Thursday, July 11, 2013
To put my weight loss struggles in perspective... I started trying to lose weight and regain control over my life/body (changing my diet, beginning to exercise, etc.) in 2005.. I lost a little weight in 2006, but gained it back and another 40- pounds in 2007 and 2008 (net gain of over 60 pounds in 3-4 years). In 2009, I seriously stepped up the exercise and was recommended sparks, which I joined in the spring (so 4 years ago last April). I started working out 5 days a week and tracked my food religiously for years (I stopped eventually because it's really time consuming, entering every ingredient every time we make a new dish--I typically enter probably 30 separate items in a day, and by then I had a good handle on what I was eating. And now I eat even better than I did back then--and when I track, I'm usually where I expect to be, and I double check foods all the time if I'm not sure about them). According, to sparks, I consistently ran a calorie deficit for FOUR YEARS, burning more than I consume. And in the last year and a half, I've GAINED 20 pounds. Some of that is that is muscle gained and some of it is inflammation because of PT and my wrists/arms/hands flaring up etc., but part of that is still fat gain. I should have hit my goal weight by now and instead I'm almost heavier than I've ever been. And I don't know what I can do about it. I'm eating better than ever--I cut pop from my diet last fall almost entirely, I'm eating more vegetables, I'm more active than ever, I mix things up all the time as best as I can, but my stress levels in the past year and a half have gone through the roof. Thankfully, I am not generally one who eats while stressed--if anything, I do the opposite, though I'm working really hard to not skip meals--but still, the pounds just pile up.
It's hard to have a healthy relationship with food when it feels like eating--eating anything--makes me fat. Because I'm gaining weight; obviously it's the food's fault. It's hard to reduce my calories when if I don't eat something of substance (carrots are not sufficient--it needs to be a blend of carbs, fat, and protein) to stay functional. I'm struggling with healthy eating because I still tend to eat half of my calories after 6 pm... not because of night time snacking (I rarely eat anything after dinner, actually) but because I'm not HUNGRY until usually dinner time. I could easily lower my calorie consumption if I just skipped breakfast and ate a really late lunch instead of breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.... but I'm told that not eating until 3 pm is not good for me, but eating meals earlier doesn't mean that smaller meals at dinner are enough. Eating more vegetables doesn't help. Eating whole grains doesn't help. I still end up eating about 800 calories at dinner.
It's really hard to keep a positive attitude when your best just isn't good enough. I'm good at positive attitudes, because I feel that if you go in with a defeatist attitude than you are defeated before you even start. I have a lot of practice maintaining a positive attitude. But still, this part year I've been holding on to my motivation by the skin of my teeth. Most of the time, it's only the realization that if I gave up I'd probably gain 50 pounds instead of 20 that has kept me in. But that's a depressing realization.
My old doctor got on my case every time I saw him because of my weight, insisting that I had to do "more" but I I don't know what more I have to give. I have a number of friends who are trying to better themselves, lose weight, get in shape, etc., and of them, I'm the hard core one--I exercise more regularly and more intensely, I eat better than all but one (and that because of food limitations when I'm home and sharing meals with my husband). My new doctor doesn't like the weight, but he says I'm doing everything right and feels that the problem is stress and that once the stress backs off the weight will come off. In the meantime, I'm doing well if I lose any weight at all--in the last year, to be honest, my best has mostly slowed the weight gain or, at best, maintained it.
This is why I focus on positive reinforcement--particularly positive reinforcement that concentrates on living a healthy lifestyle, I can directly control unlike the scale. I can't do anything about the scale if my hip flares up or my hands or whatever, but I can choose to drink water, or tea instead of pop, or eat veggies, or go exercise. And even though I can't see progress on the scale, I can tell from my doctor's visits that I'm getting healthier on the inside--blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar etc. are all good. I'm stronger and fitter than ever.
I have really modest goals this round because I knew going into this round of the BLC that school was going to be brutal and I could only handle so much, but I didn't want to lose the ground I had gained. So far, I have accomplished that. So I'm trying not to let the scale bring me down. Some days that's easier than others, especially when I'm already stressed out, but I'm trying.
This feels like a really negative blog. I don't like writing negative blogs. But I'm really struggling right now--struggling to find time, struggling to find motivation, struggling to stay afloat of my responsibilities, and pretending that everything is okay when it's really not isn't working so well for me right now.
I'm just hoping that things will lighten up after I turn in my final draft of my dissertation and bibliographies for my comprehensive exams at the end of August... or, at the very least, I keep it together long enough to graduate. I'm not sure what will happen after that, other than I want to have a party (not a big party, but a party with the people closest to me who have supported me on this journey) and then probably sleep for a month. After that... well, we'll cross that bridge when I get there.