Monday, May 25, 2015

Baseline for Change

So yesterday, I did track my food. I generally track calories one or two days a week just to remind myself of portion sizes and quantities and how they add up, but it's not something I like to do on a daily basis. I know when I track, I tend to eat a bit less just because I am measuring and aware. I also know the last 2 weeks I have let more junk into my diet... not a lot in quantities or frequency, but enough to stall my weight loss. Just cutting the junk out and having a moderately active lifestyle is enough for me to lose a couple pounds a month; I am hoping that by tracking my activity with the FitBit and being more aware, I will move more (just like I eat less when I track calories) and the weight loss will speed up a bit. It sure can't hurt my fitness level, either.

Yesterday as a "lazy day" baseline, I logged 6113 steps, 11 flights of stairs, and 19 "active minutes" (which was yard work and a brisk walk with the dog). We didn't go anywhere so all the steps were logged at home. It was a restful day, so I think hitting 9,000 or so most days, like I used to when I used my pedometer, won't be too hard. I'll try to increase it from there.

My eating yesterday was also baseline and typical of how I've been eating the last few weeks:

Breakfast: Cherry Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries
Lunch: a piece of gluten-free sausage lasagna and a Fuji apple, iced tea
Snack: Coke zero and microwave buttered popcorn
Dinner: a baked chicken leg quarter with baked sweet potato topped with butter, some roasted broccoli, and fresh cantaloupe
Snack: corn chips with mango salsa
Later snack: chocolate pudding with whipped cream

I see the good (veggies, fruit, protein) and the bad (sugar, chips, and yes, a return last week to diet soda, which I hadn't had in ages). Total for the day was 1486 calories.

This morning I had a cup of tea with milk and sugar (another thing I need to cut back out). I fried some Polish sausage in a pan with cubed, leftover sweet potato and roasted broccoli, and then topped the hash with a fried egg. This was my breakfast with a side of cantaloupe. A good start to another healthy day!

**Edited to add what else I ate today, since I decided to track again:

Breakfast: above
Lunch: Starbucks green tea latte, no syrup, with corn chips and mango salsa
Dinner: leftover chicken quarter with roasted broccoli and cantaloupe, iced tea
Snacks: Pineapple coconut Greek yogurt, dark chocolate

Total for today: 1380 calories. 6142 steps.

I have company coming for a couple of weeks and we'll be going on a few trips out of town (maybe the beach!). I'm also enjoying my daughter's dance recitals and we'll probably be sending our foster puppy to his forever home soon. Life's good... now to make it a bit more healthy!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Something New

Yesterday, on a whim, I bought myself a Fitbit One. I've heard about FitBits and thought about getting one before, but it seemed like maybe a waste of money... just another gadget that I'd use for a little while and then toss in the drawer with the old pedometer. But I guess I am kind of tired of not doing much about my weight situation. I figured maybe this will give me a little motivation to move more. You know I like to look at stats and reports, and this FitBit gives me plenty of that: steps taken, flights of stairs climbed, minutes of intense activity, hours sleeping (and minutes spent awake or restless in the night). It even connects to My Fitness Pal and imports foods tracked. It can track weight goals, water you drink, calories in and out, calories left to eat each day, and miles walked. All of this info is on one page on your FitBit dashboard, easy to see. I wear the FitBit clipped to my bra (but you can also keep it in your pocket) and it syncs with my laptop or phone when I am within 15-20 feet of those devices, updating all the data automatically. It's kind of fun to look at and also shows a graph of my most and least active times of day. I set some goals on the dashboard for steps and miles and things like that, and it will show my progress over days, weeks, and months. I can also manually enter time spent on things like swimming or strength training and it calculates the calories burned. Pretty cool!

I know myself. I know that the first time I try *anything* (South Beach, calorie counting, Medifast, AIP, etc) I tend to be very successful. But when I quit and try to go back and do it again later, my success rate is a lot lower. So if this is going to help me, it's probably going to help the most while it is novel and motivating. I'm going to give it a shot... just using the information to get moving more, burn more calories, and perhaps even start tracking my food again.

It can't hurt... and maybe this will help get me more focused on exercise and weight loss again.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

What Would Be Different?

As I've had a little time today to relax and think about the direction of my life re: weight loss, I came to the realization that most of the time, I am pretty happy and content despite my obesity. There are drawbacks, of course, to being this fat: health risks, sore knees, fatigue (which seems to have lifted dramatically with the arrival of good weather), slowness, bigger clothes. But most of the time I feel like I am doing what I want to do. I'm living a life I want to live. But then I wonder... am I just *forgetting* how much better it used to be when I was 50 pounds lighter? WAS it that much better? What would be different, fundamentally, on a day to day basis if I weighed 50 pounds less?

I would still be doing all the things I am doing now. Would I take up running, or play some new sport, or wear a bikini if I weighed less? Would I spend my time differently? Would my family love me more? Would I be happier? What would change? Because frankly, if nothing would change, there is no reason for me to lose weight. Maybe that's part of the lack of motivation to work *hard* on weight loss.

Upon reflection and re-reading some of my old posts about how different my life was after losing 100 pounds, I've come up with some answers.

If I weighed 50 pounds less:

I would have more energy for everything I am currently doing, and would not need to rest in between as much.
I would be able to skate with my daughter again.
I would feel better about how I look when I am going out in public.
I would be in more photos with my family.
I might be able to get off my blood pressure medication, or at least reduce it.
I would fit into a lot more of my clothing instead of having 80% of it in Rubbermaid tubs in the garage and having to wear the same things week after week.
I would be proud of myself.

I have wondered if I could accomplish most of those things just by getting more fit. If I was biking and lifting regularly like I used to, I bet my stamina would improve, even without much weight loss. If I was stronger and more toned, I would be proud of that and feel better about myself.

Of course, there are sacrifices, too, living at 50 pounds lighter. I've lived them.

I can't eat the things I usually crave.
I can't use specific foods to "connect" to loved ones who have passed on.
I cannot use food to cope with sadness, anger, or stress.
I cannot *often* use food to celebrate and socialize... at least not on the level I like to.
Social engagements with food can be more complicated.
Loose skin. Sagging, hanging, loose skin and flab.
Dealing with people who get jealous, try to sabotage, or tell me I won't keep it off.

All of these, good and bad, are things I experienced when I lost over 100 pounds.

Here is what I think would be the most different for me... the thing that would make the biggest difference in my personal life, aside from possible health improvements. If I weighed 175 or 185 pounds, I would not have to hide and be embarrassed when I see someone I haven't seen in a long time.

I so dread seeing friends sometimes, and it shouldn't be that way. People who I met when I was between 175 and 195 pounds never even KNEW I used to weigh almost 300 pounds. I didn't bring it up; I liked being a normal person and it was almost like I was incognito... a formerly fat person mingling with normal weight people and fitting right in! I loved that. For whatever reason, I made lots and lots of new friends the year or two I spent 80-100 pounds lighter. And I only told two or three of them about my weight loss.

Since I regained this weight, there are some friends I haven't seen. A couple moved away; some were in groups and activities that I had to drop out of when I was unable to participate for 2 years due to my foot and tendon issues. Some I just stopped hanging out with although we stayed in touch over the phone and online. And now, when those people come back for a visit or I run into them in a store, it is really embarrassing for me. I see it on their faces. They glance at the obese woman coming towards them. Who is that? And then they look at my face and there is a flash of recognition and surprise, which they try to quickly hide. But I see it. I know it because even if you're not judgmental it can be shocking to see a person you knew as thinner, enrobed in folds and layers of fat. And I really hate that feeling, and I hate avoiding friends because I want to avoid the embarrassment of this.

Aside from health, that would probably be the one thing that would be the most different if I lost weight.

Now the question is, are the rewards enough to drive me to work hard enough to do this? Or are the sacrifices I'd need to make *too much* for me to handle, or want to handle, long term? I guess that is the tipping of the balance that, physical limitations and emotional issues aside, lead each and every one of us in this battle to either long term success or failure after failure.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Change of Direction, Maybe

Well today I have about 45 minutes of down time (sorely needed!) so am sipping a green tea latte and sitting for a bit while updating the ol' blog. I haven't felt much like writing over the past few weeks. Truth be told, I haven't felt much like writing, at least not very often, for months. I guess I feel a bit pressured by my own decision to always write a weigh-in post on Sundays, whether I have anything else to say or not (and really, I don't have a lot new to share.) But then I feel a twinge of guilt when I think about it and start getting emails or comments asking if I am okay. I don't want to leave anyone hanging. That said, I am keeping my commitment to weigh in every Sunday... but I am not going to always post every weekend. I mean, I don't want to write if I am not feeling it. You know? I started this blog because I wanted an account of my weight loss, and I enjoyed writing. I don't want writing to be a chore. I want to write when I feel I have something to say. I want it to be a great outlet for me like it used to be. So although you may not see a post from me every weekend, or you may see a few weeks go by without me writing, it doesn't mean I am not weighing. I will always share my weight on the blog... but maybe not every weekend like I had been. I'll always track my weekly weight in my planner, and when I get the urge to write, I'll write! I will try to at least post a little note in the comments once in awhile so people aren't worried. Thank you for caring about me!

Life is good, weather is gorgeous! We are in the whirlwind season of choir and dance rehearsals and recitals, spring parties, celebrations at school, field trips, finishing up home school, and planning summer road trips. I also have a foster puppy right now who has been sucking up *all* of my free time! He is a sweetheart and we are all enjoying the little baby puppy snuggles while he is here, but wow, taking him out every 2 hours is kind of exhausting! Plus of course he chews everything and needs constant supervision. We are training basic house manners and obedience as well as crate training and housebreaking before he goes to his forever home. Lots of fun and a good experience for my younger kids! As a bonus, I have to go up and down a flight of stairs at least a dozen times a day to take him out. Great for strong legs!

My eating has been okay but I do need to tighten up the junkening that has happened over the past week (potato chips, too much cheese and ham, and some gluten free cookies). Dinners are still healthy (meatloaf, mashed sweet potatoes, broccoli and cooked carrots last night) and so are breakfasts (bacon, avocado, fruit most days... with an occasional Greek yogurt instead) but lunch and snacks haven't been ideal (gluten free pizza one day, fries and a snow cone today. Not a great lunch!) It's so easy to slide back into bad habits and eat what is easy and tastes good. That's always been an issue for me, but I keep working on it. It happens less and less often, so that's a good thing.

Anyway, just wanted to share that I may not be posting as often... or maybe if I get the urge I will post more. If I am quiet for weeks at a time just check the comments and I will try to let people know there that I am alright. I hope you all enjoy your spring and summer as much as I am enjoying mine!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

In the Big Girls' Store

Since tomorrow is Mother's Day... a favorite day of mine... I decided to post my weigh in a day early.  Yeah, tomorrow morning I will be having breakfast in bed (my menu of choice is scrambled eggs, bacon, and fresh watermelon) before heading to church, then coming home to spend time with my kids and enjoy a special dinner together (Indian food! Yummy!) I loved having little ones who always gave me homemade cards and special little gifts, but having older and grown children is wonderful too! My daughter decided that I needed a new dress ("bright colors, Mom, not just black!") for Mother's Day, so she and I spent time together shopping this week. I wrote about part of that experience last Sunday, trying on dresses and not finding anything I remotely liked in my size. Of course my daughter told me I looked beautiful in everything, but I just felt fat and frumpy when I was alone in the changing booth. So I'd say, "It's okay, but let's keep looking."

So after looking all week, I finally decided it was time to try a Big Girl's store, You know the ones... they cater to the larger sized ladies and nothing in there is under a size 14W (and in some cases, almost everything is labeled with X's: 1X, 2X, 3X and so on). I remember when I lost enough weight that nothing in those kinds of stores fit me anymore; it was a very strange feeling to go into a Lane Bryant or a Catherine's and find that everything in there was too big for me. I had to find a new way to shop! But now, I have gotten big enough again that I figured it was time to go back and see if I could find something pretty... something without giant sequined flowers on the chest or a big bow on the back like some plus sized sections seem to feature. One can only take so many baggy sweatshirts with forest scenes painted across the front... Anyway, today I went to a Big Girl's store which had clothes ranging from 14W to 5X. I figured I'd be able to find something passable there.

Well, I not only found a dress... I found TWO dresses and a huge boost of enthusiasm for further weight loss! This experience was different. Instead of clingy fabric on bulges, in the mirror I saw softly draping fabric that actually made me feel pretty! I loved the colors and prints, and as I browsed the clothes in this store I thought about how fun it would be to come back and buy more clothes in smaller sizes. I really loved so many of the dresses and other outfits they had, and looking in the mirror this time made me smile. One dress I tried on was sleeveless. I had tried some of those on earlier this week and was appalled at how bad my arms looked in them. I mean, seriously, my arms are misshapen from dangly hanging fat. They are very large (as they were when I was near 300 pounds) and not at all toned. I mean, I am trying to accept and love my body but the arms... that's hard. I will wear short sleeves, but the sleeveless stuff is just too much. I feel utterly naked in them. Somehow even a short sleeve seems to break up the large expanse of pale fatness of my upper arm, so short sleeves I can handle. Not sleeveless. But this dress... this pretty, brightly colored sleeveless dress... was just so perfect in every other way. I loved the design and the print. And I thought to myself, if I could just get my arms a BIT smaller and more toned, I would totally buy this dress and wear it. And that made me want to work on those arms even more! But for now, I chose two lovely short sleeved dresses that fit me perfectly: one in a size 16W and one in an 18W.

So my shopping trip was a success in that I got two great dresses that make me happy AND I feel totally inspired to lose weight, tone up, and try on more cute clothes! Honestly, I haven't felt this way in awhile. I mean, I always want better health. I want to lose weight... but it isn't a fire burning in me like it used to be. I guess after losing large amounts of weight a few times and gaining a lot of it back I have just had this nagging thought in the back of my mind that

I can't do this again,
It's not worth it. I will just gain it back again.
I did all that work to lose the weight but couldn't sustain it.
I don't want the disappointment of regaining AGAIN.
Even if I do lose weight this time, what's the point if I gain it back?

Those thoughts put a real damper on any desire to work hard and lose weight. I worked very hard to get to 175 pounds, and I feel like all that effort was in vain. All those times I was strong... all the times I turned down food... all the miles of biking and walking and all those pounds of lifting ended with me in *this* place: It's pretty discouraging, really. Yet there is something in me... an ember that never quite went out... that won't let me give up. It keeps me trying. Call it hope, call it perseverance, call it stubbornness. There has always been, even in the darkest times, a little bit of me just waiting for the bit of tinder needed to turn the ember into a burning flame again. It has rekindled at times over the years but then died back down when it wasn't tended. I am tending it now; I believe, I hope, I will keep adding tinder (small things, like the experience in the dressing room or how alive I feel after a bike ride or a long walk) so that it continues to burn and grow into the drive and commitment I had before, leading me to successful weight loss.

Scale says 237.

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