Friday, July 15, 2011
Today's word is "converge" which means, "to tend to meet in a point or line; incline toward each other, as lines that are not parallel. " When I first started this journey in January 2008, the healthy lifestyle stars aligned, the Spark angels sang and I lost 30 lbs. in about five months. It was a charmed time. Everything converged in way that helped me achieve something I had never been able to achieve before. Yay me!
But then slowly, very slowly, real life crept in. My healthy lifestyle stars lost their shine and went out of alignment, a few of the angels left and most of my roads started to diverge in a variety of different directions.
The one thing I held steady was exercise. I ran. I biked. I burned a lot of calories.
But I ate a lot of calories too. Too many for a woman my age. When I initially lost my weight, I was in the 165-170 range by the end of 2008. Throughout most of 2009, I stayed in the 165-170 range. I wasn't happy that I still had a good 15 lbs. to lose but I was thrilled with my loss and I guess the thrill overrode my will to finish the job.
In 2010 I was in the 168-173 range. I was up a few lbs. but I figured I was exercising so maybe it was extra muscle. Maybe.
When 2011 rolled around, I began to hit the 172-178 range. Yikes! This is exactly what they mean by "the weight creep." I was exercising. I was eating in my Spark-specified calorie range. I was tracking (sort of). But my weight was creeping up.
On April 25, I decided to get back to basics and do the work that created my initial 30 lb. loss back in early 2008. I wasn't looking forward to it since food often equals love in my world. Food restriction equals pain. But the time was right and I made the choice to take the long view.
I am only 11 weeks into this but today I feel like everything has re-coverged onto the right path. I am at a new low of 166. I had an unexplainable bump in my weight throughout last week. My downward weekly ave. trajectory was rudely interrupted. But I stuck with my plan and the trajectory went back in the right direction with this week's average. Hopefully it will continue. The reality is if it doesn't, that's okay. I am adopting habits that need to be viewed and accepted as life-long habits. This isn't about weight-loss. It's about fueling my body for the long haul.
Here is my daily weight:
Here is my weekly average which is a more accurate picture of my weight over the last 11 weeks. I am averaging a 1.1 lb. loss per week.
This Tues. my husband celebrated his 52nd birthday. We had a brownie cake for him. I was able to have a small piece with a small amount of ice cream - and be perfectly satisfied. That has NEVER happened. Usually I want to eat a huge slice with lots of ice cream and then eat one or two pieces every day afterwards. (And then I think exercise will "take care of it.") Thankfully, this time was different.
Then I figured the one small piece would stall or even create a weight gain. But it didn't. That also has NEVER happened. Usually when I eat processed sugar, it makes my body hold onto weight for days and days. Not this time.
So, for today, I feel like after last week's disappointing upward trend, everything has converged back to where it should be. Everything is moving along the same line. I am doing the work. I am eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. I am exercising. I am eliminating most white sugar and processed foods. And it's working. It might be painfully slow but it IS working. I can't explain last week's gain but this week's loss shows that things can converge again. Last week's gain was just one line off the main track. I was doing everything right and that one line jumped the track for some unknown reason. All the other lines (food, exercise, etc.) were still in the right direction and chugging along. So much so that they literally pulled the weight one back on track this week.
Who knows how the next week will go. I can't worry about that. For now, I am on the right track and everything has converged in the way it should. I'll take it.
Friday, July 08, 2011
Today's word is "balanced" which means, "being in harmonious or proper arrangement or adjustment, proportion, etc."
I've had a difficult week with regard to my weight. In spite of eating within my calorie range, focusing on food quality and exercising, my weight went up every day for five days. It has been a mystery to me, a very frustrating mystery.
I can understand the scale going up after eating too many calories or eating the wrong kind of calories. I'm never happy about it but I understand it. When the scale goes up for no reason and it seems to be a trend, it leaves me unsettled and off kilter. Five mornings this week, I said out loud, "Why bother? It's not working."
While I am still 1 lb. up from my ticker weight, I am feeling better today. The scale has started moving in the right direction and I am feeling balanced. It's funny how the scale has that kind of power.
I've been at this three years. You'd think I'd be used to scale frustration.
April 25 marks my third "try" at "getting serious" about "losing weight." The two times prior, I abandoned my efforts after 80 or so days. My weight would go up or stall out and I'd wring my hands and go back to exercise and magic as my weightloss strategy. It was a protection mechanism, a way for me to say, "Hey, I'm exercising. My diet's okay. The weight will come off some day."
I was looking at it as a diet. Then on April 25, I decided to look at this as a way of life. I knew I attached emotion to food and that I was a mindless grazer, especially in the late afternoon. I didn't overeat as much as I didn't eat with a purpose. I knew this but never wanted to do the work or rather, I was waiting for magic to make me want to do the work.
Today I am feeling balanced because I have passed a critical milestone. My weight went up this week for no reason, I was frustrated and I waited it out. I kept getting on the scale. I kept exercising. I kept eating within my calorie range. I kept considering the quality of those calories. Those are all positive things. The only negative was the number on the scale. Next to all those positives, the gain is trivial.
The scale still has a lot of power over me but I am learning to give voice to the other positives to balance out that big negative (thanks to some great Sparkfriends!). At least today I am and that's all that matters. If I never lose another lb. I am still a healthier person than I was on April 25. And I am far healthier than I was in January 2008 when I started this journey.
I may fall off the wagon in the future but I WILL get back on. I may get frustrated with the scale or the fact that it's "unfair" that I can't eat what other people can seem to eat. I may never reach the point where I don't want brownies or chocolate chips or ice cream. I may never truly enjoy vegetables. But I will learn to regain my balance and deal with the disappointment. I will keep reminding myself that food is food. I will give it the power to fuel my body, not my emotions.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Today's word is "vent" which means (in this case) "to give free play or expression to (an emotion, passion, etc.).
That's pretty much what my blog is about today, just getting my emotions out there because things aren't moving in the right direction in spite of some decent efforts. If I don't vent, then I allow my emotions to rule my food choices. Venting allows me to process my feelings. And venting on Sparkpeople allows me to write things down which is very therapeutic for me. Nobody gets hurt. Ha!
I was looking at my "data." I weigh myself daily, record the weight on a spreadsheet and then take a weekly ave. and record that as well. While my daily weight goes up and down, my weekly average tends to be down by 1-2 lbs. each week. That was until this week. I have two more days until I average my weights for the week. But it doesn't matter if I suddenly lose 3 lbs. for the next two days, my average for this week will mark my first true "gain" since re-starting on April 25.
Here's my daily weight for the last nine weeks:
See the nice upward trend this week? Ugh.
And here's my weekly average for the last nine weeks:
Two days from now when I record this week's average, that lovely trajectory will take a turn in the wrong direction. Double Ugh.
I don't know what it means yet. I have pretty much eliminated sugar, white flour and processed foods. Yes, they sneak in at times but for the most part, my food is good. I am taking in lots of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. I haven't had a drink in months. I exercise consistently. I record every bite on the tracker.
I know I could eat more vegetables and drink more water and do more strength training. I guess that's the tack I need to take. But I am still stuck in the utter frustration of, "I am eating 1200 'good' calories and exercising, so the weight should be coming off!"
I feel like a failure. It doesn't mean I am a failure. It just means that today, I feel like one. What I am doing isn't enough and I don't *want* to do more.
All I know is that if you are in your 20s, take care of your eating and weight issues NOW! You do not want to be 46 and doing everything right only to have your hormones and metabolism turn against you. It does not have to be this difficult! Unfortunately, I chose to make it this difficult by using food (including processed and sugar-laden food) as a way to get through tough emotional situations through the years. I should have removed the emotion from food long ago. Oh, and I should have done a little strength training too.
The good news is that that's what I am doing now. I am removing the emotion from food. I am not going to let the way I feel take me off track. I could give up and go back to eating what I want when I want. But what's the point of that? Do I want to go back to pre-diabetic status, high cholesterol readings and not being able to get up the stairs without being winded? No. So, I will plow through the disappointment of this week and keep trying to do this in a way that gives me the right balance of control and vigilance. I may not lose weight quickly (or at all) but I will be healthier.
Food is food. Emotions are emotions. I've got to keep them separate!
Monday, July 04, 2011
Today's word is crestfallen which means, "1. dejected; dispirited; discouraged."
This is exactly how I felt when I got on the scale this morning and saw what is now a 2.5 lb. gain from a new low six days ago. Each day since my new low, I've gained weight. Each day has been a disappointment.
For eight weeks, I had a pretty steady downward trajectory, even with my period. This ninth week is proving to be a disappointing outlier.
I don't get it. I am discouraged. I've been at this 3.5 years. I should be past this by now.
I know there are far worse fates, especially on a day when we celebrate our independence and honor all those who serve and who have served our country. In the grand scheme of things it's just a couple of pounds. I get that.
I am just venting today. I am not giving up. I am not refusing to see the bigger picture.
I am just trying to convince myself that this is part of the journey to find my "new home" which is a reference to this excellent blog: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Whether I lose another pound or not, my new home doesn't have room for a lot of sugar, white flour, or processed foods. It only has room for fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. If I lose weight, it's a bonus.
The scale leaves me crestfallen today but I am still committed to living in my new home.
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