Lies and Lunges

My trainer gave me some new exercises way back in April. They were hard, SO hard. Too hard. I couldn’t do them without feeling like I was going to puke, or feeling dizzy. And I was in pretty decent shape at that point – I had been working out at a decent intensity for months. I think I was stepping it up, but we stepped too far, too fast. I felt foolish, and weak, and like a fraud, because these exercises were kicking my butt. Not in a good way.

So, instead of taking it easy and modifying them, or maybe continuing with my previous workouts, or perhaps, even e-mailing my trainer to see if we could change them up? I just stopped.

Let me take this opportunity to tell you that if you are working out on a regular basis, stopping for any mental reason is just about the worst thing to do.

Finally, last week, after way too long off the exercise kick, I managed to get one walk and one workout in. This week, I am on expecting to get at least one walk and three weight workouts. But it’s hard – and I am finding that it’s actually harder mentally than it is physically.

In my head, I told myself that the new set of exercises (along with a serious pep talk!) that I got last week looked really hard. Tricep dips. Lunges.

I said, in my head, “I can’t do those. I am too out of shape. It has been too long since I worked out.”

Tonight, in a rare burst of bravery, I decided to build this week’s workout with tricep dips AND lunges.

Lunges scare me. All I can think of is Cindy Crawford and her long, long lunges. I could never do them the way she could in that workout of hers. I never got them right, and I always felt like I was about to really hurt myself when I tried, and I always had to stop early. So, last week, I decided to do them with a chair for balance, and do them small to start.

Tonight, I decided to try them again. Without even thinking about it, I did longer lunges and barely touched the chair. By the time my workout was through, I wasn’t using the chair at all.

I can do lunges. I can handle lunges just fine, on my terms.

The tricep dips were fine, too. I couldn’t do them for the whole time I was supposed to do them, but I did them for half. That is good enough.

The lie that I tell myself is that I have to get it right every time or the effort was wasted. I have to give 100% or I don’t deserve anything for my efforts.

The truth is that a workout done at half intensity is not wasted. A short walk is not meaningless. Every little bit helps.

Dieting success.

“I think life moves in cycles — earth rotating around the sun, breathing in & out, heartbeats, tides, and times when I am successfully dieting vs. not.”

My awesome friend K said this recently. Last October, I jumped into a new health regimen with the intensity of the burning sun. I was working out 5 times per week, increasing the intensity and length with each passing week. I was chopping vegetables and washing fruit and cooking myself omelets for breakfast. I was dropping weight like gangbusters.

But then something funny happened.

There was a woman who started Weight Watchers the same week that I did. She was celebrating weight loss milestones like crazy. She would lose 3 pounds on a week when I lost .6. I started to get extremely discouraged and resentful. Not of this woman and her success, but of my clear failure.

I started to lose the race.

As of right now, this woman has lost 20 more pounds than me – in the same time frame.

 

Great job, lady who is kicking my ass at weight loss. I am really happy for you!

 

So, what did I do wrong? How could I have followed plan better and matched or beat this woman’s weight loss?

Wrong question.

The question is, why did I lose sight of my own journey and get caught up in another person’s journey? Why did I compare myself?

When I started this journey in July 2010, I knew it was not going to be easy. I knew that I would not lose 80 pounds in 5 months, like I did ten years ago. I knew that, considering the sheer amount of pounds I wanted to lose, I should probably take about three to five years to do it safely and keep it off. I wanted to make lifestyle changes that would stick. I wanted to keep eating pizza and cake.

But it’s not enough, is it? If I live according to the messages “out there” then I should be able to whip myself right into shape. Drop this weight in a year by eating chicken breasts and salads for dinner…and oatmeal with a banana for dessert.

I can't eat like this. It's just not sustainable. Also I don't like eating food off the ground. And I'm pretty sure I can't sit like that.

Been there, done that. And when I got sick of eating like someone on a diet, I gained back the pounds I had lost. And they brought some friends along.

I want to learn what it means to really enjoy life. I don’t want to live my life punishing myself. I want to enjoy treats in moderation. I want to make healthy choices because they are healthy, not because they will reward me when I step on the scale and see a lower number.

Lately, maybe for 6 weeks or so, I have not been successfully dieting, according to my definition. I have been eating chips and cookies out of frustration. Yes, overeating the wrong foods – out of frustration…with the pace of my weight loss journey. If you can untangle that logic then you can quite possibly solve the obesity epidemic.

But I’m back. I decided that I owed it to myself to keep my eyes front. Stay on my side of the road. Make a focused effort on my health.

I am successfully “dieting.” I call it that, because it’s a common term that we all understand that lets you know that the next time you see me, I will probably be at least a little bit smaller. In reality, I am making small, sustainable, lasting changes that will make me smaller over a long period of time – maybe five or more years. And I am OK with that.

 

 

A bump in the road.

I don’t know if it’s really a bump. More like a twist. Or maybe, even, I am not on the same road anymore.

I’m talking about my quest for collarbones, which started in July 2010, and sort of fizzled out a few months after that, only to renew with vigor in October 2011.

I have not really lost any weight for a couple of months. And I am not even close to finished, here. I have to lose 5 pounds many more times before this journey can end.

My weekly weigh-ins go something like this: up 4, down 3, down one, up 3, up one. And it’s not all undeserved. I am really struggling to follow my plan, I am struggling with feeling like I am on a diet, but I also know that I cannot stop this. I am struggling with eating when I am not hungry- eating when I am stressed, eating when I am lonely, eating when I am nervous.

Some friends of mine are working with a concept called Intuitive Eating, from a book of the same name by Evelyn Tribole. I am not ready to fully embrace this way of eating, but I have been reading the book very slowly. A generalized concept of the technique is to eat only the foods that you like. Sounds crazy, right? Why would I eat foods I don’t like?

So I decided to try an experiment. I try to eat more slowly and really taste the flavors and feel the texture of the foods I am eating. One night, when I was eating a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger and value size french fries from Wendy’s, the first realization hit. I don’t like these fries. I didn’t like the texture and I didn’t like the taste. And yes, I know that they changed their fries, but I have eaten them several, OK, probably at least 20 times since the new recipe came out. And I don’t like them.

French fries. Responsible for probably 50 pounds of my current weight.

Today, I went with Mr.Thor to a pizza place I have been going to since I was a kid. I LOVE their pizza. I ate it as a kid, as a teen, in my 20s. When I didn’t live here, and I came back to visit, I went here to grab a slice or two. Or three. We sat down, and a few minutes later they placed a piping hot medium pizza on our table. Six pieces. I had enough PointsPlus left to eat three smallish pieces. And, as soon as I saw that lovely cheese pizza, I decided that I was going to eat three pieces, indeed. But then I thought about my hunger level. I wasn’t feeling three pieces hungry. So I decided to eat the pizza slowly, to see if I could be satisfied with less than I wanted.

A few bites in to my second slice, I realized that I was choking down my favorite pizza. I didn’t like that I could taste the crust, and it was floury. I didn’t like how the cheese and grease and sauce mashed around in my mouth. And I certainly wasn’t about to eat the third piece.

Maybe I don’t like pizza. Maybe I like what usually goes with pizza – laughing, talking, everyone reaching for food at once, maybe at a party, maybe just tired after a fun day and wanting a quick dinner.

Maybe I don’t like pizza. This is insanity.

 

 

Speaking of focus…

So, I may have mentioned that my theme for this year is FOCUS. It’s in my makeup that I can’t think of the word FOCUS without thinking of the movie Mallrats. But that’s my problem, not yours.

Are you starting to see that I have a focus problem? I do. I always have.

However. Thanks to help and support from the wonderful Mr. Thor, I am on the road to recovery. Let’s not tell him that I have started working on two other websites when I am not even updating this one on a regular basis.

I do have a point. My point is that I have been attending Weight Watchers meetings since October 20th. I was following the plan online, but I was not having much luck with the whole “sticking to program” aspect of things. I figured that some external accountability could revitalize my weight-loss journey, and I was right. I love meetings. I like the social interaction during the meeting, I like the celebrations at 5-lb loss intervals, I like the Bravos for behavioral change… it just works for me right now. I have only missed one meeting since I started, and that’s because I was Very Sick. But I still went to weigh in!

I have also been focusing on my office. Craft room. Studio. Whatever I decide to call it. Things have been sorted and tossed. My sewing table is in action, and I have taken a sewing class (and I’m signed up for three more!). I’m sitting in the office portion of the aforementioned room RIGHT NOW, as a matter of fact, hammering away on my new computer.

Now, for the third and final focus: writing. Blogging, too. It’s got a few things that go with it, like photography, maybe a little web design…who knows what else.

Basically, I just want to do what I want to do. That shouldn’t be too hard to focus on, right?