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 026: Tearing myself a new one

At some point last winter, I noticed a pain in my left bicep during certain normal movements.  Raising my arms in certain ways hurt, lifting certain things in certain ways hurt, and even certain light Zumba arm moves hurt.  It eventually became painful to sleep on my left side, which is my usual position.  The only thing I could conclude was that I had somehow torn a muscle.  Although I didn’t have any kind of scan done, my (new and less wonderful) doctor confirmed it when I saw her for the first time in May for a physical.

I’ve been doing independent weight training on my arms since I started this weight-loss party back in March 2015.  I have always been careful with controlling the motion of anything I lifted, taking it slow, and making sure the weight isn’t too much.  I somehow still managed to hurt myself pretty severely.  The best I can figure is that when I started doing arms again after enough of a hiatus to decrease my strength, I worked out as if I had never stopped and over-exerted my muscles when I should have ratcheted down the amount of weight I was lifting.  Muscles are built by a process of tearing and rebuilding, but when a tear comes from an injury, it’s not magically healed by a protein bar.  It needs to rest until it’s ready to work again.  You can’t rush it.

The doctor told me in May to stop with arms weights until my bicep was healed.  Foolishly, I gave it a week and then resumed my normal circuits in spite of the persistent pain.  The only reason I ended up stopping is because I abandoned health altogether when things got rough in the fall.

A year later, I’m finally healed.  I hit my arms circuit last night for the first time in several months.  I was a little tentative and ginger at the beginning of my workout, especially when it came to the exercises that really used to hurt when my muscle was damaged.  But you know what?  I feel good today.  I have the satisfying soreness from a good burn, but no pain.  Soreness is fine, but there should never be pain.  Got it.  No more being stupid.  But also… I forgive you, past self.

On Tuesday, I was chatting with a friend as we were leaving work together.  She asked, “Are you dieting?”  I said, “I’m eating right.”  She said, “Your face looks good.”

And that’s where it starts.

Hello, saddle.  It’s good to be back.

DAY 019: Souped-up menu

One of my big weight-loss philosophies is that you can’t eat everything you like, but you should like everything you eat.  I’ve learned this about myself:  if I’m not happy about my food plan, I’m far more likely to stray from it.  To that end, I’ve spent loads of time combing the net and my 4 healthy magazine subscriptions to build myself an ever-growing solid arsenal of go-to recipes that give me a good rotation of options to mix and match indefinitely.  Meal planning and preparation take up a HUGE amount of time for me, but they’re essential components of success.  After all…

…and so on.

Adhering to my “like everything you eat” philosophy sometimes gets tricky when layered in among my efforts to try new things (which often means more than once — some new flavors can be acquired tastes), not overload one meal with the bulk of my day’s calories, get enough nutritional variety, and stay within my daily macros.  It’s a time-consuming puzzle to put together my weekly meal plans, but it’s usually fun for me.  However, there are times when I remember the hard way that there are certain things I really just don’t enjoy eating or am sick of at the moment.  I can usually put the distaste aside, scrunch up my nose, and eat the thing I’ve forced upon myself, especially when it’s paired with something I really do enjoy.  Prime example:  I’m still not exactly bananas over bananas, but they’re transportable and I’ve come to not mind them, so I usually schedule them as a snack with some yummy almond butter or yogurt.  This week, I had a miss:  I threw in some grape tomatoes, which has reminded me that I borderline hate them — and I made the unfortunate mistake of coupling them with a lunch it turns out I’m not wild about right now.  The only positive is that I’m hungry enough at lunch time that I’ll eat just about anything, and I’m OK with the split-pea soup, it just doesn’t hit the spot, ya know?

My mismanaged menu (re)taught me two key things:

  1. It’s fine to include a few items I find OK, as long as there’s something I really like to balance it out.
  2. I’m fickle.  The odds are 50/50 that I’ll have changed my mind on something I haven’t had in a while, for the better or the worse, or that I still like/dislike it just as much as before.  (I’m looking at you, grape tomatoes.)  That is, if I can remember how I felt about it in the first place.  (I’m looking at you, split-pea soup.)  So, when I’m not sure, I need to not group two questionable items together in the same feeding.  I just need to be a bit more thoughtful during menu prep.

I like souping in the winter, even when the temperature varies wildly between single digits and the high fifties, so I’m making up for this week’s soup miss with a soup for next week I’m already craving:  classic matzo ball soup… with whole-grain matzo meal.  Uh, yeah.  I’m jealous of myself.

TGIF — this week’s menu misfire is over!  Happy weekend, kids 🙂

P.S.  No, I didn’t go off plan in spite of not loving my choices for the week.  Bam!  #NSV

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 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**