You May Be Right

Sometimes, I’m just not sure what to write about, so I asked if anyone had questions about my journey that they’d like to have answered.

Here are my answers to four questions that were posed to me. Also — I’m down an astounding 2.8 pounds this week, and I’m as surprised as anyone to have a fairly large loss on the heels of several weeks of loss. The biggest change I’ve made is walking consistently, every day — and while I know I didn’t burn through 2.8 pounds’ worth of calories while walking, it has definitely sparked something in my system. 144 pounds down, now!

How do you handle stress eating? Is it an issue?

144 pound hockey player. Weight doesn’t include puck or stick.

Stress eating isn’t currently an issue for me, but that’s not to say that it hasn’t been in the past. These days, when I’m under stress, I’m more likely not to eat; it’s not like it’s a superhuman strength or anything. It’s more because my stomach usually gets upset and I don’t want to think about eating.

It’s been many years since I used to stress eat. I would eat my feelings and then I’d end up bloated, feeling horrible, and totally ashamed of myself. But eating when stressed, occasionally binge eating, and just frankly torturing myself with food wasn’t that far removed from other addictive habits I’ve had over the years, including smoking, and yeah, even obsessively playing video games.

Although they manifest differently, they were all addictive behaviors for me. They were physical ways I tried to make myself feel better for short periods of time. Some people might turn to other substances; for me, it was food, chain-smoking, or shutting out reality and making myself the deal that I’d just play one-more-game.

Over the years, I had to work on conditioning myself to do positive things when I feel stress, instead of self-punishing things. I once substituted playing guitar for wanting to eat; this was when I was a teen, and I ended up really enjoying playing. (Note: I intend to get back to playing at some point, since I like camping. What’s a campfire without an annoying guitarist that can barely sing, after all?) While I wouldn’t suggest learning a new instrument, recreating habits is has really been the key to this.

That’s not an overnight thing. In the early days of diets, believe me, walking by those cookies and leaving them alone is an act of Herculean strength. After 3.5 years, though? I just really don’t care if there’s bad food available when I’m stressed. It does take conscious cultivation over time.

So — these days, I don’t stress eat. I understand it, though, especially since medicating with food — with anything, really — ends up making people feel worse than before they started. Although no one asked for advice, I’d suggest trying to substitute something that’s more rewarding. It may not be a solution, but it’s a start; after all, stress eating is a reward for the system, even if it’s brief.

How do you deal with depression without going off track?

This shares a lot of similarities with stress eating, for me, so I paired them.

I have suffered from both chronic and situational depression. I know that the more I sink into depression, the harder it is to claw myself out of it; in fact, I wrote about a recent instance that reminded me of dark days that hit me roughly a month ago. You can find it here.

I’m no expert on depression; I can only speak about what I’ve experienced, but for me, the difference between chronic and situational depression was that the situation would eventually be resolved and I’d feel better. Maybe. Well, mostly. Otherwise, I would become totally unproductive and unable (or sometimes unwilling) to make choices that would help me work my way out.

Depression shrinks your life to a pinpoint, and unfortunately, it can become its own reward. I certainly didn’t want to be depressed, but doing nothing meant I didn’t have to deal with it or put in the work — something those who don’t deal with depression likely don’t understand. It can become a comfortable prison of our own choosing. It can force your life to become so small that it’s lived minute by minute, choice by choice, and sometimes, if the pain is great enough, we reach out for anything that will calm those fires, even if we know it’s not the best choice.

And then we feel bad for making the bad choice, and reach out for the same thing again, because even though we know it’s the wrong choice, it makes us feel a little better for that small moment in time. Depression shuts off long term thinking; the only thing that matters is that exact moment we’re in.

I’m human. I make the wrong choice sometimes. But instead of letting it throw me into a cycle of reward and punishment, I have had to change my thinking. Sometimes these things happen; and sometimes, if there’s something that’s particularly tempting or I have a special occasion coming up, I will plan for the thing I want — it becomes part of my plan instead of trashing it.

It’s also no longer my habit to turn to food for comfort. I rarely if ever eat anything spontaneously or without conscious thought. I also make sure the things that tempt me aren’t easily available if I feel depression coming on, but my circumstances are more controllable than someone with, for instance, children in the house.

That’s a pretty basic answer, but that’s how I stay on track, even when I’m stressed or feeling signs of depression. I may have to force myself in that direction, but if I make an error, I brush myself and go on, and recognize what the consequences of that choice were. Because it’s going to happen. I also have to constantly remind myself of where my choices have landed me in the past.

Also — I haven’t talked about this much on this blog — but I make periodic videos. I made one the day after I started my journey, and probably four or five since then. I knew I would need solid reminders of how I felt at each of those stages, what I was dealing with, how I looked on the video, where I was mentally. Going back and watching those videos, now, is quite the eye opener; it’s like my own personal highlight reel. I highly suggest it; it’s quite cathartic.

Weigh daily, or no?

I’ve tried both ways. I actually set out, once, to only weigh when I changed a full size in clothing, so I kept goal clothes that I would try on occasionally and then trade them out for smaller sizes when they fit. It did work, for a while, but it didn’t solve the base problem, which was an obsession with whether or not I was losing weight.

I’ve weighed daily. I’ve been obsessive about that, as well — right down to comparing weights before and after showering, what sections of the floor gave me the best weight, if my foot positions made a difference. C’mon, I know there’s at least one person out there that’s done this, too!

I’ve also been guilty of kicking scales, screaming at the numbers, and all kinds of antisocial scale activity. And that’s the issue, really, because whether you choose to weigh daily really depends more on how you view the data you’re getting. Because that’s all it is: numerical feedback, and it should never be the sole indicator used for success.

Since I’ve changed my attitude about the scale, I weigh daily, more or less. I track it, along with body measurements and clothing sizes. There are times when my clothing size changes but the scale is stubborn, and vice-versa, so as long as you can keep that number in perspective without wanting to stab, maim, mutilate, or fling the scale, I say weigh as often as you want. Just don’t let it mess with your head.

I may be oversimplifying, but basically burn more calories than you take in, stay low on the starch, sugar and carb intake and you should lose weight (not that I am doing any of this), amirite?

Well, yes, you’re right.

And no, not quite right. At least not in my experience. While burning more calories than you take in and paying attention to food macros make weight loss possible, the difficult part is knowing what those ideal levels actually are. That’s the battle extreme: all of us have to figure out for ourselves what actually works. What works for a while, may not work past a certain point and will need to be changed.

The body is an amazing self-sustaining organism that evolves with what we attempt to do to it, and most successful diets require constant assessment and revision. It’s work. The basics are simple; implementation is the issue.

Most people just don’t want to do that. That’s probably the biggest reason the diet industry is so successful.

What is your go to alcoholic beverage when you don’t want to stray too far from your diet? Do you limit it to, say, weekends only?

A Perfect Margarita!

Now that’s what I want to talk about! Booze! I love this question and yes, I am a Parrothead, so naturally, it’s an important, life-changing question, to boot! 😉

I only drink alcohol on the weekends or on vacation. Let’s face it — alcohol has calories, so I watch it. Too much alcohol makes me want to eat things I don’t normally eat. Plus, since I restrict carbs in my diet, it makes me a rather easy drunk. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone.

My go-to drink is a perfect margarita, Margaritaville style. Essentially, it’s the way margaritas were originally made before restaurants were sold margarita machines. Ice, tequila, perhaps a little triple sec (or if I really want to keep tabs on the sugar, I’ll sub out orange Mio), and lime juice. Stir. Drink. You can thank (or curse) me, later.

PS: do NOT use Jose Cuervo; use something good. You’re worth it, and so are your taste buds.

Otherwise, I like the occasional glass of (usually red) wine, dry. I tend to avoid sweet drinks, for the most part, since my tastes have adapted to cutting out sugar and they taste very sweet to me.
If anyone else has questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. Thanks!


Me, Too


Celebrate with me, my friends! I’ve lost 4 pounds this week, setting my new loss at 137.4 pounds down. I haven’t lost that much in one week in the better part of a year!

If you had asked me 3+ years ago how much weight I hoped to lose, I would have tried to stay positive and say “all of it — every last ounce of 200 pounds”. But I didn’t believe it. Not really.

I have failed so many times at achieving even the smallest amount of weight loss that I had very little faith in myself. That’s despite already knowing that I was once capable of losing 140.5 pounds, something very few people are able to achieve. I reasoned that if I did that once, I could do it, again, but it was lip service.

Oso the German Shepherd weighs in at 137 pounds. Who’s a goooood boy?

Truthfully, I faked it until I felt it; I couldn’t muster any enthusiasm until I had a few small victories and started regaining the faith in myself to succeed. Until I started feeling better. Looking back at my first pics now, I realize exactly how bad I felt, both physically and mentally. I looked miserable, and I felt just as miserable as I looked.

No, I haven’t lost 200 pounds, yet, but with each passing day, that possibility seems more real. Here I sit, on the brink of matching the huge weight loss I had several years back… and passing it by. In just a few measly pounds (3.1! Less than I lost this past week!), I’ll be in new territory; I will have lost the most weight I’ve ever lost. Many people never achieve big weight loss once; I’ve done it twice. And this will not be “three times a charm”; twice is plenty enough, thanks!

It’s a strange mental place to be in. I clearly remember hitting that first 140.5 mark — it was in 2005, I think. I even took a photo of the scales that morning. I was absolutely torturing myself to reach that mark; I was consumed with the idea of losing weight. I worked out a couple hours a day. My meals were regimented. I was totally obsessed with breaking through… and then I hit a two-year plateau. I managed to hover about twenty pounds above my low, but then just finally gave up.

This is what I meant when I recently wrote about programs which are sustainable in the long run. It’s also the reason that I believe I will succeed now, more so than any effort I’ve made, before.

This time, I’m not obsessed. Yes, I’m aware of what I put into my body, and I’m careful about it; but not to the point of being rigid and inflexible. Not to the point of not being able to forgive myself for the occasional deviation. I’m not working out a couple hours a day; in fact, I’ve been walking around my yard and up and down my street for about a month, now, and I’m up to 3,000 steps a day — a far cry from the workout fiend I was, back then.

Against everything any diet guru would tell you, I’m getting similar loss results. Yes, it took a lot longer, but my health conditions are a bit more complicated than they were more than a decade ago. I’ve focused on correcting what’s imbalanced with my body instead of beating myself up. I also no longer live in fear of temptation or falling off the wagon on a grand scale, because my methods are habit now, and when I actually crave something, I address it. I’ll wait for a day when I plan on higher carbs and calories, have my treat, and move on.

My body has had more time to accept and settle into each decrease in weight. I’ve come to believe that our bodies naturally fight against loss as a threat to our systems, so the natural response to fast loss is fast gain. While my loss seems to crawl on at a snail’s pace, my body seems to more easily adjust to these gradual changes. My brain, too.

I say it’s a strange mental place to be because on occasion, I feel like I’m still sitting at 371 pounds; not because I feel bad or ponderous, but because I feel like I haven’t put a superhuman amount of effort into accomplishing this feat. It no longer feels like work; it just feels like life. Everything in my brain tells me I should still be at that starting weight, because I haven’t flogged myself, I haven’t punished myself, I haven’t obsessed to the point of excluding large chunks of my life in the name of micromanaging my health.

Being this far into my loss doesn’t seem real at moments like this, because it’s been so much easier than it ever has, before. Perhaps that’s a big sign that I’m finally doing things right, and these changes are permanent. I honestly wish I’d found this ability, before — this me that I am, right now. Yes, what I’ve done has still been hard work, in the same way that careers are hard work, but when the rewards are great, the perspective is different.

I know there’s a lot of people out there who would love to be in my spot — there was a point when I would have said, ‘me, too!’ I truly appreciate that I’m standing here today with this good fortune, and I wish the same for anyone who hopes to achieve this, and more.

Step By Step


Back in 2003, I had a passive-aggressive undersized schnauzer named Pepper. That April, I decided to take the initial steps toward weight loss and exercise; I grabbed her leash and headed outside with her. She always loved walks.

We had about an acre and a half at that particular house, and it sat on a well-traveled road. I’d head out the back porch with her, and we’d walk our way around the edge of the yard; around the storage shed, down by the pond, up past the peach trees, down the side of the driveway, across the front yard, and back to the house.

The infamous Bonnie, posing here as Captain Camp Dog.

The infamous Bonnie, posing here as Captain Camp Dog, her penetrating stare off in the wild distance. (**SQUIRREL!!!!**)

At first, I could only last a couple of minutes. At the beginning of that effort, I weighed around 340 pounds or so, and I walked from the get-go. And it hurt; my hips hurt, my back hurt, my feet hurt — but I walked. Every once in a while, I’d add a minute or two. And Pepper was my constant companion, blazing the way in front of me like a fish on the line.

The two of us worked our way up to walking a few miles around the property each day, and my dog would actually try to ditch me when I’d pass the back porch. Sometimes, I’d put her inside and continue my walk, but usually, she was right there with me. We had a set trail in the grass, and a fan club that would honk and wave when they saw us.

Later that year, I joined the gym for the first time in my life. I took things slow, like I did with walking.

By the time a couple years passed and I had lost the weight I was able to lose (140 pounds), I’d gone from barely being able to walk my own yard to walking around 4 miles a day, as well as lifting heavy weights. With my husband’s help, I surpassed an incredible goal: I was able to squat my original weight — and then some. Yep, in my 40’s, never having been a weightlifter before, I squatted 385 pounds as an all-time high.

Fast-forward through all the things that happened between then and now. I regained the weight, and then some; lost some; gained it again, and now, I’m losing it like I did on that monumental journey I took over a decade ago.

Here I am, starting to walk again, this time with my cute little sweetheart of a companion, Bonnie. I’ve lost 133 pounds without exercise, but the time has come to incorporate more movement into my life, and I’ve started by setting daily step goals. I’ve grabbed that leash and headed out; the dog is a little bigger (with a better attitude) and the yard is a lot smaller, but we’re a team, and I’m adding to my goals as I go.

I don’t plan on the same course as I did, before — mostly because my angry knees will not sustain it, and my walking goals are a test to see what my body can do without putting too much impact on my joints. But I must move. Bonnie seems a bit confused at times, but what dog doesn’t like to go out for walks? I try to keep up the same enthusiasm as she does when she sees me pick up the leash and invite her to walk.

Small increments have gotten me this far, and they’ll keep carrying me forward. In the meantime, Bonnie gets a nice workout, too!



I want to take a moment and comment on the fact that this last week has been one of the most noteworthy weeks of loss I’ve had to date. That’s pretty remarkable, and proves that loss is often hard to predict — but sticking with it will pay off in the long run. If you read the blog last week, you know I was around 6 pounds away from passing my next goal, and I figured it would take around a month, give or take, to get there.

That’s 112 pounds of natural breasts — the Guinness World Record — and I’ve lost the equivalent.

Ha! I’m there! I’ve lost 112.4 pounds! That’s a 6.4 pound loss since last week!

Yesterday morning, I passed the point where I’ve lost 30% of my starting weight. Almost a third of me, gone! Now — if you’re a scientist at heart, you’re familiar with the Law of Conservation, it says that energy cannot be created or destroyed; it merely changes forms. I don’t know if this means that the 30% of fat (energy) from my body has since floated through space and glommed onto someone else’s hips, but if this is the case, I heartily apologize… but I don’t want it back, either. 😉

I keep a close watch on all matters pertaining to my journey; I suspect a hormonal fluctuation caused my weight loss, but regardless of the reasons, I’ll take it. I have another goal set; a small one. And then after that? I’m focusing the cross-hairs on surpassing 140.5 pounds down, which is the most weight I’ve ever lost.

Now, back to today’s topic: a major JUMP! I’ve been meaning to share a victory, but I keep forgetting to do it — and in a way, that’s a good thing! When I first started back in the fall of 2013, I needed assistance to walk. My balance was off and my knee pain was extreme enough that I needed a cane anytime I left the house. If I had a long distance to walk, I had to use a wheelchair. I spent much of two Mexican vacations in a wheelchair because of it.

The improvements have been gradual. I haven’t used the wheelchair in many months. I’ve decreased using the cane to a point where I have only used it on rare occasions — usually on very bad arthritis days, and I can’t honestly remember when the last day was that I needed it. I would tuck it in the car if we went somewhere, in case I needed it, but I decided a few weeks ago to leave it completely at home.

The fact that I keep forgetting about it means I’ve also made the mental jump from thinking I need it, too, which is significant.

Sure, I’ll hang onto it. Realistically, I still have the same mechanical issues with my knees. But that cane will be a last-resort sort of thing; along on long trips, or challenges in which I might turn a knee, like camping trips. But otherwise? It’s no longer a part of my day. I’m getting around without it, these days, fairly easily.

I really do like feeling stronger than I have been, and now that exercise is part of my regimen again, I’m looking forward to the day when needing that wheelchair assistance on long walks is no longer necessary; I’m confident that day will come.


Y2, Week 9: Goal Pants, Chin Up

I admit it: I’ve been struggling. It’s mental crap, again; stuff I just really need to figure out, deal with, and get out of my system.  I’m a deal with it and go on type of person, so it just really frustrates the heck out of me when the same issues keep raising their heads time and time again. Obviously, I haven’t found the key, yet, to handling them.

This time, it’s back to feeling sorry for myself because I don’t see progress; or rather, I think my mind is telling me there’s no progress because it’s not being noticed. Believe me, I know exactly how childish and self-centered this is, and that I shouldn’t be losing weight for attention. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel these things on some level, and they undermine me, so I have to deal with them.

The sabotage has been subtle. It’s been letting the amount I eat and drink drift up on weekends. Not being diligent with exercise and making excuses. Not making sure there’s enough variety in my daily regimen, so I end up getting bored — and tempted. These are all normal ebb-and-flow parts of any health regimen, but my response cannot be to give up, because that makes no sense: if I’m not putting in a full effort, I can’t expect results, and no amount of excuses will change that. Pouting because someone else is getting attention for weight loss that’s a fraction of mine is just silly.

The result of this kind of thinking is a petulance that demands I just forget the whole thing, that I feel sorry for myself because over a year of effort hasn’t meant squat. That I just stop making the effort.

Which is, of course, the dumbest thing in the world that I could possibly do. If you’re digging a hole and it doesn’t seem like you’re making progress, the solution is never to stop digging. Regardless of what my perception is right this moment, regardless of whether or not I think I’m making progress, stopping the effort and giving up isn’t going to produce the desired results; in fact, I’d likely gain the weight I’ve lost back.

It is entirely about perception. We all have great days, and we all have fat days. I need to recognize the fat days and just move on; the great days will come, and they will be more often the more effort I make, because I have made progress. A lot of it. Just because it’s been gradual enough for people to not notice doesn’t negate it.  In fact, despite my dumb brain telling me otherwise, it’s what I want, and what’s best for me mentally. Losing a whole bunch of weight in a relatively short amount of time did bad things to my brain years ago; I both thrived on the attention and despised it.

I have to remember to be diligent. Instead of just thinking “screw it, I’m done with this!”, I have to reevaluate where I’m at and what I need to do to help myself.  For right now, that means a few things:

Being more attentive on the weekends. I let myself go from moderate carbs/calories on weekends to allowing treats that I shouldn’t be eating, or eating/drinking until I’m beyond full, which will only stretch my stomach back out. I need to quit blowing Monday and Tuesday because I’ve over-indulged on Saturday and Sunday.

Adding variety back to my diet. It’s very easy for me to drift to a norm of low carb eating: meat, eggs, not much else. I’m convinced that what’s made a difference for me this time around is making sure I have a lot of variety in my eating, including lots of fruits and veggies. When I get lazy in my eating, I get away from those things.

Changing up my exercise routine. I dearly need some change, if for no other reason than my mental health. I’m burned out on water workouts at the moment.  I’m going to change focus for a bit and try to add walking into my regimen — slowly. I’m also going to start adding strength training into it as well, and perhaps alternate with water workouts so I don’t feel like I’m just spinning my wheels.

I’m also going to quit avoiding trying on my goal pants, which I’ve done the last couple of weeks. I need to remember what they feel and look like, because that mental marker is important. I tried my pants on first thing this morning, and truly, I don’t think I’ve gone forwards or backwards since the last time, but I need to kick the idea of “no progress” to the curb, because I know darned well that it’s very easy for me to go backwards and gain weight. Not losing isn’t ideal, but it’s a hell of a lot better than not gaining, and that’s a victory, too.

Y2, Week 7: Goal Pants and Creaky Knees

Goal pants: I didn’t try them on this week. My head wasn’t in the best of places on Friday after getting on the scale and seeing a four pound gain when I haven’t been on the scale since March, a good 6 weeks ago. I had to wrap my head around that whole “you GAINED?!” thing and put it in perspective.

Now, those of you that have followed the blog know that I don’t weigh unless a reach a certain goal — or I’m heading to the doc. In this case, it was the doc.  While my orthopedist doesn’t weigh me, I wanted to talk to the doc about getting a new knee brace, since the one I have doesn’t fit anymore. I figured that having a number reference would be a good thing, but in the long run, it was a mistake to weigh.

For one thing, the person I saw at the doc’s office didn’t care about the beginning and end numbers; she just referred me to the brace fitter and said if they can’t make my current one work, the office would write a new prescription for one. And more importantly, seeing a gain on the scale didn’t do me any good, no matter how much I told myself that the scale doesn’t matter.

My clothes are fitting better overall, so I’m going to just tuck the gain in the back of my brain and use it as a reminder that I need to check myself on occasion. I have been letting weekends get away from me when it comes to raising my carbs and calories, and I needed to clean it up. This weekend, I’ve been doing much better. So perhaps that’s the kick in the seat that I needed.  I’m a couple months out from my next fitness challenge, so I have time to correct this.

Now, about my creaky knees: the difficulties I had in Vegas served to push me to a decision I’d been putting off.  For the past several years, I’ve been takinginjections in my knees.  I can get them every 6 months, but weight loss has helped my knees a lot, so this time, it’s been a year. I started the series on Friday, and it’ll finish off in a couple of weeks.

The other thing I did was decide to see if I can have my brace redone.  The  brace I have was custom fitted for my leg, and once again, since losing 63 pounds, the brace no longer fits. It slides down my leg when I wear it, and because I’ve dropped from size 26 pants to size 22, the pants won’t fit over the top of the brace. (This brace has a titanium metal bar that forms the outside of it, and it’s formed to my leg — as it was.)  I figure that if the brace can be reordered in a smaller configuration, that will last me another 30-40 pounds.  At that point, I don’t think I’ll need it. I’ve only put it on a couple of times since last November, and even then, it didn’t fit very well.

The purpose of doing these two items is to increase my mobility. The more weight I lose, the better my mobility gets. The better my mobility is, the more I can do. And I need that. I was originally seeing both items as somehow “giving in”, but that’s just backward thinking. If they help me progress so I can continue toward health and fitness, then I need to do it.

Y2, Week 2: Next Goal Clothes, Exercise

Somehow or other, I lost a week when I was labeling posts, so that’s why you aren’t seeing a Week 1 or a Week 52 from last year; they were pretty much the same week. 🙂

I selected new goal pants on Wednesday. Since it was just Wednesday when I tried them on to take pics, I didn’t bother with trying them on this morning. This time, I’m going with a pair of jeans that are size 22 petite.  A friend of mine says that petite sizes run a full size smaller than regular sizes; I’m going to assume she’s right, since that’s how these seem to fit. They are slightly smaller than the size 22 black jeans that I just called as a fit recently.  They are also at the smallest range for 22, so once I’m in them, the next size for goal pants is size 20.

I have kept the same shirt for a goal shirt; it fits everywhere but the upper sleeves. I have big upper arms (which I detest, but what are you going to do?), so when they aren’t so noticeably tight, I’ll call the shirt a fit. Off hand, I don’t recall what size the shirt is marked.

I’m still just amazed that I’m this close to a size 20.  I know that some clothes come in 16W, but for the most part, 18W is the smallest plus size.  I will be absolutely thrilled when I am out of the plus size department.

I’ve been going through more “archived” clothes from the last time I lost a great deal of weight.  Yesterday, I went through a bunch of dress clothes, and hung up the ones I wanted to keep. That’s the next major group of clothes that I’ll be fitting back into, and the majority of them are around size 18. After that, I’ll actually have to buy new clothes. I’m predicting/guessing/hoping that I’ll be in them in about another year. And honestly, a year doesn’t really sound like that far away.


I’m back in the swing on exercise. I’ve also been supplementing exercise a bit with taking brief walks around the neighborhood. Unfortunately, on Monday, I pushed it too hard and my knees told me in various ways to stop that crap, so I have had to back off on it.  I intend to restart, though, and do it more smartly. Since I’m walking for endurance and not exercise, I need to pay closer attention to the signs my knees are giving me. Also, my hip wants to fuss on occasion. The more I lose weight, though, the happier my joints will be.


Week 49: Weight Updated — 60 Pounds Down!

You read that right!

Once again, I weighed, but not because my goal clothes are a fit. (More on that, in a moment.)  It was because I visited the doctor’s office for a case of bronchitis, and I knew they’d weigh, so I went ahead and weighed at home.  I mention the reason more for my own benefit, because I have sworn to not become scale-addicted and this is a reminder to myself that I’m off the scale until I can declare a fit.

Regardless of the reason, I’m glad to see 60. I wanted to see that number by the time a year came around, which is in just a few short weeks. That means, on average, I’m losing 5 pounds a month; not exactly Speedy Gonzales, but that’s okay — it’s solid progress. I’m happy with where I am at this moment, and looking forward to continuing.

Now, as for the goal clothes: the pants are closer to being a fit. They now button and zip easily; I’m just waiting for a loss in the upper thigh region, and they should fit. They’re probably close enough to do the jeans-stretch thing by wearing them, and they’d fit, but that’s not how I want to declare a fit. I want them to fit correctly from the first moment I put them on, even if they’ve just been freshly washed. As for the shirt, the only tight spot now is the upper arm area.

A final note: thanks to upper respiratory crud (and the resulting bronchitis), I’ve been out of the pool for several weeks. I’ve made a few trips down, but nothing I’d consider to be consistent enough to call it a win on exercise.  I’m now on antibiotics and hope to return to the water next week.

Week 41: Goal Pants, Keeping Promises

I tried on the goal pants, this morning, for the first time in two weeks. I also picked out a new goal shirt.

The pants?  A slight bit of progress, there: I was able to button and zip them without laying down on a bed and sucking in my gut to my backbone. 😀  Yeah, actually, that’s probably better than “slight”.  I also wore them long enough to take some progress pics in them, since the pics aren’t obscene, now.  When I first picked these pants, there was no way I could take pics in them; not unless I was willing to show everyone the fit of my underwear — front and back.  A simply terrifying thought, all the way around.  I probably have a good 10-15 pounds to go — all below the waist — to have a nice, comfy fit in them.

The new try-on shirt is a button-down long sleeve shirt I’ve had for a long time. Size 18-20.  Right now, it’ll button, but it’s pretty snug, and the upper arms are quite tight. I just about can’t get the sleeve all the way on.  This makes it tighter across the chest area than it would be if the sleeves fit, so I should see some decent progress on the shirt as my upper arms decrease in size.

As a bonus, I tried on a couple other pair of size 22 pants that I’d thrown in the doesn’t-fit-yet drawer.  One is a pair of stretchy corduroys.  I have a hard time, when I put on pants that are stretchy, knowing whether they really fit or not, because the stretch in them makes them look tight to me, but they feel comfy.  I decided to wear these pants for a while to see if they magically grow; they are perfectly comfortable right now, but I think the stretch in them shows off my bumpy legs.  The other pants I tried on are a pair of capris that I wore probably four years ago.  Easy fit.  This is nice reinforcement, and as I posted on Monday, I need that.

I mentioned earlier that I took some progress pics; this was part of several promises I made to myself at the beginning of the week.  I felt it would give me a brain-boost if I could take the progress pics in the goal jeans and shirt; both because I need progress indicators as these clothes begin to fit right, and because it’s been two months since my last pics, and I need to compare.  I’m betting I see a difference.  So I’m glad I kept that promise.

Another promise was to quit slacking about trying on my goal clothes. Not seeing progress put me in an apathetic mindset that was up to me to break.  I expected to see no progress at all in fit, and am pleased that there appears to be a little bit of change.

Another was to stay on track all week, which meant keeping up with exercise goals of 5 times a week, eating properly, and being productive.  I have done all three so far this week; all my exercise sessions are complete for the week, for the first time since before the Christmas holiday.  I usually don’t have problems with food during the week, and routinely come in under my carb/calorie goals; it’s the weekends that have been a problem. I have let my guard down and I need to be a bit more diligent.  Since today’s Friday, that promise starts today.

I mentioned being more productive, above; while that doesn’t directly tie into a success mindset for gaining health, I believe it helps mentally.  If I’m not getting done what I should, I feel bad, and that contributes to apathy.  If I can go to bed each night feeling as if I accomplished my goals for that day, I feel much better.

All in all, it’s been a good week.

Week 41: Regrounding Myself

I think, from time to time, it pays to review what you’re doing and whether you’re staying true to the program and the intent.  Those things are related to goals, which I think are supremely important; why get in a car and drive if you don’t know where you’re going? The same holds true for keeping yourself on course, for diet and exercise.

I haven’t been as good as I could be on the weekends. I’ve let the amount of carbs I’ve been eating to creep up.  I can tell, because a tried-and-true result of too many carbs in my system is that I have strong hunger the first day I’m back to my low carb/low calorie course.  I tried to ignore that during the holidays, and then told myself I’d improve now that the holidays are over.  Well, they’re over, and I didn’t improve this past weekend, or the weekend before it.  And the plain facts are — I have a goal, and I can’t get to that goal if I’m going to piddle around with the map.

I also can’t do it if I’m not going to put in 100% effort on exercise.  This last week started with me telling myself that I would work out five times during the week.  The final total? Three times. I let other things get in my way far too easily.  I have to commit myself to working out whenever possible, because exercise has made a tremendous improvement in my day to day life, and I would be a fool to slack off on it now.

I’m also willing to admit that I made a mistake in judgment.  I knew that the holidays would add a challenge to my plan.  The mistake was in not finding a good system of measurement to help me through the holidays.  I have my black goal pants that I’m working toward, but because there’s such a big size difference between them and the last pair of goal pants, I haven’t had the positive reinforcement of knowing, for sure, that what I’m doing is working.  Honestly, I could have really used that, especially since it’s been two months since I’ve hit a goal, and the pants are tight enough that I know it will likely be at least another month before there’s a chance that they’ll fit well enough to declare a goal.

That’s three months of no positive reinforcement.  Because I have lost so slowly, and for the most part can still wear many of the clothes that I wore when I started this diet, very few people have commented on my weight loss.  My brain is taking this information and whispering your goal jeans aren’t anywhere close to fitting, no one’s noticing your loss, and you can’t be sure about your loss yourself.  No measurable success = failure.  Why are you doing this, again?

This is just how my brain works, and since it’s been my brain for the last 50 years (oy!), I should know by now when the voice of doubt will be its strongest, and that’s where I’m at.  I have strong days and weak days.  I need more strong days.  And I need to keep pushing so I do see some measurable results, and soon.

I have already promised myself that I will finally take progress pics with the black pants on this Friday, since that’s my normal try-on day.  I should be able to tell by photos what I already know, and that’s that there has been a loss since my last goal pants.  Heck, I’m wearing them right now, and they are comfortable.  The black pants wouldn’t come anywhere near closing or zipping when I ended up selecting them.

I’m going to keep the black pants as goal pants; they’re at the fitting point where I’m most of the way there.  I just need to persevere, and I need to be careful about how I select my next method of measurement.