Thursday, January 28, 2010

Some guidelines and goals

Weight: 240.2

Today marks one week of being back. I've lost an excellent 4.3 pounds, which is just .2 pounds shy of half the 9 pounds I gained being away.

I'm debating whether or not I should put it as my big side of the blog weigh in. On the one hand, I started on a Thursday so this is a week later and should be my next weigh in. Just going by normal standards, this should be the day.

But, Tuesdays are my weigh in day. For months I weighed in on Tuesdays. I like Tuesdays. They're close enough to the weekend to keep the pressure up, and you're less likely to be away then you would on a Monday. And they're just my weigh in day.

On the other hand, I know I won't be able to weigh in on at least one Tuesday next month since I'm going to be on the road, so maybe I should just suck it up and stick with Thursdays for the time being.

I know I owe you guys a post on serious stuff, but today I just want to do today is set out some straightforward goals for myself:

1. There's no reason not to take the stairs down when I leave my apartment. I live on the 8th floor and taking the stairs down is both easy and smart. Unfortunately, I can't take the stairs up: you can't open the doors from inside the stairwell on any floor but the lobby and basement. (For the record, how lame is that? Shouldn't it be a fire hazard or something?)
2. I need to really write down what I'm eating. When I originally started this blog/diet, I wrote down every morsel. Along the way, I got comfortable enough judging my food and tracking calories in my head that I stopped. For now, I need to write things down. I'm not assigning myself a definite calorie limit, but I know around where I want to be.
3. Lunch time walks are one of the keys to success. Going out in the fresh air and getting a bit of midday exercise not only burns calories, it makes me feel infinitely better for the rest of the afternoon. At least 4 days a week, I want to go for a walk during lunch.
4. The most important thing I can do to get myself to the gym is to not sit down after getting home from work. If I change immediately, grab a bottle of water and head off, I get there. The moment I sit down, my chances of heading out the door plummet. As of now, I'm going to plan to hit the gym at least 4 work days a week, and hopefully on the weekends as well.

For now, those are my basic guidelines for staying on the right track.

Two days ago I made plans to fly out to visit my best friend from college in February, and I'm really, really excited to see her since we haven't been able to get together for a little over a year. Literally a few hours after we finalized the trip and I bought the tickets, her boyfriend proposed. So, come the weekend of February 20th, I'll not only be seeing her for the first time in a year, I'll be meeting her fiancée for the first time ever. A little nerve-wracking, to say the least. It's a little over three weeks away, so nothing drastic is going to happen, but I'd like to make some decent progress by then. If I can lose 4.7 pounds by then, I'll at least be as thin as I was before I got lost, and if I can drop 7.2 pounds by then, I'd no longer be morbid for the visit. Who knows if I'll be able to make either of those goals (I really should be able to make the first and the second is within reason), but now is as good a time as any to set them up.

It's highly unlikely I'll be at my goal weight to walk down the aisle for my brother's wedding this summer, but maybe, just maybe, I'll be there by the time I need to be a bridesmaid in hers the summer after.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Work out joy and a changing equation

Weight: 240.5

I had a fabulous workout yesterday. I went to the gym pretty much straight after work, and did 45 minutes on the elliptical. But it wasn't your run of the mill "chug along on the elliptical." It was me, giving everything I had and going faster and harder than I thought I could. It was the sort of workout I hadn't had in a while, and it felt great. I'm so glad I'm working out regularly again, and I haven't stopped beaming since I left the gym last night.

Despite yesterday's slight melancholy and yearning over a past I couldn't change, I do think on the whole I'm quite a bit happier when I'm on track and losing weight. A feeling of joy just started on Thursday, shortly after I returned to blogland and the world of the on-track, and it by and large hasn't subsided.

I've spoken in the past about what we're really saying when we embark on a diet/lifestyle change/weight loss effort/whatever you want to call it:

What "I'm on a diet" says, essentially, is "I was wrong." It says somehow, along the way, I messed up. Maybe I thought I enjoyed food more than the idea of being thin, maybe I was stressed and let impulse get the better of me, maybe I was just plain lazy, but what I did, was wrong. Being fat was a wrong choice. I messed up. And right now, I'm fixing my error.

(Side note: reading that post back I think it may be the best post I've written here. In general I'm not wild about my writing, but I do from time to time write things that I think are good, and that post is definitely one I like. Best or not, it's certainly one of my favorites.)

And I think what I said there is true. It does say that. But it also says something else.

The flip side of what "I'm on a diet" says is "I'm worth investing in." Yes, mistakes were made, but I'm worthwhile, I'm worth changing. That there's value in me, and that I'm worth protecting and taking care of. It's saying my future and my health are worth whatever pains I must endure along the way. It's not just saying the short term suffering is worth the long term rewards, it's saying I am worth far more than cramps or hunger pains or delicious delicious cheesecake.

I'm going to talk about this more tomorrow: there's a lot to be said here, about faith in yourself, about marginal costs, and about what side of the equation flips for the "I'm worth dieting" vs. "no, I'd really just have the pizza."

In the mean time, though, as my head churns the analysis and philosophy of it all, I'm still smiling. I'm happy to be here. I'm happy to be exercising. I'm happy to be eating healthy. And I'm happy that it's the season where the grocery store sells huuuuuge strawberries that I just absolutely love.

For the comments: what's one thing you're happy about today?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lost Time

Weight: 241.2

I'm mixed on that number. On the one hand, some part of me keeps saying "That's good! You're down 3.3 pounds from when you started!" But, I was 240.7 on Saturday, and 240.9 on Sunday, so I'm not crazy about the reverse progress of the past two days. I just need to keep reminding myself that 3.3. pounds would be insanely good for a normal week, and that I should stop thinking about it in terms of a "first week back" thing.

One of the things I'm having a really hard time with at the moment is not kicking myself too much for missing as much time as I did. I've found myself looking, almost jealously but more with an anger at myself, at the progress my compatriots have made. Seeing so many posts and pictures I missed over the intervening weeks . . . it's just hard.

In about 10 weeks, I gained 9 pounds. To be fair, I don't think that's actually a fair accounting. Even though my absolute lowest weigh in was 235.5, my real weight was closer to 237 or 238. I've also been able to knock off the first 3 pounds of that 244.5 so quickly that it clearly wasn't all real weight. If I'm honest, in the 10 weeks I was away, I probably gained about 6 or so real honest to god pounds of fat.

What bugs me the most though isn't the reasonably small amount of weight I ended up gaining. It's all the weight I didn't lose while I was breaking. I probably could've lost about 15 pounds in that time. I'd be in the 220s, not morbid, and probably within spitting distance of the 210s. Instead I'm struggling to reenter the 230s, and facing a long road until I can drop the damnable morbid label.

However, all is not lost. As I was reading through archives trying to catch up with what had been going on with everyone, I stumbled upon this great piece of wisdom by S. at Ethereal Endeavor: "One thing my weight loss adventures have taught me is that just because I missed a day (or four) doesn't mean that I should throw in the towel."

A lost week (or 10) isn't great. But it's better than a lost year.

I'm not as far as I wanted to be right now, but I'm also a lot farther than I would've been if I hadn't undertaken this journey in the first place. 241.2 isn't fabulous, but it's a heck of a lot better than 278. The best, the only thing I can do right now is to keep on going and keep making progress. I'll get there eventually.

In other news, Erin of the XXL Files very kindly gave me an award on Friday!

Thank you Erin! I promise I'll consider playing by the rules and doing the award thing tomorrow. In the mean time, it was incredibly nice of you to hook me up with blog love after I'd been back such a short time. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Onward and downward

Thank you all so much for the warm welcome back! It definitely feels good to have returned to blogland.

I did indeed go to the gym last night, and it was nice to be back after quite a few weeks away. I only put in 20 minutes on the elliptical, but it was much better than nothing. Combined with the hour walk during lunch yesterday, and the mile roundtrip walk to/from the gym, I think I got in some pretty solid activity.

I weighed in this morning at 242.7, which is 1.8 pounds less than yesterday. The scale tends to move quickly in the first few days of a new/renewed diet, but it's still nice to see. Getting rid of the easy weight is always a nice way to kickstart a diet.

The question, of course, is how much easy weight I have to lose. I'm hoping a good portion of the 240s will end up being fluff and water weight and that I'll be back in the 230s in no time, but things of course don't always turn out as we might hope.

Anyway, a few "While I was aways" just to get you guys updated:

While I was away, I finished my Arabic class. I got an A! I'm really happy with it and enjoy the language, but I think I'm not going to do Arabic this semester and instead focus on losing weight. I simply don't think it's smart to spend 10 hours a week (6 class, 4 homework) on it at the moment.

While I was away, a big paper that I'd spent a lot of time on at work finally came out. It's been received very well, and I got thanked in the footnotes! I was, I won't lie, pretty damn proud.

While I was away, my dormant blog managed to attract its first marketing email. It's from LA boxing, offering me a few months of membership in return for telling you guys if I liked it or not (well, probably it's "tell you if I liked it, say nothing if I didn't"). They sent it to me about a week ago, and since I just checked this email account, I just got it and replied.

While I was away, I turned 24! The side of my blog has now been updated accordingly. Part of me is debating if I should just rock "mid-twenties."

While I was away, I missed you guys a lot. And since I've been back, it's been great catching up.

Right now, I'm optimistic and happy. I had a pretty good 2009, and I'm looking to make 2010 even better. Onward and downward!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Return of Lunch Time Walks

I took a walk today during my lunch hour. I used to do it almost every day back when I was blogging and genuinely focused on trying to lose weight. As I was out there in the not too terribly cold fresh air, I knew what I needed to do. I've known what I've needed to do for a while now. I'd just been too terribly scared to do it.

I needed to come back.

Slightly before Thanksgiving, I made a few food mistakes. At home for the holidays and my birthday, I made more. And between the icky gains on my scale and the fact that I just couldn't really control myself around food, I became too afraid to come back and own up to my failures. Not coming back immediately was a mistake.

While I was away, for most of the time, I kept yearning and thinking about going back. I silently visited some of the blogs of people I just couldn't let go of—Katie J., Jo, Monica, the kittehs, Actual Scale, Learning to Be Less, and 266, just to name a few—but avoided my own like it was toxic. I winced every time I typed anything starting with an "H" into my browser.

From November to late December, my weight hovered in between about 238 (what it initially jumped up to) and 240. I kept going to the gym, but not with the regularity I had been. I kept hoping that on my own I would find the strength to get the numbers lower, that I'd be able to come back here and post some number, any number that was lower than the 235.5 I left. As late as the beginning of January, I had a weigh in at 237.7.

And then there was the rest of January.

My weight this morning was 244.5.

These past three weeks have been entirely and ridiculously out of control. And it stops now.

I'm heading home from work in just a few minutes. I'm going to go home, change, and head right off to the gym. When I come back, I'll toss out what junk food I've accumulated these last few weeks, make myself a healthy dinner, and come say my hellos in blog land.

I've missed you guys, and I've missed making progress. It's time to get this weight loss show back on the road.