Thursday, August 18, 2016

Not Hanging in There

I've been in a pretty bad place lately. As in, approaching 300 pounds bad place, and feeling like I can't put my foot on the brakes. It's terrifying. The reality is, I have all the power to be able to stop this; I have the power to put things in reverse. But I am having trouble accessing it. I don't know where it is.

This morning I had a nice chat with my co-worker Kristen, the one that I encouraged to get into running with the No Boundaries program and who is now kicking butt training for a half marathon this fall. She has been encouraging me to get back to running, and I am so happy that she is not giving up on me, because in many ways I think that when I stopped a few weeks ago (a month ago now?), is when things really started going downhill. I know that you can't out exercise poor eating, but I tell you what, running all along did help me maintain the weight I lost. Since I've stopped I've just been gaining and gaining and feeling depressed and more anxious than ever. Talking with her helped me really make that connection in a meaningful way. She reminded me of the endorphins. Oh gosh, I forgot about those. No wonder I've crashed and burned lately. I get psyched after a good bout of tennis, but it's nothing like the feeling I get post-run, even a short one.

I have to do something, anything. I think I can still run. I do sprints during tennis and I almost always run to retrieve errant balls that go all the way down court (happening less and less, but happens sometimes), and I do fine.

I hereby challenge myself to run a mile this weekend. Just once.

As for the food part? I have a good day eating like every third day. I don't think that today is one of those. I don't really want to talk about what I've been eating, because quite frankly, it is embarrassing. Suffice it to say, a lot of junk and some beer on top of that. I wouldn't deny that this might be a mild form of self-abuse, to be honest. It's hard to break out of.

Part of it is my terrible way of dealing with stress – food is definitely my go-to when it comes to "medicating". At the same time, it does make me feel like shit physically, and then in turn, emotionally... it's a vicious cycle. Of course I have broken that cycle many times before and I will again, I have no doubt. Right now, though, it feels like total and utter crap.

JUST RUN A MILE. Just prove that you still can.

Can we talk about tennis for a minute, though? That has been bringing me joy, little flickers. I'm still not a consistently good player, but I've noticed since we started playing again the past week that I can hustle a good hustle (better than ever before!) and my serve is improving. I'm more surprised when I don't hit the ball than when I do. Tennis is fun and challenging, and I like the gear – the racquets, the outfits, the shoes, the courts, the lifestyle, the pro circuit. I like it because sometimes you really have to hustle but then you take a breath. You get to sit down for a minute every few games. Then you hustle again. I like the word hustle.

It's just that I am starting to really feel the fat on my body again in a way that I haven't felt in a good long while. And I look at old photos of myself and know that I never want to look like that again. You would think that would be enough to stem the bleeding.

One thing I can do is keep it at the front of my mind and to keep writing about it here, however painful and tedious it is. You don't have to read it. You can look away. I'll never know.

One day I will be OK again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hanging In There, Kind Of

Well, I'm down a couple pounds so far this week without really trying, so that is good. I just can't seem to get a grip on my eating, and I've been too lazy for exercise.

Though – can we talk about exercise for sec in relation to weight loss?

I know what they always say, a couple things:

• You can't out-exercise bad eating habits
• You exercise for fitness and health benefits (and dare I say, fun?), but not to lose weight

Did you know that back in the old days of Weight Watchers, they actually prohibited their practitioners from exercising at all? They knew that exercise can increase your hunger, and create water retention (muscle repair!), and affect the results on the scale in a way that you might not like.

I bring this up because my partner, who has also been losing weight the past year or so, has found this out. He also discovered that not eating enough might have the opposite effect of what you would think. Last week, we didn't exercise much at all – hardly any tennis or walking, nothing. At the same time, he decided to up his eating some, which I thought was an excellent idea. He had been trying to limit himself to more or less one meal a day, and keeping a sharp eye on calorie intake, and wasn't getting the results he expected, poor guy. Well, this past week he ended up losing about five pounds and entering new weight territory!

Of course that doesn't mean that we're not going to exercise anymore, however we decided that keeping it to 3 or 4 times a week is fine. No more of the every day stuff, necessarily.

As for me, I'm hanging in there. I thought I had told my partner that I was into the 290s again after this past weekend, and when I told him that I was down to 291 this morning, he was surprised and was like, "Uhhh... weren't you into the 260s at one point?" And I was like, ".... yeahhhhh." I know. And he's right to point it out and be concerned. I am concerned, too. So yes, my focus is to get back into the 280s this week.

Uh-oh. Didn't I just say that about the 270s not too long ago? I did.

That's why it's so important to stay vigilant. At least for me, substantial gain can happen really, really quickly. And if I keep waving off five pound gains here and there, I'll soon be back to where I was at the very beginning of this whole thing. Just not an option.

Things I want:

• To start running again – I want to do the No Boundaries program (2.0) in the fall
• To be able to wear the gorgeous tennis clothes I have that are just a little too small for me
• To be able to wear more of the stuff I have in my wardrobe now, comfortably
• To be able to wear clothes sizes that begin with a 1 instead of a 2 (I'm right on the cusp)

In good news, I spent some quality time in my painting studio last night, and took this photo, which I really like. Sometimes the camera is your friend, and sometimes it is decidedly not, but here I feel like I get an idealized version of me with some dramatic lighting evening out my skin tone and nicely outlining the jawline that has been starting to become more apparent again since I've lost the weight. I desperately need a haircut! The new piece I am working on is on the big side – about five by four feet – and it's based on a line of a poem about Frida Kahlo by Marty McConnell: "Stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge."

Stupid girls in progress!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Such a Struggle

OK, so I started August out with some ambition and (semi) high hopes.

A week later, I am struggling and I won't be ashamed or embarrassed to share with you.

As of this morning, I've gained about 7 pounds since July 29th.

Yikes! That puts me well into the 290s.

So, so sad.

Time to get back into the 280s again. I know I keep saying it, and maybe by now it doesn't seem like I mean it, but... I really cannot go back to the way I was. I just can't.

My clothes are still fitting, but honestly they are not as comfortable as they were not so long ago. This should be a big wake-up call for me. The reality is, the only way that I am going to buy any new clothes is if they are the same size or smaller than the ones I have now. I refuse to buy into a larger size. That means I have no choice but to snap back into reality and get back on track.

This past weekend so much damage was done mainly because it was my boyfriend's birthday and we totally indulged – lots of yummy food and beer, basically. Oh sure, we had an amazing hike on Friday and we played a good 45 minutes of tennis on Saturday, but as we all know, no amount of exercise can make up for gross overeating, plain and simple.

Hey, we had a really nice weekend and everything was savored, but that is just not how every day can be anymore – sure, it's what it used to be. But that is not the life I want for myself. All weekend I felt bloated, weighed down, tired, ugly (yes, ugly!) and just plain blah, and I know it's because of what I was putting into my body. I don't want to feel like this all the time.

So my week's goal is to get back down into the mid-280s again. The weight came on quickly, so too should it come off if I play my cards right.

On a positive note, here's me at Old Scarbuck Trail in East Concord, NY on Friday. It was a wonderful hike, even if it was about a mile longer than we thought. We both did very well considering, and we can't wait to go back!

The walking stick was a life-saver!
(Compare to two years ago on the trail across the road, our first ever!)
We had to wrangle ourselves down that little hill – it was tricky!

Monday, August 1, 2016

July Recap/August Goals

Welcome August!

I like August. Summer is beginning to wrap up and while there is still time to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine, there is also the promise of the renewal that the fall season signals to me. Maybe that sounds weird, but I always think about the start of a new school year (even though I am no longer a student or a teacher!), the crisp air, the crunchy leaves... dare I say, sweater weather?

I assure you, I am not wishing away summer, but being the Gemini lady I am, I also like change every once in a while.

Anyway, that brings us to an end and a beginning. A chance to reflect and reset.

In July, I had aimed for 30 days of activity. At first it was 30 days of one mile of running. Then, I shifted the goal to include walking. Then, I shifted again to some meaningful activity every day. I made it to 21 days straight with some spottiness toward the end of the month, but looking at my MapMyRun calendar, I am pretty pleased with what I was able to do.

July! Just four unsightly gaps. :)

Now looking ahead to August, I'd like to keep a streak going. From the get-go, I'm declaring that every day must include at least one of the following:

• One mile run or walk
• Twenty minutes of tennis or anything else – cleaning, gardening, other exercise, etc. 

This is all kind of random. I'm throwing numbers out there, but really what needs to happen is some sort of activity, every day. I guess as long as I have a little bar on every day on the calendar, I'll be happy.

I'm going to just focus on activity level for now, and keep trying to build strength and endurance. My weight has seemed to stabilize relatively, in the mid-280s. I'm OK with that for now, though I might try to lose .5 to 1 pound each week. I'm not tracking food and I'm trying to eat intuitively and feel comfortable with that.