Sunday, January 14, 2018

Low-Carbing It

Hello hello! Happy new year. I've been meaning to write here but I have an outlet where I write every day and spew all my crap, because honestly there has been a lot that I don't want to subject you to all the time. It's a place where I more or less stream of consciousness it totally, meaning no judgement, no filter, just getting down my thoughts in physical form. It's been really wonderful, and something I have been doing consistently on a daily basis since October. It's been good for my soul and good for my writing chops – even if I am not writing anything even close to publishing-worthy, it's a good practice and brain-dumping is a big favorite way of mine to calm myself down and gain perspective. I use a paid site ($5 a month) called 750words.com where the object is to write at least 750 words each day. You can join monthly challenges for more motivation, but the thing I like about most is that is a place where no one else will read what you write, ever. You can also download your entries to do with what you want. You might wonder why I would pay to write somewhere when I could just do the same thing in my Google Drive or just a plain old Word Doc? I considered it, but realized that what keeps me in the habit is the notion of a streak – it tracks how many days in a row you write, and it keeps all sorts of data for you, including words per entry and words total. For instance, I am very close to having written 100,000 words since October! I'm not sure I could done that on my own.

So anyway, I've been busy writing, including my thoughts about losing weight and all the stuff I generally write about around here, but letting myself be even more whiny than I would allow here. I edit my writing much more, whereas at 750words I am just totally unfettered. It's a nice place to be able to go to.

Lots has happened since I last wrote. As you may remember, I had found myself back in the groove and was doing pretty well,  feeling good about things. Then somehow – and maybe it was being on vacation for eleven days – I just kind of lost it and ended up this past Tuesday finding myself up to 330 pounds. Truly horrifying.

The good news is that this past week was also the start of a 12-week weight loss study I am participating in. Just in time, too –  I needed some sort of structure to rein myself in. Also, it is something that is bigger than me. I want to follow their guidelines so that they get accurate data, and honestly I feel like my brain did a total 180 because they way I am relating to food has completely changed since Tuesday. It's something that I have not quite experienced before in all my experiences with this stuff.

Originally I had signed up for a depression and anxiety study with 23andMe for which I would get a free genetic report including ancestry information, the thing that I was most interested in. (Turns out that I am exactly what I thought I was – a little more than half Irish, and half German and literally nothing else.) A few weeks ago, they offered the chance to be part of weight loss study which I jumped on immediately. Participants could choose from a few different options, and knowing how well my body seems to respond to it, I went for the low-carb option. I'm also supposed to be more active, another thing I am working on anyway.

For the study, they make general suggestions on what to eat rather than say, "Eat only 50g of carbs each day." So I am looking at focusing on mostly eating lean proteins and non-starchy veggies with limited amounts of red meat, grains (1 serving a day), and fruit (1 serving a day). Of course as you would imagine NO things like cakes, cookies, and candy (though they put it this way: Try to avoid these foods), but offer snack ideas like cheese, avocado, 70% dark chocolate, nuts.

I am keeping these guidelines in mind but also taking it a step further and actually tracking my carbs, if for no other reason to find out how many net carbs all the foods have. I like to know these things!
I'm starting off with just under 100g per day, but want to take it down to 50–75 in the coming week. I'm still kind of working things out in my pantry and figuring out meals and things.

I am happy to say that since Tuesday I have lost nine pounds!

This, of course is not usual, and I know that it won't continue falling off like that in the coming weeks. But it is really nice to be able to get this kind of result early on as a motivator. I've been struggling in the mid-low 320s for quite a while and I just couldn't get myself beyond that; even worse that I was starting to gain again. I weighed in at 321.6 this morning, a number I haven't seen since mid-November. Very pleased about that!

It turns out that one of the most surprising things is I am responding well to is having some limitations. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of what I am going to eat for any given meal, for instance. I've known for a long time that I had a serious problem with sugary and white carby-stuff, and I also know the damage those foods can do to your system and it seems silly to me now that I just kept on and kept on eating way too much of them anyway and all it was doing was making me feel awful. My body deserves much better than that. I say this all the time – I want to grow older as a healthy, vibrant person who can climb mountains as an 80-year-old. Or something like that. You get the idea.

I have had a small bit of white carbs since Tuesday (pasta with the meatballs I made yesterday, and ate some, but much less than I ever had in the past, and fitting them into the overall carb count. I haven't had cravings for sweets like I usually do, so this whole thing has been, dare I say, easy? There are times when I get a little hungry, but I am practicing being with the hunger and knowing that I've had adequate nutrition each day (my meditation practice helps with this a lot).

That is not to say that I never think about things that are pretty much off the list, but when I do I tend to turn that thought over to they are basically poison in my system and I don't really want them after all. The idea of giving my body food that it needs and will flourish when fueled with it is really appealing. I want to lose weight, yes, but I also want to take good care of myself. As much as I can muster. That is the priority.

I'm doing my best not to get too enthused so early on. I know myself. But I will enjoy how things are going so far, and continuing to do my best to keep it going.


Thursday, December 28, 2017

There's Still Time

Lately I've been using the power of mantras to help me get back on track with my health goals.

(Let me clarify here: Health goals. Yes, that includes losing weight, but is not the be all to end all. I realize this more and more as I go along. My main impetus for my efforts is to feel good and be mobile for as long as possible. Losing weight, for me, really helps with that.)

Ahem, anyway. Mantras. I've been meditating at least once a day, every day since October 20th (minus three days) and I've done a plethora of guided meditations as well as self-directed ones. The guided meditations can be especially nice because they help me realize some new things about myself, and/or help to make important things clearer. Some guided sessions remind me to practice self-compassion, for example. I can always do for a reminder of that, what about you?

I'm doing this because the alternative is not acceptable.

It will not always be like this. 

I'm doing this because I want to be strong and live to my fullest potential.

These are examples of some of the things I've been repeating to myself a lot lately, and I have found that it is actually helpful! Having reminders like these floating around in my head all the time is important. It's easy for me to lose focus at random times and being able to take a pause and ask myself whether something I am about to do (like eat something when I don't need it) or not do (like skipping my daily walk) is in my best interest. I've been feeling insanely focused. Well, OK, maybe not insanely, because this doesn't feel, how do I say? Manic, maybe? It's making me feel strong.

It also feels totally doable again.

The thing is, things aren't happening fast on the scale. On December 9th, I weighed in at 327.0, my highest weight in over three years. My lowest weight since then, 322.0, happened within a week of that, BUT I've been playing around between there and 325. I'll admit, it's been a bit frustrating because I know I am doing everything right and I'd have thought that I'd be losing a bit faster. Then, I thought back to when I started this journey back in 2014 and how it took me about a month to really have things kick in. The important thing is that I finally did NOT give up back then, and that I CANNOT give up now. I have to give it time. It'll happen as long as I do the work. I know that.

It's kind of comforting, if you really want to know.

Also? Just those three or four pounds I've lost make me feel better. Maybe it's just mental, but it's true! Of course, it could be that I am moving my body around again most days of the week, even just a little, and that I've been eating higher quality foods and in better proportions (for the most part).

I guess what I am trying to say is just that I feel so much better, and it took relatively little effort – just a few adjustments to my lifestyle.

I am so excited about what I can make happen in the coming year.

What are your plans? I'd love to hear!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas!

Christmas has come and almost gone already! It's almost 9pm and the day went by quickly – a day does that when it's an especially lazy one, don't you think? We did our celebrating with a nice dinner and all the trimmings yesterday, so today I was able to totally relax and loaf around on the couch watching movies and reading with my honey, playing with the cats, eating leftovers, and taking a heavenly four-hour nap. The perfect day to have, once in a while at least.

Tomorrow it's back to the office! Ho hum. The good thing about that is that it'll probably be very quiet with many people taking time off. That said I have some things that I want to get tied up by Friday, because then I am taking the longest bit of time off I've done in a long, long time – eleven days, to be exact! I cannot wait. It's been kind of an up and down year for me, and I usually just take off an extra day off attached to a long weekend, or just randomly, so  this will be a real treat. We don't have any plans to go anywhere or doing anything special, but that is fine with me. I guess I have turned out more like my mom in that regard, in that I'd usually rather have a stay-cation. In some ways doing it in the dead of winter seems kind of nice, too, because it is the time when you feel like snuggling into house and home like a hibernating bear seems like just the thing to do. After all, among our favorite things to do are watch movies and read books together.

So yes. I am very much looking forward to that!

I've more or less been between 322 and 325 the past two weeks – yesterday 322 at my recent lowest, but then gained three pounds today. I didn't even super indulge yesterday on our meal; I had one plate of food and a bowl of ice cream for dessert, and aside from a banana in the morning and about a glass and a half of wine, that is all I ate yesterday, not to mention slaved away in the kitchen. I didn't expect that much a gain, if any, but my partner reminded me that anytime we eat the stuffing I make on the holiday it makes both of us gain, true enough. Whatever, considering how I have been eating lately, I am not worried about it. I had:

A couple slices of ham, a few small pieces of turkey; a baked sweet potato with maple syrup and marshmallows; sausage stuffing; homemade cranberry sauce with orange and ginger; and of course, my delicious homemade cheese braid bread. Later, we split a tiny little cheesecake (literally – it was like three inches across) that my mom sent home with me the other night when I was visiting her.

Today I snacked on some cheese and crackers, and had a plate of leftovers. No wine, only water, and water for the rest of the day. I'm thirsty!

I guess, actually, that I haven't really checked in since the switch turned back on, that is, that I started eating better and more reasonably, and started walking regularly again – for now I'm going for at least three days a week for at least ten minutes, but have been doing five times the last two weeks, usually twenty minutes or more. There's a lovely little cemetery down the road from the office that's about a quarter mile away, so I've been going there and walking around a bit and ending up with a mile or a mile and a half. It's getting easier again. I'm thankful I can still do it. Even that little bit seems to be making a big difference in how I feel. I still have it in me to do this!

My mantra has been It won't always be like this. I'm hoping to be under 320 by the new year, and to stay there! While I am still very disappointed in myself that I let this much weight pile back on, I'm trying to look at in a positive way – it was a real slap in the face, I guess, to know that it can and will come back if you do not remain diligent. It's just a fact. And now I really and fully understand that, and caught myself soon enough so that I can double back and get to fixing it. I will never take that weight loss for granted again. Ever.

Therefore one of my main goals for 2018 is to continue in the right direction. I maybe won't set a specific goal right now, except that I should keep the number on the scale heading down or at the minimum maintaining in general. I've been weighing myself every day again as a source of data and to keep a close eye on what's going on – using the Happy Scale app, of course, to record it.

One thing that has been helping a lot is bringing food from home into work for lunch, and it's good for my eating and for my wallet, and takes away the guessing about what I want to eat and making not such a great choice when I am starting to get really hungry. Lunches have been things like soups, or a makeshift burrito bowl-type thing with black beans, cheese, salsa, sour cream, maybe a tortilla or tortilla chips. Tomorrow I'm planning on a nice ham sandwich on whole wheat bread and some fresh veggies on the side. Fruits have been my desserts for the most part, but I'll have a nibble of chocolate or whatever here and there. As usual, nothing is off-limits, but I'm trying to make better decisions and not eat so mindlessly.

I haven't been counting calories, but rather eating intuitively and listing what I eat each day in my own files. That gives me the chance to make better considerations and to have a general awareness of what I have eaten and maybe what I need more of or less of. I don't really know how to explain it, but it feels comfortable and I have been feeling not so bogged down like I was there for a while, eating such heavy lunches and snacking all the time at my desk. That was a very bad habit that I had developed indeed!

It is my hope that 2018 will be filled with happiness, new achievements and opportunities, and continued good health! I'll be outlining some specific things in a coming post. In the meantime, I wish you a very happy Christmas and will talk with you again around the new year!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

How to Get Your Mojo Back

Since I have been bad about posting photos lately here is me being happy.


I am very happy to announce that it happened. I got my mojo back, finally! I'm pretty sure, at least.

Unfortunately, I can't really explain how it happened. It's a total mind thing, though, and my mind was just NOT having it the past few months. Maybe all this self-talk finally did some good and my switch got switched back on. I just wish I knew how to fully control it!

The past ten days since I last wrote have been good. An adjustment period. Last weekend I felt like I was testing the waters a bit and trying to see how I could rein things in even just a little. Saturday was the day when I made a really conscious effort to watch the overall volume of what I ate. I ended up eating one large meal (homemade pizza) and drank a bottle of wine. I know it sounds like a lot, but for me at this point, it was a good step forward. Another thing that happened on Saturday was that I thoroughly cleaned the refrigerator, which needed it. Really needed it. I threw out all kinds of things that had gone bad and/or expired, and that amounted to... well, let me just say a LOT. I washed the shelves and got everything in order.

It was wonderful. You can't imagine how wonderful. It also took a bit of time and physical effort, so I considered that my "activity" for the day. I was very pleased with myself and loved the resulting state of the fridge. A thing of beauty.

On Sunday, I slept in. A LOT. As in, I woke up at 1:15pm.

It felt marvelous.

I got up, got myself tidied up, and went to the store to buy things to make a homemade beef curry and naan for dinner/supper/lunch. It was another one meal kind of day, a hearty bowl of curry (which was fantastic, by the way) and basmati rice, and a couple small pieces of naan (which were OK, but still didn't really taste like real naan to me).

We watched movies, and I took a nice, hot, long bath in between The Missing and All the President's Men. Both films are recommended, by the way. If you didn't know, the former is based on a true story about an American couple living in Chile during the coup in the early-mid 70s. Sissy Spacek is in it and it's riveting. Of course, the latter is all about the journalistic investigation of Watergate by the Woodward and Bernstein, two Washington Post reporters. They make a nice double feature, actually!

I think it was during my bath that I started thinking more definitively about how I wanted to proceed during the week as far as eating and exercise went. (Baths are great for that!) I also wanted to try to save some from money by not getting take-out lunches every day like I have been lately. It would be nice to not worry about what I was going to eat and then gorge myself on a huge meal like I often do. I realized lately that the big crash I have at around 3pm is probably exacerbated by those excessive lunches.

So that was a big thing. I knew it would solve a lot of my problem, to be honest. Another thing I had been doing was getting "treats" to keep at my desk at work. It used to be gummi bears, but I got totally addicted to them and made a conscious effort to avoid them because it got so crazy. It became the first thing I started tracking as a new habit on the HabitBull app: No gummi bears! So far it's been 55 days and my initial goal was 66, which would put me at Christmas. I might treat myself to some chocolate-covered ones because I haven't had them in forever and they are crazy delicious. Anyway, so the gummi bears have been banned at least a while longer, as well as... oh, I don't know... Hostess or Little Debbie cakes? Chocolate bars? Etc etc. So no more of that stuff in my desk drawers. That is honestly half my battle, and if it is not there, it's not even an effort.

I also resolved to go on at least a 10 minute walk at least four times a week. I know it's not much, but I wanted to pick something that would be impossible NOT to do so that I could least develop the habit again. And the two times I have gone on a walk this week have both been 20 minute walks! I'm actually aiming for a mile generally, but hey! If I just want to do 10 minutes, then that is good, too.

So far, the result is that I have indeed lost a few pounds. I topped out at 328 on Friday, I think it was, and yesterday I was down to 323. Today was 324, which is fine. I had a great eating day yesterday so I am sure it is some sort of water retention thing or whatever. I also have the period from hell right now, so it will be interesting to see how I do once that is over. Peri menopause is great when you don't get your period for like six months, but then when you do get it, it lasts for almost two weeks and you bleed like a stuck pig – at least that has been my experience. It sucks, man.

Ahem. So, yeah. I'm pretty happy about what's going on. It's a great feeling to be able to share with you some positive stuff rather than the whining that has ensued the past few entries. It's a huge relief, to be honest.

Finally, in other news, our beloved cat Nico passed away on November 4th. It was absolutely heart-wrenching and her death left a huge void in our hearts and in our home. It was literally the first time in my life that I didn't have a cat to pet and snuggle. We did still have one cat, Henrietta, but she is nearly feral and we can't get within five feet of her. It's like having a little ghost around.

As a result, I was combing shelter listings for cats. I just couldn't handle a nearly catless home. Long story short, by the end of November we had adopted two cats – one the week after Nico's passing and one about two weeks after that. They are very intentionally both long-haired grey cats, like Nico was. They are the best cats! In fact, the other night when I was having some drinks I told my partner that I only ever wanted to get long-haired grey cats from now on. Not that we'll be getting any more anytime soon, just that that is what I would want going forward. They are stupendously sweet and beautiful and smart cats.

I'll leave you with cat photos.

Nico! RIP, sweet kitty.
Sami! He is a boy kitty and a total teenaged moose.
Me and Mia, the day I adopted her. She is also a teenager but more like a squirrel to Sami's moose. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

How to Gain 45 Pounds in Six Months

That's not exactly the kind of headline you'd think people would want to see, right? But that is pretty much what has been going on over here. Basically, I am NOT getting back on track and I am continuing to gain weight.

No, I am not happy about this. I don't mean to seem like I am bragging.

I've been racking my brain almost constantly to figure out how this happened and how I can make it stop. I mean, technically I know the answer to that second question. But for some reason, I just haven't been able to do the things I need to do – regular exercise, eating better and less (I have been the overeating, junk food queen these days).

I'm not even sure what to say here anymore, except that I don't want to let blogging go entirely because that will mean that I have given it all up entirely. At least, that is what it's amounted to in the past. I could write about the same struggle and crappy feelings, but who wants to read serial whining? I guess it doesn't really matter in the end – this is my little space in which I can do whatever I want, and if I need a place to vent about this stuff, then I shouldn't feel bad about it. And it's useful to the extent that it will help me dump my bad feelings and maybe just jiggle something loose again.

So let me tell you: This morning I braved the scale, and it read 327.

I know, right? How did that happen??? Well, for one thing, I gained almost 20 pounds alone in August. Things crept gradually after that, and I kept excusing it or saying things like, "Well, I won't let myself get over 310," or whatever, and then I'd get to 311 and up the limit for myself again. I'm really not sure why I kept doing that, and since then, each month I've added another 7 or 8 pounds. (I just updated my data page, by the way, so you can see the progression.) Basically, I haven't weighed this much in over three years!

The question is, will I find myself at the end of December into the 330s, or will I find myself back below 320? Either is entirely possible – it's kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, right? I much prefer to choose the path to the latter option, of course.

The thing I really hate about gaining this much weight back is that it all seems to land in my stomach. And when you carry weight around your middle, not only is it bad for your health, it's also very uncomfortable and gets in the way of a lot of things. It makes many activities that much more an effort. I'm finding myself winded again doing relatively mild exertions that had become like nothing. Putting on shoes and boots is getting to be more challenging (though not impossible quite yet). I feel bloated and gross, and a lot of my clothes are not wearable anymore or becoming less comfortable.

This is bad, very very bad indeed. I swore that if I was ever buying new clothes, it would not be because I grew out of the ones I had. This is starting to be a possibility and I just cannot do that to myself.

I don't really know how I am going to move forward, to be honest. But, I do know that I have to be especially vigilant from here on out, and at least weigh in every single day – one thing I have been avoiding. Like, if I don't see the number, I don't have to deal with it, right?

Right. Pfft.

I will check in again soon. Thanks for reading, those of you who are!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Long, Long, Long Overdue

HELLO!

My goodness.

Yes, I am still around. Lots of things have been happening, both good and bad. I am here at the blog just about every day, but it's been to keep up on my blog reading list (see sidebar). And every time, I look at the main section and see my posts in my peripheral vision (OK, maybe I went back and read some things, yeah) and feel like, oh boy, I really, really need to update here! If for no reason other than that it's really nice to look back a year or two later and see where I was at any given time. I know I'll be slightly peeved with myself one day and see how I let a couple months go by without writing anything here at all.

One thing I was really surprised by today, and so pleasantly!, was that I have readers – I mean, more readers than I thought. I was really touched by the comments that have been left on the last few posts in the last little while since I've been absent. Wow! Thank you all so much. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it, and I will be honest – it's making me feel like I really can get back on track and that blogging here really is a great tool. To know that I might be helping other people at the same time makes it that much better. I'm glad y'all haven't given up on me!

I want to be sure to be able to finish this and post it for real today, so I probably won't share everything that's been going on, but I'll do my best! Here are some highlights, things that come to mind immediately.

• I started using a great app called HabitBull, and have been trying to establish some good habits and eliminate some bad ones. I've been doing it since October 20th and it's been helping a lot in many ways. Of course, I'm having more success with some goals than others, but so far it helped me conquer my addiction to gummi bears, and to establish a solid meditation and reading habit.

• Our beloved cat, Nico, passed away in early November, and we adopted a new cat, who we named Sami, from the SPCA a week later. Normally we wouldn't rush in so quickly, but the void that she left when she died was practically unbearable. It was the first time that I have been without a cat to pet and snuggle EVER. I mean that literally. It was too painful. (We do have another cat, Henrietta, but she is pretty much feral and we can't get closer than a few feet away from her, so it's almost like having a little ghost around!). Nico (a girl) was a long-haired grey cat, and Sami (a boy) is, too! We loved Nico's coloring so much, and we love long-haired cats, so it was lucky we found him. They seem kind of rare at the shelter! Anyway, Sami has been a love, and while we do miss Nico SO MUCH, it has eased the pain a little bit to have him become part of the family. It'll be two weeks on Thanksgiving that we've had him, and he's adjusted fantastically!

• I am pretty sure I am experiencing a mid-life crisis. I'm trying to figure out how to live the life that I envision for myself and my family and I'm not sure my current job fits that; or maybe that I can make it fit that. But it's been hard, and I've been dealing with ongoing depression and anxiety, Nico's illness and death, and generally orneriness so I'm struggling with a few things and trying to keep my head on. There are things I want to pursue more, like illustration, coding, pattern/fabric design, writing... luckily these are all things that I can do while I am working full-time, but I want to make them take up more time and space in my life. I would love to be a full-time freelancer but the issue of health insurance really scares me, especially in this political climate. I am hoping to get things figured out around the new year and move forward in a positive way.

• Can I tell you how freaking awesome meditation is? If you don't believe me, try even just a short guided session –  5 minutes, 3 minutes, 1 minute even! A friend recommended the app Insight Timer and it has changed my life, and it's free! I also do like Headspace and Calm and Stop Breathe Think, but to get their full range of resources you have to pay. Recently I did get a special offer from Headspace and so I'm using it for six months, so you can always look out for special deals. Anyway, however you meditate, please give it a try. It's made me a more calm, kind, not-as-reactionary person, which is pretty extraordinary.

• I've gained a lot more weight back since I last posted. I haven't weighed myself in about a week, but I was cresting 320 and I am not happy. Yet I haven't been able to get the switch back in the on position, so while I've been very aware of my situation and try my best (I actually hesitated to say "my best" because I'm not sure it really has been) to get out of it. I don't think that I will let myself get back to where I started almost five years ago, but then again I never thought that I would find myself back in this position, either.

I'd been doing the things that I was aiming to do the last time I posted. Let me refresh your memory, and mine:

• A cup of green tea and 24 oz. of water when I get to my desk at work
Most days, yes!

• If I want something to eat for breakfast, it's going to be oatmeal and/or fruit
Most days.

• Lunch will be fairly loose still. I will try to make better choices overall and aim to stay within my calories each day, eating most of them midday (1800–2000 to start)
Yup.

• At least one more 24 oz. of water before I leave the office
Almost always.

• Depending on how lunch went, either no dinner or a very light one (yes, really)
This is where I am falling short – eating too much later in the day, even if I already ate plenty during the day.

• If I do eat dinner, no snacks after that
Yeah, no so much these days.

So I do feel like what has been broken is not that hard to fix in theory. I need to decrease the amount of food I am eating, and increase the quality of the food I am eating. That is everyone's struggle, though, right? It's nothing new, and as many of us know it is not that easy all the time.

• Our tennis regime rather abruptly ended mid-late season because my arm was bothering me, and so our level of activity went from 60 to 0 in no time flat. That definitely hasn't helped my cause. I never replaced tennis with anything else. Lately I have been trying to establish a walking habit again, but so far it's been spotty at best. I know that becoming more active again is really important – not just for keeping my weight in check, but also for overall health (well, that is what they say anyway – changing eating habits for weight loss, and exercising for fitness). It's funny/not funny that my body has been so ridiculously achey since we stopped playing tennis. My arm still bothers me, which really sucks. The doctor said that I likely have tendonitis and wanted to X-ray me, but I haven't yet followed up on that. My knees really hurt going down stairs, for example, and I hate that, too. When I was active regularly, I had aches and pains of course, but nothing like this.

Anyway... I know this is a LOT of text and I'm being lazy and not including photos this time to break it up. So if you have read this far, wow! Thank you! I'm realizing how important it is for me to keep this up and stay connected and just chronicle this whole thing, the good, the bad, and the ugly. I will be back again really soon.

I promise both to you and to myself.

Friday, September 22, 2017

23 Days Later

I am back in the land of the living! Hooray!

Maybe that is a bit dramatic, but not entirely inaccurate. I was feeling pretty close to dead quite a lot in the past month, to be honest. Depression has really been hitting me hard, and I have been stressed out for various reasons... for someone like me who tends to eat her feelings, it's not a good recipe. As a result, I found myself back up to 312 at my highest yesterday.

I'm not going to do this to myself again – I am not going to be the person I was when I started three years ago at 372 pounds. For one thing, may I be totally frank/TMI? My greatest motivator right now is bathroom hygiene. Going over 300 pounds does not bode well for easy cleaning, if you catch my drift. I feel like this is something no one ever really talks about, but it is a reality for some people! It's amazing to me how suddenly it came to that, how a few pounds in the wrong direction can make it an issue. But it's true!

(No, I am not walking around with a dirty butt. Seriously.)

I remember at my heaviest actually considering getting one of those devices made for people who can't reach for whatever reason. Oh man.

So anyway, more than clothes, more than being able to do all the things... I have discovered that THIS is my greatest motivator. It's a good one, I tell you what!

I'm back to 310 this morning, which is a small step in the right direction. I have decided to take a couple solid actions for now:

• A cup of green tea and 24 oz. of water when I get to my desk at work

• If I want something to eat for breakfast, it's going to be oatmeal and/or fruit

• Lunch will be fairly loose still. I will try to make better choices overall and aim to stay within my calories each day, eating most of them midday (1800–2000 to start)

• At least one more 24 oz. of water before I leave the office

• Depending on how lunch went, either no dinner or a very light one (yes, really)

• If I do eat dinner, no snacks after that

Generally, I prefer eating most, if not all of my food before 6pm. It doesn't always happen, but that is what I like to do.

Anyway... these are my goals for the next little while, and I am going to focus on these for now and not worry too much about other things like meditation and exercise. I know from experience that trying to make too many adjustments at one time usually ends in disappointment. My list now has things that I like to try to abide by anyway, but just haven't been, and I won't feel restricted. I'm not cutting out any certain types of food, only making sure that I don't eat too much, which has been my big problem the past month or two.

I'd also like to shout out to the readers who have taken the time to write some really lovely comments on the last couple posts – it means the world to me, and has definitely helped me get in a better mindset. I will be back to blogging on a regular basis from here on out. All the support I have received is so appreciated. If you're just reading and not commenting, thank you as well!

Onward!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Catching Up, Kind Of

It's been over a month since I posted here, which hasn't happened in a long, long time. I really needed a break(?). I think? Make no mistake, I have been thinking about blogging about everything, but just haven't felt like whining more than I already had been. It's been a whine fest around here, believe me.

Let's see... I left off in late July. I was bitching about being back into the 290s again. Shortly after that, I fell back into the 280s for a while, and then... I got sick. It's really the only thing I can blame it on, this horrible month (eating- and weight-wise, that is, not my whole life), because generally I am not one of those people who loses her appetite when she gets sick. Just the opposite. Of course. 

That leaves me now finding myself over the 300 pound mark again. Gah.

The question I want to ask is, what the hell is wrong with me?

But probably a better question to ask would be, what the hell is RIGHT with me? So maybe I will start there. Or something like it. Things right are:

• Getting my shit together and pretty well enjoying my job

• Playing tennis (though not as much because of my dumb arm pain) and hiking with C.

• Lots of long summer weekends – I've got five days off starting tomorrow as a summer farewell

• Feeling comfortable in my clothes and my skin. I wear dresses and skirts almost all the time now!

• Liking my hair growing out and deciding that I will be an older lady who rocks long hair

• Red lipstick and cateye glasses

Instagram

• Actually wanting to paint again

• Feeling pretty OK with the meds I'm taking for anxiety and depression

• Reading TONS

• Visiting kitties at the SPCA

Of course all the good stuff doesn't exactly negate the fact that I have gained like 20 pounds this past month. 20 pounds, can you believe that??? I've been thinking a lot about what I really want for myself and how I feel about the possibility of staying fat for the rest of my life.

I guess I just want to be careful about my degree of fatness, mainly out of physical comfort/ability with a little vanity sprinkled in, and the desire to shop at straight-sized stores. (Despite the vast array of offerings to plus-sized ladies, I just want to buy what I want to buy and not have to worry about going to a specialized store. Yes, this is a societal issue but I don't see it changing anytime soon.) I'm still aiming for size XL and 16-ish. I would really also like to see the size of my arms and belly shrink a bit – they are a source of discomfort for me.

As I have said many, many times before, I really want to be able to do anything I want to do – like running, hiking, playing tennis, whatever else. I want to be able to do a few more things in the bedroom that my bod prevents me from doing now (I know, TMI). I never, ever want to have trouble wiping my butt again. Ever.

But it scares me, because I also said that I never wanted to be above 300 pounds again, yet here I am. Never say never. I felt good in the 280s! I kept saying that I'd be fine even if I never lost more weight at that point. I'm really pretty angry with myself for letting this happen.

My eating has basically been, more or less, out of control.

I can also tell you all the good things I was doing for myself that I stopped doing around the same time it was obvious the weight was piling back on:

• A skin care regimen in the morning and at night

• Meditating

• Real, regular exercise – tennis once a week and a hike or two is not enough

• Eating mindfully and fueling my body rather than stuffing it with crap that shuts me down

• Keeping a nice house (I know, gross. Not sure what is up with that)

One positive step I am taking is participating in a virtual month-long marathon, which can be walked or run – so a little bit every day starting September 1!

I'm not sure what else I can deal with, but getting it typed out is helpful to see where I'm at anyway.

I have the courage to try again, even if I've failed over and over in the past.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

MOAR: Accountability

I'm getting real.

Well, I'm always real here. If you've been reading for a while, you know that.

But seriously, this morning was a real eye-opener. Got on the scale as promised, and... I am sad to say that I am back over 290 – 293.8! Whoa!

I ate like crap yesterday and so it's partly the weight of all that, I'm sure. I'm going to share with you what I ate, in fact. Note that this is pretty much how I ate before I got serious about losing weight, but every day without thinking twice most times. No wonder things got so out of control.

• Three donuts

• Subway footlong roast beef sub (I get all the veggies and vinegar on it, and pepper jack cheese, yum!), and Baked BBQ Lay's chips

• One hotdog on a bun, about a cup of leftover fancy black beans with a little cheese and sour cream on top, and some chili cheese Fritos

• An ice cream cone (at like 10pm!)

Actually, I probably used to eat even worse than this, but still. It's a lot, right? The donuts. God.

There were some positive things yesterday though!

• Drank 10 cups of water

• Played over an hour of tennis in hot and humid conditions (probably the most we've experienced so far this year) – plus I won a game in two sets! LOL

• I meditated!

So today I put on some comfortable clothes so that I would physically feel OK and therefore better mentally, too. I had three donuts left in my drawer and I ate them. I know.

I'm going out to lunch with a co-worker and not sure what I will do there, to be honest.

I'm not beating myself up. All I need are a few good days under my belt again. And I need to keep writing here. Another thing I considered doing was keeping a written journal of what I eat, when, and how I am feeling at the time. Same with drinking (alcohol). I think it will help me to better understand my patterns and therefore maybe try to adjust them. I mean, I know in general what I do – I am an emotional eater, no doubt. But I also eat to feed non-hunger cravings. I eat because the idea of eating that particular food sounds good. I want to do it. It's hard for me to moderate many times, though, so there's the rub. They say that the first few bites of a food taste best, and after that, we're just gobbling to gobble. Why can't I just have half a donut and be satisfied, or one scoop of ice cream, or one slice of pizza? OK, fine if I am hungry but many times I am not.

I think I'll meditate on it.

One last thing I wanted to note here? I don't get chub rub anymore. I play tennis in short skirts and I haven't had chub run one time this year! I wear skirts to work – nothing. It is totally fabulous. I mentioned it to my GYN, marvelling at it, really, and she said it's probably because my legs have more muscle now. Whatever the reason, it's pretty nifty. I haven't had to use my Body Glide in forever! Hooray!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Lately

I have not been meditating.

We haven't been playing tennis as much.

I'm not doing any other kind of exercise.

My eating has pretty much gone off the rails.

I don't really know what I am doing.

And do you know what this came off of? It came off of two, no three, really positive experiences in the healthcare system. I got such good marks from my doctors that... I don't know what the rationale is for it, if any... I just felt license somehow. Maybe it was a mistake for my GYN to tell me that even if I never lost any more weight, she'd be happy because she knows how active I am and the life I try to lead most of the time.

I mean, wow, right?

So my reaction is to just totally...

I feel very heavy and not very healthy. I've been eating pretty much anything I feel like. I have managed to stay under 290, but I won't for long if I don't stop this in its tracks.

Hey, I have been here before and picked myself up and dusted myself off. I know.

In fact, I am pretty sure we'll be playing tennis tonight, which is a step in the right direction.

I keep revising my path (which is totally OK, by the way!). Here are some things I would like to focus on in the coming week:

• Re-engage my meditation practice – even a little tiny bit, but every single day. (There. I just did a 7-minute meditation on the Stop, Breathe & Think website. It was the one about change, by the way. ;)

• Stop drinking soda (yes, even diet, which is what I usually drink if I do). Go back to only drinking water. (Just threw out what I had left from lunch.)

• Continue logging food, being completely honest. (Going to log today right after this.)

• Daily weigh again, and logging in Happy Scale. No matter what. I'm pretty sure this is essential for me after having tried so many different approaches. If I know I don't have to weigh in the next day, I am more likely to eat less than ideal foods. (I will weigh in tomorrow.)

• Oatmeal and fresh fruit for breakfast, and a cup of green tea. That was a good habit to have. (Looking forward to starting the day like this tomorrow!)

I think that is enough to try to get back to for now – I don't want to give myself too much and feel like I can't do it.

What are you struggling with lately?