Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Missing Pieces

I'm trying to fill in the blanks. These pieces are crucial to getting myself healthy and fit.

Missing Piece 1. Doctor, doctor!

I had an appointment with my new GP doc! I had not been seeing my previous doctor or following up as much as I should have mainly because his office was so far away, in my home town. Though I've lived in Niagara Falls for almost seven years, I never made too much of an effort to find someone new because I really liked the doctor I had. Driving an hour and change to go see him, though, was definitely a barrier. Once I made the decision to start really taking care of myself,  I finally did something about it.

My new doctor's office is about 10-15 minutes away from my house and I got really lucky – he is fantastic. Very kind and gentle, asks lots of questions, listens carefully and doesn't rush the appointment. Bonus is that he is not judgmental about my weight (not that any doc should be, but as you may know, that is not always the case!) and wants to help me with my goals on a very gradual basis. He recommended that I see a nutritionist, which sounds great, and he doesn't think considering weight loss surgery should be on the table at this point, either, which was a relief to me. In general, he said that I seem to be in pretty good shape otherwise, though we'll see what my bloodwork reveals when we meet again later in June. My intention is to follow his suggestions and take any prescriptions he gives me – something I didn't do the last time I was given instructions by a doctor. Oops. Surprisingly, he was not too concerned about my blood pressure for now, which clocked in at 146/90, not so great. He wants to see how it might be affected by my recent lifestyle changes before medicating it.

On the plus side, it seems that my home scale is on par with the office scale, and my resting heart rate is about 60 (I also checked this out the other morning before I woke up, and got about 56. Not too shabby!

In short, I really like my new doctor and I'm actually looking forward to going back to see him. He is someone who will help me to take the best care of myself, not just to lose weight.

Missing Piece 2. Taskmaster.

I had a couple killer workouts with my trainer, Rick. Thursday's was particularly fun but very intense. It was the first time I had used a medicine ball, and the exercise was simple but effective. Rick rolled the ball to me from a distance. I bent at the knees to pick it up, and quickly made a long step forward (like a lunge) and threw the ball back to him. I know it doesn't sound like much, but after doing that a number of times, whew! I felt it everywhere. Two days later, I still feel it everywhere, in fact. Oof.

Missing Piece 3. Mind over Matter.

I've been trying not to put too much stock in the scale, though I am monitoring my weight a few days a week. The numbers are heading down, though not super quickly, which is fine. I'm doing what I am doing in what I hope is a sustainable lifestyle, once and for all. If nothing else, I know that I am making much better choices in what I am eating, and eating much less junk than I had been. That feels good. Using the Pact app has been helping me to stay on track with getting more fruits and veggies in each week, committing to the gym, and tracking my food each day. What I am trying to do is train myself, establish new and better habits. Maybe it's sad that I need something like that to help me do that, but whatever. I think it is working, and it's a bonus that I will actually earn about $2 a week doing it! I'm one of those people who is spurred on by competition and by money. The latter is one of the reasons I signed up for training sessions at my gym – that costs some serious change each month, but I tell you what, it gets me there, and the workouts I get with my trainers are way better than anything I would have devised on my own to start. Totally worth it.

I tried on the two swimsuits I have (each bought several years ago but never worn), and neither fit. I need to remedy this soon, as I really want to start going swimming at the gym, not to mention enjoy the jacuzzi after a tough workout! Yes, I am determined to do this despite my fear of exposing my body to the public like that. (Funny to hear from someone who used to be a nude model for art classes!) Understand that I don't like to wear short sleeves or anything exposing my legs anymore, even in summer. This will be a big step for me, but I am going to do it.

I've had a few ups and downs the past week. I feel like I am trying really hard at this stuff. I AM trying really hard! But, it is really hard not to look down that very long road I have ahead of me. I have so far to go, yet if I don't keep taking those small steps, I'm never going to get anywhere. I noticed that I feel something that feels a little like confidence this week, knowing what I was able to do at the gym, knowing that my eating habits are improving, yet I keep having the nagging feeling that I am not getting anywhere.

Well, silly, it's only been a few weeks! Rome wasn't built in a day. This takes time, especially if I want it to stick. I think this is going to the hardest thought for me to get past, and I need to get past it if I do want to reach my goals. It was always the missing piece all those times I lost a big chunk of weight. Let's see if I can find that missing piece this time.

Monday, May 26, 2014


What I am doing and what I am not doing.

If you are reading this, thank you. If you are a friend or family member, especially if you see me in person, here are some things you should know as a supportive person.

• I am not on a diet. I am not restricting myself in the way that most people would think; however I am trying to align my eating habits based on information that is out there about our food supply, and on stuff that is common sense. I want to eat FOOD.

• I don't want to eat artificial stuff. I don't want to eat gross chemicals. I don't want artificially no-fat, low-fat, Aspartamed crap. I'm going to eat butter and sugar, but I am also going to eat whole grain as much as I can, and I'm going to try to eat whole foods period as much as I can (no, not the store). I'll be eating a lot of fruits and veggies, but am I going to stop eating pizza or cake? No.

• I'm reading the labels a lot more these days, but not just for calories and fat content.

• I am hoping to avoid having to take medications for things like high blood pressure and dia-beet-us. I want to stop feeling tired all the time.

• I will be checking in with my doctor on a more regular basis, and I will take his advice.

• I will continue to take all my vitamins every day.

• I will continue to drink lots and lots of water every day.

• I will continue going to the gym regularly and build strength and endurance.

• I will continue working on being happy and being a good person.

• If I mess up, I will pick myself up and try again, and never stop trying.


Um, hi. Again.

I've been debating on whether I wanted to come back to this blog again after a two year absence, whether I wanted to blog about what I have been up to the past few months and what I am doing now.

I have mixed feelings about the whole weight loss thing. I am all for fat acceptance and I believe that everyone should be at peace and love their body as it is, no matter what. I will always believe this.

Yet here I am, blogging about losing weight.

My last high weight was 350 pounds. I lost 50 a few years ago and kept working at it, but still ended up back where I started and more. Most recently, my high weight clocked in at 372, give or take. Honestly, this scares the f--- out of me. So much that I was even considering weight loss surgery of some kind. (It had been suggested to me by medical professionals in the past and I've always been like, "NO!", but I was starting to think about it.)

I'm 5'8" tall and all the weight is really, really affecting my life in bad ways. I probably don't need to tell you how uncomfortable so much extra weight on your body can feel.

At the end of last year, I needed to spend some money from my health insurance, who provides a wellness card that can be used on things like health food, vitamins, and gym memberships. A new club opened up not far away and so I decided that I'd use the card on that. I went in just before Christmas to sign up and walked away with a commitment to a year's worth of weekly sessions with a trainer as well. I wanted to start getting in shape, but I also knew that I needed as much help as I could get.

Overall, it's been going well. I had my first appointment the day after Christmas and got started. Each week I met with my trainer faithfully and tried to get one other solo session in until early February. I was taking it slow and aiming to establish a habit of getting there at least that one time. Then, I hit a roadblock – I had a big art exhibition that I was preparing for in a couple weeks and I just stopped going. The good news, though, was that during the two+ months hiatus, I was accumulating training sessions. When I finally started going back at the end of April, I had lots of extras which meant that I could meet with my trainer twice a week for a while. Since then, that's just what I have been doing, and this past week, I had my first three times in one week at the gym! #thenewnormal, lol.

I ended up connecting with a new trainer a couple weeks ago, Rick, who has been very inspiring and motivating. It's made a BIG difference for me. We talk not only about the workout but other healthy habits and what I need to shoot for. He focuses a lot on proper form and takes me through a wide variety of strength exercises, both on machines and with weights, as well as my own body.

This past week I lost about 5 pounds, which is great, but I'm getting into a mindset where so much other stuff is important, too.

I'm trying to make all sorts of positive changes in my life, but in small steps that are manageable. I'm also really digging all the various apps that I can use on my iPhone to help me do those things. Here's a sampling:

• I joined a CSA, so I will have fresh fruits and veggies from a local farm every week starting in early June through the fall.

• I joined Pact so that I am accountable for my commitment to the gym (3x/week), logging my food and water intake, and eating my fruits and veggies! Money is a great motivator for me. So far, it's been great and I love being more aware of my actions.

• I am back to MyFitnessPal. This time, it's purely logging and no self-judgement. If I have an off day (or even an off meal), well, you can always have a fresh start!

• I started using again to track my spending habits (something else I have had issues with in the past), especially to see how I am managing my food budget – easy to see how much is spent for groceries vs. getting take out vs. fast food. This is also an excellent motivator. I was really astonished by how much I was buying fast food, and I am looking forward to seeing how I will improve on that front from here on out. My partner and I have also been trying to cook most of our meals again, and I have been brown-bagging it to work happily. It feels good!

Anyway, so that's where I am. There's a long journey ahead of me, but I need to concentrate on the individual steps that will take me to the end. It's easy to get bogged down by the big picture, so I am trying not to think about it too much.

That said, goals are good. Here are some of mine.


1. Reach 350 (my last highest weight)
2. Reach 300 (where I last left off)
3. Get below 300 in a sustained way (something I haven't done in a long time)
4. 250
5. 200
6 ???

I'm not interested in getting skinny, per se. I'm interested in feeling comfortable physically and being able to do anything I want to. The last time I was at 250, I felt that way. So we'll see how it goes.


1. Walk a 20-minute mile
2. Walk 2 miles comfortably
3. Walk 3.1 miles (5k) comfortably
4. Start Couch to 5K again
5. Swimming! (Get over swimsuit anxiety)
6. Yoga (My body gets in its own way currently)

I want to do ALL the things.

It's nice to be back.