Friday, April 30, 2004

Clothing Milestones

It's been an interesting week. Half the time I feel like I'm just as big as ever, that I always will be fat no matter what I do. But then I realize that can't be true -- I'm getting more comments on now much I'm changing, and I had two major milestones this week. Not only did I get into jeans I haven't been able to wear in over 10 years, but I actually bought size 18/20 shorts and although they were snug, I could actually get them on!

It's just my impatience and need for instant gratification getting in the way. Plus, I had my photo taken for the newspaper today (promoting a B&B tour we're involved in) and while it was a good photo, part of me wished I could see more drastic changes.

Despite my frustrations, the week has gone well. I exercised at the gym five days, ate pretty well during the week and when I did eat "danger" foods, I kept the portions reasonable and didn't go crazy. But I am going to make myself wait to get on the scale Monday. Just hoping there's another nice decrease!

Monday, April 26, 2004

Breaking 280

Woo-hoo! I broke the 280 barrier! While didn't make the month or even the two weeks, I at least went one whole week without looking at the scale, which is an improvement and did seem to help with the number=mood problem I've been having. It also helped to dwell more on the exercise aspect of this, and something tells me going to the gym five times plus the additional walking and swimming helped me to get to 275, despite a few high-calorie days.

This past Wednesday we went out to dinner with my uncle (who spends most of his days in Mongolia), and I thought I did very well with portion control. Then Sunday there was a spaghetti dinner at church, and I made sure to leave some pasta on my plate, because they gave such huge portions. Today I did go a little overboard by going out for Chinese, but I did skip the rice and didn't go for desserts and got more veggies instead.

I realize, however, that I can't be pushing the limits all the time and expect to keep losing weight. I know, I don't want to obsess, but I still want to keep going, as far as the fates (and my body) will let me.

It's funny -- there are days where I can really see and feel a difference, but then there's time where I feel like nothing's changed. But those are getting fewer, because 35 pounds is pretty substantial. In a funny twist, though, I was thinking today that even though my body's changing, I still pretty much feel the same -- attributed to the fact that I had come to a fairly good level of acceptance about my body. Even now I don't think about myself at 330, etc., with self hatred and loathing. I mean, I'm glad I'm getting into smaller sizes and I feel less stuffed, but I don't think my value as a human being is increasing because of it. I suppose that's good; it seems to be keeping my expectations realistic and attainable.

For example, this past week I went through my closet and realized almost all of my Sunday/dress clothes are way too big. While part of me is glad, the other part was sad to see some of my favorite pieces go, and I though about how much it will cost to replace my wardrobe!

Monday, April 19, 2004

Make or Break Time

Today I took my scale and chucked it in the closet. I am just tired of feeling frustrated and discouraged, especially by a number. Optimally I'd like to wait a month until I check again, but at the very minimum I'd like to go at least a full week, hopefully two.

The weekend was sort of hard, with hoagies [subs] and pizzas and birthday cake in my environment. I did fine until Sunday evening, when I ate more pizza than I should have, but I left one piece behind and didn't just mindlessly binge. I also justified it because I ate very little throughout the day.

It's such a "make or break" time with me right now. I feel like I need to cut myself a little slack, but I'm afraid a little will turn into a lot, and then I'll be done for. Finding that balance of healthy (and that means physically and mentally) eating has always been nearly impossible for me, although I do find the food journal helps keep me accountable and aware of what I'm choosing.

I've decided to add an exercise part to the food journal, so I can record what kinds and how much exercise I'm getting on a daily basis. That way I can also see what I've accomplished on that front, because that's also important.

I have to realize that I'm not sure where my body will decide to settle. It may be 200, it might be more or less. All I can guarantee is my daily behavior -- my level of activity and food choices -- and the results of that are beyond my control.

I've never been able to lose more than 40 pounds during a single diet, so I know the feelings I'm experiencing now, and I admit it makes me a little anxious. Because I don't want this to be another diet -- I want to permanently improve my behaviors and not lead myself to another rebound. Along the road I've slowly picked up the knowledge of healthy eating and exercise from different resources and at different times. The trick now is to incorporate it all into one lifestyle that I can be happy with. I'll never be able to avoid all temptations and won't always be able to find alternatives to overeating. But like a little kid learning to ride a bike, I need to pick myself up when I fall and get right back on the bike, not sit there crying and full of self pity.

I think I mentioned this before, but I'm definitely feeling some of the same emotions I did during the adoption. I'm at the point where I've laid all the groundwork, and now I just have to wait for the end result. As much as I want that to come quickly, it just won't, and I have to find the patience and perseverance to see it through --without going crazy!

But I have to remember: even though it seemingly took forever, the big day did eventually arrive, and as long as I stick with the program, the results will eventually come with this, too.

Friday, April 16, 2004

You're My Obsession

Man, what a hard week it's been! For some reason it's been really hard to fight the urges to binge, and although I thought I did really well last night when I went to the pizza place with JB, I've just felt all week like I'm faltering, and a lot of that is because the scale hasn't dropped at all.

I think one reason this week hasn't gone well for me mentally was because it's been a hectic one, and although it hasn't been extremely stressful, it's still more than I've had lately, and it's really clear that without my unchecked eating to comfort me, I'm definitely feeling the strain.

I may also be hitting my first real plateau, and it may be time to kick up the exercise another notch, because I don't really want to decrease my current food intake any more than I am right now. My average day falls between 1300-1500 calories, which is just enough to keep me from feeling really deprived. And I should not be having a major anxiety attack over eating four bites of Mabel's soft pretzel at the school musical tonight! This is ridiculous, and I really think I'm getting way too obsessive about all of this. It's unrealistic to think I'm going to keep losing weight as fast as I was, and I'm getting perilously close to the old feelings of "poor me" and that this is all a punishment. Clearly this is a major crossroads time for me, and what happens in the next few days -- which contain several temptations -- will determine if I can continue into the long term.

And I think part of that long term and its success is taking some of the pressure off of me. I think the first step is to stop weighing myself so often. I've been doing it daily, and it's definitely controlling my mood, usually in a bad way. I need to literally hide the damn scale in a closet and out of sight so I quit judging myself by what it says. I also think I need to forbid myself to calculate calorie totals in my head, because I'm getting way too worked up over my daily totals and if I'm over or under. I know what healthy foods and portion sizes are, and I need to focus on that instead of numbers and forbidding "bad" foods.

While these steps will probably wind up slowing down my weight loss, I have to realize that it's the only way it's going to actually happen. Better that it take two years than never.

The new plan is to focus more on the exercise -- commit to more walking yoga and even swimming. I also need to quit obsessing about this, because in the meantime my housework and B&B chores are suffering. So I need to buckle down with FlyLady and try to re-establish my missions and weekly home blessings.

The sad thing is, I want to get to a lower weight on the scale before I take a "break" and not use it daily. Is that pathetic or what? Maybe tomorrow I'll get lucky, but what if I don't? I wish I could find better ways of validating myself and measuring my success.

Monday, April 12, 2004

After Easter Wrap Up

I deducted one day [of overeating abstinence] for yesterday, Easter Sunday, even though I actually did fairly good during the meal -- although I was stuffed I just got small portions of everything and didn't get seconds of anything. But I acted like a complete junkie over my peanut butter eggs, especially the big peanut butter meltaway. Although a funny thing happened; by the end it had lost its seductive allure, and today I was totally ready to get back to my routine and did my best to eliminate most of the leftovers so I wouldn't be tempted, just in case.

But I didn't feel well (again a food hangover) and wound up not going to the gym. In fact, it's going to be a hard week for the gym, between kindergarten registration on Wednesday and a B&B guest on Friday morning (like I did today). I really need to get on the ball about the treadmill as my alternate exercise on days I can't get to the gym.

I got my notice for my 15th class reunion, which will be held relatively early this time on May 29. I was sort of hoping it would be in July or August so I would have more time to lose weight, but I do figure at my prior calculations that I could possibly lose 20 more pounds by the party. Hopefully I can do it without suffering for it.

I got some compliments from my aunts at dinner yesterday, which felt good, because most of the time no one ever says anything, and I start to wonder if anyone can notice a change or if it's just me. But there's definitely things like clothes, even the seat adjustment in my car, that are definite proof it it.

I need to go back and say that I did pretty well Saturday night, even though we ordered from the pizza place. I split a small veggie pizza with my cousin's wife and two fried zucchini strips, which is much better than I did the last time during the Maple Festival. Could it be I'm slowly improving? Maybe.

While I think I need the occasional "free" day to get my fill of my favorite goodies, there's a down side to it. As Easter neared I got more and more focused on it, and I really think that dwelling on it made me have more cravings and made it more difficult to abstain in the days leading up to it.

Mom was also no help, and at times did her best (subconsciously or not?) to sabotage me. She can compliment me on my resolve one moment then try to get me to eat a bite of her high-calorie cookie the next. Does she not get it that it's like she's offering a beer to an alcoholic? But she's the ultimate addictive personality and has surrounded herself with people who also have addictive personalities. Yes, it's discouraging and frustrating, but so far I'm fortunate that it hasn't derailed me.

I've been thinking a lot lately about adopting again, but I don't think it'll be anytime real soon, until the U.S. can adopt from Vietnam again. But I also want to be much further along on this journey and assimilate better ways of coping with stress before I subject myself to that ordeal.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Fifty Days, Thirty Pounds

What a great way to celebrate 50 days -- by marking 30 pounds gone since Feb. 17! It really just blows my mind. I don't think I've ever been able to maintain a routine like this for this long and with these results -- not without making myself miserable.

Granted, there are still temptations, still moments where I think about making myself a mountain of quesadillas and stuffing myself. And believe me, I'm counting the days until Easter when I can dive into that peanut butter meltaway egg! That will never go away. But if I can regulate those moments to the occasional "treat day" instead of an everyday occurrence, I hope I can keep myself from falling back into my old ways (and weighs!).

What's fun, however, is watching my body change. Even my face is slowly changing as I'm losing weight. It's all the little things I observe on a day to day basis that remind me that there are already results, even if it seems like they're minuscule sometimes. It's difficult to keep that "I've got so far to go" attitude out of my head. Instead, the other day I was calculating numbers in m head, and I figured that at 3 pounds a week, I could be down to around 250 by my birthday. Seeing that my average loss has continued to be about 5 pounds per week, that should be a very attainable goal and one that thrills me. That's not far away at all! Even if I go down 2 pounds a week, I could be awfully trim by Christmas time if I keep faithful to my current plan.

I keep worrying that something is going to derail me -- some stressful event or injury that will sabotage me. But nothing's been able to derail me so far, and I can only hope I've picked up enough knowledge and skills to keep me going even during the harder times.

By now the gym, recording my meals, even the portion sizes, are becoming second nature to me. While I'm still wishing I could get my ass in gear with housework and B&B maintenance, I suppose most brains can only acquire so many new routines at once, and eventually I can get to those. But for now I'm feeling good, and that's the important part, right?

Monday, April 05, 2004

Sneak Peek

Yes, once again, I've been sneaking peeks at the scale, so I was glad to see another three pounds gone [282] and couldn't help recording it. Of course I'll check again on Wednesday, just in cast it would happen to go down again by then. I'm like a naughty kid opening my Christmas presents early; I've always been bad at waiting for presents, good news, etc., and the same goes for this. I need constant validation, and so far I've been lucky that I've had such steady and substantial (yet healthy) weight loss. I never expected to have lost almost 30 pounds by Easter, but it's fast approaching, and like Mom said, I haven't had to "suffer" to reach this point, either.

I'm still waiting for it to get hard, when I'm driven to eat and eat, but it just hasn't happened. Maybe it's because I'm allowing myself enough "free" days to get some of that out of my system. And maybe it's because I now realize how destructive daily binging can be. Maybe it's because I don't have a reason to (stress, etc.). Either way, it's almost a relief that I've been having a relatively easy time keeping this up.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Feelings and Changes

Went to church today and KB was there looking amazingly trim, and I heard a few days before at the gym that it's due to WLS -- not sure what kind. It's weird: I always feel this sense of loss when I hear someone else has had the surgery -- another person trying the "quick fix" solution. It's a combination of sadness and anger, however. Could it be I feel it's yet another condemnation of fat people -- me -- and that once again I'm being told that I'm not good enough, etc.?

But, what happens if one day I'm no longer a fat person? Hard as that is to believe, if I can make this a permanent lifestyle, it could very well happen. Will I be offended when people come up to me after church to tell me how wonderful I look? "What, I looked like shit before?" Is that what will be stuck in my head? "Oh, my body finally meets your approval?"

Will I be angry and resentful about all the years I've been invisible and sub-par to the general consensus? That's something I definitely need to address in therapy, especially on the miraculous chance that it actually happens. I still teeter on the It's Gonna Happen/It's Impossible seesaw, and I don't think that will change until I've lost considerably more weight.

Last night we had a prime rib dinner for Mom's birthday, and I thought I did really well. I only had half a piece of bread with some pesto and bruschetta topping, saved part of my meat for tonight's dinner, took it easy on the potatoes and ate more of the roasted veggies, and topped it off with a small Caesar salad. As for drinks I had two small ones (1/2 glass each) and had seltzer the rest of the evening. Probably the only thing I ate a little too much of were green olives, and I know I had less than 10, so it wasn't by much. I was able to eat with everyone else, not make a fuss, end the evening not stuffing myself and can enjoy some leftovers tonight.

Mabel told me a few days ago that my "boobies are shrinking," which I guess means even she can notice a change. It's exciting for me to see these changes, but of course, I wish it was faster (don't we all?).

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Losing It

Although I said I wasn't going to, I did some "curiosity checks" on the scale, and while I was sorta' scared of the number on Monday, by Wednesday it was back to last week's low, so I was really glad about that, and that will tide me over to next week's official weighing.

The last couple days I've had moments where I felt like I ate too much. For example, at Wednesday's lunch outing with SA, but in each case it was primarily vegetables I was eating, and while I feel a little stuffed at the time, I think it's mainly because they are quite voluminous at first but aren't loaded with fat and sugar, all that heavy stuff. As for the Chinese, I pretty much ate the same size portions, etc., as SA, who is as petite as can be. And I have never seen this woman "overeat." And at Chinese I completely skipped the rice and only had one crab rangoon -- no egg rolls, no lo mein, no eclairs from the dessert bar.

I think I'm tending to get a little hard on myself, especially after this weekend. Part of me wants to starve myself to make sure I lose weight fast and get back on the roll I had been on. But I have to remind myself that the main goal here is to not rapidly lose weight, but to find a saner way to deal with food. I know I've been a little too worried about calories, getting all anxious if I don't know what the calorie count of something is, and that bothers me. My big concern needs to be portion sizes and not mindlessly munching and making myself sick by overeating.

Exercise has been going very well. I didn't go Monday because I was just so tired from the weekend, but I've gone the rest of the week for at least an hour each time, and I've increased the time on most of the aerobic exercises (bike, rower, rider). I have not been doing the treadmill in the afternoons, but I do think I will being saving it for non-gym days, so I have at least some exercise 6 to 7 days a week. And if later on I reach a plateau, then I can think about adding it daily to help give me a boost. Because I do think I'm getting a fairly good amount right now -- about 4 hours of gym a week -- actually closer to 5, plus whatever walking, etc., I do at home.

Did I mention I started watching this show on Discovery Health channel called "Losing It"? I'm sort of hooked on it now and tune in to see who the people are, how much they've lost, and how they did it. I tend to compare myself to some, and I always cringe when it's the gastric bypass solution. I'm more impressed/inspired by the ones who do it through healthy eating and exercise, and I do think it gives me some encouragement to keep going. Of course, it also makes me very impatient to see more results, and I realized today that I'm feeling very much like I did when I was going through the adoption process. There's impatience, frustration, excitement, even a little anxiety when I think about what will happen in the future. Silly things like, "I'll have to buy all new clothes;" "what if I have a lot of excess skin?" Because at heart I would really like to join the folks on these shows who lose 100, 150 pounds, which would mean things like new wardrobes and dealing with the after effects on my body. But then I think I'm delusional if I think I could ever get myself down to, say, 140 or 150 pounds. That just seems impossible, beyond comprehension, but I'm afraid that I think that strongly enough I'll have a self-fulfilling prophesy. Whereas, if I let myself believe that I can do it, who knows? Maybe I could.

The truth of the matter is, I'll just keep going until my body tells me what's right -- and I'm sure it will let me know.

Of course, my next big hurdle is Easter, which is just in fact another day. I'll do the best I can and on Monday brush myself off and get back to my routine. I must admit it would be great to lose another five pounds by then -- making it 30 total -- but I'm not going to beat myself up if I'm not.

Actually, from the highest point I was ever weighed, I am now 52 to 53 pounds lighter, which impressed me when I thought about it. Fifty pounds would have most people cheering up and down the street. I just have to make that sense of accomplishment last to get me through this.