Week of August 16, 2011:
I am amazed but I weighed in today at 260.6 lbs. All I need to do is lose one more pound and I will have broke the 260s! I was wondering if I would be able to do that for this next week’s weigh-in. I would be thrilled to death if I could. Although last summer, I “thought” I was in the 250s, since the scale seemed to bounce all over the place, I really don’t know for sure. This new scale does not budge easily so when I see results like this, I know that they are accurate. Yesterday I decided that on my non-strength building days I would add a second session on the treadmill. I did 15 minutes in the afternoon and then did 10 minutes in the evening. I am going to try and do that every other day for the time being. If it becomes “too easy” then I will do that also on the days that I do my strength building exercises. Again, it just gets back to keeping the body stressed enough so it will force it to burn calories just a little bit more and harder.
Also, I can say that I have “officially” passed the 40 lbs lose mark. I am going back to when I was my heaviest which I believe was just over 300 lbs. I can’t believe that I got to that place but I did in the past couple of years. There was a time about two years ago where I was definitely filling out size 26/28s. I remember how I looked when I sat down. All of the weight that I carried in the front of me just pushed out. I felt very unattractive no matter how many clothes that I bought. Well, I have gotten rid of a lot of those clothes and I am now going through the size 24s to see which ones fit me. I have some 22s that I believe I should be able to fit into later this fall as long as I continue doing what I have been doing.
I had another idea about how to alter some of these larger sizes. I would like to hang onto the clothes that are well made, both in construction and in the material that was used. I have also decided that I am either going to learn how to alter clothes on my own or seek out a class to learn how to do that. I also had the idea that I could actually use some of these larger-sized clothes as fabric to cut from to make a new skirt or dress out of. Whether I will actually go to that length will depend on how much money I have to spend on new clothes and whether I am still motivated to do so. I do know that as I reduce my size I am definitely going to begin wearing more clothes that are form fitting. I am already in the process of doing some minor adjustments with what I have right now.
In fact, the more that I am toning my body, the more I realize how this is as important as losing the weight itself. I have been covering up my body for a very long time. That gets to be a certain mindset and one that needs changing as much as the numbers on the scales. It is important that I begin to change my body image while I am losing so that when I do arrive at my goal weight, it will seem like I was there “all along”. I have listened to enough people talk about having some difficulties in adjusting to their new weights and/or body image. I want to work on those residual problems as I am going down the scales. I guess, I want to take on all the aspects of returning to a former body size and not wait until then.
One of the biggest obstacles that I need to work on is overcoming the almost reflex action of avoiding social situations. I have social anxiety. It was really exacerbated by gaining so much weight and really feeling self-conscious about it. I also think that it didn’t help when I began using a cane. Whether that was the right decision to do or not, I did, and now I am wondering when I should stop using it. P came up with the suggestion of bringing my cane along “just in case”. Since I am going to start switching to bigger purses, that is what I am going to start doing. I can fold my black one up and I think it should fit in my purse. If I feel that I am getting too tired to walk without it, I can always pull it out. I am not sure why I am so skittish about anything social. I recently missed going to a memorial and also Mass. Granted, I didn’t sleep well because my back was hurting me but I do know that in the back of my mind I was nervous about both.
It would be awesome if I could break into the 240s by the end of this BLC Buddy Challenge but we will just have to see how my body responds to what I am doing.
Well, I broke into the 250s this morning! I weighed in at 259.4 lbs. So, I have lost 9 1/2 lbs since beginning this Buddy Challenge 10 days ago. Granted, the first 3 lbs were ‘water” but the rest has been “honest-to-goodness” real weight lose. I still can’t believe it but obviously my body is in a good place and starting to respond to what I am doing. It shows that when I decrease my calories and increase my activity, I lose weight. I knew this but I just wasn’t doing it. What makes this even more poignant is that when I keep my sodium around 2000 mg it also helps a lot. I also think that the slow and steady increase in the stress of the kind of workouts that I am doing is beginning to pay off. Another benefit of increasing the intensity of my work-outs is that it curbs my appetite. I just haven’t been as hungry in the past week or so. What I have been is very tired, almost to the point of exhaustion.
Well, my plan is to just keeping on doing what I have been doing. As I said above, I would love to break into the 240s by the end of this Buddy Challenge. That would be another 10 lbs in 6 weeks. All I can say is that I will do all I can between now and then to make it more likely to happen. In fact, I am in such a good place with all of this it would be awesome if I could keep up this pace right on “down the line”. At this point, I have lost almost 41.5 lbs. I have lost half of what Bill lost to get to his maintenance. I am quickly encroaching on where B and J are. J lost 70 lbs to reach her maintenance.
I still have a long way to go though. I want to be 135 lbs so that is 125 lbs to go. Wow! That is still a lot of weight to lose. I have gotten to where I don’t focus on that as much as having a good day and doing what I know I need to do for today. Then, that prospect doesn’t overwhelm me or intimidate me as it once did. That is one of the more surprising “developments” recently. There was a time when the very thought of tackling this weight issue was just too overwhelming for me. I couldn’t stay on a reduced diet for longer than a few days before giving up or giving in, whichever way you want to look at it. Now, I find myself just plodding along.
I didn’t go to bed and/or sleep until 6 a.m. yesterday so I was so tired the whole day. I decided not to push myself so I didn’t exercise. I waited to see if having some food would help. It didn’t so I just ate within my calorie range and stayed lower on my sodium (which I can see is KEY) and then watched some t.v. last night. I still didn’t go to bed last night until 2 a.m. I didn’t intend on that. It was more because I was responding to some e-mails including ones where P has lined up some personal “jobs” for tomorrow, which is instant cash for us. I got an e-mail from the Career Counselor at NH. I sort of rolled my eyes when I saw it because it just flooded me with some feelings of inadequacy regarding the one area in my life which feels so “crummy”. I did revise my resume and sent that to her. She wanted to see me in person as well so I told her early afternoons next week sometime would work. As I told P, I am not putting a lot of stock into this because I know that they might have to do this so they can say that they “worked with me” regarding finding employment. According to their contact person last fall, he said that they “track” our job search efforts, they don’t offer job placement, which WIA insisted they had to do in order to receive funds from WIA. Well, we’ll see what comes of it but I will go just in case she does have something she can offer me that I could check into.
I have really struggled (and resisted) the idea of going to college for four years. It just seems like such a long time for a person of my age. However, I do see from time to time “spots” on the national news or even on the Internet where older people are either starting a different/second career and/or returning to college for the same reason. They all seem “very happy” working in their “golden years”. I guess, my work experience has been mostly unfulfilled, both in the inter-work relationships I have had and, of course, the pay was “below standard” (and certainly for me holding a college degree). Maybe, it is my past experience that is coloring my view about doing this and prejudicing me. I think so.
Anyway, there is another part of me that thinks about what would happen to me if Pl were to die or even become unable to work? It is one thing not to be helping to provide “something” now but it would be crucial if he couldn’t work due to disability or an accident and although I would have quite a bit of money if he died because of his life insurance (provided they wouldn’t contest it), I am well aware that I also need to foster some contact with other people as well. So, I am holding my breath on this one but I am going to go to their D campus and check things out. Maybe, if I am “lucky” I will qualify for some kind of financial aid so I can pay for the schooling. I also really do like the fact that it is so close and we/I wouldn’t be going through the horrible mid-town traffic. It certainly has given me something to “hope for” anyway.
Well, I got my 15 minutes in on the treadmill. It actually went a lot easier although my right knee started to lock up a lot the last 90 seconds or so. Maybe, that was a good idea to fore go exercising yesterday. I will have to remember that. Now, all I need to do is my strength exercises. Again, I am “working on” clearing out the leftovers in the refrigerator. I came up with a pretty good way of getting my vegetables in and eating up some leftovers. I had quite a bit of cooked cabbage leftover from one of my D’s take-out meals so I sliced up two fat free kosher beef franks and heated that up together (the sodium in the two skinny wieners are 1040 mg!!) along with some baby carrots. I’m having red grapes for “dessert”. It really makes me feel good that I can both eat healthy and really enjoy it at the same time. In fact, I am really feeling proud of a lot of the choices that I have been making lately. Obviously, they are good ones because the weight is finally going down.
As I told P last night at this point the weight I am is “pre-P”. I am almost certain that I weighed around 265 lbs (and didn’t waver much either) the first few years we met. I was always trying to diet but I sabotaged my efforts more often than not. I really didn’t know what healthy eating was back then. The only thing that I could think of was having a salad and foregoing dessert. I have since learned that it is a lot more than that. I don’t recall being “between” 265 and 245 lbs. It seems like when I gained weight back then it was in 20 lb increments. So, I am now finally charting a new path for me as I write this. The last time I was 245 lbs was in the mid-1990s, if I remember correctly. So, we are talking about 15 years at the least. I began college at the University of MN in 1983 and I weighed 232-235 lbs then. I felt huge back then because that was the most I had ever weighed. Now, I would be thrilled to death to weigh that. As for Onederland, I haven’t been there since early 1980s. Again, my weight jumped from 190s to 200s to 220s to 235 within a matter of one season–from April 1983 to September 1983.
So, I am now on the verge of returning to what I weighed decades ago. I feel that mentally and emotionally I am finally ready for the change. So, now, it is just “putting my hand to the plow” and not looking back. I think the real key right now is “not looking back”. It is not about dwelling on the fact that I once weighed 301.8 lbs., which now seems staggering to me, but to look forward to a more “normal weight” within a year. I am really glad that I am taking the time to really scrutinize the clothes that are remaining in my closet. Ideally, when I finish with all of this (which seems to be taking forever) I will be able to confidently say that whatever is in my closet flatters me (at that point in time) and I truly do have clothes that I can take off the hanger and not worry (too much) about how they look on me.
Well, I have done all of my strength exercises for the day. I am still finding the mid-abs the most difficult to do. That is also where a lot of my weight is right now too. I have accepted that it will probably take me losing a good 60 more lbs before I can actually consider curling up enough to touch my knees with my elbows. In fact, I might not be able to do that until I am within 20-30 lbs of my goal weight. Well, that is the reality of losing weight. You really have to get the extra weight before you start seeing the muscle definition emerge. Although I could do this every day and I was doing that in the beginning, I think I will just leave my ab work-out “as is”(doing it when I do my strength training every other day–that is still 4x a week) for the time being.The results won’t be as obvious until I do lose some more weight and the main thing is to continue to strengthen them.
When I do get more weight off I might consider at that time begin doing some of the more challenging dvds that I own, like the Pilates. Now, that will be challenging. By the time I am able to do that I should actually be seeing a “normal figure”. Maybe, when I hit Onederland I can seriously begin doing the Pilates workouts that I have. Again, I have been around enough fitness centers, seen enough programs, read enough books and so on, to know the “drill” on getting into shape. It takes time and persistence. To get those enviable bodies like the ones we all see on t.v. and in the magazines, you got to put the time in. Well, fortunately, I have the motivation. I also remember what it felt like to feel “strong” and limber. I would like to regain that if possible.
Right now, I think that doing 2 sets of 15 reps with the 3 lb hand weights is enough for my upper body. I find that my neck tenses up so that is saying that I am not quite at a place where I have the strength through my neck to move with a heavier weight. The main thing is to have “good form” and just continue. I can always go up to 3 sets of 15 reps as well. The author of “Abs n Arms” also said that you should switch off and on between a lighter and heavier weight just so you stress the muscle differently; so, I will consider doing that as well. Again, the middle of my upper back towards the right side, where I bruised it last winter when I fell in the shower, acts up after I have done the abs.
I took the opportunity to try on a dress that I wore once (maybe twice) when I first met P. I remember wearing it to Ph’s baptism which I think was 10 years ago. Although it is polyester, it feels like a thick silk and it is a bright teal and purple print. It is in the sheath style which I also like. It is a size 24W and it is “almost”loose on me!!! I am thrilled beyond words. This style is “in” right now and it will wear well throughout the fall and winter months for me. I would like to see if I could find a matching shrug to wear with it when the weather gets cooler. [In fact, I did find one in Jessica London online: either in royal blue or purple—I actually think the purple might be better with it–make the colors pop!] Again, I only want to keep the clothes that truly fit me (or I can alter later to fit me then) so when I go in my closet, I will feel like anything I choose will look good on me. What a change that will be from the past.
I am continuing to eat up leftovers and I still have more to go. That is great since that definitely keeps us from going to the grocery store every other day. Plus, I seem to really have hit my stride when it comes to home-cooked meals. Right now, I am having pork and vegetable stir fry plus a whole wheat strawberry muffin. Well, I made my daily goal of getting a lot of different vegetables in.
So, we ended up going out after all to GC for an anniversary meal. I am really feeling a comfort level with eating out and still staying close to my food plan. I did go over on the sodium, which is almost a “given” when eating out, but it was only 2 lbs and I don’t “officially” weigh-in until Monday morning. Both of us were just so tired that we came home. I walked on the treadmill for 15 minutes and then logged my food. I stayed up late to watch one of my favorite “reality” shows: House Hunters International. As I was sharing with P, the trend has changed quite a bit this past year with these new episodes. Now people are moving globally for new jobs. Before it was for adventure or to retire early. Even our local news mentioned that the majority of the jobs being offered right now at job fairs are abroad. I think, it caught the person reporting by surprise as well. It just means that this recession and this unemployment has really changed the landscape in a way that truly only the “strongest will survive”; in what ever way works for them. We just have to figure out how we are going to be able to survive. Beyond week to week and month to month. That’s all.
Well, although I went way over my daily sodium, I only gained 2 lbs so I think that if I really watch the sodium in the next two days, I should lose that by Monday morning. I don’t know if it is realistic for me to expect to lose any more after having already lost 9.4 lbs in two weeks. I would like to lose another pound. This sounds like a selfish and competitive reason but right now I am ahead one other person by a few pounds and it is possible that she could have a really good weekend and “overcome” my current “first place” position. If I can push myself tomorrow, I am going to try and even do a RS work-out at some point. We’ll see if I can get P away from his ghost shows long enough for me to do that. It would be awesome to say that I have lost 10+ lbs in two weeks. Well, if I don’t, it is still a very respectful “show”. I am strongly motivated to keeping this up too.
This is what I have decided to do for this coming week to “intensify” my efforts: I am going to attempt to remove (1) 100 calorie item from my daily calorie intake. The most obvious one for me is my use of margarine on toast or muffins. I do think the fat adds something to the warm bread but I do have butter spray which has no calories at all so I am going to get in the habit of using that. I will share this with the rest of the group because it might incite someone to consider doing it themselves. I shared today how I began working out again. All I can do is share and if they want to pick up on some of your ideas, fine, but on the same hand, if they don’t want to, I have to just respect that too. It is definitely their lose.
Once again, I had leftovers for lunch and then we had a “fresh” meal for dinner: baked pork steaks, baked potatoes and steamed broccoli.Surprisingly, I was still able to stay within my high range for calories and even stay well under my sodium range with eating a bag of fat free microwave popcorn and a light beer. All of the numbers were withing the recommended range as well. In other words, this ended up being a really good day overall with my food plan. I suggested that we watch a couple of our own movies instead of just surfing the t.v. channels and really not “engaging” in anything particular. I think, we find that relaxing so we both ended up mellowing out by the end of the night.
Tomorrow is the third weigh-in for our Buddy Challenge and the second where we are measuring weight loss and subsequently the body percentage lost as well. I am about 2+ lbs ahead of one person but she knows how to drop weight quickly so it might be interesting to see how she will fare tomorrow. I have really worked hard this past week. I have really tried to keep my sodium down as best as I could. However, I have noticed that my appetite has really increased as I have increased the intensity of my activity. I feel like it doesn’t take more than an hour or so before I am hungry again. Unfortunately, I hope I haven’t been fueling that since the past couple of days I have really eaten a lot (now all) of homemade whole wheat muffins I made earlier this week. Sometimes, I just run out of ideas of what to eat. I was also constipated yesterday which is unusual for me since I usually go to the bathroom almost right away when I get up.
I also walked 20 minutes in one session on the treadmill and I did most of my strength exercises as well. CT, who is in second place this past week, may pass me this week. She seems eager to “compete”. She mentioned right off the bat how I would be a “contender”. It would be “fun” to win this Challenge although “victory is fleeting”. I won one last year and who remembers that? I doubt any of them do. I guess, it would depend on whether I would stay with this group after this challenge or not. I probably will. I feel like I have fallen in although it is interesting how the conversation flows. In some respects, I feel like I am almost virtually ignored. However, when it comes to posting in these groups, timing is everything. If you post too early or too late then people may miss it and assume that you aren’t posting. I posted for this past weekend because I didn’t get on until close to midnight. Now, tomorrow all I have to do is weigh in.
I have tried to increase some part of my exercises’ intensity on Sunday night; sort of an informal “Last Chance Workout”. Tonight, after it quit storming, I walked for 20 minutes straight. I varied the speed between 1.6-1.8 mph. I actually think that 1.7 mph seemed comfortable enough to me that I might begin by doing that as my “base speed”. If I can, I would like to do 1 20 minute session earlier in the day and then 1 10 minute session later in the evening. I tried that last week with 1 15 then 1 10 minute “session” last week but I think I only did it once. As I said, I have really felt like I have been consuming more energy than I am accustomed to. I have been sleeping an average of 9-10 hours a night, which is great after all of that missed sleep this past spring. Today my appetite just seemed hard to tame. I wasn’t happy about that at all. I think some of the choices that I made might have contributed to fueling it too.
Well, tomorrow and this week is a whole new week and that is how I want to look at it. I would like to aim for eating no more than 2000 calories. Considering that I ate 2500 today means I may have my work cut out for me. It is evident that I need to eat more vegetables and fruits. I still have some red grapes and pineapple so I have no excuse not to. I just didn’t eat them. As for vegetables, I was sort of hit and miss on that this past week. I had some really good days but I was also trying to eat up a lot of leftovers which left me sometimes eating a lot of grains. What I have decided to do is try to reduce each day by 100 calories. Now, for me, all that would mean is to reduce or stop using margarine. Then, I will go down my food plan and look for other places to cut. I am already eyeing the skim milk that I drink when I take my evening Tylenol PM. I either have to stop drinking milk the rest of the day, have half as much or try to find another way to take those pills. Other ways I can reduce my calories is by eating half of something: one slice of bread rather than two, one slice of lunch meat, one-half of a muffin, etc. I won’t do that though until I start needing to get below 1800 calories.
I can see that if I am going to crank the activity level, I am going to have to be eating a lot smarter than I have been. I really have to eat quality nutrients in my food because my body needs the superior fuel. I went without vitamins for almost two weeks and it makes a difference for me especially since I was also bleeding during that whole time as well. My “outside” goal is to just get all of this down to a “system”. If I can get a well-established habit of exercising without fail six days a week, eating a really healthy and well-balanced food plan, then I am hoping that my body will respond well and I will lose weight. Granted, it would be nice to be in the 240s by the end of this challenge. That would mean 10 more lbs in about 6-7 weeks, depending on how you count the calendar weeks. That is about 1.6 lbs per week. It sure seems doable, especially what I am trying to do now. Well, we will just have to see how things work out.
Well, I hope to find out something about whether I can count on going to school this fall or winter by mid-week or so. If that is a door that is completely closed to me then I will just have to really hunker down and do a real blitzkrieg for job searching. Perhaps, this career counselor can shed some much-needed light on my “situation”. It doesn’t help that hundred of thousands of well-deserving and qualified applicants are out there looking for work as well. In fact, both P and I are becoming increasingly worried about how we will continue to “survive” just based on what has/hasn’t happened in the past two months. It is very real and it is very scary.
[Note: I have been keeping a ongoing private journal separately from this diet blog which I am now incorporating some of that material into this blog. Dates written are actual although published at a much later date.]