One is the loneliest number…especially when you’re dieting alone

Image from SomeECards via Facebook

Image from SomeECards via Facebook

My weight loss and health journey continues. And I’m glad that I’ve found some great online resources (like the Single Dad Laughing Health Club on Facebook – join it if you’re on your own healthy journey). But…

The biggest problem is that it’s hard to decide who to talk to about what you’re doing when you’re eating right and exercising.

Who can you talk to?

I hate to talk to people who aren’t doing the same thing because it feels like bragging. It feels like when I say I’m drinking more water and I’m exercising more and I’m eating healthier, that I’m saying other people aren’t.

I worry that it sounds like I’m judging.

Here’s the thing – I’m not.

Honestly, I think everyone should do their own thing. I don’t think that everyone wants to go on this journey. That’s fine. I like to talk about what I’m doing because, well, it’s what I’m doing. And if someone likes my ideas, then they can take them and do them, too.

Sometimes I kind of do want to brag. I want to let people know when I’ve gotten into a smaller size. I want to let people know when I’ve lost more weight. I want to let people know how good I feel.

I don’t want to be obnoxious about it, but I’m happy about it.

People feel okay about putting up Facebook posts about when they get jobs, when they get new pets, when they get a bf/gf, anything that they’re excited about. But if someone posts about weight loss or exercise, people think it’s an unnecessary brag. Why? What makes that a brag, but all the other things acceptable?

I don’t want to complain too much, but I do wish that I felt that I could talk about my journey on my FB page without thinking that people will think I’m obnoxious about it. (Yes, I know I’m obnoxious…but I’m trying not to be obnoxious about this!)

Anyway, consider this my public shout out. I’d love to talk to all my friends about what I’m doing, but I assume they don’t want me to. So, friends, if you are okay with me talking about the weight loss and exercise stuff, say so. If not, I’ll go ahead and shut up.

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My new “up yours” diet

woman raising her middle fingerI’ve had a lot of diet/lifestyle changes lately, the biggest one being my shift into being a vegetarian. (Read more about it!)

It’s been about three weeks since I made the shift, and I have to say that I’m surprised at the fact that I haven’t been craving meat. I haven’t been thinking about eating it. I’ve even had nightmares where I accidentally ate it. I don’t think I’m missing it. I’m hoping that I don’t start missing it.

But, one of the other changes that I had was that I decided to start a new diet plan. It’s one that I made up all by myself. It’s called the “Up Yours Diet.”

I suppose I could have called it “Up My Diet,” but that just sounds even worse. Plus it’s fun to say “Up Yours” if people ask me if I’m following a diet plan.

Here’s what happened: I used Weight Watchers to break my last plateau.

It had worked, and I was thrilled. But then I got stuck again. I hadn’t really been checking my weight too often – doing my weekly weigh ins were about it – and so I didn’t realize until a month had passed that I’d once again stopped any sort of movement on the scale. Great that I hadn’t been going up, but annoying that I hadn’t been going down.

During that month, I’d spent a week eating all my points, a week not eating all my points; I’d exercised every day one week, and barely at all another week because I’d been sick. It didn’t matter. Every weigh in date, the weight was exactly the same. And I mean *exactly.* My scale gives me all the .1, .2, .6, what-have-you, and it the same down to the .2.

Grumble.

Since my three months of Weight Watchers were about to run out, I went ahead and cancelled. And I decided that I needed to change things.

I decided to up everything.

I would eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

I would drink more water.

I would exercise more.

I would increase everything good that I’d been doing.

There were only two things I decreased: I decided that I should go for Tall drinks at Starbucks instead of Grande ones, and I should not have high expectations. I needed to make sure I didn’t weigh in every day or expect my weight to change too much too quickly.

So, up yours!

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I went over to the dark side…and they had cookies!

Cookies!

Cookies!

My weight-loss journey had been slowing down quite a bit. Since December, I was playing the scale game, with the numbers going up and down, never really settling down. It seemed like no matter what I did, I couldn’t see a difference in numbers. I know that numbers aren’t everything, but it still made me a bit frustrated to feel like I was doing so well and then not seeing the results.

So I did it.

I went over to the dark side.

That’s right. I joined Weight Watchers last month.

Now, I’m not a go-to-meetings-and-be-social-or-get-publicly-shamed-or-praised kind of girl. I just joined using the online app where I can do it at home and ignore all those other WW people.

Since I’ve joined, I’ve been eating plenty of Girl Scout cookies. I’ve been drinking coffee with sugar in it. I’ve even gone out to full-blown dinners with all sorts of goodies that I would normally consider ‘bad’ for me.

And since I’ve joined? Yeah, I’ve also lost 7 pounds. I finally hit my 50 pound goal.

It’s taken me two and a half years of this journey, but I have to say that part isn’t what matters to me. What matters is that I’ve been steady and solid, and I can now say that I hit the magic number of 50.

I began at a solid 210. I’m down to a happier 160. I was a tight size 16 and xxl. Now I’m a loose size 10 and medium (or large if I don’t want it to be too clingy).

I also know I’m in better shape. This weekend, I’m away at a convention, and when I hit the gym at the hotel, I had no problem doing over an hour of working out. Did some treadmill walking, did some biking. Broke a sweat, sure, but I didn’t feel exhausted afterwards. I even considered hopping on the elliptical, and if it hadn’t already been 10 p.m., I might have gone ahead and done that, too.

I think the important thing about my swap to Weight Watchers is that it doesn’t limit me. I can eat what I want, just in moderation. And that’s what I’ve been doing all this time. I think that their calculations (using fat, carbs, and protein) is really helping me focus on healthier food choices, and I can’t help but think that their diet plan is also good for those of us who are concerned about diabetes. Since it runs in my family, that has been a huge push for me. I want to avoid getting diabetes if I can. And with the WW points, I can see how ‘bad’ something is from that viewpoint. I’m not just looking at how many calories I consume; I’m looking at what actually goes into the food.

I have a three-month membership, so let’s see what happens. And let’s keep eating those cookies!

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Weight Hate

Weight loss diagram by Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

Weight loss diagram by Stuart Miles via freedigitalphotos.net

I know better. You probably know better. Everyone knows better.

But I can’t help it.

Right now, I’m at another plateau. I’m still doing the right things – exercising, eating right, trying to get enough sleep, all that good stuff – but my weight is just standing still.

I have a goal of taking off another 10 to 20 pounds. And so far, it just hasn’t happened. I’ll lose a pound here, and then gain it right back. It doesn’t seem to matter what I do.

I can eat right and gain two pounds. I can eat poorly and lose half a pound. Or I can eat right and lose a pound.

The way that my actions don’t seem to be reflected in any outcomes is getting really frustrating.

But I know better.

Even if I’m not seeing any results, I need to soldier on. I need to keep up with what I’m doing. I need to keep exercising. I need to keep eating right. I need to keep trying to get my eight hours a night.

I know that, in the end, they will make a difference. I know that I will see something shift once my body is ready to shift. And I know that I’m doing what’s good for me: I’m healthier, I’m less at risk for weight-related issues, and I’m even feeling better mentally when I get my exercise in.

So I know better. But I still can’t help looking at that scale and having weight hate.

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Because even when we exercise, we like to be couch potatoes…

Women on treadmills by photostock via freedigitalphotos.net

Women on treadmills by photostock via freedigitalphotos.net

Why are we expected to require TV while we exercise?

At hotels, they have the TV built right into some of the machines. Ditto at some (okay, most) gyms.

And no matter what, there’s almost always that audio jack so you can watch whatever channels the gym has on their multitude of their TVs.

Why do we take something, like TV, that seem to beg for a sedentary lifestyle and couple it with an activity? Do we always feel the need to have that couch potato in us, even when we’re being active? Is it not possible for us to just focus on exercise? Especially considering that it always seems – to me – that at least one of the TVs at the gym is playing a show from a cooking/food network?

And what about the studies that talk about binge-watching TV? Is it still bad for you, even if you exercise while you do it?

According to CNN, the issue is with the behaviors that go with television – the sedentary lifestyle. NBC points out that, “The negative effects of “sit time” aren’t mitigated by exercise, meaning that running a mile won’t undo the damage done to your body by watching the entire first season of “Walking Dead” on your couch.”  NBC also brings up that binge watching can be like doing drugs – the more you watch, the more you need to watch to enjoy it. “If you’re watching too much at a time, you get dull to it and you’re not really appreciating the show.”

So do we need to watch TV to exercise? I know that there are some times when reading doesn’t work. If I’m on an elliptical, having a book is hard, especially when it comes time to flip those pages. And while listening to music is great, sometimes having something distracting can help you push past those plateaus. But when I go for a long walk on a track, I do just listen to music or, if I’m lucky, convince a friend to walk with me so I have someone to talk to – another good way to distract during the times you need to push on.

Perhaps it’s just the need to distract ourselves, the need to convince ourselves that we’re actually being productive. Not that I’m saying that watching TV is productive…but it’s a good way to seemingly multi-task. “See,” we can say, “I was able to watch half a season of my favorite show and get in a bunch of exercise. Clearly, I’m advanced in my multi-tasking!”

But, just for the sake of argument, I also want to bring up how nice it can be to just exercise without anything else going on. As someone who writes and does arts/crafts, sometimes letting my mind wander can help get me through problems I’m stuck on. How can I make that cross stitch pattern look better? What can I do to make the character die an untimely (yet appropriate and meaningful) death? Exercise can sometimes lead to a meditative state, a chance to detach from the physical and move into the mental realm. (Admittedly, that can also be a problem if you have nothing handy to take notes on.)

I’m not sure how to close these thoughts…there really isn’t an end to them. I don’t think there’s a right or a wrong answer. It’s more meant to be something for me – and hopefully you – to think about. Something to decide. Does anyone feel like TV is their motivator? Can you only exercise when it’s there? Or do you hate it? I’d love to find out if I’m the only one who wonders…

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New Year’s Goals

Mixed Fruit Basket by Ambro via freedigitalphotosdotnet

Fruit!!
Image by Ambro via freedigitalphotos.net

Last year, I lost and kept off 15 pounds over the course of the year. Maybe that doesn’t sound too impressive, but the year before, I lost and kept off 30 pounds. My goal for this coming year is to lose and keep off another 20 pounds. At the end, I’ll have lost and kept off 65 pounds. Nothing to take for granted. Especially since I’m happy with it. I don’t feel like I’ve given things up – I’ve just changed them.

And I’ve also added a new daily goal.

My goals that I’ve added so far have been:

  • Only eat meat once a day. This one I’ve been doing pretty well with. I manage it at least 5/7 days. But there are also days when I don’t eat any meat at all, so I think if I look at it as a counting game (one meal out of three), I’d be even close to the goal.
  • Exercise every day. Again, another one I’ve done pretty well on. It’s hard to do if I’m sick or have a migraine, but, again I’d give it a solid 5/7, each one at least 30 minutes. Pretty solid.
  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. I know, some people say it should be at least eight glasses a day, but I haven’t been able to do that, and I’d rather have an attainable goal. And, again, I’ve managed it at least 5/7 days. Not bad on that one, either.

So what are my new goals?

  • Obviously, I need to keep working on my existing goals and see if I can hit 6/7 or even 7/7 on them. I’ve had some good stretches, some even about a month long, where I’ve achieved them daily, so I know that I can do them with effort.
  • My new one: eat at least one piece of fruit a day. This is in addition to any other veggies or salad or fruit as part of something else. I realized that I just wasn’t eating as much fruit anymore, and I’m not sure why. I love fruit, and we normally have plenty of it in the house since my son loves it, too, but somehow I was going days at a time without having a piece of fresh fruit. Craziness! Now I’ve added it to my daily goals, and so far so good!
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The amazing, incredible growing clothes

Woman losing weight image - by sattva via freedigitalphotos.net

Okay, I’m not quite there yet, but…
Image by sattva via freedigitalphotos.net

There’s a good side to eating right and exercising – for me, that’s losing weight and getting healthy. It’s been a long, long road for me (over a year to lose 45 pounds), but I’m there, and that’s great.

The problem, if you can call it that, is that along with the weight loss, I’ve also lost sizes. Which is mostly good. I’ve managed to go from an XXL/16 to a M/L/10. Totally awesome, right? I’ve been able to yank out clothes from my closet that I haven’t fit in two years. It’s great.

Except…

Except that now I have some newer clothes that I’ve been wearing, that I also love, that are huge on me. They are baggy and hang on me, and I can’t wear them without feeling like I’m wearing a sack. And in some cases, I spent a lot of money on them (because, of course, the world doesn’t like people who are overweight and so they cost more than “normal” clothes).

So, to sum up – awesome because I’m wearing some old clothes that I love that I haven’t fit in for year. Bad because I can no longer wear some newer clothes I grew to love because now I don’t fit in them.

I still have to say that I’m happier now than before, and it’s not even necessarily about the size drop. It’s the energy and the flexibility and everything that goes with getting in better shape. My weight is still going down very, very slowly, but I can feel myself getting more muscular and able to do more than before.

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