Monday, April 28, 2014

A Super Awesome Weekend

Well, that was fun.

I took my lunch really late on Thursday because of a weird morning schedule at work, but then didn't feel like eating anything. I started feeling ill. Then it got worse, and then it got horrible and I wanted to die. I took off work Friday and spent the next several days alternating between sleeping and vomiting.



So to recap, I wrote about how I was so excited to be back to a routine and then immediately proceeded to get violently ill. My best guess is food poisoning, maybe made worse by little/no sleep, but I can't even think what could have caused it. Whatever, I'm glad it's over.

Yesterday, J and I took a long walk along the Hudson River Greenway, which is a beautiful biking/walking pathway along the Manhattan side of the Hudson River. I was giddy at the wonderful weather and also because I hadn't been outside since Thursday.

In the midst of the fun jogger/biker/walker watching, we saw a girl taking multiple selfies while riding on the back of a tandem bicycle. She was not pedaling, but was adjusting her hair for the photos and giving the peace sign. I love people with no selfie shame.

It felt odd to take a photo of a selfie, so here is the pretty view.

I'm assuming the numbers this week will be skewed from being sick and eating very little for a few days, so I'm (again) kind of writing off this week of measurements. However, I'm still recording all the weights, and I'm definitely not writing off the week itself. Now is finally back to normal, and I will continue the progress I had finally started to make.

My goals for the week are just to get back into the habits - working out, tracking, making and bringing lunches. The 3.5-mile walk yesterday was a good start, but I will be getting back into the gym tonight.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Weekly Weigh-In - Back to Regularly Scheduled Programming



I was not looking forward to this week’s weigh-in. As much as I’d tried, and though it would have been much worse had I not been trying at all, I did eat too much over the last week-and-a-half. But I know that, just like if I eat something and then don’t count it anywhere, I’m only hurting myself..

When I decided not to take the scale during our trip, it meant I would be skipping a weigh-in, but I couldn’t justify lugging it around with absurd airline limits. Thus during this vacation, I haven’t had an idea of how well or badly I was eating. I was trying to make reasonable decisions and track when possible, but also knew I was indulging. So when I finally weighed in, I had that mindset of anticipating the worst while also secretly hoping for the best.





So here are the numbers, added at the right-most column:

Measurements 3/10/20143/19/20143/26/20144/2/20144/9/20144/23/2014
Weight187.4187.4187.6187.2186.2188.1
Pounds Fat

79.6178.18676.679.5
Pounds Muscle

67.2667.258865.467.4


Weird numbers again, but they fit with the overall trend more than the last set did. Fat pounds are way up, and still up even for three weeks ago. Since I know I didn’t literally gain 3 pounds of fat in a couple of week as that would have required ten thousand or so extra calories, (I didn’t stray that far,) I’m hoping it goes back down just as quickly. Muscle mass is the same, which is good considering how little I’ve exercised in the last couple of weeks.

 
J and I spent the first half of the holiday at my parent's in New York, and the rest of the holiday in Michigan with my mother-in-law and her husband. It was really nice, especially since we don’t see them often. J’s mother also has a beautiful, huge kitchen I can only dream about. 

They have two dogs and a cat, so J and I had fun taking the dogs out for a few walks in the sunshine. It’s a fun and novel activity for me since I’ve never owned a dog. Of course, walking with a dog is kind of like walking with a toddler – lots of stopping to lick things, and maybe to poop. Besides these walks, which were lengthy but not particularly strenuous, I only ended up working out hard once during the holiday.

Waiting, hoping to be walked.
 
There have been positive eating moments this week, despite the indulgences. I turned down seconds or treats many times, and also think I ate with a lot of awareness – even when overeating. This is progress, as I used to sneak things and then lie to even myself about what I was doing, or that it was a good idea.

We flew home yesterday morning on the red-eye, and I headed to work straight from the airport. I had valiant intentions to go to the gym after work, but the idea of going to the gym on zero sleep, after going to work on zero sleep, seemed like a ridiculous idea. We will be going tonight.
 
Finally, I want to officially commit now to posting my weight here every week. That is my promise to myself, and to the Internet: I will always post my weight, not pretend the scale doesn’t exist, or that I was too busy, or to pretend that a gain didn’t happen. It’s a pet peeve of mine when bloggers whose focus is weight loss have sudden and complete radio silence about their weights, even though they continue to allude to their weight, post consistently about other topics and answer non-weight-related questions in the comment section.



Overall, I am overly happy to be back to normal, back into a routine of work, gym, and food tracking, where I know I do much better. This holiday/vacation ended up being kind of sucky timing – it started just when I was finally making real progress with weight and numbers, but before I got better at resisting in treat-filled environments. Oh well, I’m going to keep going this week, and hope the next few months of awesome and boring life will lead to some real weight loss. And whether I log 20 fewer pounds or 30 more pounds, I’ll keep putting it up.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

My Biggest Secret

My biggest secret is that I weigh too much. It’s not really a secret, of course – anyone who sees me would be aware of it. But the reasons behind my weight are certainly more personal, like my struggles with food, self-esteem, stress, and depression.

I’m wearing a cellulite sign around my neck that everyone can read: “I probably eat too much, and there might also be deeper psychological issues here.” And I really forget that it's there.

Not fair, right? My weight, and any issues I have that may have to do with it, are my own personal business, to be shared only with close friends and strangers on the Internet as I choose to reveal them. Not to be immediately obvious to anyone who sees me.


It's like how you're mildly surprised when you hear yourself on a recording. Not because you sound bad or because it's so interesting, but because the voice coming out of the machine seems so foreign compared to what you hear when speaking. And then you realize, so that's how I sound to other people all the time?

It's the same way with my body. Like most people, I forget about how I look. This isn’t an issue, because I would not want to be focusing on my weight or appearance. Nobody should constantly be reminded of their appearance, good or bad. I feel bad for very tall people who hear, "Wow, you sure are tall!" all the time.




So I forget how I look. But then something happens, like I see a photo of myself, or someone asks me if I'm going to the gym because I want to lose weight, and I think, is that what I look like? All the time? To everyone? I'm reminded that nobody has forgotten my biggest secret. Hopefully they're not focusing on it, just like I'm not focusing on how other people look. But it's still out there.

Still though, it sucks sometimes. The people who've seen me periodically over the years know that I lost a lot of weight, and then gained a lot of it back. They don't know why, but it's clear that it happened. I sometimes wonder how much nicer it would be if being overweight could be a thing that I choose to mention or not mention to someone, like other personal details.


Mmm, so you like to hydrate by bathing.

Anyone else feel this way?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I Still Have a Ways to Go

        Last night I was not in the best place. A couple of weeks ago, I had some late work nights and it was tough, but I handled it alright. This time, I have not risen to the challenge when things got just a little bit harder.

        There were so many treats around, and the unexpected below freezing weather (snow!) combined with religious restrictions on driving and other travel meant that most of the last few days were spent in the house. Somehow there wasn't a chance to have a fun afternoon of board games, or some other communal entertainment. It was still really nice to be with my family, but I think everybody was a bit tired, ironically, after all the Seder sitting and long meals.




         I did not make the best choices. I was trying, but kept failing. I would eat a bit of something, think, alright, I didn't need that. I'm just bored, and it's here, and it's something to do for a moment. It's ok, but maybe stop picking at this food now. And then I wouldn't. And then I wouldn't again. On Tuesday I realized I just needed to stop eating in-between meals because that's when I ate all the crap that I later regret. Those little bits here and there, and here, and before I realized it, I'd eaten about 500 extra calories of sweets - just by having a macaroon, or an almond cookie, every hour or so.


Nope.

        The funny thing is that this was the version of me trying, but failing, to eat well. If I had not been trying at all, I would absolutely have eaten thousands more calories. It would have been worse because I would have stopped caring and given up on myself completely. I'm not sure where I am at the moment, calorie-wise, but I sure as hell know that's it better than some past experiences.

        So: last night found me in bed at an odd half-sitting half-laying-down angle, trying not to think about what I'd eaten, not wanting to deal with it, not wanting to do what I knew I should do, which is go on the elliptical in the basement for a bit, pack lunch for work the next day, and answer the questions about laundry that the friends looking after our apartment needed answered. Not wanting to deal with any of it, really. I wasn't in denial, I was actively procrastinating.


"Only my face in the music video, you hear me? Make it work!"


        Looking back, it's clear that some of these negative feelings were due to cabin fever - last night, I had been in the house for two days straight - and also being generally lazy about going back to work after a few days off. 

        At midnight, I packed a lunch for the next day (today), and spent a half hour on the elliptical, watching an old episode of Family Guy and wondering how on earth they get so much dirty stuff past the censors. I never felt so proud as doing those small things. Credit goes to J (husband), who was really great. He knows about and tries to understand my struggles as best he can, and is really good at cheering me up when I'm down.


Sneak hug.

        He reminded me of what I already knew but maybe needed to hear - that this isn't that big a deal, basically. It's a few days of overeating, and a few days of not working out. It's understandable, I'm still learning how to make good choices when I'm not in an environment that I control or one in which I'm used to overcoming temptations, and I'm not perfect. I don't need to get upset over my choices, I don't need to feel guilty for indulging, even if it's this whole holiday.

        At worst, if I can go back to our good habits after it's over, it will only a week out of this journey. A week won't break me unless I let it stretch into more. Despite a packed lunch today and a workout last night, the rest of this week might suck. But I'll try my best now, however many calories that means, and start next week fresh no matter what.

Happy Passover, Easter, or just weekend in general!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holiday Fun

Why am I taking off five of the next ten work days?

Why, for the delightful holiday of Passover. I write about it here because it will impact my weight loss journey in a random array of challenges for the next week, and also because I can.

The explanation for Passover is long, but it basically is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and remembers how the Jewish people were rescued from slavery in Egypt 3,500 years ago by God working through Moses and Aaron. Part of the commemoration involves not eating any leavened (risen) bread and instead eating matzoh, which consists of only water and flour and is made from start to finish in under eighteen minutes, because the Jews left Egypt in such a hurry that the not-yet-risen bread dough baked on their backs in the hot sun.

Seders can be long.

The point of this is that starting today and ending next Tuesday night, eating well and exercising will be challenging. I won't have access to our normal gym, won't be able to track my food for several days, and will be presented with a lot of delicious food for which I have no idea of the calories or ingredients. I'll be away from home, surrounded by family who will have rare "Let's indulge in slow-cooked meats, fried things, and flour-less chocolate cake" attitudes.



 
Diet: The main rule is "no unleavened bread," but the no-nos for this culinarily challenging Holiday include: breads, pastries, rice, oats, soy, barley and most other grains, beans, peanuts and corn. The corn restriction means no cornstarch or high-fructose corn syrup, which is why you may have noticed special Heinz ketchup and Coke bottles with yellow tops, both of which are made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup.

What is allowed? 
Matzoh, meat, eggs, coffee, dairy products, and most vegetables and fruits are permitted.

We manage.


My Strategy

My goal is basically just not to go crazy - be aware of what I'm eating, if I want to be eating it, and how much I'm consuming. Mindless eating, or worse, eating because there's so much food and I feel like I need to have ALL of it because otherwise I'm missing out on something, is what I'm trying hard to avoid. This is especially important when I can't track and it will be easy to forget little mindless indulgences.


That's the best advice I have for myself, or for anyone else looking for tips: not to just take a bit of everything because it's there. Rather, I will try to look at the options and decide what I would really like to enjoy, and what, upon a little hesitation, I realize I don't actually care that much about. Also, I will try to remember that this is the holiday of leftovers, so chances are that the dish I don't have tonight will make a great lunch tomorrow.

I will estimate and count calories as much as possible with the aide of my husband/human calculator, and try to take long walks in the (hopefully) nice weather. I can do this. While losing a bit of weight over Passover would be wonderful, I will be very happy to just have stayed the same.


Day six.

A couple of our friends are staying at our apartment while we're gone - they were coming to New York City for Passover and needed a place, and since we'll be gone the whole time, it worked out well!

However, it also means that we needed to leave the apartment in a state where they don't need to maneuver around the clean laundry that's been sitting in the living room for three days or the long-dead flowers on the table. So yesterday it was clean, clean, clean and now we're going to eat, eat, eat.

At worst, it's only one week and I'm determined to get right back to our healthier habits after it's over.

For anyone celebrating, Happy Passover!


(Flour-less chocolate torte photo: oneforthetable.com)