The Ultimate Non-Scale Victory

Ugly day in my world yesterday and while I was powerless to control any of it….I did successfully manage to NOT scarf the giant bowl of steaming hot oatmeal calling my name at 3 a.m.

I also did not eat ice cream, Doritos, or chocolate (if I’d had some I might not have been so strong to be honest).

I’m not a big emotional eater but at 3 a.m. I absolutely did want the comfort of oatmeal but because I was highly emotional I also knew how dangerous it would be to give in to the temptation to comfort that pain with food.

As of this morning the water weight that has been lingering and conspiring to make me grumpy is almost gone but would it have been if there had been oatmeal, probably not.

Yesterday was an emotional failure of epic proportions but I stayed in control of the spoon…the ultimate non-scale victory.

But the journey does not end there.

Today I will treat my body with extra gentle respect as emotions are raw.  She needs healthy food right now to help manage both the emotions of a huge family-wide blowout and the fibro-pain-response that only comes with such an event.  This poor girl needs my love and compassion.

It’s almost 11 a.m. and my day has not reached the point it normally would at 7 a.m.

Is that reason enough to throw in the towel or behave badly?

No!

Now is the time to gather up all the pain and vulnerability, all the loss and uncertainty and use it to lift me higher.

It is heavy and it is hard.

But if on this journey every time shit happens, if I use that as an excuse to not do the things I know are best for me then I am just sabotaging myself, my dreams, my goals.

That ain’t how this chick rolls.

I am counting my victory and sharing it because harder than losing a pound, harder than losing an inch is losing the temptation to say “I deserve this emotion/chocolate/bowl of steaming hot oatmeal (my ultimate comfort food)” and then use that as an excuse to not look beyond the present moment of ickiness and toward the future I want absolutely more than oatmeal.

I love my goals enough to stick to them.

I love me enough to recognize this raw moment for what it is.

I love me enough to hold on.

I love me enough to respond with all the grace and compassion I would give my best friend or a perfect stranger in the same circumstance.

I love me.

This is me petting a stingray for the first time.  This is me over-the-moon happy.  This me and the me I am today are the same even though it does not feel like it at the moment.  I am doing this for the happy girl and for the heartbroken girl because they both deserve to be healthy--mentally, emotionally AND physically including at a healthy weight.

This is me petting a stingray for the first time. This is me over-the-moon happy. This me and the me I am today are the same even though it does not feel like it at the moment. I am doing this for the happy girl and for the heartbroken girl because they both deserve to be healthy–mentally, emotionally AND physically including at a healthy weight.

 

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Oh It’s On!!!!

Tanya vs. her body…it’s the last round does she have what it takes to run through a goal instead of giving in, or giving up?

Weight goals have been extreme sources of frustration in the past. By nature, I am a goal setter. I like to reach for things and I absolutely love doing the impossible. But with a body that has not always cooperated with my desire to lose weight, weight goals have often left me in tears and feeling helpless.

Back in June I decided if this weight loss thing wasn’t going to work then I was “giving in” to weight loss surgery. I also started this blog because I found blogging has really helped me to be honest with myself in a way few things have. There is something primal about splaying my life out for perfect strangers to read that keeps me focused in moments of weakness.

In July, I found groups for the surgery I wanted and started doing what they do but with a few extra calories and POOF the weight started melting off.

“Whatever, body, you crazy!”

But in July I also set a goal to lose 12.4 pounds by 1 September.

In July, I thought it was ridiculous and impossible and would “prove” that surgery was my only option.

Today I am 2.4 pounds from making my goal PLUS I’ve lost over 15 inches.

Honestly, it has left me a weeping, swearing, and even angry mess of a human being.

Why?

Because my body, crazy as she is has decided it is now okay to lose weight.

*insert dramatic sigh and eye roll*

“Seriously body, after all this time and after all we have been through together YOU pick now to lose weight?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“&($@#*$($*#@$&@#*$(^#$^#)&$^@#*&$(*#@&$ Are you kidding me???????”

If you have been following along, you know my decision to postpone surgery was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life. I have put less thought into divorcing an ex-husband. Of course he had shown me that divorce was the clear option.

This decision was different. Surgery or good old-fashioned calorie counting will inspire weight loss… But the question for me was, is, and forever will be, “will it work for me this time?”

Me being me I have to answer that question.

So here I am two days away from what I thought was ridiculous and impossible.

I may not be able to drop 2.4 pounds by Thursday BUT this is the closest I have EVER….in 12 years of setting weight loss goals….come to reaching a goal.

Now I can let my head, and the analytical side of my brain go completely insane trying to figure this out.

“Why is this working?”

And it would drive me completely insane promise you!

Or…

I can throw that past away, go another round, and at least know I arrived prepared to win!!!

Weight goals usually have been reminders than no matter what I do or how hard I try my body just won’t cooperate and they leave me in tears and/or sad and depressed.

Today, I am pumped.

I may not be able to lose 2.4 pounds by Thursday but you damned well better believe that I am going down swinging.

Thanks to the completely awesome Chris Powell I found carb cycling during my journey so I am turbo-ing through this goal.

The only way I am, can, and will be happy is if I arrive on that day knowing I gave it my all.

Since I talked about blogging helping me to be honest with myself in a way I never have, I need to confess the last couple weeks have been hard.

The old script of, “you are never gonna make it,” and “your body’s going to fail again,” have been running on a continuous loop.

The fact we had a major financial speed bump which left me with literally not enough extra gas money to drive from my house to the gym hasn’t helped. I have been exercising at home but as you know it is not the same as going to the gym BUT I have been doing it.

Limited income has also made it harder to have a fridge and pantry full of all the foods I know help inspire my body to lose weight. It is not an excuse and it is not a reason but it is the absolute truth. I can honestly say that at least 75% of the time I made the best food choice I could.

And then there were potatoes.

I am not one of these people who thinks potatoes are the weight loss villain. Potatoes are a wonderful food full of essential vitamins minerals and fiber. But, on a day when you are “supposed” to be eating lower carbs and I give into the potato, as good as it is, this is a bad choice.

*raises hand* If I do not make this particular weight loss goal, and I am honest… This time I can look back at my diet and say there were a few too many potatoes in moments when there should not have been any.

I am owning it AND I am learning from it.

The mental monster of making great choices all the time is as, and often, more important than the food you put in your mouth and the way you move your body. And if I and you can conquer that we seriously can do anything!

However, on top of that there has been this weird pattern emerge that even though I have had a hysterectomy I still have these goofy female hormonal fluctuations and get stuck about the same time every month.

Today, I can look back and call that a perfect storm or even a recipe for disaster and as tough as I can be on myself about it all the truth is I made the choice to listen to those negative voices and get caught up in circumstance.

That is exactly one of the things that I need to overcome on this journey.

I do not have control over those “life happens” moments but I absolutely can and must control my response. We were not starving. I did not “have” to eat the potato to survive. If I did, that would be a different story.

One of the things I know from teaching myself to THRIVE as fibromyalgia patient is the importance of dealing with what is real and not allowing myself to get tangled up in the what ifs and maybes.

Over the course of the last couple days as the emotional, hormonal, and financial clouds have parted, the fighter in me is back in the center of the ring and ready for this final round.

Here is my plan with a little baseball analogy for reference.

In baseball, the batter is always encouraged to run through the base. If you are not familiar with baseball what that means is you do not see the other players making a play on your ball and assuming you are good to be out at first base and stop running halfway. You assume the error is going to be made and you run through the base. You run like you are gonna win. Because baseball is a game of errors and sometimes you do win!

So what is the baseball of losing weight?

Do not give up!

What does that look like?

It looks a lot like Chris Powell’s Turbo Cycling and little like this…

Setting timers to make sure I am eating every three hours.

Drinking with a straw to help gulp down the water.

Looking up the carb counts of single veggie in my house.

Choosing the lowest carb options to go with the leanest proteins.

(carb cycling can be found here: http://chrispowell.com/carb-cycling-101/ )

Of course, it also means I am moving my body and adjusting my mind to bring the possibility of success full circle.

I am a measly 2.4 pounds away.

My gloves are on and I am swinging!

Image courtesy of Quality Stock Photos

The Importance of Journaling

One of the first suggestions veteran losers give to newbies is to journal. It is often met with much resistance and understandably so. It can be tedious and boring but it also gives you that one more thing to do a day that might leave you feeling overwhelmed.

I get it. Journaling is tough stuff. For it to be effective, you need to be aware and honest with yourself, sometimes for the first time in your life, about what you are putting into your body and about how you are moving. For some, it is a huge wake-up call. It can be uncomfortable as you see those calories adding up.

I get it. I really do.  That is why I want to share a different perspective about why journaling is crucial.

Back in the fall of 2002 when I first started getting serious about learning to lose weight the healthy way I joined the diet community at WebMD. Through this great resource I learned about Fitday.com, a fitness tracking software program. When I first started using it, there weren’t even half 1 million members and now I believe it’s around 5 ½ million. I’ve been using that program off and on ever since but mostly on. While it has given me a fairly easy way to find and record the nutritional information for the food I eat and find and record the calorie burn for activities I do it is also helped me spot trends in my own body.

One of the big secrets of the diet industry is: any person can lose weight on any plan but not every plan works for every person. For example, someone like me who has PCOS-polycystic ovarian syndrome- could follow many popular diet plans and not lose weight because what those plans won’t tell me is with PCOS my body is going to be most successful with a low-carb, high-protein plan. Some of the high-protein plans may mention they are good for someone like me but it’s usually not one of the first things you hear. This is where journaling becomes very important.

If I am following XYZ plan and not losing weight, then there’s a problem with my body. The plan can be just fine and completely wrong for my personal chemistry. Journaling helps to uncover what works and what doesn’t. Let me just caution: a non-working-for-you-program does not work from the beginning or progress stops for more than 30 days because one of the things most plans do not stress enough is stalls aka plateaus are absolutely normal.

A great journal program, like Fitday.com, also provides the opportunity to record body measurements. Body measurements are important because there are times especially later in your journey when your weight loss might appear to stop. If you’re in the habit of taking measurements weekly you may notice the tape measure moving significantly even though the scale is stubbornly stuck. A stuck scale doesn’t mean your program has stopped working it just means your body’s holding on and figuring things out. Another benefit to measuring is the tape measure rarely lies about your progress. It is possible to draw the tape too tight and recording inaccurate results but with practice you can learn to keep the tension steady. If the weekly measurement session does not show a shrinking body then perhaps it is time to take a look at the calories in, calories out equation again.

This is probably a good time to explain one of the partial truths that you will hear on your journey — “muscle weighs more than fat.” Let me explain why that’s a partial truth. A pound of muscle and a pound of fat is still a pound.  However a pound of muscle is more dense and compact than a pound of fat and it is possible to gain a pound of muscle even if you do not lose a pound of fat.  As your as a body fat percentage decreases and muscle mass is revealed and/or increases the appearance of your body is smaller. That is why the tape measure moves. This is also why you can have results on the tape measure that do not appear on the scale. The other part of the truth is you may even gain a pound of muscle. This is a good thing.

Wait? How can gaining weight when you are supposed to be losing be a good thing?

The reason is because 1 pound of muscle burns more calories than 1 pound of fact while you are sleeping, at rest, and especially while you are active. Which means when you are driving, sitting at your desk, taking a Sunday afternoon nap or watching TV; that pound of muscle tissue you gained is burning calories at a faster rate than any of your fat tissue.  Muscle mass is “metabolically active.” Muscle mass, even for women, is the best defense against weight regain. Ladies do not worry too much about bulking up because we just do not have the right hormones for that. Besides changing the composition of your body is the point.

A good journaling program or even rocking it old-school with paper and pen will help you keep track of your progress and illuminate trends in your own body. Whatever diet plan you are following, do not let your success be measured by that plan. Get to know your body. Get to know your own definition of success. As much as I want to be ballerina, willowy my truth is I am one of these girls who tends to get bulky think powerful gymnast bulky. Journaling helped me really come to accept the way my body was designed.

Yes in the beginning journaling can be time-consuming but in the end it is absolutely worth it.

Be your own Nike commercial — Just Do It!

PS…There are literally dozens of apps for weight loss now so just find one an use it.diet-and-exercise-journal-bulk-order

I Have Made A Decision

It has been a long, hard, emotional battle to come to this decision but as long as my own weight loss efforts are working weight loss surgery is on hold.

Whew…that is a scary sentence to type.

Surgery is such a drastic step and one I have always believed it should be a last resort.  I thought I was at that last resort but I guess my body has other plans.

For years, I have been learning to listen to my body.  I encourage others to learn all the way their bodies speak to them and how to listen for those subtle cues so I have to listen to my body now.  I could not in good consciousness go through with surgery when my body is willing to lose.  I just can’t.

Honestly, I am a bit disappointed.

Weight loss surgery holds a wonderful promise that if you work the tool, the tool will work for you–and quickly.  The thought of being near or even under 200 pounds by my birthday is tempting.  But when I really take a step back it is purely the speed that is tempting.

Weight loss surgery is work.  Different work that losing without it but still work.  It is not a magic wand.  It is not the easy way either–just as losing without surgery is not the “hard” way.

It has taken a lot of effort to come to the realization I am disappointed.

So why not just go ahead with the surgery?

Excellent question!

The answer is complex.  I am not even sure I can fully articulate it.  However, I absolutely know without a doubt that if I do not let this run its course I will always wonder if I could have done it on my own.  I need to know I have failed before any of this is going to be okay with me.

When I first talked to my husband about surgery he listened patiently and then asked me just one question: “Have you done everything you could?”  My answer was clear, confident and passionate.  If he were to ask me that same question, right now I cannot honestly say I have done everything because for whatever wacky reason what I am doing now is working.

For now, I have taken to doing what I do best–trying to give others hope to try just one more time.  So many people with fibromyalgia have gained weight because of medications and the new limits on our bodies make traditional exercise difficult at best.  For now, I am reaching out to those people and cheering about this too.  Maybe I just need to be that person who manages to lose with fibro so someone else doesn’t give up.  I don’t know.  But for now, I am doing all those little things that are inching the scale in the right direction.

My one month results: 9.2 pounds and 15.5 inches.