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Woohoo!

21 May

These past two weeks have been filled with quite a few meaningful accomplishments, which has been just the boost I need. Sometimes over the past few weeks I’ve felt my headstrong, unwavering, go-hard-or-go-home attitude begin to waver slightly and it freaks me out. I don’t want to lose that drive. Then I think about what I’ve accomplished, and I realize that I’m crazy- I’m not losing my drive at all; maybe I’m just relaxing it’s grip on me a little bit.

Way back in December, when I first started Weight Watchers, I set my first weight-loss goal. I wanted to be a certain weight by May 1st. To be honest it was an arbitrary date and an arbitrary weight, except for that back then I thought it sounded like the beginning of summer and summer is a good time to be feeling thinner, and it was about a pound a week, which was realistic. Now, me being me, I don’t just set a goal and forget it. This goal was on my mind every day. Even if I wasn’t thinking “May 1st” I was thinking of what weight I needed to be at the next week in order to be on track for May 1st. My rollercoaster-like weight loss patterns sometimes made me think I’d be derailed somewhere along the way. But, gosh darn it, if I didn’t make it then I was going to be as close as humanly possible, and I wasn’t going to allow myself to be standing on the scale on May 1st thinking “Well if I hadn’t had that cake/pizza/ice cream/Coca-Cola/french fries, I would have made it. If I hadn’t skipped the gym/layed on the couch all day/slept in/been so lazy, I would have made it.” Helllllllz no. I was beyond determined to prove to myself that I could do this; that willpower and persistence would be my keys to success. The struggle of weight loss (and no matter how much willpower and persistence you have, it is definitely a struggle) you play a constant numbers game: I ate 7 points at lunch. I ran 2 miles. I was at the gym for 60 minutes. I worked out 5 days this week. Count your points, measure your portions, time your pace. All those numbers were worth it when, on May 1st, I got on the scale and saw the exact number I wanted to see. I met my May 1st goal!

The following week was my next 5k. It was by far the largest race Lola and I have run in so far (more than 5,000 people total) which was very cool. For some reason, this was also the first race where I wasn’t very nervous at the starting line. The course was great- not too hilly, yet not too flat and boring. It was through neighborhoods and the people were very excited to see the runners come through, lots of them were out on their porches cheering or blasting music. I finished mile 1 in 9:53. That was the fastest I have ever run a mile. It was also the first time during a race that I ran the entire mile without stopping. And I knew I could keep going. I ran straight through mile 2 and into 3. Shortly into 3 I had to stop, but I was okay with that. It was still the best I have ever run- race or not. And, adding to the triumph of the day, I crossed the finish line at 33:43– my best time yet by more than 30 seconds. It was a great, great feeling.

Tonight’s accomplishment was smaller but still significant. I went swimming! Phew! I’ve been so nervous about the fact that I haven’t started training for the swim, so it felt great to finally get in the water. And I was lucky enough to have Audrey as my swim coach. She went to a swim clinic a few weekends ago, and learned lots of helpful hints that she passed along to me after analyzing my technique (or lack thereof). I am hugely thankful for that, because when I first got in the water and realized the things I was doing wrong, I was slightly freaked out that the triathlon swim might mean my demise. As with running, it’s the breathing I have a problem with– but it’s even harder to think about breathing while you’re swimming because there truly are some less-opportune times to take a breath (i.e., when your face is in the water). But by the time I got out of that pool I had improved quite a bit (again, thanks to Audrey!) and felt much better about swimming. I probably would have felt even better if I hadn’t forgotten to bring a towel with me and didn’t have to dry off with Audrey’s extra sweatshirt and some paper towels. I am not joking; I was in a situation where drying my body with a sweatshirt was the best option available. And Audrey is teeny, so her sweatshirt was not very big and I didn’t have very much material to work with. Although it was surprisngly absorbent. Still, forgetting a towel when you’re going swimming is like forgetting socks when you’re going running (meaning it’s a completely doofus move). Even though drying off with a sweatshirt is not the greatest, thank goodness for Audrey and her sweatshirt. I absolutely HATE getting dressed if my body has even a drop of water still on it, so this was quite particularly torturous for me, but what would I have done if she wasn’t there? Answer: I would still be there, trying to get dry so I could put my clothes on and go home.

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Battle Lines Drawn

9 Mar

Another week, another weigh-in. My initial weight loss battle plan, while effective, has apparently lost its strength. The enemy (the lbs I can’t seem to lose) is on to me, so I have been forced to change tactics in a few ways. First, I am choosing to attend WW tonight, Monday, instead of my normal Tuesday. My hope is that a different WW leader will not only inspire me but also offer me some constructive advice which I can work from. My regular leader says things to me like “Well, you could be doing better” and “You need to do something to jump start your weight loss.” Thanks, lady. Do they pay you to state the obvious? Because if so I’d like an application.

Second tactic change: Take some advice. I’ve spent the past week taking into consideration the thought of a few near & dear friends, which is: You are working your body too hard. You’re tired, and maybe not eating enough, and your body is holding on to all your calories (aka energy) because it feels like it needs to in order to survive. You look good, but you also look like hell. You’re exhausted– slow down.

So, I did. I went to the gym a mere 4 times this week, and was as lax with my points counting as I’ve ever been. I let my mind and my body relax a bit. A mini-vacation from WW, I am hoping, will be just what I needed.

Third tactic change: Stop focusing so much on the weight loss itself. I have been beating myself up thinking “Body, you might not like me very much right now, but you can’t deny that I’m working hard, so stop being such a jerk and show me the weight loss, damnit!” This was not getting me anywhere, and in fact was driving me certifiably, Britney-Spears-with-an-umbrella crazy. My mind, despite being in overdrive, was not able to outwit my body. Apparently my body has a mind of it’s own and it is unfortunately not the same mind that wants to lose weight. Then, late last week I got a text from my little bro that made me realize what my outlook should have been: “Remember two things: 1) You are an [insert my last name here]…your body will fight weight loss like it’s a disease and 2) The most impressive goal is completing the tri…the losing weight thing just comes along with it.” He couldn’t be more right- why didn’t I let myself think of it this way? It does feel like my body is battling against this- and I know it’s never been easy for me or anyone else in my family to lose weight, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

And the triathlon truly is the bigger goal here. If I keep focused on that, losing weight will be a by-product of my training. My body can only deny me the weight loss for so long (do you hear that, body?! You can’t deny me forever!). Not that I’m giving up on WW- I just need to remember that it’s only one piece of the metaphorical pie. Mmmm….pie. I don’t even like pie and writing that made me hungry. Even metaphorical pie sounds delish.

Anyway. Will I meet my May 1st weight loss goal? Maybe. Does it matter if I don’t? Not really. And I say that grudgingly. It’s an arbitrary goal that should have been attainable and I’ll have no excuse if I don’t meet it (besides my body’s plot against me). But here’s another thought— Who do I need to give an excuse to if I don’t? Certainly I know all my own excuses, my reasons, my hard work and my mis-steps. I don’t need to answer to anyone but myself on this one. Do I want to meet my goal? Heck yes. Will I be mad if I don’t? Uh-huh, absolutely. Nothing I can do about that, it’s the way I am. But I know that I’ve worked very hard, and that if I don’t meet my goal it was not for lack of effort. I also know that I will get there; if not May 1st, then maybe June 1st. Or maybe August 1st (but eeek, I hope not!). I won’t give up. I’ll revise my battle strategy until my body & mind call a truce, hurtling across finish lines hand-in-hand, living happily ever after.

Now I’m off to my WW meeting. Wish me luck.

Bumblebee vs. Universe

3 Mar

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. I’ve been working out a lot and eating well. All of my clothes are noticeably looser on me. Lest I get too comfortable, the universe choose this week to deliver me a quick one-two punch.

Monday was the day my triathlon shorts decided to show up on my doorstep. Any confidence I had prior to that night flew out the window so fast that it’s probably halfway to Kuala Lumpur by now, never to be seen again. Before I even put them on I knew I was in for a problem, because they looked quite… small. I double checked the tag, hoping to find that I was sent newborn triathlon shorts by accident, but no such luck.

Let me tell you, those bad boys are so tight that putting them on is like putting on a pair of nylons- pull up a little here, a little there, a little here, until somehow, eventually, you have them on. I was almost afraid that I was going to rip them with all the tugging I was doing, but apparently they’re pretty resilient. By far the most horrifying thing about these shorts is that they have a tight elastic at the bottom of the legs, which falls about an inch above my knees. I understand that the elastic is so you don’t have to worry about your shorts riding up while you are in the middle of a race, but it is just not an attractive look unless maybe your legs are pure muscle, which mine sure aren’t.

These shorts make me look ridiculous, and upon seeing myself in them for the first time I immediately flashed back to the dance recital days of my youth. I loved dance, but never ever ever did I love the flashy spandex outfits that came with the territory. This was due to the fact that I was always the chubbiest girl in the class. But once a year on dance recital nights I had to don a tight little costume and sashay out onto stage with all of the twiggy girls. I survived, but it was traumatizing at the time, and these tri shorts are causing me to relive it in a major way. If I’m ever feeling skinny, I will definitely be sure to check myself by yanking them on. I don’t know if they’re totally supposed to be this way or if perhaps they’re a tad small. But as I’m checking out my lumpy self in the mirror, I’m also refusing to get a larger size, because I am sure that I can make myself fit into them before July.

Or at least, I thought so until the second punch was delivered on Tuesday, when I arrived at my weekly weigh-in to find out that, yet again, the scale had not budged.

Not a single ounce.

TKO.

Universe, 1. Me, nada.

This seems near impossible, because I’ve been working super hard. I’ve been pushing myself every day to do my absolute best. I’m not perfect, but I know I’ve been doing great. I deserve to see a weight loss. And I’m willing to work even harder. But at this point I do not know what else to do. I’ve eaten noodles made from the root of a vegetable I’ve never even heard of. They taste like earthworms, in case you’re wondering. I’ve stopped drinking anything except water and coffee (and I’ve been drinking A LOT of water). I’m exercising at least 5 days a week for at least 45 minutes. I write down everything I put in my mouth and can tell you off hand the points value of nearly anything. Yogurt? 2 points. Banana? 2 points. Apple? 1 point, as long as its 2.5″ in diameter or smaller. If not, then 2 points. And yes, I’ve grabbed a ruler and measured apples to be sure I’m calculating correctly.

I would not be exaggerating if I was to say I almost lost my grip on sanity in the minutes after I stepped off that scale. For a few moments I felt sure the universe really was playing a nasty trick on me (ok, so I kinda still do). I have been working so hard, and I’m freaking exhausted. I even fell asleep in the bath tub the other night. That is a bad, bad thing, especially for someone who lives alone. My cats hate the water and are not CPR-certified. I’d have been screwed if I’d gone under.

Due to all this hard work, I feel like I need to see some downward movement on the scale. It would be my body’s way of saying “Great work, my friend. You did good.” Instead, it feels like my body is saying “Hahahaha!!! F*%^ you!”

I know that losing weight, or not losing weight, is not the end of the world. I know there’s worse things that could happen. I know I don’t have a huge amount to lose. But still, I’ve set a goal for myself, and I’m determined to meet it, so it makes me really cranky when I realize I might not.

After 2 days of struggling to put a positive spin on this, I knew I needed to do something different to kick my ass into gear and get over it. Something I hadn’t done yet. So tonight, I did it. I ran on the treadmill! And I did not fall off- I didn’t even stumble! While this might not seem like a huge accomplishment, believe me– it was. I haven’t been able to successfully run on the treadmill since…ok, I’ve never been able to successfully run on the treadmill. Take that, universe–I’m ready for a rematch any day.

Driven

25 Feb

I was so frustrated with my no-loss weigh-in last week and so afraid that I would face the same fate tonight that I spent my lunch break reviewing my weight loss. I looked back in my WW book and found successful weeks where I’ve lost an amount of weight that makes me happy (1 pound or more). Then, I went to those weeks in my food diary and reviewed what I had been eating. Then I compared it to the not-so-good weeks. Then I wrote a list of a few things things that I observed through all this analysis that could help me ensure future good weeks. After that, I calculated that as of last Tuesday’s weigh-in, I had 11.8 pounds to lose in 10 weeks in order to meet the May 1st weight goal I set for myself (and then I want to lose 5 pounds after that, but first things first, right?). That means 1.18 pounds per week- and since my weigh-in was tonight, I realized that in the past week I would have to have lost that much in order to get back on track with my goal. And guess what- I didn’t. Which set my brain spinning again, because it means I had to re-do my lunchtime calculation, and I now have 9 weeks and must now lose an average of 1.2 pounds a week to meet my first goal.

You might be thinking that I’m obsessed. And let’s be honest, you’d kinda be right. Even so, I take issue with the word “obsessed”. Visual Thesaurus.com shows the word “obsessed” as being about halfway between the words “possessed”, and “taken up”, “preoccupied”, “haunted”. This all seems too negative. I certainly don’t feel haunted or possessed; those words bring to mind ghosts and exorcism, which are not applicable here (although in a way I feel I have exorcised a few demons from my life, now that I think of it). But “obsessed” has a negative undertone; I’d appreciate adjectives with a positive connotation, such as “driven”, “focused” or “determined”. After all, my “drive” is simply the opposite of laziness, my “focus” the opposite of indifference, my “determination” the opposite of hesitation. Instead of wishing I’m doing, instead of hoping I’m training. Instead of walking– I’m running.

February 4, 2009

5 Feb

It snowed last night, and what should have been a 30 minute drive home from work took nearly 2 hours. Before heading home, I stopped at my weekly Weight Watchers (WW) meeting to weigh in (classes were cancelled, it was a mess on the road, but they were letting people stop by to weigh in- woohoo!). I got there right after they had locked the door; luckily, the woman behind the desk saw me and let me in.

When I say luckily, I’m saying it from a perspective of that “consciously trying to be positive” thing I’ve been talking about. “Luckily”, because after driving in the snow for so long, (and almost killing myself in the parking lot because I do not pay attention to weather reports, did not realize it was going to snow that much and was therefore wearing 3″ heels) I would have been pissed if I went out of my way to get there and they had closed early. So, “luckily” I made it just in the nick of time. “Luckily” she allowed me to step on the scale. And that’s about where my luck ended, and the trying to be positive thing kicked in.

I stepped on that scale only to find out I’d gained .8 pounds. The first reaction that ran through my head involves inappropriate words I will not write here, because my mom reads my blog. But when you spend your days consciously trying to lose weight, and instead you gain nearly a pound, well, that is completely unfair. It should be simple math. Eat less + exercise= lose weight! But my body decided to go with a more complicated equation that didn’t quite add up to me. Or rather, it did add up. It added .8 up.

Upon hearing the news, both my WW partner-in-crime, Callie, and my mom asked the same question: Did you pee before you weighed in? Well, I had been stuck in the car for 2 hours, so no, I hadn’t had the opportunity. But this idea caused me to start accounting for all the possible variables. For instance, I always wear the same pants on Tuesdays (specifically because of the weigh-in, not because I have Tuesday pants normally or anything) and take off my shoes, so that couldn’t be it. But I usually DO pee right before weighing in. And, usually I wear a cardigan and take that off but this time I wasn’t so I had a long-sleeve button-up shirt on, and that shirt has pearl buttons instead of regular ones, so maybe those weigh more, and I was wearing a different necklace than I usually wear so maybe THAT weighs more. So we’ve got shirt, pearl buttons and necklace. Oh, and urine. And honestly, this is when I realized that if I can account for a .8 pound weight gain in urine and buttons, then it’s really not a big deal.

But I was still agitated, so I did what any rational girl would do. I stopped stressing, used the rest of my WW points left for the day on cookie dough, took a bath and went to bed early, without working out. While I do not recommend this particular tactic as a way to lose .8 pounds should you happen to gain them, or as a surefire way to get triathlon ready, I have to say that the cookie dough sure was yummy.