DAY 724: Whole30, the Whole30, and nothing but Whole30


The day has come:  Whole 30, day 1.

This actually turned out to be as great a day to start as I had hoped.  I selected and committed to this start date a little over a week ago, allowing for a cheese-centric weekend with friends and a catered all-day meeting yesterday to pass.  My area ended up with winter weather on Tuesday, so I opted to telework that day, and it allowed me to prepare one of my favorite meals while I was at home, which magically happens to be Whole30 compliant (although my eyes did spring open wildly as I was drifting off last night in sudden fear that the tomato paste I’d use contained added sugar [I confirmed this morning that it does not]).  I’ll have to cook dinner when I get home from work tonight, which will be a semi-random concoction of things I don’t mind eating, all together in one dish.  *shrugs*  Weekday meal planning ain’t my thing.  I’m looking forward to having this weekend to map out the rest of the 30 days in one fell swoop.

Yesterday’s meeting concluded with a happy hour, so I made the rare exception and had a cocktail and tasted small bites of two sinful apps before heading home and realizing I had no dinner there!  So, it being my last day before Whole30, I grabbed some Mrs. T’s pierogies and some ice cream from the store on my way home.  Right there in the middle of the frozen foods aisle, I was very politely chatted up and asked out.  Seriously.  With no make-up on, face generally looking like trash, and arms full of an ill-advised pre-Whole30 mini binge that was composed of trash.  I did him a favor and declined, as he only would have become a Whole30-compliant meal… but it was very flattering.  And only mildly embarrassing.

Anyway, day 1 is now halfway over!  I’m about to dig in to my lunch, and later, one of the two co-workers who joined in on Whole30 with me asked if we could get together and have a welfare check-in for day 1 support.  I did Weight Watchers in my mid-20s and the thing I liked the most was the meetings; I’ve been so insular with my weight loss this time around that I’ve limited my support system to basically only strangers on the Internet.  Don’t get me wrong, that’s VERY valuable and helpful, but sharing Whole30 — even to the extent that I’ve freely discussed my choice to do it with people I know and see every day — has been great.  I think it’s because it’s not necessarily about weight loss; it’s just about health.  I have explicitly framed it that way, even though I’m sure most people can infer that it’s linked to my overall efforts.  I’m still skittish and uncomfortable talking about losing weight with anyone other than fellow fatties, but this is hopefully a sign that I can come around on that.

In addition to abstaining from added sugar, grains, legumes, dairy, alcohol, and chemicals like MSG, I’ve added coffee to the list.  I already take it black, so it would have been a cinch to continue drinking coffee on Whole30 without feeling deprived of the cream and sugar, but I think it’s in my interest to give it up, given my recent challenges with sleep.  I am not a caffeine addict by any stretch; I rarely make it at home even though I enjoy the taste because it’s more about the social ritual of grabbing a morning coffee with my colleagues.  I could do decaf, but I’m not going to go out of my way to consume it when I could just as easily cut it out entirely for 30 days (and enjoy the saved cash while I’m at it).  So, that’s my little extra twist on the challenge.

For full accountability, I will share that I have one planned cheat — but it’s not food.  It’s the scale.  Technically, on Whole30, you’re not supposed to get hung up on weight because you should be focusing on your body as a system and see the nutritional changes as a holistic benefit to your overall health.  I think it would be beneficial to me, actually, to completely ignore the scale for a month, and I was kind of looking forward to having a set of rules in place that would make me do so.  However, I’m going to do it exactly once over the course of the 30 days.  You could argue that I don’t have to, and I suppose that’s true and I am making a choice, but I’m currently in a Transformer DietBet, and the weigh-in for round 2 will pop up smack in the middle of my Whole30 experiment.  Yes, I could choose to forego it and still technically be in the bet and eligible to win the whole pot, but why short myself the round’s victory (I was already at my goal weight for round 2 when I weighed out of 2 Kickstarters earlier this week) and the prize moolah for it?  Sorry, Whole30.  I gave you my cheese.  I’m keeping one illicit rendez-vous with the scale.

Anyway, so far so good here on Whole1!  Fingers crossed all over that it stays as much that way as possible on Whole2 and beyond.

DAY 721: Whatever floats your bloat


New bed: check.
Podiatry issues addressed: check.
Allergic  chaos handled: check.
Exercise routine: check.
Meal planning and preparation: check.
Sticking with meal plans: check.
Solving the mystery of persistent fatigue and blah-ness: ???

Coupled with this STILL-abiding exhaustion enigma is a recent incident of occasional digestive discomfort after eating, and rather chronic bloating.  I haven’t been able to pinpoint the source(s) of these incidents, but they’re obviously unpleasant and disruptive to my day.  Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

I have an IRL friend (who actually knows about my weight-loss mission and even reads my blog sometimes — hi!  *waves*) who did Whole 30 not too long ago, and she had a lot of really positive results and interesting findings.  I’ve been researching it, and late last week, I decided to take the plunge.  I had friends visiting over this past weekend, and I have a meeting this Wednesday where I won’t be able to prep and bring my own food (and I want to eat the yummy catered food, if I’m honest), so I’ve chosen the start date of Thursday, March 16th.  I’ve even gotten 2 co-workers to go in on it with me, and my IRL friend will be joining for her second time!

I’m typically disinclined to do anything that resembles a fad diet like I thought this did at first.  However, having a friend vouch for it and reading about the numerous positive effects it can have — plus, better understanding my body’s reactions to foods and being able to tailor my diet to its true needs — are very enticing prospects for me.  The oversimplified version of Whole 30 is it’s a very restrictive elimination diet that is meant to help determine what foods may be causing inflammation (not to mention a host of various other undesirable effects on the body), so that a person can ultimately design a daily diet that will work best for his/her specific needs and balance of all things.  You achieve this by reintroducing the eliminated food groups one by one to your diet after the 30 days, then carefully monitoring your body’s reactions.   I expect and hope to also achieve some weight loss during this experiment, but along with the added sugar, alcohol, all grains, legumes, and dairy, I have to give up the scale for 30 days — so it will be a long time before that particular outcome is revealed.

The adjustment phase looks pretty intense, but I’m hoping the fact that I’ve been eating clean for a long time already will help mitigate some of the withdrawal symptoms.  It looks pretty daunting, but I can handle it.  I’ll be bitchy, but I can handle it.  😉

My goal is to really make it the “whole 30” days without any missteps or cheats.  Now that I’m actually trying to put together meal plans for the upcoming start date, it’s feeling quite challenging — I’m already realizing how many no-no foods sneak their way into my recipes!  It’s going to be quite the… uh… adventure.  Whether you want it or not, I will be reporting back and likely updating (read: ranting) pretty regularly throughout the process.  Please wish me luck!

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 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 690: Stark craving mad

I’m a guest at a wedding, and it’s dessert time.  The banquet table is piled high with every variety of cookie I could have imagined, and I want all of them.  I squeeze as many as possible onto the small dish in my hand, still staring longingly at the ones I had to triage out of selection and save for my second trip.  In the back of my mind, my conscience screams, “STOP!  You’re going to mess up your weight loss!  That’s too many cookies!”  In brash defiance of this warning, I reach out and grab 3 giant chocolate-chip shortbread cookies that I just carry in my hand back to my assigned table.  I sink my teeth into one of the cookies in my hand and immediately feel guilty… so I keep eating.  I’m about to plow into the plate of cookies before me, when…

I wake up.

And now I’m angry.  Not only am I angry at my subconscious self for not making it through all those cookies when I could have and it wouldn’t have actually mattered, but I’m also angry that The Mission has crept into my sleeping time.  It’s bad enough I have to deal with constantly combating cravings during my waking hours, but now I have to do it in dreams, too?!

Ahhh, yes, I remember this: the taunting food-dreams stage.  This phenomenon is apparently common among dieters who are going hard.  Even Neil Patrick Harris mentions in his autobiography that when he was on a grueling fitness regimen in preparation for his role in Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway in 2014, the period was marked by “the most vivid food dreams” of his life.  Avoiding nutritional pitfalls in favor of sticking to meal plans becomes so ingrained in a loser’s mind that it burrows into the subconscious and haunts the person’s dreams.  It’s evidence of dedication and the huge importance of The Mission for the person in question, which is all good stuff — but damn, what a tease it is!

My cravings during the day have been mostly in check lately, but I find that when I let myself think for too long about what it would be like to let a spoonful of ice cream or a bite of a thick, chocolaty brownie with rich, gooey frosting cross my lips, things start getting dangerous.  That’s when the evil voice in my head says, “It’s just one indulgence, who cares?  You deserve it!  It tastes soooo good!”  I have to remind myself that no, actually, what I deserve is a healthy life.  I can’t give in to that temptation and expect to succeed.  Not right now, anyway.  The taunting food-dreams stage comes at a time too early in the process for me to safely veer off my nutritional course without A) cursing my own name, or B) stumbling the whole way down the slippery slope instead of feeling certain about regaining my footing.

I have DietBets to win and multiple bridesmaid’s dresses to fit into.  This is no time to be messing myself up.

The person who brought in the box of Tagalongs to my office, however… if I find out who that was, I will mess THAT person up.  And I don’t even like Girl Scout cookies.

If memory serves, these dreams mark the death throes of the tentative phase.  The more-confident phase of momentum is coming.  My sanity and I are waiting for it with open arms.

DAY 408: Wake up and smell the regret

I think I got a total of 45 minutes of sleep last night.

Why?  Because I went on an epic binge before bed.

Why?  No idea.

What I do know is, it wasn’t worth it.

However, I can say that for the first time ever, I was at the gym at 4:58 in the morning with the early risers.  I got my pick of the machines without needing to wait for the meatheads to get out of the way.  I even, for the first time in a while, got on an elliptical for the long haul.  It was awesome, but frankly, very gassy.  Every time I started up a “hill” on the work-out setting, I was like that thing your car does when it’s low on fuel:  putputput pfffft.  With only 12 minutes left of my hour, I had to jump off of the machine and succumb to runner’s trots and last night’s mistakes.  (Listen, I know it’s not lady like to talk about farting and pooping, but I am not a lady at the gym.  I’m barely human.  I’m a freaking red-faced, sweat-drenched animal.)  You’re welcome for this story.

I’m not really a morning person; my VivoFit shows I get my deepest sleep in the hours before my alarm goes off at 7 AM.  Maybe I’m pampered, but I really bank on my 8-9 hours of sleep, and in order to get up early enough in the morning to work out, shower, and get ready for work, would require me to go to bed at like 9 PM in order to get enough rest.  But, given how much less stressful it actually was to work out because the gym was virtually empty, and how much quicker I was able to get through my weights circuit for the same reason, it may be worth trying a change in routine for a week to see how it goes.  It may also shake up my body’s rhythm enough to spark a drop in weight.

Walking home afterwards, “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus came on my iPod.  I downloaded it last year as an unlikely weight-loss song I would listen to on long walks around my neighborhood in the cool evenings after hot days in the summer.  It’s a kind of sappy song from the days in Miley’s career before she came in like a wrecking ball and started dancing with Molly.  Cheesy though it may be, it does ring true:

There’s always gonna be another mountain

I’m always gonna wanna make it move

Always gonna be an uphill battle

Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there

Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side

It’s the climb

So, I’m gonna put the terrible choices of last night and rumspringa and everything else behind me where they belong, and keep on climbing.  It’s hard, but it’s the good type of hard.  I think I’m finally feeling in control again.

DAY 358: Fat week

It snowed on March 4th and reached 80 degrees on March 8th.  Springtime appeared practically over night.  I was so giddy from the sudden delightful weather last week that I decided to lose my damn mind and run OUTSIDE.  It was just the square block around my apartment (about a half mile), but damn it, I was gonna do it.  I was gonna run, outdoors, in plain sight, among the people.

And I did it.  It felt spectacular.

Until it didn’t.

A thousand knives in my lungs.  Pins and needles in my throat and ears.  It was like I was allergic to running!

Oh, wait…

am allergic.  To spring.

Every year, the same thing happens:  the world comes back to life, and I spend a week in a hay-fever fog of insufferable misery.  That sounds dramatic, but if you don’t deal with seasonal allergies, you can’t possibly understand how bad it is.  I’d rather have the flu for a month.  I really would.  Seriously, sign me up.

Even though the same thing happens every year, I never seem to be prepared for it.  We’ve had a few fluke days of sudden temperature spikes since winter really set in, so my mind wasn’t geared towards real springtime yet.  So, like a fool, I took a run through the active pollen of everything my body hates, inhaled it deeply during my aerobic exercise, and then slept with a nose, lungs, hair, skin, eyes, ears, and god knows what else full of what may as well be poison.  I did all of that with zero antihistamines in my system.  Needless to say, I woke up the next day in ROUGH shape.

And so fat week began.

No gym — can’t breathe.

Almost no sleep — can’t breathe.

Daily steps goals unmet — can’t breathe and too tired.

Lots of ice cream — because no gym plus no sleep equals perpetual temper tantrum.

I’m too irritable to even give much of a fuck about any of that.  That’s how bad this shit is.  I hate it.  Hate it, hate it, hate it.  I’ve scarcely logged in to DietBet and haven’t weighed myself at all this week.  I haven’t met my steps goals since the night of my ill-advised outdoor run.  The best night of sleep I got was on Thursday night, on the heels of a night of 3 hours’ rest, when I had ice cream for dinner and chased it with a cocktail of two Rx allergy pills (drowsy kind), 2 NyQuil, and 2 melatonin.  It worked so well, I did that shit again last night after a shitty weekend of sleeplessness.  I had hell getting up this morning, but it was worth it to have slept.

The week of torment is almost over.  I can feel my internal armor of antihistamines reaching their optimum level, and even though my nasty cough would suggest otherwise, I’m finally starting to feel some relief.  My energy and strength are returning, too.  I may even be up for some light strength training at the gym tomorrow.  I’ll definitely be getting my steps in no matter what.

In case it was unclear, I’ve hated this week.  Not only was it physically painful, but it’s reminded me what life was like before my thintervention.  My sleep quality was lousy, I was always out of breath, and I was just generally ragged.  I felt constantly frustrated and irascible.  That person was so unhappy for so many reasons, and even more unhealthy.  This week, between reliving some of that experience and eating like a maniac, the idea that I could slide back into being that way was too real.  Ain’t gonna happen.  If tests of willpower, snow storms, and work stress didn’t break me, I’ll be damned if allergies do.  They came the closest, but they’re not gonna win.

My symptoms are worse every year, so my allergist is starting me on injections this month.  (HOLLA for good insurance!)  With any luck, 2017 me will be at her ideal size and experiencing no spring allergies.

Future me:  when you read this, remember how easily you could’ve blown this all up for yourself, but you chose not to.  Don’t ever be the reason you fail again.  Ever.

DAY 334: Winning winter

My body has changed a lot in the past 11 months.  The loss of weight has also meant a loss of insulation, and I’m feeling cold easily for the first time in many winters.  I need a higher temperature in my home and office, and more blankets on my bed when I go to sleep.  The silver lining is that I’m getting prolonged use out of those pants I’ve been shrinking out of:  I need the extra space at the waist band to accommodate leggings or a second pair of pants underneath!

To boot, I’m actually enjoying feeling so cold.  Not only is it a reminder of the pounds I’ve banished, but I’ve also read that being exposed to chilly temperatures increases calorie burns — and therefore weight loss — because of the extra work the body has to do to keep itself warm.  Its a win-win!

Keeping these things in mind has really helped me keep focused on staying active on days when it would be easier to stay inside, cozy on the couch, consuming some sinful TV shows and even more sinful food and drink choices.  On Presidents Day earlier this week, we got some snow and ice that I was tempted to use as an excuse to stay inside and indulge.  But I was on a 3-week streak of exceeding my daily VivoFit steps goal, and I was committed to making the streak last at least through the end of February.  When I thought about having to bundle up in my faux fur-lined boots, hat, gloves, scarf, and coat just to walk to the gym, remove it all, get sweaty, and then put all my winter gear directly ON that sweat to come back home, I wondered if it was really worth the hassle… for about 5 seconds.  The angry red arrow Jiminy was flashing at me didn’t allow me to entertain that silly question for long.  In an instant, I changed my thinking to the bizarrely positive reasons to trudge out into the harsh conditions (It’s cold out there [and that’s good]!  You need your steps!), and off I went.  My streak is still alive.

Working out has also become a stress release.  Instead of capitulating to stress like I used to, I now channel the negative energy into high-octane exercise that burns calories and frees my mind.  I have had surprising moments of clarity about confusing or nerve-racking situations I find myself in while testing the limits of the elliptical.  Physical activity as an outlet for emotional pressure: what a concept!  Here I am, living the myth.

This isn’t to say that all of this is suddenly rote or even easy.  I still have to convince myself that I have to work out on any given day, and then I have to internally cheerlead myself to the end of the workout for the majority of the time I’m moving.  I’m just getting better at it, and I now know I have reason to believe that the arguments I have for doing the hard things are good ones.  There’s certainly been improvement, and much positive reinforcement in the form of visible results, but it’s still hard.

Someone recently asked me what my “trick” was for the success I’ve had on my mission.  I had a negative knee-jerk reaction to that question; there’s no freaking trick to this, for cryin’ out loud.  It’s called I work hard.  All the time.  Weight loss and healthy living are NEVER not on my mind.  That’s not hyperbole, people; I am NEVER not thinking about those things.  They factor into every trivial decision I make throughout the day, from which way I will walk to the metro in the morning (long way or short way: which will fit best into my exercise plan for the day?) to what time I go to sleep at night (how tired am I vs. at what bedtime am I most likely to get a quality night’s sleep?).  It ALL ties in for me.  I’ve made it that way.  That’s the only way this works.  If it were as simple as having a trick, we’d all be thin and healthy.

The person who asked me that question probably just phrased it poorly and was only wondering if I had any tips.  At least, that’s what I’m choosing to believe.  But please, as a Recovering Fat Girl, I’m begging you:  don’t ever ask someone who is obviously in the process of dropping a lot of weight, what her trick is.  Semantics matter here.  Implying there’s some shortcut or some magic at work takes away from that person’s hard work and trivializes the act of drastically transforming her life as if it were some kind of effortless gimmick.  Affirmations and praise are fantastic, but if you’re uncomfortable asking the question you mean to ask, just don’t ask it.  Better that than to dishonor someone’s all-consuming, seemingly endless quest to save her own life.

Whoops!  Got a little hot under the collar there.

Fortunately, that kills calories, too.

Stay warm!



DAY 240: The humbling stumbling

Since my weight loss became noticeable and the compliments started coming, I’ve often been asked the question, “How are you doing it?”  My answer is always some variation of, “Well, basically, I cook all my own meals and go to the gym at least 4 times a week.”  I guess that is basically how I’ve been doing it, but man, there’s so much more than that going on.

This is on my mind right now because after what ended up being a 5-week hiatus, I’m finally getting back on track.  I’m surprised how much I forgot about how rocky the start to this whole weight-loss deal was!  I wouldn’t say it’s exactly like starting over; my mentality is nowhere near as fragile as it was at the beginning, I understand things now that I hadn’t yet learned then, my improved fitness level at this stage allows me to do more now than then, etc.  There are some big similarities, though, as I re-establish my routine.  That’s such a simple sentence, but the word “routine” hides a very complex list of crap.

In my most recent post before this one, I whined about feeling depleted and not feeling rested after nights of low-quality sleep.  I feel less energetic getting in only 4 miles per day than I did when I was consistently hitting 8 or 9, which included daily movements and grueling work-outs.  That’s not counterintuitive; being more physically active creates a higher sustained level of energy and contributes to sounder sleeping.  A steady metabolic rate from a constant flow of nutrients (and WATER!) has the same effects.  For the first time in a long time, I woke up this morning feeling as if I had slept the night before.  I got restorative, quality sleep.  AND I WANT MORE.  So I gotta move.

Staying on top of the consumption part of this became so mechanized for me that I started taking for granted how much work it was to reach that point.  Training myself to ignore pangs of hunger while my body was adjusting to the 5 small meals per day I take in was a real challenge.  When I was finally conditioned to that pattern, I never felt hungry.  No, really:  I never felt hungry.  Even in the few periods of this weight-loss experience when I was imperfect with my intake, I never strayed from the good eating habits with portions and timing that I set up early on.  The last several weeks, I was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off.  I ate when and what I could, not when and what I should.  It sent my metabolism into a tailspin and pretty much deprogrammed it.  Getting back on track with the regular feeding times (like an animal — because my life is a zoo!) has again proven challenging, just as it was at the very beginning.  Feeling hungry sucks!  Fortunately, I have the knowledge that I succeeded at this once before, and therefore I know I will get to the other side again.  Note:  it would be much easier if pumpkin-spice-yogurt-covered pretzels didn’t exist.

I crapped out on the gym two days ago after writing that I planned to go that evening, but I did go last night.  Admittedly, it wasn’t the high-intensity cardio work-out I needed, but I did resume my arm weights.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t like before when I missed 2 weeks of gym time and had major soreness after my first time back, but I do feel it today in a way I haven’t for quite some time.  I kind of like it, though.  It means it’s working.

Elephanting (I would have said “Weight” here, but why destroy a good alliteration pattern?)
Instead of punking out and not submitting my weight for the third round of the Transformer Diet Bet I’m currently in, I bit the bullet and owned up to my miss this time.  I have dug myself into a pretty big hole with the last month of recklessness, but with a lot of hard work, I still have a chance to come back and win round 4.  Regardless of whether I regain my footing in time to win this round, the next round, or the final round, I will make damn sure I win the overall bet.  There’s the many pounds of damage to undo, plus the ground I would have had to cover anyway.  It’s going to be tough — especially with Thanksgiving and time spent at my parents’ (read:  away from the gym again) thrown into the middle of this — but I have to find a way to rise to this.  I’m even considering joining another Diet Bet for extra support and motivation, but I haven’t fully jumped on my own bandwagon of belief that I can actually LOSE weight over the holidays.  Decisions, decisions….

This is a moment where I’m really glad I have this blog to reread.  It was never as simple as cooking everything for myself and getting to the gym regularly.  It was planning nutritious meals, finding the time to cook and apportion all of them in advance, separating my professional and personal stresses from my mission, putting myself first, getting support through writing on here and interacting on Diet Bet, consecrating time to work out, pushing myself through tough workouts and celebrating myself for making it, knowing when to up the weights I’m lifting or increase the speed I’m running, learning to resist the parade of sugar and carbs sitting in the open at work all day, scheduling and sticking to meal times, diverting money to replace my wardrobe, ensuring I got enough sleep, and learning to accept the praise and validations of others for all my hard work.  There is no scenario in the world where it would be acceptable to rattle off that entire list to someone who asked me what I’m doing to lose weight, but let’s get real for a minute:  it’s all of the above and more.  I’m spelling all of that out in recognition of all the effort it takes to really make this machine operate on all cylinders.  It’s never as easy as it sounds.

That’s a little bit why I’m cutting myself some slack here.  My recent stumble sucks, yeah, and it was very humbling.  I’m frustrated with myself, and disappointed that it caused me to lose a round of my DB, and even a little nervous about the situation I’ve put myself in.  However, this is NOT a defeat, and it’s not insurmountable.  Self care is still the priority, and that means not making me my own enemy.

All this to say, my work is cut out for me.  Time to test the ol’ mettle.  I think it’ll stand up.  After all, the girl responsible for this


is also responsible for this.


DAY 238: Peek-a-boo!


Full disclosure:  possibly the biggest reason why I haven’t posted in so long is that counting the days since my last update was such a chore!  How sad is that??

It’s been a super, super packed last 5 weeks.  Fall is always my busiest season because it’s my favorite season, so I tend to fill it with more things that make me happy.  First of all, my birthday was in mid-October, so that happened.  A few days after that, I left the country for two weeks of travel.  I returned from that to a VERY full plate at work which fully consumed me up until even today, and over the weekend that just ended, I hosted a dinner party at my house whose menu was entirely pumpkin-themed — and homemade.

Needless to say, between the complete lack of time, the travel, and the general overbookedness of my life the last month plus, my fitness routine pretty much jumped off a cliff.  I have weighed myself once since I got back, but I really don’t even remember what number the scale said; I only registered that, not surprisingly, I had gained a few pounds since the last time I weighed in for anything.

I am stressed and tired.  I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in over a month.  I have gorged myself on desserts, café drinks, and unhealthy restaurant food.  I have dropped the ball with meal and snack prep (until this week — phew!).  I’ve spent a fuck-ton of money on all of the above.  And, oh yeah, it bears repeating that I GAINED WEIGHT.

Now here’s the really weird part:  I’m OK with that.

I knew what I was doing as I was doing it.  I consciously chose to eat cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate, and so on instead of being extra vigilant with my diet to compensate for the impossibility of going to the gym.  I had a burst of uncontrolled living life as it happens, and ya know what?  That’s what typical people do, I hear.  It felt great to feel like a normal human for a bit.

It also felt pretty gross.

My energy levels are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO low.  I found that while I was on vacation, I consistently got exhausted — not a little bit tired, but honestly just completely wiped out — around 2 PM every day from A) not eating at consistent intervals throughout the day, and B) having totally erratic bouts of exercise.  Being off of that game for 2 weeks and returning to a moment where I’d so overcommitted myself to professional and personal events that it prevented me from taking care of myself and returning immediately to my healthy lifestyle meant I started eating on the fly again, which meant the return of those nasty chemicals.  I’ve started experiencing cravings again, and having to fight with myself not to indulge.  I’ve felt desperately hungry from irregular eating, which makes me eat too much when the time for food finally comes.  I’ve been short tempered and irritable.  The inertia from inactivity makes me feel lazy about going to the gym, and makes me actually not WANT to go.  The combination of not eating or working out properly has affected the quality of my sleep.  I’ve been feeling draggy and getting headaches.  I feel a step away from disgusting.

That’s exactly why I know I must resume my routine.  NOW.

Because of the weight gain, I won’t win my transformer round that weighs out today/tomorrow.  I hate that.  Hate, hate, hate that.  I liked looking at my DietBet profile and seeing a perfect streak of nothing but wins.  I’ve ruined that.  I can still win the 6-month bet, though… and I fully intend to.

I came to work today with my survival kit all prepared:  lunch box packed with AM snack, lunch, and PM snack; backpack filled with gym clothes.  As the old cliché goes, this whole thing is more mental than physical.  All I have to do is physically act on what my mind knows will lead to success, and I can fix this and still hit my year-end goal for the weight loss.

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…