Getting Honest About Some Things

Before I begin I have to warn you that this post might be long and scattered because I have a lot to get off my chest today, and I’m not sure where to start.

I could never put into words how much I appreciate the unwavering support that I receive here.  Many of you have been here since the beginning waiting to see me reach my goal, encouraging me to keep trying.  I love you for that, and I hope you never stop.  But right now I need to start digging out of this rut of complacency that I have been in for a lot longer than I want to admit.

Losing 100 pounds is often enough to dramatically alter the lives of those who lose it, but it’s not enough for me. I have experienced so many positive changes, but this is not a post about that.  Right now I need to figure out how to change my mindset, how to make myself move forward again in a strong, steady and powerful way.

I don’t know how to climb out of this proverbial hole that I’ve been living in.  I’ve been living comfortably with the fact that I’ve lost so much weight for so long now that it feels like I need to start over.  My past accomplishments don’t need to be forgotten, but they’re old news…really old news.  And I want to bask in some new accomplishments.

Before I continue, I’m going to ask that everyone refrain from telling me that I’m more than a number on a scale, or that I need to love myself so others will, or that I won’t be happy when I get to my goal if I can’t be happy with myself now.  I’ve heard all of that, and I understand most of it.  But let’s face some facts today.

When I look at my life I see some things that I like and some things I still want to change, but everything is overshadowed by a giant dark cloud that is the number on the scale.

I used to encourage others by saying that you don’t have to reach your goal before you start feeling good about yourself. You just have to start.  And it’s true.  I know it’s true because when I said it, I was feeling it.   Right now, what I accomplished throughout the first part of this journey is simply not enough.  I’m still obese.

I could make a list of reasons I love and respect myself today, and that list has grown more in the last year than it has at any other point in my life.  I know that I’m a good person, and I have been working through emotions that are difficult to face because I’m trying to become a better person.  There’s a lot of work going on inside my head, and that’s important to recognize (even though most of it is far too personal to discuss in such a public forum.)

But the fact remains that when I look at myself, I see the number on the scale.  We can say it doesn’t define me, but the truth is that it is me.  My body grew to its largest size because of what I did to it, and whether I like to admit it or not, my size currently defines who I am above everything else.

Look, I have a host of other imperfections as well, but my size haunts me.  It’s the truth, my truth, and the things that led me to my extreme obesity (and the snowball effect it has had since) are not easy to face.  It’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but I’ve been wrong a lot.  I made some pretty incredible mistakes.  I mistreated my body and my loved ones, and in many ways I led a life that could never have been happy and free if I didn’t begin to face those issues.

Before I started losing weight I would always say that I was a “good investment.”  I wanted to believe it was true because surely I’d eventually mature into more than I was – a grossly overweight, unhappy, unmotivated, unsuccessful shell of a human-being who didn’t value herself enough to create any positive change in herself.  (Yeah, the truth hurts, and it’s still not easy to admit now.)  But that’s how I viewed myself.

When guilt set in I told myself that I’d do better tomorrow.  I told myself constantly that the future was filled with hope, yet I failed to give myself any reasons to be hopeful.

Fast-forward to the present: I can’t say that I’m as horribly unhappy or unmotivated now as I was prior to 2009.  As I said, I like a lot of things about my life these days, but there are still some major things I need to change.

I need to change my environment.  I prefer living alone and in a city so I am planning a move into a cute little apartment in downtown New Orleans in the Fall.  Living alone will be good for me.  Controlling what is in the pantry and the refrigerator will be good for me.  I know that, but I also realize that everything I eat now is a choice.  It’s my choice, and it’s up to me to make better decisions.  One thing I’ve noticed spending most of my time downtown is that I’m more likely to go out for food.  It will be easier when I have my own little kitchen, but I will still have to make choices.  Living alone won’t solve everything, but it will be a big leap in the right direction.

I also need to claim what I really want.  I mean, I wish I was fit and trim, but we all know that I have to do a lot more than wish to be at goal.  It looks like I’m going to have to fight a hell of a lot harder than I did when I started my journey, and I have to accept that.  End of story.

I need a routine too.  I’m always on the go, and I don’t spend a lot of time in one place.  Just in the last few months I’ve been in Colorado, Virginia, D.C., New York, Houston, etc.  And over the next couple of months I’ll be in New York again, Baltimore, Los Angeles and Dallas (maybe Oklahoma too.)  Traveling a lot means that I have to have a different game plan.  I lost weight when I traveled before so I know it’s possible, but I have to be mindful.

I’m also lacking accountability.  I left Weight Watchers again recently after another bout of frustration with PointsPlus, and now my meeting no longer exists.  Say what you will, but weighing in at meetings every week changed my life.  I need to find a new meeting and make it my highest priority again.

I’ve gotten lazy with my workouts too.  Sure, I do them occasionally, but I love working out.  I crave endorphins nearly everyday so why the hell am I not doing it?  I don’t have a gym membership anymore, but there’s nothing stopping me from joining another one.  I’ll work that out this week, but until then I will do 30-Day Shred at home at least 5 times over the next 7 days.

I could drone on for hours about why it’s hard and how it’s not fair that I have so much further to go than the average person who loses as much as I’ve lost, but lamenting the work I have to do will not bring me closer to my goal.

I still say no to myself a lot more than I say yes, but I’m not doing enough.  I know that, and I take responsibility for that.

The fact is that my actions don’t help or hurt anyone except me.  I’m surrounded by people who love me and want me to be happy and healthy, but I have to get there on my own.  I’m happier than I was at 400+ pounds, but I’m not as happy as I’ll be at 150 pounds.  And it’s not because I don’t think I don’t deserve to be happy now.  It’s because I know that I am capable of so much more.

I’m preparing a life for myself in which obesity will no longer define me.  I’m in school studying Public Relations. (Yep, I declared recently.)  And I’m dreaming of a day when I can claim what I want for myself in my career and in relationships without the worry that my body is keeping me from fulfilling my desires.

This is my reality, friends.  This is my struggle, and no one can fix it except me.  Last week I admitted that I don’t know how, and sadly, I have not found the answer yet.  The truth is I can’t imagine stepping on the scale and seeing 275 or 250, or 199.  (I could see  the first number in the next month or so, but it feels as far as Mars!)

I don’t know how I did what I did the first time.  I don’t know how to wake up every morning with purpose.  I don’t know how to convince myself that today is the day (not tomorrow.)

I feel an utter lack of confidence and an overwhelming amount of insecurity, but I know what I want today.  I know what I want for my future, and I know that it’s mine for the taking.  I also know that I don’t have to get to my goal before I can start feeling on top of the world again.  I know I just have to start moving toward it.

This is my journey, and I’m doing things on my time.  I just need to turn the clock on again, and I need to remind myself that I’m worthy of it if I’m willing to work for it.

 

 

Aunt Janice and the Gym

When I woke up yesterday I felt a little lethargic, and I didn’t feel particularly motivated to workout (even though I knew I would.)  I procrastinated a little bit until Aunt Janice suggested that we go for a walk.  Walks with her tend to go on for miles so I agreed.

During our walk I told her how much I enjoy circuit training at the gym.  I told her about the ladder, the metal wall, the bosu ball and planks among other things, and we decided to cut our walk short and hit the gym.

We did circuit training in two minute intervals, and we did the things I just listed in addition to tackling the rowing machine,  the KeepItUpDavid Machine, I mean StairMaster, pulling the sled around the track and working our upper bodies before relaxing in the sauna.  By the time we left the gym we were both drenched from head to toe, and it felt awesome.

I was channeling Keep It Up David during this workout.

When we started doing planks she dominated them!  She held her pose for over a minute, and I beat my own personal best reaching 18.8 seconds.  (Hey! Don’t judge me.  A little over a week ago I didn’t know I could do them at all!)

Now that I know I can plank I'm determined to make it last longer.

And one of my new favorite workouts is climbing the wall.  It doesn’t seem tough at all, but if you do it long enough it will make you sweat.  I’m definitely sore as a result of that little wall!

I can't look to the side when I get higher. ;)

Upper body....Boom!

I’ve never really been a fan of working out with someone else, but that certainly has changed recently.  I’ve done cardio workouts with friends before, but I’ve never had anyone push me until recently.  Having someone there to tell me to keep going when I think I’ve pushed as far as I can inspires me to do more, and I’m definitely looking forward to more of that.  And may I just say that I adore the sauna?  (What can I say? I love to sweat!)

I have a full day planned which will include some fun stuff, but I plan to hit it hard at the gym again this morning.  What are your plans for the day?  What kind of workout will you do?

 

 

A Major Change

After a post I wrote earlier this week, I had to face some real feelings and thoughts, and while it’s not easy to share them, I’m going to.  Here’s where I stand (and where I’ve been standing longer than I care to admit) right now.  I feel stuck.  I weigh 12 pounds less right now than I did at the beginning of the year, but it has been far too long since I made substantial progress.

I’m not discounting the fact that I exercise like a champ on a consistent basis…nor am I belittling the fact that I’ve managed to maintain my 100 pound loss.  These are both incredible things, and I’m damn proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.  That said, I’m not happy with where I am now.  My eating habits need to change, and they need to change now.

As I write this post, I’ve just successfully completed the first day of a personal challenge that I hope will spring board me into weight-loss once again.  I’ve counted calories all day, and I’m ending the day having consumed 1,474 calories (most of which came from fruit, veggies, egg whites and other lean proteins.)   My workout today included 30 minutes on the elliptical (easing back into it after being off for a month) and a strength workout for my arms followed by 5 minutes on the treadmill.

You can't really tell that I was sweating buckets, but I was...And I like it that way.

People say that weight-loss is easy, but those people often miss the point.  I’ve lost 100 pounds.  I know how to eat, but sometimes I find it extraordinarily difficult to convince myself that it’s a good idea.  That’s the hard part, at least for me, so I’ve decided to eat about 1,300 calories on rest days and no more than 1,500 calories on workout days.  I’ll listen to my body and do my best to adjust, but I think this is a healthy and realistic window that will yield good results.

I like the gym, and  I like exercising outside when the weather allows it.  I love to sweat, and I love to feel my heart pumping because it makes me feel strong and capable and athletic.  Now it’s time to reintroduce healthy eating into my everyday life.  And I’ve decided that for the next 30 days (probably longer, but this is my initial commitment) I’m going to track my caloric intake.   I made a difficult and bitter decision to leave Weight Watchers shortly after they unveiled the new PointsPlus plan over a year ago, but I never fully committed to counting calories.  What can I say?  That was then, and this is now.  I’m going to try again.

I realize that counting points and calories both work as long as you do it consistently, but I’ve been fighting with myself over the last few months to figure out how I can make PointsPlus work for me.  I’ve posted several times about modifying the program to work for me by counting fruits, tracking EVERYTHING through the recipe builder, etc.  But the fact is that  a successful day in my WW tracker looks like about 2,400 calories, and that’s far too many.

I’ve wanted to believe that I could make PointsPlus work because I love the support of the meetings, and even more so because I feel so indebted to Weight Watchers for what the helped me achieve in losing the first 100 pounds.  I also adored my first leader in New York, Jen, and my current leader, Penny.  I’m also completely infatuated with David Kirchhoff, the most handsome, friendly and witty CEO of all time.  (Swoon.)   But the fact is that, I’ve complicated the new program so much in my head just to make it work at least a little bit, that the simplicity of calorie counting has been a relief today.  I’m not saying goodbye to Weight Watchers.  I’m just trying something new to see how it compares.

Day one of calorie counting was a success...

I’m tracking my intake through SparkPeople for a couple of reasons…First, because I like the people I know behind SparkPeople.  You all know Coach Nicole now, right?  She doesn’t know I’ve crossed over to the calorie counting side yet, but she will soon.  ;)  And secondly, I love the SparkPeople iPhone app!  It’s fantastic!  In addition to tracking my caloric intake, I can also track my workouts.  I can even get specific with my strength exercises, weights and reps.  I’m in love with this app, and I like that it’s free.

So this is where I am.  I’m starting over again because it seems like the right thing to do.  And I’ve said before that I’ll restart as often as it takes.  It’s better than throwing in the towel or refusing to face the fact that I’ve become complacent with food, right?  Anyway, I’m here, and I’m not going anywhere…But I’d like to see my excess weight flee the scene, and I’m hoping that this big change in my routine will do the trick.

What’s the bigger challenge for you?  Food or exercise?  Do you track your calories everyday?  Do you track you intake at all?

 

 

I Don’t Want To Sound Pathetic, But…

My head hurts, my stomach aches, my eyes are burning, the thought of food makes me feel sick… and I can’t breathe out of my nose.  I was in bed most of the weekend, and I’m still under the weather.  And while I did accomplish everything that I needed to accomplish today, I’m beat and still feeling mildly awful.

I’ll write more later.  Until then, I hope you’re feeling healthier than I am.  Night friends…

Thursdays Matter Too

I’ve been doing things differently over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been feeling healthy and strong as a result!   Earlier this week I shared my decision to eat with more regularity on Thursdays, and I did.  I also decided to workout before attending my meeting, another thing that I have never been comfortable doing before stepping on the scale.  And I was down 0.6 pounds.

Since I started my weight-loss journey, I’ve heard all kinds of advice from folks who have similar goals and interests.  My first trainer told me not to workout just before stepping on the scale because I’d weigh a few pounds more.  Several fellow weight-loss friends shared that they don’t drink as much or eat as much before the step on the scale….Some don’t eat foods that are high in sodium the day before weigh-in, etc.  You get the idea, and I’ve done all of these things too.

But I threw all of that out of the window yesterday, and I’m glad I did.  I am no longer afraid to be active or to fuel my body because it’s Thursday.  It was ridiculous to ever feel that way, but hey…I can admit it when I need to change.  And I’ve admitted it.

So instead of spending the majority of my day being sedentary (which is really unnatural and uncomfortable) I opted to hit the gym to do another 10 miles on the elliptical before I headed to my meeting.  Next time I’ll try to allow enough time to shower, dry my hair and change into my weigh-in outfit because I’d rather not show up drenched in sweat again.  (Sorry WW friends….Thanks for understanding!)  Seriously, I was soaked from head to toe when I arrived, but I felt good about doing what I needed to do for myself.

When the machine made me start over I did what I did last time. During the last mile, I did as much as I could going backwards...It's slower, but it works different muscles.

So…..I wish I had shown a bigger loss this week. (Don’t we always wish for that?)  But I’m satisfied with the loss and with my efforts.  I really can’t tell you how hard it has been to change these habits knowing that the scale wouldn’t reflect the work I’ve done all week.  But now it’s done, and I’m proud of myself which is really the most important part anyway.  I probably won’t drink a gallon of water or do 10 miles before every weigh-in, but I won’t be afraid to anymore either because if I’m eating well and exercising the scale will reflect that eventually.

Cooling off, but my hair was soaked, and my clothes were too...

What are your thoughts on exercising right before weighing in?  Do you do it, or do you believe it’s smarter to wait?  And if waiting is your answer, then how long do you wait?

 

 

Inspired

I read a quote that inspired me recently.  Actually, it did more than inspire me….It has impacted my thoughts and actions over the last several weeks, and it has had a powerful affect on my choices.  I’ve already shared it, but I have to share it again.

“The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.”

I’ve been doing things differently around here, and it seems to be working.  I’ve forgiven myself for maintaining my weight last year (as opposed to losing.)  I’m refocused, back in school, and I’m doing what it takes to live a healthy life one day at a time.  And for me, that means making better food choices.

I exercised regularly last year, and while my heart/blood pressure/etc benefited from it, my weight stayed virtually the same (until it spiked a little over the holidays.)  So far this year, my workouts have been solid, but I’ve been much more conscientious of what I’m eating.  While exercise is important, what we eat – how we fuel our bodies, is important too.  My eating habits have not been perfect, but they’ve been better overall.  And I’m still trying to improve.

Yesterday, I completed a short, early morning workout at the gym before the sun came up, and I did a longer workout at home in the afternoon.  I snacked on spinach and kale and ate foods that were high in protein along with fruits and vegetables and copious amounts of water.  I’m even trying to get more uninterrupted sleep!  It’s amazing how alert I feel when I can sleep without distractions for 5 to 6 hours so I’d like to work up to 7 or 8.  We’ll see if that happens…

That’s really all I have to say at the moment.  If my food and exercise choices came together perfectly everyday, I’d have very little to discuss here.  But today, I’ll just be thankful that I’m healthy and strong, and I’ll worry about the rest of the week/month/year as it comes.

How’s your week progressing?  Are you struggling?  Is it a breeze?

Giving Away One of my New Favorites Today

I love to hit the gym, but there are times in which it’s just easier or more appealing to workout at home.  And if you know me, you know that I adore Richard Simmons and his workout DVD’s, but sometimes it’s fun to mix things up.  And after meeting Nicole from Spark People last year, I was excited to try her new 28-Day Boot Camp workout DVD.

Coach Nicole and Me at IDEA in LA...

And I love this picture too much not to include it because my lovely friend, Leslie, is standing next to me. =)

Back to the DVD…The 28-Day Boot Camp DVD is excellent for people at any fitness level, and I love it because combining strength and cardio always makes me feel athletic (even when I have to modify the exercises.)  And over the last month, I’ve been reminded that it’s so important to feel good about what you’re doing and that confidence plays a huge role in success.  And I also like that I can burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time.  You can workout for 10 minutes, 30 minutes or whatever you feel like doing, but you’ll definitely feel the burn.

Do you want to try the DVD?  You can buy it online or at your local Target, but Nicole is going to give one away to one of my readers too.  If you’d like to win it, leave a comment telling me that you want to win.  You can also follow @thecoachnicole on twitter for an additional entry.  Tell her @alltheweigh says hi! =)

Nicole is awesome, Sparkpeople is awesome and her DVD is awesome too so check it out.  And don’t forget to enter to win your own copy!  The winner will be chosen Monday at 9pm central time.  Good luck friends!  Let’s get fit together!

*All opinions in this post are mine, and I have not been paid to endorse this product. Nicole from Sparkpeople will provide the DVD to one winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond from the time the e-mail is sent.  Resident must be 18 years or older and live in the US.

 

 

Vitamins: Yes or No? And Why?

I experienced some pretty harsh winters living in New York, but (most of the time) I embraced it.  I rode my bike outside on days in which the temp never got above 20 degrees (which might explain why I was so sick during the winter.)  And before my weight-loss journey began, I walked around Manhattan without buttoning my coat.  But even on the coldest days, I didn’t have dry skin.  My skin was soft and smooth, and I believe it’s because I took Flaxseed Oil vitamins regularly.

At some point, after leaving New York, I stopped taking them, and earlier this month I noticed that for the first time in memory, my skin was a little dry!  Yikes!  Even as an overweight girl who doesn’t like much about the way I look, I’ve always taken pride in my outward appearance. I dress well and keep myself well-manicured, and my skin is soft!  So the dryness that appeared on my legs was unacceptable!

The quick remember was lotion, of course, but I wanted smooth skin again without it so almost immediately, I started taking flaxseed oil vitamins. And I’m happy to say that my skin is beginning to feel smooth and healthy just as it did before.  Whew!

Taking three flaxseed oil vitamins a day has already had a positive affect on my body which makes me wonder what else I could be missing.

In the past, I’ve taken Centrum or One-A-Day multis, but I’m not taking them now.  I assumed I was getting all of the vitamins I needed naturally, but am I?  Should I be taking a multi-vitamin?  Is the answer obvious to everyone but me?  And if so, what kind should I take?  

I know that the flaxseed oil vitamin helps my body in a major way so I can only imagine that other vitamins might have a positive affect too, but I’m not sure where to begin.

Is it worth it to buy vitamins and remind myself to take them at least once or twice a day?  Or is taking vitamins a big scam? Is it better to consume flaxseed oil in a smoothie or salad or oatmeal?   Am I getting enough vitamins by eating 9 or more servings of vegetable and fruit, a couple servings of lean meats and at least a cup of dairy?

I don’t know the answers to my questions so if you’re reading this, I’d like to hear from you.  Do you take vitamins?  If so, will you share the benefits from your perspective?

Friend Makin’ Mondays: Weight-Loss Tips

I’ve been striving to live a healthy lifestyle for a while now, and while there’s always more to learn, I have created a few habits that I think will help me throughout my life.  And I know that many of you have some awesome tips to share too so let’s talk about it today!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Weight-Loss Tips

 

  • I put my fork down more often between bites.
  • I limit my salt intake…especially in the days approaching weigh-in day. ;)
  • I do weight training…not just cardio.  And floor exercises are a big part of my workouts too.
  • I eat more veggies than fruit, but I eat both.
  • I weigh and measure everything at home.
  • I don’t eat everything on my plate just because it’s there.  I am no longer a member of the “Clean Plate Club,”  and that’s okay with me.
  • I drink water regularly because I’ve recognized that sometimes when I feel hungry, I’m thirsty.  It also helps to curb my appetite, giving my brain time to recognize that I’m satisfied.

I may not be an expert, but doing these things has helped me in the past.  And they help now too.  Now it’s your turn to share your tips!  Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments!  And if you have questions, share those too.  I bet someone here will have an answer for you.  Happy Monday friends!

 

And the winner of the EatSmart kitchen scale is Steffie! Congrats Steffie! Please check your e-mail!  Thanks to each of you who entered!

Why Am I So Tired?

Today’s post might involve too much information for some, but I need help.  And I’m hoping that some of you will be able to relate and tell me that I’ll be fine.  I’ve been really lethargic over the last few weeks, and I need to figure out why because it’s affecting my desire to accomplish everyday things.

Last week Cal noted that I’m always busy doing something, and that’s true.  Generally speaking, I’m pretty productive, but in the last couple of weeks, it has been a struggle to accomplish anything.  Doing dishes, doing research, reading, etc.  Everything seems to be sucking the energy out of me even after I’ve slept for 7 hours or so.  Last night, even relaxing in the jacuzzi felt like work.

I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining because I’m not.  And I’m not making excuses either.  I’ve been doing 30-Day Shred even though it feels harder than usual, and Monday I walked/jogged 4 miles and did a similar workout again yesterday.  I typically walk a mile in about 12 minutes, but over the last few days it has taken just over 20 minutes per mile.  What?!  I’m doing what I need to do in spite of my fatigue, but I need to get to the root of it because feeling tired all the time stinks.

My habits haven’t changed much over the last few weeks.  Sure, I’ve been traveling, but I do that a lot.  I have been eating well this week and controlling my portions.  The only thing that’s different is that I’m taking birth control pills now.And now I wonder…Could they be affecting my energy level?  Could they be affecting my weight?  I’ll speak to my doctor about it during my next visit, but so many of you have insight to offer so I want to hear what you think.

Does taking birth control alter your energy levels or weight or mood?  Should I talk to my doctor about this now, or should I wait until my next visit (sometime next month?)  Will it regulate as my body becomes accustomed to taking it? I’ll keep doing what I have to do, but I’d like to have my energy back.