Saturday, March 23, 2013
I've been contemplating this for a while, but today I decided that it was time.
I'm not going to be actively blogging anymore. I'll still read and comment on other blogs and respond to mail, but I'm not going to be writing much.
The reasons are varied. One is because I've been struggling with topics to write about. I don't want to say that I've outgrown Spark, but I'm having difficulty seeing how it fits with my current lifestyle and objectives. Another is that I'm unplugging most other social media as well. It's triggering some anxieties, insecurities and non productive behavior.
I'll see you around, just maybe less frequently.
Best wishes, and good luck with your goals this summer.
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Sometimes non scale victories are implicit and subtle acknowledgments from strangers.
Back in my obese days, I loathed the thought of exercise. You'd never catch me with a thighmaster or a Jane Fonda workout video! I swore that I'd never eat carrots and celery for lunch.
"Life is too short to eat rabbit food!" was my motto.
Oh, how things have changed.
The other day I was in a shopping center. I stopped to browse a section of fitness videos that caught my eye. One of the store employees came up to me and said, "Looking for a new fitness DVD?" She was a young, pretty girl who herself was very fit. The way she asked the question was a snap judgment that I looked like someone who regularly enjoyed and had a collection of workout DVDs. We had a brief chat about the videos we liked, and our enthusiasm for fitness bands.
When I was in a kitchen shop, I browsed a selection of cast iron dutch ovens. The saleswoman and I talked about the things you could make in one. Somehow we got on the topic of bread baked in a dutch oven. She said, "I shouldn't eat so much bread because I need to lose a few pounds." She paused and then continued, "You don't have that problem, though." It caught me off guard. I responded, "Oh, we all have to watch what we eat." She smiled and nodded in agreement.
I still don't have a thighmaster, but I have a pilates bar. Jane Fonda workout videos have become Jillian Michaels instead. Carrots and celery aren't the only things I eat for lunch, but they are a part of lunch or a healthy snack.
"Life is too short to eat crap," is my new motto.
Sometimes I look in the mirror and all I can see are my flaws. While I don't base what I do on the opinions of others, it is nice that people who never knew me as overweight subconsciously acknowledge that I have transformed myself into what I wanted to be.
A fitness and health nut, and proud of it.
Friday, March 22, 2013
As I wrote in my last blog, I reached my goal weight and I've roughly maintained it within +/- 5lbs for about 1.5 years now. Yesterday I had my blood pressure taken and it was 115/56. Score! Low end of normal. Starting point was 138/86. The longer I stay at a healthy weight, the better my vitals become. The body heals if you give it proper care. I've slowly reversed the damage I caused. I achieved my primary objective of better health and lifestyle. But now what?
One reason why I'm baffled about what to do next is because I never thought I'd get here. 13 years ago I became obese with over 40% bodyfat. After years of yo-yo dieting and losing weight only to watch it rebound, at some point I mentally believed I would never reach goal weight. Maybe I was too old, or my metabolism too damaged.
Then 1.5 years ago, I finally connected all the pieces I need to finish the job. I went from size 8 to roughly a size 4/6. And I reached goal weight! There are seasonal fluctuations, so I give myself a +/- 5 lb margin. If my weight starts creeping up, I clean up my eating immediately. If I average my weight over a long period of time, it comes out to my goal weight of 125.
I thought I would be happy enough. I chose that number because it was my college weight before I became obese. The thing is, my body doesn't quite match what I remember. I fit into my college jeans, so my size must be roughly the same. I swear that I had a flatter runway down my abs, though.
Is it skin stretching? Is it bloating? Is it a difference in body composition? I never took a body fat percentage reading before I gained weight.
While I've reached my goal weight, it's not the body shape I want. I can't set a weight goal because I have no idea what I will weigh with the body composition I want. I can't set a bodyfat % because that isn't clear either. Based on my current bodyfat % and weight, I have 92lbs of lean mass (muscle, organs and blood). If I weighed 115 with 20% bodyfat, I would have 92lbs of lean mass. If I weighed 135lbs with 20%, I would have 108lbs of lean mass. If I weighed 115 at my current composition, I'm not sure that would give me the shape I want either.
I don't have a reference point, so I don't know where to point my compass. I'll just have to hoist my sails and see where the wind takes me.
How did you pick your goal weight? If you reached it, was your body shape what you expected it to be?
Thursday, March 21, 2013
This past week I've had a return of an old anxiety.
Why isn't my stomach more flat?
These are my non-scale accomplishments:
-I've come a long way since my 160lbs obese days. The muffin top and side rolls are gone. So relative to then, it is flatter.
- I'm stronger and more capable. When we moved from a 3rd floor apartment to our house, little ole 5' me was hauling 25lb boxes full of books down those stairs like an iron woman.
- I no longer have a fear of stairs or walking farther than I need to. Yesterday I had to go to the county courthouse, and I accidentally climbed a flight of stairs to the wrong entrance. After I finished my business there, I decided to take a stroll around downtown Savannah. I took a few wrong turns, but it was no big deal. Back when I was overweight, I would have freaked out because my feet would be screaming.
- My blood pressure, cholesterol, fasting blood sugar, and triglycerides are no longer borderline metabolic syndrome.
- I am back to my college weight before I became overweight. I fit into my old college pants.
- Even if BMI is flawed, I am in the normal range, which is a psychological lift.
And yet, why isn't my stomach more flat?
I swear my stomach was flatter at this weight before.
I don't think it was because of more 'muscle' when I was 24. Believe me, I was a wimp. My younger self could not keep up with me today. I am stronger and more fit at 38 then I was at 28 by a long mile.
Yes, I know it's genetics and we can't spot train. I'm just ranting at my body. I poke and pinch my stomach and yell, "Why can't I carry the weight in all the right places? Why are you still here? Go away, you!"
It's hard for me to decide how I should structure my goals. After focusing more on my diet this week, I have dropped another pound. But weight is meaningless. I've reached my goal weight. I don't know what weight I would be if I had the body composition I wanted. How do I set a goal if I don't know where it is supposed to be?
After all the problems I had being overweight, I realize this is the equivalent of a dietary first world problem. My old self would moan at me that she would love to have 'my' problems versus her shin splints, low foot arches, and knee pain.
When I wrote my blog a few days ago about being happy enough with my current progress, something changed. Suddenly I wasn't happy with it anymore.
I've achieved my primary goal of better health, but what I want now is better body composition.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
I have a dear friend who is vegan. She and I used to have lunch at a vegetarian/vegan cafe in Seattle where I would happily eat a vegan meal with her, even though I am an unabashed omnivore. This wasn't your normal vegetarian/vegan cafe, though - it was gourmet. Seriously. People in the PacNW can do veggie dishes right. Instead of weird tofu concoctions designed to be meat substitutes, they use -- vegetables! If I ever were to be vegetarian, Seattle would have been the easiest place to do it.
I have dabbled with vegetarianism and flexitarianism in the past. I lack the conviction to hold to it, though. My vegan friend is dearly devoted to the cause that she will never do harm to an animal. I have a more cycle of life philosophy. Big fish eats little fish until it dies and is consumed by organisms of decay. I believe more in the ethical raising and slaughter of animals.
We had a potluck once when we worked together, and I thought I would do my research to make something that she would be able to eat. I've heard vegetarians and vegans complain that potlucks often exclude them. I went to FoodGawker and put in the search term "raw food vegan". I was kind of taken aback that almost all the recipes were a dessert or soy disguised as meat substitute. It was very hard to find a recipe that was just vegetables or fruit.
When I was talking with her recently, it occurred to me that I am mostly a raw food omnivore, especially if I eat sushi. Cooking meat is required because of modern processing contamination, but our biology is capable of digesting meat raw. I prefer to eat whole veggies and fruit. I don't buy a lot of low-carb substitutes for wheat products or desserts. I've dabbled with it in the past, and was unsatisfied with the results. If I want pasta, bread or a dessert, then I'll go for a small amount of the real thing.
My raw food vegan friend and I seem to be on the diametrically opposed scale, but we have a lot more in common than you would think. My friend doesn't eat a lot of grains. Why? Because a raw 'whole grain' is indigestible to us, and some are toxic. Grains have to be broken down, milled, and cooked in order to be digestible. Some raw food vegans eat sprouted grains because the natural process of sprouting removes the toxins so they are safe to eat. We agree grains are not as essential as we have been told.
We both believe you can't go wrong eating more vegetables. No doubt fruit is good for you, but I go easy on them. In a world where oversized, honey sweet apples are the norm, I opt for the very small, tart ones.
We agree soy cheese is disgusting. Just...no.
We differ greatly on the protein. To be honest, I'm not sure where she gets her protein from (I'm guessing nuts and seeds), but it's not a condition of our friendship. I respect and support her space, and she respects mine. We aren't missionaries out to 'save' the other person from the error of her ways.
Get An Email Alert Each Time VHALKYRIE Posts