Friday, May 7, 2010

Updates Coming...

Wow, I've been ridiculously out of pocket lately! Work and choir season have really been kicking my ass lately. I have some big posts roaming around in my head, but here are some hints of things to come...

--When last we spoke, I weighed around 193. I now weigh 184!
--For the first time in about four years, people are commenting that I've lost weight.
--I've been doing a somewhat intense diet, something I haven't done in many years. But I'm learning a lot.
--I think it's time for some updated pictures! In my first post, I showed you the typical "before" picture. Let me tell you, I now look a lot thinner than that picture!
--I feel really proud of myself.

As I said above, more to come!!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Dear Lauren,

Well, that was pretty fun, huh? Full-fat salad dressing and a tall Blue Moon on Friday night, accompanied by at least three servings of cookies and cream Edy’s once you got home?

A double serving of pumpkin pancakes on Saturday morning, once everyone was gone? If no one saw you eat them, they don’t count, right?

And who can forget the seven beers you had over the course of Saturday, three of them high in calories? Not to mention the extremely greasy pizza you had later, and the slice of banana cream pie once you got home. You made the pie “for Jeff’s birthday”, right? Funny that thus far you’ve eaten more of it than he has.

Okay, so we’ve been over Friday and Saturday—what the hell happened on Sunday? After having a healthy, filling lunch you proceeded to lay in bed and snack ALL day. By 4 p.m. you were eating vanilla ice cream out of the carton. Another slice of that damn pie. Pretzels. Then a slice of leftover pizza. And a small bowl of cereal.

And the icing on the cake? No workouts since Wednesday. Despite your attempt to stick to a manageable workout schedule this week, you let life intervene. Jeff’s friend was coming into town, so you needed to clean, get groceries and run errands. Then it was Jeff’s birthday, so you couldn’t possibly find time to do a 30-minute DVD.

Now the new body fat scale you treated yourself to has arrived, sitting like a cruel joke in its unopened box. Remember how you were excited to start watching your body fat go down?

I’m not intending to beat you up here; you and I both know making yourself feel like shit won’t help the situation at all. This was a slip up, and you can absolutely recover from it. You used to eat like that every weekend, remember? You often went weeks without working out, didn’t you? And on Saturday you sure got your heart pumping by walking around town and lugging groceries five blocks home. Old Lauren would have waited until a car was available.

So we can turn this around, okay? First of all, start tracking. Right now. Get it on paper. Secondly, make a healthy dinner and work out tonight. And then weigh yourself tomorrow on your fancy new scale. Are you up? Probably. But you need to see the damage if you want Saturday’s weigh in to be a success.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Additional Car Sharing Benefits

So as I mentioned, Jeff and I are now sharing a car. While it's certainly inconvenient at times (like Thursday, when I was stuck waiting for him after an on-site client meeting for 70 minutes), I realized there are some definite benefits:

1. Eliminates temptation to make secret drive-thru runs

It doesn't happen too often anymore, thankfully, but occasionally I still have the urge for a "secret" snack at McDonald's or Burger King. I'd run out on lunch for BK chicken fingers and fries, or swing by McDonald's for a milkshake on the way home from work. While I wouldn't exactly classify it as "secret" eating (I wouldn't go out of my way to make sure Jeff didn't know about it), I wouldn't be shouting my little indulgence from the rafters. Now if I want to stop for ice cream on the way home, I have to tell Jeff about it. And we can go together. Just not very often!

2. No more lunch-break shopping runs

At least once a month, I go to the TJ Maxx near my work and spend anywhere from $30-$80 on crap for myself. A new top, new shoes, housewares stuff, a new purse. I look forward to these trips and usually plan them around my paychecks. I've even had months where I've spent up to $170 on these little lunch-time escapades. Without a car, I am no longer able to incur this sort of damage.

3. Cuts into afternoon snacking time

Jeff's schedule is a bit later than mine, so back when I had my own car, I'd usually beat him home. The first 45 minutes after I walked in the door weren't far from a snacking free for all. Granted it wasn't extremely unhealthy food, but it wasn't uncommon for me to have three snacks in a row during that time. Grab some almonds, have a string cheese, grab a sugar-free rice pudding cup. All of this on top of my real afternoon snack at work. Before I knew it, I could easily consume up to 500 calories of unplanned snacks. It's sad to admit, but I loved this time. I loved coming home and spending an hour and half alone, snacking in bed while watching trash TV. It was MY time. As much as I love Jeff, I thoroughly enjoyed that little hour to myself to eat, watch TV and nap. It was my favorite time of the day.

That time no longer exists. We get home together, and it would be weird for me to start snacking when dinner needs to be made. So I make dinner, work out, shower and read in bed. Reading in bed has become the new snacking in bed. I suppose that's progress! :)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Great weather, great tunes

We're having gorgeous weather here in Boston! I'm planning a nice long jog/walk after work tomorrow, and I decided to make an awesome playlist to go with it:

I forgot the difference awesome tunes and good weather can make in a workout. I'm expecting to feel energized and fantastic afterward. Bring on Spring!

Monday, March 15, 2010

No One Said It Would Be Easy

Sorry I’ve been so MIA! Work has been really crazy lately. Also, the lease on my car ended a few weeks ago, so Jeff and I are now sharing his. My office is right on the way to his work, but it adds time to my days since he works later than I do, generally. Although the past couple weeks I’ve repeatedly had to make him wait outside for over an hour while I frantically finished up things at work. Like I said, it’s been hectic! I really dislike March; it feels like five weeks long.

I’ve been doing pretty well on the weight loss front. Because of the car sharing situation, I can no longer attend my Wednesday Weight Watchers meeting. My usual routine was to have a small breakfast and only one cup of coffee on Wednesday mornings, get weighed in around noon, and then drink my water and have a pre-lunch snack during the subsequent meeting. It worked well. The meetings felt like a fun distraction from work.

Now that I don’t have a car with me at work, I can’t leave during my lunch, so I’m forced to attend Saturday morning meetings. This means Fridays now become my “cram day” before my weigh in. Anyone who has ever done WW knows what I’m talking about. You count your Points carefully, making sure to get a lot of fiber and avoid high-sodium foods. You drink a lot of water. You try to get in a really hard workout. Usually, if I craft my cram days smartly, I can drop an extra .5 pounds before my weigh in. And if I’m not down or slightly up by cram day, I can usually eek out a small loss or at least maintain by really pushing myself and watching my Points.

Now all of this has to take place on Friday nights. Instead of coming home and relaxing with a glass of wine and a special dinner to reward, I have to have something low in Points, avoid the alcohol and exercise HARD. Quite the rewarding evening.

For the past couple weekends, I’ve struggled immensely with feelings of entitlement. I worked late on Friday night, and even once we got home around 7:30, I still had to spend about an hour finishing up a project before I could officially declare it The Weekend. I could feel my resolve weakening, so we stopped at Dunkin Donuts on the way home so I could grab an iced coffee with a splash of skim and Splenda. I knew I needed a caffeine burst to help avoid the wine/beer temptation. Having a drink would have been detrimental for four reasons: I’d have less motivation to finish my work project, I’d be virtually unable to do an intense workout, I’d be more prone to snacking and overeating, and lastly, the alcohol itself would likely make me retain water before my weigh in.

Once home, I threw together some dinner before starting my work project. I cut up about two pounds of red potatoes in wedges, then tossed them with 2T olive oil, 3T Dijon mustard, a splash of Balsamic vinegar, some minced garlic and rosemary, salt and pepper. I threw them in the oven to roast along with two frozen chicken breasts. Knowing the meal would take at least 45 minutes, I finished my work project and downed my coffee. Toward the end, I had Jeff cut up two yellow squash and put them in the oven with everything else to roast.

We sat down to eat—finally—a little before 10. I was deliriously hungry at that point. Jeff opened a bottle of Sam Adams Light, and I felt incredibly tempted to pour myself a glass of red. I felt ENTITLED to it. Hadn’t I just finished a grueling 60-hour work week? Isn’t everyone else my age out enjoying themselves? Shouldn’t I be able to have ONE drink and have it not affect my weight loss? Why do I have to spend my Friday night obsessing about a weigh in, anyway?

I knew I’d been pretty lazy with tracking and exercise this week, so I stuck it out. I’d stepped on the scale on Wednesday and registered 195.6. That’s a full pound a half more than last Saturday. Suffice to say, I didn’t have any wiggle room.

After dinner settled, I did an INTENSE hour of Taebo. I seriously got light-headed and felt sick a few times, but I pushed through. Then I enjoyed a hot shower, read a book in bed, and went to sleep trying to ignore the grumbling in my stomach.

I woke up and weighed: 194.4. Pretty good given my mid-week gain, but only .2 less than last week before my weigh in. I knew I wouldn’t register a loss at my official weigh in. I decided to go to Sunday’s meeting instead so I could have another day to work off a little bit more.

So Saturday I was good. I had a healthy breakfast, a grilled chicken salad from Chick Fil-A for lunch, a small portion of baked eggplant parm for dinner, and I got in a great 45-minute workout. I woke up the next morning expecting to see something in the 193 range. Nope. 194.8! Higher than the day before!

The only thing I can think of is maybe the Chick Fil-A salad was high in sodium and made me retain water. But regardless, I felt discouraged. I decided to skip the meeting again and went back to sleep for a couple hours. When I woke up, Jeff asked, “Did you go to your weigh in and come back? Or did you skip it?” I explained the .4 gain and my decision to skip the meeting. He insisted I should have gone anyway, but here’s my logic: I can accept a gain at my weigh in if I know I haven’t been working very hard. But registering a gain when I’ve been busting my ass? That just kills my spirit. I was already extremely frustrated, and I know I would have cried.

He understood that logic, but looking back he was right. I did not have a good day yesterday. I had two glasses of wine with dinner, and I way overindulged on some pita chips and this pumpkin gingerbread I made. I was pissed. This has just been so much harder than I thought it would be. In the last ten weeks, I’ve only lost 7.6 pounds. I’m only halfway to my first goal of losing 15 pounds. At this rate, it will take me 20 weeks (5 months) to reach that goal. I guess that time will pass regardless of what I’m doing, so I just have to accept how slow it will be. I do feel a fire lighting under my ass, though. I’m feeling fired up to completely own my weigh in next week. We’ll see!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feeling Better

Sorry to be so negative yesterday—just needed to express my frustration. I have no intention of giving up. :)

I ate well yesterday, went to choir practice and got home at 10:15. I STILL did an intense 45-minute workout DVD. I took a shower and went right to bed, since I have to get up every day at 6:30.

And guess what? Scales says 196.4 this morning. A new low! I guess the universe is rewarding me for pushing through yesterday. I commented to Jeff this morning that my weight was down and I was happy. He made a really interesting observation: “Your body responds really well to exercise. I don’t think counting Points alone is enough for you. It’s like good eating opens the door of opportunity for your weight loss, but exercise is what really pushes it through.”

Very interesting thought. I mean, this guy has known me for eight years and dated me for almost six. I think it’s possible he’s observed me enough to pick up on a few things. :P

On the agenda for today: Go to the dentist for my first Invisalign appointment, quick workout, make dinner and watch LOST with the guy who knows me oh so well. Have a great night!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Want some cheese with that whine?

I know it’s important to be positive, but I’m going to be negative and whiny for a minute here.

WHY is it SO hard to lose weight? WHY am I up almost a pound today even though I didn’t exceed my Points yesterday? It was a rest day, and apparently I can’t have a rest day without gaining weight. I have a Weight Watchers weigh in tomorrow, and I’m fairly certain I won’t post a loss. Even after a good workout tonight, I bet I’ll only be down .5 tomorrow. And that just won’t be enough to see a loss at my meeting.

I know you’re not supposed to get this down on yourself, but I can’t help but look at my progress and wonder if it’s really worth it. Since rejoining Weight Watchers seven weeks ago, I’ve lost about four pounds. That’s it. On an almost-200 pound frame, that isn’t noticeable. Not at all. I’ve basically been busting my ass to get that pathetic loss, and I could easily regain it all within a matter of days.

Honestly, is it worth it? I expend a LOT of mental energy thinking about weight. I don’t focus on my job as much as I should because I’m busy researching weight loss stuff, reading weight loss blogs and charting calories and exercise. Even though I’d like to think I’m living my life to the fullest right now, a big part of me is hoping to feel happier and better about myself once some of the weight is gone. I’ve been this weight or heavier for almost four years now. Ages 21-25. Those are supposed to be the years you feel best about your body. And I spent them either very obese or just slightly obese. I spent them avoiding swim suits and wearing girdles.

And after all my mental anguish, I am healthier. I no longer have high cholesterol, as I did a few years ago. My blood pressure is down. I’ve lost around 40 pounds from my heaviest weight. I don’t feel like my weight holds me back in any way now. The only reason I want to lose weight at this point is to look better and feel better about my appearance. But I’m starting to doubt if all this obsession is really the best thing for me. I’m having an extremely difficult time even losing ten pounds. I expect it will take around two years of constant obsession to lose the 50 pounds I’d like. And then it will be a lifetime of obsession to maintain that weight.

I’m not saying I’m giving up. I’m just feeling extremely frustrated. It’s like banging your head against a cement wall because everyone tells you it will help you in the end. But after awhile it still hasn’t helped you at all, and you’re still suffering the pain of banging your head against the wall. Wouldn’t you have to be a crazy person to keep doing it?

Maybe my moderate approach isn’t working. This isn’t shocking my body into dropping the weight. My habits just aren’t different enough to constitute a serious change, so my body feels no need to change how it processes energy. Maybe I need to do some kind of crazy diet (think Jillian Michaels or The Zone) to get some weight off. I clearly know how to maintain, so maybe just losing it is the most important thing.

Gah, but I know that’s not the solution. I know Weight Watchers is the best plan for me to change my lifestyle and keep it off in the long run. It just really frustrates me to see myself eating better and exercising more than almost any person in my life, yet still remain fat. One of the fattest people in my entire 50-person office, actually.

I can’t remember the last time I ate something fried (other than a serving of tortilla chips a few weeks ago). I’ve had one baked treat (a 400-calorie cupcake) in the past two months. I eat all my servings of fruit and veggies every day and never eat white carbs. I drink at least 64 oz of water every day. I work out an average of three times a week and walk whenever I can. I eat red meat around twice a month. How can none of this be enough? Obviously it isn’t.

I just don’t feel like playing “the game” anymore. I don’t feel like trying to get the exact right level of calories in/calories out to squeeze out a loss. It’s a never-ending process, and it’s exhausting. I just want to live my life in peace.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Just a quick post to say I'm feeling fantastic! Eating well, vigorous exercise, lots of water and enough sleep--it seriously feels like a happy pill. Also, the scale is back down to 197 after my grief-attributed small gain. I'm shooting for an ambitious 195 by my meeting on Wednesday. I will need to get several good workouts and stay 100% on track with my eating, but I think I can do it.

I also discussed a fun weight loss reward with Jeff. My reward for losing the first 15 pounds will be going engagement ring shopping. We've been talking about going for awhile now, and I figured it would be a fun motivator for me. I'm already 5 pounds down, so I just need to make the next 10 happen. :D

Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does Family History Always Repeat Itself?

I never made it home to Indianapolis. Even though Boston barely got an inch of snow, the blizzard-like conditions in New York, DC, Philadelphia and Chicago basically crippled the entire airline system. Planes and crews were stuck in snowy areas, so no one could get where they needed to go. I investigated buses and trains, and even considered driving from Boston to Indianapolis overnight. But I’d have been heading straight into the eye of the storm, and the more I thought about it, the last thing my grandma would ever have wanted is for Jeff and me to risk our life trying to get home for her funeral. She didn’t even like when I drove at night.

So I took a couple bereavement days and stayed around our apartment resting and trying to process everything. I’m starting to worry I’m not getting sufficient closure. I needed to see her body to really believe it was true. I needed to be with my family. But I couldn’t. So I moped around the house watching TV, napping and snacking.

I haven’t cared to know what the scale has to say, which is never good. I suspect I’m likely back up to 200. Oh, dreaded 200.

This isn’t working. My whole half-assed approach to weight loss isn’t working. Here’s the bottom line: I desperately want to be in the 170s by June. We’re going back to Indiana the first week of June, and I would love to be wearing a smaller size by then. To be noticeably thinner.

My grandma’s death has me thinking about my own health. My grandma was always very active and fit from doing lots of housework. Then about 15 years ago she started getting sicker. At that time, I really believe she should have taken up walking or another form of physical activity. But she became increasingly sedentary, and her health worsened over the years. She’s been basically immobile for several years now. She spent most of her days in front of the TV, legs hanging off the side of the bed because she couldn’t lift them up. Food became one of the only things she could still enjoy, so she indulged in cakes, pies, fried food and milkshakes. Soon she was 180 pounds, which is a lot for someone who’s 4’11”.

How different would things have been for her if she’d committed to exercise and better eating? For years she stayed healthy through vigorous housework and smaller portions of fattening Southern food, but that wasn’t enough to keep her healthy into old age. My other grandmother is ten years older, but she’s always followed a low-fat diet and still walks two miles a day. She’s in fantastic shape and still leads an incredibly vibrant life at 89.

My mom is quickly sliding into poor health, just like her mother. She’s at least 60 pounds overweight, has high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and can’t walk more than a few blocks at a time. I’m in far better health, but I’m also 50 pounds overweight. When my mom was my age (25), she weighed 135.

I have to make this transformation a priority. This isn’t working, and I’m tired of letting myself down. I keep imagining how amazing it would feel to be 20 pounds lighter by Spring. To go buy cute new summer clothes in a smaller size. To feel better about tank tops, shorts and swim suits.

I MUST resume religiously tracking Weight Watchers Points. Here’s the pattern I’ve been following: Track all day at work, go home with 8-13 available Points for the rest of the day, then pretty eat whatever and not track it. And then it’s just anything goes on the weekend—no tracking whatsoever, usually at least five drinks between Friday and Sunday.

Okay, so religious tracking will help get the weight off. But I am stuck in a SERIOUS plateau. My body is extremely comfortable at this weight. It will be extremely hard to get it off, so I need to go a step further.

Hence, my new theory: The Rule of Four

Four workouts a week
Four 16-oz cups of water a day
Four or less alcoholic beverages a week
Four times eating out a month (I may be more flexible with this one, but it’s my goal.)

To quote Tobias from Arrested Development, “Let the great experiment begin!!”

Monday, February 8, 2010

A Different Kind of Loss

After several years of declining health, my grandma passed away on Saturday night. It was expected; she's been in the hospital on and off for years, and when she was checked in five days ago, it became clear that this time might actually be the end. My mom was with her, holding her hand, at the time she passed. It was an utterly peaceful way to go as I can possibly imagine. And we were as prepared as anyone can possibly be.

It's still difficult to reconcile the details. I'm finding I can't really grasp the enormity of it, so instead I'm focusing on the little things. How I won't ever hear her voice again. How her house, the home she's occupied for over 40 years, is now empty. How I'll never again dial her phone number, a number I've had memorized my entire life, and hear her pick up on the other end like clockwork. How she won't get to attend my wedding or meet my children, events that would have meant more to her than I can possibly explain.

I've also been thinking about unconditional love. How many people in your life tell you every time you see them how much they love you? Tell you how beautiful you are? Tell you how proud of you they are? My grandma adored with an unassuming consistency that boggles my mind. She was entirely uninterested in my flaws. Unaware of them, even. She was a simple-minded woman with a kind of childlike innocence. She saw the world mainly in absolutes. And when it came to me, I could do no wrong. I can only hope to someday be the person she thought me to be.

I'm also worried about my mom. My grandma has been an utterly constant presence in her life. In all her 56 years, my mom has never lived further than 10 miles away from her. For the past 15 years she's gone over several times a week to take care of things around the house. Not a day goes by that they didn't talk on the phone. And while their relationship wasn't always the happiest, it was most certainly a huge part of my mother's life. She's handling things pretty well, but given her already-chronic depression, I guess I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I've been trying to keep my eating somewhat in check, but honestly, exercise has fallen by the wayside. It just doesn't feel right to act energetic and enthusiastic at a time like this. I just need to focus on finishing up my responsibilities at work so I can hop on a plane back to Indiana as soon as possible.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Scale is Cooperating. My Mind is Another Story.

After last week’s disappointing weigh in, I was anxious to kick it into high gear to make sure I rocked the next meeting. I kept my eating (fairly) in check and worked out Friday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Tuesday night was actually an interesting little incident. I got home from choir practice a little after 10. Given that I leave the house at 7, that put me right around a 15-hour day. Yet I knew if I didn’t get a good workout in, I wouldn’t be down enough in the morning to really rock my weigh in.

I asked Jeff is I could do my video in the living room. He was playing a game and whined a little that he wouldn’t be able to play it in the bedroom. The particular DVD I wanted to do requires more room, so I got frustrated and shut myself in the bathroom. I drew a bath and sulked in the tub. I was irritable; the last thing I wanted to do was an intense workout video, and Jeff’s protest struck a nerve. He immediately came in apologizing, trying to convince me to still do my video. I told him to go away.

Almost as soon as I dismissed him, I realized how much better the bath would feel after a good workout. I thought about how awesome it would feel to have a good loss at my meeting the next day. I got out of the tub, dried off and changed into my workout clothes. As punishment, I made Jeff do an intense 45-minute DVD with me. It was a harder workout than I’d planned, and having him by my side really encouraged me to push myself.

In the morning I saw 197 on the scale. A number I haven’t seen since 2007. I went to my weigh in and registered a very satisfying 2.2 pound loss. I also reached a Weight Watchers milestone: For the first time ever, I weighed in at less than 200 at my official weigh in. It felt so nice to see a 1 on my weight log!

I feel immensely hopeful in achieving this small goal. It feels like real progress. Hitting this lower number has convinced me that, through hard work and steady progress, I can and WILL achieve my greater goal.

Since then, however, I’ve been struggling a bit. My eating hasn’t been outright out of control; I just haven’t been tracking very careful and can feel a “bingey” mindset attempting to break through. Last night I had two glasses of wine and munched all evening. I ate some jelly beans this morning (no idea why) that caused a mild sugar headache. I managed to have a somewhat healthy lunch, but my heart wasn’t in it. I spent the entire meal fantasizing about driving up to Burger King and eating a combo meal in my car. But I didn’t.

I need to get my head back in the game. Every time I reach a lower number, I give up a little and slightly regress to my old ways, until I’m two pounds heavier. Rinse and repeat.

I’m going to start by tracking for the last two days. Every bite.

I’m going to do a workout as soon as I get home tonight. No excuses.

I’m going to track this entire weekend instead of letting myself indulge a little.

My goal for next week’s weigh in is 196 or lower. Can I do it?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Improving Eating Habits

I’m happy to report some excellent progress in changing my eating habits. Here are three specific instances:

Situation #1: Yesterday my colleague and I ran to TJ Maxx on our lunch break. I picked out an adorable new Calvin Klein dress on clearance (size 12!) to wear on Valentine’s Day. As we left the store and approached my car, she suggested stopping by Burger King, which is right next door. I was planning on having a Boca burger on an Arnold’s Sandwich Thin with leftover broccoli, but I conceded and we went through the drive thru. I was extremely tempted to order fries, and she even said to me, “Oh, you can break your diet a little, it’s no biggie.” But I ordered a grilled chicken sandwich with no mayo. No fries or anything. It was only seven Points. It wasn’t the best food to fuel my body (the bun was still sugary white bread), but it was certainly one of the better choices.

Situation #2: When I got home from work last night, I was in a terrible mood for some reason. I felt stressed, extremely tired and very anxious. I couldn’t pinpoint the source of my anxiety, which of course only intensified my mental distress. Jeff was working late, so I knew I was on my own for dinner. After a short nap, I rummaged through the cabinets looking for something to eat. I spotted a box of cream of wheat and thought about making a big bowl of it, with lots of butter and sugar (one of my favorite childhood comfort foods). I seriously considered ordering takeout or driving up to McDonald’s. But I was able to talk myself out of it. I made a quesadilla with two whole wheat tortillas, black beans, corn, jalapenos and cheese. It was really big (I called the whole thing 10 Points), but it was filling and nutritious. I didn’t snack the rest of the night. Normally when Jeff isn’t home, I sleep, eat and watch TV. I snack uncontrollably. I managed to avoid that!

Situation #3: Every Friday morning my office has free Panera bagels in the kitchen. Delicious, fresh bagels in every variety you can imagine, complete with multiple tubs of heavenly cream cheese. I always try to resist the bagels’ enticing call, and I fail about 40% of the time. I usually choose the standard plain because it’s lowest in calories. And of course I use the low-fat cream cheese; I honestly can’t taste the difference.

Inevitably, two hours after eating the bagel I feel absolutely terrible. My head feels foggy and heavy, I feel ravenously hungry despite consuming all those calories, and I’m extremely tempted to break into the candy or have some chips/cookies from the snack cabinet. In short, it starts an endless cycle of overeating for the whole day, not to mention how godawful it makes me feel. Some days I have a Fiber One English muffin with cream cheese, just to make myself feel like I’m getting the bagel experience. However, today I made myself some scrambled egg whites in the microwave and paired them with nonfat Chobani and blueberries. That was two hours ago and I still feel fine.

I’m so excited to be listening to my body and learning from its feedback. My body doesn’t like empty carbs with no protein. Apparently after years of feeling like crap after carb-heavy meals, I’m finally starting to catch on!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

If It Doesn't Feel Like Work...

…it’s not going to work. I had a pretty disappointing weigh in yesterday. For some reason I jumped .8 pounds from Tuesday to Wednesday. I was feeling sick on Tuesday night and went to bed at 8:00, after having Wendy’s for dinner. I had a large chili with four saltines, a side salad with 2T light ranch and exactly 10 of Jeff’s fries. I was still hungry and unsatisfied after dinner, so I had some nonfat Greek yogurt mixed with canned pumpkin for dessert. I then promptly fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 6:30 a.m.

On Tuesday morning I weight 199.2. I guess the combination of high-sodium fast food and no workout led the scale to read an even 200 on Wednesday morning. I was pissed, but that’s was still a pound less than last week, so I figured I’d be okay at my weigh in. However, I was on a different scale than last time, and it obviously weighs a little heavier because, after my weight registered, the older lady behind the counter said, “You’re up .2, honey.”

Is anyone else familiar with this feeling? Standing on the Weight Watchers scale, nervous because you didn’t have the best week, exhaling all the air out of your lungs in case oxygen somehow affects that number? I hate feeling uncertain about my progress, and I dread the little pep talk they try to give you if you’re up, even by .2 pounds.

I wanted to protest, tell her I weighed myself this morning and there’s no way I’ve gained since then since all I’ve had is a cup of coffee and seven almonds. But then I thought back. Have I been tracking every day? Not really. Have I been measuring all my portions? Definitely not. Did I have too much alcohol? Probably. Did I get in all my workouts? No.

Did I deserve to see a loss? Not really!

I am so sick of that feeling. I feel hopeless and scared that I won’t be able to lose any weight. My initial goal is to lose 5% of my body weight, or 10 pounds. I want to meet this goal desperately. I’ve been stuck around 200 for literally YEARS. I don’t have any concept of what it’s like to weigh under 190 anymore. I won’t feel like any progress is happening until I achieve a loss that matters to me.

I fought tears for the first 15 minutes of my meeting, then I got over it and resolved to keep going. A woman in our group made lifetime yesterday, and in the process of congratulating her, the leader made a comment about maintenance. She said her advice to the woman was to keep going to meetings and stay on the program just like she did before, only eating maintenance-level calories. She emphasized the importance of coming to a meeting every week. I chimed in with a comment: “I’ve decided that, loss or gain, I’m coming every single week. I finally realized that if I just keep going, there’s no way I can’t fail. The only way I’ll fail is by giving up.” Saying those words aloud to a group of strangers really made something click inside me. Tears sprang to my eyes and I felt a wave of relief come over me.

This week I’m going to do the work. I’ve been half-assing the program as always, and I’m getting half-ass results. A colleague and I were discussing weight last night at our company’s 2010 kickoff party. I was talking about maintaining this undesirable weight for so long, and how I felt like nothing has worked to help me get the weight off. She said that this weight is my body’s set point. My body does NOT want to move from this number, so I have to do something really different to shake it up in order to see a loss.

I know exercise is the missing link. Hard, intense exercise. I’m going to do the work until I reach my goal, then keep going until I reach the next one. I didn’t fully accept it until I said it aloud: If I don’t quit, I will never fail.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Some Thoughts on Accountability

So I've been plugging along these past couple weeks, attending Weight Watchers meeting regularly again. I've been paying for a monthly pass for about a year, but I haven't really consistently gone to meetings. Actually the last time I went to meetings before now was June. Wow...I wasted a lot of money; I could have been using that membership money well AND losing weight this whole time.

Anyway, I've proven to be extremely talkative in the meetings (as usual), and my leader directs her lecture at me a lot and often asks for my thoughts if she sees me nodding my head. I enjoy speaking up; it hammers home how much I need to be there when I realize how much I have in common with all these women (and men). During last week's meeting she asked me how much weight I'd lost, I answered in recent terms, automatically saying, "Well, I just started last week, so only two pounds." Of course everyone still applauded, and she noted that it was still something to be proud of.

Then I thought, "Wait. I should have said 22 pounds, because since I first started back in 2007, that's actually how much I've lost." Then I thought that since I've actually lost 40 pounds from my heaviest weight, maybe I should have said that. Two pounds really doesn't tell my whole story.

I thought about this question later on in the week--am I just beginning again, or is this all a continuation? I've been maintaining this weight for over three years, save for a few fluctuations in either direction. I expressed some frustration to Jeff that I haven't been losing weight faster. I have 50-60 pounds to lose--shouldn't I be seeing those initial big numbers (losses each week of 4-6 pounds) that give people the motivation to continue? "But you're not just beginning. You're not making some huge switch from terrible eating and no activity to perfect eating and tons of activity. It's not a shock to your body."

Good point, huh? I eat relatively well and get a decent amount of exercise, but I don't consistently restrict my calories enough to actually lose.

In comes the importance of accountability. Last weekend I splurged a little food wise in New York. I ate a bagel and some other Jewish deli deliciousness (cheese blintzes, anyone?). Here's a pic of us at the Jewish deli. I'm on the left:

I also ate some Mexican food, lots of drinks and part of a massive cupcakes. I temporarily lost my mind and proceeded to buy four cupcakes to take home:
If you've never been to Crumbs Bakery in New York, beware! These cupcakes were easily the size of large muffins. And NYC posts calorie information everywhere by law, so I actually saw exactly how many calories were in each of these bad boys (around 550-650).

Then for some reason, as soon as we got home I didn't even want them anymore. It was Sunday night, and I knew if I wanted to see a loss at my Wednesday meeting, I'd have to seriously watch my Points and get in some butt-kicking workouts. And that's exactly what I did. And I saw a loss.

Do you think under normal circumstances I would have worked hard to make sure my indulgences weren't reflected on the scale? I really doubt it. I was tired from a long, whirlwind weekend of bus rides, whisking around NYC and sleeping less than six hours a night. The last thing I wanted to do was get some intense workouts in before Wednesday. But I did it, and I saw a loss.

That's how I felt this weekend. We went out to dinner with friends on Saturday night, and while I tried to order smartly, I had several full-calorie beers. But I got my eating in order straight away on Sunday morning. Normally I'd have blown off good eating and exercise on Sunday in favor of waiting until Monday, but I ate really well and did 40 minutes of intense strength and cardio. And the scale was down this morning! Funny how that works. :)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Still Alive!

Wow, it's been quite awhile since a post! For anyone reading, I promise I'm not falling off into the blogger abyss! I spent two weeks at my parents house in Indianapolis over the holidays, and they actually don't have Internet access. They're periodically able to steal neighbors' unlocked wireless networks, but let's just say it's spotty at best.

Since returning to Boston, I've been hit with the double whammy of 12-hour work days and lots of rehearsals and performances with my choir. But I have some good posts ideas brewing and will make it a priority to get a good one up tomorrow.

Other updates:
  • Jeff and I are spending the weekend in NYC! We've never been there together, so I'm really excited.
  • I started going to Weight Watchers again on Wednesday, and I'm really excited about it. I've made a promise to myself that I have to go to a meeting every week, regardless of whether or not I think I've lost weight. In the past, I've followed this very distinct pattern: I'll cheat for a bit, not lose very much, skip a meeting telling myself "I'll work hard and go next week," and then voila, it's five months later and I'm five pounds heavier. Not this time!
  • I've been pretty on track with my workouts (thank you 30-day Shred), and I've tried some really cool new healthy recipes. More to come!
That's it for now. I'm still at work and will probably be here until 8. Bleh. January is a very busy month for PR practitioners, as it happens! :)