Perception is a Bitch

I woke up this morning, in a good mood and excited for the day to begin.  I was getting ready to go to a job that (on most days) I enjoy.  At lunch I was planning on going to the gym.  After work, there is the opportunity to spend time with friends that I love, followed by spending time with my boyfriend.  Today was going to be an AMAZING day!!!  Today was also um, weigh in day, I know, awesome, right?  Once a week I step on the scale to measure my results from the prior week.  I do this just once a week, no more than that.  I don’t obsess and dwell on it daily.  I have an alarm set that says weigh-in and that’s what I do.  So, this morning, my alarm goes off.  I dutifully pull out my trusty scales, sliding them to the same spot I weigh-in every week and climb on.  Four pounds up?!?!  WTH?  Really?  Four pounds?  What in God’s name did I do this week that chunked up four pounds?  I mean, did I eat a stick of butter every night.  Hell, even that wouldn’t have done it.  Maybe a gallon of ice cream, TOPPED with a stick of butter.  Oh no, wait, a gallon of ice cream, topped with BACON and a stick of butter on the side.  Four pounds?  Really?  OMG!  That’s like TWO kittens.  I go stomping around my room, packing my gear for the day.  I throw my stuff in my gym bag, thinking in the snippiest of voices, ‘four effing pounds, way to go, dumbass’.  Getting dressed—‘four pounds’.  I get in the car, close the door and think, ‘be careful not to slam those four extra pounds in the door’.

As I drive the extensive commute to work, which I complain about on most days, I notice that it has now become a mantra, ‘fourpoundsfourpoundsfourpoundsfourpounds’…..ugh!  Then I begin to think—not always a good thing but today, maybe it is.  I start to realize that before I stepped on those scales, I had already GAINED those four pounds, they were already there.  It’s not like they were hiding on my bookshelf like tiny little elven ninjas waiting to pounce the second I stepped on the scales.  They were already there.  The ONLY difference before and after I stepped on the scale was my KNOWLEDGE of that fact.  Did you know that bats have penises?  I didn’t!  I should have known, because they ARE mammals after all–flying, creepy mammals, but mammals nonetheless.  Yet, when visiting the zoo, and seeing them hang in their brazen glory, I was AMAZED at the fact that the little winged demons had penises.  Nothing changed, they ALWAYS had them, I just didn’t know it, yet the fact STILL amazes me sometimes. 

I was having a GREAT day before I knew about the four pounds, an amazing day.  Why would KNOWLEDGE of a fact that ALREADY existed make my day any worse.  The condition never changed, just my PERCEPTION of the condition.  Yeah, the knowledge that somehow I’ve picked up four pounds somewhere (and really, why couldn’t have been in the boob area?) is kind of like walking in on a parent naked.  No amount of eye-bleach will make that image go away.  At least now I know that some self-examination is required and this situation is very fixable.  Perception really is a bitch.  That bitch is goin’ down.

 

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It’s not a plateau if you’re slackin’

So, yeah.  I have a lot of friends, most of whom would say that I am pretty damn hard on myself.  In most cases, I would agree with them.  In this case, however, I would not.  As indicated in my weekly results, these past three weeks have been somewhat…lacking.  Each week, I would step on the scale, see the result, move the scale a foot and try again.  Unfortunately (ha!), my scale is really accurate and consistent.  The first week, I thought, okay, it’s okay, it happens to the best of us.  The second week, I was thinking, well at least it isn’t a gain.  The third week, I comforted myself with the fact that, hey, everyone plateaus once in a while, it’s all part of the journey, right?

Wrong!  I’m sure that for some people and maybe even me at some point, plateaus are a part of the journey.  The truth is, that in this case, it’s not a plateau at all, but a result of slacking in both my workouts and eating habits.  Dropping from 6 days a week at the gym to 5 and one week, there was only 4 days I went.  Taking the weekend off completely for three weeks.  One of those weekends I was out of town, but for the other two, there really was no excuse, not a REAL one anyone.  One weekend I was under the weather a little, and the other I was just ‘busy’.  Then when I would get to the gym, I would not stay as long as I usually did, and frankly, the weekends were my best days for going because I spend 2 hours there on that day.  Not pushing myself as hard on the elliptical or treadmill (I STILL hate those things).

I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating, not nearly policing myself the way I need to.  My natural tendency is carb heavy comfort foods, which actually make me miserable.  The problem is, my brain will say, “mmmmmmmmmm, more!” but my body is going, “Please, just stop.  You’re killin’ me!” The truth is, I am.

I ask myself, why do I do this?  People are starting to really compliment me on my appearance and size.  Men are starting to notice curves that were once buried in fat.  People at the gym come up and talk to me.  Even my boss has said he really respects what I’m doing.  I can walk two flights of steps and not be winded. I just bought the smallest pair of jeans I’ve bought in over 15 years.  So, why?  Why in the hell am I slacking now?  Everytime I have done something like this, it’s at this point that I start thinking I can just cruise, and I can’t.  I can’t and I’ve proven it time and time again with other weight loss programs.  So, why does my brain tell me, it’s alright baby, just put it on cruise control for a while and drive by the Cracker Barrel, they have some biscuits calling our name?

What makes this whole thing even more confusing is the fact that I actually ENJOY going to the gym.  I love it.  I love the free weights, I love pushing myself.  I love adding 5 more pounds.  I love trash talking the machines (yes, I do that).  I love the fact that I can actually feel my elbows.  Holy shit! I have elbows?!

Yes, plateaus can and may be a part of this journey.  In this case, that is not what is going on.  I have been slacking and using the plateau excuse is just bullshit.

Oh HELL no

Stuff is starting to sag now…wtf!?  I’m starting to look like the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth!  At least when I was fatter, it kind of gave it some solidity.  Now, it (being my SKIN) just kind of hangs there.  I lost the fat rolls on my upper, inner thighs…so excited about THAT!  But then, damn if the skin just ain’t hanging there, ewww, really?  I really don’t even know where to begin doing something about this little bit of reality.  I did some brief searches online about it.  Most people have chosen surgical removal…which I (at least today) am against.  I’m trying to take care of my body not hack on it ruthlessly.  Also, I’m still a little over 100 pounds away from my goal weight so I don’t know where I’m gonna end up with this thing but eww, really?  Pale man?  Come on!

 

Frustration and grrrrrr

I Posted the week #13 results and frankly I really just want to cry. I know I’ve never been through this experience before, I really don’t know the week by week expectations or even if there ARE any.  The trainer did say the the fat percentage is not dropping as quickly as it can but damn, I don’t know what else to do.  I feel like I am not doing enough, but I really don’t know what else I can do.  I feel that at this rate, I am never gonna make a real difference in my body and what I want it to be.  I am so frustrated and angry at myself.  Angry because I let myself get like this.  While I realize the weight is still going down (and I’m almost afraid of what next week will be), I still look in the mirror and just think, wow.  Then I wonder, is what I’m seeing real or just some screwed up version with my own twist to it?  Then I think, it seems like I am working so damn hard for so little results.  I look around and see these cute little petite girls in the cute little clothes and I want to have that.  I want to be able to go hiking and not hold everyone up because I can’t even come close to keeping up.  I want to go dancing and last more that one dance.  I want to stop shopping in the plus-sized section where all the arm-holes in the blouses are big enough to fit my head through.  What?  Does the fashion industry think all fat people are literally shaped like stars?

Perhaps it’s just the holidays that are stressing me out too.  Or Seasonal Affective Disorder, or whatever.  I just don’t know, maybe I just need a hug

Me……… and FOOD.

Yeahhhhhhhhhh, I love the stuff.
Big surprise, right?

I don’t really remember when it began to take such a high place in the hierarchy of my life.  I do remember being about 10-11 and eating so much pizza that I would go into the living room and do jumping jacks so I could go back and eat more feeling bloated.  I also remember getting chubby in fifth grade, which would be about the same time.  That is also the time that puberty hit.  I don’t remember ever having a ‘normal’ relationship with food.

Ironically, despite my size and love of food….I can’t cook it, not very well at all.  I’m originally from eastern Kentucky and, well, we’re not exactly world renown for our diverse and healthy palates.  Yes, I LOVE, heavy carbs.  Give me Mac-n-Cheese and a fork and I will literally eat until I am miserable.  Gravy and Biscuits, oh yeahhhhh.  Mashed potatoes, mmmmmm.  Heavily buttered dinner rolls, fried chicken, yes please.  And yeah, there is the occasional vegetable:  Green Beans, with a nice hunk of bacon, corn on the cob, slathered in butter.  Oh, and chicken n dumplins!

Now, there are two problems with me and this palate:  #1  Where is there anything healthy in there, because I sure did NOT see it.  #2  I can’t even cook THAT stuff!  I have always worked full-time since I was 15 years old, and when I was older, I worked even more hours.  Until about 1998, I worked in the fast food industry, so I just often ate at work.  After then I was a working, married mother of one going to school.  Not really much time for food prep in there.  So, we often picked up dinner somewhere.  I am also very bad for just eating one meal a day, hoarding up calories until close to the end of the day and then…it’s on.  I did learn to cook a few staples:  spaghetti with meat sauce, eggs, hot dogs, frozen dinners, etc.

Fast forward a few years and life changes, no longer married, shared custody, working 50 hours a week at a rather low income.  I’ve quit going to restaurants a few years ago due to the expense.  I do, perhaps every couple of months, go to McDonald’s after a particularly trying day and eat a couple of their dollar chicken sandwiches.  Even that is a gas-inducing, stomach cramping splurge though.

Thus, I had fallen into the habit of eating things like pizza rolls for lunch and box mac and cheese for dinner, or loaded baked potatoes.  Being very busy still makes food prep difficult.  Oh, and I love, Love, LOVE canned Coca Cola, especially in crushed ice.  The Coke, does NOT love my teeth though and despite the tanking economy, has continued to rise the price of their product.  Bye Coke!  (I do drink one every other Friday at card-night with my friends).

So, when I started this back in September, I spoke with T, the personal trainer, about food habits and he explained to me that it would be best to eat something several times a day instead of my Atilla the Hun attack at night.  So, I dropped the pizza rolls and etc and have been eating a turkey sandwich with 8 pringles low fat chips for breakfast, the same for lunch.  At dinner I was still making the mac and cheese.  It was about 650 calories (all carbs and fat), but it was easy to make, easy to count, tasty, and CHEAP.

So, yeah, I’ve pretty much been eating that for about three months now, give or take a few things on a few days.  I did wallow in the carbheaven of Thanksgiving too.  What’s happened is that I’ve gotten tired of turkey and sandwiches and macaroni and cheese, took three months, but I’ve gotten tired.

I’ve started experimenting with food and will be posting about them soon.  I’ve never been experimental with food, afraid that I wouldn’t like it, that I’d fail.  I really don’t know what has changed about my willingness in this area, but I’m grateful something has changed.

I don’t even know what I don’t know

I know I’ve been totally slacking in actual blog entries.  Keeping up with my exercise logs and results have been sporadic at best.  Throughout the day I think of hundreds of pertinent things that would fit very well here, but for some reason, I just don’t make myself sit down and actually post them.  Why?  I have NO freakin’ clue.  Part of me thinks it’s because I suck at follow-through.  Another part thinks that maybe I’m just afraid of people reading it.  Then there’s this other part that thinks I just overthink every thing.

I’ve been on this particular leg of my journey for going on three months now.  It’s been really interesting.  Some days are so easy and some are just so hard.  I’ll be on the elliptical and all I can think is, “Man, I gotta do this shit for the rest of my life?”  I shared that thought with a friend on mine that runs marathons…for fun (see that just sounds insane to me).  She laughed and said, if it were an elliptical she would think that too.  She said she always runs outside and only inside on a treadmill if the weather is heavy snow or storming.  So I thought I’d switch my cardio up some and do 2/3 elliptical and 1/3 treadmill.  Treadmill kicked my ass.  I don’t understand how I can do pretty darn good on the elliptical and then have the treadmill kill me.

What has occurred to me the most is that I am completely ignorant of living healthfully.  I mean, completely.  I have no idea of what foods to eat and if so how to cook them.  I have no idea if the way my body is responding is normal or not.  I had NO IDEA as to how poorly I had treated myself physically.  I see these women working out and stuff and I am just wow, not even close.  I don’t know if someone of my size/shape is supposed to be doing the stuff I am doing, or if gasping for air after running 4 mph for 30 seconds on a treadmill is good or bad or what.

I really don’t even know what I don’t know.  I’ve tried to do some searches for people who have lost weight and maybe read some of their stories but mostly I get the diet websites and stuff.  Or those people who have lost like 10-15 pounds.  But, if I do reach my goal, I will have literally lost over half my body weight.  I always used to make light of things like my size.  What I understand now is how DELUSIONAL I was about it.  As I was telling a friend this past week, what I didn’t completely bury in fat, I buried in tent-like clothing.  I always complained about how finding pretty clothes was so hard at my size.  Yet, as I was cleaning out my closet two weeks ago, and the pile of clothes that was too big for me grew, as did the pile of clothes that was completely unflattering to me and never were flattering.

So many things I’m seeing and just never saw before…