Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My daydreams about being skinny are sometimes interrupted by the sound of my own chewing

Well, I wish I could say that I hopped back on the wagon for good after my little setback last week. Sadly, I decided to prolong my temporary insanity a bit longer. As I said last Wednesday, I had decided to give carb cycling a try. And that was great to say on Wednesday, which was a high carb day. Thursday, being a low carb day, was not quite so great. The carbs called to me and I answered. I continued my love affair with them until through Saturday, which was when I weighed in for my new Dietbets. I stepped on that scale and it said that I had gained 5 POUNDS since Wednesday. Now, I try to strike a balance between staying accountable to the number on the scale and also being realistic. Truthfully, I know that it was probably not actually possible for me to gain 5 pounds in 3 days without scarfing down 10 cheeseburgers a day and staying planted on my couch. Yes, I did eat too many carbs, but my calorie count was on target and I worked out like normal. Plus it was, shall we say, a bad time of the month for water retention. But yes, I do think I probably did actually gain a couple of pounds from all the carbs.

So that was the wake-up call I needed. It brought back bad memories of seeing the scale creep up and up and up until it got over 300 lbs. I think sometimes people wonder how you get to be that big. Let me tell you, you don't just gain 100 lbs overnight (although I did see a weird true story medical show where a guy had some crazy fluid overloading and actually did gain 100 lbs in a couple days). Nope, I gained that 100+ lbs 5 lbs at a time. I would step on the scale from time to time and see a number that was 5 lbs more than the last time, and just brush it aside as no big deal. I mean, 5 lbs? I could get that off in no time. Except I never did. So the 5 lbs became 10 lbs, and the 10 lbs became 30 lbs, and the 30 lbs became 50 get the picture.

I decided to really think about the carb cycling. As I've said before, if a habit is not something I can honestly see doing the rest of my life, I should usually not be doing it. The truth is that I will never enjoy low carb day as much as high carb day. But this journey of mine does require some sacrifices, and I think this is one that I should make. I am having to WORK to get this last 50 lbs off. It's not coming off easily. I can't deny that having low carb days has been effective for me. So while low carb days may present more of a challenge for me, it is also something I could realistically see doing long term once I get in the habit. After all, it's not so hard to say no to carbs when you know you can have them the next day.

I stowed my scale in my bathroom cabinet Saturday night and vowed not to weigh again until Wednesday since no good could come of that. I worked out extra hard the past few days, got 100 ounces of water in every day, and have had 2 successful low carb days. I stepped on the scale this morning super nervous. What if I had somehow gained weight?!? But thank goodness, the scale read 0.8 lbs lower than what I weighed last Wednesday. That doesn't sound like a lot, but actually the number is 5.8 lbs less than what I weighed on Saturday. Whew! Yes, working hard paid off, but also to be totally fair, there was definitely less bloating when I weighed in today as well. Just like I know I didn't really gain 5 lbs in 3 days without part of it being due to water retention, I also know that I did not lose 5 lbs in 3 days without my lack of water retention contributing. I mean, duh. It's hard for me to lose 1 lb in a week nowadays, much less 5 lbs.

I say with confidence now that I am completely back on track. Those carbs may have tasted good, but not as good as the feeling I get knowing that I am doing what I need to do in order to be successful.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The girl I used to be

Random Friday entry! I just couldn't wait till next week.

I am the type of person who occasionally writes in a journal. I say occasionally because sometimes it could be months or even a year or so between entries. I write so sporadically that in 28 years of living, I have only had one journal. The entries are usually written when I am either really happy or really down, or as is the case with my middle school entries, really melodramatic (and therefore, also pretty entertaining). Anyway, last night I was reading some of my entries from the last couple years. It truly astounded me how many entries dealt with my weight and my unhappiness related to my weight. Yet I never did anything about it. I kind of want to shake the person I was then and scream, "Why aren't you doing anything?!?" Obviously, some of the stuff in there is pretty personal and for my eyes only (as it says on the front cover of the journal in my second grade handwriting), but I did want to share this excerpt from when I was at my heaviest:

The emotional pain I have from being so overweight hurts so badly that I cannot even bear to share it with anyone else. I want to lose this weight so badly, but I know part of me is scared. What if I get thin and I am still miserable? Then what do I do? I have never ever been thin. I cannot even fathom how that feels. I just know how great it was to feel a little less fat than I am. I liked the person I was then. She was confident and fun and not afraid of living. She is the person I would so like to have the opportunity to be if only I could find the courage.

It almost physically hurts me now to feel the pain behind the words I wrote then. I let my weight paralyze me. There also comes a wave of regret. Why did I not change before and spare myself that pain? But I have addressed my thoughts towards regret before in this blog. It serves no purpose. I choose to live my life now forward, not backward. 

It's so crazy to me to realize just how much I equated being thin with being happy. However, despite what some may say to the contrary, my weight will always play some role, albeit small, in my happiness. I say that because I know for me personally, there was no way to be happy at 328 lbs. Not really because of that specific number, but because of how I got to that number. The feelings and behaviors that led me there were not those of a happy person. 

But then I look at myself now. Truthfully, I am still not thin. I still have some weight to lose. It is astronomically less than it was, but I still need to take some weight off. But you know what? I am happy right now, extra weight and all. That person I wanted to be so badly in my journal entry? She is here right now at 181 lbs. I don't have to be a certain weight in order to be happy. I didn't become a person that I could respect because I lost a lot of weight. I became that person because I changed how I thought. In order to be happy, I just had to shed the emotional baggage that led to me gaining so much weight and being so unhappy. I decided that I was worth something at any weight, be it 328 lbs or 128 lbs.

I'm not so scared of the "what if's?" anymore. I don't know what the future holds when I reach my goal weight, and that's okay. Life won't magically be perfect then. The difference is that now I am excited by the unknown future instead of terrified by it. 

By the way, the journal entry I included was written last May. Just 11 months ago.  I don't think there's much better proof of how much one person can change in a year.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

If I never see another hard boiled egg again, it will be too soon

This week has been very strange. My mission was to confuse my body enough to break it out the plateau it was stuck in. I believe my body is now so confused that it may never be the same again. I think the only way to explain it well would be to divide the week into three sections.

First, we have section 1, which I will refer to as "The Part of the Week Where Kristen Does What She is Supposed to By Eating Low Carb and Working Out Manically." Wow, that's kind of a long title, so maybe we'll stick with "Section 1" instead. It was basically a continuation of my blog entry from last week. It was not fun. I don't think I can eat hard boiled eggs or almonds for a while now as a result. While I don't think I would have actually killed anyone to get some bread, I may have maimed them.This was sadly (or maybe not so sadly) the shortest section, as it only lasted Wednesday through Thursday afternoon.

Next we come to Section 2, also known as "The Part of the Week Where Kristen Gets Sick as a Dog and Does Not Eat Much at All." I started having some stomach spasm/cramp type pains on Thursday, and chalked it up to my body just not liking that much protein all at once. After all, my stomach is really sensitive to what I eat nowadays. But I kept feeling worse and worse, and spent most of Thursday afternoon in my lovely bathroom (sorry if TMI). Then that night, and the next night, AND the next night, I spiked fevers ranging from 102-103. And of course, because I am a freak, in the midst of this I am worried about what I should be eating. Because weirdly enough, I was kind of hungry part of the time. At first I really tried to stick to my low carb, low sugar, low sodium thing, even though my body was practically begging me to eat bland, easily digestible carbs. After a meal of all protein that my body completely rejected, I didn't really feel like eating anything. I'm actually a bit concerned that this could actually have been gallbladder problems and not a stomach virus since I also have been having stomach problems after eating fatty foods. It would not be at all unexpected after losing this much weight in a relatively short period of time. Hopefully this is not the case! This illness lasted through Sunday. That many days of being off my regular diet and not being able to go to the gym put me in a funk, and thus set me up for the final, disastrous section of the week. 

Ah, section 3, the one that destroyed me. I shall call it "The Part of the Week Where Kristen Goes Temporarily Crazy." After being so sick, of course I had lost weight. This was good (the method was NOT good) since my Dietbet ended on Monday. Dietbet is this thing I have been doing for the past month where you bet money ($25 in this case) that you can lose 4% of your body weight in 28 days. Then all the people that are successful split the pot. As of last Wednesday, I was about a pound short of my goal. On Monday, I weighed in at 2 pounds lower than I needed to be to win. After weighing in, I decided I could have some carbs. I went a little too far with the carbs. Granted, they were all good carbs, just too many of them. I also went back to the gym Monday. I couldn't believe how hard it was to do my regular workout. It was like every mile was ten miles! My little carb party continued into Tuesday, where I was extremely stupid and decided to have a cheat meal the night before my regular weigh-in. What a genius move! So of course the scale was not kind to me this morning. Instead of being 3 pounds down from last week like I weighed on Monday, I was only 1 lb down from last week. Lesson learned. It's disappointing, but it's not a tragedy. After all, I did still lose weight. And like I said before, I think my body is most definitely confused. I think this could add up to a good number next week.

While I will NOT (repeat, NOT) be going low carb permanently because I think it is quite evident what that does to me mentally, I will be taking away a few new things from low carb week. They are:

1) Carb cycling. The guy from Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition, Chris Powell, advocates carb cycling. So I would be eating high carb one day, low carb the next. This keeps your body confused. This is also something I could actually live with without becoming a crazy person.

2) Becoming more aware of sodium in foods. I was shocked at how much sodium was in foods that you would not even think about as being salty. It is crazy! I mean, why is there any sodium at all in my spinach leaves? Probably because they came in a bag.

3) Drinking 100 oz of water a day and monitoring my water intake on my phone app. It sounds like a lot, but it really isn't. I mean, I down like 48 oz of water just while at the gym.

Awww, I kind of feel like this is a corny '90's sitcom (such as Full House) where there is always a lesson at the end.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Give me bread or give me death!

It's no secret that the scale and I have not been exactly BFFs lately. I have tried to be patient. I have tried to just keep being good, and not use the lack of scale movement as an opportunity to emotionally eat like a mo fo (I have no idea where that particular phrase came just seemed appropriate). I have succeeded for the most part. But my patience was dwindling. I wanted to scream at my scale, "WHY WILL YOU NOT FREAKING MOVE?!?" So obviously, before I went psychotic, something had to change. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Drastic measures were called for.

So, thus began what I will call "The week of no fun food." It is a week with extremely little amounts of carbohydrates, sugar, and sodium. If you were not aware, this eliminates a very large quantity of food. Also, I am drinking over 100 ounces of water a day. This is NOT a long term plan, at least not to this magnitude. My bad memories of what happened when I tried crazy diets long term before are still crystal clear. But this week is intended to kick start my metabolism and get me out of this stupid plateau I am stuck in. Today was Day 3. It's already been a long week. Here's a summary so far:


0500: I weighed in 2 days earlier than normal so I could have a baseline measurement. Guess what? This plan is starting not a moment too soon. I have lost 0 (not even a decimal!) pounds since last week!?! 

0700 (after gym): I miss oatmeal! Also, I hate drinking water this early.

1200: Okay, so obviously no bread for a sandwich. Not even a ham roll-up because the sodium in ham is alarmingly high. That leaves me with...Greek yogurt and almonds. Seriously? Must go grocery shopping ASAP.

1800 (at work): I feel an almost visceral hatred towards the cruel person who put all this junk food in the break room when I am starving. Cheez-its never looked so good.

2200 (when inputting my calorie intake for the day): And that's why I'm hungry. Calories are waaayyyy too low! Oops.


0300 (wonder in kitchen due to hunger, see sister's leftovers from Outback in fridge): OMG, is that a loaded baked potato?!? Are those noodles?!? French fries?!? (Slams refrigerator door closed harder than necessary) Drink yet more water instead of cramming deliciousness in the form of fried food in my mouth. 

0700: I am officially sick of hard boiled eggs. I think part of the problem is that they are eaten so fast.

1300: Okay, all this peeing is getting old. I think all the water is just running straight through me. People probably think I have some kind of weird bathroom fetish since I am in there so much.

1500: Upside of no carbs? Enough calories left over to eat some cheese! Yum!

2100: Why yes, it does seem like an extremely smart idea to bake a birthday cake when I am able to eat precisely NONE of it. Sweet temptation, why do you torture me?


0500: Mixed feelings before my weigh-in. If I haven't lost weight, then I can eat carbs again since the plan is not working! But also if I haven't lost weight, what the hell else am I supposed to do? Step on scale...down 1.2 lbs since Monday! Something worked...hallelujah! Soooo I guess that means I have no reason to stop this torturous plan.

1100: I have come to the conclusion that I have a carb addiction. I mean, at least it's not bad carbs like it used to be, but I don't think normal people enjoy carbs this much.

1800: Finally make it to the grocery store. I eat a snack beforehand, but the bakery section still beckons to me with all of its delicious white flour and sugar. I resist demonic bakery section.

1810: Honestly, does everything in the entire world have sodium and sugar? Really, I am at a loss to explain why this bag of lettuce has sodium. All I am asking for is a delicious food that is low calorie, low carbohydrate, low sodium and sugar, high protein, high fiber, and high in omega-3's. I don't think that is too much to ask for, right?

1845: Well, at least I can be excited about the strawberries. Also, I will be eating A LOT of mushrooms this week since they can substitute for bread sometimes.

2000: Contemplate just setting up shop in the bathroom. Or perhaps catheterizing myself. The peeing is ridiculous.

And there's still 4 whole days of fun to go! Well, if it makes my scale start cooperating, it will be worth it. I could never ever do something like the Atkins diet long term though. I think I would literally go crazy. I would probably rob a bakery or something. I could see myself crying to the police, "I only wanted some bread man!" I can mostly deal with low sodium, low sugar, and the crazy amounts of water. But as the great Patrick Henry once said, "Give me bread or give me death!" Or something like that.

I just realized that I had written an entry about my carbohydrate infatuation in here before, right when I started. It included a poem, which I will repost here:

Ah, my carbohydrate friends
How I love you without end
Bread, pie, cobbler, cake
So many things that I want to bake!
The evils of white flour
Against you I have no power
I wish I could hate you foods with trans fat
But the truth is that I would eat you by the vat
Tacos, pizza, burgers, fries
Oh, the fat kid in me cries!
Hypertension, diabetes, fatty liver
My carb friends are such givers
Oh my carb friends, how I love thee
But the culinary delights you give are not free
I know I cannot have you in my belly
Or it will shake like a bowlful of jelly

 My writing genius is extremely evident here, am I right? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The tale of the forbidden pants

I went on a little shopping trip the other day since my pants had gotten too big yet again. It was starting to look like I was trying to be gangsta' or something. I could have gotten a gold chain to wear at my waist and maybe a cool grill for my teeth and I would have been all set. So I get to the store, headed to the jean section, and pulled out some 12's. Then I went and got some black pants. I didn't really have any other plans to get other pants because when you grow out of them as quickly as I do, it really only makes sense to stick with the basics. But then I decided to check out the clearance racks. I saw a pair of cute green pants in a 12 for a great price. But they were cut skinny. Let me tell you, obese people and skinny jeans or pants do not mix. Well, actually I don't even think they made skinny jeans in my size before. That's because clothes designers  are not stupid. They know that gigantic love handles and extremely tight pants are just a bad idea. You're welcome for that graphic image. Pants like that were forbidden to wear by people like the old me.

Anyway, I really wanted these pants. But I didn't think the 12's would work. They just looked too small for my bod. I still took them back to the fitting room, but I also grabbed a 14 and a 16. I started with the 16's. Way too big. I moved on to the 14's, certain those would fit. Still too big. So finally, I grabbed those 12's  and pulled them on. I expected to have to suck it in, maybe lay down on the bench in order to zip them. They zipped up with no problem. I still hesitated to look in the mirror, because a tiny but loud part of my brain was still telling me that I had no business trying on pants like those. That pants like those were for normal people, not fat people. I was afraid to look in the mirror and still see a body that disgusted me. I finally looked...and I saw a normal person. No, I'm not going to say I looked like a supermodel in those pants (partly because I'm pretty sure 5'1" supermodels don't exist), but I will say that I looked good in them. I looked good in those freaking skinny pants.

So while I was happy that I could honestly believe I looked good, I was still left wondering why I usually try on clothes that end up being way too big. I think it's because I'm scared the clothes will still be too little for me. It's much, much better to have things be too big. I'm pretty sure this can be traced back to the fact that when I was at my heaviest, it was all I could do to squeeze into the largest sizes most stores carried. So the reality then was if I tried on something that was too small, I was just out of luck. Consequently, I had a bunch of pants that I actually did have to lay down to zip. I think another part of it is that I'm still not used to this new body. This is apparently a pretty common problem among people who have lost a significant amount of weight. I mean, obviously I realize I'm smaller, but it's still hard to really grasp just how much smaller I am. So that means when I see size 12 skinny pants, my first thought is still that I would fit in a 16, not a 12. It means when I sit in a restaurant booth or movie theater seat, I still sometimes have a momentary flash of fear that I will not fit, even though it has been many months now since those things have been a problem.  I spent a long time in that heavier body, and I can't be expected to get used to this much smaller one overnight. Slowly but surely though, I am getting used to how I look now.