Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weigh-in Day, January 26

186.0. GRRRRRRAAAHHHHHHHHH. That is so frustrating. I gained back almost all that I lost last week. SO FRUSTRATING.

Now, how to handle a weight gain when you were hoping for a weight loss. :)

Step One - Be frustrated. Feel sorry for yourself. Get angry at the scale and call it a lying jerk. For about 30 seconds. THEN STOP. Give yourself a moment to be upset, because it is frustrating. Not acknowledging that frustration is just denying your feelings, which may be part of what got you here to begin with. So don't pretend that those feelings aren't important - they are, of course. But they are not the most important thing. (Thanks, Bob from the Biggest Loser, for reminding me of this recently.)

Step Two - Review your week. What changed? Were you less active? Was your eating more out of control? Did you drink more? Did you eat a lot of salty things that may be causing you to retain water? Is there another reason your body might be retaining water (ladies, this one's particularly for you)? If none of that applies, think about portion control and serving sizes. Think about if you worked out as hard/burned as many calories as you had in weeks prior. Those details matter, especially if you're coming down to the last 10 or so pounds you want to lose.

Step Three - Put your frustration into action. Give yourself a plan. What days will you go to the gym? What will you do on each of those days? Cardio? Weight training? Arms? Legs? Abs? It helps if ALL these questions are answered up front.

Step Four - When step three is hard, make a list of reasons WHY you want to lose weight and lose it NOW. It will keep you motivated when nothing else will.

For me, I know that I ate more than I should have this week. I went out a lot and I didn't control what I ate there as well as I could have. I also worked out a little less (one less day), drank more, and it's my "retaining water" time. So I did a lot of things wrong this week. I'm not actually surprised by my number on the scale today, but I am irritated by it. Of course I want the weight to fall off effortlessly. But it's not going to. Plain and simple - I put in the work to lose weight, I will lose it. I ignore what I know I'm supposed to do, and I will gain.

Here are my reasons to do this NOW:
1) Sister's Wedding in August. GREAT motivator to get on the horse right now and get this done.
2) Entering my mid/late twenties this year. I don't want to spend the majority of my twenties overweight. These are the years I should look and feel my most fabulous.
3) I'm sick of my weight holding me back mentally from things it shouldn't. This is a tricky one.

A friend recently came to me after having gained weight and asked for a little pep talk. I was extremely flattered, and said most of the same things to her as I said above. She came back to me with something she found online that helped her a lot, and when I read it today after weighing in, it helped me too. Here's what it said:

                   To lose the weight would mean to allow myself to hurt. To lose weight would mean  
                   not numbing myself anymore. It would mean experiencing pain to its maximum. It
                   would also mean experiencing happiness. I tend to forget.
                   My weight is a barrier between me and others. I've allowed it to define me because I am
                   afraid of defining myself- and being disappointed. To lose weight would mean to
                   experience. To lose the weight would mean to break down the walls that have protected
                   me for so long.
                   To lose weight also means living in the present. To accept your failures and go for your
                   successes. It would mean leaving the realm of "When I lose weight" and enter that of
                  "Today I will".
                   It is difficult to be thinner because it would entail in living. And life is scary. And life can
                   hurt. But I will find the strength to lose this safety net I have made of my body and allow
                   myself to be for the first time in a while ...

 When you're overweight, there are things you can't do. Maybe you can't do them physically. Or maybe you can't do them mentally because you're scared of being who you really can be. Even after all the weight I've lost, I still find myself saying (in my head) "I would totally wear that if I was thinner" or "When I lose weight, I will go on a cruise and be in a bikini the whole time." In my head, my life is STILL waiting to be lived because I can't live to my fullest at the weight I'm at. A lot of people are afraid to say that stuff - but it's true. If you've ever had those thoughts, know that you CAN change. Even though I'm not at my goal weight, I know there are things that I do now that I wouldn't have done 2 years ago. Things I wear, especially.

So make yourself hurt physically, so your brain can stop hurting you. Go through some pain so you can really live your life with no regrets. And remember that a little weight gain every once in awhile is part of the process. It doesn't mean you can't do it. It just means you're going to have to try a little harder.

<3 Danielle

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Weigh-in Day, January 19

184.6 - 2 pounds down from last week! A great start to the year!

While I sat up on my pedestal and preached about following the plan to every detail, I will swallow my pride and say that didn't always happen. Nobody is perfect, least of all me, and it takes more than a week to get used to how this program works again. I did workout 4 times this week, which is huge, and for the most part I logged all my points like a good girl and did my best to eat correctly.

This week is a new week! A chance to get even closer to the 170's, where I haven't been since probably 2007. If I stick to my guns, I can easily be there by Valentine's Day. So that's my short term goal - 179 or less by Valentine's Day. Not that Valentine's Day is a special to me for any particular reason, but who doesn't like to look nice the one day of the year when we're required to celebrate love? :) The weight loss goal BY that date is arbitrary - I chose it only because it gives me a specific date to shoot for. Which brings me to the importance of short-term goals.

Short-term goals are HUGE in the success of your weight loss program. If you say "By the end of the year I want to be a size 2!" that's awesome. But what is motivating you to get there from month to month? Setting vast long-term goals and not following through with them is the MAIN reason people fall off the wagon when it comes to New Year's resolutions. Don't allow yourself to slack off because you have "the whole year" to get there.

Start small - you don't know how your body is going to react to the changes that you are making. The best short-term goals are ones that are possible, but challenging enough that you will have to work a little to reach them. To lose 5 pounds or more in the next 3 weeks, I will need to stay on my current plan. No crash diets or vast changes like cutting all sugar/carbs/insert trouble food here. But just keep plugging away.

Do's and Don'ts of short-term goals:
1) DO NOT set a short-term goal SO lofty that it will only depress you when you haven't reached it.
2) DO chose a SPECIFIC DATE to reach your goal by. It can be a holiday, special date, end of the month, whatever. But make it specific. Don't say "the middle of February" - that will give you room to slack.
3) DO NOT set more than one short-term goal at a time. When you reach the date you have specified in your goal, re-evaluate based on your progress until that point. You may need to expect to lose less as you get smaller and the pounds become harder to shed. You may have done much better than expected, and realize that you can lose more than you thought.
4) DO make little notes to yourself to remind you of your goal! Leave a note on your bathroom mirror, or your fridge to keep you from mindless eating. Another good idea might be setting a reminder on your phone to go off when you know you are going to be tempted to eat too much. (For me, that would be every evening around 9pm.) Maybe for you, it's a dinner out with friends where you will be tempted. Or between 12-5 when you're at work, bored, and craving cookies. You know yourself - do what will work best for you.

So - what's your goal for this next month? I challenge you to set small steps for yourself - a step at a time is much easier than a giant leap of faith!!

Much love,

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Every Detail Counts

So, I've talked about setting goals. I've talked about choices. But what about day by day? What do you need to do to start on your way?

Get a plan for yourself. Whatever it is - counting calories, joining a plan like Weight Watchers, an online diet plan, whatever. GET AN EATING PLAN. Most likely, you have gotten to the point that you're at now by not knowing exactly what to eat or how much. It's ok to ask for help and to have help. You will need that for a long while.

Now, once you have a plan - THAT PLAN IS THE LAW. Do NOT break the law. The plan you are on - whatever plan you're on - works ONLY if you stick to it.

Here's how I will apply this plan to my weight loss journey.
Monitor EVERYTHING you eat and drink. I mean everything. Whatever you call it - logging points, counting calories, whatever. Don't cheat yourself by saying "oh, that won't count much." EVERYTHING counts!! Here's an example:
Yesterday for lunch, I had chili. I could have just logged "chili." But who eats just chili without all the delicious parts - sour cream, cheese and crackers!! You have to log ALL of that. Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it seems very nit-picky. But IT MATTERS. For my chili example, it came up to an extra 4 weight watchers points! If I added 4 points to every day, it would probably mean a difference of losing weight or not. That's not ok with me. Those "little" cheats will bite you in the ass. They will be the reason you don't reach your goal on time. Don't let them have power by giving yours away.

Another thing I'm guilty of: I have learned to keep fun-size candy bars in my house when I'm in the mood for something sweet. It keeps me from munching on other things when I just want chocolate. BUT - I have gotten into the habit or not logging those extra 2-4 points that the chocolate bar takes up. And it becomes a landslide - First it's that I forgot to log it. Then it's "Well it didn't matter last time. I just won't log it, it won't matter that much." And then "I don't log them, so why can't I have 2 instead of 1?" It's a slippery slope - DON'T let yourself get to that point! I promise you will see the results if you pay attention to those details.

Try it for a few days. You will see what I mean.

Just a little update on me. Yesterday I ran 3 miles, and today I ran 4. Today was HAAAARRRRD. I had to walk about 6 minutes of the 50-minute workout. I wanted to walk a LOT more than that, but I found something online that I kept repeating to myself. It says "Suck it up, so one day you don't have to suck it in." Suck it up. It hurts now, but it will not kill me. I CAN run another 5 minutes. I CAN push myself. And that's how you get to the goal - doing things that you didn't know you had it in you to do.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Starting Over, Yet Again

So it starts again. A new beginning. Getting back on the wagon. Back on the horse. But the question, for me, becomes - How do you get back on the horse after you've intentionally thrown yourself off? Ok, maybe you didn't throw yourself off. Maybe you didn't even want to get off. But you lost your grip, and started to slide. Slowly, so slowly you didn't know you were falling at all. And you gradually slid until you reached the ground. And once you reached the ground, you had been falling so long that you didn't even know you were there. You'd forgotten what riding high felt like, so being low didn't seem so out of place. And then you got a wake up call. (Okay, I'm done with this metaphor now.)

Was it that favorite pair of jeans that are now too tight? Did you get on the scale and discover a number higher than you imagined? Did you go back to the gym after a month or two, expecting to be right where you were before, and find that your body has regressed a little?

Well, all of those things happened to me this month. Yep, all of them. And all of them have happened to me before. Sometimes on a small scale, like recently, and sometimes on a much larger one. And at least one of those things has probably happened to EVERYONE WHO HAS EVER STRUGGLED WITH WEIGHT. This is the first thing you must realize. Yes, it sucks to find that you're not where you want to be. But you're not alone, you're not an alien, you are not different than anyone else who has ever lost weight. It's NOT impossible for you. But, you have a choice to make. You can either 1) let this situation get you so down, that you give up and let it get worse, or 2) make a change in your life, and let it get better.

It's that simple. You choose to change or not. I'm not saying that change will be easy, but whether or not to do it is still your choice. You choose to take the easy route and be miserable in the end, or take the very hard road where you can feel amazing about yourself. And once you make that choice, you're on the right road to choosing a different life. And that road is made up of choices. Some easy, some difficult, some that make a huge difference immediately, and some that you don't see the results of for a long while. But all of them are choices that are in your control. I've said this before, and I'll say it again - Successful weight loss is only choices. THAT'S ALL. You choose to go to the gym. You choose to eat a salad. You choose not to get dessert. YOU choose.

When I'm having a hard time, and I want to get eat something I know I shouldn't, I tell myself "One choice at a time." The word "diet" is often scary because people imagine months and months of deprivation and sweat. But diets don't seem so daunting when it's only one choice at once. And if you make good choices, you WILL succeed.

More to come soon. Only one day back from my blogging hiatus, and I'm already feeling the love from you all! Thank you for all the inspiration you give me with every new post. Right now, I'm choosing to go to the gym. :)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome Back!

Welcome back, both to readers and to myself!! It's been far too long since I was here, I know! But I am kicking off 2012 with a new motto, a new blog layout, and a new attitude. Here's me, today:

What has happened to me since my last post in July, I'm sure you're wondering. I could list a lot of excuses as to why I haven't been blogging. I have, in truth, been very busy with work and social life. The boy I met last April and I are still together, and he takes up a good bit of my time as well, although I don't mind! :) So for awhile, those were the reasons. And then I got out of the habit. And then I wasn't losing weight (accountability, people!!) so I didn't have anything to say, or at least not anything I was proud of. And that has circled me back to the same spot I was in a year ago - I still want to reshape my body and my life. Even though I have made big changes in my habits, I'm STILL not where I want to be. Even though I'm no longer considered "obese," my heart is healthier, I'm more muscular and I make better choices, I'm STILL NOT WHERE I WANT TO BE.

Let's recap, though, on how things are a tiny bit different than last year. Here were my fitness goals for 2011:
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables. (3-5 servings per day)
2. Run a mile without stopping.
3. Make working out a routine. (3-5 times per week)
4. Cook more often. (1-2 times per week)

The first question is: have I accomplished these goals?
1. I have succeeded in eating more fruits and vegetables. Granted, I do not reach the suggested amount every single day, but most days I do. I usually have fruit for breakfast and a salad for lunch, which covers at least 3 servings. And dinner varies, based on my diet dedication that day, but for the most part I have at least one servings of veggies at dinner. So, I have significantly increased my "real food" intake by eating more fruits and vegetables. Plus, my high grocery bills can prove it. :)
2. I did indeed accomplish my goal of running a mile without stopping, in May of 2011. And then, I went SIGNIFICANTLY further. I ran TWO 5Ks in 2011, one at a time of 36.02 minutes, and the other at a time of 33.17 minutes. That's less than an 11-minute mile on that last one, which is pretty decent running pace, especially for someone of my size. I ran as far as 4 miles without stopping, and as far as 6 miles with walking breaks. I can officially call myself not only a runner, but a racer.
3. This one is the only one that I haven't completely achieved. I did very well about working out from January until about October, when my 5ks were over. I knew people at the gym, the staff recognized me, I had personal trainers, etc. I was doing well. Then it was more like 2-3 days, then 1-2, and then in December I might have worked out twice in the entire month. But, as you know if you've ever battled weight, these lulls will happen in the journey. I hate that I slacked off for THAT long, but it's all about being able to pick yourself up and get back on the horse. And in my case, that horse is a treadmill.
4. This is the worst of the 4. I have strayed from cooking much at all in the last few months, which could be a reason that I haven't lost much weight lately. It's hard to monitor your calories when you don't know exactly what was put in the food. But it's hard to cook when you get home from work every night at 7:30 or later! It will be something to work on.

Next question: where has this year brought me? I have lost 1 dress/pant size. I started 2011 as a size 16 and I am officially a 14 right now. I started off January at 205.2 pounds, and I weigh 186.6 as of this morning. I got down to as low as 182 this year. So I guess you could say I lost 23.2 pounds and gained 4.6 back, mostly in the month of December where I slacked.

The most important question: Where do I want 2012 to take me?
1. Get to a size 8. Whatever weight that might be.
2. Run a half-marathon.
3. Cook 1-2 times per week.
4. Keep doing all the other stuff I was already doing!

Let me elaborate:
A size 8 is the smallest I have ever been in my adult life. It was also the happiest I have ever been. I want to get there, and be able to stay there. I don't care how much I might weight then, because I know that based on my BMI, the number might vary even though I'm the same size. But that's my ultimate goal for myself.

The half-marathon. This is something I want to say I have accomplished once in my life. I also know it will help me reach my size goal. And even though it will be difficult, and the training will often not be fun, I really really want to do this. I think it's a true measure of a fit person.

Cooking! This is a necessity. I will NEVER reach or maintain a healthy weight if I don't start cooking more often. I've gotten to a place where I'm very good about eating a healthy breakfast and lunch. And then dinner rolls around, and if I don't have healthy leftovers in the fridge, I eat whatever is in sight and delicious. Which usually means eating things I don't need and much more than I need to. I HAVE to start planning ahead and setting myself up for success.

Last but not least, I do not want my goals for 2012 to get in the way of the goals I reached in 2011. I am calling them goals and NOT resolutions, because these are not things I want to change just for this year. These are things that I want to keep in place for my entire life. So, one of my goals is to keep up my old habits and add new ones!!

This journey will never end - so I hope that you won't get tired of reading about it. :) Much love to you all!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Recap - written in July of 2011

I mentioned in my last post that the last 2 months have been crazy. But I haven't forgotten about my goals. Since the year's about half over, I'm going to

Goal #1 - Make working out a priority, about 3-4 times per week.
Despite my ups and downs, going to the gym has become part of my routine. It's not always 3-4 times a week, but I do some sort of physical activity every week. Never in my life have I consistently been in a gym for 6 months straight. I actually recognize the staff members - and they recognize me!! It's a very bizarre feeling, but in a way, completely wonderful. And now with my 5K training, I'm very excited about all the gym-going that I'm going to be doing in the next few months!

Goal #2 - Eat more fruits and vegetables.
When I'm busy, it's hard to get to the grocery store to get fresh fruits. But I do my best to keep fruit in my fridge at all times. I used to buy fruit and it would go bad before I got a chance to eat it. But I very rarely have that happen now! I make it a point to have fruit with my breakfast, and I often eat it as a snack during the day. I used to keep lots of salad in my fridge, too, but when I started working at the restaurant, I didn't need to anymore. I get free lunch there (thanks John and Laura!), and I make myself a salad everyday. I do buy vegetables A LOT more than I used to. I often use them for dips like cheese, hummus or guacamole, instead of chips. So, I might not get 3-5 servings every single day, but I eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than I used to!

Goal #3 - Cook more often.
This is where I suffer a tiny bit. I do cook, and I found that I actually enjoy it. But since I started working at the restaurant a lot, I haven't had a lot of time to plan meals. When I was still cooking and working at the restaurant, my leftovers would go bad because I didn't eat them fast enough. I suppose I could cut my recipes in half and cook less. Which is something I will consider for the future. But, the important thing is that I have discovered I CAN cook, and I don't hate it!! So that's a big step.

I also mentioned in my last post that I weighed in 190.0. My post in May was 191.2. Now, I have stopped using my bathroom scale as my "official" scale because I don't really trust it. If it moves even an INCH, the weight changes. One day, I got on the scale 3 different times, and it read 3 different weights with a difference of 4 pounds. So, I have officially switched to my gym scale, which was usually a higher weight than my bathroom scale. So this does not necessarily reflect my actual weight loss.