Sunday, May 31, 2015

Ok, so the body has shrunk a wee bit

A few weeks ago, out of desperation of having absolutely no summer clothes that fit (as I donated all my fat clothes), I went to Marshalls and Goodwill to find some clothes to get me by until I dropped some weight.  2 dresses, a few t-shirts, a couple dressier shirts, and 2 skorts and one pair of shorts.  The dresses and t shirts and shorts fit fine, but both skorts were snug.  Wearable, but a muffin top definitely visible.

Well, Friday night we went to a party (oh my gosh did I feel out of place - hipster 25-30 year old super brilliant people and me) and I wore on of the dresses.  The dress was definitely baggier and didn't fit as well as the day I tried it on.  Then today I wore the other dress I bought.  Again, baggier (with armhole exposing bra on the side thing going on with both dresses). Good thing for summer sweaters.

Then just now I needed a pair of shorts.  The only pair that fit is in the dirty laundry, so I pulled out the skort and now while still a bit tight, not muffin top tight!  I guess 10 pounds, even if mostly water and glycogen weight, do make a difference.

I won't be needing to do much real shopping on the way down.  I will be doing definite closet shopping!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The weight loss isn't visible, but I feel better about myself

It happens every time - the scale starts to go down, nothing really changes in how I look or how my clothes fit, but my mood just lifts because I just KNOW I am treating myself well and taking care of myself after months of neglect. I feel more self confident.

I notice I'm sitting up straighter, holding my shoulders back better. I am wanting to do more stuff because my mood is up. Yesterday I planted a bazillion things on the deck - and then cleaned the masses of dirt and debris and got it all out for yard pick up and recycling. This morning I got some more plants and planted those and did a bit of weeding. Tonight I'll weed some more and then delve into at home stuff with getting the craft room more put together. Here's some of the stuff I did yesterday:

I'm looking to see what's next - I need to tear up the carpet in the basement and haul it out. And the padding. Then get the floor all set for laying down a cork floor. Like this:

After that I'm looking to add a gated, fenced in raised garden to put in this fall (hmmm.... we would probably need to level the ground... Hmmm...) It's exercising with a PURPOSE.

Even the other day at Goodwill I found a smaller step for $5 and I thought maybe my son and I could start doing step together (he loves fitness songs/videos on Just Dance). Once our basement is fixed up, we can make an exercise studio down there - adding the TRX stuff that we bought have never used (as I got injured shortly after buying it). Some googling made me realize I found a Jane Fonda step!

I have one of these for myself:

Oh if I could just keep this energy! Why is winter so cruel to me????

Friday, May 29, 2015

Let me debunk a myth about yo-yoing in weight

I think it can be quite easily stated that I have yo-yoed up and down in weight several times in my life. I have yo-yoed a lot in the last 5 years - big swings of weight - 40-90 pounds of yo-yoing from 2012 to 2015 - several times.

Is this good for my body? Of course it isn't. My body is happier and healthier at a lower weight. My blood pressure is normal. I feel happier. I feel stronger. I sleep better, etc. But, I also think it's better to keep trying to get to a better weight for my health than to say, "better to just be fat than to yo-yo". I am not sure of any reliable study that says it's better to be fat  - like OBESE than to yo-yo as long as the diet a person is on is not dangerous.

But there is this myth out there that it gets harder and harder to lose weight if you  yo-yo. I think that myth was created by someone who was using it as an excuse to not try to lose weight (been there done that myself). That your metabolism slows down and it just gets harder. Well, does it? I don't think it's yo-yoing that makes it slow down if it does slow down.

Weight loss DOES seem to slow down a bit with age. Young people seem to be able to drop the pounds much faster, but then when I look at how much a young person can eat compared to an elderly person, it seems clear our metabolism slows down and that might not even have as much to do with age than muscle mass and amount of movement.  Older adults can work to boost their metabolism with exercise and strength training. It will decrease with age, but it doesn't have to decrease as much as it does for many.

With that said, I am dropping weight as fast, if not faster now as I did in my early 30s. I am losing at the same pace after 3 years of yo-yoing as I did in 2011 when I was just starting and hadn't been yo-yoing. In fact, it's easier to stick to my diet plan because I now have a diet plan that works well for my body whereas before I was still figuring parts of it out.

Now is yo-yoing fun? No. It's not. Creating a deficit in calories is hard work, so we should try to find ways to NOT yo-yo. And people yo-yo for all sorts of reasons. Mine is because I lose all desire to deal with my sugar addiction and just felt I needed to eat during the winter months when I'm naturally sluggish and slightly depressed.  Some other people yo-yo because they see dieting as a temporary thing and not a change of eating and exercise forever.  I found this article about yo-yoing good. Here's an excerpt I particularly liked:

We're betting that this scenario sounds all too familiar. Yo-yo dieting — or weight cycling, as experts call it — is practically a national pastime. An estimated 54 percent of people in the United States are currently trying to shed pounds, fueling a $59-billion-a-year industry of supplements, books, and packaged foods that promote weight loss, according to Marketdata Enterprises, a marketing research group. But our efforts don't stick. Most of us will regain almost all of what we lost, according to research, which is why the typical dieter tries a new plan four times a year. "We have this mentality that adiet is something to go on and then get off as quickly as possible," says FITNESS advisory board member Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the University of Pittsburgh's Weight Management Center. "But lasting weight loss requires making lifestyle changes that will work long-term."
It's not only your waistline that suffers from yo-yoing. "Repeated crash dieting increases metabolic hormones, such as insulin, and elevates levels of sex hormones, including estrogen," says Andrea Pennington, MD, author of The Pennington Plan for Weight Success. "These changes cause you to start putting on weight around your middle, which research has linked to insulin resistance, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease."
Your confidence also takes a hit. "The more times you go through the gain-lose-gain cycle, the less convinced you become that you can break free from the constant ups and downs," says Keri Gans, RD, a dietitian in private practice in New York City. "No one wants to diet forever; it's hard work."
So, don't let the idea of "but what if I gain it back and start to yo-yo" stop you from making better dietary and exercise decisions. That is worse for my health than just being "fat". It shouldn't be an excuse to not eat better and make lifestyle changes.

No, you don't want to yo-yo. I definitely don't want to yo-yo, but I also don't want to take these last few years of yo-yoing as a reason to give up. It just means that I haven't figured my head out 100% yet.  While one of the reasons some people yo-yo is the reason stated in the article - just wanting quick fixes instead of making lifestyle changes. MANY of us who yo-yo just have a hard time sticking to lifestyle changes. THAT is where the work needs to come in. HOW to make this dietary change and exercise plan permanent. For some people that might mean changing the diet plan (like low carb didn't work, but intermittent fasting does, or one big meal in the morning works better than a big meal at dinner). But I would bet most people needing to lose large amounts of weight have figured out how to eat and exercise along that year or two long journey, it's getting the HEAD in the right place - permanently.

At least that's what it is for me.

Restart 5/18/15
Down 9.9 pounds

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back to my old starting weight and ponderings on hunger

I am now at the weight I was when I started in January 2011. I look at that and shake my head. HOW did I gain it all back (plus some). HOW?

Why does my body like to stabilize at that weight? I have spent a bulk of my adult life within those 20 pounds. I don't feel good at that weight. My blood pressure isn't good at that weight. I hate how I look at that weight. I start to have more problems with restless legs at this weight and I start snoring at this weight. Yet, that's where I go.

I don't believe in set point weights - exactly. But I do think that's around the weight where my wild, out of control eating, and my activity level tend to match up. That level of caloric intake and activity level become even and then that is the weight I sit at - fluctuating up and down a bit with more or less activity.

I have yet to find the lower end stable weight. And that is something I need to work on - where is the weight where I can maintain without having to exercise an hour a day and eat so that I don't feel like I'm starving?

When I got close to goal (past where my goal is now), I was always, always hungry and I found that if I ate around 1450-1500 calories a day and DIDN'T exercise (daily), my weight was at maintenance. I didn't lose or gain. At that point I was only losing by exercise and I couldn't eat less because I was already hungry.  THAT is not maintainable. Always feeling hungry is not cool.

YET, why was I so hungry? I am eating that or less now and I'm not hungry. More muscle weight then and less now? Does my body know it has reserves to draw from where it had so little before?

I need to figure that out. WHY does it get harder to stick to a plan the longer you are on it? For now, I feel I could do this and eat this way FOREVER. Come 10 months when I'm close to goal, I'll be thinking of food every waking moment.  I need to find a happy medium that isn't out of control, but also so difficult to stick to that drives me crazy too.

Restart 5/18/15
Down 8.9 pounds

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When you are relosing for the 3rd time in close succession

When I started this 5 years ago, I was all fanfare. I was going to do this. I was going to mark this. I was going to come clean with everything.

I knew I would stumble. I knew this would be a forever battle for me, but I truly didn't think I would completely fall apart - twice. I'm not "doing this" differently from before. I know what works for me. HOW I lost weight was not the reason I gained it back. Other factors came into play.

I'm now pretty convinced that HOW you lose weight doesn't really say anything about long term success (as I've been on boards where people have done it 50,000,000 different ways and their success rates are about equally the same). Only thing that REALLY matters is sticking with a plan once you get to goal. (Though a caveat to every plan can work for weight loss is that some plans are easier to stick to forever than others, but what works for me and what works for you can be very different!) You will only maintain losses if you adapt your lifestyle forever. I know I can eat a low carb diet forever. I just have to fix my head to WANT to stay on a low carb diet during dark months where I've been using it as a drug to get through the months I just want to SLEEP.

Other people don't need to change carb count, just overall calorie monitoring. Some people's natural eating was fine, but if they just through in a bit of activity daily, they can keep the weight down. Bottom line is, all of us who have weight issues which is often also food issues, have different tricks that work. But if you don't follow what you know works, don't expect to remain successful in keeping off the weight.

I wish I could eat intuitively, but if I could, I wouldn't have ever had a weight problem. Obviously, I need some tools to help me where my head cannot.

And for this journey, at least for now, I'm just going to track weight lost. I don't want to be fixed on a goal number. I just want to feel healthy and be healthy. "I" am not healthy at this weight. My BP is high - that alone is enough to work this downward. For now, everything else is fine, but for how long?

So... I keep chugging along - whittling downward.

Restart 5/18/15
Down: 7.6 pounds

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

And just like that, the hunger decreases

Took me nearly a year to just say, "enough", but I've (for now) kicked the simple carbs to the curb. My appetite got cut down in half.  I realized on Friday (before a memorial weekend camping trip) that I had basically forgotten to eat all day where for weeks and months before that I was starting to munch by 10:30 am, then having lunch no later than 1 pm, and then dinner. Now? It's a variation of intermittent fasting again - without feeling like I'm starving myself.

In fact, I had dinner, and it feels like it's sitting on my stomach like a rock. Yes, it was a huge meal of a  protein rich green salad and one slice of light frozen pizza, but until 7pm (12 hours after waking), I had only eaten 400 calories. Most other days when I was high on carbs? I was eating probably 2500 calories before dinner. THAT is how much carbs affect me. It's INSANE!

Anyway, I didn't disappear and give in already. I disappeared because I was away on a camping trip - the first in my life!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Knowing your triggers, but staying untriggered

I know what my triggers are:

  1. Too little sleep
  2. Too many carbs
  3. Lack of exercise
  4. High stress
  5. Lack of light (SAD)
I've had years and years to learn them. I am very self-aware. Always have been. However, knowing my triggers and staying untriggered are two different beasts to conquer. So, I'm trying to learn.

  1. Too little sleep.
Ok, this one I have a lot of control over and I "do" try to be good about knowing I need sleep and making sure I get good sleep. When I care. When I'm not being triggered by #s 2 and 4 and 5. The too little sleep things tends to reappear when other triggers are already triggered.

     2.  Too many carbs.

This one is a bit trickier. I am much better about controlling carbs when other triggers aren't triggered - it's true. My resolve to stay away from carbs goes way down when I am overtired, stressed and can't excercise, but it's usually, by itself and even with these triggers I can control. Where it seems I'm having a very hard time is when I am affected by #5 - SAD.  But when it is triggered by #5 I simply do not care what I eat PERIOD. And then starts the addiction I have a very hard time breaking. Like a REALLLY hard time come spring when SAD is no longer an issue.

     3. Lack of Exercise

This is probably my smallest trigger. Exercise is an appetite suppressant for me, so I just overall tend to be able to eat at a deficit more easily when I exercise. When I don't exercise and I'm closer to my ideal weight, I eat more for maintenance because creating a deficit when I'm feeling hungrier is harder. That isn't so true when I have a larger caloric base to whittle down from to lose weight. When I exercise, though, it also puts my head in a better space (fighting depression), so it will probably help with keeping other triggers untriggered, especially #5. However, I cannot exercise when I'm overtired - one of my injuries happened that way too and it actually gives into my head - I stay tired and I get grumpy and end up eating more.

    4. High stress

This is a weird trigger. I get more stressed by other triggers not being in place - lack of sleep (most especially) and lack of exercise. HOWEVER, I deal less well with stress when I'm dealing with SAD. Now in spring? I am dealing with it fine - not stuffing my face. I am making myself go to bed earlier and made myself go garden for hours when I could have given into the food demons.

    5.  Lack of light (SAD)

Notice what it all points to as THE trigger? Seasonal Affect Disorder.  Besides the ONE time when I was shocked into action by being so terribly unhealthy (bad cholesterol, scary high blood pressure, super bad, low thyroid, and uncontrollable restless legs) that made me jump into action in the "dark" months, EVERY OTHER TIME I've tried to lose weight it was during spring/summer - when my head was in a better place. And EVERY SINGLE TIME I've started to really lose control was in fall when it gets dark. This is not coincidental. Even the time I was shocked into action was when I made an appointment to see my doctor in October (so not "completely" dark yet) and had to wait until December to see him.  Count the times with me this pattern holds - lose in spring/summer, gain in fall/winter and lose control completely:

1. 1990
2. 1995
3. 1997
4. 2003
5. 2012
6. 2013
7. 2014
8. 2015 - starting to lose again and hope to break the PATTERN.

The times the pattern didn't hold:

1. 2010
2. 2011.*

So, I have tried to lose weight 9 other times in my 45 years - always starting in spring. I have always gained the weight back in the fall/winter/early spring in 7 of those 9 times and there is an apostrophe even with one of those years. 

*I did great in 2011. HOWEVER, I gave myself a month break in mid December 2011 into mid January 2012 over the month long holidays in our home and I gained like 20 pounds in that month (some of it glycogen water weight - but 15 pounds of it was NOT). AND it took a lot of willpower to get back with the program - other triggers were under control though - I was exercising. I was getting enough sleep and stress was pretty low. SAD and high carbs though about did me in even then. I clearly remember how hard that was that winter and it wasn't really until spring that I started to feel I was "back" and it became easier again.

So, it seems that keeping SAD untriggered is the key. The number one key! I can control my carbs, my exercise, my stress, my sleep so much better if I'm not affected by SAD.

I've tried the lamp (sort of), but I think I need to take the next step. I need to take antidepressants seasonally. The slip is so slow and so gradual that I don't even realize I've slipped until I've completely in the "I simply do not care about what I eat" mode.

Why SAD mostly affects me with self-care I don't know. My work usually doesn't suffer. My personal relationships don't really suffer (except with my family), but my mode of eating and exercise suffers terribly and then I have to pull myself off sugars to get back into healthy habits again. KEEPING with the sugars, keeps me in a suppressed, lazy, place.

So, calling all SAD people - what works for you? Have you tried antidepressants? Moving to the equator isn't going to be possible, so I have to learn to deal with the dark months!!! It is the trigger that I have less control about keeping untriggered, but I have to try to find a way!

Editing to add: Also, I am not eating to stuff my feelings in the "dark months". I think I use carbs as medicine, mood booster in the dark months. It fuels me in a way when the rest of me just wants to shut down. Much like having a sugar soda or caffeine or chocolate bar does in the middle of the night and you need an energy boost to keep going. I use it to keep slogging through the winter. I need to find an alternative to CARBS to boost my mood/energy level.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sugar Addiction

I know. It's been forever and like FOREVER and like forever that I told myself to get back with the program. And I didn't, couldn't. This damned sugar addiction. Truly - the more I try and do, the more I know it's real. No one without some sort of food problem can swing pounds so wildly so quickly.

I'm back to where I started. Actually I'm ABOVE where I started at 40, but not at my all time high by some miracle and really, it was a miracle that I finally STOPPED with the sugar.

I've now had my net carb count down to my acceptable levels for the last 3 days. Day 1: 44, Day 2: 38, Day 3: 30. I "can" have them higher, but I was fine there.

Kicking that need for carbs is hard. It tastes so good and once I start I quite literally cannot stop and I feel sluggish. By day 3, I felt a new energy. My head was in a better place. Now, it could be psychosomatic with my head being in a better place, but the DESIRE to pig out on carbs is already gone. But before 3 days ago? I ate so many carbs and the pounds piled on and I felt horrible, but I couldn't stop.

So, lessons I continue to learn about myself - which I know, but sometimes inconveniently forget. 1. I have seasonal affect disorder - I must get light and I should probably get anti-depressants during winter. I'm finding it mostly manifests itself in neglecting myself more than anything else. The fact that last year at this time (a bit earlier) and this year at this time is when I FINALLY got it enough together in the head to start eating better and moving more. Depression baby!

AND, 2. I absolutely must stay away for sugars. It is way too hard for me to get back with the program if I go off the program. I'm FINE when I'm on it. FINE!!! But, vacations, holidays, etc throw me for a loop and I'm assuming it's like an alcoholic and getting that taste of alcohol again - it's addicting. And carbs temporarily make me feel good - sugar high? But the consequences are long term disastrous.

But I'm on day four and the resolve is strong. I have dusted off my scale and used it. I have dusted off my fitness gizmo and I'm stepping back into it. Hopefully more exercise will come soon as I actually like it, when I'm not hopped up on sugars/carbs.