DAY 013: Positive reinforcement

Have you ever been so fat that everything you did made you lose your breath?  I have.  Forget losing my breath walking short distances or doing light physical activity; I would lose my breath doing things like tying my shoes and rolling over in bed.  I can recall being 300 pounds and being out of breath while eating (which clearly didn’t stop me!).  I finally pieced together that if I was gonna get all breathless, it ought to be from burning calories, not from inhaling them.

Now that I’m getting back on track with healthy eating and exercise, I’m returning to some of the things that first helped get me started, and that I’ve relied on along the way as reminders of why I’m abandoning obesity.  A friend of mine lets me use his parents’ DirecTV login in exchange for my Netflix (Millennial cord cutters, baby!  Holla for the tech barter economy!) — not an even trade, but he’s not complaining.  It’s allowed me to re-discover My 600-lb Life on TLC, a show I haven’t watched since well before my great run at weight loss in 2015-16.  There’s even a Where Are They Now edition that catches up with a few of the people who were on episodes from back when I did watch semi-regularly.  I’m using the episodes to help me remember:

  • Even though I have a lot of work to do, I can do this on my own.  It’s hard to think of finding yourself in any stage of obesity and considering yourself lucky, but many of the show’s patients are only just getting to where I am now, and that’s after gastric bypass and excess-skin removal surgeries.  I still have the chance to save myself from those extreme measures.
  • Where I don’t want to end up.
  • I’m not alone.
  • Life can get better.
  • It won’t do to deal with the physical and ignore the psychological.

Simultaneously, I’ve been re-reading this article over and over again.  It surveys six nutritionists for what they would recommend in terms of a change to make if they could only recommend one.  They’re all in some way expected or obvious, but for some reason, reading it in print is really getting through to me right now.  I keep coming back to the section called “Figure Out What Needs the Most Attention in Your Life.”  If you treat the symptoms and not the cause, things don’t actually improve in the long term, and a new problem or problems can arise as a result.  That’s true for diseases and it’s true for pretty much everything else.  It’s why “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” is a truism.  However, this write-up gives a bit of a different spin on that notion without ever verbalizing it, and introduces the concept of six cylinders of health:  feet, forks, fingers, sleep, stress, and love.  I’m choosing to adopt that outlook more narrowly, strictly in terms of weight loss.  It’s helping me keep things in focus and in balance.

Finally, three quick updates:

  1. I got my earring back in!  YAY!
  2. I’ve joined yet another DietBet.  The elliptical and I are about to rekindle our relationship in a big way.

I have a date with the scale tomorrow night, a happy coincidence of my usual weekly weigh-in and my weigh-in for the new DB (as well as a Transformer DB I started haphazardly in November and have royally screwed up to this point — but am determined to rebound for!).  I don’t have crazy expectations, but I am looking forward to seeing what changes the scale may reveal.

DAY 012: Don’t hate, motivate!

DietBet check!


Motivating!  That’s what it is!  January could turn out to be a very lucrative month for me!

I had a very long day yesterday, and I racked up 15,366 steps as a result.  According to Jiminy, exactly 22 consecutive minutes of that was power walking from point A to point B outside (it hit 60°F!) — and I apparently did it so hard, it registered as jogging.  OK, then!

I admit a bit sheepishly that I still haven’t mustered up enough… energy? courage? patience?… to go to the gym and really work out, but I do know I need to, and I finally am feeling like I want to.  It’s a three-day weekend coming up, so my excuses will be thin.  In spite of that, I’m feeling on track.  It felt great to get a 15,000-step day in for the first time in several months.  That, combined with the effects of decaffeinating my system (today is day 4 without coffee!), produced the best sleep I’ve had in a long time:  8 total hours, 3 hours and 56 minutes of which were deep sleep.  I can’t remember the last time I had more than 2 hours of deep sleep.  After a week of feeling draggy, I’m starting to get some perk back.  AND I only had one day with a caffeine-withdrawal headache!  Things are lookin’ up.

Happy Friday!

DAY 009: Coffiend

I’m not a coffee addict, but I do like my coffee.  It’s actually the coffee I like, by the way; I take it black, no cream or sugar diluting the hearty, nutty, bitter flavor.  I usually amble down the block on week day mornings to pick up a cup for myself to drink at work, and brew some at home in my French press on lazy weekend mornings or go for the bottomless coffee pots alongside leisurely weekend brunches with friends.  The smell of the roasted beans, the taste of the soothing liquid, the feel of the warm mug between my hands… I just enjoy the stuff.

I have a 3-year losing streak playing Starbucks for Life, which sees my fiendish behavior amp up significantly every year as I invariably rack up 2 out of 3 stickers in every category before ultimately only gaining dupes for the rest of the game’s duration.  That’s when a mild addictive pattern does start to form, born out of addiction to the possibility of winning MORE COFFEE, however improbable.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed I’m much more sensitive to caffeine than ever before.  I stopped drinking it after 12 PM a few years back when I realized it was wreaking havoc on my ability to fall asleep at night, but now it seems that if I have it more than a couple of days in a row, my sleep starts to suffer.  And so…

I’m giving up the brown stuff.

TEMPORARILY.  Like, for the rest of this month (and then we’ll see).

Conventional wisdom goes that it takes three weeks to form a habit.  Today was the first day I had no coffee, and three weeks from today is January 30th, which is just before the last day of the month.  So I’m going to be attentive to my physiological responses, where sleep is concerned as well as what effects it may have on my hunger and energy levels throughout the day and decide after that window whether or not it’s worth continuing the coffee hiatus.  I’ve given up coffee before for almost the exact same reason, but since it was during Whole30, it was impossible to isolate which impacts the diet was having on me vs. which ones coffee was, and/or how the two interplayed.  I’m really down with this sort of torturous self-experimentation, so hey, let’s call it science and party.

I didn’t sleep well last night, which is surely part of why I’m feeling draggy right now, but I’m sure the lack of coffee is also contributing to that.  I woke up his morning feeling as if I had been partially awake for a few hours.  It would be awesome to wake up from a full sleep to the sound of my alarm, rather than from a semi-conscious state in anticipation of my alarm.

Speaking of this morning, I noticed at one point of my semi-consciousness that my VivoFit wasn’t on my wrist, which is odd because I’ve been sleeping with it on for 3 years.  I felt around for it in the sheets, but it wasn’t there.  When I finally got out of bed, I saw it was lying on the floor.  I had clearly removed it and tossed it in my sleep!  Oh, subconscious self.  Don’t look for the symbolism, don’t look for the symbolism, don’t look for the symbolism…!

Also, last night, I finally did what could be classified as exercise.  My Wii Fit balance board arrived, and I did a Wii bit of activity for 30 minutes!  🙂  Baby steps still count towards that daily goal.

I’m hoping that once the caffeine fully leaves my system, I’ll get into more of a natural energy cycle that will make working out more productive.  I have a gym session in mind for tomorrow, which I don’t expect to be an easy time, but starting never is.

Don’t think, just go.  **breathes**

DAY 007: Shaken, not stirred

Spoiler alert:  This has nothing to do with how I take my martinis.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to express how the last few months have been for me that led me to the point in my weight-loss mission where I find myself today.  In particular, the last 6 weeks of that have turned me into a raw, exposed nerve at times.  When I saw that today was #007 in my numbering scheme, a bit of an opportunity presented itself.  It’ll be a bit of a stretch, but hey, that’s been true for my pants of late; why should my writing be any different? 😉  So, let’s say I’ve been feeling existentially shaken, but somehow not stirred to action.  (It’s tortured, but whatever.  I’m sure I’ve done worse.)

Most of the year was pretty decent, just extra busy.  When things weren’t busy, I didn’t use my time the right way.  If I could go back to the summer and kick myself in the ass, let’s just say I would.  I did have an ankle sprain in there, but even still… I leaned hard into excuses that allowed me to stray from my healthy eating and abandon exercise altogether.

Zooming in on one cross-section of time, I take you to the period of late November through late December 2017, AKA the holiday season.  Call me over-analytical (and be correct), but a highly symbolic thing happened out of precisely nowhere.  The week leading up to Thanksgiving, the piercing I got to mark the halfway point in my mission got irritated.  It was slightly warm to the touch, and I could feel there was some sort of ball of nastiness between my earring and the hole in my ear.  I the area as best I could without taking the earring out, but after a few days of those attempts, there was no change.  I finally decided to do the obvious thing my body wanted me to do and remove the earring to give the hole a thorough cleaning.  The second the post left my ear, the nastiness ball got even larger and warmer, and the hole was imperceptible.  For the ensuing 2 weeks, it became a one-to-three-day cycle of cleancleanclean, scab slowly forms over site, scab falls off, repeat.  I haven’t been able to figure out what could have caused the sudden flare-up, but it was a week before I dared try getting an earring back in.  When I did, it was my sharp piercing stud from when I got my lobes pierced at age 11 — ohhhh, yeah, I still have those little pink studs in all their juvenile glory — and it hurt more than the original cartilage piercing did.  I’m pretty sure I partially re-pierced it.

That long-winded account is to say, I don’t view it as a coincidence that this happened at a moment in time where I’d solidly backtracked to the pre-halfway mark.  My piercing might as well have said, “You no longer have the right to this.  Come back when you’re serious.”

This saga is persisting even now, albeit to a lesser extent; but I am mostly leaving the earring out, periodically re-piercing the hole to drain it of blood (there’s a blood bubble that’s shrinking, but still present) and cleaning it.  I am not about to let that sucker permanently close.  At one point, I tried to insert the earring I got that hole pierced with, but my ear swelled up around it immediately and I had to take it right back out.  It was several days before I could do anything with it again.  I don’t know if I’ve developed a sudden allergy to sterling silver — is that a thing that can even happen?! — but it was wild.  I guess I’ll have to keep watching it.

Right after Thanksgiving, I had a minor car incident when a friend’s mom hit my car in her driveway.  No one was hurt, but it was enough that my car needed significant repairs, and I was without it, out of state, for over two weeks.  This meant a huge inconvenience at home; hours on the phone with insurance adjusters, rental car agents, and the auto body shop; and an unplanned trip back to my hometown that cost me 8 hours on the road and personal time off work to pick up my car when it was finally fixed.  It was an unwelcome bout of stress and annoyance.

Then, just before Christmas, my grandfather died.  I don’t think I need to expound on that.  Suffice it to say, I loved him very much and everything about letting him go was awful and painful, sometimes physically.

When I finally got back to my place after the unexpected, prolonged time at my parents’, I was drained.  I couldn’t get out of the terrible mental spiral of, What will they say about me when I die?  I need to quit my job and do something that matters.  Life’s too short.  I’m so unhappy.  Like a broken record, over and over again.  And I came damn close to doing something rash.  When I would re-pierce my ear during that period, I liked the pain.  I admit to doing it more than usual because I liked the pain.  The psychology attributed to cutters suddenly made sense to me:  giving myself this physical pain was a type of release valve for the internal pain I was feeling but didn’t know how to express, let alone work on solving.

I needed to get myself back into some semblance of control over the situation I was downward-spiraling myself further into.  That’s why I decided to do a fast to end the year.

After devouring breakfast on New Year’s Day, I signed up and weighed in for a new DietBet.  The pot is currently at $195,870 with 6,532 players.

This past week, I signed up for two additional DietBet games:  a Kickstarter that currently has 13,355 players and a pot of $400,650, and a Transformer that currently has a DietBet record (!) of 7,022 players and a pot of $932,400.  (Both are still open to new players — join me!)  These three new bets are in addition to the Transformer I joined in November that’s still in progress — and that I have lost both rounds of so far, but that I will come back and win!

Even after all the turbulence of the fall, I remained in a sort of helpless stupor where I knew what I needed to do, but I just couldn’t get myself there.  I’ve had to force myself back into meal prep and ratcheting up my give-a-shittitude, and the mental effort of babysitting myself has been tedious and exhausting.  It’s starting to take hold, though.  I’ve gone from being emotionally shaken to having finally shaken myself out of that rut.  I’ve gone from being emotionally not stirred to having finally stirred myself into taking charge.

I’ve already made some progress in spite of that, dropping 3.2 pounds since Monday night.  I’m definitely a long way from being all in, and I have yet to get a proper workout under my belt this time around, but it’s coming.  I’m going to get myself there.  There’s no alternative option.

Life’s too short for regret.




DAY 004: Wii did kinda start the fire

The snow bomb cyclone of terror and doom is upon us.

My area only got a light dusting of snow, but it’s FRIGID outside.  Like, wearing-three-pairs-of-pants frigid.  And windy AF.  Like, wearing-three-pairs-of-pants-and-still-getting-wind-burn-on-your-legs windfy AF.

Those factors + resolutioners overrunning my gym = interest in working out, tanked.  Unfortunately, that makes it pretty hard to reach my daily steps goal if I’m going to reach the 250,000 steps I want to hit this month.

Soooo, today, I had a brilliant idea:  work out at home with the ol’ Wii!  And I do mean old.  That piece is about to celebrate its 9th birthday.

This turned out to be quite the production.

I turned the console on with no problem.  When I finally found a remote control, I tried to use it, only to find it was unresponsive.  I opened the battery compartment to find… batteries that had oozed everywhere, who knows how long ago.  I pried them out of their slots, cleaned out the hardened residue, and replaced them with new ones.  I reset the control with the console, and SUCCESS!

Then, after I literally dusted cobwebs off of my Wii Fit board, I flipped it over to immediately check the batteries for the same issue as I had discovered in the remote — and there it was.  I removed the leaked, dead batteries and cleaned out the compartment, but I had no more extra batteries of the right size at home, so I had to trudge out into the bitter cold to buy some.  (Oh, I was serious about making this happen!)  Unfortunately, I had kind of mis-sequenced this whole venture; I should have checked for full Wii functionality before changing into my new Under Armour work-out pants that only cover me to mid-calf and removing my top entirely, leaving on only a bra.  But I didn’t.  And I didn’t feel like changing before dashing out to CVS, so I threw my winter coat on over my bare torso and subjected my bare legs to the biting temperatures.  I mean, I only walked to and from my car between my building and the CVS I drove to, but it was enough to feel the effects of my laziness.  Shit, I had to go when I was still revved up enough, or it would never happen!  Aaaaaanyway, I returned triumphantly with the batteries — great way to spend my Extra Bucks! — that I immediately inserted into the board, and… NOTHING.

I tried and tried to get the thing to work, but nothing I did made any difference.  RIP Wii Fit Board.  (And then I impulsively went on Amazon and ordered a replacement.  **shrugs**  YOLO.)

When my Wii was on and I had optimistically opened the Wii Fit menu, it greeted me with this:


Yowza!!!  That’s 2.76 years.  Do better, self.

Oh wellsies.  At least I know I have a working console and a working remote, so when the new board arrives, I’ll be ready to go!  And I WILL use the crap out of my Wii if this polar spell keeps up the way it’s supposed to.

In the meantime, all that running around from room to room and from car to CVS got me to within 500 steps of my daily goal, which I know I will hit tonight by just walking around in circles if I have to.  Wii may not have helped me get a burn on tonight, but it did help re-light my fire and get those needed steps.

I weigh in for my second Kickstarter tomorrow.  I’m looking forward to seeing if I have had any changes since I weighed in for my first Kickstarter on Monday.  That momentum would really help me keep this little flame lit!

Reset, Day 002: Reinvesting

Brrr!  It’s cold out there.  Silver lining:  the more time spent in the tundra, the more calories that die.  I’ll take that.

The holiday break is officially over, and I’m back at work.  That means hours on end spent in front of a computer, so I’m shuffling in some self-interest between projects and assignments:

  1. Update cache of recipes on My Fitness Pal
  2. Start logging again on My Fitness Pal
  3. Engage regularly on DietBet — I’ve added two Kickstarters to get me back on track in general, as well as in my 2-month-old Transformer bet!
  4. Pay extra attention to Jiminy and move dat azz as soon as the red bar of doom appears

I’m also focusing on two goals:

  1. SCALE:  Lose 12 lbs this month.  It’s ambitious, but do-able.  That’s the tagline of my weight-loss game, so here we go.  I’ll more than win my two Kickstarters if I meet this goal, and I’ll have salvaged my chances at winning my Transformer.
  2. NON-SCALE:  250,000 steps this month.  That means I will have to get myself back into the gym.  In January.  With all the (other?) Resolutioners.  HELL.

I struggle more with this whole process when I don’t enjoy my meals, so I’m re-embracing souping as I have for the past two winters.  This week, it’s my grandma’s beef, bean, and barley soup for dinner (with a heaping side of steamed broccoli).  Breakfast is a Whole30-compliant egg casserole featuring sweet potatoes, spinach, and ground meat (I usually use turkey, but went with beef this time because the organic stuff was deeply discounted when I did my grocery shopping for the week); lunch is a Crock Pot balsamic chicken (my balsamic is infused with fig — yum!) with tomatoes, onions, and spices; AM snack is an apple with sugar-free almond butter; PM snack is carrots and raw almonds.  I haven’t re-checked the labels of what I used to prepare the chicken, but I do know that breakfast and my AM snack are entirely free of added sugar, as are my PM snack and dinner, so this week’s meals are very low in sugar, if not entirely sugar free.  Just what the doctor ordered to start getting this thing back in check.

FUN COOKING TIP OUT OF ABSOLUTELY NOWHERE:  Did you know you can regrow green onions?  Just save the roots once you’ve used the onions, and stick them in a glass of water on your kitchen counter.  Within 10-14 days, you have new onions that are ready to use.  You should change the water once every 3-5 days, and ensure that the roots are below the water, not tipped sideways.  This may mean you have to hold them in place for a minute or two when you first put them in the glass of water to regenerate, but they’ll be good to go totally on their own after that.  I’ve never tried to regrow them a third time after regrowing from the roots once, but I’m going to try that after I re-use my currently regrowing green onions next week.  Maybe I’ll report back, maybe I’ll completely forget I randomly shared this tidbit.

Stay strong, mission partners!

Mean, not-so-lean 2017

For this entry only, I am ditching my usual format of numbering the days because, well, that saga is over.  To put it better, that chapter of the seemingly never-ending mission has closed.

I can’t believe that at this time in 2016, I was getting ready to weigh in at under 200 pounds for the first time since college.  I made it to that milestone, but lost my way in the middle of that year, and then, between a series of fits and starts and flirtations with getting back on the healthy track, I just surrendered at the end of last summer.  It was one too many punches in my ever-expanding gut, and I couldn’t be bothered.  Last year — OOOH, that feels good to put 2017 in the past! — pinned me to the mat and I quit trying to get up.

I steered into the skid so hard, I can’t believe what the scale told me when I forced myself to get on it today.  By rights, I really should have gained a metric fuck-ton of weight.  I devoured all the marked-down Halloween candy, all the yummy fall treats, enough Thanksgiving dinner and homemade treats while staying with family, and basically just kept going down that path until kingdom come.  It got worse when my grandfather somewhat expectedly and somewhat unexpectedly died the week before Christmas.  I went home to my family and we ate our feelings for a week, then I gorged myself on Christmas cookies and more discounted candy.  Once I came home to my empty house after all that emotional zig-zagging, I consciously continued the bender.  I truly don’t remember the last time I worked out, but I want to say it was… early October?  Ugh.

The night before my grandfather’s funeral, I got a punishing migraine.  I get them from time to time, but I thought I had identified the main cause of them — a too-tight hair tie around my wrist — and hadn’t had one since.  Well, turns out crying/fighting not to cry/not sleeping well/not eating right/getting no exercise/having crazy emotions can produce them, too… with a vengeance.  I was knocked off my feet in a cold, dark room for hours, finally throwing up so violently and forcefully I’m surprised it wasn’t coming out of my eyes and ears in addition to my mouth and nose.  That was only my third vomit-inducing migraine, and by far the worst.  I never want to feel like that again.

Yesterday, I decided the way I would end the year-long migraine that was 2017 was by fasting.  I just didn’t eat for 30 hours, from the time I went to bed on the 30th to the time I “woke up” this morning.  Why the air quotes?  Well, because fasting is — duh — a detox, and my body had a LOT to detoxify itself of.  (Yes, I am aware that I am not detoxified now after one day of not eating, but the process started.)  I got a nasty migraine again in the afternoon yesterday, and it didn’t fully dissipate until after I ate breakfast this morning, meaning I was essentially awake all night in mind-numbing pain, in spite of my perfectly lovely NYE plan of sleeping right through the stroke of midnight.  2017 just couldn’t let me go without one last kick in the head.  (At least I didn’t yak this time, although that at least would have provided some relief.)

Sooooo, when I got on the scale this afternoon (after 2 meals and 2 snacks), I was certain that I would see at least a 12-pound gain from my last weight check on December 3rd.  The proximal dehydration from my 30-hour fast, coupled with the month and a half of eating everything in sight and making zero effort to counteract any of that damage with physical activity, really should have ballooned my weight waaaaaay up.  And yet — don’t ask me how — I weigh 2 pounds less than I did on that date, and only 2 pounds more than I did when I weighed in for a Transformer DietBet on November 14th.

OK, body.  You came to play.

My meals for the week are prepped and portioned.  I stayed fully on my meal plan today and am on track with my water intake.  Yesterday was the reset.  Today is technically day 1.  Now let’s see about not stopping until the work is done.

And thanks, universe, for the solid of not making me 20 pounds heavier.  I’ll try to remember this when I’m working my ass off and the scale isn’t budging at all.  Mysterious ways, amirite?

Happy new year!