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?