So, as this week is looking to be incredibly busy, I’m going to bust out some of the best, funny, or insightful things I wrote elsewhere over the last few years. Enjoy!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I had a realization smack me in the face that I was close to 100 lbs lost, and I rambled about my journey there. In retrospect, I cannot believe it took me from then until now to lose 10 freaking pounds, but I sure have learned a lot since then.
So it hit me today, after staring at the 168.6 on the scale (hooray new low)… I am really and truly close to 100 lbs lost (what is up on that table, gross, huh). Back in the day, early 2007, I knew I had to lose close to that to be back at a good weight for me, and it just boggled my mind. Who loses 100 lbs? One of my high school friends that starved herself because she was sick of being the fat girl in our group? My mom’s friend who had gastric bypass? Those are the examples in my life I had previously had lost significant amounts of weight. I liked food too much to consider anorexia, and I was NOT down for optional surgery, although I bet I could have gotten it if I tried at my weight. It just seemed impossible to do – the best I hoped for when I started was about 20-25 lbs, and after I lost that, I started plateauing – for spring and summer, pretty much. But at the beginning, I was so unhappy with how I felt and looked, I figured “why not, it can’t hurt to give it a try”.
I was feeling good at that weight, all my “fat clothes” (ie, stuff I had been wearing for the last 5 years), my jeans from a few years ago almost but not quite fit, and I wasn’t quite as offended at how my face looked in the mirror. However, when I first moved and started my job in Austin, I got sick for 5 days and physically couldn’t eat and lost 10 lbs. It sucked, but it felt so good to be skinnier, I could finally fit in my jeans, and I thought I looked goood. So, as is usual with unhealthy weight loss, I started gaining it back again, and since I thought that sucked, I was going to give it a try again to lose the healthy way. “Why, not” I thought. It couldn’t hurt to give it a try.
I spent about a month establishing a regular exercise plan, eliptical trainer for 20 mins, 3 times a week. It doesn’t seem like much now, but it was hard for me, at least to get myself to go. Then, I started looking into internet info on calorie counts, and started writing down what I ate. I stumbled onto Sparkpeople when looking for something and was a little frustrated I had to sign up to see what I was looking for. I almost closed the website but that voice in my head came back… “Why not, give it a try”. The worst I could do is get some spam mail, right? So I got on and checked spark out and decided, heck, nothing I’ve been doing has been working very well, why not just try doing what spark tells me for a month.
Spark said to eat 1200-1550 calories, and along with my cardio, add a little strength training. It’s hard to believe now, but I remember doing my wed 20 min cardio followed by 15 mins of strength, and thinking “this is so much to do, how can I keep this up for the rest of my life?” But I kept at it, keeping my promise to keep it up for a month, and lost 8 lbs. I was so happy with my progress I kept at it, even through closing on a house and spending a month painting the entire thing, and getting it livable. Most weeks, I’d do my workout if it was my night to do so and then go to the house and work until midnight. The last week, we had too much to do and I had to skip my workouts. I thought this is where I’d lose momentum again, and get lazy, and then stop progressing.
Strangely enough, I didn’t. After we moved in, I got right back to working out, and actually started increasing the time (because we finally had room for DDR and that was MUCH more fun than the eliptical). I never stopped eating well, I would actually pack up dinner at the apartment and bring it over to cook for us instead of getting take out. It was so much easier when everything was there. I did have a period where I stopped strength training, but I was still at the cardio full force.
Then, the winter holidays came and I kept hearing that this was the hardest time of year to be healthy. I was scared to death that I was going to gain it all back (I was about 20 lbs down from when I started sparking), so I increased my workouts to 5 days per week, 40-45 mins per day. That way I had some wiggle room. Then something changed – I actually started looking forward to exercise instead of tolerating it. Over the holidays I splurged a little, but kept myself in check and actually took off about 10 lbs from Thanksgiving to New Years, even taking the last week of the year off tracking.
Then “disaster” hit – I encountered my first plateau (normal for me now, I plateau for 2 weeks then drop it like it’s hot for 2 weeks, but scary back then). For the first part of January, I couldn’t get under 210 and it was frustrating for me. I learned two things – one, I had to change up my exercise (I added the Yourself!Fitness which incorporated harder cardio and basic strength), two – I actually wasn’t eating enough for my weight and activity level. Later January, I started moving along again and all was well.
Three days before my birthday, I got the best 29th birthday present ever – I saw a number starting with 1 on the scale. It was my huge goal, and I had just barely made it. Never again, I vowed. You are banned from the 200’s, girl, I thought. I saw it a few more times as my weight wavered up and down but in late march I was already working on 195. I was trying for 50 lost between Thanksgiving and late June (50 in 6 months challenge), but I couldn’t keep pace and got frustrated. I re-evaluated my goals at the beginning of April (March being the birthday month of doom where our friends celebrate the 5 million b-days that month with a party or dinner or both every weekend, plus we were working crunch hours which means catered dinners) and went back to a sane 5 lbs per month. I thought March might be the end of my weight loss – which it was last year (birthdays, then cruise, then job hunting, then move all came up in 2 months and all focus went there).
For some reason in April, I just had this urge to run. Again I thought, “why not, give it a try”. I just about died after, but I ran a whole mile in about 12 minutes. Without stopping. I was so freaking proud of myself. I went out to the track about once a week and got up to about 1.25 miles. Then two things happened – one, it got HOOOOT so I couldn’t run outside anymore, and we started what was to be the summer of on again off again crunch. I was pretty confident that this wasn’t going to be the thing that stalled my progress (8 months of steady progress helped that confidence), but it was not going to be easy and I had to have a plan. I started working out at our work gym, which meant access to a treadmill and running, as well as weights!
Over the next few months I went from barely making the mile to 1.5 to 2 to 3, and my mile time went from 12 to 11 to 10 to now 9:10. I went from 8 to 10 to 12 lb free weights, and increased from 12 to 45 pushups in a row. My reps for everything went up. I weathered a foot injury that kept me from running for 2 weeks, and did lots of strength and yoga and kept my calorie intake closer to my low end instead of giving myself a pass to eat junk because I was sad about it.
I also discovered the pattern my body had found (the 2 weeks maintain, 2 weeks loss). This was good because I would be super happy for the loss period, and just FRUSTRATED as heck during the other 2. I realized I was still losing my weight, just differently than I had before (1-2 lbs per week). It really tested my faith in the program, but I stuck to it because, well, it was better than gaining and feeling icky. I kept tweaking what I did every few weeks and it kept working.
Just last week, after a frustrating 2 weeks of actually gaining 1 lb, I finally met my first long term goal of 170. I’d long since revised it to 150 by the end of the year, but it still held special significance to me as the weight I remembered feeling happy, confident, and sexy at when I was 20 (which was the last time). I can tell you now that it feels just as good, if not better, at 29. I might just explode once those coveted skinny jeans I wore last weekend have to be retired because they’re too big.
I’ve learned that anything’s possible as long as you have a “why not” attitude and give it a good go at it. If you’re really committed, you’ll be looking back on it a year or two later, thinking how glad you are that you said that. And though it will probably be another 2-3 weeks until I pass 100 lbs lost (I’m about to enter those 2 weeks), but I’m still celebrating. Because I know I’ll get there. The only way I will lose momentum is if I let myself, and the only time I will really stop losing weight is when I chose to do so. Nothing can stand in my way unless I let it. I might forget that sometimes in a moment of temper tantrum-ness, but never for too long.