of "healthy living", it amazes me how difficult it still is.
I definitely see the benefits of healthy living, eating right, working out, etc - but why is it so darn difficult? Why do I feel hardwired to be unhealthy? Even after the positive results I've experienced, I would still rather binge on cupcakes and coke than eat sensibly. Don't worry - I haven't had a cupcake in a very long time, but the impulse is still there.
Every day I fight to drive past McDonald's, Wendy's, Tim Hortons, or whatever other fast food restaurant is on my way home. My brain screams "feed me, feed me", even when I am not hungry. After loosing over 120 pounds, it scares me that I can still eat like a 300 pound individual. Sometimes I wonder where my off-switch is...surely it must be there?
I can't believe how much time I dedicate to thinking about food.
Back when I started this whole weight loss journey, I sunk myself into RPG games. Actually, one in particular - Second Life. It's sort of a slippery slope though. Second Life managed to occupy my mind. It also gave me the opportunity to see myself as a very sexy avatar. Unfortunately I began to see the downfall of SL - there are numerous people who begin to live their lives through online RPG games (World of Warcraft is another one). It is very easy - you start to mastermind this perfect life, in a user-created beautiful environment. So after a few months, I realized that I needed to walk away :p
The fact of the matter is that it occupied my mind at the time that I was most vulnerable. Yes, I do have things that occupy my mind now - but they never seem to be enough. I thought it would get easier, but it really doesn't. I would like to think that I won't spend the remainder of my life fighting my body - but I'm starting to realize that might just be wishful thinking.
Monday, January 04, 2010
I already do keep a blog on my weight loss (www.frenziedhaze.blogspot.com); the following blog is one that I previously wrote, but hopefully outlines my reasons for being here :)
Recently I stumbled across the blog of a 22 year old, who is striving to loose weight. Topping the scales at about 315 pounds, she has realized that she needs to change her life. I will admit that I respect her ability to make her struggle public, and appreciate that she has been brave enough to post pictures showing her pre-diet physique. I haven’t spent a lot of time looking over weight loss blogs; mainly because I didn’t realize that so many people chronicled their lives in this online community. Several months ago I found a blog entitled “I have bones!!” also highlighting the challenges faced by one dieter. I kind of laugh at the title, because I can empathize with it – seeing my clavicles, and being able to feel the bones in my hands and feet, after all these yeas, is somewhat of a novelty.
Over the course of the past several months I have had numerous people stop and ask me what sort of diet I have been on – the truth is, I am not on a diet. It is not about South Beach, Atkins, Mayo Clinic, Weight Watchers, or the sundry of other fad diets that exist in this world. No, if you are substantially overweight, it is not about “dieting”. It is about changing your lifestyle. When I started this challenge, I was substantially over weight…errr…ok…I was obese.
How did I get there?
I would love to say that it was a genetic predisposition to obesity. But it’s not, and I am not entirely certain that I believe in that mentality. My parents were both overweight, but they were far from stellar examples of proper eating habits. So no, I can’t say that I have a genetic predisposition to obesity. While I have Italian and Polish ancestry (*insert ethnic jokes here*), and while the general stereotype of both cultures includes a tendency towards plumpness, I don’t use that as my excuse. Furthermore, both cultures include a heavy reliance on foods laden with starches and carbohydrates. That could potentially explain the plumpness exhibited in both. No, I can’t believe that I was genetically predisposed.
I know the evolutionary excuse for obesity: throughout human history there has been a tendency towards periods of famine. Over time, the human body adapted itself to these periods by evolving a mechanism to ensure that calories were stored for later utilization. In modern times, and in the Western World, we do not go through those periods, but are still inclined to eat like there is a possibility that famine could occur. Hence we are obese. Or something like that. No. I don’t believe that I my fat was the product of evolution, or that I am some ultra-adapted human form (and for the sake of humanity, let’s pray that I am not natural selection’s answer to evolution!)
No, I got to the point of obesity through hard work and determination. I started university in a fairly good place, health and weight-wise. I was religious about working out, and was desperate to be that thin, pretty blond in class. And then exams happened. And then I started to loath working out – if I missed a day I beat myself up incessantly (working out can be a detrimental obsession). My ex boyfriend spent a week long vacation at my house – after he left I weighed myself, and was shocked to see that in the course of 6 weeks I had gained about 20 pounds. How did that happen????? That was 1999 and it would be 9.5 years before I would step onto another scale.
I was very careful about not acknowledging my weight gain. I have done a fair bit of travelling and would decline having my pictures taken at all expense. If I couldn’t see it, it wasn’t real. I wouldn’t go to the doctor – because doctors like to weigh their patients. Gradually over time more weight packed on. It is actually quite amazing how quickly it can happen. It took no time at all to go from a size 13 to a size 26 (yep, that’s where I peaked!). Oh it helped that I had a love for beer (and copious quantities of it), junk food, pop, and foods saturated in fats, butters, etc. I loved bread. Adored donuts. There was no cut off point either. During times of stress or uncertainty I ate. It also helped that I lived in a city that seemed to pride itself in unhealthy lifestyles. Sorry Thunder Bay, but we are fat, and alarmingly so.
Now – how could I let my body get so out of control?? Did I not notice what was happening? I think the benchmark of being obese is being able to look in the mirror and not see it. Even when photos were accidently taken of me, there was no actual registering of the problem. Plus there was the other factor: I was active. Considering I was fat, I never truly felt fat. I didn’t have the back aches, ill health, diabetes, etc. I participated in dog training. I hiked, backpacked, lifted weights, etc. I remember hiking up hill in the 100 degree heat in Guatemala with a pack strapped to my back, and being able to do it without backing down. People tell me I must feel so much better now – but the truth is, I never felt bad.
Ok so if I didn’t notice, what actually happened?
I would love to say there was a warning sign that initiated the change. There wasn’t. Here is the truth – it was strictly society and vanity. First off, I started to find fatist groups on Facebook. What is a fatist? A person who hates fat people – fairly straight forward right? The Brits actually host a surprising number of these groups. Then there was the fact I had a crush on a guy who I knew would never like me if I was the size of a house (which is the absolute wrong reason to loose weight!). Let me just clear something up right now: if a guy (or a girl) couldn’t feel for you before you lost the weight, they aren’t worth your time once you have. Ok, and then there was the idea of turning 30 and not wanting to spend another decade trapped by my weight. And the idea of wanting to travel and not having to be stared at by cultures who are stunned by “giant North Americans”. All of these things were swirling in my head…
And then came the straw that broke the camels back…
The one that got through….
My friends and I met at Kelsey’s one afternoon in late 2007. One of my friends was expecting a baby (rather soon), and we were celebrating the impending birth. A photo was snapped of the three of us together and there it was…I was bigger than my pregnant friend. Huh…who knew???
I enjoy talking on chat programs like MSN, Skype etc – but generally declined to share my picture. It was so much effort to snap a picture that hid the evidence of my fat. If you have been down this road, you will know – angling your head to disguise the double chin, lengthening the neck…and if all else fails – lean back and hold the camera above your head and let your fat droop back.
But there was the picture that didn’t hide it.
So with all of these things circling in my head, and the picture to top it off, I knew it was time to change.
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