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Posts Tagged ‘Weight Loss’

Happy Friday!  God, I am so glad this week is nearly over.  It’s been…bizarre, to say the least.  January is always a crazy month but we seem to have packed more than the usual amount of insanity into just the first week.  Hopefully next week will settle down some.

I feel great today.  I’m still riding a high from my workout last night, and I haven’t missed a morning’s yoga yet, which always makes me feel better.  I’m very happy with how things are going, though I have got to work my meditations in.  I missed yesterday’s.

At the same time, I’m trying to sort of temper my enthusiasm, because it seems that starting off so strong leads to a loss of motivation when that enthusiasm starts to wane.  So I’m trying not to jump in so eagerly and do too much at once.  I’m trying to view this not in terms of results, either, though I am still weighing in daily.  I’m trying to just look at it as habit-building.  I know that’s what I have to do, and the only thing that is going to keep me at this long-term.  So I’m trying to just step back, take a deep breath, and pace myself.  It’s hard, when I feel so motivated and strong, but I know it’s the right approach.

One of the things I’m excited about is a new challenge on Jillian’s website.  It’s called the Destination Me 2009 Challenge, and what I love about it is that it integrates everything.  You have a food goal, a fitness goal, and a “life” goal, because it’s not about an ultimate weight, it’s about the changes you want to make in your life.  That’s exactly what I’m trying to do, so I’m actually participating in this one.  I don’t care if I win – though how cool would it be to fly to L.A. and get a “beating” from Jillian herself? – but the process is going to be really good for me, and help me stay on track.  I’ve added the Challenge Road Map to my Vision Board (it’s the yellow paper on the middle left side):

vision-board1

so I see it every day.  I love that there are mini-goals (which I set) to work on each week or two that will advance me toward my ultimate goal (which I also set).  This is sort of the way I like to do things anyway, but it’s very cool that it’s all sort of organized and laid out for you to help you plan.

I just feel that right now is a really important time for me to take control of my life.  Last year was very haphazard and difficult in a lot of ways.  I didn’t feel that I had much control over anything, and to be honest I didn’t have a lot of desire to try.  It just felt like it wasn’t worth the effort.  I know a lot of that was emotional and chemical, and I am really beginning to grasp the underlying physical reasons for that, but it’s still a feeling I want to avoid.  Right now, I’m coming off a vacation that gave me some much-needed time away from a lot of my stressors, and in a situation that makes it necessary for me to really be careful about my health, so what better time could there be to really get things together?

My life may change enormously this year.  Things are occurring, even as I type this, that may mean my life will turn upside down this year, in a simultaneously good and difficult way.  If it happens, it will be a wonderful thing for my family in the long term, but it will entail big changes and lots of effort in the short term.  For the past six weeks or so, I’ve been holding my breath, waiting to see if that will happen, as though I can’t make changes or get myself together until I know.  That is ridiculous.  It is nothing more than a pathetic excuse to be lazy and self-indulgent, and avoid taking responsibility for myself and my world.

So that needs to stop now.  No matter what happens in the coming year, I have got to do the right things for my body, or I’m going to have major problems.  And I need to put the same focus and determination into the rest of my life – work, relationships, self-awareness and accountability – because that’s the only way I’m going to be happy, strong, and centered.

So that’s my theme for this year.  Responsibility and Focus.  Two things that have not, I fear, been strong points for me.  But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past two and a half years, it’s that people can change.  People can grow and improve and become more than they were.  It has to come from within them, and nobody else can do it for them…but they can do it.  I can do it.

On that note, I hope that everyone has a strong, healthy, peaceful weekend.

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At least I got the week number right this time, right?  🙂

In the past week, I netted a 0.5 pound loss.  Not what I’d prefer, but I’m not remotely disappointed.  It wasn’t the most perfect week.  Very good in many ways, but not perfect. This one, so far, has been much better, and I plan to keep it that way.

My only real struggle is going to be Saturday night, when we’re having a slumber party for YD’s birthday.  There will be pizza.  There will be some form of cakelike substance.  There will, no doubt, be chips and cookies and whatnot.

But perhaps not.  Let’s see.  I can buy the ingredients for them to make individual pizzas.  That’s always fun, and I will just not make one for me.  I’ll have salad or something.  There’s the pizza problem taken care of.  Cake…well, gotta do the cake, but perhaps we’ll do ice-cream cone cupcakes and, again, they can decorate their own.  Another fun activity, and I just have to restrain myself from nibbling on leftovers as they never eat all of theirs.  Instead of chips, I can pop a ton of popcorn, because that’s not too unhealthy and I won’t eat too much of it.  And instead of cookies, I’ll have bowls of fruit out.  Juice instead of sodas…

Yeah.  This could work.  We’ll be going to the movies – High School Musical 3 comes out Friday night, so that’s the centerpiece of the party – but we’ll only be getting popcorn there, too, and I am (shock, gasp) not that much of a fan of movie theater popcorn.  Sunday morning, I’ll have to make something terrible for breakfast (come on, pancakes or cinnamon rolls are always a staple of slumber-party morning-after breakfasts at our house) but I don’t struggle much with breakfast; it’s my easiest meal of the day.

And as for exercise?  Heck, how can you get better exercise than a HSM Dance-A-Thon?!?  We are so gonna rock the house.

A healthy party that doesn’t seem like a healthy party.  I will trick them into doing healthy things and they will never suspect!  Mwahahahahaha….. (that was an evil laugh, BTW.)

S.L.A.P.  And if you recognize that, you’re as big a MizFit fan as I am.  🙂  (Or possibly you’re actually MizFit.  But that would only apply to, like, a very small percentage of potential readers.  Like, one.  Reader, not percent.  Um.  Anyway.)

In other areas…I’m being very careful with my food, and very diligent with my workouts.  Tonight is The Biggest Loser, so big workout night for me.  Tomorrow night will be my night off, because I can tell my body’s ready for one.  Then I am going to try very hard not to have another night off for a while.  Saturday, I hope (not plan because my plans never work out) to get my workout in super early, so it’s out of the way and I don’t stress over missing it because of the party.  That will depend on how much party prep I get done Friday night though.  If I have to have a night off on Saturday, it’s not the end of the world.  I’ll just feel better if I don’t.

I’m feeling pretty good about things.  The healthy mindset and habits are becoming well-ingrained again, and I feel that I’m settling in for the long haul.  Not crazy-gung-ho passionate, but steady and committed and (most importantly) consistent.    Goalz?  I haz them.  (Too much icanhascheezburger.com for me, clearly.)

So here’s to a great, consistent, steady, productive week.  Hope everyone has a wonderful one!

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Happy Monday!  (No, that’s not an oxymoron!)

I’m feeling particularly chipper this morning, which is sort of unlike me, but I have plenty of reasons.  The weekend was wonderful in a lot of ways and I’m surfing the momentum in hopes of making the week great as well.

DH, YD and I spent the weekend at the cabin.  I had planned to make it a very active weekend, getting out and doing a lot of things with YD, and that worked out a lot better than my plans usually do.  Saturday we decided to check out a local park not very far from the cabin; we wanted to ride bikes and maybe walk some.  We’d actually intended to do this at the campground, but it was actually pretty full so we went to the park instead.  This ended up being a great decision, as the park has a long loop road perfect for biking, with very little traffic, so we rode that and stopped for a while to play at the playground:

…which was fun.  Then we finished our ride and headed for our real find of the day:  a FitTrail!

If you’ve never heard of these (you probably have) they’re walking/running/hiking trails that have, every few yards, “stations” where you do various exercises.  This one was definitely hiking – it was in the woods, which I love, unpaved (unless you count a three-inch leaf carpet as paving, which I sort of do) and absolutely gorgeous.

I promise, I did the exercises too, I didn’t just make YD do them and take pictures of her.  🙂

I couldn’t even estimate the distance; no pedometer, because we were just out having fun.  It ended up being an awesome workout though, which was very cool.  We met a couple of friendly local dogs while on the trail; sorry, I didn’t get pictures of them.  They were cute though.

Saturday afternoon we went up to the dam so that DH (and YD, some) could fish the tailwaters.

We spent a couple of hours or so there, and YD and I spent a large part of it on the playground.  No pictures of that either, sorry.  But I wish I had, because it had a very cool rock (okay, plastic rock-like stuff) climbing wall – only about seven feet high, but I’m afraid of heights, so that was perfect for me.  🙂  We climbed it about ten times and I forced myself to go up and over and down the opposite side – I know, it’s not very high, but it was a big deal for me!  There was also a zip-line sort of thing that we did over and over – BTW, if you spend much time with kids on a playground that has one of these, I recommend trying it out.  It’s a great pectoral workout, as I discovered the following morning.  Ouch.

Anyway…that evening was spent around a fire drinking tea (no s’mores for me, thank you) because it was cold.  Then Sunday we got up and all three of us went and did the bike-ride (walk in DH’s case, gotta get him a bike) and FitTrail again.  It was awesome fun.  I did discover, however, that I am still incapable of doing a pull-up.  Not much has changed since the days of the hated President’s Physical Fitness Test, evidently.

Last night, fearing I hadn’t done enough in the way of exercise to counteract my deviations in the realm of food (they weren’t horrible, but let’s face it, folks, potato soup is never going to be anyone’s idea of a low-calorie option, at least not the way I make it) I spent forty minutes on the treadmill.  Nothing to watch on TV so I resorted to my trusty iPod – and realized how much easier it is to run when you’re listening to music that gets you jazzed up.  Laugh if you will, but that Hannah Montana’s got some rockin’ beats.  🙂  But my very favorite was “Animals” by Nickelback – I ran for the whole song on that one, as well as “Next Contestant”.

I think I ended up running about 25 of the 40 minutes, which is definitely an all-time high for me.  High in more ways than one – it felt awesome and (interestingly) at no time did I feel out of breath.  I was running faster than I usually do, too.  I think it demonstrates how much of my difficulty with running is psychological – if I’m paying attention to the music, I don’t seem to have many problems…

So it was a great weekend for physical activity.  And at my official Monday morning weigh-in, I am down a total of half a pound from last Monday.  I’ll take it, all things considered.  (Remember, I had a less-than-perfect anniversary evening and the weekend wasn’t exactly perfect either.)  No gain over the weekend, no loss.  I’m good with that.  One of the reasons, as I was telling someone today, is that I can feel the changes in my body.  Dropping numbers on the scale are nice, but there is nothing, nothing better than the change in how your body feels.

In other weekend news, ED had stayed at home so that she didn’t have to miss her voice lesson.  This was only her third lesson with this lady (or was it fourth?) so she didn’t want to skip it.  I’m glad she didn’t, because her voice teacher (who has, in the past two weeks, told her both that she is a joy to work with and that she – the instructor – is going to have to find harder songs for ED) told her that she wants to enter ED in a competition in early December.  She said she wouldn’t normally do this with a new student, but ED is such a quick learner and has enough skills that she wants to go ahead and start getting her out there.  That made ED feel pretty good, and I feel pretty good for her.  As I’ve mentioned before, this woman is an amazing voice instructor, very knowledgeable and very skilled and just amazing to be around.  I am so pleased with how it has gone and very thankful for the decisions we’ve made in this area in the last year.  You never know how things are going to turn out, but this seems to be a winner.

And last but certainly not least, I am a great-aunt!  Again.  But it never gets old.  🙂  My niece Ashley gave birth at 4:44 this morning to a precious little baby girl, Chayla Harmony.  I am so excited for her and very grumpy that I can’t be there to hold her.  I’ll post pictures as soon as I have them, but I just had to crow a little.

And on that note, saga over.  Have a wonderful week, everyone!

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Well, it’s Friday again.  Hard to believe another week is past.  I’ve been so busy that it’s literally flown by.  Okay, not literally.  It didn’t grow wings.  But it went by really quickly.

It’s been a good week overall, though it’s had its ups and downs.  Last night was pretty cool; I ran on the treadmill for about six minutes, which is about four minutes longer than my usual max.  Not fast, but steady.  DH was doing the “long” run on WiiFit and I ran with him.  It reminded me of something I tend to forget whenever possible – most of my limitations are self-imposed.  I can run, I just really don’t like to and I generally choose not to.  But it’s nice to be reminded that I am capable of it.  I need to make myself do it more often, because if there’s one thing that will short-circuit weight loss efforts it’s getting too comfortable in your exercise routine.

I had a great workout last night, but was up 0.2 pounds today.  I’m actually not too disappointed by that for a few reasons.  One I particularly want to mention though is this – it’s an amazing post by Lynn, who is in herself, of course, amazing – but also check out Cyndi‘s comment, which is number 49.  This really made me sit up and take notice of how I’ve been thinking about my efforts and my results.

The thing is, during the time period that I’ve been working to become healthier and lose weight, I’ve also been working on getting out of debt.  Working hard on it, in fact.  So my life has a double focus and they’re both all about self-control, sensibility, frugality and moderation.  And they’re very similar.

What this made me look at, though, was my own reaction to the number on the scale.  When I have worked hard, and I step on the scale and see no loss or a gain, I (like most people) tend to take it personally.  I’m no good, I’m a failure, I’m pathetic…it’s a direct reflection on my worth as a human being.  And typically, I start to feel discouraged and hopeless about the process, which generally means there’s a binge (or at least a major slip) somewhere in the very near future.

But when I check my bank balance online – which I do frequently, to make sure I haven’t missed writing in a transaction – I don’t feel that way.  If it’s down, I look at the transactions, make sure I have them all written in, and plan my spending accordingly.  If it’s a lot lower than I thought it should be, I find what I had missed, and yes, I probably kick myself a little for spending that money (if it was something non-critical).  But I don’t spiral into depression, and I sure as heck don’t go on a spending spree at the mall!  How stupid would that be?  Oh, I’m overdrawn (or really low), I am such a loser, I think I’ll go buy those $150 boots I saw the other day.  Or a new couch.  (Note – sure, spending money would make me feel better, which is one of the reasons I am in the situation I’m in, and one of the things I need to cure.  But even I am not that compulsive, that addicted, or that clueless.)  It would only make my problems much, much worse.

That being true, why would I do this with food?  If I’ve slipped, and it’s resulted in a gain or no loss, why would I think the rational thing to do would be to go eat a bag of chips?  That’s just silly.  The rational thing to do is to conserve – i.e., work out a little harder and be extra-careful with food –  just as I would with my bank account.  If I’ve spent too much, then I don’t spend till I get paid again.  If I’ve overindulged, I cut back a little until I’m back on track.

This seems self-evident, but nothing makes things “click” for me like analogies.  🙂  This, because of the work I’ve had to do on my spending habits, is a perfect one.  So this is what I’m focusing on.  I’m up a little – and I can easily, since I’ve been weighing almost daily, pinpoint exactly why.  I am not racking my brain to find that transaction; it’s clearly printed out on the screen for me to see.  I know where the extra 0.2 came from, and I pretty much expected it, so I just nod and go on.

What it does do, is tell me that I need to be extra diligent this weekend.  That’s really a good thing, because weekends at the cabin tend to be lazy, undisciplined times for me.  But since I know I’m skating on the edge of a “no-loss” week (I’m, at this point, down half a pound, but if I am not careful this weekend, that could change) I know that I need to be sure not to take anything overly tempting or unhealthy, and stick resolutely to my healthy meals.  Exercise won’t be a problem, as I plan to get out a LOT with DH and YD.  (ED, unfortunately, won’t be going with us; she has a voice lesson she doesn’t want to miss, so she’ll be staying here with my Mom.)

So I wanted to thank Cyndi for the insight, which has both put some things into perspective for me and helped me let go a little of my love-hate feelings toward the scale.  It’s just a scale.  I don’t hate the computer for showing me I’m out of money.  I don’t need to hate the scale for showing me the results of my own behaviors.  I don’t need to hate anything.  I just need to use the information wisely.  So while it makes me more comfortable with daily weighing, it also goes a long way toward removing the compulsion.  I don’t need to weigh myself compulsively, any more than I need to compulsively check my bank balance.  (I used to do that, too.  I’m much better now, though.)

Life’s all about learning.  I’ve learned a lot this week, and in my book, that makes it a great week.  Have a great weekend – I plan to!

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Happy Tuesday, everybody, and happy Week 974,312 (feels like)! Hope everyone’s having a great week.

There’s something very encouraging about steady progress, while at the same time a bit demoralizing. This weighing every day is starting to wear on my nerves. It’s good to step on and see that “-0.4” but it’s so consistent I’m wondering if it’s broken? Hopefully we’ll see tomorrow, because tonight is the Biggest Loser, which is typically a huge workout night for me. So maybe it’ll be different tomorrow. As in “more”, not as in “less”. 🙂

But even if it’s not, I’m pleased. I said before that if I can manage a 0.4 loss even most days (because “all” is out of the question; this is reality, not reality TV) I’ll reach my goal before the end of the year. And (I don’t think I mentioned it yesterday) my net loss for last week, after subtracting the fluid I put on the previous weekend, was 3 pounds, which is awesome. (Total loss was 8 pounds, which would have me screaming for joy or passing out in shock if I didn’t know for a fact that 5 pounds was fluid gain from the weekend.) 3 pounds a week is beyond my wildest dreams. But 0.4 a day is 2.8, so who knows?

I’m still waiting for the gain that I can’t explain. It happens; I know it happens. It’s happened to me so many times. It’s demoralizing, but I have to admit that this daily weighing does one thing – you have instant feedback, so the gains are easier to explain. For example: if I gained a pound over the course of a week, I’d have to think back to the entire week to see what I might have done that could explain it. The day before might have been an awesome day, but if I had a bad day three days before that caused me to retain massive fluid, I wouldn’t necessarily associate that. I’d just be furious that I had a gain after working so hard.

Weighing daily, if I have a gain, I really only have to look at the previous day, and it’s pretty readily apparent what the problem was. One pound “real gain” over the course of a week is possible. One pound over a day? Not so much. (And the answer is nearly always “salt”. I’m hypersensitive to sodium so I have to be hyper-careful.) So in that sense, I guess it’s good. I just don’t like the compulsive feel of it. I have this burning desire to be scale-free (okay, weightless then, that sounds less like I have terrible skin lesions), but I know realistically that I’m going to have to wait till I get to a healthy weight and have my body where I want it before I can really do that. (That’s me, not you – I need the feedback. You might not. We’re all different.)

So, for now, I’ll keep doing the daily Body Tests. At least it’s a reason to get up in the morning. 🙂

As much as I dislike time-limited goals (because there’s so much pressure associated with them, and for me at least I’ve found that pressure is a big obstacle to consistency and sustainability) I have to admit that I’m keeping my eyes on the end-of-the-year trip. I’m not going into details because it’s still top-secret but I’m excited about it. It’s not going to make a bit of difference to the trip whether I weigh what I weigh now, or 50 pounds lighter, or somewhere in between. But…we’ve gone to this place before, and in the pictures I look…um…less than my best. So it would be very neat to be able to compare this year’s pictures to those, and see a major difference. So that’s a good motivator too.

But it’s not really about motivation, this time around. I was talking at DH last night (yes, “at”, not “to”, because love his heart, he listens even when I’m unfocused and not making much sense) about the mindset you have to be in to be consistent. I made spaghetti and garlic bread last night , and while I’ve been doing great at avoiding white flours I have to admit the garlic bread was killing me. I ate half of one breadstick, and not going back for more was looking like a struggle. But as I told DH, you have to find that mental switch that takes you from, “Oh, poor me, look at this food, I can’t have it, it’s so terrible, oh, it’s so hard…” and so on, into, “It’s just not an option. I’ve eaten what I needed to eat, and that’s it.”

Finding that mental switch gets a lot easier with practice. It’s what happens unconsciously when you’re really “motivated” – you have to get into that dress by next week, or you’re competing for a prize, or whatever your ‘motivation’ is. But making it happen consciously is the battle, and that’s a process that, for some people, can take years (or never happen at all). That’s one area where having a history of panic disorder has helped, strangely enough, because it’s the same mental switch I use to short-circuits the panic attack. I can’t explain it, I wish I could. It’s not a “trick” that I could teach someone. I’ve learned it over the course of 15 years through biofeedback, meditation, and (strangely) Lamaze, and it’s been a slow learning process. But I’ve finally learned to apply it to food, or at least I’m getting better at applying it to food. 🙂 It’s just a way of thinking, of controlling the physical reactions with the mental muscles, so to speak, that takes you out of whatever mental process you’re in and puts you in another. [Incidentally, if you want to try to learn something like this, I highly recommend biofeedback. It’s amazing.]

Okay, that was quite a digression. Anyway, it’s been a good week, and I’m looking forward to another one. Tonight is the Biggest Loser and tomorrow night I hope to walk with B., but other than that I will take tomorrow night off. I found when doing Jillian’s circuits that having about every third or fourth night off is very effective at avoiding the overtrained feeling, and I’m feeling ready for a night off – and I expect I’ll be even more ready after tonight.

Hope everyone has a wonderful and very successful week!

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…on the week, that is. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m glad it’s Friday.

It’s been a great week, all things considered. I’ve experienced a powerful renewal of focus and determination as to losing weight – and I should clarify here that I don’t mean having a “healthy lifestyle”. I’d been doing fairly decently with that, all along. I was definitely not perfect, but I absolutely hadn’t lapsed back into all my old habits. I wasn’t eating a lot of junk; but I was eating some, and not all of my healthy stuff. I was still moving and being active; I just wasn’t working very hard. This week, though, I’ve somehow returned to that mindset where success is the only option and I refuse to take no for an answer. I wish I could tell you how that happened. I wish I knew, so that I could recreate it next time I find the going hard. But at this point, I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

So far, I’ve had a loss every day this week. Now, if you’ve ever read my blog at all, you probably know I do not advocate daily weighing. I know firsthand how demoralizing it can be when you step on the scale the morning after a day of hardcore workouts and iron self-control, to see that you’re up half a pound. It sucks the desire to continue right out of you, and suddenly nothing makes more sense than a giant slice of chocolate cake (or maybe the entire cake) with a Frito-Lay chaser…

But doing the WiiFit has gotten me into the habit, whether I want to or not. You don’t have to do a daily Body Test – they don’t rough up your little Mii person on the days you don’t show up or anything – but (me being the ridiculously empathetic person I am) I can’t stand to hear the little Balance Board character sound pitiful when I spurn his company for a few days running. So I do my Body Test every day, which means weighing.

Yes, I could easily just not look at the results. However, I have not yet progressed far enough in my Scale Whore Recovery Program to do that. I can look at the chocolate cake and not eat it. I can’t stand in front of a number reflecting my current relationship with gravity and not look at it. Baby steps, people.

Early in the week, I knew I would be seeing losses, because I knew I was carrying around nearly five pounds of fluid that I’d put on over the weekend. So that was great, and I had no trouble stepping on. But as the week has progressed and I started approaching a net loss, I’ve grown progressively more nervous and reluctant every morning. Yes, I’ve been working my butt off and my eating has been literally perfect every single day. (You should see all my gold stars!) But I know from experience that that just isn’t always enough. Sometimes, you don’t lose, and sometimes, you gain. It’s not a reflection on what you’re doing or not doing – it’s just your body working its way through the process of losing weight and toning. I know this, intellectually. That doesn’t make it any easier to see the numbers going nowhere or, worse, the wrong way.

But I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I’ve had a loss every day. Not a huge loss every day (once the fluid was gone, it settled back to more reasonable levels) but a loss. Total loss? 6.5 pounds (mostly fluid). My net loss (after subtracting the gain from Friday to Monday) for the past week is 1.5 pounds. I will so take it.

Today, the loss was 0.4 pounds. That isn’t much, but it’s a lot for one day. If I were to continue to lose at that rate, I’d be at my 20-pound goal by Thanksgiving. Now, rationally, I know I won’t lose at that rate every day. There are going to be no-loss days, and there are going to be gain days. It’s unavoidable. But if I can average that loss, or even close to it, I will absolutely reach my end-of-year goal, and that makes me very happy.

Last night, I walked for half an hour with my neighborfriendwalkingpartner B. I did about 45 minutes (give or take a minute or two) of strength training and yoga on the Wii, then hit the treadmill while DH did his Wii strength training. I only did 20 minutes on the treadmill (but fast, because boy, was I ever warmed up!) so that I could do armwork with the dumbbells while DH finished up his stuff.

It’s not my ideal routine; the cardio is broken up and that somehow distresses me. [Any of you fitness gurus out there have any input as to whether that will reduce my calorie burn or increase it? I have no clue, but I’d love to feel good about breaking it up instead of bad. I think in the future it’ll be two 30-minute segments though, because at least I know I’m getting the full hour that way, even if it’s not all at once.]

Anyway. For me, it’s a good balance, because I can get my hard-core treadmill cardio in, get my time walking outside (which I adore) with B. (and chatting, don’t forget chatting, I adore that too) and do my WiiFit, all in one night. I’ve been stressing over which I would have to give up (my walks with B. used to be hour to hour and a half walks, which didn’t leave a lot of time for anything else, but we’re both trying to develop saner schedules in the evenings) so this makes me happy. I can have it all. 🙂 It does sort of depend on dinner being done early, but that’s okay, it’s better for everyone that way anyway and this give me more incentive to do it.

Work has been okay too. I’ve been very productive all week and the stress levels have been lower than they were for a while, so I feel good about that. There’s still more work than I can ever get done, but at least I know the MITs are done every day and the backlog is minimal. So I’m happy about that.

The one that really is stressing me out is (of course) the economy. I’m not feeling a huge personal impact from it (other than retirement and college funds, you know, nothing really important*) but it’s scaring the hell out of me on a long-term global basis. Change is in the air, and it’s terrifying to me. I’m getting better at handling change in general, but this isn’t personal change – this is change that could (and probably should) impact our entire way of life and how the world and our country are structured. That’s huge, and it’s scary. I’m trying not to panic and be overly dramatic about it, because part of me says it’ll all settle and it’ll be fine. But that part is starting to be drowned out by the “oh, shit, we’re all gonna die” voice that used to be so powerful. So I’m focusing my stress relief efforts on dealing with that.

One of the techniques my therapist used to use with me was, when I was feeling chronic stress over a situation I was worried about (meaning I was scared but pushing it to the back of my mind, where it could simmer and fester and leak into my every thought and action). She would have me visualize the very worst that could happen, go through the entire process step by step, and figure out what I would do and how I would handle it. After the initial coronary, I would eventually figure out that, yeah, it would be unpleasant – but I’d deal with it. I’d handle it, and life would go on.

I am going to have to do that with this. The problem is, it’s so up in the air and inchoate that I don’t know what the worst case scenario is. So I’ll just have to use whatever my worst fears are instead, and figure out how I’d handle them. So that I can stop worrying about them – i.e., praying for something I don’t want. [Note: Yes, there will eventually be a post in which I do not link to a MizFit post. But I can’t tell you when. :-)]

So…in summation, a good week. Lots of work to still be done, but that’s okay. One step at a time, as Jordin Sparks says.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Happy Tuesday and Happy Week 976! Or whatever. Okay, I’m lousy at remembering numbers and I haven’t signed in yet and read the HYC post, so…976 it is.
This week marks an important point for me, mentally. I’m very focused and determined and (to quote my favorite MizFit) not taking no for an answer. I’m determined to carve the fat off by whatever means necessary that doesn’t actually involve sharp objects, anesthesia, or long recovery periods. Or pills. Or powders. Okay, okay. I’m actually very limited as to the means, but that’s okay because they’re healthy means. I’m just not screwing around anymore.
To reinforce this mindset…last night, ED was looking through old photos for a project in her Teacher Cadet class. The goal of course was to find pictures of her when she was very young (and, as she kept exclaiming, “so cute!” – which she still is), but in the process we did run across a few pictures of me from that time frame. (Very few – even then I was camera-shy, and after looking at the pictures we did find, that pisses me off royally, because I’d love to remember myself that way.)
I was shocked. Seeing photos of myself from 12, 13, 14 years ago, I was just as shocked as I was when I saw the “fat” pictures from five years ago or so – but in the opposite direction. Here’s a fairly representative photo of me from 13 years ago, newly married and probably weighing about 140 pounds (this was not my thinnest. I can’t find any decent pictures of my thinnest weight, if I can I’ll post one):
At the Starting Gate...

At the Starting Gate...

Why does this piss me off? Because I was dieting. Not that day – we were in the Bahamas, and I was definitely not dieting that day – but generally speaking, I was always dieting. Badly, though. Dieting for a week or two, then falling back into junk-food habits, then dieting again…you know the drill. We all know the drill. It’s Old Home Week, isn’t it?

What makes me angry about that is that knowing what I know now, with the benefit of all that I’ve learned over the past couple of years, I know without a doubt that if I had just left well enough alone, I probably wouldn’t have needed to diet for years. Eventually, time would have put some weight on me and yes, my eating habits were terrible so I’d have definitely had to change – but I wouldn’t have packed it on as quickly as I did. If I had just started a very moderate, reasonable activity regimen, and scaled back a little on the junk food…

But I didn’t, because I thought I was fat. I really and truly believed that. I hated my body. I was disgusted by it, all I could see when I looked in the mirror were the imperfections. And so I punished myself and the cycle spiraled into:

Likewise, this is not at my heaviest point, but I was really camera-shy by then, so I don’t think I have any pictures of that. And I can’t blame childbirth. I’d had one child in the first picture, and while I did have two in the second set, I actually lost weight with my second pregnancy so I can’t blame that at all. Age? Not really. I was only 28 when I hit my heaviest point. No, I have nothing to blame but my own self-abuse.

The point here, and the message? This is why we have got to start teaching young girls to stop hating themselves. It’s not bad enough that the turmoil damages them emotionally and psychologically. It’s not bad enough that it destroys relationships when they despise themselves so much that they are incapable of accepting the love of others. It’s not bad enough that they spend their entire lives thinking of themselves as defective, poorly designed, worthless and somehow less than everyone around them. So then we add physical damage to the mix.

It doesn’t matter if you’re hating on yourself by not eating at all, or hating on yourself by eating too much and then trying to starve it off. It’s all still hating, and it needs to stop. If it doesn’t, these beautiful young girls will continue to be just like me in the first picture – healthy, looking great, but at the starting gate of a race you don’t want to run.

I wasn’t fat, but I made myself that way because I thought I was. And I distinctly recall people trying to tell me that I wasn’t. My mom – but who believes their mother? She has to say that, right? (I’ve learned from reading a lot of blogs that a lot of mothers go to the opposite extreme, though, which is even scarier.) I remember DH and his frustration with my dieting – and I remember thinking he was frustrated and disgusted because I couldn’t stick to one. He tried to tell me he thought I was fine and I ignored that too. He was my husband – he had to say that, too, right? Friends, coworkers, family members…

At what point do we start listening? If I’m anything to judge by, never. There has got to be a way to end this cycle. Sometimes I think that the only way is for us all to go blind; then maybe appearances would stop mattering so much and we’d stop fooling ourselves about our own health. If anyone has a better suggestion, though, I’m all ears.

And anyway, meanwhile, I’m slowly making progress at reversing the damage…

and if there’s one thing I’ve learned since picture one up there, it’s that slowly may be frustrating, but it’s the only healthy way. Slowly, and consistently…that’s what I’m striving for now.

And I’m not taking “no” for an answer. 🙂

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