Sunday, November 18, 2012

Changes to the Blog

(**This is a cross-post with the other blog - apologies if you're reading it twice)

Early this morning, I awoke out of a dead sleep... thinking about the blog. There have been rumblings brewing lately of closing up my bike blog and calling it done, but I've hesitated because I don't feel as though I'm ready to say "that's all folks." When I woke up suddenly before the sun had even an idea of coming up over the horizon, I had an idea and I think it's the best solution for me at this point in time.
Image source here
The blog here was originally intentionally separated from the bike blog because it focuses primarily on my weight loss journey, getting stronger, and various aspects of things related to health and fitness. I wanted a separate space initially for many reasons. First, I didn't want to bother those who come to the bike blog only to read about bicycles and various cycling related topics. Secondly, when it comes to the weight loss/fitness aspect of my life, I tend to be a bit more (okay, maybe far more) whiny and self-deprecating than when discussing bikes. Finally, in many respects, I simply didn't know how to combine two areas of my life without it seeming odd.

In the wee hours of the morning, however, I came to the conclusion that both blogs are suffering. While some people are able to maintain many separate blogs and keep them all updated on a somewhat regular basis, I am apparently not one of those folks. Everything ends up suffering in the end, and I don't write anything anywhere for long stretches of time, or I only seem to focus on one or the other.

The solution in my mind is simply to combine the two blogs. Unfortunately, for some that means that there will be personally irrelevant topics posted here at times, but at this juncture, it is the only solution that makes sense to me.  The changes will be taking place as soon as possible over the next several days.

So, what will you find now? I'll still be posting about weight loss, struggles, fitness, and so on, but I also intend to have posts about bicycles and cycling related adventures. I appreciate that some readers may part ways here, but my hope is that there will be overlap permitting readers to find something of interest here, and also allow me to focus once again on something that I enjoy doing - sharing the adventure of life.

If this is where we part ways, I just want to thank you for taking the time to check in and read here.  All of the topics posted in the past will remain in place for those who may find a tidbit of useful or helpful information. To get to the "new" space for this blog, please click here. I look forward to what is coming and being able to continue to share with those who have interest. This blog will remain up for a short time, but ultimately will be taken down as the posts have been combined with the other blog.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Giving Up the Scale and the "Goal"

From the start of this journey in early March, my goal has been to lose at least 75 lbs by the end of the year. I seem to go through long stretches of playing with a couple of pounds at a time and it's seemed as though it might not be possible. Over the last few days, I've managed to gain 5 lbs. Nothing has changed. I'm still tracking what I eat, working out hard, but somehow these five pounds have mysteriously made an appearance.

While I know it's possible to lose the 14 pounds I need to by the end of the year, I question the plausibility of it.  Six and a half weeks isn't much time, and with both Thanksgiving and Christmas looming, along with all the fabulousness of food during the next several weeks, I'm a bit terrified of what I'm in for to make it to "the goal." While I can control our meals on the particular holidays, it doesn't seem to stop others from stopping by with sweet treats or other holiday time goodies. Beyond others, I always feel the obligation to make my own sweets, and although I generally don't eat what I bake, who knows what might overcome me in a moment of weakness? I've tried to remind myself that it's all part of integrating better habits into daily life, but the other side of me wonders if the holiday season will be my downfall. I can't help but continue to wait for the day when I finally decide to give up.

As I've been pondering all of this over the last week or so, I've also decided that I cannot deal with the stresses of a scale right now. I find myself weighing multiple times in a day, trying to notice trends and while I only "count" my morning weigh in, this process is messing with my head. So, this morning I asked one of my kickboxing instructors to take the scale away - for at least a month. This time of year is incredibly taxing on me (emotionally) as it is for many others, and I just don't need the added stress of figuring out why I gained a pound on such and such day and then lost on another. I'm hoping that not having the stress of the scale to contend with will put me more at ease and focus me on what really matters - what is going into and out of my body.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

450 Push-ups

What does one do in the middle of a cold, snowy Sunday afternoon? Why 450 push-ups, of course! Perhaps a bit of back story is in order first though.
I could totally look like her, right? Okay, maybe not.
I have had a rough few weeks with focusing on working out. I've gone to all the kickboxing classes, and on the surface it seems as though I'm continuing on with my grand plan, but I know that I've not been doing my best. I've requested a kick in the rear from my instructors, but I also know that they are nice people and probably won't be too keen on the idea, but I knew I needed something to get me back in the game.

So, this afternoon I decided I was going to see how many push-ups I could do. At the start, my back was in pain and I figured I might not make it very far, but the stubborn girl within broke through and I was determined to do at least 200. When I got to 200, I decided 300 was possible, and so on. At 450, I knew that I needed to stop, even though a part of me wanted to continue on. Unfortunately, I do have to function tomorrow, so I called it quits, but I was so excited to be able to accomplish such a goal. This, from the woman who just 8 months ago couldn't do 5 push-ups (really, I couldn't do one, if I'm honest). So crazy what half a year can do for a person!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Discouraged and Drained

Today, I am completely drained. I feel beat up: mentally and physically. Next Saturday is belt testing in kickboxing and it will be my sixth month in a row to test. Now, it may not seem like a big deal, but for most people, one belt takes anywhere from two (if they go frequently) to six months (if they're more of a "couple of times a week" sort of participant) to complete. That should help to better define how many classes I'm going to every week, and why it is that I'm so tired. Generally, this schedule doesn't kill me (it's tough, but I make it through), but it seems the last couple of weeks have been extra difficult in that the instructors seem to want to put everyone in the class into a state of complete exhaustion. They have each asked me to do things that I am not physically able to do, and it's causing me to re-evaluate why it is I'm in such a hurry to get to the next level.

Put simply, my body hasn't had enough time to catch up to the level I should be for a given belt and it's frustrating me. As much as I want to will my body to do the things I want it to do, it just doesn't seem to want to cooperate, and I can't say I blame it. I'm asking a lot of it. Two kickboxing classes a day, riding my bike, the occasional gym visit - it all adds up; yet, my weight loss isn't on par with the amount of work I put in. The reality is that I have a lot of extra weight and asking my body to do these things repeatedly, day after day, week after week, and month after month is taking its toll. The last couple of weeks have reminded me that I am still the fat girl, and as much as I don't want to be that person, I can't seem to escape that reality.

I've started to wonder if this is just what I will be for the rest of my life. Perhaps I will never have anything even remotely close to a normal body weight? Those fears cause even more anxiety because I find myself wondering why one would push herself so hard if this is all there is for me to achieve. I suppose I'm just tired of being the fat girl. I don't want to be the biggest person in my classes. I don't want to be the biggest person in any given room. Living in the supposed "fittest" state in the U.S. doesn't really help matters because I'm surrounded my health nuts. There are plenty of overweight folks, so don't let the statistics fool anyone, but there is the reality looming that I am fatter than almost anyone here.

What is my point? In summary:
1. I'm fat. As much as I've lost weight, there is so much more to go.
2. I'm slow. I don't lose weight quickly, and I seem to be slow catching up athletically/fitness-wise as well.
3. I'm discouraged. Being unable to keep up during kickboxing classes makes me fear even more the belt tests... not to mention, that I've been playing with the same couple of pounds for three weeks.

Although I realize these feeling will pass, and I will hopefully feel more capable as the days roll by, it's such a horrible place to find oneself - trapped in my own thoughts and feelings.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fatty, Fatty, Two by Four...

I looked in the mirror today and saw all the blubber still surrounding my body parts. I have to admit, it's a bit discouraging to lose a good chunk of weight and know that there is still so much more that needs to come off. Truly, 60+ pounds off of my body is nothing to sneeze at, but when I sit down and still have a belly or the side fat sticks between my ribs and arms, or I get a good glimpse of the side-knee fat, well, let's just say it reminds me that I can never give up.

Before all of this, however, over the weekend Sam informed me that I looked like a bag lady. I was wearing old clothes that I've had for awhile and just can't seem to let go of for the time being.  I laughed because it's funny, but at the same time, I know there is a part of me that fears giving up old clothes. After all, I've never had a point in life that I didn't gain the weight back. Why would this time be any different? There are reasons for it to have a different outcome this time, but it's tough to admit that when all I've known is defeat in the past. I don't want to have a negative outlook about all of this, but when people tell me to "visualize" what I will be in the future, I don't even know where to go with that thought. I often picture someone else who has a body I'd hope to have. Let's face it, when one has never been a normal body weight, how can one have an image of what it will be at some arbitrary point in the future?
This is the "bag lady" ensemble for the day (apologies for the fuzzy photo).
Yep, I actually fit in one leg of the pants... kinda crazy... mind you, they weren't tight before, but still.
So, after all of this, I decided that I needed to continue my quest to find some cold weather clothes. I haven't wanted to do a lot of shopping these days (partially because we don't really have the money to spend, but also because it's so awful to try a bunch of items on and have nothing fit right), but I went ahead with the plan. I was determined to find at least one pair of jeans that would fit and a couple of sweaters. I don't need a closet full of clothes right now, but I don't always want to feel frumpy either. Wonder of all wonders, I actually found jeans that worked. They're a bit snug, but I figure it's a better way to go right now than to buy them at a good fitting point and then they're too big in a couple of months (or at least, that is the hope). The jeans I purchased were 5 sizes smaller than the ones I'd been wearing. Holy cow.
One of the pairs of jeans I tried out... the legs seem to be snug no matter what size I try.
It was exciting to be able to buy something many sizes smaller, but it was also a reminder that I don't want to ever go back to where I've been...and, that I have a very long way to go. I took some time yesterday to clean out the closet (again). Since I don't want to go back to where I've been, there's no reason to hang on to old clothes. Sure, I kept a couple of items just to remind myself of what I have done to my body in the past, but I've vowed that I will continue to work towards becoming a better me. I can't promise the "bag lady" outfits won't be seen/worn over the next few months, but at least I know they don't fit like a glove as they once did, and if things are fitting tightly, it's just more incentive to try to get the weight off so they will feel loose again. But, even as I type that, the demons pop into my head reminding me that this may be it - that this may be all the weight I can lose - or that I will in fact return to my former state rather than losing more. These are the days when I wonder if those demons will ever let me be, or if I'm destined to spend a lifetime doubting myself and what I am capable of doing.
"Fatty, fatty, two by four,
Can't get through the kitchen door,
When the door begins to shake,
Fatty got a belly ache!"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

How Fast is Too Fast?

I find myself having these days during which I really don't want to hear or read about other peoples success stories with weight loss. I've started to think that there's something wrong with me, but I find that often times these stories just make me angry. I don't begrudge anyone weight loss by any stretch of the imagination, but I find the ways in which they go about losing are often not in their best interest. Mind you, this comes from a fat person, so it's not as though I have any room to judge, but it just seems as though when someone drops 115 pounds in 6 months (just read this one in the last week), something incredibly drastic was done. As in, the individual has cut their diet so dramatically that it isn't maintainable for life, and I fear for them. Perhaps it's because I've been that person (well, I've never lost that much weight, but I've been in a similar mindset of "just eat less"), and it scares me when I read these stories. I look at people like those on The Biggest Loser, and see that so many of them regain the weight they've lost, and I can't help but believe it's because it happened entirely too fast.

Do our minds have time to adjust when we drop a person off of our bodies in a matter of months? I have to think it takes time for our minds to catch up to our bodies, and when we take these extreme measures to lose, I don't personally know if my mind would have the opportunity to understand what had happened.  I've been on this present mission for about 7 1/2 months, and I'm down just over 60 pounds (at least for today). It's not super fast, but it's also not that slow. Even at this speed I find that my mind struggles with changes. In my day to day life, I don't notice the loss at all. Sure, every once in awhile I think, "Hey, that fat roll seems smaller!" or I get excited about some garment of clothing that used to be tight but is now nearly falling off, but honestly it's difficult to understand that anything has changed. I see photos of myself and think that I look the same. I can see small changes in my face (as I've pointed out recently), but really I don't think my brain has even come close to comprehending what is taking place.
I don't have to see my fat face in this one, but it's almost worse from the back side...and this isn't even the worst of the pics this particular day.
Perhaps there aren't changes other than a little fat loss in the face? Maybe it's just that I'm around very average-to-thin sized people on a regular basis and I know that I will likely never even be of "average" size, sad as that is to say, so I will always feel like the fat person in the room? I wish I could wrap my head around it and finally understand once and for all why nothing seems to change.

In all of this though, I realize that so many people are so focused on losing weight that they neglect working on muscle as they lose. Sure, I may not see pounds drop quickly, but I'm also working on building muscle at the same time. Those arms? Yeah, they may still look fat, but I assure you, if you gave them a squeeze, there is solid muscle forming. The thighs? Sure, they still have lots of fat to lose, but they've gained a lot of muscle mass too while training. Abs? Yep, there's still a bunch of fat there, but I can feel the muscle wall through that fat. There is no way that I could've lost 100 pounds in half a year and gained muscle at the same time. So, while I have my moments of anger or jealousy when reading stories about the quick weight loss of others, overall I feel a little sadness for those who are in such a hurry to see the pounds go because I can't help but think that they're going to see those lbs return over the long haul. While I want to see the pounds go too, I'm okay knowing that I'm gaining muscle, and some day I will say goodbye to the excess weight as well.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


It's been an interesting week or so here in our household. We've had family visiting from out of town, we have both fallen ill to this nasty local flu that seems to be spreading like wildfire, and I'm in the middle of a project that involves a slew of people coming by the house at random times of the day. Needless to say, I've found myself pretty well locked to the house, and it hasn't been the greatest. I always think that I'm a homebody and that just staying here throughout the day wouldn't be so horrible, but it turns out, I leave quite a bit more often than I imagined. For example, I often run to the post office to drop off packages or mail, I run to the art supply store to grab a color I'm missing in my paint tubes, or perhaps even a quick trip to a home improvement store to pick up some item for a household project. Most of the time, I get to perform these chores by bike, and I love it.

My bike time is "clearing my head" time and I have found myself a bit crankier than normal about everyday occurrences in life. I often wonder during these times if my bad behavior is justified or if I'm just overly sensitive to things because I don't have as much time to be outside. With winter closing in on us, I know my bike time is going to decrease yet again. While I don't mind riding in the cold, I've yet to get over my fear of ice on the roads while riding, so I'm certain that as soon as the snow hits, I'll be back to experiencing theses sorts of feelings.
Image found here
All of this has caused me to consider the days not so long ago when I would perhaps avoid riding my bike when possible. It's not that I didn't want to ride my bike, but there were days when I know I would make the excuse to drive simply because I didn't feel like taking the bike out. While I think it's perfectly acceptable to take the car when needed, my preference is always to bike when possible because I get to experience things such as the changing seasons, the daylight coming and going, and even the cranky drivers are less irritating (and often less irritable in the winter months - though not always) when on a bicycle. I find myself thinking that perhaps these flimsy excuses I've used only added to my weight gain over the last several years.

I hope that I am making changes in all areas of my life with this journey, and while they may not always be positive, I hope that I never feel trapped in my life. I know people who have made considerable life changes during or after losing a good chunk of weight, and I hope that I can keep my sensibilities and know the difference between positive and negative energy in my life.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Face Changes

Today, while looking for some progress pictures of Sam, I happened upon some photos of myself that were not so fabulous. It's funny to me the feelings I had just a few months ago about seeing images of just my face, let alone a full body shot. While I still don't enjoy seeing photos of myself, I remember a very specific photo that I took in January of this year. I had been trying to find ways to get better angles with the camera so as to avoid looking overly fat. Let's face it though, when a person is fat, s/he is fat, and there's no hiding it.
This isn't the photo I was so upset about, but it's an interesting comparison as well.
On this January day, I decided that I was just going to take as straight on a photo as I could without too much adjusting to simply see what I looked like. The result? I wasn't happy.  I realized that I was becoming quite a behemoth individual and truly didn't like it. That said, I also didn't seem ready to take those feelings and do anything about it. Sure, I signed up for an online tracking system, but I wasn't using it. It was as though I was taking the first steps, but I just couldn't seem to commit to anything quite yet.

So, on to the photo. I specifically remember this photo because I was alone, at home, feeling pretty crappy about myself and just had to see - for the first time in a long time - what I had been doing to myself. I have far worse photos of myself, but something about this one just made me cry. I felt like a huge, round bowling ball. How could I have let this happen? I'm not sure... but I did. Then, yesterday, I was out working in my studio and took a picture of myself (actually because I was testing out the camera phone to see what it looked like - I'm in the process of documenting some things). As grumpy as I looked (and felt), it's as though my face got longer somehow. No more round head... it's sort of oval-ish now.
There is hope... some day, it will be even better - I hope!
All of this to say that I'm making progress. It doesn't always show up on the scale, but I'll take the small victories where I can get them. I feel better now, and that's what really matters.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Trying to Find My Way

The last week (or so) has been mentally rough on me (as is evidenced by my incredibly ranting posts). I've been doubting everything and trying to figure out why I can't just exist in a day without drama. I'm slowly working through all of it, thankfully, but it's been an excellent reminder that losing weight isn't really about losing weight. Of course, it is about losing weight in that the whole reason for setting about this journey is to see the scale dropping, but the reality is that there is so much more to uncover about myself that has nothing to do with the weight.

I was speaking with a friend the other day and she made a comment that brought some things to light. I realized that I do focus entirely too much (despite what I want to believe) on the weight loss itself and not on what I should be focused on... figuring out why the weight came on in the first place. Mind you, I've never been a small person, even as a child, and I realize that I will not ever be; however, there must be some kind of reason that as an adult I would allow myself to get to this point.
*Image here
My dream was far less human-dominant, and much more bear-winning-the-fight
No answers have made themselves apparent to me as of yet, but I know that it's far more important to be aware of the "why am I doing this," than the "why isn't the weight coming off faster" question. I am definitely fighting something, or there is a moment of clarity about to happen because I've found myself in several emotional moments over the last few days during which I cannot stop crying. That has been followed for the last two evenings by the craziest dreams... last night, included fighting (by hand) with a giant bear. Gotta love dreams and there very easy to interpret meanings.

In the meantime, I am attempting to keep some perspective on life and this journey.  I have too many other things to focus on to get so absorbed in what is or isn't happening with my body.

**Edited to add: I looked up "dreaming about fighting with a bear" just to see what would come up, and this is what I found: "Dreaming about bears is fairly uncommon. To see a bear in your dream symbolizes independence, the cycle of life, death and renewal. You are undergoing a period of introspection and thinking. To dream that you are being pursued or attacked by a bear, denotes aggression, overwhelming obstacles, and competition." - Source here

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Three Pound Gain - WTF?

This morning, I awoke to a 2 pound gain, which was preceded yesterday by a 1 pound gain. I really don't know what's going on, but it definitely displeases me. It's also highly demotivating to spend the week working hard, doing what I should be doing and then see the scale go up. It seems that every time this happens and I mention it to someone the response is, "Oh, well you're just gaining muscle." Um, no. I'm not gaining muscle - especially not over the course of two days. I understand that in the beginning of a new activity there are often no losses or even small gains due to muscles retaining water and trying to rebuild, but it's ludicrous at this point to see that much gain - virtually over night.
*Image found here
I want to be the strong person and continue to tell myself that this is just how it goes and that it's all just part of the process. I want to be able to give myself the same canned responses that I hear from everyone else like, "Oh, it will come off. It's just temporary water weight." But, the reality is that I just want to sit here and cry. It took weeks to get off those three pounds, and then they can somehow come on in two days. I can feel the weight on my body. I feel fatter and slower, and while I understand that it's likely not possible to actually notice those three pounds being added on, somehow my brain believes that it is capable of sensing that difference. These are the days when I wish for the "magic formula" so that I would know what to do. These are also the days that lead me to want to give up (or at least have in the past). I feel deflated, discouraged, and unsure of the decisions I'm making.

My goal through this has been to eat well, but not tell myself that I cannot have something if I want it. In doing so, I understood that the losses would be slower, but hopefully more permanent. I record food daily, no matter what I eat, and I can say that I definitely haven't been over my usual calorie range. Last night, I was pondering the idea of simply going back to eating less - a lot less - so that the weight will come off faster. There is a part of me that wants to do it that way because my personal history has shown me that it will work... at least temporarily. But, the reality is that I know I cannot sustain it, and therefore it isn't really a tool that I should utilize at this juncture.

So, for now I have resigned myself to just feeling this three pound gain and trying to remind myself that three pounds is a lot easier to lose than fifty. I have to stay the course, regardless of my current desire to skip kickboxing and go back to bed. Hopefully, the kickboxing will at least make me feel better rather than worse.