Sunday, May 8, 2011

Every little step

I’m trying to make myself realize that just because I stumble, doesn’t mean I should throw in the towel. I’m human, and while at times my resolve is strong, there are many times that it’s hardly there at all. I will make mistakes, there will be days that I will give in to my desire not to exercise, and there will be days that I give in to the temptation of food. But I can’t let that define me.

I think I went on about this last year too, but I don’t think I was very good at seeing it through. I kicked myself for all I ate on my birthday for weeks. Of course, that was a terrible day all around, and by that point I already knew my marriage was holding in by a thread. And instead of saying to myself, “Well, I have the gumption to walk a mile or two, I might as well take it,” I decided to just do nothing, since I didn’t have the will to do something that would burn more calories.

Yesterday, in fact, I wanted to walk. I didn’t think I’d be able to go far, but it was a nice day. What did I do? As I was laying in bed, looking out the window, I told myself that I wasn’t going to walk, it wasn’t enough of a calorie burn. I would just have to get myself together and at least do some Turbo Jam. After I finished this sudoko. And guess what I ended up doing. Nothing. And I ate a slice of pizza. Add to all that, last night was crazy stressful at work, and I ended up eating three Milk Duds, and three squares of Ghiradelli chocolate. But I didn’t say, “You know what, I’ve fallen off the wagon, that’s it, I give up” like I have every other time. I had a salad when I got home, got up and walked this morning, and I’m back on track. And I lost two pounds this week (even though I’m up one from Wednesday). So I see this as a win.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sometimes people amaze me

I’m sitting here in Subway, working on an entry for this lovely blog that I’ve been plunking away at, and I’ve been half listening to this woman talking to the manager about how she wants to lose weight. She’s been walking, but while the way down her street is fine, the way back up is terrible; she needs her inhaler at least three times on the trip back up. And she wants to lose the weight around her middle, make breathing easier. Okay, great. If she wants to lose weight and is going to do fast food still, she’s in the right place. She places her order for her sub, gets roast beef, extra meat, extra cheese, and “lots and lots of mayo.” Seriously? Does this woman know nothing about weight loss? Dime to dollar, she goes home and eats the whole thing, all 12 inches of it. Let’s say about 500 calories of bread, 300 calories of meat, 300 calories of cheese, and probably about 500 calories of mayo. That’s over 1600 calories for lunch alone, and she wonders why she’s not losing weight. As an older woman, she probably shouldn’t even be eating that many calories a day if she wants to maintain her weight, forget losing.

I’m not saying this to be mean to this woman, it just gets me how few people know how what they eat effects their weight. People don’t understand that you can’t just go to a “healthy restaurant” and eat whatever the hell you want. It’s like they think that if something is advertized as being good for you, you can eat as much of it as you want. And then they get confused when they still are gaining weight, or at least aren’t losing it, and after the confusion comes the frustration, and then they say screw it, and give up. I’ve been there dozens of times.

On the complete opposite side of the scale, I have a friend who every time she wants to lose weight, she plans to eat once a day, a max of 500 calories a day, and exercise enough that it could qualify as a full time job. When she told me her “diet plan” I wanted to beat her.

The thing is, I’ve been a member of both these camps. I’ve figured that since it’s a salad I’m eating, it must be good for me, forget the fact that it’s drowning in a thousand calories of extra crap. And I’ve tried the weight loss plans that involve working out five times a day and starving myself. Obviously, neither has worked.

When I graduated high school in 2004, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to go to Cazenovia College, get my bachelors in Criminal Justice, find a school I liked just as much to go get my masters in Forensic Science, and finish off with my doctorate in Psychology. I was going to move to New York City, join the NYPD, work in the forensics lab for a few years, before heading off to Quantico to join the FBI, where I was going to work as a forensic profiler. I had my entire life planned out until retirement at the age of 16. However, when I started actually taking a Criminal Justice course, all those plans crumbled around me. I hated it. My life was thrown up in the air. What was I going to do?

My next thought was maybe I should teach high school English. English was always a strong subject for me, and I was very good at tutoring my friends. But I was thrown a curve ball. Matt asked me to drop out of college, only for a semester, so the time apart wouldn’t damage our relationship. And, being young and in love, and thinking naively that I’d be able to get back into school easily, I said of course.

Here I am, almost 25, with only a year of college under my belt. And to think that in high school, I was one of the bright ones that people thought was going to go somewhere. All this time I’ve regretted that decision. I’ve thought time and again that if I had said no, maybe I’d have graduated, maybe I’d be somewhere teaching snotty teenagers Shakespeare and helping them prep for their SATs. But the more time that passes, the less I believe that teaching high school kids is what was right for me. I don’t know that I would have dealt well with the students that didn’t want to learn. I’ve never doubted that I could do wonders with the students who felt like I did about English, who wanted to be there, were excited to talk about the latest reading, and who devoured each new book with gusto. But I had to face the facts that most students wouldn’t be like that.

I’ve spent the last several years bouncing back and forth with what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Maybe I wanted to be an ultrasound tech. What about a math teacher? I could be an editor at some publishing house. Or maybe an accountant at the main office of the grocery store where I currently work. Then last year, when I was doing all my research about how to lose weight, helping Matt with his diet plan, and debunking common nutrition myths for my family around the dinner table, I had an idea: maybe I could be a dietitian. I kicked it around, checked out the courses offered by one of the local colleges, but pushed the idea aside again when things went south this summer.

But today the idea cropped into my head again. I was at a workshop that I signed up for to improve my interview skills so I could maybe get a job at a bank. It was a huge step for me, seeing as I hate change with a passion, and my life has been nothing but change since June. But, I figured I had out grown my current job, and that it was time for me to start moving on to bigger and better things. So I was sitting in this workshop, one of only two people, listening as the teacher is talking about how if we get licensed in something, we’ll be more hirable. He’s going through all these online certificates that the state will help pay for, and how we can find which ones will be best for us to think about through an aptitude test, and I got the tiniest tickle of a thought in the back of my head. Maybe…. I take my test, and I’m told—again—that I would be good working with the public, assisting the public. Another tickle. I start to scroll through the jobs they suggest. And low and behold, what’s on the list? Registered dietitian.

I’m going out of state on vacation next week, so I won’t have time then, but as soon as I get back, I’m going to see if I can make an appointment to shadow a local RD for a day. Get a chance to talk to him or her, get their views on the job. But if this is something I decide I want to do, I’d be able to help people like that woman in the Subway today. I could teach her that things need to be done in moderation. I could help people like my friend, who think that starving themselves and working themselves into the ground is the way to lose weight. And I could help people like me. Girls recovering from eating disorders who just want to like what they see in the mirror for a change.

For the last almost six years I have resented Matt for asking me to make the choice between him and my future, as much as I tried to swallow that fact down. I resented him for being selfish, and I resented myself for not being so. But today, for the first time, I admitted that maybe it was for the best. If I had said no, if I had gone back to school, who’s to say that I would have found what I wanted to do? I might not end up wanting to be an RD, but I know for sure that I would have been unhappy teaching high school kids. And that would have been thousands of dollars in student loans down the drain, or at the very least spent to make me miserable. So, even though I preach it all the time, I am forced to admit that everything happens for a reason, and though we may not see that reason now, and we may not see that reason ten years in the future, it’s out there. We just have to believe.

Friday, May 6, 2011

So yummy

One of the apps that I have on my iPod is called Spark Recipes. It’s all kinds of healthy recipes that include their nutritional information (although according to the Lose It! recipe section, the soup I made is off calorie wise). I found this yummy yummy soup, and decided to share. It’s super easy:

2 15.5 oz cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 14 oz can of low cal, non fat chicken broth
1 cup of chunky salsa

Heat everything together, throw it in the blender, and blend till smooth. The recipe said that it made six servings at 122 calories each. By the time I was done cooking, transferring the soup into the blender, then out into bowls, I was left with five, one cup servings. And, according to how Lose It! broke it down for me, they came out to 177 calories each. Still, not bad.

While it was filling for only a cup of soup, it wasn’t filling enough to make a whole meal out of (and I often just have soup for a meal). I’m thinking though, paired with a salad or a sandwich, it would probably be perfect.

The more things change…

So here I am, a year from when I started this blog. It’s amazing to look back, see what’s changed, what hasn’t.  Last year I thought that I would be at my goal weight by now; 120 pounds and shopping for a bikini to wear this summer. Let’s just say, that’s far from the case. When things started going down hill between Matt and I, I went right back to food. I’d buy a cake large enough for six people at the bakery, just because I wanted the pseudo comfort that the chocolate gave me, and it’d be gone in two days. Sometimes less. I’d buy a doughnut at work on my break, then sometimes two after work. A half gallon of ice cream would be gone in no time, I was buying several a week. I realized as I started packing the pounds back on that for all my talk, all I was saying about how I conquered food, I had the tools to not only lose the weight but to keep it off for good, I realized that all was bull shit. And that unless I fix the root of the problem, the reason I keep turning to food, why there are times that I want nothing but high carb, high fat foods to help me heal whatever the hell is wrong with me, my weight will keep yo-yoing. If I’ve proven anything this last year it’s that sure, I’m good at taking the weight off in a short amount of time, but keeping it off is my issue. And I’m tired of going back and forth.

The thing is, I don’t know how to get to the root of those issues. I’ve no idea where to even begin. I get that I’m self sabotaging, I do that in almost everything. When I was in school, I’d wait until the absolute last minute to do my homework, sometimes not even doing it at all. When I was in college, there were several nights that I was up all night writing a paper the night before it was due. With my bills, I often wait until they are far past due until I pay them, even though I’ve been walking around with the money to do so in my purse for weeks on end. There was one month I had over six hundred dollars in my wallet, three shut-off notices on my desk, and rent was late. And the thing is, I don’t understand why I do this. I know it’s stupid. I plan things out so that I can get things done well in advance. I had my taxes completely filled out this year the day I got my W2s in the mail, but I didn’t file them until April. Even though I needed the money.

I’ve got Jillian Michael’s and Bob Harper’s books on hold at the library, hopefully they’ll have some insight for me. In the meantime, I’m hoping that maybe my rambling between here and my private journal at home will help shed some light on the situation. Because I want to fix this. I want to live a happy, healthy life.

So we’re doing the Well@Work thing again this year. It’s been four weeks, and I’ve lost 13.4 pounds so far. Down to 164.4 from 177.8. And I’m hoping that by trying to actually focus on fixing whatever makes me procrastinate and turn to food the way I do, that this will be the last time I say that. Fingers crossed.

Difference this time from last time, I’m not being quite so strict. As long as I exercise most every day, I don’t kick myself if I don’t feel like working out one day. I figure I’ll just burn out if I try to keep that up long term. And I’m not being so strict on my calories. I’m just trying to stay between 1200 and 1500, going up closer to 1800 on my high days.

So here’s to fixing myself as a whole, inside and out.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Day by day

So I haven’t yet added in any exercise, but I plan to do that today.  And my original plan of taking things real slow got a major shake up.  My best friend is planning a trip to North Carolina this summer to look at houses (she’s moving there end of summer, early fall), and she’s invited me.  So I’m going to be spending my 25th birthday on the beach (yay!), which means bathing suits (boo!).  I’m still sticking with the idea of not setting a goal weight (as that just tends to put pressure on me), I just want to be as comfortable as I can be.  I’m not planning on being bikini ready, I’m sure I’ll end up in a one piece and a sarong, but I don’t want to spend the whole time thinking that I look like I’ve been beached.

I bought a bunch of yogurts so I have things to munch on when I’m hungry, some fresh fruit and veggies, and a few things of SlimFast.  I’m not really sure how I feel about that.  On the one hand, it feels like cheating, on the other, I don’t see why I’m being so hard on myself.  I really don’t have the money or the time right now to spend on making full, healthy meals.  And besides, if I were to go that route, I would be freaking out over calories, and I don’t want that added pressure right now.  I figure replace two meals a day with shakes, have healthy snacks when I’m hungry, and eat a healthy meal for dinner (I’m not even going to bother counting the calories, I know approximately what’s what).  We’ll see how this works for me.

In the meantime, I’m worried about my sleeping habits.  When Matt and I first separated, I would spend most of the night up; I just couldn’t sleep without him there.  So I would be awake until 3, 4, sometimes 5 am, crash, and sleep until after noon.  Eventually I got to the point where I could sleep without him there, but I’ve still been up until after 1 most nights.  Actually, most nights I’m up until about 2:30, at which point I take a sleeping pill if I’m still up.  Thing is, I don’t want to become dependant on them.  When I don’t take them though, if I have a lot on my mind (which I usually do), I end up getting fitful sleep, tossing and turning, and waking up at the crack of dawn and not being able to fall back asleep.  Like last night (today?) for example: I went to bed at 2:30ish, was up and down most of the night, and woke up at 5:30.  Now I can’t get back to sleep.  I know this is terrible for me, but I don’t know how to fix it.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Trying a new thing

So, as I’m sure some of you have noticed, I have been absent for quite a while.  I stopped exercising, went back to eating crap, and started to pack the pounds back on (though how many I’ve packed, I’ve no idea; I’ve been avoiding the scale).  And even though I know I shouldn’t have, I feel I have a reason for letting my new health regime slip to the back burner.

Seeing as I was using this blog as a kind of cheap therapy, I might as well let it all out, or at least some of it.  This summer, my marriage started on a downward spiral.  Actually, if I’m totally honest, it started long before then, this summer was only the tailspin. I’m not going to go into the details, but I am now living with my brother, and I’m not entirely sure where I’m going to go from here.  I do know that my relationship with my husband is over.

Anyway, this was much of the reason for my slump.  I’m an emotional eater, and there’s nothing like a failed marriage to kick that into gear.  Once I got off my diet, I didn’t have the motivation to keep working out.  This quickly turned back into me spending all day on my computer again.

I’m trying not to think of this as a failure, but as just a rough patch.  After all, I don’t want to lose weight short term, I want to live a healthier life for the long run.  Which actually got me thinking, I don’t know if I was doing things the right way, going all or nothing.  I mean, to make such an extreme change, all at once, doesn’t seem wise.  Sure, there are some people who have to do things that way, but I’m starting to think that I’m not one of them.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my weight loss efforts of the past, and I’ve realized that they’ve all been dramatic.  I’ve been consistently good at dropping a large amount of weight in a fairly short amount of time, but I’ve completely failed at keeping it off long term.  I’ve been hovering in the 160 area pretty consistently since high school.  In the past, I’ve reasoned with myself that this must be the weight that I’m just comfortable at, but I’m not.  Not at all.  I’m not comfortable with how I look, I’m not comfortable with my body, and I’m not comfortable with the extra fat that I seem to be carrying everywhere.

So here’s what I’ve been thinking: maybe it’s time to try something new.  Instead of setting goals like “I want to be 120 pounds” or “I want to be in shape by December of next year” I’m going to set a new goal: I want to be healthy and happy with who I am.  That’s it.  Fairly simple goal, right?

I’m thinking the best way for me to go about this is in stages, seeing as the do everything at once plan hasn’t worked for me in the past.  And I’m looking for all around health and happiness, not just weight loss.  So I’m starting small.  Right now, I’m getting into the habit of taking better care of my skin.  Seems like a small, stupid, vain thing, but it’s something I’ve been meaning to do.  I’ve always had dry skin, but in the past I only would use lotion if my skin got bad.  I didn’t see the need to make it a daily thing.  But shortly before Matt left, I decided that I was worth those extra ten minutes of pampering each day.  And it’s amazing how something so small could help so much.  I feel better about how my skin looks and feels, and I know that I always smell good without smelling like I bathed in perfume.  Small, stupid step, but I’m happy about it, and it’s one I’ve kept up for over six months now, and that I’m going to keep up in the future.

I think that’s what I need to change my life around, a series of small, stupid steps that will, eventually, equal up to a bigger change.

I’ve been trying to decide what step to add in next, and how to add it.  I’ve been thinking about adding in one of my exercise DVDs once a week (like I said, small steps) and going from there.  Maybe after awhile I’ll start exercising twice a week, but who knows.  I don’t want to get ahead of myself.  I want this change to be permanent, so if that means that it’s going to be a few years until I’m to the point where I was this past summer, then fine, I’m okay with that.