March begins — lions, lambs and head colds

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Ho, boy, so I get down to 252 (yes, down, I’ve been experiencing weight creep for a while now, then I’d go down, they creep up, down, etc.).   Perimenopause has entered my life in the last few years, this month I got all the symptoms of TOM, including a 4 lb weight gain, but no TOM.  This week, the lbs have already been falling off (official weigh in: Friday morning), but guess what, I caught a head cold.  I’ve been sick since Monday, took today off and haven’t exercised at home.  I feel stuffy and achy, yuck.  Even though my appetite has dwindled, I know the way of colds and weight loss (the two aren’t pals), at least for me.

I don’t have an interest in “giving up”, I’ve changed a ton of habits, eating and exercise wise.  I value being healthy.  I have problems getting bored with the foods that I know help with the weight loss.  BF does all the grocery shopping and 90 percent of the cooking, that makes it a negotiation.  He doesn’t need to lose a pound, and has a taste for junkier, higher calorie foods sometimes (and is a chocoholic).   Of course, I’m 100 percent responsible for everything I put in my mouth.   All the stress from changing jobs (got laid off from a job I’d been at for 9 years), starting a new one, upping the hours, losing income, having a commute — that’s all calming down now — AFTER a GAIN of (SHIVER!) 15 and sometimes more lbs.  I was down all the way to 237.  No question about it, I’ve struggled to get back in the weight loss saddle.

When I’m not losing, I don’t feel all that comfortable about posting at 3FC, which you’d think would go against its purpose, being a support.  I read, but post much less.  I’ve stopped feeling like a weight loss “success” or “doer” and that I’ve drifted into the “gained back some” category.  I’ll tell you, too, I NEVER thought that would happen.  I thought I had all the routine down to the point where I might not lose as fast, or even stall, but I wouldn’t GAIN.  Hey, it was possible, and I did it.  I’d say, during the work week, I eat and exercise well; on the weekends, I get the gym in and home exercise, but I overindulge with the food.  Not seriously, enough to slow or stall things.

The bottom line, I’ll keep going and find a way.  I’ll get over my cold, get exercising again, tone down the weekend eating, and plug away.  Not such a profound conclusion — well, hey, maybe it is.

What I thought was an end…

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What I thought was an end turned out to be a middle.   
What I thought was a brick wall turned out to be a tunnel.   
What I thought was an injustice
turned out to be a color of the sky.

–From “A Color of the Sky” by Tony Hoagland

I promised, to myself, that I would post my Friday weigh in weight at this blog.  Ok, here is the painful truth, I’m at 248 now.  I’m in the middle of TOM which accounts for some of that gain, but I must take responsibility for my vacation eating and letting gym and eating slip since I started my new job in February.

It goes on and on, this work on my weight, to make my body healthier and better, to get my brain in the right place to do what I need to do. I went to the gym on Saturday, did the elliptical for 20 minutes (my legs felt a little rubbery), then did the treadmill for another 20.  Hit the resistance machines.  Today walking through the neighborhood felt like a bit of a chore, it’s hot and muggy.  Eating felt weird today too.  We had salad for dinner, with apples, chicken, goat cheese, orange pepper strips, cucumber and tomatoes.  And slices of demi baguette.  I never saw the word “demi baguette” before, it’s a small white bread loaf.  I got it at the farmers market on Fifth Avenue (where I got the goat cheese).  We drank homemade ice tea with it.  Breakfast was oatmeal and a piece of low cal wheat bread.  Lunch was a cinnamon raisin bagel with butter and grape jelly.  Lunch was not OP.  My weekdays are relatively structured time and eating wise.  It’s the weekends when I’m running around and doing stuff that’s more difficult.  And this past Friday I got together with several people and there was food and beer involved.  Truth is I don’t do a tremendous amount of socializing, and the food was delicious.

 BF says I’m afraid to be thin and all the things I’ll feel like I’ll have to do if I get to that point.  I think he’s afraid of me being thin too.  That puts us somewhat at an impasse, one that only I can break through because ultimately I choose what goes in my mouth and how much exercise I do.

Carbs, fats and sweaty Sundays

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I found this article in Scientific American about refinded carbs being found to be worse for us health wise than saturated fat.   Maybe now we can loosen up this crazy obsession with cholesterol levels (that are not as indicitive of heart problems and we’ve been led to believe), which I think has mislead people diet and health wise.  I’m not saying people should watch the level of fat they eat.  I do think doctors perscribed serious cholesterol lowering drugs to people to who may not have needed it.  Heed my words, in the near future there will be a battle in the medical and public health communities over this issue, and in the further future a general acceptance that fat levels in the diet and cholesterol numbers aren’t as important in terms of future health problems like heart disease and diabetes as “once believed.”  Which brings to mind the scene from Wood Allen’s Sleeper where he finds out, as a (mostly) vegan, when he travels into the future, that that scientists and nutritionists have come to the conclusion that cheeseburgers are the healthier food choice.  Like the guy says in the (Verizon? AT&T?) commercial to his mom who’s spilling the fine print to the potential customer:  “You’re not, you’re not helpin’!”

It’s easy to feel lost when it comes to knowing what to eat, what to believe is healthy and less healthy and not healthy.  And then once you have that feeling like you have a something of an idea, or grip, actually doing it consistently.  Then there’s getting past the psychological barriers, the bad habits, the stress and any laziness (I worked all friggin’ week with a boss who harangued me constantly, I just want to lay in a hammock and drink a beer and eat my dang Doritos!).  Many times I’ve said to myself, Man, I’m such a lazy schmuck, other people are doing this! (and it only takes one half of one percent to be successful for me to feel like I must be the massiv failure because I’m struggling.)

I don’t write this as an excuse.  I just would like to use it as a tool to figure out how I can be better at my weight loss efforts.  Sometimes I wonder how serious I must be, if I’m dragging my feet so much to watch my diet better and exercise more.  I am really tired and stressed out.  So are a lot of other people.  Rest assured, I’ll never give up.  With that thought in mind, it’s time for me to go out into this sweaty Sunday and get my gym workout done.

Exercise, stress eating, and spring flowers

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Spring here in Brooklyn, lovely, isn’t it.

I just finished jury duty today.  I almost got on the jury of a criminal case; the judge ended up declaring it a mistrial and they sent us home after 2 days.  Stressful because I just started my new job and didn’t want to take that much time off.  I did manage to get 2 days in at the gym, Saturday and then Monday, which helped make up for the emotional overboard eating.

The New York Times magazine this past weekend did a story on exercise and weight loss.  The following is an excerpt from that story by Gretchen Reynolds.

At the same time, as many people have found after starting a new exercise regimen, working out can have a significant effect on appetite. The mechanisms that control appetite and energy balance in the human body are elegantly calibrated. “The body aims for homeostasis,” Braun says. It likes to remain at whatever weight it’s used to. So even small changes in energy balance can produce rapid changes in certain hormones associated with appetite, particularly acylated ghrelin, which is known to increase the desire for food, as well as insulin and leptin, hormones that affect how the body burns fuel.

The effects of exercise on the appetite and energy systems, however, are by no means consistent. In one study presented last year at the annual conference of the American College of Sports Medicine, when healthy young men ran for an hour and a half on a treadmill at a fairly high intensity, their blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin fell, and food held little appeal for the rest of that day. Exercise blunted their appetites. A study that Braun oversaw and that was published last year by The American Journal of Physiology had a slightly different outcome. In it, 18 overweight men and women walked on treadmills in multiple sessions while either eating enough that day to replace the calories burned during exercise or not. Afterward, the men displayed little or no changes in their energy-regulating hormones or their appetites, much as in the other study. But the women uniformly had increased blood concentrations of acylated ghrelin and decreased concentrations of insulin after the sessions in which they had eaten less than they had burned. Their bodies were directing them to replace the lost calories. In physiological terms, the results “are consistent with the paradigm that mechanisms to maintain body fat are more effective in women,” Braun and his colleagues wrote. In practical terms, the results are scientific proof that life is unfair. Female bodies, inspired almost certainly “by a biological need to maintain energy stores for reproduction,” Braun says, fight hard to hold on to every ounce of fat. Exercise for many women (and for some men) increases the desire to eat.

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I’ve noticed a workout at the gym, particularly if I have had a few days hiatus, can leave me feeling extra hungry.  I fall into that trap where I eat up the deficit.  I know the gym has tons of good physical and mental effects, but if I need to get a handle on the number of calories if I want to see this weight go down.  And with the stress of new job and jury duty and life, I’m wanting to reward myself with goodies, how wacky is that.  I think I’m not honest with myself about how big I am.  I see myself as smaller than I really am, so I give myself an excuse not to work harder getting the extra pounds off.  Then reality strikes (when I stand on the scale), and I feel so bad about myself.  I feel weak, and like I can’t get this done. 

I don’t want to make it sound like I’m giving up, which I’m not at all.  I get frustrated though.  Tonight is the Biggest Loser, that always makes me feel more hepped up about being on program eating wise.  Ay Dios mio.

The moment of change is the only poem

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(That’s Adrienne Rich — quite a beautiful quote)

My boss this week told me he’s closing my office, which means after ten years of working for him I’m now unemployed.  I have about three weeks.  I have a home office, so I’ll have to pack everything to send back to him.  He’s had ongoing health problems for a while now, but I didn’t realize how serious they’d become.  He didn’t tell me everything either.  I do have an interview suit, an updated resume, a couple of good references.  It’s only been 2 days, so I’m still experiencing some freak out.  Ten years is a long time to be at a place and to work for one person.  I’ve had it cushy and easy.  The times, they are a changin’.

At the same time, I’ve pushed through the 240 barrier, this morning my scale read 239.2.  Part of that result I feel comes from the stress: lowered appetite, being more physically active from being hyper and freaked out.  Part of it is the swoosh from the end of my TOM.  Part of that is the result from my plugging at the diet and exercise.  I’ve been wanting to see the 230s for several months now.  It kind of took my breath away to see that number.  I’m entering new territory.

Yes, this is the moment of change for me, and it is the only poem.

Bummed

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I’m feeling very bummed today.  I have many life things on my mind, and I didn’t sleep well last night.  An email friend of mine basically told me to leave him alone today, which hurt, especially since I’ve been away for a couple of weeks and he went away for several days, and this is basically just the second day we’ve both been around.  I know he has serious things going on in his life; it still stung.  I guess I wanted him to need my support as much as I feel like I need his.  That’s not how it always works, unforunately.  

I got to the gym Friday, Saturday and Monday, I made the routine shorter to work my way back into the groove.  I think I was starting to burn out with the 2 hour workouts.  I struggled doing that 4 days a week, then went back to 3.  I’m thinking 4 shorter workouts might be better, physically and mentally.

I took up my knitting again, which I’m hoping will help me mentally too.   I’m making a blanket for an aunt who’s ill.