Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

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.

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

By Any Other Name…

It’s Valentines Day and, I have to admit that, normally I’m pretty cynical about these things. I hate the consumer mentality that causes people to blow tons of money on things that are both frivolous and extravagant. A socialist at heart, I always feel more than a little uncomfortable in any position that smells even a tad bit elitist. And yet, when these arrived at work today, I have to admit that I was terribly pleased. My husband, although always very sweet and always very good to me, has never been a ‘flowers’ kind of guy. Practical to the core, spending a lot of money on something that’s just going to die in a few days has never been his thing, so when I was called to the office this morning to “pick something up,” it honestly never occurred to me that it might be because he’d sent me flowers. In fact, when the secretary looked at me and said “these are yours,” I responded in complete sincerity, “are you sure?”

rose1.jpg

It was a lovely surprise and made me feel very special.

This week has been stressful and I’ve not been particularly strong when it comes to eating right or exercising. Well… that’s not entirely true. I’ve actually done fairly well when it comes to choosing healthy foods. I’ve just been eating far more of them than I really need to be eating and the result has been too many calories. That coupled with little to no exercise has made for a week that I fear has me headed for a weight gain.

The thing is, losing weight is hard work and hard work requires attention, dedication and will power — all of which have been in short supply this week. It doesn’t help that I haven’t been getting enough sleep and that by the time I get home each evening I’m fairly well worn out. None of these things are excuses, but they have taught me a couple of things.

First, sleep is an important component of my ability to be successful in all of this. I haven’t gotten enough sleep this week and it’s impacted my judgment, my will power and the sheer strength I need to hop on the exercise bike for even a few minutes. As much I hate to admit it, I’m not as young as I used to be and I need a full 8 hours of sleep each night if I’m going to be in top form the next day. Furthermore, I need to be in top form if I’m going to do what is necessary to continue taking weight off.

Second, when I know that I’m headed for extra stress or for a schedule that promises to be busier than usual, it is essential that I pre plan for it. I read lots of blogs in which people pre plan their weekly meals. Until recently, I thought that kind of looking ahead was well, a little loony. But no more. I doubt I’ll ever be the kind of girl who, under normal circumstances, puts together her menu a week in advance, but if I’ve learned anything from this week it is that I’m more likely to be successful during periods of high stress if I’ve already established a plan for that success. It’s a lot easier to just *follow* a plan when you’ve got a million other things going on around you than it is to have to make one *and* follow it.

And finally, I’ve learned that getting upset over a few caloric or fitness stumbles does nothing to fix the problem. I’ve eaten a few too many pieces of dark chocolate this week. I had the 8oz salmon instead of the 6oz serving. I ate 2 pieces of whole grain bread with dinner instead of just one, and yes, I put some butter on it. But all of that is over now. There’s nothing I can do to change it… and getting upset will only make future slip ups all the more likely. So… I’m letting it go. I have enough to worry about.

Anyway… this week’s been tough, and next week promises to be equally so. I’m just trying to hang on until next Thursday when a number of projects will be swept off my plate for good. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get more sleep. I’m going to do as much planning ahead as possible and I’m not going to freak out when I veer a little too far away from those plans.

And I’m going to take time to “smell the roses.” Such treats don’t come around that often… I’m going to enjoy them.

February 14, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Zzzzzz.

Ok. Here’s the thing. Last night when I was updating my food and exercise journals I thought, “hmmm, maybe I should start keeping a sleep journal too.” Now, I’m not talking about the kind of journal where I record my dreams and then consult books designed to help me unlock the keys to my subconscious. No… I was thinking more along the lines of a place where I could record the number of hours I sleep each night. Believe me, I know how silly that sounds and I know too that the last thing I need is *another* written chronicle of this journey to have to keep up with. On the other hand, one of the patterns that has emerged from keeping records of what I eat and when I exercise, is that I simply do so much better on days that are preceded by a full night’s sleep.

Again… stating the obvious, right? Maybe, but the thing is, I used to *never* sleep a full 8 hours in a night. Never. In fact, for years I was convinced that I was just the type of person who only needed 5-6 hours tops and that I could easily make due on 3-4. However, let me just tell you that if that were ever truly the case, it’s simply not so anymore; recently, my internal body clock has definitely started reaching for the snooze button. This got me thinking a little bit about why that might be. Of course, the fact is, I’m getting older. I’m closer to 40 now than I am to 30 and it could just be that, as much as I hate to admit it, my body is slowing down. But then I wonder too if being terribly fat has anything to do with it, and if so, then, it becomes something of a chicken vs. egg proposition, doesn’t it? Do I sleep more because my sad and sluggish body simply needs more rest OR has a lack of rest over the last couple of decades diminished my capacity to make good choices such that, over time, I’ve turned into a sad and sluggish sleep deprived cow?

But the bigger question for me really has to do with what one does with these patterns once they have emerged. The obvious answer, of course, is that you learn from them. After the light bulb has gone on over your head, you say to your self, “Self… you need 8 hours of sleep each night in order to stick to your diet guns the next day, so… go out there and make me proud!” And to a certain extent I’m doing that… but I can also see where discovering such patterns could be used as a crutch or an excuse *not* to do what I’m supposed to do. For example, Wednesday night was a terribly long night for me. I couldn’t sleep at all. It was nearly 2am when I last looked at the clock and the alarm went off 4 hours later at quarter to 6am. As a result, I spent much of Thursday in a yawny daze… and while I didn’t really overeat, I also found myself too tired at the end of the day to exercise — at least that’s what I told myself. The truth is, I probably could have gotten out there and walked, if not all, at least half of the 2-3 miles that I try to walk each night, but instead I told myself that it was “okay” to take the night off because I hadn’t slept well the night before, which maybe it was, but I could see where this could become a habit and I worry that, without serious reflection, instead of using my new found power for good, I’ll it for evil!

Maybe the real pattern that I’ve uncovered here isn’t that I need at least 8 hours of sleep each night in order to be most successful at living the healthy life that I’ve committed myself to, (although I think that’s certainly true). Perhaps the real truth I’ve discovered about myself is that, if given the chance, I’ll do just about anything to justify *not* doing the right thing. Maybe the really important thing that I need to understand about myself is that, when push comes to shove, I’m just looking for reasons to give myself permission to do the wrong thing:

“It’s okay not to exercise tonight because I didn’t sleep well last night.”

“It’s okay to have an extra helping of _____ because someone said something mean to me.”

“It’s okay to eat this double-fudge brownie topped with hot caramel and homemade whipped cream because I had a bad day at work.” (Not that, that’s really happened, of course).

You get the picture.

Again. Maybe this is all just a long rambling statement of the obvious, but if that’s really the case, why haven’t I done more to change it? The truth is, I don’t know if G.I. Joe was right when he said that “knowing is half the battle.” I don’t know if simply recognizing these things about myself will give me the strength to do something about them. But I do know that once you know something, you can’t unknow it. And if nothing else, perhaps the residual guilt still left in me from being a former catholic school girl will, if not motivate me to do the right thing, at least, every once in awhile, keep me from doing the wrong thing. Let’s hope so anyway.

January 11, 2008 Posted by | exercise, health, losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments