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 731: Happy worth day, dear body

Two years ago today, I made The Change.

It was tentative at first, but it stuck… for a while.  For months and months, I gained steam and experienced a lot of successful changes physically, mentally, and emotionally.  After nearly a full year of hard work, I eagerly laced up my running shoes and went for my first-ever outdoor run in the refreshing spring air after work.

It was also my last outdoor run.

I spent the remainder of 2016 undoing most of the work I’d done from March 23rd, 2015, until that date.  I couldn’t even bring myself to post on my first worth day because I was too busy falling off the wagon, sabotaging myself, and feeling 360 degrees of shitty about it.  One little thing went wrong, and then I allowed every little thing to go wrong and nearly ruin my weight loss.  What a waste.

This year, I’m not at the size I thought I would be when I imagined myself two years out at my start date on this day in 2015.  I’m trying to claw my way back to the levels of health and happiness I had managed to reach previously, before I will really be able to believe I can attain my ultimate goals.  If I started out two years ago feeling tentative, that’s amped waaaaaaaaaay up this time around.

Shakiness aside, I am making sure to recognize my efforts today.  The path I’ve taken hasn’t been straight or without significant obstacles, but it’s started taking me back towards  where I’ve long wanted — and needed — to go.  As my mission enters its toddlerhood, I recommit to the girl who has always occupied, and will always occupy, this body:  I will be fearless.  I will work hard.  I will see to it that my last outdoor run was only my most recent outdoor run, not my final outdoor run.  I will one day stop being ashamed of this body and strive to not only accept it, but to see it as beautiful.

I am worth it.

Happy worth day, dear body.

DAY 728: Timeline, shmimeline

the-whole30-timeline-ol6w5a

Well, it’s the start of Whole5, and  I’m still on track.  Thing is, my Whole30 Timeline experience is syncing up, um, in almost no way.

I read and re-read the timeline numerous times before starting Whole30, and many more again since.  I obviously expected and planned for some variation, and I’d say my days 1-3 were more or less in keeping with the timeline (What’s the Big Deal? and The Hangover), although the 3 days combined were more like a hybrid of the two phases merged into one.  Since I’d mostly been eating clean already, the only sign of detox I had was a daily headache, which I’ve concluded is caffeine withdrawal from kicking coffee completely rather than from Whole30, although I’m not a scientist or a doctor, so will concede that it could be a factor.  I’ve mostly been a little nonchalant and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

On Saturday (day 3), I was watching a live show in a theater and suddenly started sneezing in a way I recognized as not allergies.  Over the course of the rest of the day, I became draggier and felt my nose and ears clogging.  By the time I got home at 11:00 PM, it felt like a full-on cold, complete with a sporadic wet cough.  Thanks to the congestion, I got my sleep in small increments that night and finally got out of bed yesterday morning feeling unrested.  I puttered around the house the rest of the day, canceling my Sunday plans and not even making it to the grocery store, let alone the gym.  I crawled back into bed around 4 in the afternoon and napped off and on, then got up around 7 to eat dinner, and got right back into bed as soon as my last dish hit the drying rack.  I slept even less last night, and the crap I’m coughing up has gotten more… non-nondescript.  I guess I’m officially sick, although certain sources on the web suggest this is a bodily reaction to the detox (which was my guess/hope) rather than a proper cold.  (The Whole30 website categorically rules out this possibility.)  I so rarely succumb to any type of illness that I’m always ready to attribute symptoms like this to something else.  Maybe it’s a coincidence, maybe it’s the detox, or maybe it’s some cruel joke of a joint effort of the two.  In any event, it’s fucking annoying to be getting even less sleep!

Here on day 5, I have to say I’m really not feeling the bloodlust that the timeline’s Kill All the Things phase portends (even in spite of the sleep deprivation).  I’m more in the I Just Want a Nap phase, which I’ve been in since before starting Whole30.  Haha.  I’ve been having food dreams again, which is characteristic of a later phase as well as something that happens to me anyway, but I have no cravings or desires to murder anyone.  I haven’t had another headache since Saturday, so The Hangover feels safely over.  Staying off the scale has been the true test of willpower so far.  I’m a bit incredulous about the effectiveness of this program right now, which is mostly because I’ve been so tethered to the scale as THE metric of results and I haven’t weighed myself since before I started this whole endeavor, and since right now, I feel markedly worse, not better.  I have no temptation to quit, though.

DISCLAIMER:  If I’m making Whole30 sound easy, don’t be fooled.  lot of work goes into this in terms of planning and meal preparation, not to mention real-time adjustments.  (I did great on my day away from home all day Saturday!)  I was also already eating clean before starting this, so it wasn’t too much of a shock to my system to cut out the alcohol I wasn’t consuming, the grains I was eating in moderation, the added sugar I was restricting, the legumes I enjoy but scarcely eat, or the dairy I took nearly exclusively in the form of milk or cheese, nearly exclusively in the early part of the day.  Also, it is only day 5; that’s not enough time for any kind of thorough analysis of anything, especially not a drastic dietary modification.  That said, the scientific part of my brain is curious and eager to see how the full effects will bear out.  This detox flu/head cold needs to GTFO, though.

In the meantime, however, I can’t plot myself on the Whole30 Timeline.  I’m traveling without a guide, I guess.

Off the edge of the map, mate.  Here there be monsters.

9b47425ebbc43fdcd658fc46052567c6.jpg

DAY 693: Warrant for a rest

For a long time, I’ve been feeling exponentially draggier.

When I first noticed it, it was during a particularly stressful, eventful, and fatiguing summer of seemingly non-stop madness.  A sampler platter:  attending a 9-day work conference out of town, buying a place while working at said conference, completing the closing and moving processes once I returned, traveling for more work and personal trips in July and August, and undergoing a massive professional realignment that threw my role at work into upheaval and added extra demand and uncertainty.  It was no wonder that I was feeling so tired; I was, and had every reason to be.

As fall came on, the stresses of murkiness at work and first-time homeownership snowballed into a larger mess that collected political and familial stress.  I had not only completely given up on exercising by that point, but I had also thrown into the mix eating anything and everything I could get my hands on.  I took the very mature route of ignorance to deal with it, refusing to acknowledge that I lived in a world where scales or mirrors existed.  When all of my clothes became tight again, I just doubled down deeper into my denial and told myself I’d have to wait to deal with it until things calmed down.

Well, things finally did calm down in mid-January — but a month on, I’m more exhausted than ever.  This is in spite of having successfully resumed and implemented clean eating and easing back into exercise with a moderate lift to start.  What’s up?

It could not be more simple; I’m tired because I’m tired.  I’ve been getting into bed at early times and maximizing how long I’ve spent there for as many hours as possible, but that doesn’t mean I’ve been getting quality sleep.  Every morning, I wake up feeling as if I’ve actually been awake all night, and feeling as if getting out from under the covers is physically impossible.  It’s not because of stress anymore, even if it’s true that it was likely a — or the — factor leading up to this point; it’s because my bed sucks.  Like, SUCKS.

My mattress is a teenager.  Most beds don’t make it into their tween years, let alone to driving or voting age, but that’s roughly the range mine has reached.  That’s TOO LONG to be sleeping on the same mattress night after night!  Of course I’m tired in the morning after a night of tossing and turning, but never getting comfortable.  I didn’t believe it when Jiminy would show an absolute maximum of 3 hours’ deep sleep, but typically more like 1-2 hours’.  As it turns out, that data seems to track.  It’s not worth feeling chronically drained and prone to muscle aches and all-day stiffness, to say nothing of the toll it’s taking on my mental sharpness or ability to live healthily.  Once I finally got real with myself about the culprit of my fatigue, I knew I had to bite the bullet and shell out for a new mattress set.

Can I just say, I realized in the shopping process that I’ve never actually paid for my own mattress before — I was a teenager myself when my parents bought me my now-teenage bed! — and even with the good sales going on this time of year, they are EXPENSIVE!  BUT, this isn’t a splurge; it’s a vital piece of my overall health puzzle.  I can’t do anything well if I’m not rested, and losing weight tops that list.  So, this weekend, I bought myself a new, incredibly comfortable mattress and box spring.  It won’t be delivered for another couple of weeks, but I’m already craving it more than I’ve craved even chocolate recently.  I can’t wait to catch up on some quality shut-eye so I can do the thing right.

Sleep is a VERY important part of this process.  I’ve always known that, but I didn’t realize the extent to which I have been inadvertently depriving myself of it until I stopped to truly think about it, even though the signs have been there for some time.  Now that my eyes have finally been opened, here’s hoping I can get them to stay closed all night in the very near future.

DAY 659: Thud.

Somewhere on the interwebs, there’s a statistic about the likelihood of incurring an injury more frequently in the home than anywhere else.  Yesterday morning, I became such a statistic.  I had successfully navigated the un-treated sidewalks while walking around in the snow the day before, mind you, but the two measly steps down to my living room proved too much for me.  I took one step in my 3-sock-layered feet, slipped spectacularly, and landed on my butt on the edge of the middle step.  Of course, I had too much momentum from the stumble to stay where I landed, so I was propelled off the step and onto the floor, where I smacked my back off the edge of the step that had failed to hold my booty, and also somehow whacked my arm off something (the wall?) in the process.

Now, this episode immediately registered as funny to me.  I sat on my rump in mild disbelief, trying to figure out how I’d gone from upright to ass-planted in a fraction of a second, and giggling a little bit to myself.  I did a mental inventory of body parts to make sure everything felt OK, and aside from some spots in my butt, back, and arm that had gotten the brunt of the impact, everything seemed fine.  I got up, turned around, and instinctively looked at the floor where I wound up to make sure it wasn’t broken.

No, really — I sincerely believed there was a possibility I could break my floor with the force of the fall of my body.

Which, right now, is funny and pretty ridiculous.

But also very sad.

When I had reached Onederland, those irrational, paranoid, fat-girl thoughts were far behind me.  I knew I had backtracked severely away from Onederland, but realizing how far I have backtracked mentally hit me with the force of a thousand of my bodies crashing to the floor.  THUD.

Well, I guess you know what they say:  Fall 9 times, get up 10.   So up I go.  My mental state will recover.

Don’t worry — I didn’t break it.

DAY 626: No, darlin’.

This… this blog!  It’s alive!  IT’S ALIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!

Sooooooo, as you may have guessed, it’s been a wretched several months.  Work?  Bad.  Love life?  Bad.  Family situation?  Bad.  Friendships?  Bad.  World events?  Bad.  Things have been varying degrees of bad at different times since (and during) the last time I updated this dusty old thing, but the general trend has been just bad.

Some of that will probably come out in greater detail over the next span of entries, but the bottom line is, I haven’t been handling any of it like the baller I was around this time last year.  It’s been uber stressful and I’ve been letting it get to me.  I regained a fuck-ton of weight and I feel like shit about it:  I’m disappointed in myself and ashamed of what I’ve done to negate all my hard work.  Also, man, what a luxury it was to have been so much lighter.  I had forgotten how sucky and embarrassing it is to get winded from walking up a flight and a half of steps.

But ya know, as much as losing weight is secretly a community effort when it’s all going right — you know what I’m talking about if you’re a fellow fatty who gets life from the affirming compliments, helpful online (or even in-person) communities, and essential readings/watchings along the way — it’s equally so when it’s all going wrong.

In the midst of a series of crises at work a couple of weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a colleague about what a mess we were dealing with.  This particular colleague and I typically have conversations that remind me of what it looks like if you draw a flower in the air with your finger:  they start at a central point, then they swing far out from what we were discussing before making their way back to the central issue, only to curve out to something totally different again before veering sharply back to center, and so on and so on until all the petals are drawn.  They’re unpredictable discussions that are simultaneously about 14 different things that somehow all relate in some delicate way.  The conversation we had a few weeks back was no exception.  My colleague had just finished verbally drawing a petal about what she likes to do on weekends before unexpectedly bringing it back to our work situation thusly:  “I say this to you as a woman who has struggled with her own weight:  your face is looking fuller.  That’s stress.  No, darlin’.”

Her delivery was gentle, yet direct, and her message was clear:  Don’t let this place take any more from you.

Those words have been ringing in the back of my head since that conversation, and even though I didn’t successfully put a course correction into place until several weeks later, what she said to me has been helping to stoke the embers of my fading mission back into a fire ever since.

I have wanted to make a new blog post for the longest time, but I couldn’t imagine seeing my failure splashed across a webpage that I wrote with my own hands.  I didn’t want to accept how bad things have gotten.  All the while, I was knowingly avoiding this space to my detriment, because I know that not expressing upsetting things doesn’t make them untrue, and I also know that writing about this whole experience — the good and the bad — is part of what was helping me succeed before.  So, enough time has now passed, and enough healthy weeks have gone by that I feel less-ashamed enough to make a post.

I still care.  I still want to live my best life.  I still have goals, and I still want to achieve them.

I will not let anyone stand in my way.  Including me.

No, darlin’.

 

DAY 460: Feeling some kind of weigh

That’s right… I’m still here.  And I’ve been feeling some kind of way.

Without wasting your time or mine with a long, detailed essay about how I’ve been busy and fighting off lack of motivation when my free time is constantly being compromised by some circumstances within my control (I’m buying a place!) and some that aren’t (my job owns me lately), suffice it to say, there have been too many distractions from my mission.

Over the past few weeks of my regrettable absence from my blog and from DietBet, I’ve had inconsistent focus.  I don’t want to say this, but for accountability purposes, I’m going to:  I gained.  I gained enough to get me pretty far back over the wrong side of 200.  It cost me the possibility of winning in my third Transformer bet, which would have been a very nice pot had I made it to the final round.  Failing is not fun.

BUT, I have learned that wallowing in shame and avoiding talking about it is what got me to over 300 14 months ago, and I won’t let that experience be for nothing.  I have to get back at it.  So, this is me, crawling out from under my embarrassment rock and trying to fix things.

I don’t have any insightful reflections I feel up to sharing at the moment.  It’s just being busy and having trouble carving time into my days when I can do an hour of cardio at the gym, and/or that 30 minutes of strength training.  Mostly, I’m frustrated with myself.  It’s no good when I don’t get along with me.

Enter Ira Glass.  The June 17th episode of “This American Life” was previewed at the end of the previous week’s podcast — this is one of the many podcasts I listen to avidly — so I knew it was coming.  I had eagerness and anxiety in anticipation once I saw it in my iTunes downloads last weekend, and I put off listening to it until yesterday.  Now that I’ve heard it, I want to recommend it to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet.  Go check out episode 589:  “Tell Me I’m Fat.”  It’s a bit longer than the length of a typical TAL episode by about 10 minutes, but such a worthwhile listen.

As expected, I had a complicated reaction to listening to those stories.  I think I’ll have to explain that in a future post — that gives anyone reading this the chance to hear the episode before I spoil it, too –but it was interesting.  A lot of it resonated strongly with me.  More importantly, though, it was the last push I needed to snap out of my fog.

More entries to follow soon!