Monday, September 5, 2016

Way too long - but I still try to plug along

I am here. You are probably are not! So... what's the deal with me?

Well, last year when I got back into this (some time in May) I started great. I was doing great. Fall hit... I started to slip. Winter hit, really slipped. Slipped all through spring getting worse and worse... and then when it was FINALLY full swing summer, I finally got my act together.

This season fluctuation for me is either worse, or my life is such that I handle it worse - I think it's the latter.

So... I decided I needed to try something different as I couldn't have half a year of doing great and half a year of doing horribly.  (and last year it was more than half a year of doing horribly!) I had to really find what are the big issues I have and find better ways of dealing with them as what I was doing - being near perfect and being healthy to falling completely off the wagon and falling back on all terrible habits was horrible for my health. And to figure out WHY I was failing so much....

What I know about myself - without a doubt:

  1. I am a carb addict.
  2. Carbs are terrible for my blood pressure, mood, and make we gain weight AND make me congested so I snore and therefore get worse sleep, which then leads me to wanting to eat more carbs.
  3. My ability to cope with good habits are extremely seasonally influenced. I can and do eat well and move well in late spring, summer, and early fall. I feel horrible, eat horrible, and give up in late fall, all winter, and early/mid spring.
  4. I am more tired in Fall and winter (I must have been an animal who hibernated in a former life).
  5. I am more hunger in fall and winter (you know... have to bulk up to survive the winter hibernation!)


And this is what I have tried to do in the past:
  1. Get really good habits going by limiting carbs.
  2. Move more to dull the depressive state of fall/winter with SADD.
  3. Daily weighing in to keep motivated and stay on target (as that has been a good motivator - for when I'm doing well).
  4. Try to stay in the "losing" column as I am overweight and I don't like being overweight and it's not healthy for my body.
  5. Exercising in some way to keep the nibble "bug" out of my head.
Well, obviously, something I was doing (repeatedly) wasn't working if I couldn't keep it up. I needed to figure out a new plan. Plans needed to be more forgiving and more accepting of my tendencies... fall/winter is hard... I want to eat more. I am more tired. I am wanting to give up more easily and quite literally say, "fuck it" to myself.

Now, fortunately, I haven't COMPLETELY given up since I started out with trying to live healthier 6 years ago. While I keep yo-yoing tremendously, I still feel I can do this (need to do this) and I haven't come to getting back to my top weight. I "think" I didn't get close to my last year's top weight either because clothes I wore last year fit with more "ease" this year than when I bought them last year. So, as much as I struggle.... I am, overall, in a better place than I was 6 years ago. It's just finding a better way.

So, my plan has shifted. I have no idea if it will work, but I hope it does as I learn more about myself. Here's what I'm doing.
  1. I am trying to steer mostly clear from sugars/carbs. And if I eat them, I try to make them potatoes as for some reason, my blood sugar doesn't spike with potatoes.
  2. I am not weighing myself. I haven't stepped on a scale in 3/4s of a year.
  3. I try to eat for hunger and try to make choices that will fill me long term- fat and protein, not carbs.
  4. When I want a snack... even though I "probably" have had enough calories for the day to break even, I allow myself a protein/fat snack, not a carb snack. 
  5. I am admitting to myself right now that I should concentrate on staying away from carbs more than anything else. I should not be concentrating on losing weight to "get back into those cute clothes". Restricting in spring and summer has worked for me, fall and winter leads to carb craving and caving... which then leads to weight gain - lethargy, snoring, etc.


My hope is that if I can stay away from the carbs, even if it means in eating a bit too much in fall winter in fats/proteins, that they weight gain would be modest in winter (if at all) and that it would be easy to get and stay in better eating modes in spring and summer if I don't have to detox my body of carbs over and over again. That, the overall trend would be to lose weight, but at a slower pace. Like, Lose 10-15 in spring summer, gain 5-7 in winter, lose 10-15 in spring/summer, etc... That is much better than what I had been doing - losing 30 in summer, gaining 30 in winter, etc.

If it were just about the weight, I would be annoyed with these HUGE swings year to year, but it's not just the weight. The weight is the least of it. It's that I get so sad... and lethargic... and my blood pressure goes up and my blood sugars go out of balance and I start to snore which not only disturbs my husband, but disturbs my sleep too and it is 100% related to eating too many carbs. I MUST keep that carb count low for my health - mental and physical.

It's only September, but I have been doing this plan for the last 2 months. I know I've lost weight as I can see it in my face and see it in my clothes, but I have no idea with the weight loss is. I don't want to know, actually as I don't want to see that I'm "failing" at more weight loss as winter approaches. I am concentrating on moving more and eating few carbs PERIOD.



Like yesterday, I have had a very stressful week. I had little sleep (due to a stressful week) and I wanted to EAT. I really wanted to have carbs... instead, I stopped and got a chicken sandwich and fries for lunch (taking off the bread). It was good... satisfied my "fuel" need and it was so filling that I didn't need dinner last night - except for some salted tomatoes (yum!)... in the end, I probably broke even with calories yesterday, but more, I didn't eat the insulin boosting carbs my body REALLY wanted and therefore, ate FAR few calories than I would have for the day and didn't start that carb roller coaster I cannot manage.

I hope this approach will work. I need it to work as I'm tired of feeling tired... and worn out... and beaten up half the year and I blame the carb monster telling my brain that all I need to fix that lethargy is CARBS... it is such a temporary fix... but in fall/winter/early spring, my brain believes it! And once I start, the addiction is renewed and fiercer than ever.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Sizing and fit

We are all built very, very differently and I think those differences in build get exaggerated when you add extra weight in fat. Some people gain weight all over, well distributed. Some gain weight more in their butt, or gut, or bust, etc. I gain all over, but as I age, my middle section sees more and more of the weight gain and the weight loss, but I am lucky in that I have a fairly well-proportioned build, but I have a round rib cage and large breasts.

Currently, I have lost 50+ pounds, but I still am 40 pounds overweight. I'm in no rush. I'm taking one day at a time and just try to make good decisions for my health and my body. With good decisions, the weight should keep working itself down. But I am an overweight woman, so I expect that my clothing size should reflect that, but... amazingly, I don't wear plus size clothing in American clothing stores. Depending on the manufacturer, I wear between a 12-16. Most things that look good on me for my age and for my style, I wear a size 14 - that's in Calvin Klein, Jones New York, Ralph Lauren, etc. When I was at my thinnest I was just getting into size 8s in those same manufacturers, but realistically, a size 10 (12 in dresses) is my current ideal size at my ideal weight.  MIND YOU... that is in 2015. That same weight at 18 had me wearing 16s and needing to go to the plus size section when I was NOT overweight, but I am built large.

So, I deal with the inflated sizes. I don't get hung up on numbers and what they should or could be, but I do try to give reality checks to people who say plus size models who wear a 14 are not really plus sized - this may or may not be true depending on their body build, but for MOST people who aren't 6 feet tall with a large frame, a size 14 in today's sizes is differently plus sized.. UNLESS they are talking about European sizes. And now that makes me wonder, when I watch Project Runway, are they talking about pattern sizes or common sizes we see in the stores.

UK sizing (at least that I can see from my very anecdotal evidence) hasn't changed with vanity sizing.  At least I "think" US and UK sizing used to be the same - at least the same for me in my comparison to sizes I wore at 18 and at 43 at the same weight. In US sizing I wear a L/XL or 14 as the most typical size. 1X and 2X I swim in them. At my top weight (60 pounds heavier than I am now) I wore 2X (getting snug). In UK sizing? I currently wear a 3X. And really? that seems accurate to me. If I (a person who naturally is bigger by bone structure) have 40 extra pounds on me and look fluffy, I should not be wearing non-plus size clothing. I should be wearing 3X - not to make me feel bad, but for it to be an accurate reflection of range of sizes of people... There should not be a size of 000 to make up for the size of 0 of yore. Triple zero as a size???? Yes, there are people naturally that small and it's ridiculous to have sizes 000, 00, and 0.  Don't believe me? Check it out from JCrew's website.


That leads me to a dress I just bought. I am running desperately short on good clothes in this size for work, so I've picked up a couple new skirts and dresses at TJMaxx and Marshalls - all size 14s.  I wanted to get something special for our winter festival, so I did a search and found this on Modcloth. With a 30% off coupon, it was reasonably priced (found a matching sweater elsewhere as I would FREEZE in such a dress in winter): 




Now, I think I'm built very similarly (and similarly sized) to the model with white-ish hair (just not as hip, for sure). But I was skeptical if this 3X dress would fit. I thought it might be too small based on some review that the bust and arms are small for size. Fortunately, for fit on me, the waist is too big (I have the belt on the tightest hook and there is a good inch or more "extra' at the waist and the bust darts are SLIGHTLY too small and press me in a bit, but nothing terrible.  I'm still waiting for the sweater to arrive, but the dress came yesterday. Yep. 3X.


Remember, I don't get all dolled up for photos - This is Melissa au natural. I combed my hair for ya, and that's it.



If I didn't follow their size recommendations, I could have gotten the XL and cried, but instead I can realize that I am the size that I am and it's plus size and I need to forget the number and just buy what fits and in this case, that's a 3X.

Now about fit. There is this "thing" now of Rockabilly dresses in plus sizes. I think it's cute, but it's not overly flattering for fuller figures, imo. I think I look much bigger in this dress than I do in my every day clothes, but I will decide if I keep it or not once the sweater arrives and I can try it with that... Also wondering if I should go ALL out and wear a crinoline skirt under it (I have one in the basement). It's a non-stretch, crisp cotton fabric (wrinkled straight from the packaging it was shipped in).




Friday, November 20, 2015

So, I decided to weigh myself

Just when I said I wasn't going to, I did. I got curious. And... it's all good! I'm actually down a pound from where I was the last time I weighed myself which was about 6 weeks ago. AND that was with a couple of date nights out and two conferences - one of which I totally didn't watch what I was eating.

And there has been other bigger eating days, but, it seems, I've balanced it out to neither really gain or really lose as a 1 pound loss is basically holding steady. THAT is a huge, huge success for me. That means I'm finding a balance! Yay Melissa!

But... when I stepped on that scale and realized that I was actually doing what I thought I was doing (finding a balance) that gave me extra motivation (at least for now) to do more. I could  make it to under 200 pounds by new year's if I stick to it. And my goal, ultimately is to just stay under 200 forever - ideally getting to 175, but for health and mobility reasons, at least keeping it to under 200.  That would also get me fitting into more of my clothes that are all packed up and unwearable!

I think I decided to step on the scale when I pulled out a skirt from the wardrobe that I thought would be too tight, but found, actually it fit perfectly or almost too loose. Then I knew for sure I wasn't gaining even a little bit as I had tried that skirt a couple months ago. I knew it meant I was holding steady or slightly losing.

It might give me the extra motivation to stick to better food choices during thanksgiving and Christmas season. Who knows. I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving weekend meals, but perhaps I'll skip the desserts to eat the meal.

I'm dealing with a "possibly" new food issue too. That I'll detail more tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How I've decided to handle fall/winter - my blue months

I have decided that for the fall and winter - when I struggle DAILY with making good decisions and with fighting off the blues that I will not weigh myself daily or weekly or even regularly. I will just do the best I can do each and every day. That might mean that once winter is over that I have 10-15 pounds to lose, but that is better than gaining the 50 pounds I did last year. This is a lifelong journey - not a race.

So, I have no idea where I am with the weight. I don't want to know because I don't want any weight gain to depress me. And don't get me wrong - I could be losing weight too or holding steady. I have no idea. I do know I am making good decisions most days and most meals. I have not gone up in any clothing size. I'm solidly in a 14 in most brands and most clothes. (I was topping out - meaning they were getting tight a size 18 in May).

I am hungrier in Fall/Winter, so my caloric intake has gone up from where it was this summer, but I try to keep it so that I'm satisified, not super hungry. If I start to feel super hungry, I eat something and I try to make it a good choice food for me - meaning something that doesn't spike my blood sugar. Today I was out at an outlet mall. All there was for food was a vending machine. I was so proud of myself for choosing the roasted peanuts from all the offerings there. It held me until dinner where no candy bar or chips ever would for about the same amount of calories.

Some days are better and easier than others and I pat myself on the back for having a good day, but I don't beat myself up for having a difficult day. I just try to do better the next day. As I said... it's not a race and it's about lifestyle change. SLOWLY getting there!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Something different - my passions and how they drive me

I am a person who is driven by passions. My passions shift and change, but I usually have something (or somethings) I'm passionate about.  When I was in college, I was passionate about student life and student leadership. I was involved in a lot of things (though paled in comparison to some wunderkinds (wunderadults?) like Peter Adamson - still in aw of you!!!). So, I got married, went into the field of higher education and dove into my career (with a one year baby break in there). I was rising within the field. I was passionate about helping young adults transition to adulthood. I loved that career I really did, but then it ended. The passion started to die because I had a bad supervisor (after having a great one in the same position). I learned so much about how important WHO you work with is. A job could go from great to horrible just like that.

Also the passion waned because we moved, (more than once), my contacts and references got old and any interest I still had, I lost after that. I didn't have it in me to start at the low wrung of this field AGAIN to start over and I don't think I would have been rehired into the field either. So, then I was stuck.

During that time, I had another child, one with special needs, that did suck a lot of the extra whatever, out of me. I didn't have a passion any more. As my younger child was getting older, I needed to get back to work - for me - and for our family's economic stability, but what to do? My husband asked, "Well, what are you passionate about?" And I said, "Nothing. I just want to work." I got into baking for awhile and making cakes for people, but I couldn't make an earning with it and I definitely didn't have the mega talent to make it big on my own like one of these big time cake decorators. Plus, as much as I loved it, it also added a lot of stress (as cake as a medium is finicky!)

I just didn't know what I wanted to do. I was really enjoying teaching Sunday School at our ethical society and being on the Sunday School committee. I liked working with people and with kids and adults. I enjoyed helping build community and planning events. I was enjoying Ethical Culture period. I enjoyed the community so much. Then, a part-time Sunday School director position came available which was perfect timing for me. I could build my resume and get fresh references. Win. What I found though was that I absolutely loved it. It fed me. I became quite passionate about lessons and spending time with our children and passionate about growing the community and passionate about spreading the word about what we did, etc. That got me to looking at completing an elementary education degree, but that didn't appeal as much. I didn't like the confines of teaching (and it's what kept me out of it 20 years earlier too). But what?



Then I got lucky again as a full time job opened up to do the Sunday School thing. It was a dream come true practically and it's been a wonderful jump back into full-time work. The last year I've been learning this job and about this culture and I'm just as passionate about it now as then. This summer I went to a conference for Ethical Culture and I was so inspired. I felt (and still feel) such hope for the movement (still so small, but currently in a spike of energy and growth) and I want to do more. I have found a passion and it feels good. The Ethical Culture people, by and large, are my people and I want to continue my career within this group, if possible.

I don't know where or what that will lead to, but in a bit over a week I'm going to an ethical education conference and I'm excited about it. I just volunteered to be a curator for an organization wide video project too. It feels good and I hope this passion to help the movement grow and become more significant continues because for me, being passionate about something, makes me better at doing something. I'm not perfect about it, for SURE, but I think my enthusiasm not only drives me, but it pushes other people to do more too. And it's such a great movement.

Here's from an article by Randy Best, Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of the Triangle,
For Felix Adler, human Worth and human rights are paramount. Everyone deserves to have their inherent worth respected and to be treated with dignity and compassion.
Adler’s Ethical concerns focused on right action – how to treat others and act to improve the human condition. He felt that the best way to explore these issues was in community.
Adler believed that exploring ethical ideals and acting for social justice led to improved social conditions and positive personal transformation.
Felix Adler’s maxim, Act so as to Elicit the Best in Others and thereby Elicit the Best in Yourself, contains the idea that personal development is fully realized through relationships with others.
Our sense of meaning and purpose is enhanced by our ethical connection to others.
Community examination of Ethical Ideals and Aspirations allows us to strive for a fuller expression of our human experience.
I guess I'm writing about it because it's making me a happier person to have something drive me. I feel better over all and when I feel good, I make better decisions. So, for now, it's helping keep the winter blues away too... so all of this is to say in a way, being passionate about something in life leads to a better life and that for me, also means taking better care of myself.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This addiction battle

It's winter(ish) for my brain. I am feeling the sluggishness kick in. I am feeling the difficulty in doing things that two months ago I would have zipped through. Winter blues are here - boo-hiss!!!

But also, I am fighting terribly  the urge to eat carbs. Today was a very difficult emotional day. I had an IEP meeting for my 5th grader, autistic son... Seeing how the school and the teachers are at a complete loss in how to teach my son... Hearing about his anxiety driven behaviors... Realizing that we need to back track and start over with the IEP with all new approaches and new goals and needing many more IEP meetings..., and possibly just skipping all of that and realizing he needs to be homeschooled... All of that put me in a very bad head space. I quite literally left the school, teary-eyed, and wanting to eat. I wanted to eat gobs of stuff - sweet stuff - empty calorie carby stuff. Why??? Because for about 1 hour I will feel a boost to my mood and energy. For that short little window I will feel better.



The hour after? CRASH... and even more fatigue and even more blue - unless I allow myself another quick fix.

I was able to stave it off. I didn't eat (I had already had lunch). I drank a sparkling water instead. This time I was able to talk my brain into sense.

Next time? Will I have a voice of reason tomorrow?

If there were a pill to keep me from being tempted by the carbs for these quick fixes, I would take it.

This is why I was a human yo-yo the last few years. This is why I will be fighting this battle the rest of my life. I've been "good" for 5 months. Seems nearly impossible to imagine being on top of this addiction to sugars for 5 years, yet that is what I'm striving to do... more like 50 years if I'm super lucky.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Developing a healthier weight loss mindset and high carb day effects

And I am kind of surprised by it actually. I am not needing to write here as much. I am not needing to post on the weight loss forum as much. And I'm sticking with the program pretty closely.

There are days it's easier and days that it's more difficult, but I'm less obsessed about needing to seeing losses daily and less obsessed with NEEDING to see the scale every day.

I know if I keep doing what I'm doing, it will result in a loss on the scale eventually. I can't really do much more than I'm doing except up my exercise and what I'm doing is already resulting in losses, so all of that would be bonus.

I'm finding the mindset of thinking about the scale less is freeing. In the past I needed that check in to stay on my regime. I knew I would pay for indulgences and get rewarded for sticking to the program.

When I started this current journey, I just wanted it to be quick. I had gained the weight quickly, I wanted to be rid of the weight quickly.

I still have 35 pounds to go, but I've already lost nearly 55. I feel better. I look better and it's ok if it takes me awhile - as long as the trend is in the right direction and overall I'm making good choices.

This past month was mostly OK. I had some higher calorie days, but lower carb, so the losses were a bit slower. But I've still seen 5 pounds, so how can that be bad? Then, this last week I had one doozy of a week.

My husband was out of town. Our son was having issues with school. I had a talk to prepare. I have been happily busy at work. and I was dealing with monthly hormones. So, for two days I went on a high carb, high sugar snack fest as the stress caught up with me.

What I noticed with eating so much sugar and carbs in general: I felt lethargic. I felt blue. I felt weird twinges in my gut. I woke up with headaches. I woke up terribly congested. I really "felt" those things and realized that is how I felt almost ALLLLL winter last year and it was awful. I realized it was 100% diet and I had to drop the carbs way back down. I did.

I ate normally for two days after that... stuffiness is gone in my sinuses. Gut feels better with no twinges. No headache. I feel more energetic and happier. (Of course, having my husband home helps with feeling happier too).

Quick fixes for energy boosts - equals feeling bad overall. MUST. NOT. GO. FOR. QUICK. FIXES.

For sure though, my new eating time schedule has made the biggest difference for me. Allowing one meal a day (plus two high fat snacks) really, truly makes it easier to follow the low carb meal plan. Now if only I could make traffic better so that some days I didn't get home after 6:30 pm so that dinner isn't as last as 7:15!


And this picture is true. I'm not going to let the scale determine my happiness. While I do want to lose weight and to be fitter for a healthier me, daily fluctuations shouldn't not make or break my day and sometimes it feels like it will.