Wednesday, August 31, 2011

W35, Day 2: Weigh Day

Okay, weigh day was yesterday, but I'll go ahead and update it today:  201.4, which is +0.2 for the week.  Obviously that's not the number I was hoping for, especially after I'd spent the week going to my gym and eating carefully, faithfully noting each and every calorie.  But that's how it goes sometimes I suppose.  Sometimes I feel like weight loss is a magical, undefinable process.  You do all the required steps, but nothing happens.  Perhaps I'm missing some mystical ingredient.  In the meantime, I was disappointed to step on that scale, but I knew it was coming because I weigh daily and for whatever reason, the number just refused to budge.  I can accept that and try again this week with a bit more patience (and just as much hope).

And well, it's going to take a lot of patience after today.  I completely and utterly forgot that there was a potluck today at work.  Without real time to mentally prepare AND after a week of a lot of effort and no results, well, things fell apart.  I binged.  I know, I know, that's awful, but it's just what happened.  I ate a lot:  lumpia, pulled pork, salad, chips, and desserts, desserts, desserts.  I put desserts thrice because I had a lot of dessert.  Cookies, cake, ambrosia.  What happened?  I've walked away from donuts and Friday treats for three weeks at work.  I would stop and look and steel myself to walk again.  But not today.  I had literally thousands of calories.  Oh well, all I can do is try to understand why I acted this way and move onward. But damn, that cake was so good it probably touched my soul.

On a happy note, tomorrow is "sleep in" day and an extra hour of sleep sounds incredible.  I'm making up the missed workout by substituting spinning classes on other nights.  I can't wait for some zzzzzzzzzz!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

W34, Day 6: Before and After pictures

I'm getting a bit concerned that I'm not going to reach my goal this week and to prevent myself from feeling bummed out before I even get to weigh day, I thought I'd post some before and after pictures so that I can see some of those changes that are feeling so elusive.  On a random side note though, my husband and I spend the morning working in our backyard and have finally finished getting the whole yard planted.  Woo hoo!  There are still things we need to clean up, fertilize, put borders around, etc., but the hardest parts are over.  Yay!

So on to the pics!  Here are a couple 'befores' from a few years ago:

I don't have a ton of recent pics from when I was at my heaviest last year because I tend to delete them, as if I erase them then the reality of it won't be true, but here's one from last Christmas:

Now here are some more recent 'after' (in transition?) pictures at about 25-29 pounds fewer:

It's sort of hard to tell that there're many changes in this pic, but I added it because I shortened this skirt to wear it that day to rest above my knees and that would never have happened in a before pic.  :)

Just so you know, this is a swim cover-up and I am wearing a suit underneath.  I don't really go running around in mini dresses.

See how the pants are hanging a bit baggily?  (Is that even a word?  It's not coming up as an error on my spell checker...)  There's also some narrowing by my chest.

Looking at these pictures, I honestly don't see a whole lot of change, but what I do recognize is a feeling.  I know that I felt freer in the bottom pictures, more comfortable and at ease with myself.  I look at them and remember the joy that went into taking them knowing that it doesn't really matter how they would come out because regardless, the picture would capture a better, stronger me.  If I don't get to my goal on Tuesday, I'll be disappointed but it will be fine because it's the same as with the pictures, the scale will still capture my better, stronger self.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

W34, Day 5: Sore ends

This morning I'm feeling the after-affects of my first spinning (cycling) class last night.

Sore muscles, you ask?  Nope.
Stiff shoulders? Nope, well, just a little.
Then what?  Well, it's a bit of a t.m.i., but, my butt hurts!  I mean really hurts!

Other than a bruised posterior, I enjoyed the class.  Honestly, spinning has always intimidated me because it seems like something that fit people would do.  Since I'm not a fit person it didn't seem like something that would be for me.  But when a kind reader invited me to try it, I thought I'd like to give it a try.  When class started, the instructor seemed very enthusiastic but a little scary too and I wondered (and hoped) that I would be able to make it through the whole time.  It'd be embarrassing to fall off the bike and collapse from exhaustion!  But except for a long period of going up gears in the beginning, the rest of the class was doable.  I kept wondering while checking the clock, "Can I do this?" but when I saw that I'd made it through the first half and I wasn't completely spent, I knew I could do the rest of the way and I relaxed a little bit and just try to get into it as much as possible.  I'd like to go back on Monday and try it again, if my rear isn't still as sore as it is now.  I want to try again and see if I can push myself harder next time.  Although I have to say, I came home from class last night, ate dinner, and crashed out by 7:30 p.m.  I was down for the count and it felt as though I had used up every last iota of energy in my body.

One thing the instructor kept saying that stuck with me is to remember why you're doing this.  To keep that goal in mind while you push yourself.  That's where I've been all week.  I don't know how it'll turn out on Weigh Day, but so far I don't seem to be moving much on the scale this week.  Normally that'd be okay because I've certainly experienced it before, but I'm so desperate to move this particular week that it feels vexing.  I'm rethinking this week's strategy though because I'll admit that I've been trying to not eat a chunk of my calories every day in the hope that it'll make me lose more.  But pondering it this morning, maybe that's the wrong strategy.  I mean, since I've starting counting calories and eating more every day, I'd been losing more weight.  There were even several days (one-two per week) where my calories went quite a lot over the goal, yet the weight was still coming off.  Now I have a week where I've stopped eating as much and interestingly, I've stopping losing weight.  It's just so hard for my mind to accept that I should be eating more.  It's exactly the opposite of what I've told myself for years.  On that note, today I'm going to splurge a bit today...but just a bit.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

W34, Day 3: Calorie Cycling

Today I skipped the gym, but I'm doing so guilt free.  My husband and I have been feeling so tired by the end of the week after getting up at the crack of dawn that we've decided to schedule Thursdays as our "sleep in" days.  And you know what?  It feels great.  I know it may sound like a slippery slope towards falling out of our gym routine, but it's really the opposite.  Allowing for a day of rest makes the other days more doable.  The real problem is that it cuts my workouts down from five a week to four, which is problematic, but I'm trying to make it up on the weekend in the form of some physical exercise, not necessarily at the gym, but moving around in some way.

On a totally different note, does anyone know anything about the specifics of calorie cycling?  I know the general idea is that you alter your calories over the week so that some days have a high number and others have a low number.  This is supposed to keep your body from adjusting your metabolism and slowing down when you consistently and steadily decrease your calories.  It's supposed to help break and avoid plateaus.  I want to know if it really needs to be in the specific order that different websites list, or can it just be random lows, mediums, and highs to work.  One neat feature about is that it has a report feature which will show you different items over a week, 30 or 90 days, such as how many calories you've consumed.  Looking at mine, I notice that many days fall within a close range, but there are also some highs and lows that seem to be pretty regular.  I wonder if this is enough to work for calorie cycling.  I guess it doesn't really matter if it doesn't because this is just me eating as close to "normal" as possible.  It's quite a bit different from WW when every day added up to the same thing, but I'm still feeling a lot better because I'm eating the way I feel most comfortable.

And I'm still hoping and wishing, hoping and wishing for my 1.2 pounds this week so that I can get to 199 next weigh in.  C'mon, c'mon, c'mon!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

W34, Day 1: Keeping this bus rollin'

I have a major headache going on right now, but I still wanted to update on weigh day today because it was pretty awesome.  The scale said 201.2, which is down 2.8 pounds from last week, for a grand total of 27.8 pounds of loss.  Woo hoo!  I'm so very glad that I'm making progress again.  I feel that it's safe to finally say, "Yippie!  The plateau is broken!"  Fourth week in a row, fourth weigh-in, fourth week of loss.  Now I just have to keep things chugging along in the positive direction.

In fact, I'm so very close to one of my big goals:  199.  There is something hugely powerful about stepping on that scale and having the first digit be a one instead of a two.  Of course, the first week or so the scale fluctuates a bit, so it's not a sure thing for another week, but still, it's an amazing feeling.  That's my goal this week and I really hope I make it.  It would mean so much to me.  I'll try to keep my foot on the gas pedal this week--let's keep this bus rollin'!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

W33, Day 5: Pet Peeve

Okay, I'm going to vent about a little body pet peeve.  Yes, I know, that's vain and shallow and all that jazz, but who doesn't have something they don't like about their own bodies?  One thing I love (hey, let's start with the positive) is my collarbones.  Is that weird?  I guess I never noticed them before...probably because they were buried under layers and layers of, well, let's not go there.  Anyway, in the last month I've noticed them popping up there out of my chest and shoulders.  It's a small thing, but it's quite agreeable.  I also observe more muscle tone in my shoulders and a narrowing of my upper chest (that's not quite as agreeable).  I weighed this morning with quite positive results (I don't want to give it away and jinx myself before weigh day) so I know I weigh less than I have in years.  So why then is my waist bigger than it's been in months?? C'mon now!  I can't fit into a pair of pants now that I was wearing two months ago.  What gives?  How can that be?  I wore these pants a couple of times and then haven't been able to fit into them again.  I weigh 8-9 pounds less.  I have (slightly) less fat overall...that two percent less isn't huge or anything, but still.  Yet my waist measures larger than it has since March.  Bummer.

Friday, August 19, 2011

W33, Day 4: Savoring each bite

I'm rediscovering food.  Tasting each bite, the flavor seeping into my mouth.  Enjoying food again.  It's such a simple thing, this whole tasting food thing.  It's almost like waking up again after a long nap.  With Weight Watchers I tended to eat the same things because those were the things that fit into my daily points plan.  I was often empty--not hungry, but empty--throughout the day.  I felt empty all the time.  In a way, this was good because I rely on food to fill something emotional within myself.  But in the last few weeks I feel like I've been finding food all over again.  Tasting again.  Enjoying again.  Of course that makes me happy, but it makes me afraid too.  Isn't liking food how I got into this mess in the first place?  I'm going to have to watch myself and check myself carefully so that I don't go overboard.  If I didn't have a place to easily keep track of my calories, I couldn't eat this way and not gain weight.  I have to see those calories tally up to know how to behave.  But for now, maybe that's enough.  I may not be able to eat normally without keeping close track like other people do, but I can still live and enjoy food in careful portions.  It's one more step in the right direction.

On a random note, I cut out on the gym this morning.  I've been making it every morning, but yesterday it was really rough getting up.  I was exhausted to my core.  It was also a long day at work and when I got home, I had a lovely sore throat and headache to keep me company.  I ate dinner and promptly passed out on the couch and slept the evening away.  Setting my alarm clock for bed, I made the choice to "sleep in" until six this morning to give my body a little more rest.  It must have helped because I feel a lot better today, though not quite 100%.  However, I felt guilty too as if someone was going to point their finger and chide, "Shame on you."  I know no one really would and that I need to give myself some leeway because when you're not feeling well, you're not feeling well.  I'll make the session up this weekend though to try to relieve these guilty creepings in the back of my mind.  My husband and I are thinking about making one weekday the official "rest" day because while we've made it to the gym, we've been really tired.  Thank goodness it's Friday because I need a sleep in day!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

W33, Day 1: Making progress

Whew!  Weigh day already--where does the time go?  I feel like I've been on the go, go, go since last week was the first week back at school and I spent the weekend with family in the foothills.  First, the work scene.  Last week (and so far this week), I got up every weekday at 5 a.m. and made it to the gym.  Some days were easier to get up than others, and by Friday I was really tired.  The advantage though is that I don't have to hit the gym when I get home, which was perfect because I was super tired at the end of each day.  However, the last two months of gym time must be paying off because I've lost 2% of my total body fat (a mere drop in the bucket) and two inches off each thigh.  More importantly, I feel stronger.  Though you can't really see it, I can feel the muscle in my arms.

This Saturday we went hiking with family.  We visited a lake, which was crowded but beautiful, and I just really wanted to hike.  I felt strong in my legs and mind.  The lake hike was moderately difficult and was 4-5 miles.  The tricky thing about it was that it was very rocky and was easy to step wrongly and jar your ankle.  Nonetheless, I was really pushing the pace so that we averaged 28 minutes per mile.  It's not that this is a great or incredible pace or anything, but I feel proud of myself because I knew I could do it and it felt good to exert my body that way.  It was physical activity and fun.  Imagine that.  :)

On the downside, I didn't eat the way I should have this weekend, being over my calories on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Whew!  It was a lot of extra calories!  But I weighed in today at 204.0, which is minus 1.0 pound for the week.  This is the third week in a row that I've had a loss and I'm feeling good.  I've been a bit nervous leaving WW behind, but I'm really loving the calories approach.  Hopefully my body'll keep up the progress!

Friday, August 12, 2011

W32, Day 4: Baleful Donuts

Friday treats day at work today, the first of the school year.  The donuts called to me as soon as I walked through the door.  They greeted me.  They begged me to come over and investigate, to take the tiniest taste, just a bite, a morsel, a small sampling that would lead to eating the whole thing.  They turned baleful and stared me down throughout lunch, their evil intent hidden by sugar glazes and sprinkles.  It took all my strength and then some to not take one.  I kept telling myself over and over, "No, no, no..." and in the end, I triumphed over them.  This time.  Whew!  It was a mental workout!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

W32, Day 1: Weigh Day... Woo hoo hoo!

Weigh day today and for once, I'm bubbling over with eagerness to tell it.  I'm at 205.0, putting me -2.0 for the week and -24.0 pounds total with 55 pounds still to go.  So far this year, this is lowest point that I have been at, which makes me feel good because it means that I am finally on track again and making progress.  This is awesome because it encourages me to keep getting up at the crack of dawn so that I can exercise before work.  Today was the second day of the 5 a.m. wake-up and it really wasn't so bad.  The biggest difficulty (besides sleepiness) seems to be that I need to eat something for breakfast quickly before hitting the gym, but I really don't feel like eating at that time.  It's just too early to be hungry.  I've been forcing myself to push down a Greek yogurt though and off we go.  Apparently it's paying off.

Today I also logged into Weight Watchers and recorded my weight for the last least for a while.  Then I deleted my account.  It's sort of strange to be free-floating.  WW has been such a huge part of my life since May 2007 when I joined after my birthday that year.  I knew what I wanted then:  to be healthy and young.  Now I would add 'strong' to that list, but otherwise the goals remain the same.  In teaching, we scaffold the concepts we teach kids so that at first they do things entirely with you.  Then they demonstrate that concept with support before finally doing it all on their own.  This applies to my lifestyle change in the same way.

In the last few years, Weight Watchers has held my hand down the path to healthful eating.  I have learned a lot, really and truly.  But I think I may have learned the tools I need to be successful and now I'm ready to try it on my own with support.  That's where MyFitnessPal comes in.  I get to make my own calorie choices with a wider range of foods.  You might be thinking, "Wait a minute, I can eat whatever I want on WW, what's she talking about?"  That's true, sort of.  But the difficulty is that eating any of those less healthy foods (like bread, peanut butter, granola bars, etc.) takes a huge portion of one's daily points.  It's a much smaller proportion of my daily intake in calorie form.  In short, I get a lot more calories per day than points.  I'm eating more.  I'm just hoping that all that eating doesn't lead to gain.  So far it's working though.

Monday, August 8, 2011

W31, Day 7: Goodbye to Weight Watchers

I've been waiting to write this post for several days because I'm going through a huge transition.  Well, huge for me.  I'm leaving Weight Watchers, at least for awhile.  This doesn't mean that I'm going to stop my lifestyle change or abandon all the hard work of the last few months.  Rather, lately I've been feeling the need for a change.  I've been in a plateau for almost four months.  Something has to change.  The biggest change of this summer is that I have begun exercising, regularly and seriously.  One of my coworkers stopped me today and asked, "Hey, have you been working out?"  I'm not going to lie, it made me smile deep down to think that other people can see what I've been looking for in myself daily in the mirror.  As the summer ends, I feel very positive about this change in myself.

But I'm still ready for a change.  I'm switching to calorie counting.  I can't trust myself to just eat because that weight will just pile right back on.  I've switched to using the website after have a couple different people recommend it to me.  And they're right, it's great.  It keeps track of the calories, carbs, fat, protein, exercise and pretty much anything you ask.  It's set 1,750 calories per day for me, plus any calories that I earn during exercise.  This could take me up to over two thousand calories in a day...woah.  Is it crazy that total sounds scary and overwhelming?  It's just so much.  How can eating more lead to more weight loss?  

I've been trying the extra calories thing this last week so we'll see how it goes.  I'm afraid of gaining weight. I normally get 32 points with WW, but in 1,750 calories I've been eating 40-50 points.  That's a huge difference!  It feels so good though.  The real proof is in the pudding though.  We'll see how it goes on weigh day tomorrow.   I'll be writing more about this transition in the entries to come, but I'm hoping that I'm ready for this.  I'm a little nervous, but it feels like positive change.

In case you're interested: and my user name is eilonwychade if you want a friend.  :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

W31, Day 4: Back to Work

In anticipation of returning to work, I have spent the last couple days getting my classroom ready for the new school year.  It's funny, but when most people talk about "New Year" they picture January 1st, whereas for me it always means August.  In years past, I have often been most successful at dieting from the start of school until Thanksgiving.  I hope it will be so this year as well, except that I need to show myself that I can make it through the holidays (we'll cross that bridge when we get to it).

With the exception of Friday Treats day, the routine of work helps me stay within my food limits because I am simply moving too fast to stop to snack, even if thirty-something little faces weren't there staring at me.  People often picture teaching as sitting at a desk all day while the kids work quietly at their desks and nothing could be further from the truth!  A teacher is on her or his feet all day, moving here, there, and everywhere, which is good for me in terms of weight loss.  I tend to slow down during the summer.  I've noticed it greatly the last two days.  On Wednesday I didn't go to the gym first time in the morning because I was eager to get going at work.  Even without kids, after spending a day in the room I was totally tuckered out by the time I got home.  I didn't make myself go to the gym, even though my husband went.

The next day I made sure I got up and got out to the gym before heading to the classroom for the day.  When I got home I was more tired than tired and fell asleep on the couch almost as soon as I walked through the door.  What the heck?  Where's my stamina?

I suppose it's this way every year.  I find myself wondering how I can muster up the strength (emotional as well as physical) to walk through that door on the first day of school and do what I need to do to the best of my ability.  The last few days of summer are mentally draining to me, not because my free time is almost over--yes, I know for those of you who are not teachers that our time off is an incredible luxury--but because I'm wondering if I can do it again.  Another year.  Do I have it in me?  Can I continue my gym time?  Do I have the strength to take those kids where they need to go? Can I do it?

Once the year begins it's like slipping into a familiar pair of jeans that you weren't sure would fit.  You realize that you've got this and can go on from there, it's just the nerves of those few days before that can wear you down a bit.  Whew.  Generally this would be the point where I would reach for some M&Ms to cheer me right on up, but instead I think I'll hit the gym.  I've got this.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

W31, Day 1: Weigh Day

Yup, it's that day again:  weigh day.  It always seems to come around so quickly.  Today I weighed in at 207.0, putting me at -1.8.  This is good and would be great, if only I could get away from the 207's for good.    Months later, I'm still yo-yoing up and down.  Oh well, I've just got to keep on chugging along with my workouts and my food plan.

This week I find myself looking forward to next week when work resumes.  It's easy to work out during the summer when time is easily at hand, but it's a different story on a work day.  Directly after work, I'm so exhausted that I just want to come home and rest.  I swear I'm not being lazy or making excuses, it's just that I am really and truly wiped out.  In the evening after dinner, I have more energy but then I don't feel like going back out to the gym (this is where laziness does kick in).  The time I'm best for a workout is when I'm fresh and the most energized--in the morning.

It's really too bad that work starts so early.  I need to be out my door and in my car by 7:25.  My workout takes a full hour.  And of course, I need time to get ready, shower, have breakfast, etc.  I cringe as I write this because I'm SO not a morning person, but I think I must get up at 5:00 a.m. to do everything.  Yuck.  I'm not going to lie:  I'm not thrilled about getting up so early and I hope that I'll be able keep myself going.  I want to exercise Monday through Friday and then rest on the weekend.  That way I don't have to feel guilty about wanting to sleep in on Saturday and Sunday!  That's the plan to further my body strengthening and sleep deprivation.  I'm sure I'll be letting you readers know how it goes--wish me luck!