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The Numbers Don't Matter

Monday, August 05, 2013

For years, I've battled with my weight, and with the motivation to try to get it off. As each new year begins, I am gung ho about exercising, about getting fit, and about being a better me. And for awhile, I keep it up. I diligently recorded what I ate and how I exercised. This time, I was convinced, would be the time that would stick. And after a few weeks, maybe a month, of seeing no change in my weight, I would get discouraged. Or I would get busy and put off the work out today... only to have today turn into a week, which would turn into two, which would turn into a month and then more. And the next year would roll around, and I'd jump back into the same cycle.

I don't know what's different this time, but I can tell already that something is. See, at the beginning of the summer, I started working out with my Wii Fit disc. I'd purchased it a few months previously and had gotten into one or two days of exercising before the latest depression hit me and I didn't go back to it. But at the end of June, I decided to pick it up again and give it a try. I didn't want to post too much about it, because I knew I was going on vacation and the likelihood of me picking it back up again when I got back was pretty slim. So I worked out, mentioned it one or two times on Facebook and didn't think much of it.

The two weeks I was in the Northeast visiting family didn't include a lot of exercise. I was on vacation, and I didn't really have anything beyond my Wii Fit exercises that I knew well enough how to do alone. I tried to be a little healthier about what I ate.... but at the Jersey Shore, home of Kohr's Custard and Shriver's Taffy, it was tough. Still, I made sure to add more fruit into my diet to (hopefully) counterbalance the bad stuff I was eating... at least a little.

When I got home, coming back on to the Wii Fit seemed natural. I actually found that I missed working on my yoga poses and the ski jump balance game. Plus, we'd found out how much Teddy was weighing, and how few of his clothes he fit in. He needed to start exercising. And if I was going to make him do it, it was only fair that I did the same. I tried to bring the whole family into it, putting aside a few hours to exercise every day (since we have to take turns and we're each trying to do 20 to 40 minutes a day).

For the last two weeks, pretty much since we got back from the Shore, I've managed to work out 5 days out of 7. I never put in less than 30 minutes a day. Sometimes it's yoga and strength training. Sometimes it's purely aerobic, sometimes a combination of all the "types". And whenever I finish them, my muscles ache, I'm sweating a ton, and I'm feeling good.

The thing is, the numbers aren't seeming to show it. Instead of going down, my BMI and weight seem to fluctuate - sometimes going up by a little, sometimes going down, but usually staying around the same. In the past, I let that bother me. I mean, I've been working out for two weeks. I've been getting a LOT more exercise than I used to. (And that's not counting my marathon cleaning sessions that also have a tendency to work up a sweat.) So why aren't the numbers going down? I should be seeing SOMETHING in those numbers, right?

This time, though, I've realized that the numbers aren't what matters. What matters is me. I'm finding how good it feels to be sweaty, knowing that I got that way because I've worked hard. I'm finding that I can feel myself stretching just a little farther with my yoga, working out the kinks that seem to constantly be a part of my back muscles. I'm finding that I'm looking forward to grabbing the Wii-mote and stepping on the balance board, rather than thinking of exercise as a chore. I'm finding that my depression isn't as deep as it's been in the past. I'm finding that I'd rather make myself a smoothie for breakfast because it tastes really good, than grab a quick bowl of sugary cereal. I'm finding that I'm reaching for a big glass of ice water instead of a soda because it tastes better. I'm finding that I'm a better me.

For the first time, I also know that I'm not going it alone. It's more than just the only social support I have. I mean, since I've gotten back from vacation, I've been posting almost daily to Facebook about how much I've gotten done during the day and gotten replies of support (as well as a few suggestions) from friends. I've also gotten back on LifeKraze ( ) and gotten tons of support there. I'm hoping to get back here here I know I'll have the support of my friends (especially my fellow Nashvillians). But as important as those are, they don't hold a candle to the fact that my family is joining me in this. Before bed tonight, Teddy did 30 minutes of exercise on the Wii. He loves the running. He changes the jogging in place up, sometimes with kicks, other times with chasing his brother. But he's looking forward to doing it every day. And right now, while I'm typing this on the computer, my husband is doing his 25 minutes. So at the end of the day, we can all cheer each other on, talking about the aspects of the program we like best. And I know that we're all headed in the right direction together.

So I'm ignoring the numbers for now. Maybe it's fat turning to muscle. Maybe the balance board isn't reading correctly. Maybe there's something else going on. It doesn't matter. I'm making this change for the right reasons and I'm seeing the results I need to see. If, when I see my doctor in December, the numbers on her scale haven't changed any, then I'll know there's something more than me being lazy wrong and we can work on fixing it. But by then, I'll still be working toward the healthier me. And that matters a lot more than the numbers that Wii Fit tells me when I step on it every day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALOHAEV1 8/7/2013 11:24PM

    Amber! Wonderful take a look back at the non scale victories. You are in a better place mentally, physically and I'd be willing to bet your body is changing as well.

Now about the Jersey Shore, would have been in trouble if I had come across ice cream stuffed 'tween two Belgian waffles.

We miss you in the Town Square, come by soon.

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JLR080500 8/6/2013 9:32AM

    Great job. I am experiencing the same with numbers. Everyone tells me it looks like I have lost weight when actually I have I am taking that encouragement along with how I feel as a tremendous success!


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KAT808 8/5/2013 11:28PM

    emoticon That's awesome!! I love that your family is doing this together. What a great support system.

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    Good for you for focusing on the positive changes the exercise is making in your life rather than focusing on the numbers it changes on the scale. It's amazing how GOOD exercise can make you FEEL, but we always seem to be SO focused on the scale that we ignore all the positive changes we might be experiencing emoticon . Keep it up!

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Finding the Groove and Keeping It Going

Monday, February 25, 2013

As you may have noticed, I'd fallen away from updating for awhile. I seem to go in these cycles. For awhile, I was updating my blog, Sanity's Overrated, every day. I was just on top of it all. I even had daily challenges that I was giving myself and it kept me motivated. But it meant that I wasn't updating here as often. I was keeping on top of things, though, and that was what was important.

Then I fell away from everything for about two weeks. It started when I found out that my aunt passed away. She was my mom's oldest sister, and her best friend. It hit me hardest because I couldn't be there with my family to say good-bye. So I took a little break. And then the break stretched on. I couldn't bring myself to update anything. I couldn't bring myself to exercise, or pay attention to what I ate. I skipped a therapy appointment. I was in the midst of full-on depression. And I was having a hard time slipping back out of it.

Honestly, I'm still having a hard time slipping out of it. I'd had all these grand plans for today that I couldn't force myself to do. I was going to tackle one of my "big projects" - the things that need to be dived into, cleaned and reorganized. I wasn't sure which one yet, but I knew I was going to do one of them. It had become my Monday Challenge. And I knew it would be good for me.

But when this morning came, I couldn't. I debated working on my craft shelf, right in the dining room. But the task seemed to monumental. And if that was too much, then the linen closet and the front closet would definitely be too much. Those places are disasters! So I sat in front of the computer and thought, "If I'm not going to tackle a big project, I should do an update to my blog." But again, I didn't know where to start. Nothing seemed to grab me. And the more I sat in front of the computer, the more in a funk I got, disappointed in myself and depressed because I wasn't making myself do the things that I'd told myself I was going to do.

I did manage to get 3 loads of laundry done, but there's a part of my mind that's saying, "It's not enough." That I should have done more. But I'm trying hard to shut that part up. There's the other part of me that's saying, "You know, it wasn't just the laundry. You also did your Leslie Sansone 1 mile walk. And you snuggled with Pete. Those are good things." I'm just not always good at listening to that part.

I know what needs to happen. I need to get back into my Planning schedule. For awhile, I was sitting down on Sunday morning and writing out a weekly plan for myself. The musts along with the wants. I put the FlyLady Cleaning Challenges into it. I put my Daily Challenges in it. I figured out a menu plan and wrote it out for the week. I wasn't managing to finish everything on my list, but I did get a lot of the things there done. And I was keeping track of it on WeekPlan as well, which was a great thing for me. But when I went away from my blog after my aunt passed away, I went away from that as well.

So I need to get back into that. Maybe tonight, that's what I'll do. Rich is teaching, so I'll have time to myself to figure out what the rest of my week is going to look like. I need to make sure I don't over extend myself. That I don't set myself up for failure by scheduling too much. I need to be realistic about what I can do and what I can't. Because if I'm not realistic, then I will fail and it will help feed into my depression. And that isn't good for me in the least. Hell, it's not good for anyone.

So now it's time to remind myself of some very important facts. Facts that I need to know in order to keep my groove groovin'.

1. Do something. It doesn't have to be everything that you've planned. But getting one thing finished means that you'll have one more thing completed than you did before.

2. Give yourself permission to take time off. Not every day. Not all day. But a little bit of "me" time, or a little time to focus inward instead of outward does more for you than trying to force your way through things that aren't coming.

3. Plan. Even if you don't follow the plan exactly, having one helps you realize where to start and where you want to go. Sometimes, it's just getting on the path and making those first steps are all you need to get going.

4. It doesn't have to be perfect. The house. The way you exercise. The food you make. The projects you do. Perfection is a flawed idea and you're setting yourself up for disappointment when you try for perfect. You have permission to say that something is good enough.

5. You aren't in this alone. You have friends, family, loved ones, all of whom are there for you whenever you need them. You can call them, write them, message them, talk to them. They may not know exactly what you're going through, but they still want to be there for you none-the-less. They make the world more bearable.

6. Don't overextend yourself. It doesn't all need to be done today. You don't need to do an hour of exercise every single day (especially in the beginning). You don't need to clean the whole house at one time. You don't need to blog every single day, or write every single day, or be social every single day. Find what you have time for that day and then make happen what you can. Because tomorrow is another day and you've got time then to take care of things as well.

7. Take baby steps. Because you can do this. You can lose the weight you need to lose by working at it one day at a time. No one expects you to run marathons tomorrow, so start with walking a mile. You can keep your house clean one day at a time. You already know that it's easier when you do a little each day. Keep up with that. Make it habit rather than something you need to consciously focus on. It'll come. As long as you take small steps, you can achieve your goals.

8. You are your own worst enemy. You are the only one putting so many expectations on yourself. You are the only one who thinks things need to be done a certain way, right now. If you ask your friends, your loved ones, what they think about getting X, Y or Z done, they won't expect as much of you as you do of yourself. When you feel stressed, these are the people that you need to go to. They will tell you if you're asking too much of yourself. And remember, you love and trust them for a reason. They're smart people.

9. You've come so far already. NEVER forget that. 5 years ago, you weighed 274 pounds. Now you weigh 230. 44 pounds is a lot of weight to have lost in 5 years. Is it everything you want to lose? No. But you've done a lot already. A year ago, you were in danger of being kicked out of your apartment because you couldn't keep it clean. Now, you don't have to worry if someone from the apartment is coming over because, even if it's not perfect, it's still a lot better than it had been. And you've been keeping it that way for a year. You have come so very far and you can go as far as you want.

10. Tomorrow is a new day. This is one of the most important things that you can remember. Because it doesn't matter what happened today, for good or for ill. What matters is that you can try again tomorrow. It's a clean slate and you are the one that will write on it. You can do it.

I will find my groove again. I will get back on top of things. I will take things one day at a time, taking baby steps until I can start running to where I want to be. I can. I will. Because I know that I have it in me.


Butt Kicking Cleaning

Sunday, January 13, 2013

I wanted to write a whole lot about today, but frankly, I'm tired. But I'm tired for a good reason. I spent 5 1/2 hours cleaning my bedroom. I did the deep cleaning that it needed, changed the bedding, threw away a bunch of things I didn't want or need any more, gave away things that were still in good condition, and drank a lot of water. I'm achy, but I'm feeling better than I have in a long time. Yes, this might not be traditional "exercise", but it involved a lot of lifting, bending, moving and, most importantly, sweating.

There's still a part of me that can't believe just how much of a change in attitude I'm experiencing. I'm enjoying getting the cleaning done. I'm enjoying working up a sweat and seeing what my hard work is getting me. I'm wanting to get these things done more than I'm wanting to sit down and read or play on my kindle. Because I know that I won't feel any guilt when do get to settle down and do these things. Everything that must be done is done and I've earned the relaxation.

I'm sure some of you are saying, "Duh! I could have told you that!" But it's taken me a long time - over 30 years - to make this realization. I'll never be perfect. My house will never be perfect. But I'll be accomplished and I'll feel proud of myself. The things I'm doing with my cleaning, the focus I'm giving it, is bleeding into other parts of my life. Rather than drink juice or soda, I'm grabbing ice water. Rather than snacking away on buttered pop corn, I'm wanting to made homemade hummus. I'm thinking about me and what's best. And I'm not sure if I've ever done that before.

I feel good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLAMENM 1/14/2013 12:28AM

    Changes in attitude are the first step.

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Today has been a day!

Friday, January 11, 2013

And a productive one at that.

I spent the morning and early afternoon taking care of online things. I finished my daily challenge for today, then did some blog updating, updating some things on SparkPeople and some Facebook things that I wanted to get done. It took longer than I'd expected, but I was able to check off a lot of things from my soft schedule for today. If I'd quit there, I'd have felt pretty good, even without exercise.

But I didn't quite there. Nope. As soon as I finished my online things, I pulled up my exercises for today and did 35 minutes of strength training. May I say that my arms and abs are killing me? I probably could have quit there. After all, my ankle is still healing from the fall. But I'm trying to make my watch word of 2013 be Focus. And focusing on what I needed to get done was on the list.

For about 2 hours, maybe a little more, I cleaned the kitchen. I moved appliances. I scrubbed counters. I put away dishes from the dishwasher, filled it up and ran it and washed whatever wouldn't fit by hand. I climbed on my step stool to put things away I couldn't reach. Tooting my own horn, I kicked ASS. And I feel good about it.

Yes, I'm hurting. My whole body is aching, honestly. And I just polished off 32 ounces of water fairly quickly, so I've also got the hiccups. But I got done what I needed to get done and I can't complain about that.

My only failure today involved eating. Breakfast was a triple chocolate chip cookie and a serving of chickadees (Target's version of goldfish). Lunch was non-existent. Dinner hasn't happened yet because, honestly, I'm too tired to make it so I'm waiting until Rich comes home to cook. (I know, I should feel guilty asking him to cook after he worked all day and tutored tonight, but I'm not sure if I could lift my hands enough to make anything.) Tomorrow is a new day for eating, though. We're also going to be shopping tomorrow, so I can make sure I have the things in the house that will make for easy meals.

2013 will be the year everything changes. I feel it in my bones.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARW715 1/11/2013 8:19PM

    Awesome! Some times if feels good to just get it done!

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LAWANDMUSIC 1/11/2013 6:56PM

    Sounds like you are thoughtful and caring about yourself. This was a good blog!

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NANCYPAT1 1/11/2013 6:38PM

    Sounds like you had a PRODUCTIVE day. Your hopes are sure to be realized if you keep on working on it.

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Where did this motivation come from?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It's interesting how different my mind has gotten over the last year or so. For the longest time, I found it easier to procrastinate than to do the things that I know needed to be done. Instead of focusing on the cleaning, I would whittle away my time on the computer, or by reading a book, or by watching TV. The next thing I knew, it would be time for Teddy to come home from school and I had lost all of my productive time to wasted opportunity. Exercising wasn't happening for the same reason. My life was filled with "What ifs" and "Might have beens" instead of "Have dones".

I don't know when the change came, or how it came about. Instead, I turned around one afternoon and found that I had spent the morning cleaning and I had the rest of the day to relax. I had no regrets because things hadn't gotten done (ok, I still had a few, because I have a tendency to over extend myself) and I still had time to enjoy myself. It was a heady and wonderful feeling.

When I fell down the stairs and sprained my ankle, I was afraid that my slothful tendencies were going to come back. I was worried that I'd spend far more time in front of the computer or in bed with a book or the TV than anywhere else. And honestly, for the first month, I did. December was filled with little getting done, and both my house and my health suffering for it. I used the excuse of the difficulty getting around because of my ankle to keep me from doing a lot of the things I knew I should be doing. And I felt guilty because of it. My husband works three jobs to keep a roof over our head and food on the table, and here I was feeling guilty because I was asking him to keep up with the house as well. It was feeding into my depression.

The last week has seen a lot of changes, though. Changes in motivation and in my thoughts. I realized that, yes, I was asking him to help out, but it wasn't because I was lazy. It was because I honestly wasn't able to keep up with the things that I wanted and needed to. The one time that I tried to get some cleaning done, I managed to overbalance and fall, hurting my ankle again and putting me back a little. So asking for help when I couldn't isn't something I needed to feel guilty about. I also realized, however, that the house not being in the state that I wanted it to be was not something to get angry at my husband about. As I said, he works three jobs. There are only so many hours in the day.

The last week has also showed me that the motivation has become more habit than requirement for me. I was annoyed because I COULDN'T do the things I wanted to do, not because I felt like I should be annoyed for not being able to do them. And when I talked to my doctor and was given permission to push a little, I did so. On Monday, I took down all the decorations, the tree, the whole nine yards. I cleaned the living room and took the last of the boys' Christmas gifts out of their packaging. I rearranged my electronics in my entertainment center and tidied up behind it. I got the things done that needed to be done. And yesterday, I did the same for the dining room. It took me a bit longer - PT on Tuesday really took it out of me! But I still got things where I wanted them to be.

I had planned on taking today off. It's the first day I've had to myself since falling down the stairs and I wanted a chance to enjoy it. Yes, there's some housecleaning that needed to be done, but I could get away with just focusing on general straightening. I didn't think I wanted to do any exercise - I want to talk to my PT to find out what I should avoid and what I should focus on with my ankle still being weak. But for the most part, it was going to be reading my book, watching some NCIS and playing some Marvel Avengers on Facebook. And, while I did do the straightening and the Facebook, I also found that I wanted to exercise. I needed to find something that would give me a bit of a work out. So I started the beginner ball work out (and I'm definitely feeling it in my abs). Motivation, it seems, hasn't abandoned me after all.

I can, and I will, keep this up. The change of attitude that I've always needed has shown up. My medications are where they need to be and head is on straight. I'm working my way to being who and what I want to be. It's a long road to my own personal happiness. It's a difficult road too. But for once, I'm seeing the path and it looks like one that, regardless of the difficulties that may be there, I am going to make it in the end.

I'm happy. I'm going where I want. I couldn't ask for anything more.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALLEGRADREAM 1/23/2013 4:42AM

    Hi im trying to bring the Drunken Drow Team back to life, pop over sometime for chat/tips/ideas :)

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KATRENIAH 1/12/2013 12:42PM

    That's fabulous! It sounds like you just kind of woke up and realized that you wanted to take a more active role in your life. Keep it up - but don't push that ankle too hard!

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