Friday, December 12, 2014

My Slooowww Weight Loss

Well, I just thought I'd check in and say that things are still very good, but I'm not really losing weight as fast as I expected. Of course, that is not keeping me from enjoying my this new healthy lifestyle of mine, but I know it's not just the common reaction I'd have to my weight loss in the past; for instance, in the last two weeks, I've only lost two pounds, which seems a little unusual. Don't get me wrong, I was still happy to see that, but I do exercise frequently now, and my net calorie intake has been low enough that I should be seeing faster weight loss. Actually, I even went to my doctor the other day, and he was the one who pointed out that my metabolism must be slow because of my thyroid, and that if we can get my metabolism up, maybe my weight loss will speed up (I actually never mentioned anything to him about my slow weight loss). That old thyroid issue is popping up again, and hopefully, now that I have a new doctor (who continually says that all my symptoms point directly to my thyroid) maybe I can finally get to the bottom of it. Maybe I can feel normal again, and lose that fatigue that I've had for the last five years or so! (Two other doctors couldn't help because my blood work comes back normal, even though I did have to have a biopsy done for enlarged thyroid nodules...but it couldn't be something to do with my thyroid? I don't know about that, but I won't get into it, lol!)

Anyway, I can now say that I'm down 27 lbs. and very happy about that! So that's more than 4 of those 5 lb. bags of sugar I mentioned before that I'm no longer carrying around with me, when I think about it! In fact, I will need to get some new pants now, because I look a little ridiculous in the baggy pants I have had since I started, and they don't stay up anymore.

The only thing I need to really start thinking about is how I'm going to change up my cardio routine, since it's winter and it's toooo cold to walk outside. I love my elliptical machine, but as you probably know, it's necessary to do something different once in a while.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Finding my East

Well, the last couple of days have been a little tough, but I made it through pretty well. For starters, I took a four-day-weekend away from exercising (I still stayed under / close to my calorie goal, but I really need to try to walk or do anything whenever I can).

A few nights ago, I had this horrible neck pain, so I took a muscle relaxer a little later in the evening than I should have because it was keeping me awake. I have a whole bottle of muscle relaxers, but I rarely ever use them unless I'm in so much pain that it is disruptive, so I sometimes forget how drowsy it makes me feel the next day. I took one at about 11:00 pm (10 mg of Flexeril), and I could not get myself out of bed the next morning (this was Monday). I had to wake up my husband to put my son on the bus because I felt so woozy. So needless to say, the rest of the day dragged on forever.

I didn't get much accomplished at work because I couldn't think clearly. I kept pushing through, but by mid-afternoon, I was so tired, and I was starting to have these intense cravings for sweets. I know it was because I felt so sleepy because I hadn't felt like that in quite some time. I just wanted to eat, and I couldn't re-center myself (for lack of a better term). I do remember that I went over my calorie limit that day, but I calculated my BMR, and at my height and weight, I can afford just slightly under 2,300 calories per day without gaining (or losing) weight. (BTW, I found this great BMR calculator, which will be really helpful when I get my weight down enough that I just need to maintain it: ).This is good to know for those days when I feel like I want to splurge a little! But this was not supposed to be one of those days. I also skipped my exercise that day because I simply didn't have the energy.

So I picked up my regular workout / eating routine again on Tuesday and made it through with no problem, but then yesterday (which started out fine), I had kind of a tough day at work. It wasn't any big deal, but I get this really bad social anxiety when I am talking to people I don't know, and I had met a new client that afternoon while I was also in the middle of working on something else, and I had that other thing on my mind. I shook her hand and started talking to her, but then my mind drew a blank. My words started coming out jumbled up, and I think I said something that sounded stupid (ahh my social charm, lmao) and it just messed me up for the rest of the day. I hate coming across as an idiot, and I was so embarrassed by it, that I felt really anxious all day. It wasn't even like it was a big deal, like I said, but there's something about me being in social situations that usually leaves me feeling awful for a long time. (This weekend, I'm throwing my son's birthday party, and there will be several people I don't know there, so that's not helping matters either). Well, anyway, I started working on some stuff to go on my son's birthday cake (I'm making a Cocoa Krispies Treat Minecraft house) and I ended up eating more than my share of Cocoa Krispies Treats. I kept saying, in my head, "ok, that's good. You don't need anymore. That's enough." I couldn't stop! Still, my calorie count for the day wasn't too bad, but I did go over my goal (I did exercise, too; I really needed it to burn away some of that anxiety, and that helped).

Anyway, my point is that some days, it's still very tough to control my tendency to eat unhealthily, or overeat. I may try to make it seem like it's easy all the time, now that I'm in "my mode", but there are days when it's going to be a lot to handle. I need to allow myself days like that without feeling bad about it. I was able to get back on track, but in the past, if I'd had a couple of bad days, I'd have let it ruin all the progress I've made so far. I note this morning is my 57th day logging into My Fitness Pal, and I don't think I've ever done that for this long, which definitely reminds me that I'm in it for the long haul this time. I just need to keep this in mind, and keep "finding my east", and pushing forward. :)

Friday, November 14, 2014

Enjoying a Healthy Lifestyle

So I weighed myself this morning, and I'm finally back at 251, so it looks like I can sort of pick up where I left off with the "progress" photos, which are a lot of fun. I think that getting my weight below 250 will really help me to stay motivated (not that I'm not motivated now, but I know that in the past, this is what I have had issues with; the fact that I need things to happen "now, now, now" lol). Anyway, it's been a long time since I've weighed less than 250, so I am glad to see that my patience and perseverance has been paying off.

It has also been great that I now see the whole thing differently than what I used to. I look at my health in terms of a whole, rather than a little challenge here, a big challenge there, etc., and only in terms of my weight. I mean that I am really focused on taking care of my body now (you only get one!) and anything I choose to do will contribute to that. For instance, I did my 40 minute walk yesterday morning after putting my son on the bus, then later on I saw an opportunity to take another walk, and we all went as a family and walked around town together. I didn't see it as "oh, double exercise today! Ugh!!" I'm doing it in a way that I can enjoy it, I'm keeping it interesting (going to different places, never walking in the same area twice within a period of two weeks). I don't wake up anymore with the mentality that "I have to do this, I can't stop now or I won't do it anymore". In fact, I really don't even think about it now, I just get out and enjoy it whenever I feel like it, and always with the understanding that I will feel good afterwards. Regardless of what it looks like, I am slowly re-learning to love my body in any shape it's in, so I don't feel guilty about going a little over my ideal calorie limit once in a while. I have always been a little too hard on myself over those things. I think this is what they mean when they say it has to be less about diet and exercise, and more about a change in your lifestyle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Little Things

I was visiting my father, and I felt pretty good when he noticed that I had lost weight. I can tell the difference by looking at my face and my skin; when I'm in my "I couldn't care less" mode, my skin is pale, and I look almost sick. That probably has something to do with my poor circulation (which, by the way, has been great lately, and it actually makes me feel more energetic). Nowadays, my skin looks healthy, and full of color. I don't have to pry my wedding ring off of my finger when I need to, it slides off pretty easily. My old pants are starting to fit me again. It's the little things! It's all about being patient, and just experiencing my life. :)

I have decided that I am only going to weigh myself every two weeks. I don't need to be concerning myself with my weight all the time. I think every other Friday would be good, which is what I've been doing.

Anyway, things are still going great, but I think I may have been over-exerting myself a bit while exercising, so today I just took a leisurely walk down the bike path. I almost felt guilty about it, but then I remembered my doctor asking me "can you walk 30 minutes a day?" and that helped. So today is about taking it a little easier (I really get into it when the music is playing, lol, or if it's been a particularly stressful day for whatever reason, I tend to push myself a little harder). I am noticing that my exercise is also getting easier, so I have to continue to increase the level on my elliptical. If you're like me, you never really think about this when you first start an exercise routine, but it's only so difficult in the beginning because you need to build up those muscles that you never used before. That is exactly what has happened. Plus, I need to start thinking about switching it up a little bit, which may become tougher in the winter. I may think about a gym membership again at some point, but no contracts!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happiness Is In This Moment

So I sometimes find, as I'm in the middle of a tough workout, that my mind will try to drift away from what's going on in that moment, and while I'm working out, it's usually to the next workout, and the next one, and the next one. I find myself thinking "wow...this is a hard workout. I don't know if I can do this tomorrow, and the next day and the next day!" I start to see my workouts as too overwhelming for me, and this can bring on the feeling that I don't like to exercise. You can see how this type of thinking can be poisonous; specifically, it is detrimental to that determination I have to keep up the routine. I am learning to bring my awareness back to the moment, and to experience the exertion that my body is putting out. I become present in the discomfort; I feel the sweat, and I listen to the music that I'm playing. Whenever my mind starts to drift again, I bring my focus back to the moment. I have never tried yoga, but I believe that is the point of it (along with the benefits to your health, of course!)

Whenever I exercise, I need to understand that I have started "this particular workout" because I made the choice to do it. I'm not forcing myself; I always have the option to stop halfway through, or not to start at all. I can go back to square one (and, if you have been reading my blog, you may know that "square one" was the day my doctor asked me "can you walk 30 minutes a day?") It's like we were told in the weight loss study: think of your healthy choices as "your east". It's always there, even if one day you stop making those healthy choices. You can always go back to your east.

I used to think of health as black and white, with no gray area: you're either counting calories, exercising and losing weight, or you're not. This is not the case, and it's that black and white thinking that has dragged me down every time I've tried to improve myself in the past. I kept doing it for the wrong reasons; I thought that losing weight would lead to happiness. Happiness is in this moment! I just need to experience the moment to experience happiness.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Still on Track

Checking in again! Still going, just as strong as ever, and my daily exercise and healthy eating / cooking light has become a solid routine for me. Exercising has become so much easier, and I find that I have to increase the level on my elliptical machine a little each week to keep it challenging. I feel so much stronger, and so much better generally; my circulation is better than it has been in a long time. I have lots of energy, and I'm not lazy (like I certainly was, which I hate to admit!) I sleep well at night. I am more interested in getting out and doing things; experiencing my life, and making my family's life better as well. I cook pretty much every night now; we have actually eliminated our weekly restaurant night, and we just go out for little celebrations (my son got his soccer trophy, so we took him to lunch afterwards on the weekend) and maybe the occasion when I don't feel like cooking, but I'm actually getting into it! My mother never taught me to cook, so once I was on my own, it was a real struggle for me (lots of trial and error, and discouragement, which usually made me want to eat out all the time). I'm not saying that to blame her for anything; she had 3 kids, and life was hectic for her at times! But it has taken some work for me to get to this point in my culinary skills, which I am quite proud of, and to cook low-calorie foods, no less, with a continually wonderful response from the family is so inspiring! Even my 8-year-old, who used to refuse to try anything new, eats the food I make from time to time (LOL) which says a lot!

Since I've started practicing mindfulness, I'm no longer in a hurry to lose weight. I don't have to force myself to exercise; it's just something that I do, at my leisure. While I used to be upset at losing "only five pounds" here and there, I can now see it as an accomplishment for myself, particularly when I think of what five pounds actually weighs. When I was little, I would help my mom carry in the groceries, and I used to hate carrying the 5 lb. bag of sugar because it was so heavy (I was pretty young, lol). I use that when I think about how much I've lost. That's not bad at all!

So according to My Fitness Pal, I have logged in every day for a month. Another not-so-little accomplishment for me! :)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

No Exercise This Week!

So I was walking for about 3 hours on Columbus Day (Monday) at this art festival, and while I was walking, I somehow pulled a muscle in my lower back. I've had sciatic problems off and on for years, but my back pain is really debilitating this time. I have no idea how I could have hurt it so bad just by walking! I think this means I really need to start focusing on toning my muscles and strengthening my core, which is something I really haven't been doing lately.

Anyway, needless to say, I've been resting it all week. In the past, I would have felt guilty about skipping exercise, which would have ended with me giving up on the whole thing (i.e., I would start eating mindlessly, and throw away the whole idea of being healthy). This time, though, I've been doing really well. I don't put so much thought into it, because it's more about my health than it is directly about losing weight (although weight loss obviously contributes a great deal to my health). I do try to ascertain whether it would be a good day to start getting back into my daily routine, but every time I move the wrong way, it prevents my back from healing (lol), so I understand that it's not the best time to start thinking about that. I remember when I was a part of the study by Brown University, they had told us that watching our calories is more effective than exercise, so I have kept that in mind as well.

I just feel a lot calmer in general, like I'm not overwhelmed by stress the way I used to be, and I am more equipped to handle anything that comes my way. Of course, being mindful has enabled me to feel this way. I make it a point to take at least a few minutes here and there to practice mindfulness. There are no rules to being mindful; a few minutes here and there is better than nothing. In the meantime, I'll continue to enjoy this "peace" I have found, and focus on being present in the moment, rather than waiting for the day when my back pain will go away so I can exercise again. :)