Tag Archives: Women’s Health

Common Sense and Resentment

Last week I was talking with a friend about the quiet struggles I have faced as someone who needs to lose an incredible amount of weight.  It seems as though many of us reach that first giant milestone before allowing ourselves to hover around the same weight.  I’m not the only one in the world who has done this, and I’d like to delve into some of the reasons I’ve allowed myself to do it for so long.

I feel like I’m coming out of a tough place in which I have spent far too long being stagnant.  I’m a month into my new Weight Watchers meeting now, and the weight is coming off slowly again.  The most important part of the prior sentence is that it is coming off again, but some days, some weeks, I want food more than I want to see healthy results.  I experienced that earlier this week, and the only solution is to admit it and move on.

Anyone who has ever been overweight or been close to someone who has been overweight probably knows that emotions play a big role in the way that we consume food.  I don’t sit around and eat and eat and eat everyday.  I wouldn’t have kept off the majority of what I’ve lost if that were the case.  I’m not eating 2,000 calories a day more than I should, but I am eating a few hundred more than I should if I want to lose weight.  Period.

It’s easy to tell someone how to change it.  “Eat less. Move more.”  Those words make sense, of course, but we all know the obvious stuff already.  The note that I need on my cabinet would say something like, “The food will taste good for a few minutes, but think of how incredible you feel when you’re really in control.”

It’s so easy to forget that weight-loss is a mental challenge more than a physical one. I push myself hard at the gym, and these days Ron pushes me harder.

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It’s an incredible feeling to accomplish things that seemed impossible before I did it.  Earlier this week, he walked in while I was working out on my own and asked me to jump.  He asked me to do a few more things, and before I knew it I was doing jumping jacks.  I’ve been modifying them for years, and now I can do them just like everyone else.  I felt so incredible, so normal, that I cried.

It’s hard to feel like I’ve come so far and still struggle so much with just eating a bit less on a regular basis.  I eat fruits and vegetables and lean protein, but I find myself struggling with my desire to eat extra, unhealthy things most evenings.

I fight feelings of resentment because friends who exercise can throw back a few beverages and an unhealthy meal and just work it off at the gym.  I also fight feelings of resentment when I think about how I’ve lost more weight than many people ever dream of losing, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg for me.  I get tired of hearing what I should be doing from people who haven’t accomplished as much as I have, and I get frustrated by those who assume that I sit around and eat Cheetos all day.  If I did that, I would have gained the weight that I lost back, plus some!

The last couple of months have opened my eyes to the fact that these feelings of resentment don’t solve the problem.  They don’t make me feel better about myself, and they don’t bring my closer to my goals.

I know that I have to accept that this is my life, my struggle and my journey.  I know that the opinions of others shouldn’t matter to me, and they don’t carry much weight as they used to.  Instead, I am focusing on the fact that I am making progress again.  It could be faster, but it’s better than being complacent.

Yesterday would have been weigh-in day, but for reasons that were out of my control, I didn’t weigh in today.  My plan is to go to a Weight Watchers meeting Monday since I’ll miss next Thursday, and I feel confident that I’ll see a loss.  I’m looking forward to heading out of town, but I plan to stay on track this week and while I’m gone as well.

This journey is not easy for me, but I am still working my way into a healthier place.  I’m going to try hard to make this a healthy week, and I’m going to do my best to squelch any negativity or feelings of complacency that try to creep into my mind.   My goal is to be consistent in making smart choices.

Do you ever struggle with resentment as you work to better yourself?

 

 

A Sweaty Mess…

Some days are hard.  Some weeks are hard, and that’s what I seem to be experiencing right now. I’m burning the candle at both ends.  I mean, I know some people live like this everyday, but this level of intensity is different for me.

I didn’t make time to workout Tuesday and Wednesday so I knew it was important to workout Thursday in spite of my 14+ hour day, but I fought myself.  It took everything I had to put my sneakers back on to sweat when all I wanted to do was crawl under the blankets and sleep.  It took everything I had to make myself exercise when I got home around 11 pm.

My day was long and productive. I got a copy of my lease and scheduled a move-in time for less than two weeks from today.  I learned about the parking garage, cable/internet and had several other questions answered.  I even got a cool little tote filled with neighborhood info and a snazzy umbrella.

Good choices often lead to more good choices, and though I’ve had a tough couple of days I knew that I could wake up today feeling good if I pushed myself a bit.  I made an unhealthy dinner choice, but  why not combat one unhealthy choice with a healthy one?

It took me over an hour to convince myself to workout hard for thirty minutes, but I finally mustered up the strength to complete Level 3 of 30-Day Shred.  I also danced to a few of my favorite Richard Simmons routines and held a few extra planks.

It was cold inside the house, but I still managed to sweat profusely.  And when I was done I was definitely red in the face.  Good grief.

It would have been easy to skip my midnight workout, but I wouldn’t feel as good as I do now.  I’m far from perfect, but I’m trying.  And sometimes getting it done is all we can do.

 

 

The Long Day Is Over

Have you ever experienced a Monday that never seems to end?  That was my day.  I woke up before my alarm went off and breathed a sigh of relief that it was Sunday, then after basking in the fact that I could sleep in I realized it was Monday.  That reality would have been harsher if I hadn’t been looking forward to the day.

My attempt to go back to sleep for half an hour was thwarted by my desire to workout before facing the day so I got up and completed Level one of  30-Day Shred.  Monday isn’t typically a workout day, but after two workouts yesterday I felt compelled to continue in a healthy way.  The half hour I spent working out set the tone for my day, and I’m glad I did it.  (Don’t worry.  I showered and brushed my hair after that!)

You may recall that Monday is my new weigh-in day, and I’m happy to report that I lost 3.8 pounds.  After two weeks of working my way back into a healthy groove I’m down 11.6 pounds, and for the first time in a long time I feel like I can do this again.  Sure, I have a long way to go, but it feels great to be on the right track!

Monday meetings seem to work well for me because I’m more conscious of my weekend eating.  I found myself looking forward to attending again too, and that makes a huge difference!  I like this meeting and the people in it, and I want to succeed with everyone else there.  I can’t say that I love this meeting as much as I loved my New York meeting, but it’s possible that I will eventually.  I’m comfortable there, and that’s one of the most important factors to consider.

After my meeting I stopped at Whole Foods to pick up something delicious for dinner, and I made a new friend.  We had ample time to talk as we waited in line, and we continued our conversation outside.  He’s from New York and seemed rather brilliant and friendly so it was easy to talk to him.  I love making new friends so I’m glad I made that stop.  During our talk he suggested that I season my next batch of kale chips with chipotle, and I plan to do that before the presidential debate.

When I got home I considered working out again, but I opted to wait until today.  Instead I began practicing recipes that I plan to make for the holidays (because it’s important to do that while others are around to eat it.)  Now I’m ready to tackle Tuesday!

My confidence is on the rise again, and it feels good.  I feel like I’m in control of my health today, and I’m keenly aware that it’s up to me to make good choices.  I’m feeling strong in my workouts again too.  I plan to hit the pavement after I sleep, and I’m already looking forward to continuing my healthy week.

What will you do to make this a healthy week?

 

 

Today

Today I will step on the scale to see where I stand after a week of eating processed junk food during the hurricane.  I will exercise.   I will also make healthy choices, and I will remind myself that giving up is not an option.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that quitting is not an option, and right now I have to remind myself to fight the mindless cravings, the feelings of lethargy and defeat…I have the power to be successful, and I’m claiming it today.

How do you motivate yourself to move forward when you feel like you have failed yourself?  How do you convince yourself to try again?

 

Challenging Myself This Week

Sunday afternoon I had a conversation with Aunt Janice in which I expressed my desire to jump start my weight-loss again, and she suggested the same thing that Leslie suggested last month.  She said I should cut out carbohydrates for a week and that it would yield great results so I’ve been giving it a try all week.

I’m not following any specific plan. I’m just eating lean protein, an ounce or so of nuts and leafy greens.  I am eating very few carbs, and the carbs I’m eating are healthy ones (not processed.)

I thought it would be terribly difficult, especially since I don’t spend much time at home, but it has been totally manageable.  I’ve been with The Suit a lot this week, and instead of going out like we normally would, we’ve made a conscious effort to eat at (his) home.  He makes the best eggs ever, and I think tonight’s dinner menu will include salmon and leafy greens.  He’s already in great shape, but like the rest of us, when he eats better he feels better so this has been good for both of us.

When I started this challenge Monday morning I knew I wanted to make it through the day, but I wasn’t sure how I would do it.  I’ve been taking it one step at a time, and that seems to be working.  My goal is to eat foods that are high in protein and low in carbs until Sunday (and beyond that, of course) at which point I’ll step on the scale and compare my weight to last week’s weigh-in.  I’m curious to see how the numbers differ, but I’m guessing that I’ll weigh less than I did last week.

I’ve had three solid workouts this week as well, and I’ll complete another one today before a meeting in the afternoon and seeing The Suit in the evening.

I know I can eat carbs and lose weight.  They’re even good for us sometimes, but being in control of what I’m eating again feels good.  Reaching my daily goals and being consistent feels good.

I’m watching my portions without obsessing over them, and I feel like I’m back in control.  That’s a feeling that I haven’t experienced in quite some time, but it’s a feeling I love more than most.  It makes me feel like I can win the battle within myself, and I can’t tell you how much hope I’ve found in making good choices once again.

Have you ever cut out carbs?   Do you pay attention to the amount you eat in a typical day?

 

 

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.

 

 

All About Food, Or More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About What I’m Eating

Yesterday I asked for dinner suggestions, and you didn’t let me down.  To those of you who shared your ideas, thank you!  It’s incredible to know that when I have a question or a problem that so many of you are here to help me solve it.

When I started reading through yesterday’s comments my first thought was “Why didn’t I think of that?!”

Among other things,  Tina, Liz and Kris suggested hummus, and immediately I knew I’d add that to my list.  Stevie suggested grilling kebabs that are loaded with veggies because they’re delicious even when they’re cold, and Becky mentioned oatmeal.  How did I forget oatmeal?!

There were so many great suggestions that I think I’ll make it through this Summer session just fine.  (I wasn’t so sure of that last night.)

Here’s what I came up with for today’s lunch…

One Cup of Homemade Three Bean Chili (made by me)

For dinner I packed a variety of things, and I’m bringing enough to share because I’m not the only one who needs to eat dinner even though I’m probably the only one thinking about dinner. Ha!  (Hey Shannon, tell your “shy inner dork” to come say hi to the blogger nerd today, and have a snack if you want to.)

No, I don't plan to eat all of this by myself.

 

Here’s a breakdown of calories in my bento-style dinner and snacks:

Remember, I’m only eating a portion (less than half) of it…

  • 2 tbsp hummus – 70
  • half of the carrots – 50
  • half of the cucumbers – 40
  • FlatOut bread – 100
  • Turkey – 90
  • Ham – 50

*****Snack*****

  • Genoa Salami – 135
  • 2 flatbread crackers – 60
  • 1 oz Brie – 110

For breakfast, I’ll eat a green smoothie made with vanilla whey protein, skim milk, fresh spinach, strawberries and half of a banana.  And since we’re already on the subject, it contains roughly 177 calories.

I’ll also supplement my meals with a Caesar Salad before or during lunch.  My salads are delicious and only 90 calories (because I’m heavy on the romaine – not the dressing.)

Overall, I’m prepared to have a semi-healthy day of eating which will allow me to focus on all of my tasks.  And at approximately 1,112 calories I still have a little room for some kind of sweet snack.  After all, who would I be if I didn’t indulge my sweet tooth a little?

It may have taken a village and a little extra planning, but today will be a success.  I did circuit training last night because I may not make time to hit the gym today which is okay with me.  I’ll still work on increasing my plank time, and I’ll stay under my calorie target.

Now that you know more than you ever wanted to know about what I’ll be eating today, will you tell me what you plan to eat today?

 

First World Problems: What Should I Eat For Dinner?

Today has been a busy and productive day!  I had class in the afternoon and evening, and it felt great to be back at school.  I saw several friends from last semester, and a couple of my favorite people are in my afternoon class.  The Suit (who doesn’t wear suits to class, for the record)  is in both of my classes which is fantastic because we can lean on each other if we need to and because I just like being around him.

My only complaint  today is that I failed to figure out a plan for dinner.  I have about half an hour between classes which means I can’t leave campus.  I brought my lunch today just as I did last semester (salad, lean protein and a snack) which worked out well, but dinner was a different story.

I travel frequently, and I’ve gotten pretty good at navigating food courts inside airport terminals.  (Terminal 5 at JFK is the best!)  I’ve also conquered lunch and water consumption so dinner can’t be that hard, or can it?

I eat several times a day so not eating dinner is not an option.  I tried that tonight and found myself stressing over what I’d eat and when.  I even managed to talk myself out of buying a Snickers at the vending machine, but it was a close call.  😉

It’s simple… If I skip dinner, I run the risk of overeating and/or making poor choices later.  I know myself, and I know my body.  I also know that I need to come up with a plan before class Wednesday.

If I eat a big salad filled with greens and protein around 2pm, I’m fine for a few hours, but I really don’t know what I should eat at 5:30 pm.  I prefer to eat much later than that, but eating right after class isn’t realistic either since I don’t exactly live next door to campus.

I have access to a microwave, but I don’t have access to a freezer so a frozen meal won’t work (which is fine since most of them are gross and loaded with sodium anyway.)  Instead, I just need to come up with something healthy and satisfying that won’t spoil over the course of the afternoon.

How do you stay on track when you’re away from home all day?  Am I the only one who struggles with planning two brown bag meals a day?

I’m quite sure that some of you will have excellent suggestions for me, and I look forward to hearing them.

Until then, I’m going to sleep because I plan to hit the gym hard tomorrow!  Have a happy Tuesday, Friends…..

 

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?

 

 

Plus-Size Sports Bras and Activewear

When you shop in the plus-size section like I do, it can be frustrating to find workout clothes.

It’s ironic, isn’t it?  With all of the fat-shaming and “eat less, move more” crap that we hear in society you would think that there would be a larger selection of gym appropriate plus-size clothing from which to choose.  Alas, that’s not the case at all so I find myself searching online for sports bras that will support and flatter while I jump around like a maniac at the gym.  (What? I can’t be the only person who wants to feel at least mildly cute and secure when I’m working out!)

Recently, I purchased my first Reebok dri-fit set from Lane Bryant’s new exercise line, and I’ve loved it so far.  Wearing this outfit makes me feel like working out which is a cool feeling, but I workout several times a week so I need to have a little variety when I hit the gym.

Love my Reebok activewear....

I’m picky about my clothes, and most often I find myself wearing my long-sleeve Saints shirt with cotton pants that I bought for 3 bucks at Old Navy to workout.  And some days I’m fine with that, but I have been in desperate need of new sports bras so I tried a new brand this week.

Marika Sports Bra

I found these Marika sports bras on Lane Bryant’s website after spotting a similar one on a girl at the gym last week.  I ordered one in white and one with pink while they were Buy One, Get One 1/2 Off, and I also used a Lane bryant coupon code so they came to under $20 per bra.

Oops! I was making a ridiculous face, but the bra is what's important today.

After wearing my white sports bra today (with proper attire over it, of course) I have to say that I love it, and I wish I had several.  It did its job by offering support without being cumbersome like sports bras I’ve tried in the past.

I know that I need to continue to build my workout attire, but I’m happy to have found such a great foundation in these sports bras.  They are so much better than the ones I was wearing before!

What’s your favorite brand for plus-size athletic wear?  Can anyone fill me in on what I might be missing in the world of plus-size fitness apparel?