What is Victory, Even?

I have to admit feeling a little weird about celebrating a 10 pound loss. From where I started to where I am now, 10 pounds is such a small thing. 5% of my original loss, no big deal, right?

I think I’m also celebrating that after all these years, when I got off-track, I only had to lose 10 pounds. That’s a victory! I’m keeping off 200 pounds, but for a while I stopped paying attention and then I snapped back into focus and it could have been so much worse. There have been times when it has been so much worse. In 2013 I had to drop 50 pounds. This time, the ways that I got off track weren’t nearly as damaging as they could have been.

The victory is that I’m getting better and better at this. I’m getting better at sounding the alarm when my habits are out of control. I’m getting better about accepting the work that needs to be done, sooner.

I’m not much of a celebrator, though. I don’t really know what to do, other than to walk around feeling pleased with myself. I don’t enjoy manicures, pedicures, or massages, so those aren’t my go-to for rewarding myself. Honestly, just wearing my jeans yesterday felt like a reward. My jeans, which were uncomfortably tight two months ago, which now fit comfortably, maybe even a tad loosely.

I’m not intending to drop a clothing size, I like where I am now. If I lose the next ten pounds and find that it makes enough of a difference that I’d need to go down a size (which I don’t expect), then I will gain some back. Because I’m not interested in buying another wardrobe.

Another weird thing is when people tell me they can see a difference. Really, ten pounds on someone as tall as me is a very, very small change. Almost unnoticeable unless you are a very keen observer. So when somebody tells me they can see a difference I wonder why they are observing my body so closely and it makes me self-conscious and uncomfortable. I am truly not doing this for any external validation, and when I get it I don’t really know how to react. (not you Allison, you’re my diet buddy, it’s not weird if you notice!)

Which brings me to the opposite – body shaming/fat shaming. This is such a no-go zone for me for obvious reasons that I can’t believe it would ever happen. But no, I don’t find jokes about fat people funny, I don’t think anybody I know “needs to lose a few”. While I may be a somewhat normal size right now, my formative life experiences were all gained while I was morbidly obese. I don’t find mockery, concern trolling, or other body commentary amusing in the least. I don’t even like it when my friends talk negatively about their own bodies. If you’re my friend, you are beautiful and perfect just the way you are. JUST THE WAY YOU ARE. And I will never, ever suggest to you or anybody else that you need to lose weight. That’s none of my business. Or anybody else’s. I will do everything I can to support you if you decide you want to. Just don’t expect me to offer advice or suggestions without solicitation. That’s rude.

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Week 7 Results: BOOM! Milestone

I stayed on target all week, no slips or eating off-plan, as I expect of myself. I had 55 servings of fruits/veggies. I had 41 meal replacements. I burned 3,454 calories in physical activity. I averaged a net caloric intake of ~1157 calories per day. These numbers are very similar to last week’s numbers (intentionally – I had a great result last week, why mess with success?).

Result: I was down 1.5 pounds at weigh-in last night.

When I started this push, my initial goal was to lose 10 pounds. Mission accomplished! I’m now officially down 10.8 pounds from when I started in March. YES! This stuff still works (with some experimentation and modification due to my aging infrastructure. Er, body). Feeling pretty good about things today. My next goal is my stretch goal – lose another 10 pounds then maintain that weight for the rest of forever. I have no timeline since I know I’ll be at this the rest of my life. What I mean is, I don’t care how long the next 10 takes me. I’ll get there eventually, the important thing is that I continue to focus on my goal and do the right things to support it and it will happen in due time through the natural course of events.

There’s one thing that still concerns me though, which I was reminded of this morning – why do the people in the Jillian Michaels workout DVDs not sweat? I’m usually melted into a puddle by the end, but everybody in those DVDs is fresh as a flower from start to finish. How does that happen? I wonder if that’s part of the casting processĀ  – you have to come in and workout hard for 30 minutes, and if you break a sweat you’re out. Brutal. I’d be out after about 9 minutes. Which is exactly how long it takes for sweat to start dripping down my face when I exercise. Yes, I even have data on that. NERD ALERT.

Ok, I gotta get dressed in grown-up clothes and head into the office today for a meeting. My employer demands to see my face about once every month or so, and so I comply.

Group Hikes, Color, and Prophylactic Exercise

I went for a hike yesterday with a group of friends, and it was really nice! This isn’t really news, but for me it’s unusual. I’m a solo exerciser. I actively dread working out with others – running in particular for me is a solitary endeavor, but exercise classes too can be fraught for me. I’m highly introverted to begin with, was hugely bullied growing up as a fat kid (PE class was the stuff of nightmares), so I generally want to be alone to exercise.

But, with the right group of people, it can be fun. There were 6 of us, and it turned into a really nice time. It was interesting to see the groups shifting as we moved along, I think I ended up walking with each person individually for a bit, and with different configurations of three and four people throughout the ninety minute walk. Also great to get to catch up with friends face to face. I burn about 630 calories hiking for 90 minutes. Bonus!

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Fun new hair!

This morning I did a light 30 minute workout for only one reason – because if I don’t my body will hurt all day. It’s true, by paying close attention over the last year or so I’ve discovered that most days NOT working out is worse than just getting anything done. I’ve noted that getting moving and sweating lubricates my joints (or something!) and makes everything hurt less for the rest of the day. So even if I’m not “feelin’ it” I do it anyway, and usually feel better afterwards.

I also got some crazy color for my hair on Friday night and you know what? That stuff bleeds for a while. My white towels are gonna be a bit pink-stained this week. The Hair Whisperer and I are calling this “business punk” – like business casual but it’ll kick your teeth in if it has to.

I’ll find out tonight how things are progressing. I’m feeling good but getting tired of being “special” where food is concerned.

Weight Management Today

First: I just got back from a basic maintenance run. This is what the bulk of my running workouts can be classified as – basic bodily maintenance. Unlike a lot of other runners, I’m not trying to improve my time, distance, or, really anything. I’m just running because it needs to be done and checked off on my list. I think it’s important to know that exercise doesn’t have to be an all-out balls-to-the-wall intense-focus session all the time. Or even most of the time. Sometimes it just needs to be done so you can move on to the next item on your agenda for the day. I got out, I ran ~3ish miles, and now I’m gonna shower and get on with my day.

Next: I haven’t been posting as much lately because I’ve been working on some other projects which may or may not bear fruit in the coming months. I’ll try not to go dark on you for too long – don’t drop me! I’ll still be checking in! Working on managing my health and weight isn’t something I’m ever going to stop doing, even when I’m not writing about it as much I’m still doing it.

Finally: I’m going on a cruise this summer for the first time ever. My pal Rick Steves says some people gain up to a pound a day on cruises. EGAD! Not me (I hope)! But, since I have no idea what to expect – hit me with your best tips on how to avoid the gain and eat healthily on a cruise! Will I have access to fruits and veggies throughout the day, or is it going to be a cream-and-butter drenched fiesta of temptation all day every day? How do you balance vacation with smart choices when you’re a captive audience to a cruise chef?

 

Week 6 Results: A New Thing My Body Is Doing

I stayed on target all week, no slips or eating off-plan, as I expect of myself. I had 56 servings of fruits/veggies. I had 38 meal replacements. I burned 3,240 calories in physical activity. I averaged a net caloric intake of ~1183 calories per day. As you can see, these numbers are quite different from the last 5 weeks. My physical activity burn is significantly lower (by ~ 1000…ish). My net average cal/day is quite a bit higher (by ~400…ish) from those past week.

I spent the weekend medieval camping, and despite vast amounts of tasty temptation, I stayed on program every single minute of every single day. You could say I ROCKED IT. I will say it. I rocked it. I am feeling so good about how I handled this weekend with my prepping and my planning, albeit with the slight alterations to my plan of adding in some healthy fats in the form of avocados and full-fat dairy in measured and careful portions.

Dutch market girl reporting for duty!

Antwerpen market girl reporting for duty!

My medieval camping this weekend culminated in working in a veggie and fruit stall as part of a tableau of 16th Century Antwerpen Market scenes as seen in paintings. Google it! That meant that I could happily munch away on the merchandise (we weren’t charging real money, donation only) without wandering outside of my program’s constraints. I ate a lot of strawberries and sugar snap peas.

As you can see from the numbers I worked out a lot less and ate a lot more, and for my efforts I was rewarded with a 2 pound loss. You guys, this is something that my body has never, ever, ever done before. Prior to right now, maximum effort has always yielded maximum results for my body. NOT ANYMORE.

This is a whole new world that I’m not even equipped to navigate. The idea that I could take my foot off the gas and actually get better results…I need to process this. It feels so decadent to eat these healthy fats, but I’m not going to stop now! MOAR AVOCADO PLZ THX.

Anyway, this brings my total loss so far to 9.3 pounds. I’m very close to making my initial goal of 10 pounds. I don’t quite see it yet, but my diet buddy Allie says she does, so who am I to argue? I know my clothes are fitting better and I feel better, especially this week now that I’ve tweaked my formula. Exercise less, eat more. Who could have ever predicted that? I’m still stunned. I’ve heard about it in theory and for other people, sure – but for me, this is a brand new day!

NYT Thinks They Just Discovered What I’ve Been Saying For Years

They should just hire me to write their articles on weight loss. Today the New York Times published a follow-up story to the one on Monday about the Biggest Loser (I wish so hard I didn’t have to have a tag for that bloody show), and in it they confirm just about EVERY SINGLE THING I’ve been saying here on this blog for years. Their article:

Short Answers to Hard Questions About Weight Loss

You guys, I’ve said all of these things, but years ago! I’ve been here saying this stuff all along.

Like, for example, it doesn’t matter if you lose weight slow or lose weight fast – I said that in 2012. Although, granted, their reason for why it doesn’t matter isn’t quite the same as mine. They do, however, confirm that losing it fast gives a higher chance of keeping people engaged long enough to actually meet their goals.

I’ve said again and again that strength training doesn’t do much to increase my metabolism (nothing really does). They agree.

They say you should try one diet after another until you find the one that works for you. I said the same thing in 2011.

The only hope they have to offer is that of constant vigilance. Hell, not only have I said that forever, I even told you where to find the handbook for long-term weight management in 2011. So that, you know, if you wanted to try you’d have a handy reference guide that lays it all out. As well as talking about the day-in-day-out steps I take to implement that vigilance for over 13 years.

I should write a book. How do I get a book contract? These people…acting like they just discovered long-term weight management. That’s just getting annoying now to those of us who’ve been practicing it for years.

Fixing Myself, and Ruminations on the Biggest Loser

I’m coming to the conclusion that the last couple of weeks of depression and exhaustion that I’ve been experiencing were the result of over-training and under-eating. In an effort to counteract that I’ve take the following steps:

  • I picked up some healthy fats yesterday to incorporate into my diet – avocados for my salads, sour cream for my baked potatoes, nuts for…just eating, a very little bit at a time. You have to be careful with nuts!
  • I’m scaling back my workouts. This morning I ran my usual 3.2 mile route. That’s enough for today. Pushing for longer distances was probably more than I needed to do at a time when I’d drastically reduced my intake.

I also ordered some new running shoes, that’s nothing to do with the rest of it, just more of a treat for me and it was time. Running in new shoes is so great, I’m really looking forward to getting them next week and running on clouds for a while!

I’ve been having some further thoughts on the Biggest Loser report that came out earlier this week. And, well, the show in general. I’ve never watched the Biggest Loser, so obviously I’m not in the best place to critique it, but let me just tell you why I’ve never watched it and maybe that will help explain why I find it distasteful.

The Biggest Loser, far as I can tell, is predicated on the principle that fat people should be ashamed of their bodies and work like hell to change them. Further, it appears to be a platform for fat-shaming with a nationally televised reach. The appeal of the show seems to be based solely upon the desire of a national audience to see fat people understand how wrong their bodies are, and be forced to change them. The whole idea of the show assumes the obvious underlying statement that fat people must be humiliated into changing their ways, and the most entertaining way to do that is to set them to compete against one another like animals. To make them into a spectacle. I abhor every single part of this message. As a person who grew up fat, I am disgusted by the very premise of this show. It wounds me viscerally to be reminded that for the first 30 years of my life the only value many could see in me was as a figure of pity, scorn, and to serve as a warning to others.

Add in the complete lack of support and follow-through for the contestants inherent in a reality TV show, and I firmly believe that the show is not about “helping” fat people, it’s about making them into a spectacle for gawking, mockery, and derision. When the contestants inevitably gain back the weight they lost – because they haven’t learned the skills, tools, and behaviors they’d need to keep it off, and they haven’t received any long-term support – the publicity around their failure humiliates them yet again, meanwhile driving ratings for the show up, up, up. Because any publicity is good publicity for the show. But not for the humans upon which it preys.

So there you have it. My uninformed views on a show I haven’t seen and likely never will.