Information Overload

Well, the Biggest Loser Bootcamp concluded last Sunday. My overall weight loss was not stellar, but I lost 5 lbs and 9.5 inches. The parts where I really improved were my overall level of fitness. At the beginning of the bootcamp, I could barely do a lunge and I definitely could not do any kind of jumping. By the end of the bootcamp, I am proud to say that I can do 15 burpees in a minute (minus the jump, just not there yet!), 20 full push-ups, and I am jumping and lunging all over the place. I also was able to beat my personal best on the Jacob’s Ladder by 100 steps, making for 350! And yeah, I think that’s a pretty BFD.

As I said, I only lost 5 lbs, but I totally own that it was all me. I have terrible eating habits, and the early weeks proved that all the exercise in the world wasn’t going to fix that. You can’t outrun your fork, people! After my last post, I found this site that basically told me that I was eating too much. The author was pretty much a dick about it, but regardless, it got me thinking about my food log and whether or not I was truly adding EVERYTHING I was eating. Well, it turns out, I wasn’t, so I started ruthlessly logging every little bite that passed my lips, and measuring everything I ate so I had the most accurate calorie count. That next week, I lost 3 lbs. Then we started shifts but I still managed to lose weight at a rate of 1 lb a week. Then-I got sidetracked yet again.

I wasn’t seeing results like other people in the camp, and so, of course, what’s my go-to? The Internet. The lovely, lovely, internet. I completely overwhelmed myself with information, and then I was questioning my overall diet. Should I go low carb? Maybe temporarily? Would Paleo be better? Maybe I should start hunting and killing and eating my meat (I laughed when I thought that. I like my meat on a styrofoam tray, wrapped in plastic, or flash frozen in neat little individual servings). Everything I read seemed to conflict with something else I had already read, or thought, or felt. It all started with a, “Hey, that recipe looks good” click, and I had opened the hydrant.

I went from Paleo to low carb to low carb/high fat to moderate carb/moderate fat/high protein. Grains were bad, sugar was worse, Fat was not the devil, as long as it came from x, y, z and not from a, b, c. Paleo sounded the best, I thought I could eat like that for the most part. But it seems really labor intensive to follow properly, not to mention the expense. I don’t have ready access to a large selection of organic produce. Grass fed meats are mega expensive and I don’t have that in my budgetmy budget can’t accommodate that. Also, the biggest drawback to the whole thing: I would be doing it solo, and I don’t have time to prep a bunch of food every week.

Then, admittedly, I got further sidetracked by a 48 hour crush on this hunter-athlete guy who doesn’t eat dairy, eats his carbs only early in the day, works out like a beast lifting and running several miles day, kills his own meat (with a BOW, natch!). I mean, how hot is that? Easy on the eyes as well, excellent example of physical fitness, blah blah blah. The life he leads is admirable, but ultimately, unrealistic for me.

But it had to stop. I *was* trying to drink from the fire hydrant. I was drowning in dieting information, man crushes, and eat this not that bullshit. I closed the browsers, but it was too late. The damage was done. I sort of just drifted along while I tried to process all the information I had gathered. There was just too much information out there, too many ways to do things, and no way to know what would work best for me unless I just straight up experiment.

So, on to the Next Big Thing. I have signed up for the Holiday Bootcamp, and also….I re-signed up as a Beachbody Coach. I bought the 21 Day Fix Challenge Pack to start and joined a challenge group to help keep me accountable. Yeah, I’m doing 2 programs. Yeah, I’m going to start doing the Coach training so I can be an awesome coach and make it my full time job. Hell yeah I want to get paid for being in shape and help other people reach their fitness and financial goals.

I managed to end the bootcamp at 233 lbs, officially. I made my goal for the Holiday Bootcamp to lose another 5 lbs in half the time. I can’t promise that in the future I won’t get caught up in more food hype. I might even try a few Paleo recipes. But for now, I’ll take my information in slow, steady sips from a glass, thank you very much.

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Better Than Yesterday

In my last post, I discussed my decision to enroll in The Biggest Loser Fall Bootcamp. I wanted to post an update on the first 2 weeks of the program. First thoughts: It’s a solid program, the nutrition is good, if a little low on protein (for the food plan I selected), the daily motivation is good, and I like the little reminders and checklists they give every week to help keep you on track. You also set a mini-goal every week and you see it every time you open the page. The community forums are also nice, because you have people who have never done a bootcamp, to those who have completed several, and everyone has great advice and is really good about boosting each other up and keeping each other motivated.

Week 1. As I mentioned before, the first week of bootcamp I was off work, so at home and more in control of my food and activities. I stuck to the meal plans and only did not eat what was prescribed a handful of times, primarily there were 2 meals that I ate out. I did the prescribed exercises in addition to workouts I did on my own. Even with my meals out, and occasional off-menu snacks, I still managed to have a negative calorie deficit for every day, in fact, according to their calculations, I had a 9000+ calorie deficit for the first week. So, you can understand my frustration when I weighed in on Saturday and had only lost .5 lbs. Half a pound! I wanted to scream! Not only that, but some of my measurements showed a gain, so I also only lost 1.5 inches.

I was pissed and furious, and this my friends, is when I would have thrown in the towel. But the hubs told me to keep pushing and to at least finish the program. I tried to read everything I could get my eyeballs on about why I didn’t lose weight. This is where the forums really helped-I posted my absymal results, and turns out, I’m not the only one.

As the week went on, I could tell that my lack of progress was getting to me because I kept making poor food choices even when I had healthier options. Sort of a, “Who cares. I can’t lose weight whatever I do, so I’m gonna eat whatever I want”, attitude. I still pushed myself at the gym, and continued to make a calorie deficit, but I had that defeatist attitude through it all. A few days later, after I had missed a workout and then furiously tried to make up for it the next day, I came to a realilzation.

I had been asking myself what the point of all of this was. Well, the point was to lose weight, duh! But there had to be more than that, right? Reading the forums gave me the answer I sought. My priority couldn’t just be changing the number on the scale. I needed to also focus on learning to sustain myself after the boot camp ended. I needed to learn to feed myself for the rest of my life, not just these 8 weeks. So, I’ve readjusted my goals to focus not solely on weight loss, but also journey itself, and to make each day better than the last.

For Week 2, I struggled with the disspointment of my Week 1 results, comforted myself with the wrong kind of foods. I changed my overall goals for the boot camp, and decided that it was more important to learn what worked for me and what I can maintain for life than to focus solely on weight loss. In the end, I gained back that stupid half pound.

Going into Week 3, I am more determined than ever to make this week the best. I will be adjusting my calorie count and my macronutrient ratio because I don’t think I’m getting enough protein or enough calories to cover my Basal Metabolic Rate under the standard plan. So, we will see how this pans out and what adjustments need to be made. I can only operate under the plan to be better than I was yesterday.

 

 

Here We Go Again, Same Old Shit Again!

I’ve been away for too long again, but mostly that was by design.  I felt that I didn’t have anything productive to add, and I also felt that I all I wanted to do was bitch about how I keep gaining weight and how unhappy I am.  I didn’t want my writing to turn into the sort of “woe is me” type bullshit, when my unhappiness with my physical appearance is due almost entirely on the way I approach food.

Recently, I have been bitten once again by the fervor and obsession with losing this weight.  I have been scouring the internet, running numbers, scenarios, and planning my “next move”.  This all began at the end of August, when I feel like I officially hit rock bottom.  I had gained more weight (ugh!) and was on a trip to Vegas with my husband, my BFF and her boyfriend.

We were in the hotel room, watching a little TV while we got ready to go somewhere.  I was sitting on the corner of the bed, and across from me on the wall was a large mirror.  I saw something out of the corner of my eye. It was me.  And I looked horrible.  I had never seen myself from that angle.  I can go on about how grotesque I looked, how I knew I was fat, but God DAMN!!!  Holy Shitballs.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  This was the pinnacle, the top, the rotten core of me, on display.  I did the only thing I could think of.  I took a selfie.

I will not post it now.  It is too much and too real, and I don’t need it spreading around on the internet as a meme.  As hard assed as I am, that would destroy me.  But I admit to taking other pictures of myself that showed me in the worst possible light.  I can’t explain why I do it.  Years ago, I would have said I did it to further beat myself down.  Now, I feel like I do it because it’s like an expose.  I can’t deal with it if I’m not honest about it.  I can’t deal with myself if I’m not honest about what I see.  I made a hard goal for myself then, and that was to lose 40 lbs by the end of the year, and I had 4 months to accomplish that goal.

So, I made that awful selfie my home screen on my new phone, and I chose a picture of Amanda Latona for my lock screen and a picture of Misty Copeland as my S-Health background pic. Every time I unlock the phone, I see this glaring reminder of my reality, and every time, I am struck not with despair, but with motivation.  Motivation to change myself.  Motivation to keep going. This month, I focused on trying to change my habits and eating less, especially at work. I started using the tools I had invested in, starting with logging my food regularly, and exercising regularly.  I managed to lose 6 pounds-the only weight I’ve managed to lose since starting work here!

The hubs and I have been fans of the Biggest Loser show for some years.  I know that the show isn’t realistic as far as losing weight, but the struggle of these people is real, and so many of their stories really touch me.  I can relate to many of their struggles. During a commercial break, they had the coaches selling their pitch for the Biggest Loser Boot camp.  Now, I am a cynic and a skeptic, but like anyone who struggles with their weight, I can’t help but pay attention.  So, I looked it up, and the hubs asked if I would be able to commit to something like that.  Of course, I wanted to sign up right away, but the hubs was right.  I was going to pay big bucks for this, was I going to be able to stick with this for the whole 8 weeks?  The eating, and the exercise, and the checking in?

After all, my track record for this sort of thing is pretty abysmal. Right now, I need that more accountability and that more structure this boot camp will offer me.  I feel like the start date was the perfect time to begin, because it’s the start of my week off and I will be working a regular schedule for the month of October.  The program ends right before Thanksgiving.  Previously, I spoke of the planets aligning, and everything falling into place, and I feel like this is exactly what has happened. 

It seems pretty solid.  So far, I have completed all the “Prep week” tasks.  Today was the first day, and so far, so good.  I haven’t done the prescribed exercise yet, but I did walk my kid to school this morning, and I had already planned to do this in the afternoon.   I’m excited, and I’m nervous. I want to succeed and I feel like I am finally going to make it.  I am determined not to make this phase feel like deja poo!

Here’s my sign

We are officially, technically homeless.  Yes, that’s right.  Between moves, we usually have no address.  But that’s okay as we are either with family or at a hotel for the night.  As sad as I was to leave such great neighbors, I was anxious to get on the road.

I’ll be perfectly honest and just say diet has been mostly iffy and as far as workouts, well let’s just leave it at I spent plenty of time humping it up and down stairs in our packing and moving flurry.  I also noticed I had had a few sodas, and yes a few burgers, but I tried to balance that out by eating lighter meals between.  We were doing pretty well with the meal planning.

We hit the road Saturday morning when we had finished all our business with our house and saying goodbyes. We stopped at McDonald’s for lunch because it was there, and on the turnpike there isn’t anything else.  I did okay-I went for one of those deluxe chicken wraps, grilled.  but then I also got fries and a coke. Bad, bad.

But some time after we had hit the road again, I heard this noise, and looked down and saw this:

Photo: Ewww. I'm going to take that as a sign.

Of course I had to laugh.  But then, I felt like this was a sign.  A reminder I didn’t need to finish that soda, and that in fact I had probably been drinking too many sodas, especially since I haven’t been eating all that great, and of course, not exercising.  I took it as a sign to keep my commitment to get fit closer to the forefront of my mind.

If you’re like me, there are times if someone is shouting and yelling at me to do one thing, to go this way, to whatever, I tend to dig my heels and go the opposite way.  The paw on my drink was a nudge, a reminder to keep to the path.  I haven’t had a soda since.  I think that’s a pretty big deal.

A Tale of Two Women

It’s Whiny Wednesday.  Fair warning:  I do have a need to talk about something (someone) and this tale is sure to be loaded with snark with a few dashes of vitriol for good measure.  So, if you don’t want to read any further, it won’t hurt my feelings.  However, if you’re in the mood for some head shaking, guffaws, and drama, read on.

body imageThere are two women, Ethel and Maude, who are related by marriage.  They each have their own little lives, and their own families to deal with.  You would think that they might be good friends, but no.  Maude can’t really stand Ethel because of a variety of reasons, mostly because Maude thinks Ethel is a dumbass.  At first, Maude wondered if her dislike of Ethel was misplaced, since Ethel is skinny and sort of has the body Maude would like to have.  But Maude’s husband has said if she ever lost that much weight, he’d divorce her because he doesn’t want to have sex with a skeleton.  Maude thought that was pretty funny, but after spending more time around her, she’s decided the dislike is rooted in the stupidity of the other.

Ethel is stick thin, and her bone structure is small.  Maude, in all reality, could never be that thin without looking like an anorexic, and she knows it and has determined that she doesn’t want to be skinny anyway  She wants to be strong and fit, something Ethel in all her skinny glory, isn’t.  Over the last months, Ethel has started complaining about her body because she’s gained weight since she moved to the area, developing a nice pair of saddlebags (which you can totally see because she’s always wearing leggings) and a bit of a belly (big enough now it looks like she had to lay down to zip her jeans).  She even has a pair she keeps wearing that she can’t button, and then wears a little shirt that shows a little belly (and her undone jeans).  She thinks she’s so sexy, but it’s just sad.  She likes to make like she’s a supermodel if you see her pics on FB.

She knew Maude exercised at home, so asked if she had any old DVDs she could have so she could get in shape.  So Maude, being the nice gal she is, gave her 2 of her older DVDs that she didn’t use.  For all her complaining about wanting to get in shape, Ethel has only used the DVDs once.  Another time, she also went for a little run-1/4 mile and used her husband’s weights. And a time after that, she went for a little walk (4 miles).  These events occurred weeks apart from each other, after which she spent the rest of that week complaining about how sore she was from her exercise.  Maude just shrugged, because she knows how it is when you start a new workout, in shape or not.  Ethel thinks she’s healthy and fit because she’s not overweight, so doesn’t get that she isn’t healthy at all because weight is only one indicator of fitness.  She thinks she’s in such great shape, but Maude could probably toss her across the room without breaking a sweat.  Maude may be fat, but she’s strong as hell.

But you can’t talk to Ethel and explain these things, because despite a lack of education, she thinks she knows everything.  Like how Nutella and fried potatoes are essential food groups, and skinny means she’s healthy.   Seeing Ethel and hearing her complain about her body, yet does nothing about it only annoys Maude these days, and it just pisses Maude off to no end that Ethel is determined to make her kid just like her, by saying things like, “oh, you don’t like to eat that” just because Ethel doesn’t like it.   Just like doing all sorts of things for Ethel and her family annoys Maude because whatever they gave, it wasn’t good enough, what they wanted, or they wanted more.  Ethel pesters their mother-in-law to ask Maude for things or information, but Maude doesn’t have time for such ignorance or these annoyances because she’s on a mission.   Oh, she still does what she can (family’s family and all that), and tries to do it with a gracious heart, but still gets annoyed to have to be doing anything at all for that lot of ingrates.

See, Maude has spent most of her life overweight and out of shape and the last couple of years complaining about it.  She spent some time blaming her husband (his snacking), her kids (no time), and genetics (family is overweight too).  She spent probably too much time in negative self-reflection, wondering why she could never lose weight, and why she was a failure.  Recently, she realized she was doing waaaaay too much complaining and beating herself up for past failures and not nearly enough DOING.  So, she decided she’d had enough of making excuses and rationalizing her shortcomings away.  In short, she decided to quit bitching, because no one else was going to be living her life but her, and if she wanted to have a good one, she’d better “git-to-gittin'”.  So, she put on her big girl pants and decided to make her own destiny instead of waiting for someone else to give it to her, unlike Ethel, who didn’t want to learn about her new home (hers was so much better), learn the language (she hasn’t bothered, other than a few phrases), and expected her in-laws to help her find a job (which they did, and then regretted it when she acted like she was too good to work there).

Maude doesn’t think she’s better than Ethel, but she knows damn well she’s smarter and more determined.  Smarter being the sticking point-Maude knows that the random efforts Ethel makes toward fitness are not going to get her in “bikini-ready” shape.  Maude knows that to make it with anything-whether it is making a new life, or transforming the one you have-you have to want it, and you have to work hard for it.  Maude struggles with the slow pace of her weight loss, but knows the number on the scale is not the be-all-end-all of her journey to fitness.  She’s keeping her eye on the prize, because with every workout, she feels how much stronger she is getting.  She feels how rock hard her thighs are getting, and sees how her butt is looking more and more awesome with every set of lunges and squats.  She admits to flexing her biceps in the mirror to see those proud little bumps she never had before.

Whether it was more money, more fitness, more time, more things, Maude often dragged herself down thinking about what she didn’t have.  But realizing her wanting never got her anything but more heartache, she’s changed the way she thinks.  Maude now likes to keep her focus on what she wants and HOW she’s going to get it, instead of WHY she doesn’t have it.  Maude looks at Ethel, and sees a shadow of her old, unhappy self, who often wondered why she didn’t have “it”, whatever it may have been.  Ethel only sees what she doesn’t have and WHY she doesn’t have it and who’s to blame for the lack.  Oddly enough, she’s never the one at fault.

I can already see who’s going to get their “Happily Ever After” 😉

Don’t Look Down!

Hello, Motivation Monday!  It’s time to rock and roll, shake the cobwebs out, and get moving and a groovin’.

new way to beThe weekend was fraught with peril-it was the hubs’ big 4-0, and Orthodox Easter (Kalo Pascha! to any other Orthodox out there).  Next weekend will be another whopper: our anniversary and Mother’s Day.  Will the insanity ever end?  Yes.  Yes it will.  Things are SOOOOO much less stressful since I’ve given up on the “all-or-nothing” attitude.  It helps me to put things in perspective, reminding me that a half slice of the hubs’ b-day cheesecake was not going to break the calorie bank, or undo all my hard work.

Of course, if I ate like I did last night, I would, but that’s the beauty of special occasions.  They are called so because they aren’t everyday occasions.  A big part of changing my life has been about changing how I think and react to things.  In the past I might have denied myself the cake.  Or I would have had it and then felt tremendous guilt.

These days, I like to redirect my mental energy into positively programming my subconscious.  Instead of focusing on what I want to avoid, I focus on what I want to achieve.  You know how you might be climbing to some precarious height, and someone else yells, “Don’t look down!”, and of course, the only thing you want to do is look down?  This is the same concept.  For me, this revolves mostly around food, but sometimes  around my workouts too.

For instance, I haven’t worked out yet today.  I feel bad about it, but I haven’t yet done anything about it.  However, when I was reading up for today’s entry, I realized that I’m the one holding myself back.  I have had rather dismal results in the weight loss department (I’ll post updates tomorrow), but I have lost significant inches in my hips and waist.  But instead of focusing on the improvements, I have unfortunately focused on the number on the scale.  So, in my head, I’m telling myself that I’ll never get where I want to be.  And of course, what is the outward result of that?  I ain’t done shit today!

I’ve determined I need to focus and shower myself with positive affirmations consistently.  I know, it sounds stupid, and my inner pessimistic cynic is sneering in mockery.  But here’s the truth:  if you’re already telling yourself that it’s not worth it, then it won’t be, whatever it might be.  Believing that positive thinking doesn’t work becomes a self-fulfilling negative affirmation.  You can’t think yourself thin, but you can change the way you think to make your fitness and weight loss goals totally achievable.

If I’m just sowing weeds with my negative thoughts, I’ll never see my goals achieved.  I have spoken before about changing my inner monologue, but like a lot of things, this is something I need to practice everyday.  And I have been neglecting that part of my growth.  Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to juggle a toddler, a baby grand, a medium hippo, and 3 camouflaged balls, trying to keep up with all the things I need to do on the outside, I forget to work on the inside stuff at the same time.

So, instead of the voice in my head so insidiously whispering that I’m not going to workout today, so why did I bother with the sports bra? I’m whispering back to it that I’ll be working out when I get home from picking up my son from school.  That I will make time for anything I’m committed to.  That I love working out.  That the scale may not be budging, but my muscles are growing stronger.  That I am the only one responsible for my results.  To quit bitching and get fit.

Instead of telling myself not to look down, I’m going to tell myself to look up, and ahead.

 

Are You Inspired?

Hey hey! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend.  It’s Motivational Monday today, and as I was thinking about something motivational today, I came across a meme posted by one of my Facebook friends that I thought was perfect.

don't give upI honestly don’t spend much time on the computer on the weekends other than to maybe look up a recipe of directions somewhere, but occasionally, I use the time to catch up and read posts from the other blogs that I follow.  One of the blogs that I find most inspiring is mydiabetesandme.  I don’t have diabetes, but Shannon’s story inspires me to keep moving forward and to not give up doing the right thing for my body.  In a lot of ways, I feel her story mirrors mine, as far as the emotional aspect of food.

I read a few of her past entries this weekend, and I was inspired. Her story is one of triumph, and love reading about her love affair with Adam Levine, learning to dance (and love it), and seeing how far she’s come.  Now, I don’t know Shannon personally, but as when reading blogs about personal journeys, I feel like I do.  She could have been me.  Struggling, unhappy, not knowing the best way to feed my body for my needs.

I read about her journey and where she is now, mentally, and physically, and I want to be her.  She is my hero, an everywoman who has been there, done that, and is now holding the torch for the rest of us.  I’m sure she’ll probably laugh as I’m extolling her virtues as if I’m nominating her for sainthood.  And maybe I am in a way.

You see, I saw the above meme on Facebook this morning, and I did not immediately think of me, and how I would want others to see me.  I thought about her first, and thought, “she is my inspiration”.  And one day, I hope to be able to carry the torch for others, and they can say the same of me.  One day, people will see my story and be inspired to change their lives.

Deciding to change your life and put your health and fitness first is daunting.  We are plagued by self doubt and our own negative nancys.  But every day, we have a choice.  I have a choice to eat my kid’s leftovers, or eat that chocolate, or fritter away my morning doing nothing.  Every day, I have the choice to do the right thing for myself.  And on the days when I feel my resolve falter, I have to ask myself what am I going to have to show for myself at the end of the week?

I decided on sharing my journey to health and fitness through this blog, making it public, because what better way to stay on track than to have an audience?  It’s my accountability, you are my support.  I know people are reading, and I can’t talk about the best parts of my journey without talking about the pitfalls, the hard times, and the temptations.  I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way about certain things related to food and fitness!

This is not just about losing weight; it’s the personal growth, the motivation, and the inspiration I find along the way.  It’s learning to love myself, from the inside out.  It’s finding simple pleasures that keep me going through a workout or a run.  It’s making delicious food that fuels my body in the right way.  And yes, it’s reading the other’s transformation journeys and how the number on the scale is not the endstate, it’s just the beginning.

What’s your inspiration?  Who, or what, keeps you going?  Do you hope that one day someone will see your words and be inspired by them?  I do.  Every day.