Tuesday, November 13, 2018

When it’s just not working: quit or adjust

I started to work at my current job about a year and a half ago.   I quickly fell into a couple habits.   Honestly, they were pretty decent habits!  And they were working for me!  But just this morning I realized that one of the habits is no longer working for me!  That means I need to either give it up or alter it!!!  Continuing on with something that is not working is a futile attempt at success!

So let’s talk about some of these habits that I fell into:

The first habit was that I began walking on my 15 minute breaks and on my 30 minute lunch break. When winter hit it was more difficult but I continued on days that were not ‘too cold’ and when it was too cold?  I walked the steps on each break.  Not exactly a complete workout, but it was at least some activity in an environment that has me sitting for hours on end while I do my job.   I feel better when I do this and however small, it’s doing my body some good.    I have admittedly gotten lazy on this one and I need to alter my behavior to get back into this and to stop being lazy.

The next habit I got into was eating a small snack in the morning on the way to work.  This was mainly when I was leaving the house at 6AM and had a two hour commute. When I moved closer to work I just accidentally stopped eating breakfast.  It worked for me and I found that I felt better not struggling to force myself to eat when I was  not really feeling it.  I later found that what I was doing was intermittent fasting.  And it worked for me in terms of my lifestyle.   I am not a sadist.  Ok those days that I can think of nothing other than food in the morning?  I will break from my routine and actually grab a bite to eat.   So this habit stays.

The last habit  is the lunches that contain ‘portable’ foods that I could eat while walking.   Typically this was a piece of fruit and a piece of cheese...easily nibbled on  on while walking.  This is the habit that I’m struggling with.   In the last few months I  found it more and more difficult to be ‘satisfied’ physically and emotionally with this light lunch.  And I often cave and go to the cafeteria.  The other morning while I was packing my lunchbox I had a lightbulb moment.   Two of them really.   The first was that it makes sense that that type of lunch no longer works for me.  I started intermit fastening and I’m breaking my 16 hour fast with that meal and it’s virtually nothing.   Well then.....
The second thing is the memory of lunches I ate when I was losing weight years ago. I still ate a meal that was heavy in fruit and veggies (mostly fruits and veggies) but I always had some kind of  carbohydrate ...or something crunchy...without it I felt dissatisfied.   A lot of the time I ate a Wasa cracker   (Amazon Affiliate Link).  That’s a cracker that is high fiber, low calorie and relatively nutritious...it added the crunch needed. Sooooo...realizing and remembering these two things helped me come to the conclusion that I will be altering my lunches to include a bit more food...I don’t want to be ravenous...or unsatisfied.   Sustainability requires satisfaction!!!

So that is my main change...I will be adjusting how and what I pack for my lunches at work!!!   This weight loss thing is an ever adapting every changing life!  What works today may not work next week...we just have to roll with the punches!

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Derailment: knocked off the exercise path

I swear!  Every time I get myself in line something happens to detail me!!!  I did so good last week!  I tracked my food intake.  I woke up early and exercised each morning!  I was hotonthe trail of health!!!  Ok, so I may not have posted a loss on the scales...but I had a maintain and I felt like I was FINALLY back in the right path....and then bammm.....derailed!

By the end of my typical work week I am always exhausted.  So on Friday afternoon when the exhaustion hit I wasn’t too concerned.  I did wonder a bit about the fact that I was crying on my drive home...crying because I was so darn tired!  But I got home and settled in and my tears were gone so I forgot about them.   

On Saturday I took it easy...I just felt ‘off’ but I felt fine.  

But on Sunday it hit! I slept most of the morning....I slept a couple hours in  afternoon.  I felt like I had been drug through the mud.   I’m pretty sure I was running a fever.  I just tried to give my body what it was demanding.

In talking it over, I decided to turn off the early ‘exercise alarm’ for Monday morning.. It just didn’t seem wise to push myself!   So my good habit that I was in the process of building is being put on hold.   There is NOT relief, surprisingly enough.   I’m actually more upset to delay my quest for fitness.

I did stumble around and get my dumbbells ready to add that into my morning workout routine!  

Meanwhile...my baby girl had to go into the bike shop, she wasn’t sick....she was getting an upgrade though.  My one tire was not holding air.  Instead of buying a tube and fixing it, Jason has given me one of my Christmas gifts early...my girl is going tubeless for her tires.  I should get her tonight!!!  I don’t like my pretty girl not being in the bike bedroom!

So a temporary delay in my quest for fitness...but I vow to only let this be temporary....I will not be totally derailed!  And an upgrade of equipment.  I want fitness and I’m still pushing onward, but I have to listen to my body and when your sick...your sick!

Friday, November 09, 2018

Tough decisions: making, altering and deleting

It is Friday again!  That means I have made it though another week.   It was an interesting week for me!   I actually made some changes and implemented some healthy living plans!  I actually worked on my weight loss efforts!   So let’s get right into my Friday recap!

Like normal, my work week was exhausting!  The days are just long...and I’m using my brain pretty much every second of the day.  This week was maybe even a bit more tiring than normal as I continued training the reps from a different site AND because the discontinuation calls have started to hit us.  Discontinuation calls?   I work for a medication assistance program.  We run various programs to offer assistance for people that can’t afford their medication to gain access.   One of the medications (two actually....very similar uses) are still available on the market but the decision was made to end the assistance program for these medications at the end of the year.   This is a life sustaining medication...so to say that people (patients, doctors, nurses, social workers, anyone really) are upset is an understatement.   So that makes work.....interesting.  It’s also heartbreaking for those of us on the front line as we have to confirm and talk to these people.

A while back I made the vow that I would have to sacrifice something to make time to exercise.  I knew I wasn’t sacrificing my time with Jason on any consistent basis...which meant my sleep...I would just have to wake up early and exercise before my shower. Shame on me, I never did it!    And then last weekend I got a friendly nudge to do it.  I decided to do it!  Nothing was going to stop me!  Every workday morning I was getting up early to get in a workout!  So I am proud to say that on Monday morning I woke up early and hopped on the bike trainer!   On Tuesday morning I woke up early and split my time on the bike trainer and the stair stepper.  I realized that the stair stepper gave me a better workout (the bike trainer is a bit louder and I didn’t want to mess up Jason’s sleep OR the people downstairs so I kept it on an easy and more quiet resistance).  Sooo on Wednesday I did most of my time on the stair stepper and then finished up with a few minutes of sit ups on the exercise ball (Amazon Affiliate link) ..a good cool down before my shower!  Thursday was a repeat of the previous day’s workout!  But I was  really dragging on Thursday morning.  Honestly I was dragging by Wednesday night...bad!     I am always really dragging by the end of the week.  Sooo...I am altering my plan.  4 days a week...allowing me a Friday off!  (Or Friday is a make up day if I miss a day earlier in the week). My altered plan really does make sense, to me at least!! It allows my body/muscles a bit of a rest before we break into our weekend plans of hiking or biking. 

You can see my stair stepper thingy on the far left at the bottom and my old Trek bike on the trainer in the middle top of the picture ...and of course the exercise ball!  

So this week I’ve learned a few things....wear shoes on the stair stepper....remember to put my hair in a pony tail....it is possible to do it blind in my little ‘exercise room/area, without glasses....lots of fun lessons.   But I have also come up with a few ideas to pump it up.  I will be going into the storage closet this weekend to grab my weights to add upper body to my stair stepper machine.  I will also be perusing my dvd collection to add in a dvd workout.  So I am full of plans as I alter and adjust this new lifestyle behavior to fit my needs.

Walking on my lunch break???   Well...hey I’ve been waking up early to workout...that’s something...right?  Ok, so walking on my breaks hasn’t gone ‘well’.  In fairness Monday and Tuesday were rainy.  Wednesday was just sheer laziness on my part!!!  On Thursday We had a fire drill at work so I walked down the steps...then walked the steps back to my floor...but otherwise..I’ve been a slug!

The crazy fact of the week?  While we were on vacation I tracked every bite of food!  There were some high days but I tracked them.   I went back to work and the tracking went away...and I barely tracked anything!   Crazy isn’t it???    This week I picked it back up!  My calories were kept in line...betweeen 1200 and 1400 calories a day!   

I did indulge in a small piece of my homemade fudge here and there...but it was totally accounted for!!!

The hardest part?  I had been doing intermittent fasting ..not eating until 1pm...my lunch break.  It has worked well for me.   Until this week!   About an hour or so after my work out I’ve found myself hungry...and then I think about food all morning long!   I caved one morning and ate breakfast!  (I’m not a sadist...if it isn’t working I’m not doing it!). So I’ve been doing a bit of research...and I’m up in the air about continuing that morning fast.

Typical week...my weight popped up on Monday....frustratingly so.  It dropped again, a little....and today my weight is a pound up from where I was last Friday!  Grrrrr

So that’s my week.   Some plans for a healthier lifestyle were made.   Some were altered.  Some were deleted....life is going on and I’m slowly going to figure this out!!!!  And it’s going to be something that I can do forever!!!  Sustainable!!!

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

The Whoosh Effect

I have been lamenting about my weight lately.  I am either NOT losing or I am in this vicious cycle on the scales that is just frustrating.  When it happens it makes me throw up my hands in the air and say "why"?   Why in the world indeed.

Let me recap what the 'vicious cycle' that seems to be perpetuating over and over on the scales.  I will be super active on the weekend and will be feeling confident about my next weigh in.  But on Monday, my weight either stays the same or pops up on the scales. All week long I keep myself in check but the scales are NOT friendly.   And then the weekend arrives and boom....my weight drops.  It has made no sense....Friday nights are usually cheat nights (pizza and wings delivered to our door so our Friday tired-selves can do nothing other than answer the door) but my weight drops.  Isn't it crazy?  

I've tried to combat the cycle.  I've pondered.  I've thought.  I've lamented.  

And then....bright and early one morning a few days ago I was reading blogs and I came across a blog post on 3purplethings that had a link to an article and it ALL MADE SENSE!   

What is this magical answer?  It's called the Whoosh Effect

Seriously, I recommend reading the complete article.  However, I know that there are time limitations, so I will recap.    Basically the article starts with the scientific stuff about what happens when we burn fat.....the area that the fat used to be is replaced with water.....and thus you are not showing a loss on the scales when you actually burn the fat because there is water that has filled that void  (I actually knew that after a good workout there is a bit of a water retention issue.)  The weight will eventually drop...when the water is expelled from our bodies.     Furthermore the article clearly says that when you are seeing the weight drop, it is most likely from something that you did a few days/week early because of that water retention thing.  (Ok, this makes sense too...because how many times have I seen a weight loss when I didn't deserve it...but see no weight loss when I really do deserve it?)    Yeah, the article was totally making sense  (Have you gone to read it yet?)   Up until this point, the article was amazing.  But then it actually got better!   The article quoted a study that was completed during WWII...a semi-starvaation diet known as The Minnesota Starvation experiment.   They basically set up a program in which these people were doing hard labor but not eating a whole lot...and should be losing drastic amounts of weight.  After a while, they noticed that the participants would have fluctuating weight all week long..even though they were working hard and eating little. BUT...each week when they gave them a 'cheat meal' (AKA known as a higher caloric meal) that night they noticed these  men went to the bathroom to pee a lot more AND the next day their weight dropped.   Whoosh, the weight was gone.  Somehow for some people that cheat meal triggers that whoosh.   

Can we avoid the whoosh effect?  Nope.  It's just how our bodies work.  However, it is very important to understand that this can be a perfectly normal phenomenon.    Why is it important to know?   Because now that I know and understand that what is happening is perfectly normal, I can stop obsessing about what seems to happen regularly.

Monday, November 05, 2018

Regrouping and the trail of death

Last week was a ROUGH week for me.  I didn't do good with exercise.  I didn't do good with eating.  I didn't do good with anything health related.  I tell you...it was a rough week   I faithfully wrote about it all...that's for sure.    I wrote about my meltdown on the mountain bike trail that occured on Sunday.   I also wrote about my serious contemplation in regards to why I'm even doing this.....and why I continue to write about it and thus sharing my shame.    It was a rough week in regards to my weight loss and healthy lifestyle.

By Friday I was feeling a bit more 'secure' in where I was and what I was doing.  Not quite back in the grove yet and not quite back to making plans and talking about it.  But at least a bit more in control of what I was doing.  Luckily, the weekend came and I had opportunities to think and situations that made me ponder in order to figure out something in terms of a plan. (A loose plan!)

On Friday evening as I was leaving work I received an email from a friend.  She knew about the aforementioned meltdown on the bike trail that occured last weekend.  Her parting words to me before we both logged off our computers was this.  "Get back out on that trail.  You can do it and this weekend you will conquer it.  I believe in you."   Well then......I couldn't back out of the ride now...Julie believed in me!   The rest of Friday was uneventful.  We enjoyed our normal low key evening of relaxation and pizza delivery as we recouped from our hectic work week.

On Saturday morning I hooked up with my friend Shantel for breakfast.  We had a great time talking, laughing, sharing and reminiscing.  I wasn't happy with the selfie that we took about halfway through our time together

My face looks SOOOO fat.  I mentioned it to Shantel and we got to talking about my weight woes.  She works out each morning AND she runs a few miles everyday on her lunch break.  She is a machine.  I lamented about my long 11 hour work days (adding in the commute) and how that doesn't leave much time for exercise.   She readily agreed.   But then I opened my big mouth and mentioned how I had previously contemplated and decided to sacrifice some sleep by waking up early so as to MAKE the time to workout before my normal daily activities began.   I also readily admitted that making a plan to do it and actually DOING it were two different things and I was struggling with the actual follow through of this sacrificial plan.   She looked at me and said "MaryFran, I wake up at 5AM every day and spend about 45 minutes to an hour working out with an exercise DVD".  Well then.....my plan was only 5:30 for a 20-30 minute workout.    I quickly volunteered her to be my accountability partner and to use tough love on me.  So, my plan was Monday morning.....5:30 AM...I'm up and at the very least riding the bike trainer.
On Saturday afternoon I decided to make a graph of my weight loss. I am an old fashioned girl and like things on paper so I can see.   I chose to only put in a monthly weight....and chose the weight closest to the beginning of the month and there are definitely some gaps where I wasn't weighing in (or I just don't have any weights recorded).   Each line represents 5 pounds...so it's not spot on...but it is a true representative of my overall weight loss journey.   It was sobering...but it was also very interesting.  I can identify a major life event with EACH of the big jumps upward in the graph.  I was losing weight...and doing nicely in 2013....and then found out my husband had cheated on me and boom my weight rose. I was losing again and then started the proceedings to the divorce and moved in with my parents...and my mother bakes all the time for some markets that she sells home cooked goods at so desserts readily available ALL.THE.TIME....boom another rise.   I was holding steady and maybe even dropping a bit and then Jason and I both switched jobs which eliminated a lot of our evening walks and we were so tired that the weekends were not as active.  Boom, my weight rose.   It was very interesting to see.

Ok, so what if I made this  graph while sitting on a stool in the kitchen while I watched the candy thermometer in the pan while I made a batch of fudge. (I will be freezing some of it for a quick little treat here and there.)  hey...no judgement on the fudge!  It is only right that I used/tested my new candy thermometer !!  (Amazon Affiliate link!) But regardless of the fudge...the graph really does show my journey and really makes me want to see that big downward curve to the bottom of the graph!!!!   Motivation for sure!!!!!

On Sunday we decided to head back to the trail where last week I had my meltdown   I was filled with lots of fear and trepidation!

  We grabbed the bikes and the first thing we noticed was that my tire was dead flat.   We pumped it up and headed out (the same thing happened last week and I was fine).  A half of an hour later we were at the trailhead and much to our chagrin the tire was partially flat. Again.   Grrr.   We pumped it up and did short forays from the car.  It was probably exactly what I needed....I was tired and my legs were aching....but by not pushing myself to the absolute limit, I was actually able to enjoy the ride!!!    The bike did bite me a bit!!!!  I was climbing a hill...out of the saddle and something happened and I flew off the bike.  Ok not really flew but I did leave the saddle and I did think I was going to go down.    The pedal bite into my leg and I have developed a bruise. 

So now it is 5:47 AM on Monday morning...and where am I might you ask??   I am sitting on my bike...on the bike trainer....spinning those wheels.  I will have 25 minutes on my legs today...before I even shower!    So I’m keeping my plan... you see...on the bike ride yesterday I kept vowing ‘I’m going to fix my issues and make every ride fun...even the long rides...even the hard technical rides.  But I can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.  The same thing..which was to be a dig through the week and a weekend warrior with exercise/activity, was NOT working...so to continue on that path was pure insanity.  So this week I’m trying something different! (If only it was light outside, I would run a bit too!)

Change...it’s hard but the efforts will pay off!

Friday, November 02, 2018

Finally: still plodding forward

It’s Friday...finally!  It was an ok week in terms of life.  Pretty standard and typical...work, eat, sleep and lots of driving.  It was a rough week in terms of my health and the new lifestyle that I’m attempting to make a habit.

So my week in review.......


I totally fell apart on Wednesday.  100% fell apart.  I just didn’t care.  I was disgusted with where I am...what I’m doing.  Disgusted with the fact that my calories consumed are not that crazy yet my weight continues to be an issue...meaning I’m not losing.   Within my disgust...the addict in my came out and I ate.   I ate candy...it was halloween!  I had to right?     Wrong!  I didn’t have to...but I did!   On Thursday a felt a bit stronger and did a bit better, but I was still not doing fantastic!!!

Who knows my actual calories this week. Because tracking?  I didn’t do it!

I was looking low last weekend on the scales.  My food was in line over the weekend and I was super active on Sunday.   And then on Monday my weight was super high.  And remained super high all week long.   (Thus the eating meltdown on Wednesday). 

I don’t believe I knew what that word meant this week!   None...nada...zilch!   After the rough bike ride on Sunday, I just sat back and coasted. I didn’t even walk at work!

So there you have it...a rather poor showing of a week in the life of a person trying to change her life to be healthy.   The difficult week made me question my purpose...my reason for even trying AND my mission in writing on here.   I’m feeling a bit better...and feeling more ‘love for myself’ which makes me want to get this right and in line....but it’s an ongoing process!!!  But right now I’m just struggling.  The plan is to make it through the weekend....without any binges...without any major food upsets and maybe...just maybe with a victory.  I need a victory!

We shall see......in the meantime...I’m still trying!  I’m not giving up....I’m still writing my shameful embarrassing posts that show lack of success.

But hey...I can’t end it on a bummer like that can I???  So let’s just remember that ...
1. I am still head over heels in love. (And loved  back the same way...which is even more incredible!!)
2.  My cat is healthy and loves me...and she is honestly a hoot...we laugh at her antics daily!
3.  I have a job that supports me (likewise for Jason)...and with that comes the thankfulness for the rood over my head and the food on our table.
4.  Life is still going...I’m still capable of changing and making a difference...in my life and in others!!!

Yup...health wise it was bad...but life IS good.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Giving up: the future

Sometimes I wonder about what I’m really doing in regards to this website/blog.  What is my purpose?  What is my mission?   Why am I here.  Why do I even continue trying to lose weight.

Let me start with the basics.   I struggle.  I struggle big time.  Yet I continue to write.   I feel like I write  and do the same things over and over.  And over.  I make plans....I have excuses.   I have some success...I have failure.  It feels like a repeating cycle.

So why do I continue to write the same things each and every week?  

After a bit of a pause (had to drive to work),  I have come to the conclusion that I write for me.  I continue to write because I am constantly learning and evolving.  I continue to write to chronicle this difficult journey that I have been on for so many years.  I continue to write because it gives me some small sense of accountability.

Why do I continue to try to lose weight when I am so obviously in a vicious cycle of small success then failure..success then failure?

I continue to push forward because I want to be healthy.  I push forward because I want to live to be an old woman with Jason....and in a healthy manner.   I continue to try because I want to buy cool clothes.  I continue to plot and plan because I want to be fit and active.

It is hard.   So many people stop writing when things get into this vicious cycle.  But I’m going to continue on.   I have big reasons to lose weight.  If I keep writing I will keep learning and keep evolving.   If I keep on, eventually this will all click and I’ll be victorious once again.