Friday, October 31, 2014

The Whooosh! Effect and Some Observations

Maybe you're wondering, "Amy, what the heck is the Whoooosh Effect?"

I first heard about it a couple months ago when someone posted a link to this site in the MyFitnessPal forums. As soon as I finished reading the article, I realized that the way my body seems to lose weight is not so unusual – it's an actual thing, even!

I tend to drop a big chunk of weight, and then hold for what often amounts to weeks, almost a month like what happened most recently. This was the longest time I'd waited – usually it's two, maybe three weeks. I was definitely getting discouraged. But sure enough, the past two days I saw major losses amounting to an 8 pound loss since my last official weigh-in last Friday. It still astounds me even though it has happened so many times.

There seem to be some correlating actual physical things that happen just before a whoooosh. I especially noticed it this time. For the past two days, I have been peeing like crazy, even though I've only been drinking my usual amount of water, 8 to 12+ cups. I mean, like semi-frequently and heavily. It's wild. Then, this morning before hopping in the bath, I noticed that my arms looked different in the mirror. They're big, and they're floppy and they have cellulite still, yes, but it almost looked like the composition shifted somehow, in a really dramatic way. In a positive way.

And then I stepped on the scale. I had shown a three pound loss yesterday and was thrilled with that, but I wasn't expecting much, if any, more. That's what I got, though! I was absolutely shocked to see the number 319 on the readout. And just the other day I was whining about how I should be below 320 by now. Har!

I am super excited that this happened again, finally. It's great on it own, but it's also great as an acute reminder of how we sometimes need to be patient when we're making big changes in our lives. There's no accounting for how our body works deep down – I know I'll never figure it out. But at least I can do what I can to gain an awareness of how it functions and just keep doing what I'm doing, keep the positive changes en force and feel happy about being healthier, if nothing else. That's really what it comes down to.

Happy halloween, by the way! We don't hand out treats; we're one of those Scrooge houses who turn off all the lights and hide. We'll be watching a couple scary flicks: John Carpenter's The Thing and hopefully, Alien. Yes, I am making some hot buttered popcorn on the stove, and I can't wait.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Time to Reboot


(Written yesterday)


I'm feeling right discouraged this morning.

The scale is just not budging. Now, I know that the scale is not the only measure of what's going on in my body these days

(and just ends there with no resolution)

Today, however, is a whole 'nother story. Rather than letting my feelings get the better of me and do something silly like throw in the towel, or say "F--- it" and eat whatever, I decided to buckle down and get serious again, just for one day. It was all I felt I could commit to.

Sometimes you have to take very small steps. It's infinitely better than staying in the same place, isn't it?

No, I didn't starve myself. I didn't do anything much out of the ordinary except really focus on my goals and focus on the means to achieve them. I feel that in the past month, which has been my toughest one so far out of the five, I was losing that. Things were getting wobbly.

Yes, I have been logging my food diligently. The problem was that I was often eating my exercise calories and beyond a little too often. And that I wasn't eating so "clean" anymore, either. Sure, I eat plenty of fruits and veggies, but I was really eating way too many little snacks and sweets, and getting take-out more often that I'd have liked. I tried to make it all fit in, but you can only do so much when your eating habits are reverting slightly to what they used to be. It was not the direction I wanted to be heading in.

Anyway... yesterday was like an oasis. No take-out. All stuff whose content with which I knew exactly what I was dealing. Lots of fruit and veg. Some little activities (a stroll in the cemetery, cooking dinner and cleaning the kitchen), plus a good hour-long gym workout to cap off the day. It felt fantastic and it was reflected on the scale in a positive way.

Today, I am committing to another day like that.

Yesterday morning I was bitching to myself about how I should have been well below 320 by now. The reality is that I have lost just about 50 pounds in less than five months, which is pretty phenomenal, if you ask me. I wasn't even racing! I wasn't trying to lose it super fast. So to have a month where things stalled a little bit doesn't seem too unreasonable, as long as it's not signaling a lapse into my old lifestyle. Since that is definitely not happening, I'm not too worried. That is what I am clinging to.

Hikes are in my future. Kayaking is in my future. Running is in my future. This is really just the beginning, isn't it?

Speaking of running, I am signed up for two (yes, TWO!) virtual 5Ks. The first one is happening this weekend as an alternative to Halloween and all its associated treats – a way to combat it, I guess? One of the members of the Facebook group I belong to for the FUDiet suggested it, and I am totally into it. For both of these 5Ks, I will definitely be walking most of the distance, but will make an effort to sprinkle as much running in there as I can comfortably can.

The other one is more "official" in that I paid to participate and will even get a medal mailed to me! It's the Flat and Fabulous 5K. The organization behind it is a much-needed resource for women who have decided not to have reconstructive surgery after mastectomy.

I think that by taking these small steps, I will soon be on my way to building up my running practice again, which I fully intend to engage come spring – March, April?. By then I should be down enough on the scale and more fit that running will be much easier. Next summer: Kayaking for sure!

I'd like to leave you with an easy, delicious recipe for a more healthy cookie. I don't know where the original came from – I saw it on a Facebook post and have also seen many variations elsewhere online. But after having made it a few times now, here is how I like mine. These don't get too firm, but when they cool they're fine to handle.

In a bowl, mix together:

3 mashed ripe bananas
1/3 c. applesauce
2 c. oats (I used Irish rolled, but you can probably use any type)
3/4 c. – 1 c. chocolate chips or chunks (as high quality as you can find them!)
1/4 c. – 1/2 c. raisins
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

You can either spread out the mixture onto a cookie sheet, about 1/2" thick, or scoop out spoonfuls. I have had them as dome-like shapes and tried them flattened slightly. These do not spread at all when cooking, so keep that in mind. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Yum! Maybe not super healthy, but hearty, satisfying... and you're in total control of the ingredients. You could use less chocolate, add nuts, maybe use white chocolate? I've added some peanut butter in there, too, and that was good. There are many possibilities!

For this recipe as is, about 20 cookies at 93 calories each.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Potent Reminder

I went to a restaurant for some take out last evening, and one of the patrons who walked in was a lady about my mom's age, early 70s, who was very big. Based on what my size was, I am guessing she was at least 450 pounds, if not more. Walking was not easy for her (though I don't think she had a cane or anything), and it just looked uncomfortable. I'm not judging her – I have no idea what her circumstances are, etc. BUT I easily saw myself in 30 years, if I don't continue what I am doing now for the rest of my life. 

What that woman was enduring, my friends, is NOT how I want to end up. I want to be climbing mountains, running races, and surfing when I am 70. 

Watch me.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sitting Still

Well, my weight has still not budged. Ugh. But you know what?

Yesterday, I was doing some fall cleanup in the backyard, and while I don't think I thought it right then and there, looking back I kind of marvel at what I can do and with the relative ease I can do it now.

A very real sensation hit me later at the grocery store, though. Walking through the parking lot, and making my way through the Sunday crowds, I just about felt like I was floating, I felt so good.

It was really nice and really validating.

Sometimes, just f--- the scale, seriously. It's not what this is all about.

It's about so much more.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I Admit It...

I admit it, I am kind of having a hard time this past week or two.

(Wow, two blog posts in one day! This is how I cope.)

More than what I have been letting on, I think.

So I spent some time this evening browsing through my old blog, The Forty Project. Yeah. That was back when I figured I could get my s--- together by the time I was 40. I'm 44 now; you do the math. I mean, seriously. I've been trying to do this my whole life, but the past five, six years, I've really tried, on and off. I read through many entries, ones when I was feeling good and doing well, ones when I was truly struggling and knew things were on the downturn. Those latter ones especially really hit home. How many more f---ing times do I have to do this yo-yo crap? It has to end NOW. I have the ability to end the cycle.

It doesn't matter how stuck I get. I can't quit. I can't ever, quite frankly. I mean, dude, if I had just worked through the rough patches back when I first started blogging, I wouldn't have had to start up again, over and over and over. I could have been at or near goal a long time ago.

But this isn't about regrets. It's about opportunities. That now, I have full control of my destiny with this stuff. It doesn't matter what happened before. What matters is what happens now and what will happen and how I will deal with it. I have all the knowledge and tools I need to make it happen; I just need to stay on the damn ride.

A 50-pound loss really seems to be some sort of weird place for me. In the past, I hit the 50 pound mark and then things start to fall apart. I'm not sure why that is, but it is not going to happen this time. 50 pounds lost will be the launching pad for more great stuff. 50 pounds will not be the sad end. Not anymore.


My Obsession

I know, it's crazy, yet another pair of glasses. I am using up my FSA funds and have discovered the awesomeness that is BonLook, and well... you do the math.

While I was trying to get a good selfie last night, I realized that every angle I was working my double chin wasn't showing up in the photos! I am not sure what this phenomenon is called, but trust me, I do still have a bit of an extra chin in effect. It's definitely gone down since I started losing weight, but I can see it when I'm taking the photos! And then it just doesn't show up.

So weird.

Here I am, again, with another fun pair of glasses. And no extra chin.

That said, I had another frustrating date with my scale this morning.

Dudes, I am not letting it get me down! I took another walk on my lunch break today! Zoooom!

I got this.

What frustrations have you been dealing with lately? What victories or joys? I'd love to hear from you.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stuck, but it's OK

I have been stuck at 324 for what seems like an eternity now. Sure, I've dipped to 323 here and gone up to 326 there, but my weight just doesn't want to seem to budge for any meaningful period of time from 324. Grr.

I mean, this happens every ten pounds or so, so one of these days soon, I'll find myself below 320 and being amazed at how quickly the weight fell off. Ha ha. No, but really, that's what happens, and I forget all about the little plateau until the next time it happens.

But let me tell you! This morning I woke up feeling pretty darned good about myself. My BODY felt good. I was just about certain I'd dropped a pound or two. Of course, I didn't, but it didn't really even matter. I pulled a pair of jeans out from the dryer that used to make me feel like a sausage and they just glided on. I am wearing a tank top that I haven't been able to wear in a long time. I just felt plain good, dynamite even.

Not all victories are on the scale, as I hope we all know by now.

Another one happened today when I didn't really feel like taking a walk on my lunch break, but I did anyway, and it felt good.

And another one happened on Friday when I decided on a whim to start Couch to 5K again. (It was awesome!)

And more happened when my partner and I went on hikes on both Saturday and Sunday. At the crack of dawn, even.

So yeah, the weight loss is one thing, but it far from the only thing. It might even be just an intended consequence, that's all.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Woman Trouble

"Blood moon" – yeah, no kidding!  (Photo by New York Daily News)

Ugh. So last I reported I was down 50 pounds and just got my period. No doubt thanks to that, I've been sitting at 48 pounds lost ever since. And it's the period from hell — I'll spare you the details. That said, my eating has been on target still, and I've been fairly active. We ended up going on a much longer trek the next day (Sunday) to a wildlife refuge and it was fantastic. This morning I was up at 5:30am to watch the lunar eclipse and tomorrow I have a gym appointment.

So while I kind of feel disappointed, I also know that it's just the normal cycle of things. I don't discount my great achievement or anything. It happened, and I am basically there. Soon enough, the 50 pound mark will be a but a memory in the most positive sense.

This morning I wanted to dress up a little more for work as I was filling in for my boss to help conduct interviews. I had planned to wear the one blazer I have — the one I wore to my interview for this job last June — but wouldn't you know it, I had a problem! It was too big to wear! It looked silly! On the plus side, I discovered that I was finally able to wear a pair of dress pants I've kept tucked away for the first time in at least three years. So it all worked out. :)

Another nice thing to report is that I had a follow-up appointment with my GP on Monday, and I am out of the woods for diabetes! Yay! My blood pressure is still up a bit, but I need to get more diligent taking my pill each night... not to mention just keep doing what I'm doing so that I won't even need the pill anymore. I'm getting addicted to these positive reinforcements, I tell you! Despite my temporary hormonal setback, I'm pleased with my progress and happy that I found my magic bullet.


Saturday, October 4, 2014


Last night I went to my talented friend Jan's art exhibition, and I found myself. 

I wanted to share some happy news with you, my faithful blog readers! As of today, I am down 50 pounds. I still have a long way to go (I'd like to lose another 150), but it's a great start and I have been feeling strong and healthy. I'm actually looking forward to my doctor's appointment on Monday! Thanks for your camaraderie and support.

This morning my partner surprised me with an pre-dawn wake up call to go birdwatching. Rain was in the forecast today (and many days ahead), so it was thought that perhaps we could beat the weather early and try out our new binoculars. 

It was pouring on the drive to Buckhorn Island State Park on Grand Island, but shortly after we arrived the sun just started to come up, and the rain stopped. It was a little chilly and windy, but made for a lovely seasonal walk. I didn't time it, but I figure we logged an hour to an hour and a half of walking on the very unexpectedly gorgeous trail that took us right along the Niagara River, so close that we could see and hear the water lapping against the shore. We also heard lots of birds, but only could identify a few: Blue jay, gulls, a coot, and some Mallard ducks. It was still really nice and we're planning to go back and explore more — both of us were feeling a bit tired by the time we decided to head back. (I got maybe four hours of sleep after a very long day yesterday PLUS my period hit with a vengeance, so I was dealing with those associated feelings.)

We got home and I hit the sack for a few hours... then woke up for a bath with one of those amazing LUSH bubble bars, and the rest of today is Relaxation City. It's a rainy fall day, the kind that is perfect for staying in and cuddling with kitties, watching some movies, etc. etc.

Here's to the next 50 pounds! I'm coming for you! :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ugh, sometimes.

I went to the mall last night after work with a friend to indulge in a little Sephora and Lush shopping and for a movie afterward. The good news is that I did get some lovely things, including some Kat Von D lipstick, some lovely fall and winter-inspired scented candles from a side trip to Bath & Body Works, and a nice selection of bath bombs and pretty-smelling things at my absolute fave, LUSH. More good news is that I fit into the movie theatre seats snugly but fine, and tickets were just $2 each! (We saw the wonderful The Hundred-Foot Journey)

On the other hand, there is a reason why I avoid malls at almost all costs most of the time. The mall has this way of making all my insecurities come out in their most raw form. There is nothing I despise more than the proverbial makeup counter with its horrible lighting and people swarming all around and feeling like a bull in a china shop. At the same time, I love being surrounded by so many pretty things – if I was a billionaire, I would have stores open after hours so I could browse totally solo, I tell you what.

I just can't help but feel like I stick out like a sore thumb everywhere at the mall. There are lots of mirrors and reflective surfaces, too, so I'm always catching unexpected glimpses of myself, and it's disheartening. See, I guess I don't look in the mirror much except for my bathroom mirror and my iPhone camera to check my lipstick, so I see myself from one angle and generally from the chest or neck up.

So I've lost almost 50 pounds and feel great, and I know that I have gotten smaller, but seeing myself in other contexts, I'm so disappointed to see how fat I still am, even though I know intellectually that I at 320-some pounds that yes, I am VERY fat. Still. And I will be for a while.

None of this means that I am on the brink of giving up. NO. If anything it is propelling me even more toward my goal. I AM SICK OF BEING FAT. I'm done. And as my loving partner reminded me last night, this time next year, I won't be fat anymore. How can I be so sure? Because I am going to keep doing what I am doing and my actions are going to get me there. That's how.

In the meantime I just need to deal with it, continue trying to love my body in all its incarnations, and KEEP GOING.

And I will. Promise.