Now I Remember

It’s funny how my brain works.  Out of nowhere I recalled how I lost the weight I lost when I lost it way back when.  Yeah, I ran.  A lot.  But I also ate better.  Not just better like healthier, but smarter.

I consulted a Nutritionist – today I can plainly recall pleading with her on the phone.  I was begging for her to help me.  I consult her on occasion presently in fact.  We have spent hours together.  Not all at once, mind, my bank account could only handle so much at a time, but we talked things out and made a plan and talked more and planned more and in the end, she taught me to eat mindfully.

When a family member commented on my dramatic weight loss, he also asked how and what I was doing to achieve the change.  Today I can plainly recall exactly what I told him.  “I eat when I’m hungry.”

Duh.

But do you know how hard that is?  For me, it is monumentally difficult.  I said earlier that I am laser focused on fixing this new mess I find myself in and not just getting smaller, but learning how to stay smaller when I get there.  That laser focus is EXHAUSTING and some days I wonder if being fat isn’t the way the Universe meant for me to be.

Positive: At the moment, my focus is working.  I’m eating mostly only when I’m hungry and since joining WW, I have had just one binge (apple pie, Thanksgiving day) and my veggie intake is way up.

Negative: I am fearful that I won’t be able to change my ways and this will all be for naught.

Some days I wonder why I struggle so much with eating and my weight and why others seem to not.  Not in that kind of way where I am hateful about it – we all have our demons and while mine seem particularly vicious, I recognize that I could have things a lot worse.

It’s really not sooo bad

I started blogging after an intriguing experience on my WW blog way back when.  I knew I was leaving WW, but I wasn’t ready to stop writing about what I was experiencing so I took up residence here.

Now that I’m back on WW, I’m blogging a bit there too, hoping that if I’m successful this time in losing some girth AND keeping it off that I will leave some informational nuggets for my future smaller self to refer to.

I hadn’t really paid attention to it before, but I think I cracked the WW code this time.  It is anti-fat of any kind and rather surprisingly, it doesn’t love grains, but it loves them more than I think it should. At first I thought I would continue eating a high fat, low carb diet.  I could adjust my food reporting (lie, basically) so that instead of eating a tasty piece of grass fed ribeye (4 Points) I’d report that I consumed but just an ounce or two of “eye of round, trimmed of fat” (zero Points).  And when it comes to yogurt, I could either give up my beloved full fat goat’s milk plain stuff (3 Points) or report that I’d eaten a cup of fat-free Yoplait (zero Points).  In other words, I imagined I would just beat the system.

Then I paused and realized that if I was so smart and my system was so fool proof, then why on earth am I squeezing into these erm…larger trousers and signing up for a weight-loss program that I publicly disparaged?  Hmmm?

So, at the store this weekend, I bought fat-free milk for my coffee and fat-free yogurt for my after dinner snack, if I needed one.  I haven’t had anything fat-free for a while so it is a new and not entirely flavorless experience.

Positive: I’m watching what I eat and trying to eat when I am truly hungry while eating more slowly.  I’m drinking more water (never was a soda girl no nothing to give up there) and trying to get activity points daily.

Negative: The fat-free yogurt I so proudly selected at the grocery is actually fat-free french vanilla.  (gag me)

The reality is that I’m trying to be someplace in the middle.  I’ll give up some fat, in particular the dairy department, but I probably won’t choose less rich cuts of beef.  I will introduce more fish and chicken and definitely more veggies (I may have over-reported my love of veggies in the past) and we will see how we go.  Butter is non-negotiable.

Maybe Toad Was a Little Strong

Holy smokes.  I just got a text, IN ALL CAPS BTW, from the one friend I have the whole wide world with whom I feel comfy no matter what.  She’s seen me at my worst and at my best and she loved me the same on both days (no, not my mom, but she might qualify too).

I’m totally not a toad.  I mean, come on.  I’m not Cara Delevingne either and boy what I wouldn’t do for those eyebrows, but I digress.

This decades-long wrestling match has always been about what I am versus what I want to be.  I think every woman on the planet wrestles with her appearance in some form or another.  I am overweight and I don’t like how I look in my clothing.  I can see the disappointment in my eyes and it has become difficult to fake it.  I’m working on it.  Again. Let me use my nose and my thighs for examples.

I was, thankfully, born with both a nose and two thighs. Both (all three?) are genetically significant, but as imperfect as my nose is, I feel like I have some responsibility to improve my fat thighs.  While nosejobs aren’t uncommon, crooked ones or fat ones or hooked ones seem more socially acceptable than a pair of fat thighs, don’t you think?  I can distract you from my imperfect face with perfect hair, perfect jewelry and shiny white teeth but I can’t really distract you from my luxuriously ample thighs unless I’m seated behind a coffee table in a darkly hued muu muu with a backpack on my lap.

Misguided though I may be, I derive my confidence largely from my appearance.  The short time that I have been back on Assignment: Ass Reduction, I have felt some confidence return and I have fewer toad moments.  Part of having confidence is feeling in control and obvs that is something I struggle with.

I wonder if I can get Activity Points for wrestling with my thoughts.

Toad out.

The Princess and the Toad

The other day I had an after-hours meeting with a consultant I was trying to hire for work.  When I sent her an engagement email she replied that she was so busy that unless I wanted to wait until the New Year, she could see me that night at 6 at a pub in town.

The whole thing made me uncomfy.  I’m not a big drinker.  I’m not a fan of discussing business in public, particularly this business.  And since I’ve packed on my poundage, I prefer not to be out and about socially, especially where my appearance matters.  Sad but true.

And then there was the whole Points thing which was throwing me into a tizzy until I got my head on straight.  It would serve as practice for Thanksgiving Day when there would be a zillion food options that would blow my mind and test my judgment.

In my renewed effort to feel what I’m feeling instead of eat what I’m feeling (novel concept, yes?) I realized that I was feeling intimidated.  I don’t have to drink-drink; a Pellegrino with lime would be perfectly acceptable.  I can pass on the fried calamari and dipping sauce instead opting for steamed shrimp and be perfectly happy.  And the business about talking business in public is silly; people do it all the time and I’m fairly certain any members of the press sitting nearby would not be interested.

The issue was that I was meeting a woman who is a partner in a firm that specializes in women’s leadership.  Do you see where I’m going here?  I feel like a toad. A large, slow, lumpy rather unattractive toad.  What toad in her right mind relishes being scrutinized over drinks by a Disney Princess?

I want to be the Princess.  Not so that I can scrutinize toads, but so that how I look never occurs to me.  That quiet confidence that THOSE WOMEN have is what I’m after.  I know what I’m talking about because the day I wore the pink shorts, I had it.

Second only to consulting your physician in the disclaimer before starting any weight loss or exercise program is the guidance where you ask yourself why you’re doing it.  I want to feel better about myself.  (loud buzzer sound)  Wrong answer.  I should be doing it for improved health.  My health, at least at this moment, is not failing.  My physical health, that is.  My mental health on the other hand is off the rails.  Does that count?

Positive: I got my head out of my backside, dressed in the image of the size 8 badass I once was (despite wearing size 12s), fixed my hair, bought a new lipstick and got on with things.

Negative: I resisted the urge to tear off the band aid.  I really wanted to ask her to tell me what she was thinking as she scrutinized me.

And she really did.  Quietly at first.  I watched her watch me as I took pieces of the meat-and-cheese tray she ordered for us to share.  I saw her looking at my glasses and my earrings, wondering about my hair.  And at the end, when we stood to say goodbye, she blatantly – but not rudely – took me in from head to toe before offering a brief embrace of departure.

I’m all about ‘dat…data.

Confession day.

One week ago today I rejoined Weight Watchers.  I cleared out all of my masterful blogging from the year gone by, but I know you know that I know that I trashed WW up and down the InterWebs on more than one blogging occasion.  I did. I really, really did.

(Fire away…I’ll wait.)

So…I didn’t rejoin because I completely believe in their approach. I did it for the data.  Well, at least that’s what I’m saying.  I am not going to start buying boxes of food that is wrapped in plastic that could stay in said packaging for years on my pantry shelf.  I’m not.  What I am going to do is report my activity and my food consumption and watch the data.  Truth be told, if I eat mostly good food (green, non-shelf stable stuff mainly) and add a few miles to my weekly totals, the data and my waistband should show some results in time.

Okay look…I can’t do this by myself.

Wait-wait.  Scratch that.

I can do this by myself.  I can lose weight, get my run back on and feel like a badass you-know-what, but I can’t stay there.  My very own personal studies show that I can get it off, but I can’t keep it off.  I don’t know how to live like a thin(ner) person.  I was a thin person for, um, a day?  No…I was a thin person for like a year of my 45 years and I loved being One Of Them.  But I was just visiting Small Town because everyone knows I was born and raised in Fat Ville.  I’d like to permanently relocate to Small Town, but I need to learn the language first.  Last time I visited I totally looked like a tourist.

I hope that some accountability by way of WW Online will help me learn and develop better habits – not of eating their “food” but by paying attention and asking if what I’m eating/doing is helping my cause or setting me back and then the follow up: am I ok with that?  Keeping a journal feels good, but not really accountable.  Seeing it on my screen, I hope, will have more an impact.

Positive: It was not a significant financial investment, but enough that I want to take it seriously.

Negative: I got nuthin and that feels just fine.

The first time I tried WW was also the week of Thanksgiving back in 2012.  I recall running my ass off on the beach like three times that day so I had extra activity points that I was SURE would make up for the sugar-laden food I was about to eat, but it didn’t.  When I weighed in the next day (Fridays were my weigh-days then) I gained like 7 pounds overnight.  Man oh man did I beat myself up that day.  I’m sure that if weighed the day after that, after my food had time to digest, things would not have been so bad.  I didn’t do that this time.  Baby steps, people.

Itsy-bitsy Teeny-weeny

Summer before last I bought a pair of shorts online that were the neonest of neon pink that you can imagine.  They were also short.  Like, not too short to be grotesque on a 43 year old mother with extra-rich thighs, but shorter than any shorts I’d donned up to that moment.  I remember putting them on with a tee shirt of some kind to go to one of my kids’ games.  As I departed my room, I stopped and had to have a gut check.  Was I confident in these hot pants or was I pushing the envelope too far?  I triple-checked my reflection and was not gagging which was a good sign.  Still unsure, I asked the son whose game we were headed for if he was appalled by my appearance (kids are an amazing barometer for that – believe me – I’ve gotten plenty of “…Mom, is that what you’re going to wear?”).  To my delight he was not appalled and while this may be revisionist history, I seem to recall him telling me I looked great.  I certainly felt great.

There is a confidence I can only derive when I feel like I look amazeballs in my clothing.  I don’t look amazeballs in my clothing right now.  Most of it fits fine, but I lack the room to move that I like to have and to be completely frank some of it is snuggish and these are the size 12’s.  Bugger, man.  Just effing bugger.

Positive: I saved the shorts when put the Size 8 bag waaaaay back in the back of the attic.  Interestingly, I did not save the Size 16s.  Good thing I’m not quite there and by averting this crisis now, perhaps I won’t get closer.

Negative: It is going to take a lot of running not only to fit into those shorts, but to be able to pull them off.  I’m not super confident that I can do it.

I’ve done this before and I can do it again.  Can’t I?

Weren’t you Paleo? No, Primal..no, um, sorry…what was it?

When I built my blog in 2013, I was a devotee of Mark Sisson and the Primal diet really spoke to me.  It still does in many ways, but truth of the matter is: it was too much of a good thing and I couldn’t hang. (Read: My fault; not his.)

I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder (have never presented myself for such evaluation), but I can tell you with total and complete honesty that my discipline when it comes to food is a bad joke.  I eat emotionally.  When I’m happy and confident and feeling strong, you would know by the healthy food arranged in respectable quantities on my plate and when I’m bummed and low and feeling shitty, you’d have a clue because I sneak ice cream and take a second trip to the buffet (as it were, I truly don’t eat at buffets) and when it’s really bad, I just skip the second trip and load up on the first.

For the year or less I was Paleo/Primal/Whole Foods, I was so happy.  To be clear, I was in the Primal category as definitions go, because I didn’t let go of Dairy.  Eating fatty pieces of meat, lots of veggies, limiting my carbs including fruit but having a good raw nut binge more often than not and exercising in a controlled an purposeful way seemed like I had my shit so together that it was wrapped up in a box with a bright red bow and smelled like roses.

And had I eaten mindfully, I might be in a string bikini on the cover of some Over 40 and I’m a Badass magazine.  Seriously, it could have been great.  But I overate because the food tasted so good and I just couldn’t stop.  I lost energy, I lost motivation, but I kept eating.  Also, without understanding (listening to, working with) my hunger signals and instead eating when I “thought” I was hungry set me up to fail from the start.  Eating high fat low carb is supposed to provide for more satiety and less hunger.  So, fewer trips to the trough.  Not for me, yo.

The thing that eludes me is how I lost the 30+ pounds I lost before I turned Primal.  Apparently I was so focused on whatever I was focused on that I didn’t keep a journal or otherwise track my progress.  I know that is when I became a runner, but I’m not sure what I did with my diet.

Positive: I’m laser-focused for the moment on fixing this.  I want to increase my activity level first and cause my diet to follow.  I have learned that when I’m working hard I want to sabotage less (notice I didn’t say stop sabotaging altogether) and so I think that if I can find a sweet spot of exercise to start with, then I can get a grip on my food consumption.  Not setting out to run a Marathon too may, just may, help me keep exercise in my life post-weight loss.  If I get there,that is.  Keep my sights reasonably set, yes?

Negative: I literally dusted off the scale earlier this week, you know, just to check on things.  Long gone from my wardrobe are the beautiful brass ring size 8’s, and the fat rolls on my midsection came out of nowhere (and are super fun to play with, by the way), but I was totally shocked to see that…don’t cry don’t cry don’t cry…28 of the 30 pounds is back.  Can you believe that?  Can you believe I allowed that to happen?  I can’t.  I’m so disappointed.

Opening day for baseball season is a mere 100 days away.  I’d prefer not to wear a snuggy while sitting in the stands.  It would feel better that when I glance down at my thighs I get just a glimmer of that runner’s pride instead of the full-on rush of shame of the doughnut-eater that I have right now.