No No’s and Plateaus

#1

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.

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The Truth About Love and an Update of Some Sorts…

Love-Fire

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.

Truth #3

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I want more. A lot like Princess Ariel, I sometimes spend my days daydreaming about having more. Similar to Ariel, the “more” that I want aren’t the material things in life, I want to see the world, so to speak. Often times I feel as though my weight is a glass wall that holds me back from life. Whether that wall manifests itself as fear, lack of confidence, or any other paralyzing characteristic, it’s there and it keeps me from venturing out and being a stronger person than I know I can be.

I know that pinning everything on my weight seems like I’m taking the easy way out. But I’ve had so many encounters in my past that have validated my fear and have given me reason to “blame” my weight:

1) I’ve had people tell me that I could get a date if I lost “the weight”.
2) I’ve had jobs taken right underneath me to someone less qualified but more attractive, in one case she didn’t even apply for the position.
3) Already, even though my external confidence has dropped since losing weight (I’m backwards, I know) – I’ve gotten so much more attention than I ever received when I was heavier, and the attention level seems to be directly proportioned to my weight loss.
4) I’ve had “birdies” whisper in my ear that I should lose weight, because it’s the only thing that’s “holding me back”.

I find myself stuck between a rock and a hard place. We are taught as children to learn from our mistakes. Whether indirectly or directly. When we touch something hot and it burns us, hopefully, we learn not to touch it next time. But we also learn to not let harmful words effect us, and that sometimes it’s best for us to ignore them. It’s hard for me just to ignore the comments about my weight, because I have to learn from it, right?

The “more” that I want is simple, I’d like to think. I’d like to be a great mom, wife, be moderately successful, be happy, travel, and create a loving household. Yeah, I know. All things that I could have now, right? Not-so-much. I don’t exactly have guys beating down my door. I also don’t just sit around waiting either. But the truth is, guys choose my thin friends over me in every situation. I endure being the only one not dragged out to the dance floor, or not approached during dinner parties, or even the only one left at the bar during girls night out.  But I keep smiling, being charismatic, and strong – simply because that’s who I am. My failure here feeds into truths 1 and 2. Although I can pretend to be happy in public, until I learn to truly love myself, I should not bring anyone into my world anyway.

What I think I’ll do is ensure that the “more” that I want from life, also include me reconciling my demons.  A process that I am starting now.  It’s a process that has been eye opening and rewarding both at the same time.  I have to remind myself that it took me 28 years to get this way and that I won’t change over night, but I will change as long as I am willing.  I won’t let thoughts of “more” bring me down, I must let it fuel me to achieve “more”.

Truth #1

O#1

Fact: I’m extremely self critical.  I judge myself harder than anyone else could ever even imagine.  I don’t really give myself credit for anything.  This trait has always left me in a state that leaves me falling deeper and deeper into the abyss because I continually beat myself up even over the little things.

Positive: I’m usually able to make corrective action relatively quickly when it comes to my professional life.  In a work environment, I’m constantly aware of my short comings therefore I am able to come up with a plan to correct any issues that I have.  In my professional life, this trait manifests itself in a positive light and in my personal life it manifests in a negative one.  If I can see my personal life through the lens of my professional life, maybe I won’t be so hard on myself and then I could even learn to be more positive when it involves my personal affairs.

So, this is new.

love1

For those of you that have been following my blog for a bit, you have seen me stumble through my weight loss journey, learning things as I go and doing my best to really know who I am and succeed with losing weight – this time for keeps. As I’ve been learning and growing, each set back teaches me something. Each lesson has brought me closer to truly understanding how I got the way that I am and that knowledge has given me a road map to figure out how to get to my goal.

Today, something happened to me that was so different. So profound that I didn’t know what to do with it originally. I had the day off and decided that I deserved a lazy day. What I didn’t expect was the overwhelming wave of loneliness to hit me like a truck. I started sobbing. Not like your average sobbing, but gut wrenching, pit-of-the-stomach sobbing. It was uncontrollable and I could not stop it until it ran it’s course. In one of my very first posts, It wasn’t supposed to be like this…, I went through all of the reasons why I started this entire mission. One of the biggest issues of my failed relationship was my inability to love myself.

Many of us have self image issues, and I’m not down playing anyone’s past (or present), but my view of myself is extremely low. It’s been something that started many moons ago. Back when I was sexually assaulted at a very young age and something that continued on through being sexually assaulted again as an adult. I’ve always been overweight, even as a kid. I don’t want to get into the traumatizing situations I’ve been in due to my size — if you heard it once you’ve heard it a million times. Kids can be harsh. My point is that I’ve never had a healthy image of myself. So when I got into a relationship, I let the love that my ex had for me substitute the love that I should have had for myself.

This leads me to earlier today — during my sobbing session. I was so empty that it was a scary thought to even have. I wanted to just disappear (still want to slightly). Now that I’m single and working through all of my inner tangles, I realize that the last 10 months have been full of bravado. I have been putting on such a show to keep myself from falling apart. I’ve been through so much in life that it’s my usual reaction — suck it up and tough it out. Only now, I’m alone and I’m feeling extremely vulnerable — I don’t do vulnerable. Vulnerable isn’t even in my vocabulary.

How do I love myself? I’m not quite sure, but it’s definitely something that’s holding me back. I’m starting to have the fear that even if I were to lose weight, I wouldn’t be happy. I’ve associated my ultimate happiness with losing weight for so long that I’ve blamed all of my unhappiness on it. My fat has been my soul’s scapegoat. It’s been a way to look past the underlying issues in my life and ultimately has given me a centralized focus towards “happiness”. But darn near 60 pounds later, I’m starting to realize that I have been horribly mistaken.

I eventually will have to look myself in the face and like what I see, not aesthetically, but internally. I’m not completely sure how to do this. But I truly feel like I’m on the right track. Knowing is half of the battle, right?

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.