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 012: Don’t hate, motivate!

DietBet check!

WHAT. IS. THIS.

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.