Monday, September 26, 2016

Progress On Several Levels

Wow, what a week I had!

I had many small victories, but this is what makes me smile most.

12 miles last week!

As you can see, up until last week my activity level has been pretty spotty this month. Last Monday, I decided that it was time to gear things up again and really put in a good effort. With the encouragement and help of my partner, who is responsible for getting me out for walks several times, I hit a total of 12 miles walking and running! Yesterday was the craziest – we walked for three miles on our first time out  in the late afternoon, and then he wanted to do one more after we went out to dinner. I was so proud of him, and us. 

After a week I am also down about three pounds, to 292.8. (I think I probably weighed more than 295.8 I clocked in last Tuesday, but whatever... that's what I know for sure.)

I am determined to get back into the 280s this coming week, and beyond that, into the 270s by Thanksgiving. Totally doable. 

And what I did I do, faced with another Monday? Why, I went out and got a running mile in before work, of course!

Foggy glasses are proof!

It wasn't my best mile by a long shot, but I did it. Again, I am aiming for 2-3 runs each week, even if only one mile each. I am trying hard to re-establish a solid routine, and I will build from there. 

I think the last time I was so happy to be at 292 and change was back in March 2015, when I first hit it. I tell you what, I will never take the 270s for granted ever again. I think that was part of the problem, to be honest – I kind of got stuck there for a long while and got frustrated, which led to being kind of mad and frustrated and just stopping caring to an extent. That apathy led to gaining 20+ pounds and bringing myself dangerously close to the 300 pound mark again.

Well, NO! I just won't have it. At the very, very least I want to always maintain that 100 pound loss I achieved. Once I get back there, I want to have 272 as my DO NOT CROSS weight – you know, like police tape? Ha ha.

Anyway, I am looking forward to another great week of positive changes. I feel great!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Good Eats

Things I've been loving to eat lately!

• Chobani yogurt (usually blackberry or mango on the bottom) with macerated frozen fruit (usually strawberries). I do two tsps of sugar on the strawberries, adds a nice sweetness without too much damage. This combo makes me almost feel like I am eating ice cream. Truth be told, I'm not sure that it is any better for me than regular ice cream – at least the Perry's brand I like to eat is generally not bad, calorie-wise, anyway – probably the same cals and sugar level. BUT eating a container of yogurt and fresh fruit doesn't trigger me into wanting more and more like eating a bowl of ice cream does, so there's that. I feel like I have hacked my way around the sweets thing, at least for now.

• Chocolate cereal with almond milk. My two faves are Chocolate Cheerios and Chocolate Chex. Again, sweet things I can eat without triggering the crazy. Not bad at all on the cals, either!

• Homemade nachos. While I can go a little crazy on these (like, I should make a pizza pan's worth instead of a big sheet pan's worth, duh), it is still pretty easy for me to fit this in for an easy dinner if I watch the quantity and what I put on top. My go-to combo has been: Santitas tortilla chips, a can of Goya pink beans mashed into refried-ness (I add spices and a tiny bit of honey), pickled jalapeno peppers, sliced black olives, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, and salsa. It is delicious and filling.

• Overnight oats. My favorite recipe is this one from the Minimalist Baker, though, to be fair, I haven't yet tried another one because I like it so much. It makes for a big breakfast, calorie-wise, so I have started to save this for once a week or so, but it is massively delicious and very filling. I love the consistency and coolness of overnight oats – much preferred over hot morning oats. Yum yum yum. Oh, and here are a bunch of great-sounding recipes to try, too! Looks like I'll be mixing it up in the coming months.

• Brown bag lunches. I am finally getting the hang of it again! I'm using my little soft-pac Igloo cooler lunch bag and have been making more and more fabulous sandwiches. I tend toward the simple, but using delicious, fresh ingredients, you don't have to be fancy. My latest jam uses Wegman's new 27-grains and seeds bread (genius! Comes in half loaves, too!) spread with a little bit of mayo and lots of dijon mustard, and slices of deli ham off the bone, swiss cheese, and fresh tomato from our garden. Oh, and salt and pepper. YUM. I've also been eating cucumbers (though today's is the last one, alas!) and some bell peppers from our garden. Harvest time is the best. I will miss all the freshness.

Of course another bonus about brown bagging it is the cost savings. I can easily spend $10 or more each day on getting lunch out during the week (three times, I was averaging!), which in retrospect seems crazytown when I can spend, say, less than $20 or so and feed myself lunches for the whole week!

Wegmans bread: $3.00
Swiss cheese: $3.50
Lunch meat: $6.50
Condiments: pennies, since I always have them in the house
Veggie/fruit sides: free from the garden, or max $5.00 a week from the store

Total: $18.00 per week!

Man. I thought I was already convinced, but I never did the math. I am totally sold on brown bag lunching now. Maybe I will try to limit myself to going out to lunch once every couple weeks or so, instead of every other day like I was doing there for a while.

So anyway. It's nice really nice to get into an eating groove because it takes the guesswork and stress out of figuring out what the heck I am going to eat all day. Since Monday especially, I have pretty much been set on the day's menu from the get go, and that makes things so much easier to manage – it frees my mind from food all the time. That is half my battle!

The scale hasn't shown any change – still at 295.8 since I last reported to you on Tuesday. I'm OK with that, though a little surprised since my eating has been pretty awesome, and I've been stepping up the exercise as well. But, I know these things take time and I am more than happy to be patient. I like how I've been feeling this week and I want to keep building on my good habits! The number on the scale is not the whole story, after all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Keeping On Keeping On

I got up early this morning and ran 1.35 miles.

Hooray! I keep surprising myself in a good way this week.

Here's another: weigh-in put me at 295.8, so better than I thought. I was really worried that I was going to be over 300.

Today I wore the new Cynthia Rowley pants (size 20) I scored from Marshalls on Friday. I'm afraid that my "fashion" photos are the farthest thing from glamorous, but here I am.

I don't really look much different than in any other photo I've posted here, but there are my new pants!

Oh! It looks like I am floating around in that shirt. Maybe it is time to say goodbye, or reserve for casual home hanging out from now on...

Here's a closeup of the pattern on the pants and my new fave shoes, which seemed to be an anomaly at Target – I only saw one pair, which happened to be my size! They're cool, but also comfortable and... cheap. The three's Cs!

I just love menswear-inspired stuff, especially shoes! Wing tips are my fave!
I have been feeling so much better about myself these past couple days. I'm not sure what happened except that I finally realized that everything I want for myself is entirely in my reach and in my full control to make happen – I just have to do it. That little impromptu clothes shopping last week really did something to my brain, a smack in the head that I really needed. 

I'm not sure what the plan is for the rest of the week. For now, I am riding the wave and trying to take it one day at a time, quite literally. I'll do my best to keep honoring my body and my mind, doing things for them that are beneficial and satisfying – like the feelings I get during and after a run, for example. Why would I stop doing that if it makes me feel so good?

Persistence pays off. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

Not Giving Up, Still

Today started yet another new effort. I did well for most of last week, but a couple of those days resulted in gaining back whatever I had lost, which was a huge bummer. Over the weekend, it just about all went out the window if only in beer. I start this week having no idea where I stand on the scale, giving myself at least one good day before I subject myself to what I am sure will be bad news. But we'll see.

Yesterday wasn't so bad, really, but today I awakened with a new sense of purpose and motivation. I am so determined not to give up on myself. Part of it is for stupid reasons like all the gorgeous dresses I saw at Target and Marshalls on Friday when I went out shopping for a new outfit for my art opening that night. Especially the ones at Target, looking all kind of Boho-Victorianesque and they just really tugged at my heartstrings in an unexpected way. Of course, they're only in the straight sizes – as usual, the plus size section is a fucking ghetto. I hate it. I'm just so sick of not being able to buy the clothes I want.

Listen, I know part of that problem – most of that problem – is with the clothing companies and the stores dictating what fat women can and cannot wear. My body is not wrong, but the system is. I get that. I'm not aiming to make myself stick thin so I can wear a size 2. (Not that that would ever happen!) Hell, I really just want to lose enough weight more so that I can easily wear the largest "straight" sizes at most stores. Target carries XXL in its regular lines, and sometimes I can wear those things, but not always. I'm not so far away from it.

I ended up buying one of those dresses I saw, size XXL, because I WILL do it. I will wear it. I'm planning to go back and get a couple more, in fact. They REALLY got me in a way that clothing has not affected me in a long time. And I want to indulge in those feelings, and I want to wear those clothes, and I want to reflect who I am in what I wear.

That said, I did buy an awesome jersey dress at Marshalls, which fit perfectly and looked great, and was a size XL. Go figure. Argh!

Here I am at my opening with my young friend Matilda. Wearing my new dress. We're standing in front of one of my paintings.

Me and Matilda, age 8
Like I said, I had a good eating day today, and after work my partner and I went for a walk (getting back into our habit!), and after that I had him coach me on some crunches. I want to work on more strength training again, starting with my core. I did 12 good ones and a few junk practice ones. I've also ordered some dumbbells for both of us to use!

Looking forward. I am in control of my destiny.

Monday, September 12, 2016

In It to Win It

Aw yeah, I had a good weekend. Logged consistently on MyFitnessPal (I'm radiosilents over there if you'd like to connect), ate pretty much within my limits, ate no sweets except for a spoonful of peanut butter after a meal or two. Then my partner pointed out that the PB is just an extension of my eating-sweets-after-meals habit, so I decided to stop doing that, too. It's getting easier and I am starting to feel the glimmer of all the good feelings I've experienced when I treat my body the way I should.

I started off the new week with a bang, too – another mile run/mile walk with Janice this morning. This time it was much easier, mainly due to the cooler weather, but I imagine also because my body is like, "Oh yeah! I remember this now."As Janice pointed out, I started swearing a little later on our route than I did on Friday, and my pace was about 20 seconds faster, too.

I made sure to pack a breakfast and lunch so that I'd have better control over what went into my face today. We'll have leftover spaghetti and meatballs from the "Sunday Sauce" for dinner. All my food is already logged for the day – that feels like a huge relief and a huge accomplishment, if you want to know the truth.

Finally, I've been weighing every day, again, just to keep very much on top of things. I'm back down to 295.8, so definitely headed in the right direction. I'm even starting to fantasize about where I could shoot for a couple landmarks. This Friday I have my art opening at Hallwalls and wouldn't it be great to be under 290 again? Yes, that's a lot to expect in four days, so let's just call it a stupid goal. I'm still putting it out there.

How about November? On the 5th I have a interim high school reunion (not an official one, but an informal gathering) and I'm thinking how nice it would be to get back to the 100 pounds lost mark again. Then there is Thanksgiving a few weeks beyond that. I'd like to be in the 260s again!

I suppose these are rather lofty goals that may or may not be reasonable. But, I'm putting them out there in the universe. I won't consider it a failure not to meet them, as long as the numbers keep going down. But honestly? Because these last twentysomething pounds came on kind of quickly, I do think that with good effort they can come off just as quickly – it's how my body works.

And look at me. I am already thinking about going for another run/walk tomorrow morning on my own at home! I'm looking forward to it!!!

I am proof positive that you can bounce back anytime. It is never too late. You can't ever give up!

Friday, September 9, 2016


Oh hai!
I'm feeling good this morning and wanted to share since I've been mostly whiny lately.

I met up with my friend Janice for a run along the Niagara River at 7:30. As always, my goal is to run at least a mile. Today, it was all I could muster. The humidity was brutal! I just looked up the weather and it says that now (an hour or so later) it's 75 degrees and 77% humidity. Ouch! So that didn't help. That said, I made a good effort and also got a good mile walk in on the way back, so all told I had a pretty nice half hour+ workout to start my day!

How could I have forgotten how wonderful a way it is to start out the day? Silly me. The photo above is me in the bathroom at work after the run because I forgot to take a selfie at the park. See how glowing I am? Wonderful.

Yesterday I had a pretty OK eating day aside from the last candy bar I had on my person, and some leftover bargain frosting that I ended up tossing in the trash, finally. I still need to log my dinner, which was an impromptu but very lovely vegetarian pasta dish – leftover penne in butter, dressed up with sauteed swiss chard with garlic and some olive oil, a small tomato from our garden, and topped with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan. I had some delicious cheddar cheese, too – we have three kinds in our fridge right now! 

I also did not eat dessert or snack later on, and I also did not have any alcohol. 

This morning I decided to weigh myself, and it wasn't pretty. My heaviest in a long time, 298.8. SO close, TOO close to 300. Well, dudes, I am kicked into gear. I am going to make this happen again. I will lose weight. I'm not going to repeat the piece of history I have repeated way too many times. I will be my own exception to the rule. 

My plan for today: free bagel with butter at the office for breakfast, probably free Subway for lunch (I have enough points so a roast beef sub, baked chips, no cookies), a reasonable dinner (we were talking about a simple chicken stir-fry).

Oh my god, I am SO NOT GIVING UP.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

I Think I Am Back


It's been a while.

Last we met, I was struggling. I am still struggling, but... I am fighting NOT to reach the 300 pound mark again, and my clothes are not fitting so well anymore. I'm sick of worrying about getting back to where I was when I started at 372, so it is really time to get serious about this again. It's a must.

I've been really having trouble with sweets in particular, and to a lesser extent, drinking. It's easy enough to take drinking alcohol out of the equation, and I know that once I get a good day or two in of no sweets I should be OK. It's the getting there, and keeping it going that I need to really devote myself to right now. I'm at a turning point right now and I can go in one of two directions: forward or reverse. To move forward means to value and honor myself and my physical body enough to get back to the things I was doing before: being more judicious about eating, and getting enough exercise.

There have been a few conversations I've had in the past few days that have started to flick that switch a bit again – one with my partner about my addiction to sweets, and one with a good friend about healthy lifestyle in general and not backsliding any more than I have; I also responded to another blogger's recent post, someone who has been going through a similar situation and wants to get back to basics again.

It's about choices. I choose to feel comfortable in my skin and to feel like I can do anything physical that I want to. Gaining more weight will prevent me from doing that. (Also, I hate feeling so bloated.)

Another choice: NOT buying any new clothes in larger sizes than what I have now. I refuse. So, if I keep gaining weight, I won't have much to wear.

Honestly, these are the two main things that have really been bothering me lately. I hate the feeling of clothes not fitting well – and this is something that I have noticed especially since finding myself back in the 290s. So it really wouldn't take much to feel comfortable again.

Yesterday I had a fair day, eating-wise. I had the usual Wednesday bagel at work (free, yo!) for breakfast, and lunch out with the friend I mentioned earlier. Looking at the menu, my eyes immediately gravitated toward the burger section, but then as we were talking about choices, I settled on some fish tacos, which turned out to be delicious. Oh, and I had an IPA, too. But just one!

I did have a sweet transgression after lunch that I won't go into, but dinner was almost ready when I got home and we had some delicious kielbasa in sauerkraut with potatoes. I had a decent, but not excessive portion. After that, I didn't even think about sweets and I didn't drink. I just did the dishes, made some sandwiches for today's lunch, and watched some TV (the amazing HBO limited series The Night Of, and the US Open of course!), did a little work. It felt good, almost liberating.

Today when I woke up I decided that I wanted to continue the good feelings. I don't want to be prisoner to my cravings, which is what it has been feeling like. Helplessness. I started the day with a bowl of cereal (chocolate cheerios with almond milk, whatever!), will have sandwiches and homemade pickles for lunch, and something reasonable for dinner. I've returned to MyFitnessPal to log food again, probably for good. Even though I get resentful of having to do that all the time, the truth is it helps me stay accountable and aware and it is a necessary evil for me.

I didn't weigh myself today. The last time I weighed a few days ago, I was hanging right around 297. Not good at all, but not 300, either. I'm going to give myself a few good days on and then probably see where I'm at over the weekend. I just can't deal with those numbers right now. But, once I do weigh in again, I will probably go back to a daily weigh for a while just to keep myself in check.

Right now, my goal isn't necessarily a number (though if I had to give one, it would be 289 – anything below 290), but rather a feeling – a feeling that my clothes are comfy again. Getting dressed in the morning was actually becoming fun at some point, because I could grab anything and knew that it would fit and feel good to wear. That hasn't been the case lately, and it makes weekday mornings that much harder.

I want to go back to free and easy.

(Oh, and also: Drinking Traditional Medicinal's Everyday Detox with Dandelion, and making dates to run with friends. Two weeks ago I went running for the first time in a month, and was still able to run two miles at a 14:30-15 minute pace, about where I left off. Tomorrow morning I have a running date with my friend Janice. We've also been playing tennis a couple-few times a week still.)