DAY 743: To sleep, perchance to food-dream

OK.  It’s day 20, and I feel like I’m back tracking.

I have slept terribly the past two nights, in spite of taking melatonin on Sunday night.  Last night, after 2+ hours of trying and failing to fall asleep, I ultimately gave up and went to the kitchen to start preparing today’s lunch and tonight’s dinner.  Still not wound down from that, I went ahead and filed my taxes.  Finally, I trudged back upstairs around 2 AM where I lay awake for another hour before finally dozing off sometime after 3.  I also peed four times between when I first lay down and when I scraped myself off the mattress when my alarm went off for the 5th time this morning.  I usually only get up once or twice throughout the night.

I also had the worst headache yesterday that I’ve had since starting Whole30.  Two pills didn’t kill it during the day, and it clung on and on until I took another dosage before my first attempt at going to sleep at night.  It then took a while to dissipate, which at least it finally did.  As I sit here typing this, I can feel another one creeping on.

I continue to have inexplicable and frustrating stretches of constipation.  That just infuriates me.  In. fur. i. ates. Me.  Anti-bloat diet, my ass.

And to add injury to insult, I am all of a sudden having knee pain.  KNEE PAIN.  For the first time in my life, I have aching, stiff, sore knees through absolutely no strain or exertion.  I’ve been totally phoning it in on the physical activity, and what little I’ve gotten has been pretty non-strenuous.  Even at my heaviest weight of 303 pounds, my knees were fine.  I’m years and miles away from that point now, and partway through this healthy dietary tweak, I’m struck with it out of absolutely nowhere?  Not fair.  Also, not logical.

What the eff is going on here?!

This better be the death throes of toxins leaving my body or something.  I am SO irked about what I’m experiencing this far into the program.  The hardest shit is supposed to be over.  It’s been almost 3 weeks and I have experienced, mmm, approximately zero of the program’s touted health benefits.  For all the extra investment — and I do mean investment — of time and money to stick to the strident rules of Whole30, to experience nothing even close to “tiger blood” is outrageous.  Not only am I not feeling better, but I’m actually feeling worse.  I am so glad I’ve ignored the guideline about not weighing yourself; if it weren’t for my knowledge that I’ve dropped a lot of weight, it’s hard to imagine I could convince myself to stick out these last 10 days.

Oh, oh, oh!  But THEN!  I’m all skittish about stopping after day 30 because what if all the pounds that fell off were just water weight, and I instantly gain it all back during reintroduction?  I won’t fit into my MoH dress.  I’ll be miserable and inconsolable.  It will all have been an utter waste, in every possible sense.  Ugh, I can’t even let myself think about that, but the thought keeps popping into my head.

I’m exhausted.  What I wouldn’t give for a guilty food dream right now.

DAY 739: Whoa, we’re halfway there!

BONJOVI-2

It’s day 16.  Do you know where your children are?

I posted this yesterday on DietBet, but it bears repeating:  I am SO. SICK. OF SALAD.

I’ve had a lot of late nights recently, resulting in needing to order food instead of eating the yummy, healthy, Whole30-compliant dinners I have waiting for me at home.  The only thing that seems safe to eat in those circumstances is a very basic build-your-own salad without dressing from a fresh salad joint.  And man, I am so over salad at this point.  I’m also over shelling out additional cash on pretentious salads — yeah, that’s a thing — on top of the substantial amount of money I’ve already spent to make the meals I’m neglecting in the first place.  GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE, GRUMBLE.  I’m looking mad forward to eating at home all weekend.

Yesterday, the halfway point, was a decent day.  I had a meeting that went on entirely too long, and when I emerged from the staircase afterwards on the way back to my office, two co-workers were chatting by the elevators.  One suddenly stopped herself mid-sentence and called out, “Is that… is that you?”  I turned around and said, “Yes, I’m me!”  She started saying she thought it was me, but she wasn’t sure; I looked so good, could I help her with losing weight?!  She must have said 3 or 4 times how different or good she thought I looked.  (I rarely see this person.)  That felt pretty nice.  (Thanks, super flowy, former oh-honey top I was wearing yesterday!)

Yesterday evening was a good-bye gathering for a colleague, and I was the designated cupcake picker-upper.  Not just any cupcakes, mind you.  They spent Wednesday night in my fridge, all day Thursday in my office, and Thursday evening staring at me while everyone else partook.  That fudgy chocolate frosting looked amazing, but was it?  I have only the word of other people — and foggy, fond memories — to go on.  Passing on those babies wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, actually; honestly, having them at home and in my office for nearly a full day was fine.  I didn’t think about them at all.  It was watching everyone else eat (and enjoy) them that gave me a pang.  I’m telling myself it was mostly FOMO while I remind myself what sugar does to my insides.  That shit looked sooooo yummy, though.  *single tear

The one thing that has started feeling like a sacrifice is coffee.  Go figure, right?  The one thing I gave up voluntarily, outside of the program’s guidelines, is the one that has started to hurt.  BUT, BUT, BUT!  Yesterday was the first time in over a week I did not get a headache!  I had several early on, then a few days without, and then straight headaches for about a week and a half.  They were more of the dull, nagging variety than the throbbing, painful variety; enough to be annoying and prevent clear thinking or ease in falling asleep, but not a light enough touch that I could avoid taking something to make it go away.  The night before last, I noticed the headache was a little lower in strength than the ones leading up to it, and I rolled the dice:  I went to bed without popping Excedrin, and the headache went away.  I slept normally all night and had no remnants of the headache when I woke up in the morning.  Then, no headache during the day, and I went to sleep pain free!  Magic!  It’s not exactly tiger blood, but I’ll take it.

You know, one thing  I have taken from this is that being open about my dietary restrictions has been very helpful, and not embarrassing.  This comes as a complete surprise to me, given how uncomfortable I have been all my life with letting people into this weight-loss stuff with me.  It feels like THE most personal thing I could share, no matter how limited the sharing is.  I feel appreciative and humbled by being proven dead wrong about this.  The implicit accountability, support, and encouragement from people has been incredible.  I’ve even intentionally told my parents I’m doing this, and they won’t even see me during these 30 days.  LIGHT BULB!  I don’t have to do everything alone.  A lesson decades in the making.

Sadly, I STILL have not made it to the gym.  It’s on the docket for tomorrow, right between SLEEP IN and PLAN NEXT WEEK’S MENUS.

Fifteen down, fifteen to go!

DAY 715: Not drawn to scale

Getting back on the horse has been so exhausting and challenging, I can’t help but curse past-me for having gotten off in the first place.  That was dumb, past-me.  SHAME ON YOU/ME/US.

As I’ve most recently lamented, sleep has been a problem lately.  Just when the remedy to that arrived (my new mattress and box spring finally came at the end of last week!), I had a nasty allergic flare-up amid a sudden onset of spring that has woken me up persistently throughout the night so I can give in to full-body coughing fits.  It’s really just the loveliest.  I can only imagine how much worse it would be without my Rx antihistamines and allergy shots (though I really don’t have to imagine)!

This, and a slightly indulgent Saturday (two meals out that included mostly healthy choices, with the exception of one cocktail and one pastry, and zero gym time although I still made all my daily steps), converged to stall my weight loss.  My scale has been showing me wildly inconsistent numbers that seem like they’re just being randomly generated by some gremlin living inside the scale, and I’ve given in to weighing in often multiple times a day just to try to identify what my real weight might be.  Foolish and counter-productive, is what I’d call that venture.  I am now swearing off the scale until the end of this week.  I know for my own sake I can’t weigh in more than once a week.  Back to that.

Also, I’ve been generally slacking at the gym.  I still go for the most part, but I’ve been letting myself off the hook of really pushing myself.  I know the pounds aren’t gonna drop off for free; I have to pay for that shit with my sweat.  What I’ve been doing hasn’t been cutting it.  I know that, and yet I haven’t been pushing myself.  Come on, self.  Scale gremlin lives off this kind of laxness.

I’m also wearing orthotics now, as prescribed by my podiatrist.  As my body adjusts to their correctional effects, there’s some stiffness and soreness in random joints up and down my legs.  I know it’s temporary, but it is a bit of a hindrance.

Things are finally trending toward equilibrium, though, and I’ve slowly noticed I’m feeling more rested when I first get up in the morning.  I’ve even dared to let myself believe that the slimmer neck and shoulders on the body I’m seeing in the mirror might be real.

During my Sunday visit to the gym, I did some interval jogging on the treadmill for the first time in ages, maxing out on 3 minutes straight at 5.0 MPH.  Last night at the gym, I self-insisted on my arms circuit and event tried a new machine that had always been a little intimidating to me (the rower) before pushing myself on the elliptical (which only exists in models I don’t like at my gym).   Still not a profuse sweat, but a good start.  And honestly, the post-workout soreness from the two days combined is highly satisfying.

This morning, walking down the stairs to leave my building, I felt more energetic and lighter on my feet.

And then when I arrived at work today, I got the affirmation of a co-worker.

Her:  “You look like you’ve lost some weight.  Have you been losing weight?”
Me (out loud):  cheshire

Me (internally):  “Why, yes.  Yes, I have.”  (HEAR ME, SCALE GREMLIN!  HEAR ME!  **shakes fist**)

In your face, container of brownies that mocked me at the grocery store last Friday.  You can bite me.

DAY 683: Body work

Decent news from the world of podiatry: my bone spur is NOT the issue.  In fact, it has shrunken since I first went in to have it examined.  The discomfort I’m feeling now is from strain on my plantar fascia ligament, which is tight and stretches when I take take steps, causing inflammation and the popping sensation in my heel.  My doctor offered to give me a cortisol injection today that would take care of the unpleasant feeling instantaneously, and possibly permanently, but I decided to hold off.  He’s prescribed me orthotic inserts that will help correct my immediate problem, and they won’t be ready for 3-4 weeks.  My (self-reported) pain level is at about a 3, so I figure that if it gets worse between now and the time I go back to the podiatrist’s office to pick up the orthotics, I’ll get the shot then (or sooner, if there’s a sudden spike).  Otherwise, I’ll give the orthotics (and, hopefully, a bit of weight loss!) a chance to make an impact and then go from there.

It is interesting how my body has responded to my weight re-gain.  I had trained it to be accustomed to a certain amount of movement with less and less mass to carry, and now, it has rapidly re-accumulated a bunch of that mass which was partially caused by, and also which partially contributed to, a significant decrease in movement.  The way that added weight has shown up on me has been interesting.  Whereas I lost it from all over, it really feels like 90% of it went directly to my waist when it came back.  Yes, my face and fingers have pudged out, but the rings I couldn’t wear when I was previously at this weight are still fitting from when I had reached my lowest, but the pants I was wearing when I was last at this weight aren’t.  I know this isn’t any kind of earth-shattering revelation, but the areas that are hardest to lose from, are easiest to gain to.  We all have our trouble spots, eh?  REMINDER TO FUTURE SELF:  Don’t mess around, girl.  It’s too hard to work the fat back off!  Not worth it.

This is so much work.  I’m looking forward to getting back to the place where it just felt routine and second-nature.

Wishing all of you strength and perseverance through the weekend!

DAY 681: Febru-wary

Oh, man. I finally hit the gym for the first time in ages two nights ago, and I was sore the entire next day.  I’m actually still feeling it in my muscles even today, but I have a deal with myself to hit the gym religiously every other day no matter what, until there is no soreness the next day.  At that point, I’ll add strength training back into the mix and do that every other day, but cardio every time I go to the gym, which will be at least 5 days per week.  That will get me back to where I was when things were all going right.

Sooo, like a good little-big girl, I went back tonight.  I didn’t make it as long or push myself as hard as I did two nights ago, but I did what I needed to do.  It does feel good to know I’m moving again, and the physical exertion cyclically reinforces the effort of the good eating habits.

Unfortunately, I moved in July, and I HATE my new(ish) gym.  I hate, hate, hate it.  The equipment is cruddy, it’s always way too crowded, and the people it’s crowded with are mostly meathead guys who think they’re bad-asses, but really, they’re skinny little punks who sit on the weight machines and pay more attention to their phone than the time elapsing between their sets.  Assholes.  Furthermore, none of the machines — cardio or weights — are the type I like or am used to, and there aren’t enough of them to go around so as to avoid waiting to work out.  Seriously, I hate this damn gym.

All this to say, the coaxing I have to do to get myself to go to the gym when I’m feeling under motivated, is even more difficult now that I have to go do something hard at a place I despise.  I mean, it could be worse, but man, does this place suck!

Added to that, I have a fun new twist on an old story: the heel spur I’ve had since July of 2015 is still around.  Not only is it still around, but it’s begun to become painful instead of just annoying.  Now that I’ve resumed working out, I’ve noticed a difference in the way I’m distributing my weight on my feet, which has made me conscientious of how I walk and stand in regular daily situations.  I’ve apparently been compensating for the discomfort caused by my bone spur.  I don’t want that to cause a whole new set of problems, so I’m seeing my podiatrist on Friday.  I hope he can take care of it right then and there instead of asking me to do stretches at home for a few weeks or something, cuz I’m not trying to deal with this anymore.  If I end up needing any form of treatment that requires me to be off of my feet for any period of time, I’m prepared for that, and I will find ways to keep moving so I get some burn in.  It just has to stop.

February is off to a kind of meh start, but I am still feeling committed and resolute, even if a little wary.

DAY 680: Going against the (mi)grain(e)

This past Saturday, I had possibly the worst migraine of my life.

At some point after all the vomiting, a new sense of resolve overcame me.  It’s well past time for me to have found a way to kick myself in the ass hard enough to get back on the fitness express, but I just haven’t been able to really tap back into the feelings that gave me so much strength and power to go hard around this time last year.  Maybe it was all the incidental cleansing from the migraine-induced yakking, but somewhere in my mind, the right synapse finally fired and reanimated those atrophied senses.  I finally felt truly recommitted to The Mission.

On Sunday, when I was back to feeling 100%, I prepped my week’s worth of meals and portioned them out along with my snacks.

Yesterday, I hit the gym for the first time in months.

Today, I signed up for 2 new DietBets.

I’m back, baby.  Go time.

P.S. WordPress tells me that, quite fittingly, this is my 100th blog post!

DAY 395: The Skinny on Obesity

One of my tried-and-true tricks for helping myself refocus when I need a reminder of why losing weight is THE priority, is to watch some of the videos that helped positively reinforce my mindset at the very beginning.  I’ve mentioned this before in specific reference to the British series “Fat Doctor” and the role it played in shaping my work early on.  (I still recommend that one, particularly the episode I’ve linked to in my 12/1/15 entry.)  My current rut is the first time I’ve gained back a great deal of weight, and it feels the worst because of the milestone(s) I undid by allowing that to happen.  So, I’ve been doing a lot of self-cheerleading to recreate my positive attitude and remind myself that I’ve done it before, therefore, I can do it again.

Several weeks ago, I discovered a series of documentary-style videos by the University of California called The Skinny on Obesity.  I watched the whole set in the dead of winter when it was hard to convince myself that going outside was really necessary, and the motivation I got out of it was enough to last me a few weeks.  Not only was it interesting and informative, but it was presented in a very clear and matter-of-fact way that was easy to follow.  I learned a lot from these videos and have already returned to them many times for more inspiration and education.  Altogether, the entire suite takes just about an hour to watch, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  However, if I had to recommend only one video, it would be this one.  More than anything I’ve ever read, watched, or heard, this presents information in such a clear way that it made me feel like I understand food at a basic level for the first time in all of my years on Earth.  Watching this video in particular, it was like a series of light bulbs going off.  Just eye-opening stuff.

Soooo, partially in thanks to the lessons these shorts have re-taught me, I’m on a vegetarian diet this week.  I’ve done this a few times since beginning my mission over a year ago, and it’s consistently yielded good results.  I’m not totally after just a drop on the scale this time, though; I’m in a position where I actually need to re-detox — which I remember the symptoms of and can feel happening — and reset the way I think about and consume food.  My plan of attack in the gym this week is light:  just arm weights and maybe a mile here or there on the elliptical if the mood takes me, or in the unlikely event that I don’t make my steps on a given day.  Next week, I intend to ramp it up.

One reason I’m letting myself off the hook physically is that I don’t want to overwhelm myself with so many readjustments that I’m setting myself up for further frustrations when I fall short, which is bound to happen when you try to change every single thing in one fell swoop.  Unfortunately, though, the self-hook-letting-off is primarily out of responsibility:  I have a knee injury.  I say that without knowing what it actually is; I just know I have some occasional shooting pain and there’s a lot of cracking and sustained soreness going on.  I want to get below the lowest weight I had hit and see if that’s enough to alleviate it, but without overexerting it in the process.  So, elliptical only so it doesn’t put too much pressure on my joints, and not until next week once I’ve got the food part on lock.  Also, I’m in a really shitty mood this week, so it’s just not the time to be forcing myself into stuff I know I’ll be too petulant to actually do, which will only create disappointment in myself.  (Ahh, self-awareness.)

Something that was reinforced to me through this whole lost month I just had is that all the pieces I had delicately set up to keep myself on track are very important.  It’s not just the big, obvious parts, like meal planning and working out; it’s also the small forms of positive reinforcement through podcasts, articles, videos, and writing in this blog.  It all matters, so it all needs to happen.  Lesson re-learned.

On that note, I hope you’ll watch the videos I plugged and find some motivation in them for yourself.  If nothing else, the educational value is incredible, so share far and wide!