Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

The More I Know…

…the more I realize I *don’t* know.

Today was the first day that I *officially* started counting, recording and posting my calories again at the food confessional. As I said in that post, I nearly chickened out as a result of all the garbage that I put into my body today, but thanks (at least in part) to Sylvia’s comment on my last post in which she encouraged me to focus simply on getting back in the routine of managing my daily calories, (rather than doing that *and* focusing too strongly on getting them between 1300 and 1500 *and* working in exercise, etc.), I decided to take that first baby step. And, I must admit, I’ve learned a few things in the process:

First of all, I have to say thank you to Paola for editing her already fabulous table generating food diary tool such that it now includes the optional capability of calculating things like your daily intake of fiber, carbs, fat, sodium, etc. I’ve been wanting to, if nothing else, be more conscious of how the food I eat stacks up nutritionally for quite some time (rather than concentrating simply on the calories it contains), but have found the prospect to be a little daunting. But thanks to Paola now I have a really cool and easy to use tool to help me. So… thank you again, Paola, you are truly amazing.

Secondly, in some ways, looking at all of that stuff has me even more confused than ever. Given that today was something of a caloric anomaly (hopefully) I’m not going to get too freaked out about the amount of fat and sodium that I consumed (for example) but what I realized is that I don’t really know how much of these things I *should* be eating each day. Sure, I know the basics like fiber = good and sodium = bad, but beyond that, I’m pretty lost. And although this is probably a topic for another post, I have to say that this lack of information has left me feeling more than a little bit pissed off at my doctor. I have a good relationship with my doctor and, for the most part, I trust and respect him. However, what I realize now is that while he *did* issue me a huge wake up call, one that has, literally, saved my life, he didn’t provide me with any of the tools I needed to change the path of self-destruction that I was on. He told me that I needed to cut back on the salt, but he never once indicated to me how much salt is too much. Everything I’ve learned about what works for me when it comes to losing weight, I’ve either a) stumbled upon through my own research or b) mooched off of all of you. That said, I guess it’s time to do a little research. (Or… if any of you know have some insight into these things, please, enlighten me).

And finally, keeping track of all of this shit is hard work. It took me FOREVER to figure out exactly how much fiber, protein and carbohydrates were in everything I ate today and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there were *several* times when I wanted to say “fuck this!” and eat (another) brownie. But instead, I trudged forward because I know that eventually it will get easier *and* even though it took more time than I thought it would, figuring out how much sodium is in two cups of fresh spinach was, well… illuminating. I *learned* something through the process and that always feels good.

So… perhaps tonight marks something other than just another attempt to get back in the saddle. Perhaps this is more like a new beginning — you know, a fresh start, as it were, rather than just a return to the old habits that have served me well in the past. Either way, I’m feeling really, really grateful tonight.

I’m grateful for…

  • good friends who want me to succeed so badly that they are willing to *create* tools to help me get there.
  • the knowledge that even though I still have a lot to learn that I’ve got a plethora of resources at my disposal to help me put the puzzle pieces together.
  • the kick in the ass that got me to post my deplorable food intake today.
  • the safe and accepting place that I have to share the gory details of my fucked up relationship with food.
  • the fact that even though I didn’t want to, tonight I a) counted, recorded and posted my calories (etc) AND b) managed a vigorous 2 mile walk with my husband and 2 ridiculously cute dogs (I’m grateful for them and for my husband too, by the way!).
  • And, I’m really, really, (really) grateful that tomorrow marks the beginning of a new school year for me. I’m so looking forward to getting back into the old routines that helped me lose weight to begin with. I’m longing for a regular schedule and a lack of the mental and physical exhaustion that has marked my summer. Apparently, I’m getting old and stuck in my ways, but I don’t care. I need those routines. They are precious to me. And tomorrow, I get them back. Yay! :)

And with that, I’m off to bed. I hope all of you have plenty to be grateful for too.

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August 17, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

Success or Failure?

I guess it entirely depends on your perspective.

One of the few things I remember from the basic level psychology class that I took in high school, is an exercise in which we (the students) conducted interviews with people who had supposedly just been involved with a traumatic event (a traffic accident, I believe). At the beginning of the assignment, we were led to believe that each participant had experienced a *different* event and, as such, we treated each recounting of that event as being independent of all the other interviews. It wasn’t until after were finished, of course, that we were told that each person we interviewed had actually witnessed the *same* event. Then we were asked to account for all the variations in the stories and to consider how we might have *heard* their accounts differently if, in our own minds, we’d linked them all together.

Even though I’m sure it’s standard fare in most low level psychology courses, this activity sticks with me, even today, as being the harbinger of some important lessons: In some ways, perception is just as important as reality and, depending on the lenses through which something is viewed, individual perspectives on a certain event can be as varied as the people themselves. And what’s more, even the same person can look at one thing differently as factors in their own life begin to change. Time, maturity and life experience can alter our view on just about everything.

I bring this up because I’m feeling entirely stoked about my ability to control my food intake today. In comparison to recent days, I had a really, really good day food wise. Here’s the proof:

Meal Food | Drink Calories
lunch tuna salad made with light mayo and lemon juice 250
celery stalks 25
4 cracker breads + 2 light laughing cow cheese wedges 150
1/3 dark chocolate bar 80
Sub-total 505
dinner grilled chicken breast (approx 4 oz) 130
raw veggies (mostly raw carrots and cauliflower 50
ranch dressing (made with light mayo and skim milk) 250
Sub-total 430
drinks non-fat/sugar free latte (x 2) 200
Sub-total 200
bad, bad snack chocolate cake (this may be a bit of an overestimate 600
but I cannot find nutrtional facts for it anywhere). :(
Sub-total 600
Total 1,735

It’s important to note that “normally” — if I were posting this over at the Food Confessional (which I plan to start doing again beginning Sunday) — I’d be fairly embarrassed by the ginormous calorie total, (particularly in the decadent chocolate cake that hypnotized and had its way with me later in the evening). Normally, I would scold myself for going over my calories (I usually attempt to stay between 1200 & 1500) and, as punishment, would stay up late into the night devising a plan of attack for the following day, to combat my obvious dietary slip up.

But tonight is different. Tonight, I’m thrilled by my 1800 calorie fest. I’m buoyed by what feels like yet another step towards being “officially” back in the saddle. In fact, I feel so good about how I did today that I decided to write about it here (and ad nauseum). In fact, here’s all the reasons why tonight this food diary entry feels like a huge success:

  • I woke up craving veggies this morning, so I cut up some celery and fixed myself some lunch before heading for work, something I haven’t done, well… pretty much all summer.
  • I chose the SUGAR FREE and NONFAT latte options instead of the full fat white chocolate mochas of day’s past. Further, I went with a smaller size. Go me!
  • I resisted the temptation to eat the *entire* chocolate bar and only nibbled on 1/3 of the total. (I think I should consider going into training to become a ninja because, clearly, I have a will of steel!)
  • My husband made some “Rice-a-Roni” (the San Francisco Treat) for dinner tonight, but as you can see, I again resisted.
  • Yes, I ate a big giant piece of cake later on (am currently rethinking the whole ninja thing) but had I *not* eaten it, I’d have totally been under my ideal caloric intake for the day. That’s right, remove one thing and I would have been under. I definitely couldn’t have said that yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before that. <repeat>
  • None of this food was consumed in bed, under cover of darkness, or in the far stretches of a nearly empty parking lot.
  • Um… hello! I counted my calories today! I counted my calories *and* I posted them. I’m like my own hero!

It’s funny, but when you’ve spent the last few days (weeks) recovering from a fall that felt like slipping off the ledge of a very tall building, tripping over one tiny chocolate cake shaped crack in the pavement just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

Seriously, isn’t it amazing how a little shift in perspective can change your entire outlook on things. Believe me, there have been plenty of days in the past, and there will likely be a few more in the future, in which I would have been full of apologies and excuses when reflecting on a day like today. But tonight I celebrate it as the success it is.

So… what’s next?

Well, for starters, tomorrow I’ll do a little bit better than I did today.  I probably won’t be perfect, but I’ll be better.  In fact, I’ve already got my lunch packed. It would appear I’m on a roll. :)

Oh! And speaking of things to be proud of, I have to say that I got all choked up earlier when I saw that BikiniMe had nominated me for this “blog award.” Sadly, I don’t have a prepared acceptance speech, but that won’t stop me from thanking the academy (of one). Muchas Gracias, Chica! I think I’m supposed to nominate some more people at this point, but I’ve never been very good at following the rules, so instead I’ll just say that if any of you feel like you’d like to make someone’s day by sending them a little virtual gold medal, go right ahead. Consider yourself nominated.

As for me, well… I’ve got a lot to celebrate tonight and I think I’ll do so by getting a good night’s sleep. :)

August 15, 2008 Posted by | losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Making Progress (Sorta)

Over the last month or so Andrew has done a series of posts on the lessons that losing over 100lbs and exponentially increasing his fitness level has taught him. If you subscribe to the idea that the struggle to be healthy and fit never really ends, then Andrew’s journey is nowhere near over, but he’s far closer to the “maintenance” aspect of weight loss than I am. That said, however, even though I haven’t lost 100lbs (yet) or even reached the halfway mark of my total weight loss goal, I feel like I’ve still learned a few things that are as true now as they will be when I do reach these milestones in my own journey. To that end, one lesson that I find myself having to learn over and over again has to do with how difficult all of this to do when I spread myself too thin (you’ll have to pardon the pun). Indeed, exhaustion is not part of the recipe for success when it comes to weight loss. And this week, I’m exhausted.

Part of what’s beating me down this week is the job I took to supplement my income over the summer. It’s laughable, really, because it’s literally just a part-time job at a local bookstore. I’m not digging ditches, installing roofs, building houses, rustling cattle or anything else that might be considered “manual labor” and yet this job is kicking my ass. Seriously, being on my feet all day is so much harder than I remembered it. Back (in the day) when I was in college I worked lots of on-my-feet-all-day kinds of jobs, and I don’t ever remember feeling the way I do when I come home from work now. I’m telling you, being old and fat is a bitch. :)

But what’s worse is the fact that being tired all the time has totally weakened my resolve. I’m doing so-so when it comes to eating right. I’m sure I’ve gone over, in the calorie department, at least once or twice over the last few days, but I don’t think it’s been by much. The real problem is that I’ve been too tired to record everything at the end of the day (which for me, at this point along my own person road to thin, is a crucial part of my success) and too exhausted to exercise. That said, even though I didn’t post about it (I was too tired) I did weigh in on Saturday and was up .2lbs which is about the equivalent of 2-3 large strawberries, so I’m not terribly worried about that. However, I didn’t really plan on spending the summer just maintaining my current weight loss. I’ve got a lot more pounds to lose and they’re not going to come off if I don’t put some effort into to taking them off. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re totally and utterly pooped.

The truth is, though, that I can’t really blame all of my exhaustion on my job (even though, I swear to you, it’s killing me). Part of the problem has to do with stress of another kind. Last week, I was tentatively diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It won’t be official until the results of the ultrasound (that I’m having done tomorrow) come back, (which may be another week or so), but my gynecologist said she’d be shocked if the ultrasound doesn’t support her conclusion. I don’t know everything there is to know about PCOS, but basically, as I understand it, my body isn’t making enough estrogen and is instead making too much androgen, which has led to a number of symptoms/problems that are too unpleasant and, at this point anyway, too personal to discuss here. Anyway, I don’t anything for sure yet, but I know that it is on my mind constantly, making it difficult to sleep (even though I am physically wiped out).

I suppose, when I think about it, it’s not all bad news, though. Some things that I know I am doing right include:

  • taking a multi-vitamin every day
  • drinking plenty of water
  • stretching before going into work (just like I would before going for a walk or doing any other kind of exercise).
  • limiting the amount of refined sugar/white flour in my diet as I know these don’t translate into prolonged/sustainable energy.
  • Not giving up or seeking comfort in food — as the old me would have done.

Some things I need to improve upon include:

  • recording my calories.
  • exercising — this really isn’t an option.
  • letting go of the stress that’s related to things that I can’t control.
  • remembering that even though I ignored my body for a long time that I am doing the right things now.

So… yes, I do work tonight, but I’m going to try to do at least one of the things on my list of “must do better” while also giving myself a gold star for trying to work through these issues rather than just throwing my hands in the air and jumping, headlong into a chocolate brownie torte with white chocolate mousse and caramelized bananas (not that I’ve given it any thought). :)

I think sometimes we all, (myself included), tend to spend a lot of time lamenting how long it takes us to come to what can seem like some pretty obvious conclusions about ourselves, our bodies, and what it takes to lose weight — when, in the end, what’s really important is that we learn these lessons at all.  Today that’s what I’m trying to focus on.

I *am* learning and it’s *not* too late.

<repeat>

July 7, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments