Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's the little things in life

Tomorrow is my weigh day, but no matter what the scale says tomorrow, I got confirmation today that I am indeed moving in the right direction.

Back before I started this whole thing, one of the things I always dreaded was wearing a pair of jeans right after they had been washed and dried.  Why?  Because that's when they are always the tightest.  For someone who is boardering on moving up a size, this can be hell.  It's a "cross your fingers and pray" game.  Sometimes they were comfortable.  Other times, not so much.

Today, I pulled a pair of jeans out that I haven't worn since the beginning of this project because they had gotten to the point where they were just too tight.  Guess what?  Pretty darn comfortable, right off the bat!  Even a little room to spare!!  I don't know when the last time this happened...

Its things like this that you have to keep in mind in case the scale doesn't give you the numbers you think and feel you deserve.  I wish I had been tracking my inches from the beginning because I would be really curious to find out how many inches I've lost thus far.

So, just remember on your next weigh day to look for the positive!  I know I'll be thinking of my awesome pair of jeans.  :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Forget your troubles come on get happy!

Well, all in all, I have to say that this has been a pretty darn good week.  It's been a while since I've had this sort of positivity going on in all aspects of my life.

Let me start off by following up on the running post.  What I am now calling the "Great Running Project" has not been postponed as I was seriously contemplating, but more like adapted to fit my needs.  First, I had to back track from the 5K program down to the One Mile program.  When I started the 5K program they said that this was for people who could run at least a mile, which I cannot.  So baby steps I guess!!  Second, the program that I am working with requires me to only run/walk for twenty minutes a day, three days a week.  The other days are supposed to be rest days. I am not okay with this.  The program did say the most important thing is that the day immediately following my running day MUST be a rest day, so what I've decided to do is the following:  Walk day (3+ miles depending upon how I feel), Run/Walk day (30 minutes), Rest day.  That way I am letting my legs rest up following the running, but I'm also still getting in more exercise then they are telling me to.  I just wouldn't be losing any weight if I followed their program to a T!

Speaking of weight loss, I am now up to a total of 18 pounds!!  I can't believe that I am almost at the 20 pound mark.  I have never felt so motivated in all of my life and I know that I will never allow myself to get back to where I was before.  I can't.  I won't.  This is the process of becoming a whole new me, inside and out.

Also, I got some great news at the doctor this week!  Prior to be starting this whole thing, I received some really bad news at the doctor which was one of the motivations I've had going through my process.  I was told that I now had high blood pressure.  It had slowly been creeping up for a while, but this was the first time that it was officially in the high category.  I was not okay with this.  I was 28 when I was told this.  WAY too young to have high blood pressure.  That had to change.  This week at the doctor?  I am OFFICIALLY back in the normal category!!  After only 7 weeks!  116/80.  Hallelujah, one goal down!

And finally on a non-weight loss related topic (SHOCKER!) my professor kicked my butt this week about my thesis so I am FINALLY going to start!  Not sure if I will graduate in May or next October, but at least its something!  He even gave me homework!  So, here's a warning to all my ATPAM friends that are reading this blog.  At some point in the near future?  We'll be talking...

So that's all my good news so far for this week.  Here's hoping next week has some more great news for me!!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I love you, I love you not...

All my life, like so many overweight people, I've struggled with a bad relationship with food.  I don't consider myself to be an emotional eater, I just really liked food!  I liked the way it tasted, and that made me happy.  So, what do you do when you find something that makes you happy?  You embrace it.  You never let it go.  I loved food.  But, I didn't love what food made me see when I looked in the mirror.

Honestly, the biggest part of my journey has been about building a better relationship with food. I came to the realization food isn't something that I needed to make me happy.  When I looked at my life (conveniently not looking at the jobless end of the spectrum...) I realized I lead a pretty good one.  I live in New York City and have a career that I absolutely adore.  I have a great group of friends who would be there for me at the drop of a hat (and have been.)  I have two great sisters that make me laugh and smile, and a mother whom I love with all my heart.  All in all, not too shabby!  Food shouldn't be playing into my equation for what makes me happy.  Food is fuel, and I needed to start viewing it as such.

This has, of course, been a great struggle.  I was never much of a vegetable person, I was more of a fruit fan.  But, since I started, I have found myself standing in the frozen food section debating between the green beans or broccoli.  I have started adding actually healthy things to my salad instead of the croutons.  Red meat is rare if at all.  Whole wheat, instead of white.  Egg whites.  You name it and I've tried to alter it.

Here's where the problem comes into play...  Remember that 6 Week Itch?  Yeah...  It included food exhaustion.  The problem that I was having was that while I had found healthy alternatives to my diet, I was tending to repeat them as I didn't really know of many other options.  So, what did that make me do?  I started to drift from the path.  Not drastically, but I just noticed a little bit here and a little bit there.  This continued until I saw that (albeit incorrect) number on the scale.  Since then I've tried a little bit more realistic approach.

I never eased into my new way of life, I just changed everything cold turkey. I've realized that I can't go from zero to sixty at the drop of a hat. It's okay to have a slice of pizza once and a while!  Just don't eat half of it!  It's okay to have french fries once and a while, just don't supersize!  I've learned that it's all about moderation.  If I'm going to have these special treats, I need to accommodate for it by being incredibly careful in the rest of my meals.

Actually the days that I would really beat myself up about my calories going over my suggestion number, was on the two days a week I'm not walking.  I need to stop that!  I wasn't going over by much, but I was beating myself up about it.  I need to realize that the suggested number of calories in order for me to lose two pounds per week, is just that.  SUGGESTED!  If I go over it by 100 calories it doesn't mean that I've ruined my entire week!  It just means I might not see a full 2 pounds dropped.  Or, that I need to walk a little bit longer. Either way, I need to not beat myself up about food anymore.

Food isn't the thing in my life that I can call if I need to talk to someone.  Food isn't who I tell funny stories about the crazy people on the subway to.  My relationship with food has moved from rampant love affair to mere acquaintances.  I think it's a good change.  It was time that we started seeing other people...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Running to and fro

I, my dear friends, have decided that I am going to take up running.

Please, take a moment to collect yourselves and let this sink in.

Ok, now that you've picked your jaws up from the ground, I can explain.

I have been walking steadily for 6 full weeks now, at least 4-5 times per week.  My stamina is leaps and bounds above what it was when I started.  I've realized that walking is only going to do so much for me on this journey.  I mean, I could keep increasing the length of my walks and I could increase my speed a bit, but I'm getting the point where much faster of a pace and I'll be jogging.  Also, if I increase the length of the walks it's going to start taking a LONG time to complete my exercise each day.  I've always been a proponent of the "walking is just as good for you as jogging" argument, however it was my dear friend Stacia who brought up the point that its just going to start taking longer to do.  Granted, I have nothing but time these days, but the moment I get a job, that's not going to be the case.  The fact of the matter is I need to keep pushing myself so, either I join a gym and find a trainer (something I can't afford to do at the moment) or I take advantage of one of the multiple "Couch to 5K" programs that are out there on the web.

I'm not going to lie, this video was also a HUGE inspiration to me:

I've NEVER been a runner.  Not even in elementary school.  I would always gasp and wheeze during my laps, unable to even run a mile without stopping for a mandatory breather.  (I couldn't climb the ropes either, but that's another sad childhood memory...)

Times have changed however.  Or at least I'm hoping they will.  I feel stronger than I have in a VERY long time and with this handy-dandy "album" that I downloaded from iTunes, I think I have a runner deep inside me waiting to come out!

The album I downloaded is from the Personal Running Trainer program.  I chose the 8 Weeks to 5K one.  Each week is set to music that I download to my iPod and it makes training incredibly simple.  Rather than having to constantly pay attention to your time or distance a voice on the album tells you when to start running and when to start walking.  I build my running stamina slowly each week. It's Running for Dummies!

I read a lot of reviews online and it was a bunch of people all with stories that sounded similar to mine and I realized what makes them any different from me?  These people are literally going from couch potatoes directly to running.  I have 6 weeks of exercise on them!

I'm going to take my time on this.  I'm not training for a particular race, although I would like to eventually run one.  If I feel like I'm not ready to move onto the next week's running program, then I will simply repeat a week. I'm doing this purely for me, just like I am this entire project.  I'm not out there to compete.  Well, actually I am, but only against myself.

And I gotta say, I'm pretty competitive.

P.S.  I had my roommate hide my scale so that I'm not tempted to weigh myself before my weekly weigh in.  I'm DYING!  I feel like I'm going through withdrawals, only my drug of choice is a bathroom scale!  ARGH!  The agony!!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The 6 week itch...

The 6 week itch.  Sounds like a skin condition, doesn't it?  No, no... It's my self control cracking.

It was 6 weeks ago when I decided to take control over my health and work towards creating a new me.  It hasn't been an easy process.  It's taken hard work, determination and the ability to fight tons and tons of food cravings.  However, all of this hard work has paid off so far... 14 pounds lost!

This week however, I had my first set back...  I actually saw the numbers on the scale go the wrong way.

Now, you know that I am not one who is able to stay off my scale.  I tend to weigh myself about every other day.  Terrible I know...  There are so many factors that affect our weight from day to day.  Do any of those factors go through my head when I see those numbers?


All I can think is that I'm a failure.  Am I really?  To put it simply...no.  My clothes are fitting differently.  Multiple people have told me that they could see a difference.  My energy is up.  My stamina is up.  Basically all signs are pointing towards the positive, with the exception of the scale (that I shouldn't have even been on in the first place!)

Once I smacked myself for the negative thoughts, I did start to think about why I possibly could be seeing the scale move in the wrong direction.

Reason #1:
Possible Water Retention.  Have I been drinking as much water as I need to be?  Um, no.  For the most part, during this process I've been pretty good about getting in at least 8 glasses of water per day.  The past few days I've been slacking in this regard.

Reason #2:
I haven't been tracking my calories as closely.  This is why I'm thinking I have the 6 week itch.  It's been 6 weeks since I've changed my diet, which means that seriously cravings are coming into play.  With the cravings come inappropriate snacking.  With snacking comes me either forgetting to journal these calories, or I purposefully don't journal the calories because I feel guilty about them.  TOTALLY not healthy behavior!  I'm not going overboard compared to what I used to, but still they are little sneak peeks into past behavior that needs to be nipped in the bud.

Reason #3:
My metabolism might have slowed.  Since I started this process I've been pretty good about having something about every two hours to keep my metabolism up.  Be it a piece of fruit, slice of cheese, small yogurt, anything...  The past few days I haven't been doing this.  Need to get back in the habit.

After I sat down and actually thought about the possible reasons for the gain I felt better.  These were all things that I could fix and today has been a good jump in the right direction.  (I'm also going to have my roommate hide the scale and only bring it out once a week so that I won't be tempted to get on it early!)

I do have to give myself a pat on the back.  Previously, I would have seen this miniscule set back as a MAJOR deal.  I would have beaten myself up about and used it as an excuse to quit.  But not this time.  I remembered that the real reason behind doing all of this isn't the numbers on the scale.  Those are just a nice after effect.  The reason I'm doing this is get healthy.  Lower my blood pressure, reduce risk of diabetes, etc.

This time I looked the 6 week itch square in the eye and then kicked its ass.

Bring on week 7!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Never give up, never surrender!

So, I stepped on the scale today and I have to admit I was both incredibly excited and slightly nervous about what I saw.

While today wasn't my weigh-in day (I'm AWFUL about waiting a week before stepping on the scale.  It just sits there and calls my name from underneath the bathroom sink!) I decided to check in and see what my trusty friend was going to tell me today.

2.8 pounds lost since last Wednesday!  I know 1-2 pounds per week is what is considered healthy, but I'm not going to be upset about how much weight I lost!  I'm following my suggested calorie intake, and I'm exercising 5-6 times per week.  My body is going to do what my body is going to do...

So, the number on the scale obviously wasn't the problem.  What made me nervous was that I had a flash back to the one and only other time in my life when I sincerely tried to lose weight.  It was 4 years ago now and I wasn't really following a strict diet.  I mean, I was eating healthier and making better choices, but I wasn't counting calories or anything.  Needless to say, I hit a plateau.

I did quite well for three months.  I was losing the recommended 1-2 pounds per week and all looked good.  Then, when I hit 15 pounds lost all forward momentum seemed to just stop.  Of course, it didn't really hit me that maybe I should lower my calorie intake...  I just got frustrated.  And what happens when you get frustrated?  (or at least, when I get frustrated?)  I quit.

I hit that wall and I just quit!

I am currently at 13 pounds lost, and I'm rapidly approaching my previous benchmark and while I'm not worried that I'm going to stop losing weight immediately again, I am worried about what will happen when I do hit that inevitable plateau.  It's looming out there just waiting for me.  I know it is!

What I suppose I am asking is that when I do hit that eventual wall, that you guys help push me through it.  I have a feeling I am going to need a bit of support and encouragement to not just give up.  So please, if you hear me complaining about a wall, or a plateau or saying that "I JUST DON'T WANT TO KEEP GOING!"  I give you permission now to kindly kick me in the ass and shove me out the door.  I won't hate you.

For long...