Tuesday, June 28, 2011

W26, Day 1: Weigh Day

Today I met with my trainer again and she gave me a new set of exercises to do.  I dutifully brought home the list of exercises and made my own notes on them because it seems that exercise has its own language and I'm not a fluent speaker yet.  For example, she wrote on my sheet "calf raises" and I stood at home wondering what the heck that meant until it dawned on me, "Oh!  Stand on my tippy-toes like a ballerina!  Got ya!"

I get the impression that the trainer, while very nice, is worried about overwhelming me with too much.  She keeps asking me if I'm okay (Yes, I'm fine...I'm sweating like Niagara Falls, but that's no big deal) and giving me tasks that almost feel too simple or the weights too light.  I think I am going to just try some heavier weights the next time I do some of those exercises.  She also asks me if I'd like to do more when we are doing sets of things.  Um, would I like to?  No...but should I be doing more?  I find this confusing because I don't know if I should be doing more to get better results or if I'm doing the appropriate amount.  On the other hand, we did some crunches today and I felt those plenty.  I don't want to sound overzealous or too enthusiastic because I'm really not, but I do want to make an honest effort to do the best I can.  I'm trying to make this exercise a part of my normal daily routinue--normal as showering or going on Facebook--now during the summer so that when I return to work, it would feel unnatural not to exercise.

On another subject, today is weigh day.  Meh.  Well, it wasn't going to be good after my food tour of Southern California (I'm still jonesing for another beef cilantro roll).  I knew this already.  Unsurprisingly, I gained 1.8 pounds, putting me once again at 207.8.  Sometimes I feel like I am mired in quicksand and I'm struggling hard enough to keep my head above the surface, but not enough to free that inner me that wants out of this body.  All that kicking and fighting, hungering and wanting just to keep from sinking.  Maybe I have to come to the understanding that the inner me is not going to escape out of me, but rather I am that person.  I'm stuck with this property, for better or worse, so I'd better keep working on the exterior renovations.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

W25, Day 5: Vacation!

So, despite my best intentions, my resolve to eat healthfully on our recent vacation pretty much flew out the window--okay, okay, maybe I gave it a little push out that window--from the very first day.  I noticed food all around from the moment we arrived at the airport at lunchtime.  Still, after looking at all the options, I shared a turkey sandwich and some fruit with my husband for lunch with a tiny block of chocolate as a reward for behaving myself.  So far, so good.  But as soon as we stepped off the plane and met our friends we went to In-N-Out.  Now, I could have chosen to not eat or just get a soda, but is that me?  Heck no.  I love In-N-Out.  After that it was all downhill...ice-cream and a churro at Disneyland, jamoncillo and a cupcake in L.A., late night soft tacos, wine, pancakes, and the crowning glory, beef and cilantro rolls wrapped in onion fry bread and steamed dumplings.  As I mentioned in a status update on Facebook, I felt like I was eating my way across Southern California.

Perhaps I should feel regretful, guilty, or embarrassed about my food behavior.  To be entirely honest with you, I don't.  I wasn't eating because I was out of all control, but rather because I was on vacation with friends and I suppose we were eating to enhance the experience of the activities  in which we were engaged.  For instance, Disneyland was tons of fun, but it was even better with a churro.  Is this bad?  I suppose if it were to continue on now that we're back home it would be because that's how I got to this point to begin with.  However, we came home and got back to the business of healthful eating and have returned to our gym schedule.   If our vacation had been a true food binge, I would not be back in control today.  Besides, I enjoyed every minute of this trip--it ended far too soon!--and I can't bring it in me to regret my food choices.

So, while I regret that I will have regressed on the scale, I am still feeling good overall.  I enjoyed myself, but I'm back on track now.  But dang, that beef roll sure was delicious--good thing the restaurant is hours away!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

W25, Day 1: On the road again

Weigh Day.  And I say that with a smile this week.  These last two weeks I've been working really hard at the gym and with changing our eating patterns a little bit.  No, I didn't go for the five separate meals a day, but I have been adding two snacks to my day, including a lot more protein and calcium.  I've also been trying to listen to my body more closely and allow myself to eat when I'm hungry.  Sounds like, duh, right?  But I usually keep myself to a strict schedule of when and what I can eat, so if I'm hungry at 8 p.m.--really hungry, not just bored, tired, upset, etc.--then I'll have a snack and head to the gym.  I find that I like working out later at night the best.  That's going to be unfeasible when we go back to work, but for right now, 9-11 p.m. is prime time to head out there for some cardio and muscle building.

Well, the change up of exercise and diet must be working because I lost 1.8 pounds this week, putting me at 206.0 for a total loss of -23 pounds (with a lot more to go).  I'm very excited to see some progress and to get to my lowest point so far in this year of WW.  I'm also pretty nervous because I want to keep that loss and hold it tight to me, but we're headed down to visit some old friends in Southern California for the next few days.  Away from my controlled environment and the gym, it's so easy to gain, especially in fun settings around buddies.  I'm trying already to make my mind focus on my goals and envision good choices that I can make when we eat out.  Here we go!

Friday, June 17, 2011

W24, Day 4: Alterations

Today I stayed indoors most of the day because we had tree trimmers over to cut down a large tree in our backyard.  As I anxiously listened for the booms and crashes of branches falling, I couldn't help imagining my beloved little garden being smashed to bits.  To keep my mind on something else, I decided to tackle some of the alterations that I've been intending to do forever.  I have a dress that I've owned for two years and never worn because the straps needed to be shortened.  I'd always planned to have a tailor fix it, but never gotten around to taking it in to a shop.  I also had a couple of shirts that needed to be taken in on the sides--a good sign in terms of weight loss.

There is something mentally transformative about altering clothing, as if it is not just the shirt that is gaining curves, but the understanding that my body too is gaining a new shape.  Obviously the body changes are going on all the time in this slow crawl that is weight loss, but you get so used to seeing yourself in the mirror every day that you lose sight of all that has really happened to your body.  I suppose it's like aging, the changes happen so minutely that you don't realize until one day you look and see that you have aged.  The recognition happens in a flash.  Except with losing weight, the reaction is a surprised, but pleasant visage.

I love the way the dress came out and I'm going to wear it to a party tonight, which made me feel really positive about my body.  The shirts are now much more form-fitted, so I can wear them again without them looking baggy.  The seams are not smooth and polished inside (I don't have a serger), but since I'm probably the only one who'll be looking at my shirt seams, I felt pretty peachy about it.  If only it were as easy to alter my body as it is to sew a shirt seam...I guess that's called plastic surgery!

By the way, this is just about the most awesome pincushion I have ever seen.  I so want one!  You might be wondering, which one: the cupcake or the pincushion?  Yes.  :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

W24, Day 1: Weigh day this way comes

So, weigh day.  First let me say that I have worked harder this week in both exercise and sticking with my plan than in months.  I only used ten of my forty-nine weekly food allowance points.  I worked, worked, worked that elliptical.  I stretched and flexed and sucked in my core in pilates.  I pretended I was Arnold ("I'll be back!") and I used weight machines to build my arm, shoulder, and chest muscles.  I ached.

I've also been trying to stay more active the rest of the day too, with cleaning, shopping (hey, shoppercise keeps the body moving too), walking, and gardening.  I'm trying to avoid the trap of the couch.

In terms of food, I've really been pushing myself to not eat the comfort things I normally do eat, though I had a good deal of tortilla chips on Wednesday and a soft serve ice-cream on Saturday.  Except for these two things, I worked really hard to stay on the healthful side of things.  Yesterday when I met with the personal trainers, they told me that I am eating too much fruit, especially in the evening (no fruit after 3 p.m....that's tough!) and not enough protein.

They want me to change my system of three main meals--breakfast, lunch, and dinner--and go to five or six smaller, protein-filled meals.  To be entirely honest with you, I find this sort of threatening.  It's a break with my normal rhythm of eating, which obviously isn't working that great for me, but still, it's a big mental change.  I recently read an piece of a book that was talking about ways of dealing with compulsive over-eating and she counsels people to give up their diet entirely to re-learn how to eat solely based on how their body feels.  I find this concept equally threatening.  I feel like I've been learning how to eat appropriately these last few years with WW.  Now breaking away from what I've struggled to master seems too hard, too scary.  I'll keep thinking about it, but for now, I'm going to stick with what I'm doing with WW, but modifying it to have a couple of higher protein snacks between meals to try to keep my metabolism at a more stable level.

All that said, I need to go back to weigh day.  I am at 207.8, for a loss of 1 pound exactly.  I won't lie and say I'm not disappointed.  First, this isn't the first time I've been at this number.  More importantly, I worked damn hard for that one pound and I feel like I put in my all time best effort and all it got me was one measly little pound.  Really?!!!  And alas, it's not due to muscle growth since apparently it takes 4-6 weeks to gain one pound of muscle.  Bummer.  But all I can do is try again this week, cut down the fruit, add more protein, and keep pumping away.

This picture helped me feel a little better about the small loss this week.  This is approximately what one pound of fat might look like.  So, I lost a soup can's worth of fat.  I'm still a bit bummed, but that helps me picture it at least.  Here's hoping for a soup can and a half next week!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

W23, Day 6: Why over-eat?

So I've been thinking, pondering, dreaming about, discussing, and deciding why I need food so much.  Despite all the negative outcomes and feelings, food is always right there by my side.  Why?  I think it might break down to this:

What does food do for me?

1.  It alleviates pain, fear, and discomfort.  In the show I've been watching, Addicted to Food, the counselors relate that a lot of over-eaters are avoiding trauma and long-time pain.  We all have pain and our ways of dealing with it.  I don't mean this in a I-had-a-fight-with-someone-so-go-eat-a-donut kind of way.  I honestly don't do that.  No, it's much more subtle.  For instance, in a social situation, I want so desperately to fit in and be social, but I feel awkward and out-of-place.  I'm unhappy. The solution?  Take a chip and look busy munching on it.  In my brain it says, "See?  I've having fun, I belong here."  In the show, they portray food addiction, or any addiction for that matter, as a close hug that we turn to for comfort.  I can see that in myself.  If I am feeling tired, or down, sad, lonely, etc. food is right there, willing to be my best friend and make me feel better.

2.  It transports me away from reality.  I am an expert at escaping myself and my reality.  Ever since I can remember, or somewhere around third grade, I've imagined and invented and fantasized about a different reality.  A realm of distinct good and evil (I'm the good, of course) where I am a different person.  If this seems weird, then think of it as a sort of Beyonce reinventing herself as Sasha Fierce kind of thing.  I've always imagined the imaginary me as a mythic heroine:  she's beautiful (and thin), powerful, confident, intelligent and perceptive, unafraid, and in other words, many of the things I'm not.  Food is just another escape.  It transports and transcends me into something that feels pure and happy.  So, for example, those dreaded Friday Treats at work.  Why are they so hard to resist?  Because by then in the week, I'm tired and stressed and in general discomfort.  Enter food and it takes me away for however the briefest moment, I'm some other blissful place.

3.  It enhances an already okay experience into pleasure.  Take any good thing--like a date night--and add food for instant extra-goodness.

4.  It relieves boredom.  I saved this one for last because it is huge.  I think it may be one of the major, over-all, catch-all reasons for why I eat.  I want something to do.  I get tired of the overall routine of life.  Rather than join a club or something (part of the problem is that I don't know WHAT to do), I decide I want something to eat.  Instant pleasure and action.  That's why going to the gym last week when I wanted ice-cream was an acceptable alternative.  I certainly wasn't hungry.  But I wanted action of some sort---so obviously, ice-cream, right?

Dear reader, you might be wondering at the obviousness of all these reasons, and yet I tell you that I am having a small series of revelations this week.  It's like a paradigm shift in my head.  I'm not eating because I'm a bad person.  It's not because I'm just disgusting and lack self-control.  It's not because there is really something wrong with me.  It's because I'm getting some very powerful things out of that food.  To put it simply, it makes me feel better than any of the negative consequences.  It makes me feel pleasure.  It makes me feel.

Now the real work is figuring out how to separate the food from the living.  I think I wrote somewhere in this blog that food is life.  But maybe that's a huge part of the problem.  Life is life.  Food is just sustenance.  Maybe.  I'm still working it all out, but let me know if you have any insights.  What is the role of food in life?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

W23, Day 3: Workin' It!

Well, this week I'm feeling pretty positive.  I've done some good things that I'd like to take a moment to recap:

*I went to the gym everyday for the last six days in a row.  I'm feeling a little bummed because I'm not going to go tomorrow or Saturday (we're heading out of town) and I'm already feeling guilty.  I know though that the body needs a rest, and though I wish it were only going to be one day, I'm going to be getting in plenty of walking tomorrow because we're going to Golden Gate Park to see the De Young Museum, hopefully the Japanese Tea Garden, and my favorite, the Arboretum.  Sounds awesome, yes?

*I've been to two pilates classes and while they're difficult, I think I'm going to be able to keep doing it.  That might sound strange, like, "Well, why wouldn't you be able to do it?" but being fat really does make things more difficult--obviously--and when it's too hard, I give up over time.  We'll see, but I like the idea of pilates because it's controlled strengthening.  I'm getting stronger, one leg lift at a time!

*Last night I wanted some ice-cream really badly.  I kept picturing it and craving it.  More than that, I wanted the date-like experience that goes with eating ice-cream with my husband.  Instead, we went to the gym and I did 35 minutes on the elliptical followed by a reward of some pool and hot tub time.  This is really huge because I was able to circumvent a craving (though I'll admit that I'm still thinking about that ice-cream today).  Putting it off for a few days may not be much, but it's one step in the right direction.

*I've also been delving into some of the emotional issues that go along with overeating.  I'll follow this up at a later date, but my husband and I have been watching a show called "Addicted to Food" and it's really brought up some good discussion pieces that I am still pondering.  I guess it's helping me to recognize why I turn to food for comfort and even just to feel okay.  I need to bring my thoughts together a bit more before I delve into an entry on this subject.

Overall, I've been working so very hard to make some progress this week.  I've exercised harder than I think I've ever exercised in my adult life.  I want to make progress and growth.  I want to see that damn scale move.  I know it won't be the end of the world if I don't lose something this week, but it may feel like it.  So, I'll keep moving the next few days and cross my fingers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

W23, Day 1: Exhilaration and despair

I've made two more visits to the gym since that first time on Saturday.  It's definitely a lot easier to get to the parking lot and through the doors.  I feel a lot more comfortable getting there.  Sunday I did the same thing as Saturday:  30 minutes on the elliptical and then a little bit of time on the weight machines.  I was definitely sore in my arms, shoulders, upper chest, and abs.  Yesterday I did a Zumba class.  I don't know what it is about Zumba.  I want to do it really badly because I've always thought it would be fun.  Yet I have the damnest time doing it.  I feel all a jumble of feet and hips and arms.  I tried it a few times at our old gym and didn't love it, and then with a good friend once, which was better because I enjoyed the company, but it still didn't click.

Maybe the problem is that I am expecting to be okay-ish at it from the beginning, but I'm really not.  My butt doesn't sling from side to side, my hips don't shake.  I was really impressed by the instructor's posterior though...she was sliding from side to side and each cheek moved almost independently of themselves.  I was like, "DAMN, girl!"  I'm sort of torn because I'm debating whether to try the Zumba again tomorrow--because I don't want to just give up--or to try the 'Toning and Tightening' class right after instead.  I guess it just depends on me to decide what my goals are here:  Zumba seems like it's about cardio work with some core strengthening, whereas toning is about, well, toning muscles.  I think maybe the latter is what I'm more concerned about.  I'd really like to build muscles and strength.  This morning I'm going to try pilates; we'll see how it goes!  On one other note, I'm kind of liking the elliptical machine.  It's like jogging, but I don't feel the pound, pound, pound of my body hitting the pavement.  Way more comfortable!  So this is the positive, feeling-good part of this blog post.

Here's the negative:  weigh day.  I weighed in this morning at 209.0.  Again.  For the second week in row.  Plateau Hell indeed.  To be entirely honest, I'm starting to despair.  It's been two months pinging around in the same place.  I'm definitely hanging out in angst city here.  In fact, I felt angry this morning.  Angry at myself because I'm not going anywhere, angry at WW, just irrationally angry.  Then I felt sad and upset.  I'm putting in effort, but it's not enough.  It's not what it was in the beginning.  It's my fault I'm not losing because I'm not pushing myself as hard.  And I feel deprived (even though I'm really not).  When I'm losing weight, it feels worth it.  When I'm not losing, it just sucks.  So, anyway, I'll keep this paragraph short, but you get the general sense of where my mind is at.  I feel great about starting to work out.  I feel terrible about my weight.  The agony and the ecstasy of it all.  Please, please, let me lose in this next week.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

W22, Day 5: Gym recap

Yesterday I was so anxious about heading to the gym.  And this morning.  And by noon when I was tying up my shoes, grabbing my water bottle and towel, and heading out the door.  Arriving at a very full parking lot for a Sunday at noon, we ambled inside the building and scanned in.  Some of my nervousness dissipated just by walking in the door, and some of it fell away as my husband and I wandered around the premises.  I felt better when I knew where the group exercise room is, the locker rooms and bathroom, the pool, etc.

Then, trying to be noticed as little as possible, I slipped onto an elliptical machine and got busy.  Once I got going, it was fine.  I noticed several overweight and obese people quietly going about their business and that helped too because I didn't feel like I stood out so much.  I pumped away at the elliptical for thirty minutes, which isn't really long, but it was a bit of a push for me to keep going.  After about three minutes, I could feel the tired dragging in my legs.  Obviously I'm way out of shape!  But I kept going and I felt good about myself when I got to my goal of thirty minutes.

After, I wandered over to the weight machines.  I have to thank my husband a lot.  I was afraid to get on the machines because I was afraid of doing it wrong and looking like an idiot in front of the 'serious' gym folks.  So the dear man went with me, machine by machine, and demonstrated it first and helped me adjust the weights.  Then I did those for awhile.  I will feel better when I get to meet with a trainer to help me figure out what specifically I should be doing, but since the gym just opened, the list of people itching for trainer time is long.  The trainer offices were hoppin'!  But if they don't get back to me next week, I'll ask again because it'll be good for me to have help to focus on my fitness goals--build muscle, get stronger, lose weight.

We're going to go back to the gym tomorrow.  I may just do the same thing as today, adding a trip to the pool afterward.  I remember long ago at our old gym, the trainer told me that even if I didn't do a huge workout every day, at least come and do lower key activities to get in the habit of going to the gym.  It's too easy to turn it into something too difficult and intimidating and then stop going.  So, all in all, my back hurts and I was starvingly hungry today, but I feel pretty good and much less uncomfortable.  Hopefully tomorrow'll be even better.  Adelante!

Friday, June 3, 2011

W22, Day 4: Anxiety

So I'm anxious.  Terribly anxious.  About what, you wonder?  The unlikelihood of world peace?  Weapons of mass destruction?  Global warming?  Nope, this is totally the wrong blog for any of those important issues.  No, I'm anxious about going to the gym for the first time tomorrow.

The gym opened on Wednesday, so we're a little late getting there, but it's been a crazy week with the end of school.  Anyway, we're going tomorrow.  And I am terrified.  I've been to gyms before, so I shouldn't be scared like this, but it's been a long while.  I guess I'm just afraid of being embarrassed.  I'm worried about what other people will think of me, which is dumb because people go to the gym to work their bodies, not people watch.  But what if they think I'm horribly out of shape and fat?  What does it matter what anyone thinks? (But it does!)

Tonight I went shopping, rather unsuccessfully, for new gym clothes.  Donning the new clothes feels like a suit of armor, though it offers a scant protection of one's self and pride, helping to hide the embarrassment of the under-coordinated.

There are some guidelines to gym clothes for plus size women:
*Anything skin-tight is out.  I had a hard time finding pants that weren't close fitting tonight, but no one wants to see that much of my ass when I bend over to do squats, or all the bulges in all the wrong spots...*shudder*
*Just say "no" to velour.  It's just wrong.  That is all.
*Skip anything with words across the butt.  No "sexy" or "love" or heavens, "juicy".  I don't want to draw attention to my butt, thank you very much.
*Do make sure they are comfortable and you feel good in them, allowing for freedom of movement.

So, armed with new pants and shoes, I'm all out of reasons not to go.  So, that only leaves all the many reasons why I do need to get there.  Maybe being so uncomfortable and facing that fear will lead to personal growth.  I hope so. *Deep breath*  I can do this...