Learning the Lessons of My Own History

4 Oct

There was a point last week when I was just bursting with big plans for this “Me Time” and had great expectations that I’d be in the gym working out like a maniac and dropping pounds equivalent to a toddler each month….and then I actually thought about it.  Yes, I have the capacity to drop quite a bit of weight during this first month, but I also have to realize that there ARE lessons that I’ve learned about myself in a lifetime of intermittent diet and exercise and that I’d be a total moron if I didn’t absorb them and make changes this time around.

The truth of the matter is that I’ve been all fits and starts for a long time. I’ve tried more diets than I’ll bore you with and have leaped into exercise routines like Snooki jumps into a tanning booth. The problems, however, have always been the same.  There ARE many diets that are sensible and effective, but I realize that I need accountability. I need to have to answer to someone other than myself at the end of the day because realistically, while I may be the person friends want to talk to about their missteps because I’m comforting and forgiving, I’m a bit too comforting and forgiving with myself. I’m not saying that I should give myself a beating or a Mel Gibson tongue lashing because I had a little ice cream, but I could probably use a little balance.  Let’s face it, ice cream is awesome, but I just have to remember not to let a small indulgence bleed into a whole week or a complete abandonment of my plan.

As for exercise, I DO get a bit nutty sometimes. I’m not saying that I spend 6 hours in the gym, but I develop this feeling of pride that morphs into a weird moral superiority when I hit the gym every day. My father might be a little like that..and as he likes to say, “I come by it honestly.”  The problem with being a jerk about this stuff is that when I miss a day or two everything goes to hell. I backslide like Charlie Sheen within an hour of being released from rehab.

Moderation is my new byword. I started today with a reasonable, healthy breakfast and lunch, drank a lot of water, and hit the park for a lovely, crisp, mid-afternoon walk. As I write this, I’m cooking a great dinner with a mix of bright colored veggies and a perfectly individually portioned turkey and mushroom meatloaf.  I’m going on the theory that if I don’t place unrealistic expectations on myself that I can create and maintain a routine that lasts.

This weekend I’m going apple picking with some terrific people and I’m already thinking of the delicious and healthy things that I can make with the spoils of the trip.  Trips like these are great because they’re social, fun, outdoors, and active.  What are your plans for the weekend to get moving and have a great time?

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Emotional Eating Poster Child

22 Sep

Ah, good intentions!

From my last post you can probably tell I’m going through a slightly…turbulent time. While it’s true that I’m focusing a lot of energy on keeping positive, there have been some situations that have had the same effect on me that kryptonite has on Superman…that is, if Superman reacted to it by putting on sweats and eating macaroni and cheese….in bulk.

The job situation, despite my best efforts and intrinsic charm, has not resolved itself.  While I have a phenomenal support system, the people who can’t see beyond their own noses are taking center stage and pushing every hot button I have. Yesterday the combination of some bad news and a migraine sent me into a tailspin that drove me out of the office at lunchtime and straight to the grocery store. I filled my basket with every comfort food I could think of and then drove home to hole up for the rest of the day.

There was carnage my friends. There was salt and fat and carbs. There were cookies. It ended with a faceplant/nap on my couch that lasted til about 5pm, followed by a fog that didn’t want to lift.  If I ever had a single question in my mind about the connection between my emotions and my eating it exists no longer.  The hardest thing to reconcile, especially as I climbed on the scale this morning to welcome back 4.5 lbs, is that all this “comfort” is doing nothing but hurting me.

I felt so disgusted with myself today that I didn’t want to eat anything but last night’s overindulgence kicked my metabolism into high gear. My stomach was like something out of Little Shop of Horrors; growling “Feed me Lisa! Feed me!” I fed it a turkey sandwich that made me simultaneously overfull and sleepy.

The irony of all this is that I KNOW not to do it. I KNOW how I need to eat to be healthy and knock off the pounds. I SHOULD be eating a nutritious breakfast to keep the hunger and cravings at bay. I SHOULD be eating vegetables and moderating carbs….but I’m worn out and my logical self and willpower have decided to sound the retreat and lay low until I get my shit together.

So I obviously have to get my shit together…and fast…before that Chris guy from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition starts ringing my doorbell and asking me to weigh in on the loading dock. Which reminds me, how IS it exactly that these people are too heavy to weigh in on a regular scale and then three months later can get on a scale that this dude carries in his Jansport backpack?  But I digress…

I know they say “We plan. God laughs.” but I need a plan. First, I need to REST this weekend. That may mean shutting off the phone and watching too many episodes of Dance Moms and Toddlers and Tiaras. Next, I need to get back to giving my body actual FUEL. If I eat right I have more energy and I won’t feel like couch potato-ing my way through the next couple weeks or months.  Starting Monday, October 3 daily gym visits are back on the schedule. Yes, I’m delaying the gym a little, but I find from my own experience that if I give myself a week to re-adjust to a healthy diet and drop a few preliminary pounds I’m uber-motivated to get into the gym.

I need to re-establish some control and there’s a limit to the things I CAN control. Maybe while I’m at it I can try to convince Fitness, Shape, or Self that they need a chubby on staff. Think about it, they could reach a whole new audience…road test workouts on someone who is in…less than optimal physical condition. They could have “real life” editorial input (a.k.a. “No, I would NEVER eat lawn clippings for lunch no matter how much Minka Kelly raves about the results.”)  There! I have a new pet project….one that keeps me from eating a pint of ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser.

Boys and girls, there’s always going to be a time when things suck and you just-don’t-wanna…those are the times when we have to summon our inner parental voice that says “Do it anyway. It’s good for you. Ok, do it because I said so.”

Hiatus Hernia

15 Sep

So I dropped off the face of the earth blog-wise.  I wasn’t watching a Lost marathon. I haven’t been committed to a mental hospital.  The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.  I didn’t exactly fall off the wagon – there just seemed to cease to be a wagon.  Things just went wrong…all the things.

Back in June I had just turned 36, I was seeing a guy I liked a whole lot, was back on my feet after ridding my life of a relationship the previous year that fiscally and emotionally drained me, I was totally grooving at work, and had started making new friends and creating a happy, stable life for myself.  The only challenge on the horizon was trying to shed the unwanted pounds I’d put on while I was healing through burgers, fries, and milkshakes.

And then things broke down.

I knew the fire had gone out in my quasi-relationship though the object of my affection, to this very day, refuses to hurt me by admitting it.  He’s an amazing person and the woman who manages to capture his undying affection will be so VERY lucky. As I promised him and myself, I didn’t break. I took it in stride.

Then my body betrayed me. No matter how careful I was with my food…no matter how much exercise I was doing I COULD NOT lose weight. To make matters worse, it repeatedly came up with new and colorful ailments to prevent me from exercising from cysts to a spectacular display of food allergies for which I now carry an Epi Pen.  I thought perhaps it was my body’s way of telling me not to forget I’m half a Jew by rejecting traif like shellfish, but as it turns out it does not like any of God’s creatures that make their home in water….clams being the most offensive. The thought of never having linguine with white clam sauce again brings a tear to my eye.

And then work. I can’t really talk about that, but it ain’t good.

I felt like I was in the perfect storm and I just dropped out…of just about everything. I lost my patience for everything.  I didn’t feel like I had anything worthwhile to say to anyone.

But then great things happened.

None of the problems disappeared but suddenly I found that the foundation I had built over the past year hadn’t washed away and, in fact, was solidly in place to support me. The friends I had reconnected with have kept me laughing and smiling. My long-time friends, my Laura, my knitting ladies and gents, and my co-workers have kept me caffeinated and listened and tolerated my nasty moods and still answer the phone when I call.  I even got to go on a very promising first date with someone amazing from my past who endlessly makes me laugh and with whom I have no shortage of conversation.

I admit I still struggle with keeping the negativity at bay. Sometimes it seems to surround me – in the form of both my own problems and those of others.  Still, I’m so incredibly grateful. I have great faith that everything will work itself out and I hope it’s sooner rather than later, but I have so many people in my life to be thankful for…I feel really lucky.

So now I can say with conviction that the wagon exists and I’m back on it. Starting this weekend it’s back to Weight Watchers and the gym.  I want to feel better, healthier, more energetic, and I want my fucking jeans to zip without me having to lie on the ground.  Onward and upward my friends…or downward…yeah, in this case downward would be far better.

Guest Blogger Christine Amodio: Couch to 5K

20 Jun

In all my life, I have never been able to run. Let me give you a little background about myself. Growing up as a child I didn’t get much physical activity. I didn’t play sports for school or the town. In high school, I did one year of track and field (really just field) and then fencing. In college the physical activity I did was lifting beer cans and food from the table to my mouth. After college I decided to get my life in order while I was on unemployment from my first job. My weight had become out of control and I needed to fix it. I started going to the gym taking cardio and strength classes. With the combination of exercise and eating right, I lost 80 pounds. At this point in my life, I was in pretty good shape, yet still couldn’t run. Since then I’ve had some injuries that are caused by over working muscles, so I’ve had to cut my gym time in half. I need to make sure the time I spend at the gym counts.

I decided I wanted to be able to run. I’ve heard of people starting the Couch to 5K program, but never heard the results. My thoughts were my friends tried it and either didn’t finish it or decided to never mention it. I looked at the plan and thought, this is going to be tough, but I can do this.. The program doesn’t seem so scary being it says if a week is difficult work on that week’s run until it’s something you can do and feel comfortable moving on. I went into this knowing it would be difficult, but I would push myself and if I HAD to, I’d repeat a week. Well, four weeks in I got sick. I had to take a week and a half off from the gym. I decided to start with the week I was on, and see how it went. I was able to continue with that week, and then move on to the next. Then I had a tough week at work, with a lot of overtime and didn’t get to the gym. Instead of stressing that I didn’t get to run that week, I made it a priority to restart the week of the plan I couldn’t finish. I’ve repeated a few weeks, but for the most part it’s become a competition with myself that I want to move on and I want to do more. I’ve grown to like running instead of groaning about how much it sucks.

When I first started I would make sure I would be at the gym at a time when a lot of people weren’t around. I felt self conscious running. I felt that everyone in that gym were professional runners and would judge me for the way I ran and how I would do a mix of running and walking. After a week or two, and looking around at other people working out, I realized I had nothing to be afraid of. No one was watching me, they were involved in their own workout.

I have my last run of the program to complete. I’ve completed two of the week 9 runs, and have one remaining. Now my decision is if I want to redo the program starting from the first week to increase my speed (substitute the walk with a jog and the jog for a run), or if I want to work on being able to run for a longer amount of time. I’ll make that decision shortly.

My verdict is, if you want to get into running this program is spectacular for it. You just have to get over the mental hang ups that you can’t do it or you’ll look stupid. You can do it, and you won’t look stupid…and if you do no one is looking at you anyway 🙂:).

Caps Lock to EMPHASIZE MY RAGE!

16 Jun

I’ve been watching a lot of old Biggest Loser episodes lately and what really struck me last night is that season after season Jillian and Bob push the contestants relentlessly until they spill the beans about their issues. For some it’s a crappy childhood, others have never felt good about themselves, some are mad at their parents, but all of them have a reason that they got fat and stayed fat for so long.  It really got me thinking that there’s a HUGE difference between recognizing your issues and dealing with them and/or letting them go.

I’ve always considered myself pretty self-aware. It could be because I’m one big mass of neuroses and I tend to over-think everything so how in the name of Neil Patrick Harris could my issues be exempt?  I’ve always been overweight with a propensity for putting on weight easily and quickly. I was a chubby kid. One of my thorny issues is that certain people (including family members and mean-spirited contemporaries) hassled me ENDLESSLY about it. I hadn’t even hit a growth spurt and had people riding me for being fat. What made it worse was that when I actually thinned out in high school I was 5’5″ and about 135 lbs (a perfectly normal weight) and they STILL told me I was fat. So many days I wonder “If everyone had just left me alone would I STILL be struggling so hard with my weight?” Obviously, I think not.

I’ve done therapy, complained to my friends, had a special relationship with Jose Cuervo and none of it has actually helped me get over it. I’d just like to say for the record that walking around thinking about how awesome you are doesn’t make you drop weight..unless of course you walk 5 mi. a day thinking about how awesome you are. Either way, just thinking you’re tits doesn’t get the job done.

I had a mini-meltdown this morning because of some photos I saw of myself. It’s been a big week.  Lucy’s graduation party, Kate’s Baby Shower and…well, I accidentally turned 36 so I went out with a bunch of folks to a local bar/restaurant.  All of these events were fantastic and I wouldn’t have missed any one of them but people also took pictures.  I should probably note that I am not particularly photogenic before I tell you that I looked like CRAP in every, single one from every, single event.   I’m telling you right now that I could get a summer job relieving the Goodyear blimp. What was worse than looking that bad was that I kept thinking “I looked in the mirror before I went out – I DIDN’T SEE THAT PERSON LOOKING BACK AT ME.”  I saw one thing but the camera saw Delta Burke (makeup and all!) and Shamu wrestling under a black shirt. I really thought that when you’re dysmorphic you thought you were heavier than you are!

So what did I do? I cried and grumbled…mostly to Eric because that’s always a good choice  (he actually has productive suggestions) and some to Christine (who just gets it). I still feel like crap but I did a little talking to myself and think I have it worked out.  I HAVE NOT let go of any of my issues. On the emotional side: I feel judged and embarrassed and angry. I feel like nobody is going to love me, even though I am pretty awesome, because I’m overweight. I’m mad at myself for not being able to get things in check. I’m frustrated because I AM trying.  Logical Me (and Eric) says: You have to figure out how your body wants to be fueled and I suspect you need more protein. You HAVE TO go to the gym. Working out at home was nice but you KNOW that your body responds well to weight training and cardio on the elliptical and bike. Your energy level is low and as a result Emotional Me is getting the crazy eyes.  Logical Me knows it’s going to be ok…just not RIGHT NOW.  This will take a while.

For the moment, until I can figure out what it takes to deal with my garbage or let it go, I have to be contented with getting back to the gym.  It’s going to take a Herculean effort to get myself back on an a.m. schedule but that L’Oreal lady keeps telling me I’m worth it.

How do you deal with all the baggage you’re carrying around?  Just so you know before you make suggestions: I don’t have a handgun permit or access to cyanide.

 

Crimes and Misdemeanors

13 Jun

Remember last week when I promised I would tell you when I fell asleep in the control tower? This was the weekend. It was an awesome weekend, don’t get me wrong – my beautiful, brilliant, cousin Lucy graduated from high school and had a wonderful party full of family and friends. I co-hosted a baby shower for my equally beautiful and brilliant friend Kate who is anxiously awaiting the birth of her son Tiberius. Ok, his name isn’t Tiberius but I like calling him that. The shower was terrific – lots of fun and funny womenfolk eating, drinking, and generally making merry.

The truth is that I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off all weekend. I didn’t work out and I didn’t have much control over my food options. I also made really good friends with a pitcher of mimosas which was entirely my own fault.  The scale was well aware of my indiscretions this morning….so much so that it didn’t even show my weight – it just screamed.

So, I fell off the wagon for a couple of days….and my 36th birthday is tomorrow and I have less than 60 days til my brother’s wedding.  Here’s the thing – I did TRY to take control of the situations.  I kept my portion sizes small, passed on hors d’ouevres, and drank a lot of water. I think the chief downfall here was sodium (which I couldn’t control) and alcohol (which I could but didn’t).  Thus, I must gather the lessons learned, dust myself off, and move on.

  • I CAN have a mimosa at a party – I cannot have 8
  • Orange juice has a lot of sugar and empty calories, as does champagne
  • I have to make more of an effort to slow down and be mindful of what I’m drinking
  • Drinking more water and going right back to eating right will nip this thing in the bud in no time
  • I’m really fun when I have a pitcher of mimosas in one hand and another pitcher in my belly…but that’s not exactly a good reason to do it
  • Weekends like this happen. It’s done. Get over it.
  • I REALLY need to work out tonight

I really have more important things to dwell on than this weekend’s crimes and misdemeanors…like the fact that my Gyno is asking me if I want to freeze eggs.  I want to bring her a dozen grade A jumbos the next time I see her and tell her to freeze them because I might want an omelet later.  I could also dwell on the fact that driving my rental car (car is in the shop for body work) is like driving a shoebox….or that my maid hasn’t cleaned the apartment, done laundry, or gone grocery shopping in at least a week. I’d slap that bitch around but I’ve been told by leading experts and the Catholic Church that self-abuse is wrong.

And on that note, please refrain from abusing yourselves and try to leave the weekend in the past and start the week fresh. Hope everyone has a great week!

Me and Snotty McWii

8 Jun

Last week I was benched from working out and some hygienic practices that I consider integral parts of my toilette and being in polite company. It sucked. Julia Roberts may like to rock the natural look but it’s not my bag. A week later Mulder and Scully (yes, the lumps – they were something out of the X-Files) are nearly gone and I broke protocol.  I didn’t wait for an alien abduction, but a couple things led me to “get back on the horse.” First was the fact that through eating carefully and keeping my water intake high I was able to lose 2 pounds without exercise. Yes, two pounds would put me below the yellow line on The Biggest Loser, but it brought me to my legitimating ideology – if I WAS exercising imagine what I would be losing….I HAVE TO exercise! The other deciding factors were that they didn’t really hurt anymore and that I had a friggin date coming up. There was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to be puffy and hairy.

So I shaved, deodorized, and exercised.

And nothing bad happened.

I grabbed my Wii balance board and the platform I bought to raise it to Jane Fonda sadism level and I went to town….and the weight has kept coming off so far and The Captain and Tennille haven’t really noticed. Jacking up the balance board made me want to drop dead. I had been doing Advanced Step for a while and all I can say is that a couple of extra inches really do make a world of difference (yes boys, we’ve been lying – size does matter).  I was determined to get in at least 40 minutes even if I arrested and I won’t tell you that I didn’t whine like a little bitch. I REALLY wanted to stop but I thought of all those amazing people on The Biggest Loser who were getting the tar beaten out of them every day, working out for more hours than I care to be conscious – they toughed it out.  I thought of all of you who are reading this, to whom I feel accountable. I promise you that if I peter out halfway through and give up or don’t work out because I’m sick, hurt, or busy I WILL ADMIT IT.

This is reality – we get hurt, we get sick, we get busy and some days we just don’t feel like we have it in us. It’s okay. No need to beat ourselves up…there are plenty of people willing to do it for us.  I will tell you my little rule of thumb that helps me get through the moments I just want to give up or skip a workout and it’s incredibly simple – give it 10 minutes.  No matter what kind of workout I’m doing, the first ten minutes (post warm-up) I think I can’t do it, that I’m a moron for even attempting it, and that I would really be better served by going back to bed, but at the 10 minute mark something awesome happens. I’m over the hump, pumping adrenaline, feeling totally badass – I could do this shit all day! I could beat up those menacing teenage hoodlums that hang out in the Krauszer’s parking lot. Frankly, I become dangerous, but I can get through the damn workout.

Long story even longer, I did 45 minutes of Advanced Step then moved on to 2 other aerobic “games”, did a bit of strength training, and finished off with a little yoga. I was so sweaty by the time I went to do the plank that I slid off the balance board and the snotty, smug trainer couldn’t resist telling me that she “noticed I stopped halfway through.” There’s no option to tell her your balance board had become a slip-n-slide.  Enough about that bitch. I worked out for well over an hour…she can suck it.

Sometimes you really can’t do it. Sometimes your body really needs a rest. I will never tell you that you should ignore your doctor completely – it’s about knowing your body well enough to know when to push through and when to stand down.  So as you’re working out this week give it ten minutes and ask yourself if you really can’t or if the waaaaambulance is coming for you.  You’ll surprise yourself.

 

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