Thursday, April 25, 2013

Anger and Frustration Are Renewable Resources

I have never really had to go looking for stuff to tick me off.  Usually I can find something pretty easily.  All of that is not to say I enjoy it, I really don't, but it is what it is.  Today's peeve really got under my skin, though.  An acquaintance on facebook was talking about today being a 5 cookie day and hash tagged it with something like "fatkidproblems" or something similar.  The issue is that this young woman is no where near what I would call chubby, let alone fat.  She appears to me to be in fantastic physical condition.  Liking cookies doesn't make you fat.  It makes you normal.  Congratulations you like delicious baked goods.  Join the club.

This bothered me so much because being fat sucks.  A lot. It affects everything in my life and while this person can, every once in a while, pig out on cookies I cannot.  I cannot control myself around them so I cannot have them around.  Not her fault, and I am glad there are people who can enjoy those things responsibly.  My other issue was that it treats fat like a state of mind or an action one can make.  I am "being fat" today.  It minimizes what is a dangerous and unfun health condition, something that could kill me if I don't get it under control.  I am not going to say anything to this person because this is my problem not hers, but sometimes you gotta get frustrations like this out early or they fester.  Rant over.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Weigh in 4:6

Weird week friends.  As I mentioned in my last post my appetite has been all over the place.  I didn't do great for 4 straight days, but the last couple have been fantastic.  Last night I had 16 points left when I went to bed.  The inconsistency has made it more difficult to anticipate and control things like cravings, so I am just glad to have lost a little bit this week. I am at 398.8, which is a loss of .6 of a pound.  Considering my difficulties this week I will take it. I had to average three readings from my scale because it was all over the place this morning, twice refusing to even lock in on a number.  I think after 3+ years it is time for a new scale.  I will certainly have mixed feelings about saying goodbye to my companion and source of constant judgment for the last 3 years.

The one pattern I have seen even this week is one I have known about for a long time: fruits and vegetables are the key to controlling my appetite.  When I can have a full pound of salad for lunch for 15-18 points that sets me up great for the rest of the day.  It also sweeps away (so to speak) any small mistakes I might have had because of all the fiber.  I really think that is the key, so that is what I will focus on this week.  Sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, salads, and stir fries (with low sodium sauces).  I'd love to have a really strong end to April and take some good momentum into May.  Looking back to  the first year of my weight loss I am about 20 pounds heavier now than I was at the end of April that year.  Considering I started 30 pounds lighter this time I really need to get on the stick.  I am trying not to so much compare my progress this time to last time, but use it as motivation and to remind me that I have done it before.  I am in a different place mentally this time, so of course it is going to be different.  There are lots of positives for me to build on, though, and I would love to get back to the kind of results I was getting back then.  4-5 pounds or more every week would be fantastic, if even for a few weeks just to get me back on a good trajectory.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finding My Way (On A New Road)

That will be the title of my new weight loss single.

This week has been an interesting learning experience. The new medication I am on just makes me feel different. I fall asleep a lot more easily, which is generally a positive, but I am a little bit drowsy a lot of the time, and I have a lot of trouble getting up in the morning. My appetite has swung wildly as well. For most of the week I wasn't really all that hungry, and was able to stay 10-15 points under my budget without any hunger or deprivation. On a side note, I haven't really laid this out before, but I have 71 points for the day which near as I can tell is about 2100-2200 calories per day. 10-15 points under is about 300-400 calories, so those days were excellent. The past 3 days or so though I have been ravenous. I am really not sure what causes changes like this. It could be the medication, it could be a blood sugar thing, it could be the dip in temperature. I have no idea, but it certainly has been a struggle. I still have a few of my weekly points left, but I need to really buckle down for the next few days if I want a good weigh in. I am giving myself permission to not be perfect this week, but I would certainly like to at least tread water if not lose weight. All of that being said I can certainly tell a difference since i started the meds. I do not feel as anxious or angry as frequently as I did previously. Recently I had been able to tell the second food hit my system, and I can no longer feel those blood sugar spikes. in a couple weeks I will go back in to see how things are looking with the numbers, but I certainly feel like I am on the right track.

Today is feeling like a salad day. I have the day off, so even though the weather absolutely sucks here in Chi-town (we had moderate flooding after about 6 in of rain, then snow and freezing temps in the last week) I want to get out for a walk. Days like this can be my downfall if I get bored and eat mindlessly, so I need to be on top of that. I am reasonably sure I can use today to kickstart the week, though, so let's get to it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weigh In 4:5

Let me start by formally moving weigh in day to Wednesdays.  I work at least one weekend day and Monday and Tuesday, so between that and the fact that weekends tend to be the times I hang out with friends Monday was not the best day for me.  I had pretty darn good results this week.  I am at 399.4, which is just over 4 pounds less than last week.

I had a huge wakeup call this week that has certainly added some impetus to my journey.  It started Saturday.  I visited a friend's house out in the suburbs for poker night and was helping out in the kitchen when I had an accident with a kitchen knife.  I was chopping too fast with an unfamiliar knife on a plastic board and my finger slipped under the knife.  It was a pretty bad cut, but I was able to get it closed up with some super glue.  On Monday I decided to have a doctor look at it just to be sure, and while the cut was fine my blood pressure was not.  It was 180/121, which if you know anything about blood pressure is dangerously high.  Have a stroke any second high.  I have always have somewhat elevated blood pressure.  Before I ever smoked, before anything else it was a bit worrisome but doctors always told me to wait and see. That is clearly no longer an option.  This is the first really big and scary secondary problem from my weight and lifestyle, although there is likely some element of genetics about this, so even when I get to my goal range this very likely could still be an issue.  So now I am on a long term prescription to help control it and I will need to follow up to see how it is working in a few weeks.

In terms of my diet I need to be as vigilant as ever.  Sodium is a huge issue, so my old standby quick meal, Lean Pockets, is probably out now.  Any processed or restaurant food I need to be careful of.  At home I was already cooking with a mixture of a potassium chloride salt substitute and kosher salt, which is easier to use moderately, so I will keep that up.  Soups can be troublesome, so I can only do homemade from now on, or Campbell's heart healthy soups, which are really good and low sodium (comparatively).  The doctor also recommended abstaining from alcohol for the foreseeable future, which kinda sucks.  Not that I drink all that frequently, but I really like good beer, and a bourbon at the end of a crappy day can be really nice.  Oh well.  Nothing is permanent.

Monday coming home from the doctor I was really angry.  About the situation, at myself, at pretty much everything.  Then I turned on the TV and saw what had happened in Boston.  There's some perspective for you.  I've truly got minor problems compared to so many, so I'm going to try to swallow my anger and get to work on fixing this.  This week was a good step.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

On The Completion Of Journeys

There are many comparisons one can make for the journey I am on.  A race, a marathon, a quest.  In thinking about why I backtracked and where my frustrations have come from I have realized that none of them are nearly as apt as they seem.  The reason is that this journey never ends.

I have probably said this before, but saying it and appreciating the truth of it from a logical perspective are quite different than actually accepting it.  When I got to a weight I was happy with in 2011 I was really burned out.  Part of that was from outside forces.  Work sucked at that point and my dissatisfaction with the pace of life was at it's zenith. But a lot of it was because I wanted to be done.  I was tired of thinking about calories and weigh ins and writing about my successes and failures.  I felt the "finish line" was near.  So I stopped thinking about it, and I got out of the good habits I had established, and of course I gained the weight back.  My current frustration is because I have done this all before, and last time I had so much excitement and that is just not there anymore.  I suppose this is good practice for the long term relationship I pray to God I am in someday.  In a way, though, these particular frustrations may contribute to a more lasting success.  Novelty isn't really going to play in this time, so there will be no let down when it wears off.  To stretch the previous metaphor a bit: there is no honeymoon, so there will never be a point when the honeymoon is over.

The most positive thing I can say about this perspective on things is that it is harder to come at it from a self loathing place.  As exciting as starting out and losing weight can be it can come from a place of trying to "fix" what is "wrong" with me.  This marathon will never end.  There is no finishing line, so it doesn't matter how quickly I get there.  As frustrated as I am at the moment with my lack of results for the past couple of months since I have been really thinking about this again, I have made progress.  I am tracking my food.  I am making a conscious choice about everything I put in my body.  I have made it infinitely harder to lie to myself about the consequences of this sweet or that snack.  And this is something I will need to do for the rest of my life.  Some people can play it fast and loose, but I never ever will be one of them.  And that should be okay.  I should be deliberate about the choices I make or they're not choices at all.  Permanent success takes a strong foundation, and I am building that right now, regardless of what the scale says.  As I have said in the past: All I can do is make better choices today than I did yesterday.  If I do that, I'm gonna be okay.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weigh In 4:4

Another weight gain.  Small, but I am going in the wrong direction.  I find that frustrating this week especially because I felt I had a pretty good week, and my points back me up.  I have had some big schedule changes, so maybe I can chalk it up to that, but all of these"reasons" for my lack of success are starting to feel like excuses, so I need to do better.  I am at 403.6 and if I am going to get to 375 by month's end I need to get on the stick.

Finding Support

This morning I read a pretty good article about emotional eating.  One of the symptoms the author highlighted was lying about what you eat for no reason.  I am unreasonably embarrassed by what I eat sometimes, and conversely I play up my healthier choices when they happen to perpetuate an illusion about my eating habits that makes me feel better about myself.  Logging my food of course helps with this, but compulsively lying about my eating really does indicate an unhealthy relationship with food.  Committing to this blog and to complete honesty here is really hard for me, but it will not be helpful to me unless I can do it.  There are certain things I just cannot be around.  I can't be around sweets right now.  I am incapable of control.  I came home from work super hungry last night and it took every bit of willpower not to just buy a frozen pizza.  If I could be moderate with it it wouldn't be so bad, but I would eat the whole thing.  I can't do that.  This part of my journey feels a lot harder this time.

This same article put a spotlight on an unfortunate truth about weight loss writing and products in America:  They are, almost without exception, all marketed to women.  This is lamentable for a couple of reasons.  Firstly it indicates the problem with the collective body images of women in this country.  That is not to say that those women have a problem, it is a societal issue.  Many women who are perfectly healthy and beautiful (curves are a good thing, ladies) are trying to achieve the near impossible.  And it is impossible for a reason.  I ran across a couple of internet articles debating the benefits of whether women's thighs should touch or not.  It was disgusting and had nothing to do with helping us be healthier.  But there certainly are plenty of people out there trying to make a buck off of this obsession.  It makes it so much harder for us to accept ourselves, which I have found time and time again is the key to making any sort of positive change in my life.  I imagine it is the same for everyone. When I came to terms with the fact I would never be skinny, but I could be healthy; that I didn't really want to be a stick, and that my self worth wasn't tied to my waist line I had a lot more success.

The second issue with the heavy focus on women in diet and weight loss marketing is the effect on men who need help.  It sends the tacit message that as a man this is not even a problem you are supposed to have.  Suck it up, get in the gym, and be a man.  Guys don't have enough emotional life to emotionally eat.  I am with weight watchers now and they have created a new portal "Weight Watchers for Men" to fight this, I suppose.  I don't imagine it is much different from the ladies' version, if at all.  It just serves to remind guys that they can use it too. Part of me feels dumb for even being mad about this.  I will say that among my friends I have tons of support and have gotten very little judgment.  I have a personal community that is fantastic.  But it would be nice to have a place to read what other gents have to say about their struggles.  I'd love to see some guy-centric writing about our unique struggles with health and diet.  Somehow it seems to be more ok for there to be a defined idea about what a guy's body is supposed to be.  Women get hit over the head with it a lot more, I will not deny, but there is plenty of pushback too.  We generally understand that it is not OK to fat shame ladies.  I would argue it is not so (or less so) for guys.  So here is my pushback.  My goal is to be the best version of me I can be.  Big arms and a six pack are not important to me and will say nothing about who I am or how much success I will eventually achieve.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weigh in 4:3

Backtrack.  I am guessing it has something to do with weighing in completely dehydrated last week and  being generally healthy this week.  I gained back about a a pound and a half, which is, coincidentally about the amount of water I drink in a day.  Slow but steady is frustrating, but the right way to do things.  8 pounds of weight loss in about 6 or 7 weeks is not too bad.  My goal this week is to have my first super week.  5 pounds plus.  Who knows if it is realistic?  I really want to be under 400 again, and I want to get to 375 by month's end.  The first goal is easy and I should probably get there this week.  The second will take some doing, but if I do the kinds of things I know how to do it should be doable.  I've lost over 30 pounds in a month before, so 25 is realistic if ambitious.  Here's to another week.