Archive for the ‘Weight Loss Wednesday’ Category
Something weird happened this week. Someone said I looked thinner. This was weird because:
- I have not been working out.
- I have not been watching my diet.
- They see me every week.
My current theory is that my new haircut makes me look thinner. I know I feel like it makes me look younger. And it certainly makes me feel less like I’m in danger of heat stroke when I’m out side.
Another possibility is that we have been outside a lot this summer, so maybe I’ve sweated it off. Especially since I’ve been trying to monitor my water and make sure I”m drinking enough.
Whatever the cause, having someone tell me I look thinner, makes me want to start putting in the work to be thinner. At the doctor’s office the other day, I was back up to 195, which isn’t horrible, considering I haven’t worked out in over a year. But it’s not great either. And I told myself I was going to break the 190 line and never cross it again.
So I think it’s time to start running this week.
How I look now
My 6-week followup appointment was on Monday. Which means I’m officially recovered from the whole having a baby thing. And that means I can get back to my regularly scheduled weight loss.
I’m breast-feeding, which means I can’t diet, but I think that’s good. Because it means I have to focus more on fitness. And since the breastfeeding will make weight loss easier (by burning an extra 500 or so calories every day), the fitness is more important right now anyway. I’m looking forward to getting back into my Wii Fit. And I’m really looking forward to starting up again with the Couch to 5k. Running felt good to me (even though it hurt like crazy at first).
Current Weight: 194 (according to the doctor’s scale)
Dieting. So many people do it. And it tends to work, at least in the short-term, but for long-term weight loss and maintenance, there’s one thing that so many people forget. There is such a thing as eating too little. There’s a little equation. Calories Eaten – Calories Used = Weight Loss/Gain/Maintenance. If you eat more calories than you use, you gain weight. If they break even, you stay the same. If you eat few calories than you use, you lose weight. But the problem is that people focus only on the first half of that equation.
Yes, how many calories you eat is easy for you to control. That’s how diets operate. “Eat less!” they scream. But that only works for so long. In my PCOS groups, I’ve seen the same complaint over and over. “I’m hardly eating anything and I just can’t lose weight.” Because these are women who have PCOS, which makes weight loss difficult, I start to feel for them. I empathize. But then I wonder, maybe they aren’t losing weight because they’re eating too little. If you aren’t taking in enough calories, your body starts to worry. And when it worries, it stores what it can in the form of extra fat. You eliminate less and your body keeps more because it worries that it won’t be able to continue to function. In this case, eating more could create weight loss. I gained several pounds early in my pregnancy, but as soon as I realized I was pregnant and began eating more, I lost weight again. Why? Because my body needed more than I was giving it, and it was willing to store everything up until I gave it to it.
So if you can’t just keep eating less and less, how do you lose weight? By thinking about the other half of the equation. So many diet programs want to tell you how you can lose weight without exercising. But that just isn’t true. When you’ve hit the bottom of what your body needs, the only option is to increase how many calories your body uses. And this isn’t about exercising until you drop. Not everyone has a Biggest Loser kind of workout regimen in them. But if you don’t go for walks, start. Ride a bike, go for a run, start a garden. Do anything that requires more movement than you’ve been doing. That’s it. Nothing huge and big and you don’t have to starve yourself. In fact, starving yourself is a really bad idea.
I have been thinking a lot about the state of my Weight Loss Wednesday posts. Part of me says I won’t be losing weight for a while, so I should stop them. The other part says that they’re the most popular posts on my blog, so I’d be stupid to stop them. So I’ve decided to keep them going, though they may not be quite weekly.
I won’t be doing the Couch to 5k anymore. Not unless I get permission when I see my doctor in May. And by then, I may not want to do it anyway. I’m already really tired. So we’ll see. I will still be working out and attempting to eat right. But I won’t be losing any weight for about nine months or so. And my exercising won’t be nearly as intense (though it will hopefully be frequent). My diet won’t be nearly as strict.
The fact that I wouldn’t be doing as much is why I considered quitting the posts. What am I supposed to talk about on Weight Loss Wednesdays if I’m not actually trying to lose weight? But I think the things that I learn from attempting to work out and eat right are still valid even when I’m not trying to lose weight from them. So, while I’m not going to try to push myself to post them every week, I am going to keep them going.
To start with, I am the sucktastic at getting blog posts up in time lately. I promise to be better and I’ve already determined what I’m going to talk about next week, and the week after that (though I still have to actually write the posts).
Moving on. The Couch to 5k program is amazing. I have never been a runner. Even in high school, when we had to run laps at the beginning of gym class, I hated it. I was more of a barely jogger. But I always sort of wished I had the gumption to go out for track. I always sort of envied the runners. So when I found out about the Couch to 5k, and when I read an article by a runner who was much much larger than me when she started running, I knew I had to do it. I’ve been doing great things on SparkPeople and I figured, I can do this.
Now, I have to stop here and say that this is a very very new outlook for me. I have always been a pessimist. Especially when it comes to my own abilities and prospects. So looking at anything and saying “I can do this” is pretty amazing. Usually, I think something negative, then I tell myself that I need to be more positive and I’ll change it to “I can do this.” But it was still a false positivity. It was my attempt to improve my outlook but it wasn’t really real. This is real.
SparkPeople starts you out small and then when you’ve done a few things right and had good results, this funny thing happens. You just sort of start to believe in yourself in a way that you never have before. The fact is, overweight people (and probably most people in general) are pretty well-versed in failure. You don’t usually end up overweight if you haven’t failed in some way. Failed to eat right. Failed to be active. Failed to take care of yourself. All of the above. So it takes a few things going your way to reverse the accumulated negative thinking.
Back to Couch to 5k. I thought I could do it. I wanted to do it. But I still made excuses for a couple weeks. I couldn’t find the cord to upload the podcasts I found onto my Zune. Which was pretty important since I don’t have a treadmill to keep track of time on, nor do I have a stopwatch on any kind. So the podcasts were pretty much the only way I was going to pull it off. But after replacing the cord (I got a HUGE deal on Amazon), I was finally ready to run.
It was terrible. Painful, exhausting, and so hard to do. The first time. At one point in time, the only way I kept going was because the man on the podcast said “You can do it,” and I chose to believe him. But I was sore even before I was done running and even stretching out for a good 5-10 minutes after my cool down didn’t help much. I was so sore the next day, I could barely walk.
But, I decided that the first time was probably the worst. So I ran again. And even though I was still sore, even though I was pushing my daughter in front of me in her stroller, even though it started to get somewhat chilly toward the end, it was so much better. And just the difference between the first time and the second time made me feel like maybe I was right. Maybe I really can do this. Maybe everyone can.
Current Weight: 187
Goal Weight: 165
I lost another three pounds this week. It’s amazing to me how much weight I can lose even in weeks when I don’t really workout. But I’m eating so much better now, and I just think about what I’m eating and when. I’m not just eating whatever’s in the kitchen and convenient. This week is the start of a new exercise adventure. I’ve added exercise to my planner, so it’s scheduled into my day now. But also, I’m doing some really interesting workouts that I think are going to be really amazing. If I can keep up with them.
The first part of my new workout routine is SparkPeople’s New You Bootcamp series. It’s a 10-minute video seven days a week. Then, for 5 of those days, you add 30 minutes of cardio. I really like the Bootcamp videos because it’s something new to do every day. And the videos are free, so that’s also awesome. And I like having instructions to follow.
For three of my five cardio days, I’m going to be doing the Couch to 5k. I am not a runner, but I’ve always admired runners, so I’m going to give this a shot just to see if I can become a runner. My body is changing shape and I wouldn’t mind encouraging it to take on the shape of a runner. I downloaded a set of podcasts to help you know when to run and when to walk, since I don’t have a gym membership anymore. No treadmill for me. I get to try this out in the super hilly neighborhood where I live.
The other two cardio days, I plan to just get in some time on the exercise bike.
I don’t think I’ll do the bootcamp every week. Maybe every other week. But I plan to keep up with Couch to 5k. So, I should still be making progress every week. And I really look forward to being able to run without dying. It may even encourage me to play softball with my husband this summer. If we can get a babysitter for the games. I still have terrible hand-eye coordination, so I won’t miraculously become a great catcher or a decent batter. But if I manage to hit the ball, it would be nice to run to first base without dying.
Current Weight: 185.5
Goal Weight: 165.5
I have been sick for about a week. It started out as a headache, then bloomed into a full-blown head cold. After a couple days of that, the congestion decided to go vacationing in my chest region. And it seemed to like it there, because it’s been hanging out there ever since.
I am getting better. I’ve been taking some generic Claritin stuff and Mucinex DM. I think in a day or two, I’ll be back to normal. And my weight loss hasn’t stopped (I lost 2 lbs this week!), but I think that’s more due to the fact that I don’t eat much when I’m sick. I have consistently been low on calories for the last three days. Taht might sound great, but the fact is, I don’t want my body to decide that I’m starving and start storing stuff up again. So I am very not okay with eating too few calories (can you tell that I’m not a dieter?). But when I’m sick, it’s so darn hard to motivate myself into the kitchen to cook. I know I should go in and cook some chicken and rice and vegetables. But instead, I pull out one of the Lean Pockets that still seem to be in the freezer.
And yes, I know. There are much worse things to eat than Lean Pockets (like the KitKat that iI shared witht he baby the other day). But the point is that I wasn’t eating what I should have been. And I’m sure that has something to do with how long this cold has been hangign around. My daughter seems almost all better already. And guess who makes sure she eats like she’s supposed to.
I definitely need to learn to start treating my body like I treat hers. At the first sign of sickness, I start pumping her full of juice and putting saline drops in her nose and running the humidifier. I don’t do those things for myself. Maybe that’s part of my problem.
Current Weight: 188
Goal Weight: 165
Note: I’ve noticed that people seem to be really interested in my Weight Loss Wednesday posts, and that’s awesome. No problem with that. But I thought I should mention, for those that are interested, that I’m also blogging weight loss stuff on SparkPeople. I’ve been trying to post at least a little bit every day. So if you’re really into these posts, you might be interested in them there. My username is (of course) Maidenfine.
I joined a forum for supporting women with PCOS. They didn’t have an introductions forum, so I didn’t know where to post to jump in. So I wandered around, reading here, reading there. I went to their Weight Loss forum and read their “Start Here” post. And it had a link to SparkPeople.com. And I think my life may have been changed by that one link. I won’t know for sure, really, until later. Probably for years. But it has definitely been inspiring, encouraging, and motivational.
SparkPeople is basically whatever you need it to be to help with your weight loss/healthy lifestyle journey. Do you need meal plans? They’ve got them. And they’re excellent. I’ve been eating from them and I feel like I have so much more energy now that it’s ridiculous. I’ve been waking up before my alarm goes off, even on nights when I’ve gotten to bed a little later than I’d like.
Do you need exercise routines? They’ve got them. And they’re easy to make work however you need them to. I had to adjust a little bit because the original exercises used equipment that I don’t have. But they had the same exercises with different equipment so I basically just had to find the same thing using something I actually had. And let me tell you, the workout kicked my ass. And I’ve been trying to work out fairly consistently for the last year. So there you go.
Do you just need something to track your progress? They’ve got that. You can track the food that you’re eating, or the exercises you’re doing, without using their routines and meal plans. And you can set it up to track pretty much anything you want. I have a tracker set up to keep track of how many pages of revisions I get done, so it doesn’t even stop at weight loss stuff.
Do you need a community for support, interaction, and maybe finding a workout buddy? They’ve got that. They call them SparkTeams, and there’s a team for just about anything under the sun. I’m in a team for my city, a team for parents of preschoolers, a team for people trying to live on less money, and two teams for women with PCOS trying to lose weight. And beyond just having forums, each team has a huddle, where you can post up a quick motivational message for other members on your team. The site hosts blogs, so whenever you post to your blog, it’ll show up in your team space. The whole thing is set up to give you the tools you need in order to know what you’re doing, and the community you need to keep doing it. And that’s not even getting into the recipes, articles, and health information they have on their site.
Basically, I’m in love with SparkPeople.
I started eating their meal plans, I ended up with more and more energy, and working out became easy to do. It’s not so hard to motivate myself onto the exercise bike when I actually feel like I have energy to spare. I’m not sitting on the couch thinking “I should exercise” but feeling too exhausted to manage it. And all of this adds together to being something that could very much change my life. It could change anyone’s life if they were ready for it to.
I have a sweet tooth. I don’t deny it. And I enjoy sedentary activities like reading and writing and video games. These are things I struggle with as I attempt to lose weight. But, when it gets down to it, they are things that I can control. My biggest frustration, and the thing that frequently derails me, is the one thing I have absolutely no control over. I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
For the most part, I don’t think about the fact that I have it. I take medication every day and I keep an eye on what my body is doing, but most of the symptoms are cosmetic. Excess hair. Oily skin and acne. That sort of thing. The parts that aren’t cosmetic feel more like threats. I could develop diabetes. I could get cervical cancer. I could become infertile. All terrible things, but still just threats (though the possible infertility thing became a big deal when we wanted to have a baby). It’s all very vague and nebulous.
My weight issues are not vague and nebulous. And they aren’t purely cosmetic. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women (and men), and guess what increases your risk. Obesity, particularly extra weight around the middle. And guess what PCOS causes. Insulin resistance that leads to weight gain, particularly around the middle (more in the gut than the hips). It makes it easy to gain weight and ridiculously hard to lose it.
The medication that I’m on helps. I’m on an insulin regulator (doctors and nurses looking at my medication frequently ask me what type of diabetes I have). But even with that help, my weight loss will be slow. Not because I’m not trying. Not because I’m not making changes. But because my body chooses not to cooperate. And that can get really really discouraging. Every few months, it really gets to me, and I give up for a little bit. I don’t start eating everything in sight, but I stop trying so hard. And then, after a week or two of feeling like a slob, I get back up and exercise and kick myself back into gear.
But I never really stop being frustrated. I never really stop wishing my body would get its act together, just for a little while. I never really stop looking in the mirror and seeing my stomach and just thinking, “You might kill me one day.” And that makes it really hard to stay motivated.
So I went looking, and I found a community for people with PCOS. Because nothing helps like people who know what you’re going through. Hopefully, the next time I want to give up, I will have made friends who are going through the same thing and then they can kick my butt back into gear. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs.
In the past, I’ve only used food journals when it was part of a school assignment or something. But when I was out shopping with my sister, I spotted a used copy of the Outwit Your Weight Journal. After flipping through it a little and reading the back, I bought it and I’m going to be trying out this journaling thing for real.
The book recommends starting out with the Calorie Counting journal for at least your first two weeks, so that’s what I’m doing. And I find that just the act of journaling everything makes me think harder about what I’m eating. So far, I actually take in fewer calories than I think. But when it comes to junk food, just the act of having to figure out the serving size and write it all down discourages me. It makes the junk food seem less worth it.
I had originally planned to just use the first week to see what I eat, without trying to change anything. But before you start journaling, the book helps you figure out “budgets.” You figure out how many calories you burn just by breathing and such, then you take a little off of that to find your weight loss calorie goals. It also helps you figure out a budget for fat grams (or calories) and for exercise. So even though I originally intended to just observe for the first week, having those numbers in my head, means that I look at the stuff I’m writing down and gauge how I’m doing. Which, I suppose is just a weird example of the observer effect, where the observer and the observed happen to be the same person.
The really cool thing about the book (to me, anyway) is that there’s more than one kind of journal in it. It shows how to keep journals that track overeating, or emotional eating, or snacking. So after I finish with the calorie counting journal, I can decide what sort of track I need to be keeping of food, based on what kind of food issues I have.
I’ve already decided that my new focus to add for March will be portion sizes. I have a feeling that the food journal will have me started on that before March actually happens, but in March, it’ll be something I watch really carefully. And the Wii Fit Plus disc is fixed (thanks to this handsome guy at Vintage Stock). I worked out for the first time in about 2 months, and it did not make my body feel pretty, but that’s to be expected. And, on the bright side, I was able to do Jacknives and Downward Facing Dog, so my ab muscles are mostly healed from my surgery. Which makes me happy.
Current Weight: 192
Goal Weight: 165