Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: May 2010 Page 2 of 3

Making Light

So I wrote this long ass rant earlier about how I’m feeling like a failure lately.  It’s a little too whiny and negative to really post, but it helped me get some messy subconscious stuff out and visible to me, and I wanted to share my thought process when I work through a negative emotions day:

Problem: New Years Resolutions: fail.  I have not had one weigh in with my maintenance range.  My half marathon goal got trashed by a nasty cold, and I’m not doing a marathon now.  I haven’t touched a book, or been writing other than the blog.

Solution: Allow some things to slip to the back burner.  New accomplishments at work were something I hadn’t even anticipated making strides with this year.  I chose to not do the marathon of my own volition and instead chose a very worthy alternate goal, an olympic triathalon, which sounded like much more fun to train for and just about as badass on the proverbial athlete resume.  The book thing?  Also kinda fallen by the wayside with work.  I have doubts about how kindly my company would take to me being a published author while employed there, and I think the urgency there was a desire to find some way to support myself in lieu of my current career.  Now that I’m lovin’ it again, sadly, it’s going to go back to someday.  And that’s ok.  There is a reason for all of it.  I’m not just a worthless slob.

Problem: And let’s elaborate on the weight thing.  I am killing myself here and I’m barely in the 150’s.  Before I ditched the scale a few weeks before the half, I was around 157.  Then all of a sudden I woke up 2 months later at 163.  I cannot fathom how I gained SIX lbs.  And as much as I have an ethos of trying to forgive and move forward, I just can’t here right now.  And my friends – losing 10 lbs is SO MUCH HARDER than losing 100.  At 100 to go, you obviously have a lot of changes to do that make sense.  Y’know, not washing down your double cheeseburger with a chocolate shake and eating veggies instead of french fries.  Losing 10 lbs is hard because I don’t have easy big changes to make.  It is really one little decision that tests my willpower and resolve after another and another.  It’s tiring.  And frustrating because I’ve seen all these numbers on the scale before.  So it’s not like *woohoo, a new low* it’s *oh, I’m here again…* which is not nearly as exciting.

Also with the appearance, I am really frustrated with half my closet not fitting right.  Never thought 5-10 lbs would make that much of a difference, but it does.  Some pants that fit fine before give me a pooch.  So I can only wear them with looser shirts.  And some shirts that were perfectly fine in length are now too short.  So I’m back to wearing my size 8/10/12s instead of my 6/8/10s.  It makes me mad because I have worked SO HARD to earn the right to have a closet full of clothing that fits me and looks good.  I guess I just can’t have nice things.

Solution: I just gotta keep on keepin’ on.  I will continue on with my current plan.  It’s slow going but it seems to be working on a month by month view.  To appease Zliten (and to combat my crazies) I will try to whittle my exercise down to 5 days per week of training, and request that one other day we do something cool like a walking adventure or skating or climbing or something active.  So bike/swim one day, weights/swim one day, long bike one day, long run one day, bike/run one day, I guess.  All I’m missing is one session of weights and I can just wrap those around some of the other workouts in 10 – 15 min segments.

As for the food?  I’ll just keep taking stabs in the dark until I find the magic formula.  And not deviate too much from what I’m doing because it’s going (painfully slowly) in the right direction.  Then I will sell it and be rich!  Muahaha!  And really?  I need to remember that as frustrating as it is to me, 10 lbs is really and truly cosmetic.  Wah me, I’m a size 8 not a size 6.  Some of my XS shirts don’t fit anymore.  It’s not the end of the world.  I’m going to keep on towards it, but sheesh, not something to get my panties in a wad about.  Easier said than done, but here’s hoping.

Problem: I’m frustrated because I haven’t tackled the “finding somewhere to swim” yet.  If it were completely up to me I would be at a different place every day or 2 checking out pools but there is only so often that work/other obligations/can drag Zliten with since he’s joining up somewhere too.  I think it will probably be next Tuesday before we can make another attempt because we have other plans and priorities.  So my lovely idea to swim twice this week?  Absolute fail.  And getting access to a pool is going to cost us a lot, not to mention lessons… it just feels overwhelming.  Running was easy because all I need is shoes.  Biking, I’m getting over the whole “need Zliten to go with so I feel safe” thing and also getting over my hatred of gym bikes.  But of course, the swimming thing is what I need to work on the very most, and I don’t have a way to do it.

Solution: This Sunday if at all possible (I think I found a loophole in our schedule) I want to check out the Y up north that supposedly has an awesome lap pool and evaluate whether it’s worth the drive 2x week.  If not, next Tuesday begins the gym-ocolypse to see if we can find a good home that’s not too pricey.  With a nice pool.  That maybe offers lessons so we don’t have to spend an extra 50 bucks a month on that.  Argh!  I don’t know why this is stressing me out so but it is.  I just have to take solace in the fact that I was able to rock the full distance of the swim for the tri on my first… try (badup, ching!) so I should be ok in a pinch.  It’s really a priority when I go from sprint to olympic but that’s 2 months from now.

Problem: My hair is repulsive right now.  It’s at a really bad length where it doesn’t look good no matter WHAT I do with it.  I haven’t been bothering washing it more than once a week because it really doesn’t matter, it looks gross either way.  And I seem to be putting off and subconsciously scared of doing something about it.  Y’all, I’ve never been to a salon.  Maybe supercuts here or there in a pinch, but my hair has been tended to by my mother, and then by Zliten.  And I’ve had the same haircut since I was 14 – shoulder length or longer, all one length.  I am really wanting something *different* but terrified to go somewhere hip that will do something that requires a lot of maintenance and doesn’t work for working out.  Or that just looks god awful.  And with all this talk about pools costing a ton of money, I don’t want to spend 100 bucks on a haircut.  But I told myself I was going to not do the Zliten cut this time, I was going to do something different.  So here I sit.

Solution: First step – Zliten is cutting my hair tomorrow.  Asking for it a little bit longer than I really want it so I’m still motivated to go get it styled eventually, but if it’s really making me this unhappy, I need to deal with it.  And since I’m obviously not mentally ready to let someone else touch it yet, forcing myself into it is not the best idea.  It may be such a minor thing to y’all, but it has big significance to me.  Even when I was at my fattest, I was the chick with the cool long hair.  Now I don’t care for it to be long anymore, but I’m so afraid of getting a cut that makes my face look rounder.  Or ending up with something so high maintenance to make it look decent (hi2u late 90s jennifer anniston cut that looked HORRIBLE and took forever to grow out) that I just look like dog poopy for months.  Any of you girlier girls out there, I need HELP here.  What would you suggest for this mug with naturally wavy hair?  I just can’t do the “get up and style my hair” every morning thing – so it has to be get up (maybe put some product in, and possibly brush it) and go.

Problem: I’ve come to terms that I AM actually pretty bitter about the half marathon earlier this year.  Training so precisely and so hard for 3 months just to get sick sucked balls.  Plain and simple.  I want revenge.  I at least want a PR.  I mean, I’m terribly proud of my level of fitness that I could even consider running 13.1 miles hacking up a lung with a sore throat, and even come within 3 minutes of my previous time, but still.

Solution: The marathon I was going to run in November has a half.  I think I can do it with less training – especially if I’m just coming off training for an olympic tri – I’ll have great endurance and pretty fresh legs.  If not, I’m targeting a weekend of crazy – half marathon trail run one day, duathlon the next (with a campout in the middle).  That’s a special level of hell I will just be proud to finish.  It’s been the year of non-traditional road races so far, it might just continue.  But I need to rock another half marathon soon.  It is inevitable.

There are a couple more personal things I’ve worked through too and have a plan for.  It was a very productive thought day (and a very productive day at work, apparently I can have deep thoughts and crunch numbers in spreadsheets really well together).  So my take on negative thoughts: have ’em.  If you’re upset about something, be upset.  It’s healthy to be unhappy about things that aren’t right in your life no matter how trivial they are.  But make them a call to action rather than an excuse to wallow and be destructive.  In a former life I might have berated myself for being too much of a wuss to get a haircut.  Now I realize there are only so many scary things I can take on at once without breaking down, and this is not something to get upset about.  Make a to do list, and check them off as you can.

Your turn.  What’s got your panties in a wad?  What’s your plan of action to restore happiness and harmony?  If nothing – how do you plan to accept yourself as is?  And pleeeeease, who has suggestions about the haircut thing?

Who Works 40 Hours Anymore? (Me)

So I keep seeing this everywhere, and have to have a quick mid-week rant about it.  “Who works 40 hours anymore?”  “The 40 hour work week is dead.”  “9-5 is a myth.”  I’m even getting outsource quotes that assume a 50 hour work week is normal.  This keeps getting thrust down my throat by articles, billboards, on the radio, on the TV… and I know what they’re trying to do.  They’re trying to get the overworked, underpaid sheeple out there to nod and commiserate together and hopefully purchase whatever product they’re selling that is being touted to make their poor, busy lives easier and more efficient.  I get it.

However, I must ponder: what the fuck is the problem with having a life, an identity, and time outside of work?  Is it horrible to put in a good quality 40 and then enjoy your life?  Is it wrong to associate myself with adjectives such as athlete, wife, and friend as well as producer?  Am I somehow less of a good person, a good employee, and a productive member of my company because I come in, get everything done with quality and quickness, and then leave work at a normal hour, after my 8 are up, and get on with my life?  I have used VPN (connecting from my home computer to my work computer) once in 3 years here.  I have checked my work email a handful of times from home, but I refuse to have it pushed to my cell phone so I see it all the time.  I just prefer, whenever possible, to keep work and personal life separate.

Sure, I work extra hours when the job commands it. But I ensure that the numbers that form in the employee time tracking software are worth it. We work on the core hours philosophy – you come into work sometime between 8-10am and you put in your 8 hours (so the entire company is there from 10-5).  It seems to be a very Austin thing.  I’m typically a 9-5:30-er, or 10-6:30 if I work out in the morning (I take a very short lunch break since I usually bring mine, or if I don’t, I run out and back quickly).  Some days I’ll have a meeting at 9am and then have to stay until 7pm because something broke and we have a release to get done.  It happens.  However, that’s the special exception.

I never used to be like that.  When I was a wide-eyed, newbie designer, I was so thrilled to be able to do something I loved, I was at it every hour I could be.  I stopped going out, I stopped playing games, I stopped doing anything but thinking about, talking about, and doing work.  I could not imagine a life where I was not so immersed in this wonderful thing I lived and breathed.  I spent 2 years that way.

Work time was awake time.  I got up, slammed a lo-carb monster energy drink, went into work at 945 am, drank massive doses of caffeine to stay awake all day, and worked until I got dragged home by Zliten.  Then after/while I consumed random fatty greasy takeout, I loaded up either my email, the game, a document, the design tool, or a combination of all 4.  I’d continue until I was too tired/burnt/uninspired for the night, and then drink and smoke cigarettes and zone out in front of the TV (still probably mulling over conundrums from work that day)  if I hadn’t worked to the point where my eyes were actually drooping and it was just bedtime (read: after 2-3am).

One day, late 2006, I woke up and realized that I couldn’t keep on that way.  I was pouring my heart and soul into something that just didn’t have the funding and manpower to flourish.  I also was tired, burnt out, frustrated, moderately mentally unwell, and had gained another 30 lbs on top of the 70-80 extra I was carrying around.  I had gone from making an attempt at eating well and exercising, as misguided and short-lived and horrible vicious-cyclical as they were, from just saying, fuck it, I’m putting all my eggs in this basket and working to be the youngest, most successful, brightest lead designer/producer in the world and take this little game that could and turn it into the comeback story of the decade.  But as much as I wanted it with all my being, no matter what I did, it was outside the locus of my control.

In 2007, I started instituting a policy for myself of the 40 hour work week.  I came in at 945 (yeah, what a weird start time, I know…), made a huge deal about being efficient during my day, and left on time and did not work from home.  I simply made sure that I scheduled myself and my team reasonably and didn’t do the “oh crap, this won’t fit this release but I really want it so I’m going to work extra to do it”.  It was either cut it, or extend the date.  Oddly enough, I found that I got so much more done during my 40 and was so much more productive and alert during the day because I was refreshed and well rested, I was able to get almost as much done as my 100 hour weeks, and I was picky about what I did and what fell by the wayside.  Priorities, I know – what a concept.  It was so successful that neither our customers nor management noticed or cared.

I can’t say that I had much of a life right away, due to the shell shock of not to be tied to work 24/7.  I did start eating better, and exercising a little.  It was cans and packages filled with way too much salt, and maybe burning 100-200 calories extra 3 times a week, but it was a start.  I watched a lot of TV.  I played some games.  It also made me well aware that I needed a change.   It’s harder to see your life, sanity, and health crumbling around you with those blinders on, but once you have time on your hands?  It’s all you can do NOT to want to evolve.  Could I have done it in San Diego?  Sure.  But it seemed like it was time for something drastic.  Jumping in the proverbial deep end.  I applied everywhere from Australia to Vancouver and the rest is history.

At first, once I moved to Austin and started my current job, I was hoping to have something to sink my teeth into as deeply as my past.  It just wasn’t there.  The oddity of having a fully staffed team, and the phenomenon of only having to do ONE person’s job made it so that I came in, did my work, and left on time (like I said before, unless I had to be there late to support others, which was definitely the exception to the rule).  I sort of resented it for a few months and then it hit me – I really and truly could have a life here.  Not only was I able to start having a social life with friends, but I could work on personal goals as well!

It really could have gone either way.  At that crucial point in my life, if I would have found a job that was a lovely sinkhole of time like my last one, perhaps things would be different.  I might be on this list.  I also would probably be pushing 300 lbs and cried when I saw the picture with my profile.  Marathon wouldn’t have been part of my vocabulary.   I’ve made peace with that choice, and realize that it was absolutely the right one.  So, I’ll take the extra few years I need to get on there and enjoy the fact that I can still tie my own shoes.  I may not be terribly influential at 30 but perhaps by 35 you can say you knew me when…

So enough about me.  As a manager, I occasionally have to ask employees to stay late, work the weekend, or otherwise cut into their personal lives.  Our company ethos is to work 40 hard and go home, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  Some things I’ve found:

-Blanketly keeping people for extra hours no matter their workload just makes people extend their workload in the hours they are required to work.  As in people will generally get the same amount of tasks done in an 8 hour day as a 10 hour day unless REALLY, REALLY ridden hard.

-Giving people 10 hours of work and telling them they can go home once its done usually results in a really productive 8 hour work day.

-Productivity definitely goes down the next week after one weekend day worked (slightly), and definitely after both weekend days (significantly).  It’s rarely useful to have employees working over the weekend both days unless absolutely necessary, and definitely ONLY if they have a specific task they need to finish up.

-People are much more willing to work extra hours if it’s to achieve a short term goal (aka, putting in crazy hours a few days before release) rather than a long term goal (working Saturdays for 2 months to hit a goal).

-People are much more willing to work extra hours if it’s communicated properly that their extra hours are changes/last minute additions/fixes/etc for the good of the project rather than scheduling mishaps, intentional overscheduling, or other mismanagement.

-People that have to monitor their emails, or do work from home outside of work hours aren’t QUITE as prone to burnout as if they have to be in the office extra hours, but it’s still there.  Probably at about 50%.

And since I’m all about helping, here are some productivity tips (some which I have slacked on lately):

-Get a feel for how you naturally work and work with it.  I’m a sprint worker – I finish tasks quickly but I also need mental breaks in between.  I also do better when I spend the morning on mentally-light tasks and get to the deeper stuff late afternoon (when I’m more up against a deadline, I focus better).  Some people work steadily all day and just need to eliminate the distractions I need.

-Make a to do list last thing each day of what’s up for tomorrow.  If I don’t have one, I spend much more time unfocused and continually think “what do I need to be doing?” and I find that writing it out right before I leave takes about 10x less than when I come in that morning and have to remember.

-If you find you’re putting something off, really ask why.  Sometimes you need time to mull a decision over, which is valid.  Sometimes, you’re just putting off unpleasantness, which is bogus.

-If you’re feeling really unmotivated, make yourself dedicate the next (15 mins, hour, etc) to the task at hand and say no matter the progress, you can take a break after.  9 times out of 10, I’ll just end up finishing my task instead, since starting is the hardest part.

So now, I’d like to hear from you.  Are you part of the “live to work” crowd and stay glued to your blackberry at all hours?  Have you made a conscious decision to have a life and pursue personal goals and interests outside of your career?  When do you resent and when don’t you mind putting in a little extra effort at work?  How do you stay productive and motivated?

A Sack of Air

Just a quickie.  This is shaping up to be a crazy busy week and it’s not stopping.  So let me quickly pontificate on what went in and out of my body last week and what’s to come.

Last week:

Monday: didn’t track because I was out of town.  I’m going to say that I probably ingested about 2500 calories and didn’t move my ass at all.

Tuesday: 1555 calories in – 728 (9 mile bike, 5k run brick) calories out = 827 (super oops – just wasn’t hungry past dinner and it was really empty calories or nada so I chose nada)

Wednesday: 1958 calories in – 487 (5 mile walk) calories out = 1471 (I made up for the above huge calorie deficit on Cinqo de Drink0)

Thursday: 1508 calories in – 350 (DDR for about 40 mins) = 1158

Friday: 1826 – 478 (4 mile run) = 1348

Saturday: 1720 – 604 (12 mile bike ride) = 1116

Sunday: 1855 – 760 (35 mins hardcore lap swim, 45 mins light swimming) = 1095

Average Intake: 1846

Average Calories Out: 486

Average Net Calories: 1360 (high, but still within loss range)

Weight: 161.2 (+1 from last week, -1.8 overall)

Yep, that’s an appropriate response.  I’m a little bummed about the weight as this should be prime weight loss time, but honestly?  My body is telling me something is off.  I’ve been feeling decidedly not right.  I’ve had um…let’s just say tummy weirdness on and off (cut my run short Friday, plagued me over the weekend, and I’ve felt like a sack of air Monday and Tuesday).  That same run landed me a minor heel issue (which I haven’t had in FOREVER).  So my body is telling me something and I need to treat it well, with good food and the proper amount and methods of ass moving.

On the docket this week is a lot more low impact stuff.  A week completely off running if I can stand it.  With this whole new biking and swimming thing, plus DDR and cybil the arc trainer, I have plenty of other options.  So I’m hoping that I can work through this body stuff, have my growly guts settle down soon, and see some nice sub-160 numbers later this week.

This Week’s Plan:

Monday: 12 mile bike -40 mins, 20 min – arc trainer (700)
Tuesday: off
Wednesday: 45 min arc trainer (550)
Thursday: 30 mins swim (800 yds), 30 mins weights (300)
Friday: 9 mile bike, 30 mins weights (450)
Saturday: 15 mile bike outside (600)
Sunday: 30 mins swim, 30 mins weights (500)

A Note on Tri-training:

This is, I guess, my first week training for the tri.  I figured that I’d be more into having a big long planned out formal training program, but I didn’t find a plan that sold me.  And I’ve been really too busy to put together a full custom multi week one.  And…I know I can complete the sprint distance (confirmed Sunday when I swam half a mile – it wasn’t EASY but I wasn’t completely wasted after).

It’s not a matter of building distance/endurance until I decide to try an Olympic.  It’s a matter of improving my horrible swimming stroke form (are you SURE I can’t breaststroke instead of freestyle?) and getting my butt used to biking 12-15 miles at a time.  I’m comfortable with about 9-12 but I’m definitely READY to get off then.  Also needed: getting comfortable going as fast as I do indoors… I find myself braking on the downhills when I go above 15 mph on the bike.  I’m still a little afraid of going fast and think I need to explore some bike tracks (no cars, no people, just bikes) to improve.

My goal right now is to concentrate on getting at least 2 runs, 2 swims, and 2 bikes in per week.  Monday seems to be a good bike/run brick day each week, and I’ll probably try to do at least a few swim/bike bricks (and knowing me, I’ll want to swim/bike/run at least once).  I want to also work in at least 1-2 days of sprints/speed work once I get more comfortable with biking/swimming as we all know how much I loved the hell outta that during half training (I’m not being facetious, I actually really miss sprints.  I know, I’m a sick puppy.)

As of right now, I’m going to set my time goal for the sprint at 1:40.  30 mins swim (800 m), 40 mins bike (11.2 mi), 30 mins run (5k), absorbing transitions into it.

Is it just me, or is this week somehow going slow and too fast at the same time?  Argh.  Need more hours in the day that are NOT taken up by work or working out.  I love both of them, but I have so_many_other things I want to do with my time too.  Eh, I guess it’s just too bad that I have too many awesome things in my life to do.  Boo hoo.  Anyone else struggling even though the numbers are adding up?  Suggestion for tri training?  For calming uggy tummies?

An Eater’s Manifesto

Deep thoughts by Quix time.  This post has been welling for a while.  Charlotte started it, and then reminded me about it again.  And I’ve been ridici-busy so I have been posting the facts about the new project: maintenance weight, but not much of the feelings.

I am, in quite a few areas of my life, a control freak.  In certain instances, I do just the opposite – for example, I like going into interviews (where I am the interviewer, not the interviewee) without even a glance at the resume.  I find that I make better character decisions having no preconceptions about my subject.  I never run race courses or even study them before the fact, because I find I run better without knowing what to dread.  It might have bit me in the ass for the Austin Half, but with my illness, I might not have had it in me to run up those hills even if I would have run more conservatively.

However, in general, to borrow a catch phrase from a friend’s live journal, I am the girl with a map and a plan.  I derive as much pleasure from plotting the course as traveling it, and probably even more than actually being there.  I feel like I missed out on an awesome part of the experience if things are too spontaneous.  I spend days and days searching for the optimal flight times, best hotel for the price, and the best days to go on vacation.  Zliten is perfectly happy just to nod his head, put in for the time off, and hop the plane with me.  Same with my weight loss.  I enjoy making a plan down to the itty bitty details, the mental toughness and process of following through with it, and arriving at the end as expected.

I love exercise because it’s very black and white.  Sure, there are the grey areas of “well, I planned to run 6 miles but only ran 4”, but they’re rare, and it’s even rarer that I end the week with significantly less calories burnt or training completed than I expected.  It’s generally go or no go.  If I’m sick, an emergency comes up, injured, or very very occasionally just poop out and need an extra day off, I don’t go.  Otherwise, I go and do what I’ve set out to do.  It’s not an issue for me anymore.

Eating – for some reason this is my Achilles heel.  Workouts are 45-90 mins of my day.  Eating is something I have to be conscious of every waking moment.  I enjoy eating.  I enjoy eating both healthy food, and unhealthy food.  I plan my meals out for the week, but I also find that I incur personal resentment and also the resentment of others if my eating plan takes away the ability to engage in spontaneous opportunities of socializing.  So sometimes even though I had planned to eat that fish, brown rice, and veggies dinner, I find myself somewhere else, needing to pick from the lesser of two evils.

Therein lies the rub.  Sure, I know there is the option to go socialize without overdoing.  Every Wednesday (well, every Wed when we can) we go to trivia night.  Said night is at a beer/wine bar that serves delicious food.  My compromise with myself is that if we grab something quick at home and I get up early to get in a workout to burn some calories, I can have a few glasses of wine.  I’ve come to terms with this, but I still drool over everyone’s food at the table while we play because a) it looks good b) I’ve shortcutted myself calories to drink wine because to make it there by 7 and already be fooded, I can’t get much of a workout in unless I’m up before the crack of 8am.

However, since it’s a planned thing, I deal.  And it’s totally worth it because it’s fun.  Now the problem lies when it’s a random “hey, let’s go out for dinner and drinks tonight”.  I am able to keep a semblence of a social life and wanton care and regard for calories only due to PROPER PLANNING.  If I know I’m going out (aka, last nights chicken fajitas, chips, and margaritas), I do the lean and mean thing the rest of the day (700 cals for breakfast, lunch, and snacks).  When that’s sprung on me, I don’t abide well.  I try to eat more during the day because it makes me happier and feel better.  If I’ve eaten a big healthy lunch and then I have to go out and watch people chow on things that look great while I push around a salad, it does not make me happy (or a fun person to be around).

I used to be better at it.  It was much more urgent to me before to be strict with myself.  At first it was to get my life back.  Then it was to finally feel hot and look good for once in my adult life.  The problem is twofold now – there isn’t this urgency all the time in my brain to eat the right thing.  It’s so hard to really care about this 10 lbs every moment of the day like I used to.  Sure, it bugs the crap outta me when I’m getting dressed and I have two pairs of jeans I can’t wear anymore and a few shirts that seem to have shrunk (!).  While I know I need to care, it’s HARD on a daily basis to feel it is such an emergency that I need to deny my hungries.  Also – eating more doesn’t just make me happier, it gives me the ability to excel more at this newfound “being an athlete” thing.  When I create a deficit in my calories, I also see the ability to go faster/further than before get a lot harder.  I know it has diminishing returns (I’ll hit a certain point where I’m carrying more weight and it will in turn slow me down) but it feels GOOD just to give myself permission to properly nourish and feed my body what it wants.

I think the problem is I’ve tasted the freedom.  I spent a good chunk of 3 years feeling that losing weight was an urgent task and priority – an emergency if you will.  I then spent some time without focusing on that.  It’s like finally finding a shoe that fits you perfectly.  Sure, you thought those other ones were fine, but after walking on air, they might as well be 6 inch stilettos that pinch and wobble.  Walking these miles in my old shoes has not been fun.  I hate the mentality that I just “want to lose the weight quickly so I can get back to real life” but it’s there.  I’m not doing anything totally drastic or unhealthy to do it, but I am restricting.  It’s not as if I’m clamoring to go back to 3 meals of fast food a day – but just the ability to nourish my body completely.

The main problem is – I feel like I can’t eat the kind of food I used to, like I have to be super careful now.  I used to get by just fine on most of my meals being restaurant and take out.  We were lucky to have a few dinners at home per week and EVERY lunch out.  Now, when I have more than a meal or 2 out in a row I see it on the scale and feel it.  I have a few standbys that fit into my life (sandwich shops, salad bars, build-a-burrito places, chinese buffet near our house loaded with veggie dishes, etc etc) but I think I’ve trained my body too well over the last year or so.  It wants good quality lean meats, mass quantities of vegetables and fiber, sufficient portions of carbs, way more fats than I used to consume (and I’m still on the low side of normal), just enough calcium (no cheese used to be a standby on my weight loss tactics), and tons of fruit.  There is just not much room in there for junk food, or I feel deprived nutritionally.  And if I can’t enjoy junk food occasionally, I feel deprived in my soul.  It’s a catch 22.  Intuitive eating has bit me in the ass, my friends.

Basically, my problem is I can’t pick at food like I see my friends do.  You there – I just don’t understand how a plate of food is in front of you and you’re not just nom nom nomming it down?  How are you picking at it and leaving half and just not all consumed by the experience and the pleasure and the taste of that which is in front of you?  How do you make do with so little nourishment in your body?  How much of my hungry is mental and how much of it is actually my body crying out for food?

Now, I’m not saying I’d like to develop eat-like-a-bird syndrome all the time.  I’d just like to be able to go to a restaurant, order something small, and know that LIFE WILL BE OK.  Because right now, it’s not.  I eat restaurant size portions at home of big, lovely, wonderful healthy food.  And it’s ok.  My problem is my body does not cope well when we have to have itty bitty meals (which are the same amount of calories) when we go out.  When we eat at friends’ houses.  Is it possible that I just chew through more nutrients than the average person even though the weight loss has been PAINFULLY slow and even more PAINFUL to facilitate with tracking each bite, making sure not only to get enough exercise but on the proper days, and now I have this crazy limitation that everything has to be healthy because I now require crazy volumes of food?  ARGH!

To provide reference: yesterday I had a 20g protein 200 calorie breakfast bar, an 8 inch turkey sandwich with cheddar (470 calories), an orange (70 cals) and an asian pear (60 calories) for snacks.  I had some  almonds when I got home (100 calories) and then worked out, then 6 oz mahi mahi, 3/4 cup brown rice, and veggies (500).  I also had a treat of 2 marshmallows (carmel marshamallows just a little warmed in the microwave) and 2 hershey kisses (100).  I found myself table-knawing hungry before lunch, before my snack, and DEFINITELY before dinner.  It doesn’t help that Zliten has the opposite reaction to me most days after work and either works out or has a beer or 2 (both which take away his appetite and then we end up eating around 9pm).  Lots of good healthy food – right?  And this was a particularly good day.

The problem lies when I have to get out of my comfort zone – say Wednesday when I was saving up calories for cinqo de mayo festivities.  I got chicken fajitas w/ corn tortillas, which would have been pretty lo cal – but I was TOO HUNGRY to leave the beans, rice, and tortilla chips alone.  It wasn’t that they were there and I was eating them because of it…I was geniuinely hungry.  I knew I should stop eating at about half the beans and rice but I was not yet full.

I definitely know my appetite has changed because Zliten and I can sit down to a meal, and I’ll finish mine and he’ll stop partway through sometimes.  Or we’ll both finish and he will complain how full he feels and I’m just like READY.  For example, last night, I polished off a serving of chips, the ENTIRE plate of fajitas, all the rice and beans, and felt satisfied.  I could have probably immediately gone out for a brisk walk or slow jog.  Zliten ate about 3/4 of what I did and felt so full he was going to DIE.

My theory is that long distance running had some semi-permanent change to the way my body processes calories that is JUST NOT GOING AWAY this time.  I noticed that I rarely ever feel that 8-10 on the hungry-full scale, my food settles way faster and I’m ready for activity sooner, and I just require MORE MORE MORE.  Wonderful if you’re training for a long distance race.  Bad if you’re trying to lose weight and stick to a calorie count.

The saving grace is that even through all these issues, I am actually making snail’s pace progress.  Even though I loathed to admit my weight had crept up to 163.0, I’m glad I was honest so I know that I’ve lost just under 3 lbs, even if my weight is STILL in the 160’s most days.  Even if it’s a fight to the death with my appetite and body, I can still do this safely and slowly.  It’s just taking a LOT longer than I had hoped.

I’d continue on but I’m too hungry.

Now please – share with me.  How do you cope with the hungries?  Do you think this is in my head?  Have any suggestions for me?  Natural appetite suppressants?  Horror stories to share?  Please hit me up and tell me I’m not the only one…

The Drill Sergeant or The Mommy

I don’t really know if numbers are even really worth it this week.  I’ll attempt, but it all just sorta fell apart.  I hate when that happens – but sometimes you go splat and it’s for a good reason.  Spending time present and attentive in your body makes one very conscious of whether you need the drill sergeant mentality or the mommy mentality.  Sometimes, I just need to tell myself “quit yer bitchin’ and get to work”, but sometimes, I just need to give in.  The end of this week was giving in.  And while I’d certainly like to report better progress, I’ll take it.

Monday: 1403 calories in, 0 out (oops) = 1403 calories

Tuesday: 1709 calories in, 624 out (5 mile run) = 1085 calories

Wednesday: 1558 calories in, 300 out (30 mins DDR) = 1258 calories

Thursday: 1891 calories in, 580 out (45 mins HARD arc trainer) = 1311 calories

Friday: 1647 calories in, 0 out (oops again) = 1647 calories

Saturday: 1559 calories in, 123 out (oops again!) = 1436 calories

Sunday:  approx 3000 calories in, probably about 1000 out = vacation badness (but totally worth it)

Average per day intake: 1823

Average per day output: 375

Average per day net calories: 1449

Weight: 160.2 (-1 from last week, -2.8 for the month)

Not stellar, but it could be worse.  Although it pains me because I’ve been lower this month and I’ve been way lower last year, I have turned the gain train around.  I weigh 2.8 lbs less this month than I did last month at this time.  I can actually feel it too, oddly enough. As much as 3 lbs barely matters when you’re 265 – it’s HUGE when you’re so very close to your maintenance weight.  So if I can take down another 3 lbs this month, I’ll be even that much closer.

I’m hoping to get a good week in this week with the eating, and again with the less crazy workouts.  Although it’s pre-training time for the tri, so it will be a challenge to rein in my crazy – but looking at training programs (you know I have), there isn’t a huge daily commitment.   Most have you doing 20-60 mins 6 days per week, and I think I can roll with that and still keep the calories restricted until I try to push through and do that Olympic.

Plan this week:

Monday: off

Tuesday: 30 mins bike, 5k run

Wednesday: weights, 4 mile walk

Thursday: 30 mins DDR, 30 mins bike

Friday: 4-5 mile run

Saturday: bike ride, weights

Sunday: swimming laps at the ‘rents (yay swimming)

…or something like that.  By next week I should hopefully have a) a better plan for where I’m going to regularly swim (because I love seeing my parents and all, but a 4o minute drive or more in traffic each way is not going to exactly motivate me to swim regularly) and b) a training program.  Considering I already completed 75% of the bike distance and the full run back to back yesterday, I think I’ll be ok, but I am definitely nervous about the swimming.  So, if this week I can concentrate on good nutrition, not pooping out and completing at least A workout each day that’s scheduled (don’t know what was up my behind last week but I sure was pouty) and figuring out the swimmy thing, I think I’ll have a good week/good loss/good mental space heading into training.

The mommy won out last weekend and I pampered myself.  I enjoyed a few extra days off, a really yummy pizza, the best filet mignon and loaded baked potato I’ve ever had, and drank whiskey and watched the sunset.  This week, it’s back to the drill sergeant.  And I’m ready for it.

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