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Category Archives: Starting over

The thing that tipped me over the edge

I’ve been thinking about how I finally found the courage to change my life and reduce my food intake to 1500 calories a day. I certainly was overdue from getting back on the health bandwagon (having fallen off in fall 2011, after having been on it for the previous 8 or so months). I certainly had lots of inspiration in my personal life – two of my besties are on diets and losing weight, and making great strides. However, I’ve been thinking about one little detail that I think did it for me. Bear with me, this is a little difficult to talk about.

Everyone’s heard of the fit but fat thing, right? Well, I never started out athletic in life, but I rode horses through my entire teenage life, and I guess it put some nice muscles in some important places. I’ve always taken pride in my muscular physique, even if I didn’t do anything to deserve it. Eventually, in my mid-20s, I started weight lfting for the first time (at a gym at work). It didn’t last forever, but that started the cycle of periodically joining a gym, doing hard core weight lifting and pushing cardio hard. I would do it, and run, and be all serious about my goals, but then I’d get an injury, or get a rash from running in a delicate area that prevented me from even walking for several days, ahem (I never knew there existed anything that prevented chaffing until last year, how unfair!!!). Or I’d get sick and by the time I was over it, I was out of the gym habit. You know how it goes, excuse after excuse. Starting and stopping. Lose weight, only to gain it back again.

Ok. So I’ve been relatively “fit” and muscular most of my adult life. I always carried my weight well. Yes, I was fat. Yes, I looked overweight. Yes, I wore baggy clothing to hid in. BUT, I have always been, and still am, secretly proud that I have a solid form, and good muscle tone underneath it all. Well, there is a point when this starts to be overwhelmed by being fat. There’s a point when you see the fat first, and everything else later. For me, 220-230 lbs is that point. The last few months I got to that point and went past it. The point when there’s no where else for the fat to go, so it goes into your face, and you start getting the double chin. That point has always been when I decide to get in shape and lose weight. This time was no different, but yet, this time, there was something extra pushing me to make the plunge to a healthy lifestyle.

For the first time in my life, at age 41, I started having trouble sleeping at night – the fat under my chin was pressing on my throat and making me uncomfortable. To be able to not feel it and be able to sleep, I would have to stretch my head all the way back, without a pillow, in order to not feel that pressure. I got tired of being uncomfortable in bed, every night I would think about if I just lost weight this would go away. It took several weeks before enough was enough. I think this is the reason I decided to do it, and to take weight loss seriously. And already, I can feel a difference. That’s what it’s all about.

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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Starting over

 

Weight Loss Methodology

About a month ago I joined meetup.com. As a single person who tends to be a bit of a hermit, I’ve been searching for ways to go out and meet people that don’t mean trolling bars, or blind dates (and I’ll be honest, I’m not really in dating mode right now). The whole showing up at a park and striking up a conversation with someone else rollerblading or walking just won’t work. While I have a strong self image (I do quite like what I look like naked, mostly), I know I’m overweight, so I’m not eye candy enough to get someone’s attention (it’s all about the first impression). So back to meetup. I joined a Seattle dinner group and it’s been great! I went to 1, tried a new restaurant, and met some cool people. I just went to another one, Thursday night.

I could kick myself for going out of my way to eating out at a restaurant while on a restricted eating plan, and one that served dish after dish after dish. But I signed up and decided to go, even though I really should have cancelled. I’m doing everything in moderation – even splurging eating out. I decided to forego any acolohol and just enjoy the food. It was Thai/Laotian food. Yum! I tried a bunch of new things, and while I ate a ton, I don’t feel bad about it.

So why am I bringing this up? I was conversing with this wonderful older middle-aged woman who confided that she’d just lost 80 lbs!!!!! So we were talking about weight loss and someone mentioned that they had a client that lost a ton by realizing why he ate. He ate because he didn’t want to be hungry. Exactly!!!! I think this is the first time an excuse for being fat has hit me so hard. I’m not overweight because of sexual abuse. I’m not fat because I have a bad self-image and bad self-esteem. I’m not fat because of a traumatic experience. I’m fat because I don’t like to be hungry! So how did this guy go about losing his own weight? He decided that he would eat half. Half of everything. Imagine that. Everything you were used to eating, when you were eating unhealthfully? Just cut each portion in half and eat no more.

I’m obsessed with this concept. I recently calculated that I had been eating on average 3300 calories a day BD (before diet). If I just cut that in half, I would be eating 1650, which is a tad over what I need to be eating to lose. I can easily see that BD meal – I’d make up a pot of polenta and a huge steak. I’d eat the steak and keep eating, past full, because I liked to really feel like I was *full* and could really appreciate what a wonderful meal I had prepared. I’d have a ton of polenta and a big serving of some kind of vegetable. The meat was usually around ..65-.8 lbs and I’d do my best to finish it. The polenta was a massive amount too (let’s just call it polenty). I’d go to bed overfull and wake up the next morning still feeling full. Obviously that was too much food but I was in a cycle that I couldn’t get out of. I was also afraid of feeling hungry.

I don’t like the feeling of hunger, and it’s been really hard to accept that into my life these last 2 weeks. If I think about eating so little for the rest of my life (which seems to be what I’ll need to do to maintain a weight loss when I finally arrive at that point), it can be downright depressing. I remember all those times in the past months that I would think about eating healthy but immediately my thoughts would turn to yummy food. What would I have for dinner? I’d much rather have a nice {x,y, and z} on my plate and have that wonderfully rosey feeling of contented fullness. Deciding to eat something smaller and less calories, and with correct portion sizes was horrifying! All I could think about was how unsatisfying it would be. And after, there would be the little after dinner dessert – a bunch of dark chocolate or a bowl of popcorn (with a lot of butter). Plus a nightcap of applejack brandy or other hard liquor. Eat carrot sticks and 4 oz. of chicken breast? Why would I want to subject myself to that?!

I’ve always had a difficult time dealing with hunger. I get hungry? I eat. It’s that simple. I’m a instant gratification kind of gal. If I eat, I will EAT. Right now. I will prepare a ton of food due to the amazingly large feeling of hunger – way more than I really needed to eat to feel full, but you know how it goes – the eyes are always bigger than the stomach. So once the food was made, can’t leave an empty plate, right? And those feelings of hunger. They have always been much much stronger than thinking about getting to a goal weight, or losing a pound, or being able to fit into smaller clothes, or looking better, or being more attractive to men and being able to date successfully (ie, becoming yummy eye candy). Hunger rules me. It is much stronger than any other desire I have ever had. It still is.

So how did I get to the point that I triumph over hunger (well, for 2 weeks so far)? Because let me tell you, I am hungry. All the damn time. Seriously truly hungry, where it’s all I can think about, most of the time. I’m not sure! But I will say this. Willpower is an amazing thing. It’s when your brain makes a decision – it disrupts the hunger subroutine. Before I started 2 weeks ago with eating 1500 calories, I hadn’t made that decision. I flirted with it, but was never serious enough to move in together, let alone propose and get married, ya know? Let’s just say that I’m dating hunger. I think I’m ready to move on to a committed relationship, too.

There’s been one other experience in my life where I decided to do the same thing – when I became vegetarian and then vegan. I was vegan for 8 years, vegetarian for 10. I am no longer either, but during that time period, I had similar mental fortitude. I drew the line at eating certain types of food. When I stopped being vegetarian, for a while I drew a line at red meat, but eventually relaxed that. I’m ok with all of the decisions I’ve made, but it proves that the mind is powerful. If I could decide mentally to not eat something, despite my palate, my tastebuds, my stomach, and my salivary glands wanting me to consume wonderful yummy animal products, then I can be stronger than hunger (that’s the hope). That was a different type of hunger, but the principal is the same.

I don’t know when, or if, I’ll ever get less hungry. I know I have what  you would call a “healthy appetite,” but I don’t think I can exist being this hungry all the time. For the rest of my life. Hopefully, I’ll get more used to it. How long does it take the stomach to shrink, anyway?

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Food issues, Starting over

 

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The Climb back onto the face of the earth

A blogger that stops posting on a weight loss blog…hmm, she probably fell off the wagon. Exactly! My last post was in September of 2011. I had overdone exercising, had some physical ailments, and started seeing a physical therapist. I stopped going to the gym for a while. I never really stopped eating my regular diet (I just fooled myself that I was doing ok) from when I started my journey at the beginning of 2011. Last year from January through August I focused on the exercise but not the diet. Little wonder that I only lost 15 pounds in 8 months. So when the rest of my life caught up to me and I stopped going to the gym, I fell off the face of the earth. But as of a week ago, on July 22, 2012, I’ve dug my claws back in and am pulling myself back up!

So what happened since I stopped blogging in 2011? I gained weight. 20+ lbs. In less than a year!! That shows that there is something intrinsically WRONG with my eating habits. You don’t gain 20 lbs in a year unless your eating is out of control. I stopped exercising. I was sedentary. I also broke up, moved, and had to rediscover myself. I fought changing for a long freakin’ time (let’s be real, what I really fought was giving up my unhealthy eating). I don’t even know what tipped me back into making a healthy change.

I’m obsessed with watching weight loss shows. I generally love the biggest loser, but the season is over. A friend got me into extreme makeover, weightloss edition. I’ve been watching episodes the last month or so to keep me motivated but somehow it never did anything but watch it while I was eating dinner. On the plus side, after a winter of being extremely inactive, I’ve been trying to become more fit. I started riding my bike regularly, and even bought a new road bike in April. I have been hiking, but not nearly to the degree I was the previous 2 years. I finally got past the huffing after climbing a flight of stairs, but I’m still not as strong or fit as I was last year. I’m still fat and slow going a mountain. I had to tighten my belt a little less – I’m actually at the largest, last hole and it was starting to get pretty tight. I started having to buy size 18 clothes, which I swore I would never do; I always told myself that I would never get larger than a size 16 ever. in my life. But I did. And something happened. 2 weeks ago I finally found the strength to stop drinking my highly-fat-sugar-calorie stuffed coffee and have been coffee free since. Then last weekend I just decided to start only eating 1500 calories. Somehow on that day I started. Right then, right there.

I finally decided to eat in a healthy, calorie-deficit manner, and stick to it. Finally. For the first time.

So here I am. 1 week into eating my new diet. I’ve survived. I’m hungry. A lot. I’ve made adjustments. A lot. And I’m focusing on the food first and foremost and the exercise secondarily. And ya know what? I’ve already gone from the highest weight I’ve ever been at: 232 lbs, down to 226 today. I’m sure that can’t be right in only 1 week, but I’m starting fresh. I bet it’s all from my big hike yesterday (6 hours, 11 miles, 3000 ft elevation gain), but I’ll take it.

Welcome back dietmaven. Good to see you again!

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2012 in Starting over