No No’s and Plateaus

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I mentioned in my last post that I would speak more on the plateau that I experienced recently that went on for 4 months and in some ways still exists. After falling in love with my now ex boyfriend, the vigor and passion that I had for reaching my weight loss goals subsided. Mentally, I figured if someone could love me and take me as I was, then anything else was icing on the cake. This new view on life was substantiated by the fact that my overall goal was to be healthier and with continued exercise and eating right, what was the harm?

During this time period, I was diligent in what I ate, I worked out and I still practiced judgement when making decisions for my meals, the scale didn’t budge. Actually it teetered up and down and I found myself in a cycle of losing and gaining the same 5 pounds.

A major discernible change was that I was no longer obsessed with weight loss. I became obsessed with making him happy and through doing so, I became innately happy in the process. My personal trainer also noticed that I was stressing out substantially more due to being a full time student and a full time employee. Some weeks I slept an average of 3 hours a night while working 60 hour weeks and taking 4 classes. Looking back, I’m not sure how I did this myself, while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

So aside from my decreased passion towards losing weight, my first “No No” was not sleeping enough each night. Our bodies need to rest to replenish and recover from all of the things we do to ourselves. Without that recovery period, it becomes increasingly difficult for us to shed the pounds. The extra “me” time that I would usually find some way to carve out for myself, was now being occupied by trying to find time with my boyfriend.

The second “No No” was the enormous amounts of stress that I was putting on my body through demanding it to work over capacity for such a long period of time. During this time, I suffered from panic attacks, dizzy spells, loss of vision and flat out fatigue. My body was simply exhausted. Again, not an environment conducive of weight loss.

Finally, “No No” number three was simply my shift from whole, clean foods to a higher mix of processed foods, simply for convenience. Although I was tracking calories dutifully using my trusty dusty app, the source of my calories shifted from raw fresh foods and yummy recipes to some frozen meals and packaged foods simply because I lacked time to cook.

Yes, the new boyfriend played a bit of a role in my outlook towards weight loss, however other factors contributed to my plateau, some things that I really could not do much in regards to fixing it. However, the most important part of fixing a plateau, in my opinion, is to go back to the original plan and compare it to actual behaviors. After doing this, it was easy for me to discover that my school and work circumstances created an environment that made it difficult for me to continue to lose weight.

The Truth About Love and an Update of Some Sorts…

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It has been a little while.  Okay, it has been a long while.  I have been through a lot in the last 8 months, most of which includes falling head over heels in love with someone.  When I met him, the skies opened and the natural hues that life tends to produce seemed richer, smells became more robust, and life as I knew it changed.

This guy made me feel alive.  Although fitness and losing weight was still the most paramount goal in my life, he made the 4 month plateau that I experienced bearable.  [I will get into more detail about my plateau in a later post].  He pacified me with loving words of encouragement, hope, and support.  Honestly, with him by my side, I felt as though I could accomplish any task in life, big or small.

He spoke of marriage and of wanting to start a family.  As he spoke of this, my walls started to come down and I started to let go of all of the paralyzing fear that I held on to for so long.  My past was full of ups and downs, which makes me a guarded person by nature.  Finally, if by waving some magic wand, the mountains of fear that I was feeling started to disappear.  Until they did disappear, and I was his.

Then abruptly, as if God himself flipped the switch, my guy told me that he needed space.  When I asked why, he told me that he needed some time to figure out his life and that it was not me, it was him [sounds familiar?].  I spent days agonizing over this, trying to figure out what it was that I had done.  Wondering was it something I said, something I did/did not do.  What caused such an abrupt change of heart?  This baffled me even more considering, unlike most ladies, I was NOT the one that was actually pushing for marriage and children, so the likelihood of me scaring him off seemed null.

Devastated, I started to evaluate my life.  Truly evaluate it.  My mind went back to the goal that I set for myself just over one year ago.  I wanted to be skinny, sexy, amazing.  Although I have changed my lifestyle towards living a healthier, more enriched, life — I did not reach that goal.  Being in love weakened my determination and my will power.  Maybe, just maybe, my crazy plateau was caused by finding happiness in someone else, and not harnessing my inner happiness based on achieving my weight loss and fitness goals.

Here I am, a little bruised from the outcome of an ended relationship; healthier than I was a year ago, but not at my fitness goal;  and ready to get back on track without the distraction of blinding love.  My in depth self reflection discovered a missing component in getting my life back together, which was blogging.  For months now, I have been lurking, reading here and there, but not posting.  I had let myself forget how therapeutic writing could be.  My innate shyness always seems to push my blog to the bottom of the list of priorities in an effort to avoid the pain of spilling my soul to the world (or the 2 or 3 people that may stumble upon this place).

Well, for a lack of better words, I am back!  I will just call this Day 1, Take 2.

Things I’ve learned… and um… Re-learned, Part 2


The last few months have been really trying on my fitness and weight loss goals.  I’ve maintained when I should be in serious losing phase.  I’m not making excuses, simply observations to make me get better in the long run.  Some things that I’ve learned about myself:

I push myself way too hard.  I tend to go at full capacity, then when there’s nothing left of me I blame myself for failing.  I don’t even give myself a break for all of the hard work and effort that I put forth every day.  I need to lighten up, this journey is a lifestyle change, not a sprint.  I have to be ready to not only roll with the punches but also to slow down and give myself kudos for my accomplishments.

I tend to lose motivation.  I work a lot… and by a lot… I mean a lot.  My work weeks have been 60+ hours now for a few months.  It’s not only tiresome but draining and it leaves me too tired to do much of anything.  In addition to working so much, I’m also taking 9 credits in school and I have a 4.0.  The compromise has been exercise and sleep.  An extremely deadly mix for a healthy body.  What happens when my weight loss fails due to this deadly combo?  I lose all hope and I go off of the deep end.  I go back to the rich foods that comforted me and next thing I know I’ve gained 10 pounds.

I need a buddy.  I need to find someone that will hold me accountable when things in my life gets hectic.  I’m finding that everything is fine and dandy on the fitness level when I’m not working myself to death and during breaks from school.  I am like a drill Sargent during those times.  But when my work load gets out of hand and I have term papers due at midnight, I start to slip back into my ways.  I stop tracking my food, the gym sessions become further in between and I start snacking as a means of feeling better.

I can be inspirational.  A quote that’s kept me up at nights recently is “Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.”  Richard Evans said that and I want to kiss him for it.  It’s so true.  We always see that thin and fit person and we start to feel badly for ourselves, well at least I know I do sometimes.  But the truth of the matter is that they started somewhere as well.  They have a journey, whether it was losing weight and getting fit after pregnancy or finally meeting their goal weight after a year long struggle.  That’s just it, everyone started somewhere. So shall I.

Knowing these things about myself will only get me even closer to my fitness goals.  Now that school has ended for the semester, I’m going to treat myself to some awesome workouts and some home cooked healthy foods.  My body can’t wait for it.  I deserve it.

I’m still here… just going one step at a time, learning one day at a time!

One Step at a Time…

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I hate to say that “I’m back”, because I don’t feel as though I really went anywhere.  However, here I am.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted.  I’m still on my journey, down 56 pounds now, 7 pounds away from being in another century!  Pretty excited about that, but I haven’t had much time to celebrate.  My life has been on a whirlwind, between work being crazy and school starting, I’ve had practically no time for myself.

Although I’m on the right track now, I’ve had a few setbacks that when looking back I shouldn’t really call them setbacks, maybe disguised victories.  I have been put in a few situations where I was all but forced to conform to my old habits but all considering, I came out pretty much unscathed.  These events were basically out-of-town work conferences (3, back to back, 1 week long each), where there was one meal option, which did not include a healthy option.  I avoided eating anything the first day, but quickly came to my senses after waking up on day two starving.  So, I portioned, substituted and made the best decisions that I could.  When I finally came home, I had gained 3 pounds.  I guess that’s what 3 weeks of no exercise and processed foods will do to you.  

But, now I’m back on track and I’m excited to see the next weight bracket — FINALLY.  It’s been a long time coming.  I can’t wait to settle in and get updated on what everyone’s been up too.  I miss losing myself in everyone’s stories.  

A dose of Reality… The harsh truths of lifestyle changes.

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I hit a wall. After my last post, “An Open Letter to my Future Self“, I talked about the feeling of being tired and of wanting to know if all of the changes that I’ve been making will be worth it. Well, when I posted that I was teetering on the edge of something crazy. Since then I had a bit of a break through. I needed time away from life in general. I needed time away from how difficult my new lifestyle has been.

This may sound like an excuse, and although it sorta is, there is some substance to my thought process, I promise.

I took 3 weeks off from work, I turned off my cell phone, I drove 3 hours away from home, and here I am sitting in a hotel, writing this entry in what I’ve now adapted as my public diary. This past week, I’ve gone completely off the reservation so to speak. I’ve indulged, and over indulged. I started my vacation with working out, that went out of the window about 2 days into this. I’ve done things on a whim and whatever it is that I wanted to do.

Here’s where my sorta excuse comes in. I started this journey cold turkey. I just stopped everything. I didn’t gradually stop drinking sodas, one day I was, the next day I wasn’t. This was 4 months ago, in this time I’ve lost 40 pounds (I’m sure I’ve gained some back over the last week). I submerged myself back into the lifestyle that I had. Lazy, no exercising, no self accountability. At first it was like “Welcome Home”… Then there were the nightmares, the inability to sleep, the depression, the self hate… it all came back. The carb and sugar highs and crashes have been brutal. The inactivity is killing me literally.

So, today, I stared myself down in the mirror. I never look in the mirror. I mean yeah, I glance in it and remember how much I hate what I look like. But not today, today I REALLY looked at myself in the mirror. Looked myself in the eyes and asked myself what I wanted. What I TRULY wanted. Did I want to feel like crap after eating things that had absolutely zero nutrition value? Did I want to continue to eat empty calories and not food that helps energize not only me but my soul?

I pushed myself to make a decision. I walked along the beach and spent time with my thoughts. I sat with myself and I just allowed myself to choose. I had to decide which path will make me ultimately happy. I gave myself the option. To go back to how I was or to kick it into high gear and do this thing once and for all. I want my head to be in the game. I’m sick of my worries, my fears, my self image issues. I want to make a decision to choose happiness, and to be happy because I’m making better life decisions.

So I chose fitness, no more bs. I was virtually perfect up until 7 days ago. 7 days out of the last 120 days… I allowed myself to be less than perfect. Less than 6% of failure. I can’t allow myself to get caught up on the fact that I went completely off track. Tomorrow, it’s business as usual. Back on the program. I owe it to myself to do just that.

Harsh truth? Its tough changing your lifestyle after a lifestyle of ignorance and not holding myself personally accountable for the way that I’ve ended up. I have to remind myself that only 1.1% of my life has been healthy. 1.1%… My only focus right now is to steadily increase that number, it’s like an alcoholic and how many days that they’ve been sober. How many days have I lived a fit lifestyle. That’s my focus. That number can only go up from here. It’s my duty to myself to ensure that it happens.

Coming toe to toe with yourself isn’t an easy thing to do. Actually it’s pretty damned hard. I’m learning, I’m growing, I’m making mistakes along the way. More than anything, I’m being completely honest with myself. That in and of itself is the best freaking feeling ever.

An Open Letter to my Future Self…

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Dear Me,

As I sit here with a glass of red wine, that I’m not drinking, just holding in my hand, I think about you. The biggest question that plagues my mind is, “Did we make it?”, “Did we reach our goals?”. Or did we fail like we have in the past?

Even more so than our success or failure, I want to know did we learn to love ourselves? When I started this journey, I came across a blog that said that I should document everything and visualize what I wanted to look like. I did more than that, remember? I did some magic with Photo Shop and within a half hour you were there. Smiling back at me with a smile that hid all of the pain and the hurt we’ve been through. I started to cry, I hope you remember that day. It was the day that I decided to change my life. To change every bad habit that I’d accumulated over the course of 28 years on this Earth.

But, I’m feeling a bit… tired? Yes, tired. It’s a tedious lifestyle when you think of it. Long gone are the days that a drive thru window expedited dinner plans but also expedited our obesity as well. Working 10-12 hour days, going to school, cooking, working out, being a friend, a daughter, a sister, an aunt… It’s all beginning to eat away at me. It’s weakening my resolve. I need to know did we make it? Do we love ourselves? Is this worth it?

Right now, I can’t say that I’ve learned to love myself…. yet… I’m getting there. It seems that the love I feel for myself has been directly proportioned to my weight loss and I see that as being a problem. Did we figure this one out? Not knowing is plaguing me. It’s eating me alive. I’m so fearful of making it so far and failing. We are at 40 pounds lost, the highest we ever made it before now was 50 pounds. So close to the best we’d ever done. What makes us different this time?

If only you could tell me what happens. If only I could have a sense of certainty. While I have your attention, I need you to remember a few things. If we did make it, never forget what it felt like to walk up the stairs and get winded; to not be able to fit in airplane chairs; to be looked at as if you’re subhuman because you’re obese; to cry at night after you ate 1200 calories in one setting; to feel uncomfortable in our own skin. Promise me that you’ll remember this, for it’s our only hope at maintaining our goal.

If we didn’t make it, it’s ok, and it’s never too late to start and try again. We’re determined if nothing else.

Finally, I apologize for letting us get this way. We endured much ridicule, pain, and tears solely because of our size. Had I learned sooner, maybe we could have avoided so much.

Please give me something to look forward to.

Love,
Me

A compliment… Sorta/Update

I’m thinking that this post will be all over the place, so stay with me lol.  I have so much catching up to do I don’t know where to begin.

I shall begin with the topic of my post.  My niece comes up to me and she says “Omg, you’re still doing that weight loss thing aren’t you?” .  I, of course say something similar to “you mean, eating healthy and exercising?  Well, yeah, I am.”  She then pays me what I think was meant as a compliment, but I’m not completely sure.  She says “Well, your wrists look so small”.

Of all things, my wrists?  40 pounds off of my frame, and my wrists is what she chooses to compliment me on.  All I could do was chuckle and thank her, and explained that the weight seems to choose wherever it wants to fall off.  I left it at that.  I guess I’ve been yearning for validation through others.  We tend to do that some times.  We can’t trust our own judgement sometimes, so we need that added assurance from those around us who love us.  I’ll take it… my wrists… it’s a victory.

I’m sure you’ve figured it out — hopefully you didn’t think I was turning 40, since I’m only 28, but I finally broke that plateau last week and lost 10 pounds in the course of about 9 days.  The weight literally just fell off… What did I do to drop the weight… hmmmm, I feel a list coming on.

1) I cut out diary.  Completely.  Didn’t expect this to make such a huge difference, but it did.  I guess I was being naive around the effects diary has on the body, but this proves that we really shouldn’t be eating too much of the stuff.  I’m cutting it out completely while I’m losing weight and I won’t add it back until I start maintenance (in moderation, and maybe not at all, depending on how I feel).

2) I stopped eating Salmon.  I was utterly addicted to this stuff, and apparently with it being so high in fat, even healthy fat, I shouldn’t have been eating it as much as I was.  So I’m cutting back.

3) Fresh Tuna is my staple meat.  Not that I NEED meat, but I love fish, so I’ve been opting for the leaner fish, tuna.  It’s so awesome pan seared with a touch of extra virgin olive oil, rosemary, fresh sea salt and pepper.  The stuff is to die for.  It’s also expensive so…

4) Turkey is my secondary go-to meat.  Again, I’m eating meat in moderation, in general, but when I do want to add pizzazz to my meals, I am opting for turkey.  Turkey “Burgers” with lettuce wraps as the bun, are like my happy place.

5)  I was adamant in one of my last posts about keeping Splenda a part of my diet.  Well, I changed that and I cut it out completely.  My plateau made me realize that I don’t care about holding on to those things that comforted me.  I want to lose weight and I have to sacrifice somethings — right now it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice at all.

6) It’s weird because I’ve actually worked out less.  Due to some major things happening at work, I’ve been working basically all day and before today, hadn’t had a day off in 2 weeks.  I squeezed in 15-20 minutes of zumba whenever I could and only got to do 1 strength training session with my personal trainer.  But the weight still fell off.

7) Meditation — oh how this has become a blessing in my life.  I cherish this time with myself and it’s wonderful to just experience life through my own eyes which are usually blinding by the ins and outs of my daily hectic and stressful life.  This has been truly amazing.
I’m back, mostly.  I have so much to share but not as much time as I wish I had to do so.  I’ll be posting a bit more in the next few days!