Sunday, February 27, 2011

W8, Day 5; Sunny Outing

We visited Tilden Park today in Berkeley.  We tracked a whole lot of mud on our shoes and saw a plethora of greenery.  We also meandered through the botanical garden in the park, which was absolutely lovely.  Even though I am very out of shape, I enjoy plodding along on trails and taking in the plants, the sun, and the fresh air.  I am so slow going uphill, but I crawl my way steadily upward and I feel good.  After awhile, my hip started hurting (as it often does going uphill), but I reminded myself that each step is a little effort, and my body is just a little stronger.  And interestingly, walking the trails also makes me feel mentally stronger, happier.  There's just something about the air, the sun, a cool breeze, the bright leaves that lifts the spirit and makes the heart warm.  I even stole a few kisses from my loving husband, inspired by the joy of feeling fresh and bright.  Thanks, Nature, we should get out more often.  :)

That said, the weekend food situation didn't go well, as usual when we are out visiting folks, but oh well, I feel well satisfied with this weekend.  The only thing that would have made it better (besides an instant-painless-free-liposuction machine) would have been more chocolate.  Hope others out there got outside for some fun and sunshine too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

W8, Day 4; Thank you

As I'm sitting here on the couch watching a light and fluffy movie, my tummy is full of grapes.  After dinner I was feeling empty, though not hungry, and unsatisfied.  I made it though the day all right, despite forgetting my lunch this morning.  Okay, well, I'll admit, since I didn't have any time to go and buy something for lunch (working lunch today), I had a granola bar, an apple, and half a donut.   Okay, okay, you might be thinking, "What a minute, didn't she say she regretted that donut last week?" but c'mon, I had to have something to eat and they were there for Friday Treats.  All right, excuses, sort of.  I thought I'd be really hungry after work and I planned to hit my food points when I got home, but actually I wasn't really any hungrier than usual.  I skipped the large snack I had planned and had some popcorn instead.  I feel pretty good about that actually.

Lately I've been looking through my food log from last year.  Last year, I started doing WW again on the exact same week at the exact same start weight (a bit weird, eh?).  I've been following the week to week losses and am slightly ahead of where I was last year at this time.  Then my notebook goes blank for a week.  It picks up again for a few weeks of tracking, and then I didn't mark again for a couple more weeks, which means I didn't do WW for that time.  It is so easy to lose track of a day, to fall off that wagon, and while you might think it's just a day lost and you move on from there, it can be easy to temporarily give up out of angst, frustration at slow progress, and hunger.  What started as a day turns into a week.  I have goals that I think about every day, all day long, so how on Earth is it so easy to let negative feelings and old behaviors pop up and get in the way?

But I also have to say, I think something is different this time around.  My goals are the same.  Last year, I went to the weekly meetings, this time I don't.  I still record and track my foods almost every day.  My progress is continuing at the same rate.  My body looks the same (unfortunately).  But I feel different.  I can't imagine not staying on track next week.  Why?  Because of this blog.  I'm getting more out of writing this little blog a few times a week than months worth of meetings.  I feel accountable to not only myself, but to whoever out there might be reading.  So thank you.  I want to thank everyone for their support and good wishes....and simply for reading because it's making a difference for me.  My thanks.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

W8, Day 2; Dinos

When I woke up this morning, the dinosaur in my belly went "RAWR!"
After breakfast, it went "RAWR!"
Before lunch, yup, you guessed it, "RAWR!"
When I came home from work this evening, "RAWR, RAWR, RAWR!!!"

Oddly, I imagine that dino as a brontosaurus (okay, okay, apatosaurus) thundering around in my tummy.  This is weird because a brontosaurus would be eating plants and so would hardly be having to join WW.  It should be more like a velocipator--ravenous and fierce.  Ah well.

Suffice it to say, I'm so hungry.  "RAWR, RAWR, RAWR...." all the way home.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

W8, Day 1; Weigh Day

Weighed in today at 214.8 for a 0.4 pound loss for the week and a 14.2 total loss with a heck of a lot still to go.  While 0.4 lbs isn't much, at least it's not the dreaded G word (gain).  I've really been hungry all day though for some reason.  As we speak, I'm chomping on an apple despite having dinner and some sugar free, fat free pudding.  I really have not been able to figure out a pattern to why some days I am dulled to food, indifferent, and other days I feel like I am cavernous pit that can never be filled.  I always eat all my daily food points.  I know some folks have difficulty or a reluctance to eat them all, but hey, I'm a big girl and my body needs that minimal nourishment.  (According to WW, you need to eat all of your daily food points because that's the minimum amount your body needs to take in without going into the metabolism lowering 'starvation' level.)  The point being, I'm not feeling ravenous because I'm not eating.

One thing I will note is that I think I may be eating too much sodium (not good since I have high blood pressure) and that I probably should be drinking more liquids.  In the summer I guzzle water constantly, but in the cooler water, I have a hard time remembering to drink.  I almost never drink anything all day at work because it's difficult for me to have opportunities to use the rest room.  Maybe this is affecting my hunger levels too?  I know that being thirsty can imitate being hungry, but I do think this is real hunger.  However, I've noticed that when I drink a lot of liquids, I seem to lose more weight.  Bottoms up?

Lastly, I wanted to share a picture of my favorite breakfast from yesterday:  old fashioned oatmeal cooked with banana and topped with warmed blackberries.  Major yum!

Monday, February 21, 2011

W7, Day 7; Is it just me?

Is it just me or does it seem like I am always in this place on a Monday evening?  Looking out over my food trespasses with one remorseful eye looking backward and one nervous eye looking forward to the scale the next day, this is not going to be a good weigh week.  I'm just going to own up to that now.  I did fairly well at staying on points each day, but I had a lot of sweets over the course of the week that I think may set me back.  My husband and I celebrated Valentine's Day last night (we were both busy on the actual day and decided to wait until we could make it more meaningful) and how better to celebrate our love than with food? (Okay, there are other ways, but this is a public page.)

So we shared a bottle of red wine, a loaf of french bread--I could not believe how good that tasted to my carb-hungry self--and a piece of cake.  Talk about carb overload.  Bliss.  Sheer bliss.  I should really be repenting and thinking about what I could have done otherwise, but I'm going to fess up here--except for that donut on Friday that wasn't really that good (it looked delicious, but really it just tasted like stale sugar and fat)--I'm wouldn't change a thing.  I'm not going back on my pledge to lose weight or to maintain my focus, but once in a while, I'd like to have a romantic, fun dinner with my husband where I feel like a normal person enjoying everyday foods without cringing in guilt as I scribble it in my notebook.  I'm not being food defiant, just practical.  It's just how to has to be for me to do this for the long haul.  I'm not looking forward to weigh day tomorrow, but I was pretty much in control all week and blew it big time once.  I can accept that and move on.  But dang, that french bread was SO darn good.  Bliss.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

W7, Day 5; Stages of Weight Management

 I've found through the weight loss process I need reminders about what I need to be doing and focusing on.  I've posted a couple of copies of this article in my home, one of which is on the fridge in a not-so-subtle reminder to think before I reach for a snack.  I first read this article years ago the first time I was doing WW when I was in bouncing around in stage 2 ("The Thrill is Gone") and was feeling guilty about having a more difficult time with the cutting back on food than in the beginning.  You might think it would be easier by now--after all, it's just about maintaining a pattern of eating, not learning the program, but I feel that it's almost more difficult with each week that goes by in terms of feeling emotional loss.  I'm still not quite seeing the loss yet on my body (except that I swear my chest is smaller--not a good thing!) and that makes it hard too.  But I know from experience, that I just have to keep trudging onward, on day at a time.

Here's the article from WW:

Growth of any kind is tough: It's a daily effort made up of successes, setbacks, lost opportunities, progress and change — not a thing that happens overnight.  It's easy to feel frustrated, though, especially when you really want to reach the goals you're going for. But when you're feeling down, try to put your efforts into perspective.  A lot of people report that they go through the stages of weight management outlined below, and many say that they do so in this order. Weight loss won't necessarily happen this way for you, but if it does, you'll always know where you stand and what's coming next. Do any of these stages sound familiar?

STAGE #1: Honeymoon. When you're in the Honeymoon stage, you feel eager to do whatever it takes to lose weight. You can't wait to get to your goal, and you feel completely committed to your efforts.  You probably always stay within your PointsPlus™ Target and, control your portion sizes. And it's likely that you track everything you eat in your PointsPlus Tracker, plan your meals and exercise. Keep it up!

STAGE #2: The Thrill Is Gone. This is the most frustrating stage. You may be saying: Why do I have to be so careful? It doesn't seem like it's working. Why can other people eat what they want and still stay thin? Why can't it happen faster?  If you're at this stage, stick with it. Do what it takes to get the support you need, and see if you can reconnect with the reasons you decided to lose weight in the first place.

STAGE #3: Renewed Resolve. This is the time when you have a clearer set of expectations, with the added benefit of understanding how the process works.  When you're at this stage, you know that weight-loss doesn't come easily, and you're prepared to work hard. You're ready to be more consistent about exercising, tracking your PointsPlus values, controlling your portion sizes and everything else that goes along with building healthy new habits.

STAGE #4: Lifestyle Change. At this stage, you keep up your new habits even when you've had a bad day or week. You cope with stress and emotions in a healthy way. And you're always on the lookout for healthy things to eat, and for ways to get in extra exercise. This is a great place to be!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

W7, Day 3;

 Today I yearned for a glass of wine (a few glasses of wine would be even better).  I guess I have been feeling run down all week, worn thin.  Too bad being 'worn thin' isn't the same as 'being thin'!  I'm envisioning a bubble bath this weekend, maybe some classical music in the background, a glass of wine, a fire going.  *Sigh* Sounds so good.  I just need to get through tomorrow.  Normally when I feel this way, I would turn to food for comfort.  Some fast food, or cake, or get the idea.  I get joy out of food.  The thought of food.  The anticipation of food.  The sensation of food.  The warm afterglow after it's been consumed.  Most days I can go by without thinking about the empty feeling inside me, the lacking of something critical in myself, the desire for more, but when I am feeling down or tired, it's so much harder.  I feel like I am lacking my comfort system.

I got this in the mail today and it made me smile (in a "Uh-oh, busted!" kind of way).
It's a postcard from the WW leader saying, "We've missed you! Come back and be a star!" I have to hand it to them, it did make me laugh guiltily and feel warmed all at once.  I did not attend the meetings the last two weeks, checking in and recording weights online instead with their online tools.  Maybe I should head back to the meeting next week....

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

W7, Day 1; Three more down

Weigh day today:  215.2, which puts me at -13.8 pounds total and 61.2 pounds away from my goal.  My thoughts are contradictory.  The first thing that popped into my head seeing those numbers is that 61.2 pounds seems so very far away.  My second thought was that I lost exactly three pounds this week and somehow that seems like a lot...too much?  I didn't do anything special this week.  If anything, I ate several things this weekend that I shouldn't have (I'd like to sweep the list under the rug, but included in that list would be a large muffin, peanuts, pizza, half of an ice-cream bar dipped in fudge and nuts from Costco, dan ta, and yes, a cupcake).  True, I didn't eat the quantity of these things that I might have wanted, but still, they're not exactly health foods.  So, I find it strange that I lost three pounds.  Maybe some of it is from last week since I didn't lose much after a over-the-top food weekend, but it is still sort of strange.  I know, I know, stop complaining and be happy, right?

I have been feeling more hungry lately, though I sort of interpreted that as resulting from all the changes in my routine these last couple days.  I've also been really tired.  In fact, I brought home work to do tonight because it needs to get done, but I think I'll head to bed a bit early.  There's been a cold going around at work and while that's one way to lose weight, I'd rather stick to the usual way since it seems to be working.  This week I'd like to commit to doing a better job sticking to my food plan on the weekend and recording all my daily foods (I didn't record this weekend).  And with that, g'night!

Monday, February 14, 2011

W6, Day 7; Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone out there.  I love Valentine's Day.  I love the flowers, the balloons, the hugs and kisses, the romance and the cheese of it all....and the sweets.  Okay, well actually, I don't love those so much.  Or I do... and that's the problem.  Somehow, like all holidays, food became entangled in the festiveness of the whole shebang.  We usually eat at home on Valentine's Day simply because I don't like the crowds, but we make a point of taking some special little touches with the meal.  We kept things healthy: a little bit of steak and onions, sweet potato fries, and some asparagus, and while this was healthy, I found myself missing some wine, or champagne, or a big piece of chocolate cake.  Not that we didn't have chocolate laying around:

These are the true obstacles of Valentine's Day.  Small, sweet gifts from others that show love and a giving spirit, but I admit to finding the gifts of chocolate challenging.  It's difficult for me to resist it when it is sitting on my counter.  Last year I just threw it all away, but I felt so terrible to squander the gifts of others.  Is it wrong to throw them away?  The thing is, the chocolate is bad for me.  Not just because it's full of fat and sugar, but because it's like a gateway drug to sliding back into old binging behaviors.  I can't eat just one.  I can eat one dozen.  I can eat one box.  But one single chocolate is so terribly difficult.

Yet I feel such intense guilt to waste it all.  People showed their love by giving me treats, but maybe they'd love me enough to understand my need to be healthy too.  Anyone want some chocolate?  :)

(On another note, weigh day tomorrow.  I didn't stick to my plan well the last couple days...there were a lot of splurges, but I'm still feeling hopeful.  We'll see.)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

W6, Day 5; Appearances can be deceiving

This weekend we are visiting my in-laws.  So far I've been able to manage my food well (a fruit bowl from Starbucks, a plain, simple turkey sandwich at a coffee shop for lunch) and I've been able to save a bunch of my points for the dinner I know is coming tonight.  I went idly browsing at clothes and bought a couple things this morning.  My delight was huge at being able to slip into a size 18 pair of jeans at Old Navy and finding that they are loose (normally I wear size 20 at that store).  I love clothes browsing when I am losing because I can see my progress in the way the clothes fit.

Last night, however, I was having a clothes crisis.  Or rather, I was just panicking.  We were packing for our visit this weekend and were in a hurry and I just couldn't seem to find anything to wear.  Yes, I have my half of the closet packed full of clothes, some of which fit and much of which doesn't, but it's mostly a perception problem.  Anytime I go to see family, I just panic.  It's stupid because I know they love me and will love me no matter what I look like, but deep down, I fear their judgement more than anyone's.  When I look in the mirror, I see someone else, someone huge and bloated and distorted.  Not me.  Then I start worrying about what family members see...who they see...can they truly see me under the layers of distortion?

I try to disguise it under a flattering plume of feathers--my best jeans, a loose shirt, bright socks.  But somehow everything looked awful on me as I stood before the mirror.  Worse than usual.  I pulled on outfit after outfit, only to discard the articles of clothing on the floor, the bed, the open dresser drawer, scattered gaudy birds....Upset and teary, despite my husband's reassurances, I finally crammed a couple pants and shirts in the suitcase and zipped it up.  Off we went.  Despair last night, acceptance today. What a roller coaster ride.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

W6, Day 3; Heavy

"There's no off switch in my mind for food."

My husband and I were idly flipping through channels on t.v. and happened to watch an episode of a show called Heavy from A&E.  The premise of the show is featuring people who are extremely obese and the first six months of their recovery.  This episode featured a man and a woman who both went to a sort of recovery center, complete with psychotherapy, coaches, nutritionalists, personal trainers in a beautiful rural setting.  Basically, it was a rehab.  And I thought, how interesting that they treat these people as addicts because that's what they are.

My heart grieved for the two people; I felt so sad for them because their road to recovery will take so long.  It puts my own journey in perspective.  I need to lose 75 pounds and it will take time, but they need to lose hundreds of pounds.  I can't even imagine how hard that will be, and I hope so much for them that they will be successful.  Yes, I know people may say that since they put themselves there, they deserve to have to climb out of their hole.  But imagine that eating is a compulsion--something you can no longer control.  Many people may say that you can always control your circumstance and I admire their strength and will.  But people fall into traps:  alcohol,  It may sound silly, but isn't compulsive eating as life threatening and deadly to the extremely obese? The poor woman on the show had already had a stroke and she was still young.  There's all sorts of deadly side effects for obesity:  heart disease and  heart failure, diabetes, high blood pressure, blood clots, depression, etc.

To be completely honest with you, when I think about my own perceptions I realize that I have never expected to live a long life.  I have always pictured myself as obese and somewhere along the line, my brain  just passively accepted that I will not live as long as I should because of the health outcomes that come from being obese.  I feel now that part of my wanting to lose weight and get to my goals is not just about fitting in, looking better, or even taking control of my addiction, but creating a longer and more healthful life.  I want to be healthy.  I want to claim a better life for myself.  And while I accepted the negative passively, I have to chose to actively adopt a healthy lifestyle.  I accept.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

W6, Day 1; Comparables

Hit the scale today (figuratively, not literally) and weighed in at 218.2, for a 0.8 loss this week and a 10.8 total.  Though my goal is to shoot for 1 pound a week, that's a lot better than I thought it would be.  Further, even though this next week is going to be tricky with a weekend with my in-laws and Valentine's Day (what better way to celebrate one's love than with food?), I feel like I'm in a better mental place than last week.  I'm still struggling with not being able to eat the things my body craves and I sure miss the carbs that used to be part of my daily food routine, I'm still moving forward.

Some days it feels a bit like having sandbags tied to my feet and I'm slogging my way through, but at least it's slogging in the right direction.  I also try to give myself little visual reminders about my progress.  Long ago, when I'd lost 40 pounds before my wedding, my old WW leader told me to go pick up a big bag of dog food (it was hard for me to lift) and she told me, "See? That's what you carried around with you every day."  I was just floored at the thought.  Although, alas, I gained half that weight back, I never forgot the bag of dog food and the idea of carrying that weight with me on my body.  Now that I've lost ten pounds, I measure in small items.  I can say I've lost a small bag of cat food, a couple of 2 L bottles of soda, or a gallon of milk and feel good about my efforts.  Maybe next week I'll get to having lost about twelve bags of coffee beans?

Monday, February 7, 2011

W5, Day 7; Confessions

Well, as you might be able to tell from my last post, I struggled a bit this weekend.  Okay, more than a bit.  I truly struggled with three big food events in three days 1) the staff potluck, 2) a birthday party, 3) staying over with my in-laws.

I made it through Friday's potluck with my food points mostly intact, but my spirit ruffled.  Why?  Part of it is that it's hard to see other people eating the things that I long for so badly from the tips of my toes to the top of my frizzy head.  Instead of accepting what is and what has to be, my mind rebels and whines (it's a good thing that particular mental soundtrack is confined to just my brain) and demands why they can eat it when I can't.  The answer is simple:  they are not obese.  But it's hard for me to accept sometimes.

We went to the party armed with diet soda and a veggi tray.  At first, I did very well, sticking to a plate of vegetables and a very few snacks like pita chips.  In the late evening though, there was pizza for dinner and it was so late that I was quite hungry and it broke down.  I ate three large pieces of pizza.  Yikes.  Even worse though, I had two pieces of cake.  It was somehow like I'd already failed with the pizza, so I was lost for the day.

The only thing that I feel good about is that the next day we went with my in-laws to get coffee drinks and pastries for breakfast and, feeling contrite, I picked the low-point mini scone and an ice-tea.  I really wanted a muffin, but that muffin would have cost me half my daily food points.  How can a muffin really be as much as half a day's food?  Otherwise, even though we ate with my in-laws, I stayed in my food points for the day.

 I did not record my points for the last couple days though and I've decided I'm not going to.  I'm just going to try to forgive myself for Saturday and move on.  It's crazy that three pieces of pizza and two pieces of cake can wipe out a week's progress, but similar things have happened before so I'm not feeling very optimistic heading into weigh-in.  Time to regroup and keep on truckin'.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

W5, Day 5; Shaky ground

Well, I made it through yesterday's potluck.  There was even a mountain of donuts--a major weakness for me--but I held with an iron resolve and avoided it all, except for the little bit of chili and some fruit and vegetables.  I should feel really good about it.  I followed through with what I planned to do.  Cool, right?  Oddly though, I just feel sort of empty...and tired of all the food stuff.

We're on our way to the party in a few minutes and in preparation, I had a very large lunch with lots of free fruits and vegetables, eating until I was very full.  I know this isn't really a good strategy and that WW tells you to eat only until satisfaction, not fullness, but I thought that perhaps I'll be able to avoid some snacking while I'm there if I'm really not hungry.  I wouldn't do that often, but I just need some help getting through this weekend.  We'll see.

To be honest, I need a bit of a pick me up.  Next weekend we'll be out of town with family again, and that's so challenging, so I'll need to save my bonus points again.  But at some point, I need to have something that I chose for myself.   Food addiction is rearing its ugly head and I feel like I'm in some sort of withdrawal.  I'm starting to feel food fatigue!  I'm keeping positive thoughts in my head and my goal in mind, but it's still wearing on me.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

W5, Day 3; Luncheon Limbo

I felt really pleased with my weigh-day and it has given me a push the last couple days to want to keep things together and continue moving in the right direction.  However this week is going to give me a couple distinct and as of yet, unfaced challenges:

1)  Tomorrow there is a potluck luncheon at school.  Yikes!  I keep my lunches small and simple.  This is like the Friday treats dilemma (to eat, or not to eat, that is the question....), but magnified times ten.  To be honest, I'm terrified.  Have been all week since it registered on Monday that it was coming up.  At first I thought, well, okay, I just need to eat like a normal person.  But that's not true.  I need to eat less, way less.  Or at least I need to eat less of the offered foods--hot dogs, nachos, etc.  And that is so hard, seeing other people take what I want but can't take.  I've been rehearsing all week ("You'll just take a little bit of chili and some salad and/or fruit" "You'll just take a little bit of....")  But I'm so wound up with food angst that it's ridiculous.

2)  This weekend we are going to a party and a visit to the in-laws.  It's always way more challenging to stick to a food plan when you are not in control of the foods offered you.  I know that I can fall back on the allowance food points if necessary, but I'm hoping there'll be things I can eat.  I'm considering taking a bag with me to the party with some cut up fruit and vegetables so that I know I'll have things I can snack on if there's lots of munching going on, but I also don't want to look weird or stand out in a bad way.  I don't want people to look at me and think, "What the heck is that woman doing eating out of her purse???" I guess I just don't want to be a freak or anything.  *Sigh*  This is crazy--parties are fun, right?!  I should be more excited.  Maybe if I do well tomorrow, I'll feel more confident heading into the weekend.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

W5, Day 1; Weigh-in!

Success!  Today was the weekly weigh-in and I'm at 219.0, which puts me at -10.0 with 65 pounds to go.  Somehow with a solid 10 pounds behind me, the rest of the weight doesn't seem too far away.  It's sort of crazy that a week ago I was bemoaning a 0.6 pound loss and then the next week I lose 2.2 pounds when I was doing the same things.  To be honest, it makes the whole weight loss process seem incomprehensible to me, almost mystical.  All I can do is plow ahead with the things I am doing--eating lots of fruits and vegetables, eating small portions of everything else, giving myself the very occasional treat, and taking my multi-vitamin.  I'd like to commit to drink more water this week too because I'm not doing nearly enough of that.  Oh, and I suppose, if I have to....some more exercise would be good....

So, moving off of the positive note for a moment, I have to make a confession.  No, I didn't scarf down half a cake or anything, but I did decide to skip the WW meeting tonight--after not going last week either.  I did pop in to weigh, but I really didn't even want to do that.  After whining about it to my long-suffering husband, he offered to drive me to the weigh-in, which is just about the only reason I went at all.  Why?  I don't know.  I have excuses (I don't like the leader, the topics seem unhelpful, the questions/answers are for beginners, it's cold....blah, blah, blah), but I need to do better to pull it together and get myself motivated to get there and make it happen.  Next week.