Monday, March 28, 2016

After the After

So obviously I've been on a bit of a hiatus here. It wasn't intentional. It's just that every time I started to write, ugly words would pop into my head. Words like hyprocrite. Fraud. Loser. I thought, who am I to be writing about weight loss when I can't seem to get my own act together? Over the past few months, I've put on some weight. Not a gigantic amount, but enough that my pants felt tight and I felt concerned and panicky. But here's the truth about weight loss: it doesn't stop after that after picture. Yes, you may stop trying to actually lose weight, but the struggle continues. It would be so nice if everyone lived happily ever after after that after picture (wow, that was a lot of afters), but that's just not how it works. There are still bumps along the way.

It was frighteningly easy for me to put on weight. I didn't suddenly go crazy and start eating pizzas by myself. All it took was a little bit bigger portion size. A lot of changes happening all at once to make me start emotionally eating again. Being busy. A few missed workouts when exercise used to be non-negotiable. A few "well deserved" treats. Then I stopped tracking my food. As winter set in, I stopped running outside. I let a few weigh in's slide because I didn't want to see the number. So many little bad choices that added up. So many excuses that are all legitimate, but all still add up to gaining weight no matter how reasonable they are. As easily as I seem to be able to make habits, I also break them just as easily. And as I watched this happen, all I seemed to be able to think was "It's not fair." Why can't I live like the vast majority of people and not gain weight? Why does my body seem to want to be fat? I told myself I needed to get it together. I recognized all these red flags, yet I couldn't seem to stop doing what I was doing. My boyfriend noticed me looking in the mirror a lot, and I told him that contrary to what it may look like, I'm not vain. I'm just looking in the mirror because I can't believe how ugly and fat I look. Because when I looked in the mirror, my mind wasn't realistic. It didn't see somehow who may have put on a few pounds. It saw that old me, the 328 pound me, I think mainly because I felt like I was becoming more like that old me every single day. It scared me more than I could say, but that fear also seemed to paralyze me.  No matter how often Brian told me I looked beautiful, all I could see was someone that I didn't like very much at the moment. Someone that I was ashamed of, both because of what I thought I looked like and also because of what I was doing to myself.

I let myself be consumed by all these "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts." I shouldn't have put on weight. I shouldn't still be eating my feelings. I should be perfect. I should be able to make weight loss the center of my life like it was a couple years ago. I should know all the answers almost 4 years into this. I should be able to act like a typical human being and not gain weight. All this, when really the only "should" I should be thinking was, I should give myself a freaking break. Not any more of a break from eating healthy or exercising. But just a break from constantly beating myself up and being my own worst critic. Because I'm not perfect. I don't have all the answers. And the truth is, I'm not in the same place I was a couple years ago when I could really devote my life to losing weight. I've made mistakes over the last few months. And that's really okay.

It's funny because as much as I have stated that you can't force yourself to be ready to lose weight, I seemed to expect myself to do just that. I don't know what started to turn the tide. I don't know exactly when I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started thinking proactively. My first idea was that I really needed to do something drastic to kind of jumpstart my thinking back into weight loss mode. No, it's not what I usually advocate, but I felt something drastic was necessary to get me out of this downward spiral. I seemed to be having trouble dealing with food and proper portion sizes, so I decided to eliminate food for a while. I researched ultra low calorie liquid diets, and decided to try that. Not only would I lose weight, but I thought I could lessen food's hold over me. I did it the healthiest way I could think of, incorporating as much protein as I could and making sure to take my vitamins.

Sadly, this did not go well at all. Although now it seems slightly comical, it was anything but at the time. Day 1 involved me thinking about food all day. Day 2 involved me cooking for my boyfriend, and then mournfully eating my soup. Day 3 involved me getting increasingly cranky and lashing out irrationally due to hunger. Day 4 involved me feeling quite dizzy and having a constant headache. And finally, Day 5 involved me crying on the couch in the fetal position. Hence, day 5 was the end of this experiment. Five days felt like an eternity, and I knew that if I tried to do this for 3 months, not only would I probably pass out at some point, but I also would probably have no friends or family left due to my increasingly bad moods. Poor Brian already felt guilty every time he ate in front of me. He was a real trooper dealing with me those five days.

I decided to attempt this same diet, but not liquid this time. I thought I could get in more protein this way and also not feel so deprived. And three weeks into it, it has worked amazingly well. The headaches, dizziness, and bad moods instantly disappeared when I started eating again. But what with it being ultra low calorie, I have no choice but to make good decisions with my food choices. I have no room in this diet for anything but nutritionally dense food. And crazily enough, even though I have struggled many times before with trying to eat a low carbohydrate diet, this time I have been doing exactly that effortlessly. I'm not even doing it on purpose. It's just that I have no room in my calorie budget for low protein foods like bread or pasta. I don't even miss them, though I guess after that liquid diet fiasco, anything tastes good. I've now lost about a third of the weight I have gained.

I know that some people will say that what I am doing isn't healthy. And I fully agree that this isn't a healthy thing to do long term. Part of me feels really hypocritical because I always advocate moderation, not extreme diets. But here is what I also know: after months of berating myself for what I should or shouldn't be doing, I am finally doing what feels right for me. I've started running in the morning again and going to the gym more. I've started tracking my food again. I'm eating for nutrition and not as a form of comfort. I've haven't missed any weigh ins. After months of red flags, this diet has started me feeling like I have some green flags. The ultra low calorie thing is for three months only, and so far, I have suffered no ill effects, only looser pants and a sense of pride in myself that has been missing for awhile now. I finally feel in control again.

Over the past few months, I felt like I didn't deserve it when people saw me as a weight loss success story. After all, many people see success as being the opposite of failure, and I've failed more times than I can count over the last few months.  But the truth is that you will fail your way to success. Failures are usually an integral part of success. It's true that I've failed many times over the last few months. I'm sure I will have more failures in the months and years to come. What the lesson in progress for me is that success is less about being perfect, and more about having the strength to get up and start again after you've fallen down.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Sometimes you're just not okay

For about the past month, I haven't really felt like myself. I've just felt off. The easiest way for me to describe it is the slightly weird feeling you have after waking up from a very vivid dream. That alone would not be so bad. But like I stated in my previous post, everything has just felt harder to me. It's been so hard for me to work out and resist temptations. When I made Halloween dinner with funny Halloween food, instead of being fun, it mostly just made me tired. Things I enjoy are not as fun right now. And for the past couple of weeks, I have been crying pretty much every day, which is not like me at all. I'm sure it has been somewhat worrying and frustrating for my boyfriend Brian to watch his girlfriend break out suddenly into tears and when he asks what's wrong, hear, "I don't know!" as the answer. But the truth is that I don't know. I do know that I am under a great deal of stress right now from multiple sources. And even though some of that stress is from positive things, it's still stress.

I'm generally a very positive person, and am able to stay upbeat in most situations. I've been through some very tough things, and I believe this has made me able to weather things more easily than I could have otherwise. That may have worked against me now, because for the past few weeks, I chastised myself for feeling down and tried to tell myself that after so many hard times the past few years, I finally have so much of what I have always wanted. That I should be ecstatic. But that doesn't make it true. Just like losing weight, falling in love doesn't make everything perfect. I was so afraid Brian would think my unhappiness lately was something to do with him, when in fact, that is the furthest thing from the truth. He has been my rock. He's been my shoulder to cry on (literally), and been there for me in a steadfast way that was hard for stubborn me to admit that I needed. He's agreed to whatever I needed to get my weight loss going again. He's put up with my testiness and random crying spells. He's told me I'm beautiful when I feel anything but. I may be unsure exactly what is going on with me and why I'm unhappy, but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that Brian has nothing to do with it. He is amazing, and I count my blessings every night that we found each other.

Okay, now that some of you may be throwing up from all the mushy stuff, we'll move on. This past Saturday, as I was almost crying at work for no apparent reason, I came the conclusion that I am depressed. This may seem obvious to you after the above symptoms that I listed, but I think I was somewhat in denial about it, mainly because I was hung up on the fact that I didn't feel like I should be depressed. I decided to make an appointment with my doctor, which I did. And yesterday, I got an antidepressant. I don't know exactly why I'm depressed. Maybe my brain chemistry is a little off right now. Maybe it's the fact that winter is coming, and I truly despise winter. The important thing is that I decided to get help. And just making that decision was enough to make me feel a little better. For the first time in a few weeks, I didn't cry.

During this whole ordeal, my anxiety about my weight has been increasing. With my weight gain, I would tell myself I needed to get my act together, but I just couldn't do it. I would manage to work out, but I knew the intensity just wasn't there. And when I was honest with myself, I knew that I was resorting back to old behaviors and making myself feel better with food sometimes. I had the thought that maybe I wouldn't weigh in tomorrow, because I just can't deal with seeing a gain. But like I said, I'm feeling a little better today, and I was able to recognize that as the gigantic red flag that it was almost immediately. If I have gained weight, me not weighing in and not actually seeing the number doesn't make it any less real. I was ashamed, because my one inflexible rule has always been that I weigh in every week no matter what. Skipping weigh ins is a slippery slope that I refuse to start down.

It was finally sunny today after what feels like years of rain (probably not helping my mood either), and I had the day off, so I took myself to the park. While I think I need that antidepressant short term to get me over the hump, I also believe that I have to do things I enjoy in order to help myself too, even if I may not feel like it. And so I ran. I ran at whatever pace I wanted, without my phone to track my time or calories burned. I ran for the pure joy of it. With my recent anxiety and depression, I have become increasingly bogged down in tracking and calorie counting and protein gram counting and blah blah blah. It has been a while since I have done anything weight loss related for the sheer joy of it. I am so far away from where I started that it is hard for me to remember why I started sometimes. Somewhere along the way, I think I have stopped believing that I can reach my weight loss goals. As I was running, I had the thought that believing such a thing really dishonors the girl I was at the start of this whole thing. That girl had enough guts to believe that she could lose almost 200 lbs, despite popular opinion and sheer common sense telling her that it couldn't be done. Who I am to believe that I am unable to lose less than 30 lbs? I feel stronger today. If  I get on the scale and see a gain tomorrow, I feel like I can face it and see it as the minor and fixable problem that it is, not as a huge insurmountable crisis. I feel like I can be happy again soon, and that I am going to be able to reach all my goals, weight loss related or not. And that is a pretty amazing feeling.

I'm not quite okay right now. But I'm going to be.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

It's Halloween, but I'm the one who's haunted

I've been haunted lately by dreams of gaining back all the weight I've lost. I've written about this dream before, but now it's become like a recurring thing, at least weekly. In my dream, I'll be looking in a mirror, or trying to run and realizing that I gained all the weight back. Then I wake up feeling all weird and panicky. It doesn't help that I constantly see someone on Facebook who DID gain all the weight back in a short period of time. Part of the time I feel like it's not good for me to see that because it makes me anxious, but then part of the time I feel like it's good for me to see how easily that can happen.

I don't know what the deal is with me. Everything just feels harder lately and those pounds I've gained are getting me down. My tighter pants are a constant reminder to me of the weight I've gained. Nine pounds isn't much in the scheme of things, but I can't help but freak out about how easy it would be for 9 lbs to become 90 lbs. It's not even totally about the weight. It's just remembering what a dark and lonely place I was in at 328 lbs. It's no wonder I am terrified of ever going back there.

But fear has never gotten me anywhere helpful. I don't want to lose weight because I am terrified of gaining it. I want to lose weight because it is the healthy thing to do. I feel sometimes like I am in a battle to lose weight, tracking this, tracking that, more protein, less carbs, more exercise. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I just stopped fighting so hard. Not give up, not that at all, but just quit fighting so damn hard. Because I am pretty exhausted to be honest. What would happen if I just worked out an hour 5 days a week, and didn't feel guilty if I didn't work out twice every single day? What would happen if I just tried to eat healthy, but not track everything? I don't know what would happen. And for a control freak like me, that is truly frightening. And not tracking right at the holidays seems like a disaster waiting (haha, I originally wrote "weighting" there; Freudian slip) to happen. I don't give up the reins easily. I'm starting to feel like I need to take a risk and try it though. I'm not quite there yet, but we'll see.

I had the thought during my run today that I took my weight for granted 9 lbs ago. I took the clothes fitting better for granted. And then the very next thought in my head, from the rational and sometimes annoying part of my brain, was that I take the weight I'm at right now for granted. I've gained 9 lbs. That's a fact. My clothes fit tighter. That's also a fact. But I've still lost half my body weight. I'm still able to run those 8 miles in the morning. I'm still able to easily find clothes that fit me. I'm still able to do a million things I couldn't do at 328 lbs. Those are all facts too. And the truth is that I take those facts for granted every single day.

I'm not where I want to be right now. But I'm nowhere near where I used to be either. I need to be thankful for exactly where I am. I'm trying. As always, it's a work in progress.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cinderella is proof that a pair of shoes can change your life

I am not a shoe person. I know all that stuff people say about women and shoes, but that's just not me. I pretty much exclusively live in my running shoes, Sperry's, flip flops during the summer, and 2 pairs of boots during the winter. I actually have many other pairs of shoes because I kind of like the idea of cute shoes, but alas, my crazy messed up foot often makes actually wearing cute styles of shoes quite uncomfortable. And I am not one of those girls who will sacrifice comfort in the name of fashion (well, not usually). So I stick with my stand-bys. I love them. And I wear them forever, partially because I am cheap and partially because the breaking-in process of practically any kind of shoe is particularly torturous on my bad foot. Technically, I should replace my running shoes every 200 miles. This is quite impractical though, because that would mean replacing them every month in my case. I don't know about you, but I don't have that kind of dough lying around. However, I do admit that I should have replaced my current running shoes well before the 1.5 year mark. I just love them so much, because they are the first running shoes I ever had that made it so my bad foot didn't constantly hurt/go numb. After a year and half of pretty much daily running though, they look rough.

The time had come for new shoes, and luckily Shoe Carnival had an amazing sale. Because of this sale, I decided it would be silly of me to get only 1 pair, especially since I read an article about how you should really have one pair of shoes for the gym and one pair for running outside. Going to the Shoe Carnival where I live yielded nothing, because not just any shoes would do. My bad foot causes me to underpronate (or supination), which apparently is a weird thing to do, as most people overpronate and most shoes are made with that in mind.  I also have 2 distinctly different feet: normal foot (narrow and high arched) and bad foot (wide and no arch because of surgery). My feet are high maintenance. Also, here's a tip if you want to know if you under or over pronate: check to see if the outside or inside of the soles of your shoes are more worn. If you overpronate like most people, the heel of your shoe will show excessive wear, as well as the outside edge of the shoe. If you underpronate like me, the outside of the heel will be worn, as well as inside the toe area.

So I asked (told?) Brian to stop in another city (since we were going out of town anyway) to see if their Shoe Carnival had anything. Doing research about underpronation yielded high scientific results about what kind of shoe I needed. Actually, after wading through all the scientific mumbo-jumbo (actual scientific word), I determined that what I needed was a bendy shoe. Earth-shattering, I know. So I basically went through the New Balance row and checked to see how flexible each shoe was. Then I tried on all the flexible shoes and jogged some laps in each one. Brian was quite amused by this method of shoe shopping, especially when I commented that I wasn't wearing workout clothes or a sports bra, and he grinned and said, "I can tell." That's when I called him a creeper. I also shot him a scathing look when he dared to ask me what color shoe I wanted. Color?!? Please, that was the very last thing I took into consideration, other than wanting a darker shoe that wouldn't shoe dirt as much. I may have sounded a bit like a running snob then, which is pretty funny since I am not an elite runner in any sense of the word. Plus, it was also kind of hypocritical since I will admit my primary consideration in running shoes before the past couple of years was indeed the color. Poor Brian...he's so sweet and I am mean to him sometimes lol.

Then, I had a moment of joy that ended with crushing sorrow. Shoe shopping with me is dramatic, ya'll, But seriously, I actually saw my old running shoes in the clearance section for just $30! I was super excited until I saw that they were half a size too small and they couldn't order any more since they were clearance. I had another moment of joy when I was told that the nearest store that had my size in that shoe was Lexington. I was like, "I have family there! They can ship me my shoes!" Alas, the sales associate was referring to Lexington, Kentucky, not North Carolina as I thought, as in the state thousands of miles away where I have no kind family members who will ship their psycho niece a pair of shoes.  I ended up with 2 pairs of shoes that I thought would work. And may I add, I got these 2 pairs of New Balance shoes and compression socks for just $82, when retail would have been $127. Pretty awesome!  I am alternating the shoes between the gym and running, trying to decide which to use for which workout. They are not comfortable yet at all. But that is always the case for me and new shoes. It still sucks. Yay for my new shoes though!!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Stressed is desserts spelled backwards

It's been a stressful few weeks. I have some stuff going on, and I'm trying to handle it in non-self-destructive ways, i.e. not cramming food in my mouth to cope. I turned 31, which was much less traumatic than turning 30. However, I went a little bit crazy on the food on my birthday weekend. Sunday was fine. I had a cupcake and  a turkey burger with fries and everything else was pretty much normal. My actual birthday on Monday was a very different story. I started the day with Nutella french toast and it went downhill from there. Lunch was a buffalo chicken sandwich and chips. And then came the big regret. I decided it was only right to get a birthday cake shake from Zaxby's. This shake turned out to be quite large. I am certain that the mini-golf Brian and I played prior to getting shakes did not even make a dent in burning off the calorie count of that shake (which was helpfully listed on the menu at 855 calories!!). At that point, we were both pretty stuffed and probably would have been fine not eating the rest of the day. But then came dinner with my family at Carraba's with appetizer, salad, and chicken bryan. And then came the amazing homemade chocolate Kit-Kat cake that my mom made for me. I had a fabulous birthday. It was really great.

Awesome cookie dough cupcakes my best friend Randi made for me

Brian being disturbingly excited over cupcakes

Randi and I rocking maxi skirts

Intense focus (I won!)

I love me some Italian food ya'll

Blowing out the candles...please pause to enjoy my Little Mermaid crown

Fantastic cake my mom made me

Brian and I posing with my dolphin buddy

Great pic except my phone made my birthday message look pixelated :(

One of the reasons turning 31 isn't so bad is that I can look back at this picture of me and my parents on my 21st birthday, and then look at a picture taken on my 31st birthday, like below...

...and know that I look better 10 years older!

The next morning, however, was a different story. Of course I went on my normal run. This was perhaps not the greatest idea. My stomach rebelled about halfway through, and I threw up. I felt awful from the combination of so much extra sodium, fat, and sugar. Brian has gotten me a private yoga class and Thai foot massage for my birthday, so I went to my appointment for that, but then I went straight back in my bed. Luckily, I didn't work till that night because my body felt like lead. Brian and I laid in my bed pretty much all day (he was feeling sick too) and I threw up twice more. We now refer to this lost day as Slugfest '15. It is something I do not care to repeat.

I weighed in on Wednesday and saw a gain of 3.8 lbs. It didn't shock me obviously.  But then I had an appointment at my gynecologist on Thursday (because nothing says happy birthday like a speculum and a pap smear), and she mentioned something about my 9 lb weight gain since last year.  It felt really bad to me because I haven't had any doctor say anything negative about my weight for a couple years now. It was a bad sense of deja vu. Also something I don't care to repeat.

I didn't feel in control after that week. I still felt that fear that I was going to gain all the weight back. But I kind of decided to fake it till I make it. I went to the gym every day almost. I ran 6 days a week. I scaled back on eating out and made healthy meals. And last week I lost 1.6 lbs. This week I was excited to weigh in because my pants felt looser. Alas, that dang scale only showed a 0.2 lb loss. Muscle gain maybe, but it still frustrates me. I have put in so much effort the past 2 weeks, maybe too much because sometimes my body does feel exhausted after working out at least 2 and sometimes 3 times a day. I expected to see big numbers. I knew I would really have put in maximum effort to lose these last few pounds, but it is disheartening to put in that effort and not even really see good results.

My gynecologist recommended that I have my thyroid checked to make sure everything was okay there, since I have been very, very tired lately. I hate it when people use thyroid problems as a excuse for weight gain, but I figured it couldn't hurt to check. It turned out that my thyroid levels are fine, but my iron levels are quite low. So that at least explains the fatigue, if not the weight gain. I'm still having a thyroid ultrasound tomorrow though, because my thyroid is abnormally large apparently.

I feel like I have had a good balance the past few weeks between living life and having a few treats, but not taking it to the extreme and just binging all day. I am proud of not using food to deal with my stress right now. I still have to make a conscious decision not to eat my feelings, but that's okay. I think that compulsion will always exist for me, but I just choose not to give into it. I choose to do something healthy to deal with my stress instead. My small victories may not be translating to weight loss so much right now, but maybe that will come. I hope so.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

When 7 pounds feels like 100

I don't know what is with me lately. The small bit of weight I have gained (that I have already lost a little of) is weighing heavily (haha weight pun) on me. Seven pounds should not be bothering me this much. On the other hand, maybe I'm glad that it is, because last time I gained weight (to the tune of 80 lbs in a year), I didn't really give it a whole lot of thought when my pants got tighter and tighter. But now I think on and off about my pants feeling tighter all day long. These 7 lbs are occupying way too much headspace. It's not really the 7 lbs. It's that I am all too aware of that 7 lbs could turn into 100 if I let it.

I felt more in control after visiting my nutritionist. I'm not sure what is making me feel not in control now. I've done great on exercise and good (not great this week) on food. Maybe it's that my birthday is next week, and I know I probably won't lose then. I mean, I'm not going to binge, but is my birthday and I usually eat what I want then.

I recently saw a video posted on Facebook by a girl who started losing weight about the same time as me, started out at exactly my starting weight, and had her lowest weight be just a little higher than my lowest. This video was heartbreaking and courageous all at once. When I saw her face, I knew she had gained some weight, but since you couldn't really see her body, I didn't know how much. But she said she had gained all of her weight back. All of it. She went from 160 lbs back to 328 lbs in less than a year. I feel such empathy for her. And yet, it also scared the living hell out of me. That is my worst nightmare. In fact, I did have the exact nightmare last night and woke up drenched in sweat, I couldn't imagine being in that body again. More importantly, I couldn't imagine being in that state of mind again. I had several thoughts. One, it made me grateful that I have just the 7 lbs to deal with losing again, and not nearly 170 lbs. This journey has been wonderful, but make no mistake: losing 170 lbs is super hard work, and I would not be anxious to do it again. But two, like I said before, it made me scared. This girl with so many similarities to me went back to that place we both swore we would never go. That could be me. All my hard work could be gone in a matter of months.

When I am honest and realistic with myself and manage to quell all that fear for a second, I realize that I don't honestly think that will happen to me. Not that it realistically couldn't (because I am well aware of how easily I gain weight), but because I really changed not just the outside, but the inside too. Permanently. With the way I am obsessing about my pants and those 7 lbs (not that that's the healthiest behavior), I couldn't see myself just letting my weight creep up 50 or 100 more lbs like I have done in the past. Five years ago, 7 lbs wouldn't have bothered me much at all. It is the very fact that I am all too aware of how easy it is to slowly and insidiously sink back into old unhealthy patterns that keeps me militant about not missing more than a day or so of workouts and not letting unhealthy treat meals turn into a regular things. Because I know all too well that you don't gain 170 lbs all at once. You gain it a pound at a time by telling yourself missing one workout doesn't matter just this once. So maybe sometimes I come off a little OCD about missing workouts and treat meals, but if it keeps me from gaining the weight back, it's well worth it.

In the end, I know that only I can truly hold myself accountable for my choices and decisions, but I have had talks with my family and my boyfriend Brian about talking to me if I ever look like I am gaining weight and struggling. I am well aware that that kind of talk would be very awkward for all involved. But I would rather have a few awkward, eye-opening moments than weigh over 300 lbs again. I want to be sure I have safeguards that would nip it in the bud well before that point. Last time I gained weight to reach my heaviest weight ever, no one said a word. Not a word. Not my family. Not my friends. Not even my doctor. And honestly, I don't hold that against them because it is ultimately my responsibility. They told me later that they could see I was struggling and using food to cope, but they just didn't know how to help. And honestly, I don't know if them saying something would have helped, because I was just not in a place yet where I could make a change. But even so, if that ever happened now, I still want them to say something to me. I want them to acknowledge that something is wrong and that it is not okay. Maybe it would be the eye-opener I needed. Obviously, I would want them to address their concerns in a kind and loving way, not something like, "Hey Chubs, let's lay off the cheeseburgers and go for a run!"

I thought about posting my before picture on my bathroom mirror to motivate me. But that motivation would be coming from a place of fear, and fear has never done anything but hold me back. So I found a quote that really spoke to me, and I wrote that on my bathroom mirror because I am a gigantic cornball. Here it is:

I am done running from my problems. I choose to face them now. I am going to lose those 7 lbs, not because I am afraid of what they could turn into, but because I am working to keep the happiness that this new body and mindset have brought me. 

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Losing weight isn't all sunshine and rainbows: A guide for those times when you just want to eat a cheeseburger and be a lazy bum

I tried writing this post several times over the past few weeks, but the words just weren't there. It's been such a great summer for me in many ways, but weight loss-wise, it's really been blah. I've gained 7 lbs since May. I vacillate (good word, right?) between telling myself that 7 lbs is no big deal and convincing myself that I am one cheeseburger away from weighing over 300 lbs again. As usual, I believe the right approach lies somewhere in between. I find myself being kind of bitter lately and I don't like it. Mainly because that 7 lbs was oh so easy for me to gain. It's not like I've been on a summer-long bender of ice cream and french fries and have been making a permanent butt indention on my couch instead of working out. Nope, those 7 lbs hopped on simply by having a few more treats than usual and not working out at my usual intensity and sleeping in some days. But what makes me mad is that I gained weight by eating more healthy and exercising more often than probably 95% of people. And yeah, I did just make up the 95% off the top of my head, but seriously, I do eat better and exercise more than most people. But apparently my body requires more extreme measures. Because I will always gain weight easily. I will always have to work harder even to just maintain my weight. I can't just take a 30 minute stroll on the treadmill and call it a day. No, apparently to even maintain  my weight I have to run 8 miles before dawn and then work out at the gym for at least an hour 6 days a week. My doctor even said as much to me. And sometimes that makes me want to cry because it's just not fair. Sometimes I don't want to have to work so hard all the time. Sometimes I don't want to worry that having a treat day will make me gain 3 lbs. Sometimes I want to be able to skip a couple workouts and not know that it will come back to bite me. Because that's not me being paranoid. That's just true. 

I don't like this side of me. It's whiny and lazy and just generally not attractive at all. I am well aware that life isn't fair, and that there are far worse things to deal with than gaining 7 lbs and not being able to get to your goal weight. I know that I should be grateful that I am able to work out at all. I should be grateful that I was able to make such a change in  my life. And for the most part, I am. But I am also very, very human, and sometimes I just can't help but wish it were all just a little bit easier. As much as I wish losing weight and living a healthy life was all high fives and awesome runs and delicious healthy meals, sometimes it just feels like a lot of work.

These past couple weeks, I have finally been able to give up my sad little pity party of one for the most part. Self-pity is fine in small doses, but I really detest any more than that. Please forgive the corny saying, but I have been telling myself that I can be bitter or I can be better. Me being bitter isn't accomplishing a thing besides making me feel ungrateful for what I have and probably gaining more weight. I need to accept the cards I've been dealt and move on. The truth is that 7 lbs is concerning, but not the end of the world. I need to make a plan to deal with it. 

I've thought about seeing my nutritionist again for a while. I stopped seeing her around Christmas. At first, I wondered what the point what be, as I didn't really see her telling me stuff I didn't already know. Then I told myself I would see her after I lost some more weight because I didn't want to be ashamed. My nutritionist was always praising me about how well I ate, and I didn't want her to see that sometimes my diet wasn't  perfect. And then a week ago, I realized that logic was really, really stupid. That logic is exactly what got me over 300 lbs, and that more than anything else, even more than the weight gain, scared the crap out of me. The girl who was afraid to ask for help. The girl who didn't want anyone to know she wasn't perfect. Those were the traits that led to me being morbidly obese at 27. 

But as much as that freaked me out, what I did last week was equally as comforting to me because it made me realize that though I may have lapses into who I used to be, the core of who I am really has permanently changed. That even though I may gain a few pounds, the person I am now would not allow things to progress so far like before. I made that appointment with my nutritionist. And even though I was a little embarrassed to have gained weight, I was honest with her about how things had been going. I let her see my food log. I got on that scale. I let her see that I am not perfect. I did what I needed to do to get on the path to being better. And while most of the stuff she told me was not new information, she did have some good tips. What I think will be most helpful is having accountability to her. I asked her to set me a weight loss goal for next month and she did. 

My mood is better than ever now that I am being proactive about dealing with my weight gain. I'm doing things like making charts that I haven't done for a couple of years now in order to get myself motivated. Sometimes I think you really have to get back to the basics and do what works for you. And so far, it really is working. Losing weight and living a healthy life isn't easy. There are times it is difficult to stay motivated. But when I am honest with myself, I realize that it is very, very worth it.