DAY 038: The proclivity for negativity

DietBet Kickstarts 1 and 2 (out of 3) have ended, and I’m a two-time winner!  I have just a bit more to go before I meet the goal for my third one that weighs out this time next week, and I have every intention of winning it.  Anyone in a DietBet has every intention of winning, though, right?  Or they wouldn’t be betting in the first place.  The money is a huge motivator… but it shouldn’t be the focus.

Unfortunately, I’m seeing a new trend in the DietBet community that I’ve never seen before in almost three years on the site:  whiny, complain-y, negative comments about the modest winnings.  Both of my recently-ended Kickstarters heavily showcased these gripes.  In most cases, they came from people with misguided expectations about how much money they would come away with if they hit their goals — these folks pretty clearly didn’t bother to read or understand the rules before joining the game, or before shooting their mouths off at the end of it.  I know it’s disappointing to “only” win six bucks after working your tail off for a month, but imagine how much worse it must be to come within a pound of your goal after working your tail off for a month, and losing your entire buy-in on top of that!  (By the way, those people are the ones who financed your six-buck win, complainers.  And then you bitched about it.  Double ouch for them, huh?)

Many people have been quick to point out to the ranters that DietBet is a place for support, motivation, and accountability; it is NOT a get-rick-quick scheme.  It’s why I’ve come to DietBet every time I’ve felt myself slipping and needing to get back on track, and as long as I stay focused, it works for me.  Not because of the money, but because of the support.  I once hosted a DietBet, albeit a small one, with a $10 buy-in that only had about a dozen people in it.  We were VERY active as a group with posting and interacting, and we had a blast losing weight together.  At the end of the bet, none of us profited a single penny because we ALL met our 4% goal.  That wasn’t a fluke coincidence; that was because we were in it together.  The fact that we only got back our initial investment was beyond worth it because it meant that nobody lost the game and everybody had lost weight.  We were really there for each other.  It was the best DB game I’ve ever played.

The wonderful thing about January is it does flip a switch in people to make changes in their lives where they feel unhappy, and weight is probably the number one thing people resolve to change about themselves at the first of the year.  It’s fantastic when people make strides towards health and self-improvement, and even more fantastic when they succeed.  Unfortunately, it means many newcomers flood gyms and websites with the most earnest of intentions, but without a real plan.  They haven’t done the research, and then it’s everyone else’s problem — sometimes fault? — that they aren’t having their sugar-free cake and eating it, too.  If you’re pissy because you didn’t rake in a windfall on a community weight-loss site, honestly, shame on you for having that expectation in the first place.  There is nothing anywhere in the rules or FAQs that should have led you to formulate such an idea.  Congratulate the people who busted their asses to win, just like you did, and get back to work.   **steps off soap box**

Ironically, all the negativity in the air on DB right now has triggered some positive thinking for me.  I’ve been kind of skittish lately about the eventuality of my foot surgery, which is likely to happen next month.  I know that as long as I plan, I can avoid regaining, and can even continue to make progress on my weight loss.  Even still, it’s hard not to feel kind of nervous about being essentially immobilized for such a long period.  That’s a slippery slope to negative self-talk.  What the pouters on DB have inadvertently reminded me with all their negative talk is that it’s incredibly unappealing and counter-productive.  I’m not on my mission for any other reason than that I want to be.  And you know what?  I can do it.  I just have to decide to.  Multiple times a day, every day.  The only way to do that is by staying positive.

In the meantime, I really hope this influx of downers is not the start of a new trend on DietBet.  It really crushes what has always been a positive atmosphere for most players.  No one is here for that.

DAY 031: Ya lose some, ya win some

It’s official!  The results of Kickstarter 1 of 3 are in, and I’m a winner!  It was a little closer than I would have preferred, but a win is a win and a loss is a loss, and I can’t complain about that.

I have two more Kickstarters ending soon, and round 1 of the million-dollar Transformer weighs out starting tomorrow.  The Transformer is in the bag, and I’m close on the other two.  It’s nice to not dread looking at the scale.  I forgot that was a possibility!

After these wins, though, it’s likely going to be time for a break from Kickstarters.

The ongoing saga that is my heel spur has reached a point where it’s interfering with my daily life and my ability to exercise.  I want to train for a 5K, but when I spend a lot of time on my feet, my heel swells and it feels like I’m walking on a water balloon.  Last weekend, I cooked for hours on end, and by the end of the day, I could only walk by erring to the outside of my foot because my heel was so swollen.  When it’s not flaring up, it’s a persistent nagging feeling in there that I’m always aware of.  I’m just done with it.

I saw my podiatrist today, and he talked through my options with me.  We’ve tried a number of things in the past 2+ years, and clearly, none of those has yielded any results.  Option 1:  cortisol shot right in the heel to alleviate some of the inflammation and pressure; may or may not have long-term results.  Option 2:  surgically stretch out the plantar ligament and saw away the bone spur; long-term solution with long recovery period that includes no working out for 2 months.

I have some travel coming up within the next month, so I couldn’t do the surgery now, anyway.  I got the injection in my heel before leaving the doctor’s office and I’ll have a follow-up with him when I get back from my trip.  At that time, if I’ve had some relief, we’ll do nothing and hope the problem is solved.  If there’s no discernible change, I’ll be going under the knife, foot-first.

It’ll make it kind of hard to lose weight without the ability to do any vigorous exercise, so I don’t want to set myself up for failure (and losing money) by signing up for more DietBets during recovery.  Of course, I may get lucky and have success with this shot, but I doubt it can eliminate the problem at all, let alone permanently.  I’m willing to try, though.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, I’ll keep moving.  Any weight I can get rid of will only help my foot.  I’ve got a lot of losing and winning to do!

DAY 021: A woman’s right to chews

The recent days have been a blend of several non-scale victories and several non-scale fails.  A quick recap:

NSV:  I made it the full week between scheduled weigh-ins without sneaking a peak at the scale, which made seeing the loss today highly satisfying.

NSF:  I caved.  I had coffee this morning.  My sleep may or may not suffer, but I honestly can’t even say I’m that upset about the coffee.  This presents an interesting experiment opportunity at zero caloric expense.

NSV:  I chose moderately healthy options for my meal out on Thursday, last night, and this morning, and succeeded at staying within my calorie limit every day this week.

NSF:  My moderately healthy brunch choice this morning, it turns out, was actually not that healthy.  Nutrition calculators are wonderful and terrible at the same time — if only I had looked in the moment instead of after the fact!  It blew up more than half of my daily limit!

NSV:  I still stayed within limit today by severely adjusting my meal plan for the rest of the day.  Lunch was a banana, my PM snack was carrots, and my dinner was steamed broccoli.  It sounds extreme, especially on a day when I got a good cardio workout in, but you know what?  I’m not hungry!  This isht is working, y’all.

NSF:  I didn’t get to the gym all the days I should have this week.  I could have done more good if I had.

NSV:  I still hit my step goals every day this week, and I did still make it to the gym a few times.

NSF:  No more data — which means NSVs outnumber NSFs!

NSV:  I managed to fully prepare and portion out my meals for this week in spite of having company staying with me — a LOT of work and sore feet, but also highly satisfying!
The lesson for me here is that we have a right to choose what we chew, and we can even allow a few calorie-dense selections into the fray.  My Thursday and Saturday meals were both dinners this week, meaning I could budget my intake throughout the day and go into the meal knowing exactly how many nutritional points I had to play with once I had the menu in my hand.  That worked well.  Today, since my meal out was in the morning and of higher caloric value than either of my other meals out this week, it was more painstaking to stay under my limit because there was so much time left in the day.  But not only did I make it work without feeling deprived, I also felt more motivation to work out as a result.  I will keep my right to what chews I make because I know how to operate within the rules.

And my body knows it.  It shed 4.6 pounds this week.

That means I’m gonna crush those 4 new DietBets.  Ahhhh, this is more like it!

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It also means I’m at -7.8 pounds so far for the month, and solidly within reach of losing the 12 pounds I wanted to lose in January.  It’s going to take some hard work, but my 3 weeks of habit forming are now officially in the books.

Let’s rock.

 

DAY 017: The foodstuffs dreams are made of

They’re baaaaaaa-aaaaaack:  the food dreams.  With a twist.

Last night, I don’t even remember what I was illicitly eating in my dream when I reached the level of semi-consciousness where I realized I was dreaming.  At that point, I immediately grabbed a bowl of whipped cream that appeared from nowhere and started eating it with a spoon.  I could take or leave whipped cream in real life, so that was a surprising splurge!  Haha.

This was the second night in a row of food dreams, but with different indulgences.  I always hit this point when I start a new health routine.  It’s not even just one point; it’s more like a starting point of what will be an intermittent pattern that continues indefinitely.  Oddly, it seems to happen at times when I’m not having any waking cravings and am actually feeling pretty secure in my food and exercise choices.  I usually feel insanely guilty when I wake up, before it hits me that the sinful eating I did in my dreams didn’t really happen.  The best is when, like this morning, I become aware that I’m dreaming and I can go hog wild with no consequences.

The weird part about last night’s dream was that, before the whipped-cream plot twist, I had an internal struggle about an indulgence of a different kind:  weighing myself.  It’s always a bit of a challenge not to weigh in between my usual Sunday night times, and I confess that I do usually give in around Thursday.  It’s been particularly challenging not to step on the scale this week, after annoyingly posting no weight loss at all last week.  My next scheduled weigh-in is still 4 days away, and I feel like my body has made it over the week-2 slump and has responded well to my consistency with diet and the introduction of regular exercise.  (I made it to the gym after work yesterday!)  I want to wait until Sunday to see the progress, and I’m so hopeful for a big number to offset the stall from last week, but I’m being diligent with myself not to.  If I can’t resist the damn scale, which should be an easy thing to resist because it’s THE ENEMY with a gremlin living inside it, how am I gonna say no to donuts and cookies and bowls of whipped cream?

Sooooo, I’m gonna ride it out.  In the meantime, I’m trying to prepare myself for a possibly disappointing number on Sunday.  I have to remember that the scale only tells me my relationship to gravity, not how I feel.

Unless it’s a big drop.  😉

DAY 014: All bets are off. And on.

For those keeping score, I am currently playing in five different DietBets.  (And that’s more than enough.  Cut me off, please.)  Tonight was weigh-in night for the newest of the bunch, and the first time I’ve weighed myself since last Sunday.  I didn’t expect to have a HUGE drop this week, but I did expect to have A drop.  After all, I stuck to my meal plan all week (except one planned lunch out on Thursday), and hit my steps goal every gosh darn day.  So, it was not my happiest moment when I stepped on the scale tonight to see… no change whatsoever.

And yet…

I wasn’t mad.  (I mean, did say I’d try to remember that the fatty gods were kind to me not so long ago.)

Weight loss is a wild ride, man.  Some weeks, your body gives up 5 pounds for no apparent reason when you’ve done nothing atypical; some weeks, things go more or less as expected; and some weeks, you bust your ass and get bupkis.  Now, in no way did I bust my ass this week; the bupkis isn’t entirely undeserved, especially given the notorious “week 2 curse” of new health routines.  Was I a little frustrated and disappointed at seeing no difference on the scale this week?  Well, yeah.  But it immediately passed thanks to all the DietBetting I’ve been doing.  I hopped off the scale, swallowed my dinner, and took myself out into the 17-degree (Fahrenheit) air for a 33-minute walk.

Like hell this event is gonna repeat itself.

Where I fell short on the scale this week, I succeeded in non-scale victories.  I stayed within calories on Thursday in spite of the meal out.  I got my steps every day.  I brought my lunch to a last-minute lunch meeting with a colleague on Friday instead of getting food where we went.  I smuggled lunch into the fancy movie theater I went to today instead of ordering off their fancy, delicious menu.  I’m still off coffee and going strong.  I’ve had THREE boxes of chocolates in my office for a full week, and instead of having a single one myself, I’ve plied my colleagues with them instead.  And I finally made it to the gym.

My commitment hasn’t wavered.  It’s growing.  And even though the scale hasn’t shown me the changes, I can feel them.

Go time.

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.
  3. I FINALLY WENT TO THE GYM TODAY, Y’ALL.

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 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**