Monday, December 28, 2015

End of Year Reflection, 2015 Edition

December 2013 / December 2014 / December 2015

How funny – as I look at the sequence of photos above, I also see myself getting into clearer focus. Also see how I'm not relying so much on bright red lipstick anymore? In the latest photo, it's just some plain lip balm. No make-up at all, no filters. 45 isn't so bad, right?  It's all about the lighting, I guess. *grin*

There's not as drastic a change from 2014 to 2015 as there was from 2013 to 2014, but I am still pleased with my progress. There have been pretty major changes in my life since last year's December photo, even if I don't look that much different. 2015 was the year when I got serious about running (even if I feel kind of sad and meh about it at this moment), and it made a huge difference in my life in several ways.

• Got me moving around consistently and meaningfully

• Got me outside in a full range of weather conditions – and guess what? I didn't freeze, or melt, or drown. Unless it's lightning out, or extremely icy, there are few excuses not to exercise outside.

• Snagged me a whole new slew of friends from all walks of life who are ridiculously supportive

• Helped me view food in a new way: Food as fuel (novel!)

• Made me feel stronger and capable of anything

• Made me realize that I can do things that once seemed impossible, if only I try

Another positive action I took in 2015 was to work with a nutritionist, which helped me get grounded again after a difficult period, and reminded me about some basic steps to take to make the most of my food every day. I am still far from perfect, but I have the tools and the knowledge to do the best I can.

The result of those actions was that I lost over 30 pounds this year, and about 100 pounds total. I admit, it's not as much as I'd have liked, but it's something! Not to mention that I am still here and in it after a year and a half – that makes this the most successful weight loss effort I've ever had in my life. (Even if at before Thanksgiving, my total was over 40 pounds lost for the year. Well, that just means that I am sure to get there again!)

I found a new, great gynecologist after my previous one retired. (Though oops, neglected to get my candygram, er, mammogram this year.)

I continued to see my fabulous GP to monitor progress, and I've been getting A+ on my checkups. My blood pressure is normal (yay!) and so is all the important blood work.

Now, for next year, how can I possibly improve on that?

Well, for one, I would love to lose at least 50 more pounds. Heck, I'd love to get below 200 by the end of 2016 (more than 70 pounds to lose in that case), but as I have said before, time-based goals don't work well for me and so I am just going to keep on keeping on and see where it lands me – as long as it is in the negative, of course. I fully intend to keep what I have lost already off, and just lose however much more I can.

 • I will keep running, even if I feel discouraged about it now. I'm signing up for the awesome No Boundaries program at Fleet Feet starting in February, likely doing version 3.0 with the option to do the 2.0 workouts if I need to (shorter distances).

• I will return to strength training exercise, and I also want to get back to yoga.

• I'm on the fence about joining my old gym again, but if I do I will finally go swimming.

• I've been thinking about getting some counseling for my eating issues. Also still on the fence.

****

I like this list, which reminds me that I am not a total screw-up.

I also like this list, which dovetails with a lot that I'd like to accomplish in the coming year.

Last year's end of year reflection was in two parts, here and here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

***

Ugh. I have so much to say but have no idea where to start, so maybe a list-style post will suit me best today. In plusses and minuses:

– Hit 280 today. This is so... bad/sad/upsetting/discouraging/etc/etc. I knew it was going to happen after having a day of eating unlike any I have had in a long, long time. Bingeing behavior has really taken over lately and I'm not sure where it is coming from and I have been feeling relatively helpless over it. 280 means that I've gained 15 pounds since Thanksgiving – 15 pounds in a month! How does that even happen?

It is so scary to me how quickly I can gain weight, even after a year and a half of losing fairly consistently, even with the past few months slowed way down. So scary.

+ By the time my partner came to bed this morning (he often stays up all night), I'd been awake for a little while, unable to fall back asleep because I was so sad and scared after my bender yesterday. Ever so supportive, he talked me down from my proverbial ledge and offered so much comfort and encouragement. He's going to help me, at least when I am at home, to get a handle on my eating again. Just for today, he suggested a meal strategy to get me back into reasonable territory. Just having that in mind has helped me focus this morning and I think I can use it to carry me through the rest of the day. Keeping things very simple with a liquid breakfast (green tea and water), soup for lunch, and the chili I was planning to make for dinner. If it seems a little extreme, it's because I need it to be right now, today. I need to jolt my brain. Not having to think about what I could eat or want to eat throughout the day is really helpful. I may simply have to get disciplined about meal planning. Not having those question marks at lunchtime and dinner make things so much easier.

I also whined, between sniffles (I was very teary), that I haven't been exercising at all. He said, "Just worry about getting your eating back on track for now."

One thing at a time, just like when I started. I do think that I'd like to get a short run or two in by the end of the week, but for now I'm not going to fret about it. First things first.

– I feel like I haven't been the best friend in the world lately and have been isolating myself a lot, avoiding parties and whatever else that involves socializing. I'm been finding it hard to be very joyful, even though I have plenty to be grateful for. How many times can you apologize to someone for being a Debbie Downer? It's easier to just withdraw sometimes.

+ Tomorrow I'm going on a fun run in the late morning at Fleet Feet – it's called the Egg Nog Jog – and doing 2 miles. I have to do something. I think getting out into the fresh air and moving my limbs and being around other runners will do me a world of good.

– I don't even know what else. I'm feeling a little sorry for myself even though I'm inflicting my own pain.

So that's where I am at right now. I think back to the end of year goals I had and yearn for the "consolation prize" that 268 was supposed to be. If only! If only I knew then what was ahead. I would never have believed you a month ago that this is where I would be.

That all said, I'm trying to put things in perspective and will be working out a plan to dig myself out of the hole, as well as setting new goals for myself in the coming year. It's actually one of my favorite things to do at year's end! I don't think that I will ever set a time-based weight goal ever again, even just to say I want to lose x pounds in a year. The truth is, any loss is good, any maintain is good. Any progress on developing good habits is good. Any activity that I do is good.

Regarding running, even if I only ever run 1 or 2 miles at a time forever more, that's a win. I keep thinking about all the BIG things I want to do, like run a marathon or maybe even beyond, but sometimes I wonder if that makes me feel discouraged. From now on, instead I will focus on all the things I can do now rather than worry about how I'm going to get to those bigger goals later. My head has been sticking itself too far in the future, I think. Though – I will be doing NoBo 3.0 starting in February, that's a no-brainer.

After the disaster that yesterday was, eating-wise, I am ready to take steps back to the positive space I was in once more. It's been a rough few weeks. Time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start doing the work again.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Feeling More Normal (Kind Of)

Me among the other amazing mentors and coaches in the No Boundaries program at Fleet Feet Sports in Buffalo.
(I am in the center with arms crossed – not sure what that was about!) Folks I have mentioned in this blog include Angela, who is seated in purple; Liz, who's got the red headband; Jewel, next to Liz with the sliver of turquoise shirt; and Pat, who is next to Liz and Jewel! I love those ladies – with the exception of Jewel, they were MY mentors when I first started running and have been so supportive and encouraging along the way.)

It's a relief to get back to feeling more like myself again this week. It's been pretty busy and I've been more social than usual, so maybe that's been helping. On Monday, I took a friend out for lunch to celebrate her birthday (and because I was a no-show at her party, being all depressed and stuff that weekend); Tuesday not only did I go to the No Boundaries "graduation" walk/run and party after work, but went with my partner to a good friend's house for an impromptu get-together complete with yummy Christmas cookies, Utz pretzels, and bourbon; yesterday I had an amazing lunch with my running friend and mentor, Angela at an amazing new taco place downtown called Deep South (and boy, do I love their branding as well!!!) AND a fun run after work AND my company party after that...

Even though I've been having a lot of fun, there is no question that this (mostly) introverted gal will enjoy a couple quiet evenings at home tonight and tomorrow. 

Most importantly, I am starting to be active again this week. I'm not going to go whole hog just yet after my week+ hiatus, but I've already gotten in two days' worth with another planned for Saturday morning, at the very least. I may squeeze something in tomorrow morning, but maybe not. I'm OK with that. When I first started on this journey, I simply wanted to go to the gym once a week and make that a habit. Gradually (very gradually, in fact) I built that up to five or six times a week, and some weeks something every single day! In the summer when we were playing tennis, that happened a few times. I have been doing things I enjoy. 

But almost two weeks ago, I just crashed. I found myself feeling exhausted both physically and mentally, and finally one Friday when I just couldn't drag myself out of bed to make a very early PT appointment or even go to work, I decided to take a break from everything. I just needed to. I was totally burned out. 

At the same time, I haven't been eating as carefully as I had been, so the combo of the two has equaled some weight gain, but I am back to hanging out in my plateau territory which isn't the worst place to be. It's just not the best, when I was finally making good progress in November. 

Still, taking that exercise break was important. I know that now. I refuse to feel bad about any of this. 

This week I am feeling more like itchy to get back to running and really enjoyed my first run in a couple weeks last night. I did two miles and it didn't feel hard – not that it is ever easy, but it just felt good. I was so happy to be back out there and know that I haven't lost all my fitness or endurance or progress in general. I can still run two miles without thinking too much about it! 

On Saturday morning I'll be meeting up with a bunch of running pals and my goal is to crank out a 5K distance. If I fall short, it's fine, but I will definitely do two miles. Either way, it'll be good to see my friends and it'll be good to move my body. Plus, with the weather having been so unseasonable in the best possible way, it's silly not to take advantage of that! It's almost Christmas and we in the Buffalo region still have yet to see any meaningful snow at all. I don't mind a lick. 

In the past two weeks I have had two running dreams! The last one I had the other night was incredible. I seemed to be in some mountainous area that reminded me of where I spent some time in southern California, in the San Jacinto Mountains. I was quite simply gliding along, almost flying, being propelled by my arms as I ran. In the dream I remember saying to myself how easy and comfortable it felt, even though I was going at a good clip. 

I don't know what else to say about it except that I feel lucky that I was able to experience that, even if in a dream. I guess it gives me something to aim for and I see it as a signal to keep doing the work that is going to get me to that point. I think it is my subconscious telling me to absolutely not give up, because the rewards will be so worth it. 

So, I will be sticking around for a long while.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Kicking and Screaming

It amazes me how different this holiday season has been for me compared to last year. Last year, I was coasting and had no problem keeping up my weight loss. This year, well, you know... I've been more or less maintaining since late August with a few blips downward, and now I am struggling to hang on to even that! I'm weighing daily, and here's the running tally:

12/6: 275
12/8: 274
12/9: 273
12/10: 275
12/11: 273
12/13: 277
12/14: 276
12/15: 277

And this is what the past month has looked like, more or less. Not very pretty at all. Of course, there were many days where I didn't log – I was logging mainly losses, so not every spike shows up here. Assuredly, they happened. But you see what is going on the last few weeks. Fairly steadily increasing. It's got to stop. Keeping track really helps with that – I don't want to see this upward trend continue much longer, if at all. *sigh*



But today feels like the first day in a while where I'm not having a hard time keeping my eating in a good place, so that's a win! I will take every little one. I had some oatmeal for breakfast, Subway for lunch. Let me tell you something about lunch! When I was ordering, I was also chatting with the owner of the store, who was asking me about graphic design. (I've told him what I do for a living and it sounds like he might hire me for a little job.) I got all distracted and totally forgot that I was going to fit in those terrible cookies, and walked out the door without them! When I realized my "mistake", I was really happy. Surely the food gods were helping me out in that moment.

I didn't miss the cookies and saved myself a bunch of calories, which I can now use when we go over to my friend Al's house later on for a very casual holiday hangout. It was a very impromptu invitation that came later in the day, so I was very happy that things turned out the way they did. Al's a great cook and I will be sure to enjoy his snacks much more than those dumb old Subway cookies I have a taste for.

Today also marks my return to exercise after a week+ break – I've got the graduation session with the running group, which will mean either a walk or a run, and tomorrow I'll be going for a group run and try to get maybe two, even three miles under my belt. My knee still bothers me (and I've been achey all around), but it's been bothering me whether I am exercising or running or not, so I may as well err on the side of activity. I'm hoping it will jumpstart things for me, re-energize me...

Leaving it at that for now, and will be sure to check in again soon!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Not Sure How to Get Back – But I Will

I can't count how many little "crises" I've been through the past few months. The amount of weight I've been "playing" with has increased from about five pounds to ten, meaning the range I've been bouncing in is between 265 and 275. I'm sitting at 275 today after a couple days below that.

Late last week I was slapped hard in the face with what I am calling a bout of acute depression. In the past decade or so, I've had a couple days here and there where I don't feel so hot, or just have PMS or whatever, but it's been a long time since I have experienced this level of depression. When I was in my 20s especially, I was treated for depression via talk therapy and medicine and it always felt like I was trying to ward it off. Finally, in my early-mid 30s things seemed to level out. So it came to me as a big surprise to feel the way I've been feeling again.

I've been trying to hold to some things so that I don't totally backslide, because I cannot lose what I have achieved. I just can't.

Today I saw a friend for the first time in while. She couldn't believe how I looked – "You're straight up and down now!" she exclaimed, and also asked how it felt to be in this body now.

It was a question I realized that I didn't quite know how to answer, because even though I have experienced many changes, somehow I still feel not so much different than I was, probably because, I figured, I still have so much more weight to lose.

I guess what I am realizing is that this is all just such a huge mindfuck. It really is. I feel like, no wonder why I am depressed and feeling like I can't do it anymore. This stuff is hard and it is a big adjustment in many ways.

That's not to say it's not worth it. I love the clothes I have been wearing, and I love the things that I can do more easily since I've lost the weight I have so far. I love that I get a clean bill of health from my doctor. And if I keep going, it will only get better!

I don't think being careless/carefree about what I eat is worth giving that stuff up. I know it isn't.

I've chucked all those time-based goals I had set for myself, and decided that I will likely not do one of those again. I think they stress me out and make me want to eat more, generally. For now, I am aiming to solidly get back into the 260s and just be nice to myself. I am still logging into MyFitnessPal every day and log my food as accurately as I can. It's not always pretty, but it's a good habit to maintain and does keep me accountable on some level. I will also continue to weigh myself every day for at least a while – otherwise I worry that it would be too easy to slip away if I'm not watching those numbers like a hawk right now.

I'm still intending to eat as best I can within my calorie limits and macros but I am not stressing about it too much. I stopped exercising this past week but will start up again with a walk tomorrow.

The exercise happened along with the arrival of my depression. Last Friday I ended up canceling my PT appointment and I called in sick to work because I just could not force myself to get up and face the day. There was just no way. The next day (and the following Tuesday), I skipped out on running group because I didn't have the physical energy to walk or run, nor the mental/emotional energy to mentor and be a good cheerleader. I felt exhausted both physically and mentally, and so I broke. But now after a week or so of no exerted activity, I don't feel much better or worse. I still have the usual aches and pains, so why not get back to my routine and feel like there is a reason for those aches and pains, other than just getting old?

So that's what I have been dealing with the past week. Desperately holding on by a thread.

Tonight I am hoping for a meaningful respite from all this and going to see one of my favorite bands (Sleater-Kinney) with one of my favorite friends (Lizz). Let me share one of my favorite S-K songs with you here. I'm going to dance!


Thursday, December 3, 2015

Posting for Clarity

I'm posting a lot lately. It's because I'm doing a LOT of self-talk and working really hard to stay on track. Writing things out helps me a lot in that regard – emptying my head of my fears and insecurities, admitting imperfection, talking about mistakes and how I can learn from them...

And then there is also the benefit of sharing triumphs, or even just little victories.

Last night I realized that I have a hard time shifting gears if I had one thing planned but then something else happens. We were originally going to go to the movies and so I had theatre popcorn in my plan to eat for dinner. When plans shifted and we decided to go this weekend instead, I thought, no problem and just logged that I would have some dressed up black beans (basically just canned beans with garlic, a fresh hot pepper, some onion, spices, and some cheese) and that would be that.

So that is what I did... only once I started eating them I decided that I wanted some crunch, so I grabbed some tortilla chips to munch on as well. Fine, except... I didn't have room in the day's calories for them.

I ate them anyway. And then I really wanted something sweet, so I grabbed a couple of these small, sweet and salty cookies that came in my Treatsie box (super delicious!) on a whim and semi-secretly... also no room.

It didn't stop there. I also popped in a serving or so of some Rold Gold Tiny Twists pretzels. Not a big deal, but again... no room.

I just kind of lost it. I mean, it could have been worse, but it felt stupid to do. It felt stupid while I was doing it. I mean, what did I just write here yesterday about never wanting to see the 270s again? Here I was, totally tempting fate.

This morning when I woke up, I was feeling pretty down. Just a general gloomy feeling for no good reason. I had gone to bed pretty early and so I woke up naturally and early enough that I could, at the very least, fit in a walk or run at home before leaving for work. I laid there thinking how achey and tired I still am, and how I just want to take another break. I thought about how sick I am of making the effort every single day. (OK, maybe not every single day, but just about most weeks.)

I finally dragged myself out of bed with just enough time to put in a running mile, and that is what I did.  To be honest, it felt shitty almost the whole time. My mind and my body were totally on the same page – I don't wanna!!! You can't make me!!!, and I pulled out that mile like I was running through molasses.

But I pulled it out, didn't I?

I'm also happy to note that the scale was kind, and showed a .5 loss. Note, though, that I always log whole pound losses or gains, not increments; this morning's bad mood needed some sort of boost so I am at least mentally noting that little variant. I'm thisclose to 268. I'm happy with that for now.

***

I have really been enjoying getting dressed lately.

I can't remember a time when I ever felt that. Well, maybe in high school when I liked getting dressed up for a normal day in dresses, skirts, and pumps, fully accessorized and made-up. That was a long time ago! Recently I indulged in some new tops from Target and some great sale stuff from the Gap – I can wear XXL at both stores now – and I can see my style revealing itself once again. True to the title of this blog, several with stripes, and a fairly classic palette of navy, black, shades of grey, ochre... I like knits because I've got big arms and button-down shirts don't usually work well for me, no matter what size, so pullover tops with boat, v, and scoop necks, and as always, cardigans.

I've got several pairs of pants now that fit well and are enough for my current needs. Next on my list is more cardigans (this one at the Gap is my current favorite, and is a steal when it's on sale!) and shoes. I like ballet flats a lot, and I am on a quest to find comfortable ones that are also stylish and affordable. I also love sneakers of all kinds and need to replace my old Chuck Taylors. And loafers? Or oxfords? or Chelsea boots?

It's nice to feel like I can participate in fashion on some level again. What joy! And it's only going to get better.

When I was getting ready this morning, it felt good to look in the mirror. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Progress

That is a smile of relief, plus wearing yet another new striped shirt!

Ah... that's more like it!

I just squeaked back into the 260s today, weighing in at 269. Phew!

May I never see the 270s ever again. Ever.

To be honest, I wouldn't say that I had the best eating day ever yesterday to warrant a three-pound loss, but it wasn't bad. Plus, I got a lot of good exercise in after work. Tuesday means No Boundaries and mentoring for the WalkFit program, but lately I've been taking advantage of the little bit of free time I have after work and before NoBo to go on short runs on my own. I am working on building my endurance again and sticking with 1-2 miles generally. I was very pleased with my effort last night, where I ended up going 1.7 miles at a 15:22 average pace (felt faster, though!).

Then, we ended up going another 2.85 miles walking at a 18-ish clip – so that gave me almost five miles' and 75 minutes' worth of activity! It felt great... until this morning. My knee is pretty tender and the rest of me is really feeling it; a stark reminder that I really need to dial it back a little bit. It seems to me that keeping a total workout to under 3 miles is a good idea for now. Well, NoBo only has a few more meetings left for the session so I won't have to worry about that much longer, but...

Note to self: BE CAREFUL already!

It would be stupid to exacerbate my condition when I've worked so hard to help it.

***

Today I've been trying to be careful with my eating and logged the day, more or less, in advance. I brought in lunch, a homemade turkey chili using the last of the turkey leftovers – freshly made last night, even! I've also got some of the Thanksgiving green bean casserole left that I didn't realize until today! I guess I am pushing the freshness factor at this point, but those beans are too good to let go to waste! Nom nom.

Some movie-going plans we had for tonight have been postponed to the weekend, so I don't have to worry about fitting in some theatre popcorn tonight... which means I have to rethink dinner. I'll probably keep it very simple and make something out of what we have at home, maybe some black bean dish. I need to up the protein for the day!

Ah, it's so good to be back into the normal routine again... I am really looking forward to making some new progress!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Back to the Drawing Board

I faced the music this morning on the scale: 272.

That means I gained about 7 pounds from Thanksgiving morning until this morning.

Boo hoo hoo.

Today I am back on it and determined to make my new goal for the end of the year: 258, which I am pretty certain I can do.

Disappointing? Yes.

But, since I am in this for life I know I will get to where I want to be eventually. Maybe just not next year. On the positive side, I am learning from every single tangent/sidebar/misstep I make. Truly.

Sometimes I feel kind of stupid continuing this blog because it seems like I am making zero progress in many months, but if you're willing to humor me, I'm keeping at it. It helps to hash it out here publicly. Maybe it is a little embarrassing, but maybe it is also helpful. Both my partner and I are feeling a little discouraged, but we have vowed to each other that we're NOT giving up.

I might show my second monthly gain in this history for November, but most assuredly I will make marked progress to round out the year.

A promise to myself.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

I Can't Even

Just keeping it real, folks.

The long weekend ended up being a bust for the most part. Up until yesterday, it wasn't too bad, but I ended up totally overdoing it last night, and it may have involved way too much sparkling wine and mini marshmallows. The result was both a wine and food hangover of epic proportions today... and the mayhem continued. We finished off the Thanksgiving leftovers (and I have a new plan for next year's meal), good riddance, I tried to sleep it off mid-afternoon. I wasn't really planning to eat any more for the rest of the day, but I did.

I don't know. I don't feel too badly about it, but then I kind of do. But what can you do, when it's already been done? All you can do is move on and get back to it.

Which is exactly what I'm going to do. Again.

On the plus side, I had a great time at No Boundaries yesterday and got in about three miles total between the walk with WalkFit and a very short run after. My friend and former mentor Liz ran with me, and because of her I was able to run my fastest mile since I was derailed by runner's knee – about a 14:57 pace! Hooray!

In other running news, I'm signed up for a half marathon relay race with my pals Amy F., Angela, and Emily! We'll each take a 3.3 mile leg and we're going to totally rock it! It's the Winter Warrior Half Marathon and Relay in nearby Rochester on January 9th. I should have plenty of time to get back up to snuff for that distance. Exciting!

I've just really got to stay positive about all this.

My goals have shifted over the weekend, and I am OK with it. Originally I wanted to try to get down below 260 before next week and then below 250 by the end of the year, but honestly? With this setback, neither one is going to happen. A more realistic, totally doable goal is to reach 262 258 by the end of the year, which would give me a 50 pound loss for the year – can you tell I like round numbers? ;) That's not too shabby by any standard.

On to the next one!

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving Was Fine

I had a lovely Thanksgiving, and hope you did, too.

As I do every year, I started in the kitchen early and ended up putting in several hours on my feet conducting what ended up being, as a whole, one of the best if not the best holiday dinner ever in the many years I've been at it.

The big bonus was that the whole time, I barely broke a sweat doing it. Seriously.

In the past, I have ended up literally covered in sweat by the time I was ready to put dinner on the table. Last year was better, but this year was the best. Sure, I was a bit tired after being on my feet much longer than I am used to, but I didn't need a shower and I felt pretty darned good sitting down to feast.

Looking back on last year, I ate one plate of food plus one dessert and one glass of wine. This year, I treated myself to a light breakfast (two eggs over easy and an English muffin) to tide me over until our early dinner, had a heaping plate, but drank a LOT of wine over the course of the day – close to two bottles, to be honest.

I also ended up NOT doing my own personal Turkey Trot, but that's OK. This morning I had a PT appointment first thing in the morning followed by a fun run at Fleet Feet, the Waffle Run, which – you guessed it – involved waffles and all the toppings afterward. I ended up doing two really good miles at my fastest pace in a while, just a sliver over 15 minute miles!

This week saw a low weight of 264 but for no good reason the morning of Thanksgiving it was 266. Still not bad, not far from where I wanted to be. This morning, the day after, post-run? 266, thank you very much. I'm hoping that I'll see 265 at official weigh-in tomorrow.

We went to visit my mom today and brought leftovers over to share. While I did have a small waffle this morning, we just ate the one big leftover meal at lunchtime and some pie for dessert, and that was it.

Tomorrow I've got No Boundaries WalkFit and will get another short run in after.

I felt a little stiff and tired today, but glad I went out and got some activity in. It was a beautiful day for it!

Here's to many more bountiful and enjoyable Thanksgivings... cheers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Donuts

I just wanted to tell you!

I did the Thanksgiving shopping last night after work. At a grocery store.

You know... the grocery store. Where they have a bakery and have donuts for sale? Where I had been totally being a weirdo and buying donuts every time I went so that I could scarf them down in my car before driving home?

Yep. Didn't happen this time! Donuts did not even cross my mind, until I pulled into the driveway and saw a text from my partner saying, "Oh no. Hope you didn't get donuts."

That was the cutest.

Nope, I didn't get donuts.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wow! Woo!

I have shifted gears a bit in the name of Thanksgiving, as I talked about in yesterday's post.

This morning, I weighed in at 265 – which, as a reminder, is the lowest I've been so far on this journey. This means that any more loss this week is total gravy. Well, kind of. I'd really like to see 263 or less on the scale by the weekend.

Trying not get too excited, but I really think I will make this happen, even with Thanksgiving in the way!

To celebrate, I took a couple body shots post workout (and toweling down and changing clothes, of course). I am not a huge fan of these, but whatever. It's what I look like, hey! I should get over it! (Still, I look better in my head, go figure, argh body dysmorphia.) Clothing notes: new shirt from the Gap, size XXL; jeans from Kmart circa 2008, one of those items that was always much smaller than everything else the same size, that is 24. Otherwise, I'm well into pants sizes 22, 20... almost to 18. These jeans will likely be too big in another ten pounds or so.




Also, I got this in my inbox and this, and I read this. All good and relevant for what I've been going through and feeling lately, and maybe for you, too? (Gems from Jason at Strength Running, Nia at Lift Like a Girl, and Leo at zen habits. Enjoy!)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Dealing with Holidays

The lovely turkey from Thanksgiving 2013. 
I am happy to say that I am back into the 260s again – weighed in yesterday at 268, which means that I haven't yet lost all the weight I gained last week, but I am more than halfway there. It's a step in the right direction!

But now I am facing Thanksgiving week. I know a lot of people who are trying to lose weight freak out at the idea of managing good eating habits but still having a good time and eating the food they love. Of course, we're heading into that long holiday season, period, where we'll all have to work our way around various parties, more sweets at the office, family gatherings, etc. etc.

Last year around this time I was right around six months into losing weight, which also happened to be a kind of "make or break" time for me. In past weight loss efforts, it was around six to nine months when I started giving up and gaining the weight back. So I was extra nervous! I was also extra determined to not get derailed again. Long story short, I made it past holiday season relatively unscathed and with losses for the months of November, December, and January.

This year I have some added incentive and some more deliberate goals, though. I know that I will get past the season just fine, but I want more than that this year. As I have mentioned before, I would like to get down under 260 by the end of this Ton of Fun session (December 5th is the last weigh-in for it), and under 250 for the new year. If I want to reach that first goal in particular, I'm going to have to be really diligent in the next two weeks.

Yet, I also want to fully enjoy my Thanksgiving meal!

My plan is:

• Eat less than usual today until Thursday – between 1200 and 1500 cals instead of the usual 1900.

• Map out my eating for those days, in advance. I've actually already done this in MyFitnessPal for the entire week, including Thanksgiving and the days following as well.

• Map out a plan for exercise. I've done this in my Workout Log online already!

Monday: An hour or more at the gym, including PT exercises, upper body strength, and cardio (ended up doing 45 minutes of intense cardio and a 20-minute/1 mile walk on my lunch break)

Tuesday: Gym in the morning, similar to Monday; No Boundaries in the evening: Mentoring WalkFit about 5K in 45 minutes) plus a 1.6 mile run before (decided to nix the morning workout as I will get plenty in after work)

Wednesday: PT appointment 30 minutes of grueling PT, plus a short 10-minute run to the ATM before work. ;)

Thursday: My own personal Turkey Trot in the afternoon – run/walk 5K or 4 miles

Friday: PT appointment in the morning followed by a group fun run at Fleet Feet

Saturday: No Boundaries, same as Tuesday.

Sunday: Presumably rest. You gotta rest.

For this coming week, it is my hope to get down to 265 or below. I'd love to see 263 – may as well be as specific as I can, right? Then, the following week I want to see 259 or below.

As I have said before, I usually don't use time-based goals anymore. I think they can be discouraging in general, but for this period of time in my journey it seems like a good tool to use! The worst that can happen is that I miss the mark – but I know that I will make some sort of progress, and that is the important thing.

Perhaps most importantly, I plan to fully enjoy Thanksgiving dinner! I do all the preparation and really love the process of pulling everything together. But the eating is the best, no?


On the menu, a pretty traditional feast:

• Roasted turkey (from a local farm!)
• Sausage stuffing (Grandma's recipe)
• Mashed potatoes
Maple-pecan sweet potatoes
• Homemade cranberry sauce with orange and ginger
• Southern-style green beans
• Homemade cheese bread (it's braided and gorgeous!)
• Apple pie and blueberry pie from a local bakery that is to die for
Cranberry-brie cinnamon sugar puff pastry swirls (this is something new I'm trying, mmm...)

I'm not making any "healthy" substitutions, but I am going to eat reasonable portions – I don't want to overeat, especially knowing that I'll be doing my Turkey Trot later on.

So that's it! My plan is in place and I couldn't be more pleased with it.

What are your plans for the holidays coming up?

What is your favorite holiday recipe?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Back on Track

I'm happy to report that I am truly back on track this week. Things are going well and the whole eating thing feels normal and good again. Talk about crazy hormones!

I had an appointment with my dietitian yesterday morning and we talked a lot about what happened and some strategies on how I might better deal with it in the future. Making sure to get adequate protein levels in during a time like that was one way (satiety), and another was talking yourself down from it... so in my case a big issue last week was last-minute decisions at the grocery store involving carby sweets, i.e. donuts. I'm not proud of this at all, and it is a little embarrassing to share, but I will because that is what I do. ;)

I'll go to the store for necessities and find myself gazing at the bakery donuts, choose two or three, bag 'em up, and then... once I am out in the car, before I drive home I eat them right then and there.

So this involves compulsive behavior as well as the lovely secret eating crap I've been doing on and off for what feels like my whole life. (Ask my mom about the empty ice cream cartons in the freezer, whittled down sneaky spoonful by spoonful when no one was looking.) I know that part of it is certainly driven by hormones on overdrive, but part of it is the issues I've had with food and eating for a long, long time now. Part of me is scared to succeed at losing weight for various reasons. Sometimes fat feels like protection and it's hard to give that up.

I won't go into my various personal issues related to this here in the blog, but Mindy and I did talk about how it might be beneficial for me to do some talk therapy with someone who specializes in eating disorders to try to work it out – else I might not ever be free of this stuff. And I want to be! So that is going to be something to add to my toolbox in the coming months.

Mindy also suggested trying to make better choices when in the midst of a "crisis" such as I was in last week. Of course she understood that it can be much easier said than done, but in the future this is something I will try to keep in mind, even when my hormones are clouding my judgement. For instance, a few granola or protein bars would be a better choice to binge on than a few donuts, calorie-wise and nutrition-wise. I can think of a couple types of KIND bars that would likely fix a wicked craving, honestly – so that is something viable.

We'll see. My biggest hope is that such crazy cravings like that will not hit me again – though I am not counting on it. As Mindy said, life will always happen and we have to be prepared to deal with those curveballs and odd situations. It's a process. I'm learning, always.

In other news, I'm running here and there and it's going OK, despite some lingering knee pain. I'm still working on PT twice a week, but every time I do the exercises (which are getting more challenging but also more dynamic and fun) I always feel better. This morning left me literally dripping in sweat! It was great. Then after, I had some time to kill before work so I parked my car in the lot and went out for a short run, just about 3/4 mile. I'm trying to take as much advantage of this beautiful weather we're having while it lasts! A snowstorm could hit at any time, like it did last year at this time. (Yikes!)

Unfortunately, I need to get better at planning ahead during the week, both for packing lunches and packing my gym bag! It seems like I always forget something in the latter, it's stupid. Sometimes it's something not as obvious, like fresh underwear or socks, but on other days like today? PANTS. Fortunately I wore boot cut yoga pants this morning, so they are not too much of a stretch, but because I worked out in them, they're not the freshest ever. And I just feel sloppy and gross as a result. I forgot deodorant, too! Trust me, I am doing my best to avoid getting too close to anyone at the office.

So I thought on lunch break that maybe I could zip over to Target and buy a new pair of jeans and be done with it – throw them on when I got back. Sadly, though, the plus size section situation is not getting any better over at Target, and while I did find a couple contenders, they just didn't work for me. And can we talk about those horrible, horrible fitting room mirrors? I couldn't decide while I was there whether they would throw me into a frenzy of donuts, or help keep me on track.

It turned out to be the latter, but I also realized another thing – there are some panties in my drawers that really need to given up. The ones I have on today are so comically baggy that I was embarrassed just looking at them in the mirror with no one around! You see, I don't have a full-length mirror upstairs (though there is one in the basement) and I don't ever see myself in my undies. I more or less go by how they fit, which at present is baggy but not falling off. Seeing the visual sealed the deal, though. A major underwear drawer overhaul is due!

I ended up not buying any jeans (though I do fit into size 20 pretty all right), but I did indulge in some new tops. At least in tops I can shop in the "regular" section and have some options in the XXL size. I've been watching a lot of Project Runway lately and it's really making me want cool clothes again so badly. Maybe I'll even start sharing some of my outfits with you here from time to time. I started a Pinterest board a while back to try to build a library of what appeals to me, which you can see here; I'm pretty eclectic but also like the classics as much I love, say new wave and punk styles. You know what, though? I just keep going back to this image as inspiration. This is not me, of course, but this is a version of me who is hanging out in the background waiting for her chance on stage. The hair, the makeup, the textures, the colors, the layers... gets a big ol' *sigh*fest from me.

May apologies, I do not know where I found this originally.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Focused on Goals

Despite my crazy roller coastering lately, I still have faith that I can reach a solid goal or two by the end of the year. Normally I don't go for time-based goals anymore because of my poor experience with them in the past (got discouraged when I didn't meet them, gave up), BUT I think this time of year is as good as any to set some for further motivation as we close out 2015.

So here I will lay out what I'd to accomplish in the next month and a half.

Primary goal:

Ultimately, I'd like to see below 250 pounds by January 1st. That's probably stretching it a bit, especially seeing that I haven't had a big enough monthly loss to support that since I first starting losing weight back in May 2014. But, that's my big fantasy, and I'm going to shoot for it.

Secondary goals:

I'd like to see below 260 for the last weigh-in of this Ton of Fun session, which is December 5th. It seems a little ambitious considering my weight skyrocketed back up to 272 for this weekend's weigh-in, but I do think that I should be able to lose that recently gained weight fairly quickly and then take care of the extra 6-7 pounds needed for that. I really think if I can regain my focus it is possible.

See, then the sub-250 goal for the end of the year would be totally doable, too.

If all else fails, at the very least I want to see sub-260 by January 1st, which would net me a 50 pound loss for 2015. Not too shabby!

Things I will be doing to make this happen:

 • Sticking to my 1900 daily calorie goal as much as possible.

• I signed up for a Winter Warrior running group that begins in early December to keep me active, in addition to gym time. (That said I may take it a bit easier this week because I have been pretty tired lately. Will listen to my body and work accordingly.)

Monday: Rest or gym
Tuesday: No Boundaries (probably walking)
Wednesday: PT
Thursday: Rest or gym
Friday: PT
Saturday: No Boundaries (probably walking)
Sunday: Rest or long walk

• Continue working on balancing my meals as much as possible. More protein, fewer processed carbs and sweets (only because they really seem to mess me up, especially during PMS when my cravings for them become nearly uncontrollable).

• Starting tomorrow, daily weigh-in – with the promise of no freak-outs – only to keep myself focused.

This week's goal:

Get back down into the mid-260s.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Running Crazy

The whole lot of us on a stop to Friends of the Night People to donate canned goods for the homeless.
That's Amy F., me, and Emily in the front row all in black. 

I couldn't have ended the day yesterday on a better note.

If you recall, in the morning I weighed myself and it was not so warm and fuzzy. But, at the same time the gain I had was so crazy I didn't have much room to feel upset about it.

After work, though, I went on the Taco Trot that Fleet Feet organized as part of the Pub Run series they do. The run started and ended at Cantina Loco, and awesome Mexican restaurant in the Allentown neighborhood of Buffalo, near downtown.

I was kind of feeling yucky as I sludged downstairs to the bathroom to change into my superhero outfit (aka running gear). I didn't really feel like going, to tell the truth – especially because the weather had really taken a turn for the miserable with very high winds and rain. But my pal Amy F. convinced me that it would be a character builder, and as soon as those words were laid down, I was in. Challenge accepted.

I had decided to try to see how much I could run comfortably. The past few outings I've had I've done some run/walk intervals and those felt OK. I have been dying to know how much of my running fitness I lost or kept. So I ran. And I ran. I lost sight of everyone else because that's usually how it is. But I kept going, stepping through puddles and almost being blown over (literally!) countless times. I never checked my pace during the run because I wanted to just focus on how things felt and not worry about that. I was curious, though, because it was feeling good! I felt strong the whole time! I was barely out of breath!

When I arrived back at the restaurant, I was very pleased to see that my average pace was a respectable 15:38. I really couldn't believe it. SO PUMPED! I could still run.


Me with the foggy, wet glasses, Amy F. and Pat, post-run!

I also discovered that I really quite enjoy running in adverse weather – must be a bit of an adrenaline junkie and a little crazy. I like the idea of doing something that most people would not choose to. But I also find it hard to resist the chance to run with my wonderful friends, even if we're not running right together. Once we were all back at Cantina Loco, we enjoyed drinks and food and the best conversation. It saved a day that started out on the lowest note and ended it on the absolute highest.

Remember, the scale is absolutely NOT the best or only indicator of progress. Not by any means.

The rewards were great – drinks and delicious food with amazing friends. Angela, Amy F., me, and Emily!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

My Body Is Crazy.

Dang.


I finally got my head out of the sand and weighed myself this morning.

Since Sunday, I have gained NINE pounds.

I have gained nine pounds in four days.

That is so wild and crazy that I don't even have room to be upset.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ride the Waves

I want to do this in real life one day, but I am doing this figuratively every day.  Photo by Maria Georgieva.

The past few days – since the weekend, really – eating has been challenging. I want to say I've been doing my best, but am I? I don't know, probably not. I've got vicious cravings and I want to eat everything in sight, basically. While I haven't eaten everything, I've definitely been looser than usual and amassing about an extra 1000+ calories every day since Sunday. That will only mean one thing unless I reign it in stat, and that is: I WILL gain this week.

Not so much to make excuses for myself, but rather to analyze the why and how and wherefore of this? A few factors. First and foremost: PMS, no doubt about it. The cravings, oh man. But then there is also poor sleep over the weekend and since (except for the night before last when I slept for almost 12 hours  – I obviously really needed to catch up), plus the added fun of work-related drama/stress. There's been a situation that came to full light last week – an office affair (not mine!!!) that becomes even more complicated and unsavory but will spare the details – that affects all of us in the office. Stupid. On the surface I am mostly dealing with it but at the same time I know it's festering and totally bugging me, the whole injustice of it. Some emotional eating may be the result. I just want to eat ALL the food.

Of course, something else that might come into play as far as my appetite goes is the fact that I have upped my activity level a bit in the past few weeks, averaging fairly intense workouts 45 minutes to an hour a day, five or six days a week. Maybe my metabolism is increasing as a result? (Depending on what you read, yes or no. *shrug*) Either way, it's very real that my appetite seems to be increasing lately.

This is something I will definitely address with Mindy when I meet with her again next week, but maybe by then I'll be over it. It seems to come in waves.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ugh

Binge-o-rama.

I'm totally PMSing. That is what's going on, for sure. Hopefully it won't destroy all my great progress.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Couple Quick Things

A gorgeous fall morning along the Devil's Hole–Whirlpool trail. 


Just checking in after a busy but also lazy weekend. I have things to share!

1. I had a great weigh-in on Saturday after a nice 3.3 hilly miles of walking with a few three-minute running intervals sprinkled in; No Boundaries met up at Chestnut Ridge Park, which is famous for its rolling hills.

Down to 265. I can hardly believe it, especially after that crazy gain at mid-week. Trust the process.

2. Weight held at 265 this morning. I decided to go for a long walk at home, something I haven't done in a while. I initially was thinking, well, maybe a 5K distance, maybe even 4 miles... and then I got caught up in the idea of finally nailing the 10K distance. I walked most of it, but figure I probably gently ran about 1.5 miles of it. I walked over to Devil's Hole park and followed the trail to Whirlpool National Park, which is a veritable treasure that I feel so lucky to live within easy walking distance of.

It was really the perfect weekend, weather-wise, for these activities. Here it is the beginning of November and we've been enjoying temperatures that are relatively balmy. This weekend cooled down just enough to make these walks really enjoyable.

After my epic walk I raked leaves for about a half hour. The rest of the day I pretty much loafed – yesterday, too. I loafed and my eating was pretty poor. Today I had a little bit of a secret eating/binge episode that really upset me. It helped to share it with my partner, who made me feel better about it. What happened? I will tell you. It's nothing new, something I have done before that's pretty dumb. Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I have a weird craving for donuts from the store's bakery, and I get two and eat them in the car.

I mean, I know it's nothing earth-shattering, but it always feels shitty. It felt shitty today.

I enjoyed them, but the shame of doing it made me feel awful afterward.

But anyway, I am OK now and ready to get back to the program with enthusiasm tomorrow.

I'm hoping to get a really good night's sleep tonight, something I didn't get in over the weekend.

How are you doing?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Rollercoasters

Wow, have I ever been on some roller coasters this week! Let me tell you about them.

My weight. Holy crap. I was down to 267 on Monday. Then after a dinner snafu I was back up to 270 and I thought, no problem! I'm back to plan right away, and it will come back off. Yesterday I had a great eating day, and I have been exercising every day. When I got ready to weigh this morning I felt confident and even felt like my body was smaller somehow... but no.

Back up to 273!

I've gained six pounds since Monday. For no really good reason.

The body is so wild, mysterious, and complicated. What on earth is going on in there?

Well, as Mindy reminded me, unless I ate 3500 calories times six, I did not gain six pounds of fat. I know intellectually that this is probably about water, hormones, and maybe some stress. I always forget about the effect stress has on your body, especially when you're trying to lose weight. It's crazy! And I have been stressed out about a situation at work, and some lighter stuff at home. I need to remember that I can't control everything. I should probably think about meditating again.

But anyway. Back to roller coasters. That was the biggie. I'm definitely pissed off, but if I hadn't gone through this x times already I'd be extra upset, you know? As always, I trust the process and I know that I have been sticking with it (with the occasional digressions) pretty well. Eating has been better overall, and I am kicking ass with exercise. So I just have to keep doing my thing.

My gosh, how many times have I said the same thing to myself? 

Well, I just have to keep saying it. Because it's true.

Another roller coaster I have been is the fun emotional one. I just feel much more apt to tears lately, the past week in particular. Just today alone, here's me:

• At the gym, doing some lat pull-downs. I was struggling with the last few at 85 pounds but I got it done. The woman who was doing her workout nearby commented favorably toward me. I was SO excited! This was the woman I've been seeing almost every day I go to the gym and she kicks so much ass – she's always doing various weight training routines and I just love seeing her in action. Totally motivating and inspiring. I've been wanting to tell her that for a while now, so having this opening was such a gift.

I got up and walked over to her to say thank you and introduce myself. "Can I just tell you, you are my hero here?" I said as I shook her hand. Kelly responded in turn that I inspire her! "I see you working hard!" OMG. I couldn't even believe it. She is slender and curvy and strong. I want to be like her one day. And now it turns out that she is super nice, too!

After that I go over to get a 30-pound barbell to do a set of lifts (I forget what they are called), and I just about started crying. Tears came out, yes, but I didn't let it go full on. It just felt so good to be recognized and validated by someone I've been admiring. She has no idea what that did for me. And it brought tears to my eyes.

(Not sure what kind of tears they were – joy? Feeling sorry for myself? A little of both.)

Totally unrelated except in that it makes me cry, seeing animal-related stuff on Facebook always gets me and is really getting me today. I feel like a mess. Sad animal stuff, happy animal stuff... oh, animals. They are just the best.

Where does that leave me? Two days away from official weigh-in, I tell you what, now I will be happy if I can just maintain where I was last week at 268. But whatever. The time in which it takes really doesn't matter as long as I don't quit. This morning after I stepped off the scale I was tempted to say fuck it and go back to bed, but I didn't. I put my gear on and I got myself to gym, and early, too so that I could spend a little more time before heading to work. I ended up doing about 80 minutes worth of PT and strength training as well as a good chunk of cardio (25 minutes on the elliptical! Wow!). It felt really good, and pumped me up for a good day of eating as well, which I already have all logged and everything.

Grey skies are gonna clear up!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Celebrating a Broken Plateau!

I am very, very happy to announce that after three torturous months, I seem to have broken out of the plateau I was in. I just couldn't seem to get out of the 270s for the life of me. With my extra efforts the past couple weeks, I have made some good progress and finally hit 268 at my weigh-in on Saturday. It was a real thrill, truly.

Now that we're in a new month, I'd like to set some goals for November.

• Since I would like to lose 20 pounds by the new year, I need to lose 10 each month. This might be pushing it a little bit, but I also think I can get really close if I continue my focused efforts. I feel like I am on a roll and want to carry it through to 2016.

So, I'd like to see 260 or less by the end of November.*

(In correlation to that, I expect that I'll be able to publicly wear a pair of size 20 Old Navy dress pants that I have never been able to wear before – I guess I bought them the last time I was losing weight but never got there. I do wear one pair of size 20 jeans from Avenue now. The ON ones I tried on tonight for the first time in a while and was amazed I could get them zipped and buttoned... they are just still too tight to wear out respectably. Ten more pounds should do it.)

• It looks like I might be finished with physical therapy by Thanksgiving. I was told about four more weeks by my PT and that was last week, so... yes, I'd really like to be finished with it by the holiday. I must be diligent with my exercises. I tell you what, my butt and legs are feeling pretty rock solid lately. That's a good sign.

• I will continue to get at least 30 minutes of sweat-inducing exercise at least five times a week, every week. That has been going well. I'm in the habit now.

• I have a plan in place for Thanksgiving, which I talked about with my partner who is also losing weight. We decided to only have the things we really, really like: A farm-raised turkey, sausage stuffing, a traditional sweet potato casserole, southern-style green beans simmered with a ham hock, homemade cheese bread, homemade cranberry sauce with orange and ginger (that one's for me – mmmm!). We'll make a much smaller portion of mashed potatoes than usual (they taste best the day of anyway), and we're getting pie from a local restaurant that is to DIE for.

For better or worse, we've both decided to go on an austerity budget, eating-wise on the few days before Thanksgiving to help mitigate the damage. I suppose you could compare it to the 5:2 diet thing, or intermittent fasting. It's not something I would normally do, but since Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and one that I want to fully enjoy, I think it is a fine trade-off to take that approach.

In addition, I plan to do my 2nd Annual Personal Turkey Trot! Since I will be busy cooking that morning, I won't be able to attend the real Turkey Trot in nearby Buffalo with my friends, but I do plan to do either a 5K or 4 mile distance later that afternoon – walking or running, whichever I can do at that point. I did it last year for the first time and really enjoyed it and thought it would make a great tradition for me, and a way to burn some cals and get out of that turkey coma I'm sure I will be experiencing!

* NEW! I just figured out that the last weigh-in for ToF at Fleet Feet this session is going to be December 5th, and in order to get the 5% reward (two $25 gift certificates), I'll need to be < 259 or so. I really, really want to meet this goal! It's sort of an extended November goal going into December, but that is OK. I'm going to work really hard to get there, Thanksgiving be damned.

***

So how'd I deal with Hallowe'en? Well, I didn't really have to as we are one of those Scrooge-y houses that turn all the lights off and don't participate in the whole trick or treat thing. Of course that means no snack-size candy in the house. Instead, though, I had a planned indulgent day yesterday that included pizza, Smartfood popcorn, gelato, and chocolate, plus a bottle of sparkling wine – some of my favorite foods. It was somewhat controlled in that I stopped eating by around 5:30pm. Other mitigating factors included two hours of exercise that morning, plus drinking tons of water all throughout the day and into the evening, as well as the mindset that I would absolutely get back to business today – and I did! It is also my intention that until Thanksgiving, I will be sticking to plan fairly strictly. I really want to reach my short-term goal.

Breaking things down, I am aiming to lose two to two and a half pounds each week, and that has been happening the past two weeks once I started following Mindy the dietitian's suggestions. Depending on where I sit at the new year, I'll see whether I need a little break and work on maintaining at around 250, or continue on right away.

Beyond that important 250 mark, I'm looking intently at 230, a weight where I last remember feeling like I looked pretty "normal". Wow – it's not that far away anymore! I am super excited for the next six months to see where I end up.

In the meantime, I must focus on the day to day effort and not worry too much about what lies that far ahead.

One step at a time.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Turn the Frown Upside Down

It was kind of a dumb morning. I had to get up at ass o'clock to get to a training session at the gym at 7:30, it was super windy and kind of spooky, and I was very cranky about the scale. I really just wanted to say F it and go back to bed so I could sleep in an extra hour.

But, I didn't. I put my big girl panties on, got myself ready and out the door, complete with breakfast and lunch items in tow (I've had a perfect week in that regard!). I did it with a scowl on my face, but I did it.

Before I move ahead to the next part of the story, let me go back to the issue I had with the scale first. It's still not doing much. I'm still hovering around 272. On occasion it will be lower, and like today, it read 273. Not so bad, but darn it! I've been working really hard to break into the 260s this week.

• I've stayed just at or slightly under 1900 cals each day (as recommended by Mindy, my dietitian)

• I haven't used any exercise cals – I log my activity each day, but I don't register any calorie burn

• I have exercised to sweating for at least 30 minutes (and usually 45 to 60) every single day

And still? Nothing much.

So after having a pretty good day yesterday, I was expecting to see something below 272 this morning. But, no. No, no, no. 273, said the scale. A big part of me just really wanted to blow off the appointment and go straight back to bed, which is stupid, right? Exactly the thing I shouldn't do. Well, I got over it and went to the gym, and the trainer I worked with today, Brandon, really shook me out of my funk almost immediately. He had me do some really awesome stuff and it made me feel strong and powerful and capable, and after about a half hour strength/metabolic training, I did a half hour of cardio as well. I'm calling my cardio routine "The Trifecta" now – instead of slogging along on the boring treadmill for the at least 30 minutes I like to do, I split my time between that and the elliptical, as well as the bike. (I was up to 13 minutes on the elliptical today!) It makes it more interesting and the time goes by much faster – not to mention that I definitely work harder and I'm working with different muscles on each machine.

Once again, my little motto regarding exercise of "If you don't do it, you'll regret it, but you will NEVER regret it if you do" proves TRUE TRUE TRUE. I am so glad I made it to the gym this morning. It totally turned my frown upside down. Big thanks to Brandon for helping with that and for reminding me that even when I don't see results on the scale, a lot of stuff is going on behind the scenes (under the skin) and that I will soon see the numbers head back down again.

In other news, I found yet another brand of yogurt that I really like: Oh My Yog! by Stonyfield Farms. I had the blueberry flavor this morning and LOVED it – like so much that I totally get why they call it Oh My Yog! It's on sale at one of the local grocery stores this week and I want to get more, but when I went today on the way home they only had the vanilla in stock, so I got one of those to try tomorrow for breakfast. It's funny, I don't know about you, but I get really nervous when I'm trying a new yogurt, so it was a big relief to enjoy it as much as I did.

Two more treats I'd like to share with you. The first is some delicious chocolate, because I believe that if you're going to eat chocolate, it may as well be really good chocolate. I am in love with Wild Ophelia's Smoked Salt peanut butter cups and had a pack today. Truth be told, it put me over on my calories, but I also figure that for the amazing workout I had in the morning, it won't be too much damage (technically I don't use my exercise cals anymore, so).

The second treat is a new recipe I found and made for dinner tonight! I swear I looked at hundreds of chicken recipes today for something different that I thought both my partner and I would enjoy that wasn't Mexican-inspired (only because I already have so many good ones I make already), and finally I found Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu. Wow, it was SO good and pretty easy and fast to make since it cooks at such a high temperature. I ended up slathering a little more mustard than is called for on each piece of chicken, and simply sprinkled the panko crumbs on top of that and then drizzled a little bit of olive oil, rather than mix the latter two together – it seemed to me that it would be more trouble than it's worth. The other thing I would do differently next time is to broil them for a minute or two at the end just so that the crumbs get a little more brown and crispy. Seriously, though. So tasty, and relatively healthy since each piece has one deli slice of ham and swiss cheese. It's a lot of added flavor, and because the chicken is butterflied and pounded thin, it cooks quickly and stays moist and juicy. We served it with roasted baby red and purple potatoes and asparagus, which amounted to a very nicely balanced dinner indeed.

It's a recipe that is headed into regular rotation at our house for sure!

So here's to ending the day on a positive note. Hopefully official weigh-in on Saturday will yield good results, but even if not I am still keeping on keeping on. G*d knows I am trying really hard – well, except maybe for those peanut butter cups. ;) I'm only human, after all.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Positive Thinking and Goal Setting

I was just looking at my numbers for the past year. It hasn't been an easy year for weight loss, but I have been mustering through and making progress, even if it is slower than I'd really like.

But hey! The slower I lose it, the more likely I will keep it off, yes? Positive thinking.

And I really could have been in a totally different place if I had given up when things got hard. A much worse place. Positive thinking.

I look at what I have been able to accomplish so far and so I know now what I can do now and in the future. Positive thinking.

You're probably wondering what drugs I am on today that I am so into this positive thinking stuff. The answer is, none! (If only, LOL!) The truth is that I am still feeling really good about the past couple weeks and about yesterday in particular. That morning physical therapy appointment really buoyed my spirits and made me feel super strong and capable of just about anything. (That's the power of exercise, people!) Then, for a cherry on top of all that, this morning I had an excellent weigh-in: The numbers are going back down again, finally. 271, which I haven't seen in a few weeks. And based on how my body has been feeling, I think the gates have finally been unlocked so that I can enter Phase 2: The Next Hundred Pounds once and for all.

You know how sometimes in the process of losing weight, you can almost literally feel your body changing? It's not something that happens all the time, of course, but when it does it is amazing. I have been getting that sense the past few days. I feel like it is finally ready to continue further ahead on the path. After all, while I didn't really lose weight this past month, I did lose a few inches.

Something is definitely going on.

In other, more mundane news, I bought some tilapia at the store to do as a quick pan saute, super light dinner (I had been starving all day yesterday and ate big breakfast and lunch, so practically no cals left for dinner) – and it was a) super fast and easy and b) super yummy! All it took was a hot pan, sea salt and fresh-ground pepper, a bit of water in the pan to help steam it, and voila! About three minutes later I was plating the fillets (about 7 oz worth) and sprinkling a little bit of chopped fresh parsley on top... truly perfection. I haven't cooked with fish in a while and I am so happy I did this on a whim. It really couldn't have been a better solution to the "I don't feel like cooking/I don't have many calories left/I don't want a frozen dinner" issue. Big pat on my own back for taking such a big risk. ROFL.

Oh! So anyway, back to the top. I was looking at my numbers for the year, and while I usually try to avoid setting time-based weight loss goals anymore (I feel like it too often sets myself up for failure and makes me feel bad), I decided that I wanted to try to reach a BIG milestone before the end of the year.

Hey, what's the worst that could happen? I don't reach it, but I will make some progress anyway. Pft.

So, here it is.

I am committing to reaching 248 pounds by January 1st. 

I guess what I have envisioned for myself for October is to hit 268. I just have a feeling about it. I'm going to get there in the next week and a half.

My starting weight at the beginning of the year was 308. All these 8s! It's actually my favorite single digit, coincidentally.

While technically it would be a thrill to even get into the 250s, I'm aiming for 248. Why not? It's twenty pounds in two months. This would put me at a much higher loss rate than I've had in a while, but I don't think it is impossible at all. I think what has been unusual is that I haven't been seeing those numbers for while, to be honest. 248 would put me at a 60 pound loss for the year, which is pretty good.

Aim high, I always say. (But be reasonable, too.) This goal fits the bill.

Of course, I will have the added challenge of the holiday season coming up! But I don't think that is such a big deal, to be honest. I will be working my ass off in the kitchen on Thanksgiving, having a reasonable meal, and also doing my now-traditional personal Turkey Trot (5K or 4 mile walk or run, whatever I am able to do at that point!) later in the day. Bam. Christmas? Eh, whatever. I will enjoy those holiday food favorites, but I think I have enough tools in my toolbox to deal with it and not feel deprived, but not go overboard, either. Fortunately, I also have a great exercise habit solidly in place that will help ameliorate any transgressions. I also have the power of a nutritionist on my side, and I will be meeting again with her on November 17th. That will help keep me focused.

So there you have it. I HAVE A PLAN! I am super excited.

Do YOU have a plan in place? If so, tell me about it – what you'd like to do and how you will get it done.

Let's do this together!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Getting Strong

You know, I think that I am finally at peace with the slight turn my journey has taken with not being able to run while I work on getting stronger.

This past week one of my WalkFit guys, Brandon, and I were talking about our respective injuries. He is bummed not to be running as well, but he had a really great perspective on it. It's one I inherently know, but just couldn't quite handle until he put it into words. For me, so many times something really strikes me only after someone else says it out loud to me. So he was talking about how what we're doing in PT is making us stronger and that we have to let our bodies heal so that we don't get really hurt in the future. Something about his delivery really hit it home for me.

Then, this morning's PT appointment was also a breakthrough. First of all, enough has been added on that I am getting a real workout doing all the exercises I've been assigned, finishing the work totally sweaty and feeling that muscle thing you feel when you've really pushed it – but not too far. I've had more exercises added on to my routine this week that are really kicking my butt and really making me feel that "getting stronger" feeling. Now Becky's got me doing squats with a resistance band and upping the ante on my side planks by making me use the resistance band and opening my legs a la clamshells – HOLY CRAP. That stuff is hard, but super effective.

We also talked about personal training and she recommended an office whose focus is like an extension of PT – the approach is more like that. That sounds really good to me, and while I really enjoyed my session with the trainer yesterday, I think I'd like to go with a program like what she told me about, which is called TrainSmart. She also would prefer that I finish up my PT in order to get me to a higher level of strength before I do personal training again, so... since my original plan was to wait until the new year anyway, that works perfectly. Our discussion gave me even more confidence and focus in what I have been doing and want to do.

Weight-wise, I'm hanging out at 273, which is fine with me for now. I feel like I have set a good foundation for the next phase recovering from that one terrible week I had, lost the weight I had gained and now moving on from there. I think that if I keep up the good practices I've been (mostly) employing since then, I should show another loss at official Fleet Feet weigh-in on Saturday.

Eating-wise I think the best thing that has happened since meeting with Mindy the dietician is that I am trying to be really careful to include a decent amount of protein at every meal, especially breakfast (since the other meals are pretty easy for me to do that). For example, I ended up having a pretty big breakfast (over 700 cals!), but it was pretty well balanced, too. I was starving after PT and hadn't eaten since late afternoon yesterday. It shaped up thusly:

• an empire apple
• 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
• an everything bagel with 2 tbsp cream cheese
• hot chocolate packet (Nestle Rich Chocolate, 80 cals)
• green tea
• water

Here's what all that looked like in the breakdown of nutrition.


I'm happy that it ended up being 22g of protein and 10g of fiber! The fat level is on the high side, but that's OK. I actually ate the apple and PB when I first arrived at work, and had the bagel and cream cheese about an hour after that. Hey, it's free bagel day at work! I never pass that up.

So anyway, I am feeling very positive lately about most things, but especially what I have been doing for my body. I can just about feel those muscles building and getting stronger. It's super cool.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Progress Amid "Crisis"

After having such a hard week recently, I am happy to say that this past one was actually really, really good. As I mentioned during the bad week I was up five pounds and generally feeling out of control with my eating. This past week I really got it together and was very happy with my food intake (both quality and quantity), and got good results on the scale, too – was back down the five pounds I had gained! Good news all around. My efforts paid off.

Yesterday ended up being a free-for-all, more or less, which is kind of a shame, BUT – I am not letting it overshadow what I did accomplish and what I will accomplish this week. Today I am just right back to it and excited to finally break out of that rut I have been in, and break into the 260s like I've been dreaming about for months now!

Time to make it a reality. I'm ready.

But listen to this! I've been feeling like my body is different despite the stall on the scale. I was curious – even though I had just taken measurements about a month ago, I wanted to see if there was any difference. Sure enough! I've lost a total of three inches off my body, which is awesome. I'll take it.

Another cool thing is that clothes keep fitting better and better. I wanted to share this coat with you. I know, it's not everyone's style, but I loved it right away when I first bought it on sale at Target a good three or four years ago (maybe even five!). Only, I wasn't ever able to wear it. It's a size 24/26 but runs small. Well, this season? It's fits perfectly.

Except now I'm not sure how much I like it anymore. I wore it to work today and I'm just sort of like, meh. Maybe it's a bit much after all. But are you thinking what I am thinking? I'll likely only be wearing it one last season, this fall. I'd like for it to be too big for me come spring. So for now, I will hang on to it and wear it and try to enjoy it while I still can.

Full-length pics, always in the bathroom at work. Oh well.

I took a few other photos to show progress, too. I'm really starting to like what I see in the mirror!

Look at those big meat hooks! LOL. I can deal.

I had a good early morning session at PT today and added on yet another exercise to do – a sort of kneeling "lunge" that's not really a lunge. Tomorrow I'll be doing a double – a free (trial), hour-long personal training session at Best Fitness at 7:30, and then after work I've got NoBo, which will amount to about 40 minutes of brisk walking. I'm really looking forward to both! 

I'm really excited at the prospect of working with a trainer again, and while I will probably need to wait until the new year to get that going again (waiting for my FSA funds to reset), it will be a cost that I can be reimbursed for! Love that. I also look forward to taking classes like yoga again, as well as get into the pool at LA Fitness!!! Not to wish my way into winter, but hurry up, 2016! 

So much to look forward to.

Before I depart, I wanted to share some product recommendations with you. I am NOT being compensated in any way for this, and this is totally of my own honest opinion. When something is super good, I like to share that information. (Though companies, I'd be so happy to work with you! Call me, K?)

1. Noosa yoghurt. I bought one container of the blueberry flavor sometime last week and finally got around to eating it this morning. HOLY CRAP. I couldn't believe how good it tasted. It's a little on the pricey side, but very worth it. I thought it tasted like cheesecake. I'm getting more. 

2. Lean Cuisine Ranchero Braised Beef meal. One day last week I only had about 250 calories left to eat for dinner. I had this in my freezer, something I bought on a whim to have as backup in case we had nothing else to eat in the house or we got sick of canned soup and we didn't feel like cooking. It's only 250 calories, and it's a small amount of food (for me, anyway) – but – it tastes just about as good any homemade beef dish I'd come up with, and it comes with a tasty side of mashed sweet potato, too. So many thumbs up. "Diet" food has come so far. This was way more satisfying than if I had cobbled together random snacks. If I had, I'd likely have overeaten. This was a nice, hot meal that left me satiated.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Rising Up from Rock Bottom

OK, so maybe I am being a little dramatic with my title today – did I really hit rock bottom last week? Not really. I'd say it was almost rock bottom when I first joined the gym back in the week after Christmas 2013. While my total effort didn't really start happening until May 2014, it was at that time I started working with a trainer and thinking about the things I needed to do to get out of where I had gotten myself to. I was really, really big and it was affecting my day to day life in bad ways.

However, I felt really down and low last week. I felt like I just couldn't do all this stuff anymore. I felt like I was never, ever going to get below the 270s. I was super afraid of heading back in the other direction, though, too, so I was between a rock and a hard place. The good news was that I while I did gain five pounds from one Saturday weigh-in to the next, I was still IN the 270s and it was definitely not too late to take corrective action (although, is it ever, really?)

As I talked about in the last post, last Friday was sort of my rock bottom day and it is the day that I decided to put dignity aside and I posted on Facebook a plea for help.

Never, ever be afraid to do that. It was the best thing I could have done at that point.

Here I am on Wednesday in the middle of day 4 of "post-crisis" and things have been going really well. I feel rejuvenated and focused again, and you can bet that I am treasuring every day that feels like this. I am also super happy that I am back down in what has felt like a "normal" zone of 273 as of this morning. Gotta keep it going! October may finally be the month that sees the 260s once and for all!

Though it took me a few days for it to sink in, my meeting with Mindy the nutritionist was so helpful. I have our conversation kind of running on a loop in the back of my mind. I am thinking more about balancing my meals and I actually LOVE not thinking about exercise calories anymore. I know that I have 1900 calories to work with every single day and I am enjoying piecing it all together to make it work – pretty easy, actually! Having all the wiggle room that those nebulous exercise calories gave me was clearly not working. Calorie counting is an inexact science enough on its own without trying to include what you'd like to think is the number of calories you're burning through exercise. Part psychology, part common sense. Either way, it is working for me now and that is what matters most. One day at a time.

I've come across a couple really great blog posts that I would like to share here, in case someone else might also benefit from them. The first is from the fabulous Leo at Zen Habits, and it talks about exactly what was going on with me, and how to recover from relapsed good habits. The other one just arrived in my inbox this morning and I love how Nia Shanks talks about how trying to do too much all at once might not be as good as doing less more thoughtful and focused activity. I couldn't help but feel that that email was a sign telling me, "Hey! It's OK to take a rest day! You should take a rest day!" Like, I know this intellectually, but sometimes I feel bad about it anyway, which is stupid. Big thanks to both of them and to the universe for sending me such timely messages.

***

I took the day off from exercise today because I had double stuff yesterday and I felt like I needed some extra rest in the form of sleeping in, not to mention giving my muscles a break. I'd been told to do PT exercises every day, so I've been trying to stick to that and may end up fitting at least some in throughout the day, or after dinner tonight. But can I tell you about yesterday? It was good. Most mornings I go to the gym and do PT plus either upper body strength or cardio, and sometimes both. Yesterday was PT and cardio. I upped my time on the dreaded elliptical to six (!) minutes, and did just over 20 minutes on the treadmill. (I totally get the "dreadmill" moniker now that I have been doing all my walking and running outdoors for the past eight months, by the way – ugh, I really need to get a new set of headphones to make it less drudgery.) I left the gym feeling sparkly and strong. My quads have totally been feeling that elliptical work, holy tamoly!

Then after work I had NoBo, for which I have been mentoring the WalkFit program. Only one person showed up for my group – the most dedicated and fierce Nancy, who has made a reputation for herself of being quite the fast walker. She is super awesome and can walk as fast as my good running pace! So I feel rather silly being the "mentor" when she is leaving me in the dust during the fast walk intervals. On the plus side, walking with someone like her is pushing me beyond my comfort zone in walking and so I end up getting quite the good workout when I'm with her. I just always tell her to go as fast as she needs to and that I will catch up, which usually is the case. We have a good rapport and so it's all fun and the 40 minutes we're at now goes by way faster than the 20 minutes on the treadmill. (Don't tell anyone, but I did a couple minutes of a slow jog during a couple intervals last night...)

Frankly I was a little worried about how I'd be feeling today after all that activity, especially my poor knee. Well, I don't know if it's the new exercises the doctor gave me or what, but much to my surprise most of the pain I have had lately was almost all gone from the knee!

I won't get too excited just yet, but was so happy that I finally feel some sort of progress.

By the way, in addition the bunch of other stuff I do for PT (fire hydrant, pointers, bridge and clamshell with the dread band, glute stretches, kicks, and more), the doctor has me doing what is basically a cobra pose with 3 second pauses x10, every two hours, as well as a simple back stretch that I also feel in my glutes that looks like the standing back bends show here. (I like that head press one, too! I'd like to be proactive in taking care of my spine as I get older.) That one I am supposed to do 10x every hour.

Isn't funny how our bodies are like dominoes? If one part isn't working optimally, it will affect another part somewhere down the line that you weren't expecting. This is often the case with runner's knee, as I have been learning.