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.