Saturday, November 3, 2012

Relinquishing Control

The only way I've ever found success in weight loss is to control all aspects of my food.  I can't eat out if I don't have the nutritional analysis of the restaurant to which we are headed.  I measure out portions and put the rest of the food out of reach.  Grocery lists are made from menus and food isn't bought unless it is on the list.

I keep thinking you must know this about me, but I'm not sure I ever wrote about it.  So much time and energy is put into managing food.  I hesitate to call the behavior obsessive because there is so much to actually do when you are closely monitoring your food intake.  And doing it for a family could be a full-time job if your family, like mine, thrives on ever changing foods and experiences.

No wonder I was overwhelmed.  Exhausted.  Shattered.

I would go so far as to say I was shattered.  I kept picking up the pieces I dropped, but I couldn't get them to come back together.  Every time I tried something I thought I already had put back in place crumbled.

It turns out that I had to give up the image that I was trying to rebuild.  When I stopped being able to make it work, it was because the image was hopelessly flawed.  I was doing too much.  Thankfully, I have an amazing husband who hesitantly, because he knows me, stepped in.  He picked up the pieces I kept trying to fix and replaced them with something new.

Something I don't control.

This is a huge step.  Not only am I giving up a traditionally female house hold role, but I am no longer able to strictly control my diet in the fashion I've become accustomed.  How am I going to manage to lose weight if I don't know the specifics of everything I eat?

I'm not yet sure.  We're 2 weeks in and I'm thoroughly enjoying my reduced task list.  I haven't had the nerve to ask my husband if he is enjoying his new responsibilities.  I'm not sure I want to know if he isn't.  At least not yet.

So far my weight has not suffered.  He's been planning meals with my dietary concerns in mind.  We've had a few things I wouldn't have considered cooking.  Combinations to use up our CSA vegetables which I hadn't considered before.  It's been a healthy change.  I've even managed to lose the couple of pounds I gained over vacation!

All-in-all, only time will tell how we work in this new arrangement.  But right now I have high hopes.  Maybe relinquishing some control will do wonders for relieving stress, another theme found in successful weight loss stories.  Like mine, I hope.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Another Change in Direction

I wrote last about my change in direction.  I was giving myself permission to maintain.  Permission to just be for a while.  There is victory in maintaining and I was beginning to look to experiencing it.

And that is going to have to wait a bit longer...

The tides have changed again.  My cholesterol numbers have come back and they've come back high.  I recently changed doctors and this one believes the numbers will come down when I shed more weight.  She's given me 6 months to lose more before she wants to discuss medical weight loss options.  Not surgery, but drug assisted weight loss.  Thankfully I'm ineligible for surgery due to my weight loss this year and I'm happy for doctors to stop asking me about it.

However, I'm not much happier about the drug assisted options.  I don't like medicine and I think I've had solid weight loss success without it this year.  But I still have my hereditarily high cholesterol numbers to consider.  If the doc things rapid weight loss will get me in a better range, then I feel it is irresponsible to ignore her medical advice.

The plan provided by the doctor was 1200 calories with 45 minutes of cardio 6 days a week, no carbs after 6pm and ramp up on lean protein in all other meals.  Not to be whiny but this also didn't work for me.  I discussed that I'd been seeing results at 1600+ calories and didn't think I could do 1200.  My point was not accepted.

I've considered that this new doctor isn't right for me.  She's talking drug therapy versus crash dieting (in my completely non-medical opinion), neither option I find particularly appealing.  Instead of going through the trouble of switching again, I am going to see through the next 6 months and find out what my numbers look like in April.

Last week I tried 1200 calories.  After 5 days, I was unpleasant.  My husband can vouch for that.  Also I started to itch.  I have yet to find a doctor who's seen it or person who's experienced it, but when I lose weight I tend to develop itchy hot red spots anywhere part of my body presses into something else.  Sometimes these spots even turn into hives.  It's really not comfortable, physically or mentally as I have no idea why it is happening.

Also, that was without exercise added in!  I can see using a 1200 calories day every once in a while to reset my eating patterns, but long term I just don't think it is for me.

So I'm back to 1600 calories and I'm going to workout 6 days a week (go to the gym, do DVDs at home or walk around my neighborhood).  I've interviewed a number of nutritionists and will be scheduling with one as soon as finances permit.  I'm back on the weight loss bandwagon with reinvented motivation.

Wish me luck!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Breaking the Silence

The longer I go without writing, the harder it is to know what to say.  Life has gotten in the way as life tends to do.  My girls are growing and changing.  My oldest started preschool this fall.  My youngest is in the destructive phase I think all toddlers go through.  They drag me into every other moment regardless of the plans I have for my day.

Work is busy.  Both good and bad events have contributed, but for the first time in a long time I find myself consumed by all the things I have to learn and test.  It's exhilarating, exhausting and exactly where I want to be.  Each evening I have to drag myself away.  Each morning I look forward to going in.  It's a time to savor.

Given all that, I could easily be forgiven for slipping back to old habits and dropping my workout routine.  At least, I've thought about it and I could forgive myself for bad behavior.  All the changes I've made this year have required focus and effort I've never dedicated to myself before.  Without that intensity how can I ever expect to make progress?

The strangest part of it all is that I haven't thrown in the towel.   I haven't been as religious about tracking food and meeting my exercise schedule, but I've stuck with my good habits.  I've made decent food choices and attempted workouts every week.  I'm back to walking the stairs.  My menus at home have been simplified for week night crazy.  My gym bag gets packed each night to support me when I do manage to hear my alarm clock in time to go to the gym the next morning.

A few months back I was drowning.  I was overly busy and needed to restructure my days.  I felt fragmented and overwhelmed all the time.  I might even have been entering a funk.  I'm not sure; sadly, I didn't write about it.  I haven't written anything in two months.  I don't like that.  I've never liked leaving holes in my life and that's what it feels like when I go so long without putting pen to paper.

But there is one thing I want to capture right now.  One thing which made a huge difference.  The past month I've given myself permission to not lose weight.  In fact, I've given myself permission to maintain through the new year.  I've changed my MFP goals to reflect this and I'm sticking with it.  If weight comes off, great!  But that's not my focus right now.

I just need to be me for a bit.  I need to continue strengthening my body following years of neglect.  I need to be comfortable with myself and where I'm at.  I need to survive the holidays without losing my mind.  And I'm pretty sure I wasn't in a place two months ago where I could do that.

What does this mean for this blog?

I'm not honestly sure.  The first week of not writing, I pushed it out of my head and really didn't think about anything except surviving to the next day.  While I still have survival days, I've started wanting to express myself again.  I've had a strong urge to write for about a week now.  I keep thinking of things to say, how I want to reintroduce myself after an absence.  In my head, I've said hello a hundred different ways.  I've apologized, excused and rationalized.  Then I go and pack lunches for tomorrow.

Tonight I gave myself permission to just write.  No planning.  Very little premeditation (the opening sentence has been haunting me all day, but just that sentence).  I have to start somewhere.  I can do this.  It's strange to give myself permission to do something like write, but there are always going to be items left on my to-do list at the end of the day.  There are also always going to be words left inside.  I feel the words left inside are a greater loss.  While I can't put off folding clothes forever, at least they are clean.

And I've reestablished contact.  Will I be here every night?  Most likely not.  But tonight I break the silence.  Now that I'm written hello again, it will be hard to stop talking.  We've a lot to catch up on.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Office Workout

I work in a sedentary profession.  There is a lot of sitting and thinking.  Then there is the sitting and typing.  And every once in a while there is the walking to a meeting where I find myself sitting and talking.  Have you gotten the theme yet?

Yeah.  We move around a lot.  I knew you'd pick up on that.

Scanning through a few blogs this morning, this graphic from The Lean Green Bean caught my attention immediately.

The Office Workout

I'm trying this starting today.  I love that each activity only take a couple of minutes or less.  Also, have you done a wall sit lately.  I can't say I'm looking forward to that at 3pm, but I'm going to give it a shot.  If nothing else, all the grunting might make the people in the cubicles near by stand up to search out the noise.  I'll be encouraging exercise!

That's just how awesome I am.  :)

Who wants to try this with me?

Friday, August 31, 2012

What's in a Word

As I come to grips (again and again) with all that I'm trying to accomplish, I strive to be as honest with myself as I can.  I attempt to set reasonable goals and deadlines.  My progress I try to view as I would someone else's; in that way, I am kinder.

Lately I've been using the word obese.  It's a word that I've fought with for a long time.  When my BMI began to exceed the overweight range, I argued that I had big bones.  Not that I even know what that means.  Then a little while later I just stopped talking about it at all.  I had to protect myself from people who would use that word against me.  Hearing it aloud triggered an immediate fight response in me.

In time, I began to look at BMI the same way.  It was a tool others used to point out all the things that were wrong with me.  I clung to how incomplete the measurement was.  Talking about my BMI, doctors would find that I immediately tuned them out.  Earlier this year, I started making piece with BMI.  Mine was 38.8 at the time.  That shocked to me.  At the start of the year it was 41.2.  These numbers are so far outside the range of normal.  I could no longer look at that number and believe that BMI was a useless measurement.

Today, four months later, eight months from the start, my BMI is 36.8.  I've made progress, significant progress.  I like looking at the original number compared to now because the leading 4 makes the leading 3 seem all that more impressive.  I'm struggling to look at that number as a measurement and not a character flaw.  But there is a truth I'm starting to accept...

I am obese.

As such I've been attempting to allow the word back into my vocabulary.  It is a medical condition.  Looking at the definition, I can understand why I've fought that word.  At least according to Wikipedia, a person cannot be obese and healthy.  They have to be obese and otherwise healthy.  Obesity means that the person is carrying excess body weight which will lead to other diseases.  I guess this is where the problem lies.  It's a medical condition with a loaded future, more loaded than might be warranted.

A few days ago, I was discussing my struggles of late in person with someone who loves me.  I used the word obese several times while describing the overwhelming feeling I've been experiencing.  Each time I said the word, it made my listener cringe.  As I stopped talking, she said, "I don't use that word.  It's an ugly word." I went onto explain my feelings about the word; it certainly isn't pretty.  And I'm definitely conflicted about it.

It's Voldemort.

It's the Condition-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named.  We don't know what it means.  We don't know how to fight it.  We are scared of what it is doing to our health and our children's health.  We see it shaping the world around us.  We don't feel like we can stop it.  Or even help.  So we stop talking about it.

I'm not going to rid the world of obesity on this journey.  But I can accept its effects in my life and myself.  I am obese.  I say that not to embrace and celebrate it, but to say that I know where I'm at and what I have to do.  I'm accepting these changes as forever changes.  I am serious.  I will change this for myself.  And one day I'll link back to this post and add some new characteristic to my self description.  I look forward to that day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Going the Distance

Last week I started a new walking program.  At least, it is new to me.  I did a little reading and decided to walk Jeff Galloway's 5K training plan.  I looked at his and Hal Higdon's and decided that I like the simplicity of Galloway's.  Neither is overly hard considering it is all walking and the times just get changed up.  However, I plan to workout 3 days a week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.  I can following the Galloway 5K training plan by simply shifting the whole schedule forward one day.  I would need to add a 4th day to follow the Higdon 5K walking plan and I'm just not ready to commit to a 4th day in the gym yet.

Having already walked three 5K's this year, I've been resisting backing up and trying one of these programs.  The first 5K was completed through force of will.  I was only a few weeks into PT and really should have backed out of the race I'd planned on running.  Completing that walk was painful and exhausting.  And cold!!!  It had snowed that morning.

The second was the MS 5K Walk 2 months later.  That 5K was a slow walk with friends.  We talked and walked and stopped and dawdled.  It was a day I will never forget.  I know I've not written about it here.  Some day I might, but there is one moment from that walk that I will share now.  Hitting the last quarter of a mile my hip started to cramp.  I was wet and cold and ready to be finished.  Rain had pelted us the entire walk.  The approach to the finish line was, of all things, uphill.  As I approached the finish line, I saw my oldest daughter waiting.  She was wearing her Hawaiian rain jacket and matching boots cheering me on.  Even better than that moment are the many moments since then when she's told me that she is going to do a 5K when she grows up and she wants to run it in the rain too.

And most recently I walked a 5K on the treadmill in the gym just to see how I felt.  As with the first two my hips started to cramp in the third mile.  I worked through it and it wasn't nearly as bad as during the first 5K, but still...  I'm not pleased.  I feel like all my time in PT and hard work are simply not paying off.  How long is it going to take?  How many leg lifts in various directions are required to get these muscles in working order?

While my two official 5Ks left me needing a week to recover, each had moments I won't forget.  I begin to understand why people race over and over.  Why they keep moving.  I can see that getting out there and moving will make a difference.  However, my last unofficial attempt left me frustrated and knowing I shouldn't sign up to make a third official.  Exercise is supposed to be about moving and nourishing a healthy body.  My body is getting healthier, but it is not ready to walk 5K.  I'm not sure why this distance means so much to me.  Maybe because running it will always be the first goal I made for myself.

Versus trying again and again with the same painful results, I'm doing a walking program.  A slow progression to walking a 5K.  It's 15 weeks, 3 days per week.  At week 11 I actually walk 3.5 miles.  Which is more than a 5K.  As I approached Couch to 5K, I'm going to keep repeating each week until I can complete the walk without pain.  Maybe this is the answer I need for getting past this hurdle.  At a minimum, I now have a program to follow, a specific online to progress along.  That is something I've wanted and needed lately.  Best case, I might actually whip these stubborn muscles into shape.

For now, I'm mostly working on being thankful to have yet another chance.  And more time to practice patience.  Practice makes perfect right?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Perfect Day

Since adding two little girls to my life, perfect is a redefined word.  I have many perfect moments.  They are gleaming memories sitting atop a pile of dirty laundry, cartons of diapers and an endless rotation of dirty dishes.  Not to mention the mommy sanity timeouts.  But in all of my complaining there are awesome memories, ones I'll remember for years to come, and every once in a while I get a perfect day.

Yesterday was a perfect day.
It all started by me waking up at 6am to a quiet restful house.  My girls are visiting their grandparents for the week.  Having my house to myself and only my own schedule to maintain is such an awesome luxury.  For the first two days of this week I gave myself permission to simply exist each day, sleeping late, going to bed whenever I felt like it and making meals whenever.  I seriously debated staying in bed one more day, but it was Wednesday and I haven't missed a Wednesday at the gym since I returned to working out at the beginning of July.  I'm not giving up a 6 week streak now!

For a pleasant change of pace, my husband got up and went with me.  We exercised side by side.  It was my second day of my new 5K walking program.  A short warmup followed by fifteen minutes walking.  I walked; he jogged.  We marveled over the differences between Fox News and CNN.  That's my new hobby while in the cardio room in the gym - studying the difference between the news networks.  Following our walk, I ran us both through a PT style workout.  By the end of it, my legs were shaking and I think I might have even inspired a little awe.  He's never seen all the stuff I learned how to do.  *grin*  It was fun to show off.

Workout accomplished we hit our respective locker rooms and got ready for work.  He drove me in.  I invited him to breakfast at my usual morning stop.  I was dropped off at work with a kiss and promises of dinner plans to be emailed.

My work day was fairly typical.  I'm about 3 months into a 9 month project.  The pressure is present but motivating.  Towards the end of the day I did get a bit of a scare when an issue was discovered with one of my releases.  I didn't take it in stride at all, but I do understand what happened, presented to my manager and came up with some alternative quick workarounds.  All-in-all it was one of my better days at the office.

And then came dinner.  Mmmm.  Given that we were child-free, Hubby sent me a few options which we would not consider with the kiddos.  Having heard amazing things, we headed to Carrol's Creek.  It's a marina restaurant with outdoor seating, decadent appetizers and an overall relaxing atmosphere.  Our feast included baked brie, seafood cocktail and southwestern seasoned scallops seared and served with black bean corn salsa and a cilantro cream sauce.  So yummy and cooked just perfectly.  I'm glad the sauce wasn't available until my main entree; I would have had to try it on everything!  To top it off Hubby ordered a caramel cheesecake for us to share for dessert.  It was delicious.

I wish I'd taken a photo of all the yummy goodness we enjoyed, but alas...  I was too busy enjoying it.   At least I did manage to snap this picture.   Could the evening have been more beautiful?

After dinner, we walked around talking for a while.  As we headed home, we called our girls and attempted to say good night.  I could hear all their glee in the background, but talking to Mommy and Daddy while they are hanging at Grandma's doesn't seem to be high on their list.  Soon enough they will be back making a ruckus and inspiring simple moments of glee.  But for just one day, I had a perfect day just me and my husband.  It's not often we have moments together without our kids mixed in.  I'm so happy to have one perfect one in recent memory to add to the list.