Tag Archives: setbacks

You Can’t Spell Beast Without E-A-T

12 Mar

During my brief stint as a Religion teacher at Paterson Catholic Regional High School, when I got angry and/or crazy my kids would say “You beastin’ Ms. G.” Well, I was beastin’ this weekend.

I’ve been going through a lot the past few months: I’m out of work and looking for a job, trying to lose weight, and dealing with some difficult and often perplexing relationships. I’ve been trying to sort things out – figure out which issues are related (likely all of them) and which are controllable. I’ve started to connect the dots between my new birth control prescription (changed to be more affordable) and my lethargy, massive case of dry eye, and possibly how hard it has been to lose weight. I’ve also realized that not having the simple activity of going to work, walking around the office, and generally expending energy 8 hours has made an impact on my weight…oh, that and getting older.

At any rate, this weekend The Beast made an appearance and wreaked havoc. It’s “That Time of The Month”, or Shark Week as I like to call it, and my hormones are running wild. Starting Friday all I wanted to do was eat. This had nothing to do with hunger, nor was there a specific craving I was attempting to satisfy – I just couldn’t stop eating.

The truth is that over the past several weeks I’ve been relatively uninterested in food. That’s not to say I wasn’t hungry or that I didn’t eat, it’s just that nothing was sounding particularly appealing. I’m a big fan of Geneen Roth’s suggestion that you should ask yourself what you WANT to eat, give yourself time to consider, and then eat that – even if it means a run to the store – as a way to prevent yourself from grazing and tasting and nibbling to find the satisfaction you’re looking for. It was working really well for me until the day that I asked myself what I wanted to eat and there was no answer. I pressed myself asking “If you could eat ANYTHING at all, regardless of fat, calories, or Weight Watchers points, what would you want?” There was still no answer.

For weeks now, I’ve been unsatisfied because I can’t think of anything I want. When I’ve defaulted to my usual treats and cravings – like pizza – nothing has tasted as good as I hoped it would. So here I was, alone all weekend , all issues present and accounted for, waiting to hear about a job I interviewed for on Tuesday and knowing that I wouldn’t until at least Monday, and full of rampaging hormones. I tore through my kitchen like a Tasmanian Devil. I ate everything but the Cascade dishwasher tablets. Thank goodness I hadn’t been grocery shopping recently.

While I was on this tear I knew I wasn’t hungry but I couldn’t stop – I was bingeing but it wasn’t making me feel any better and I was berating myself the entire time.

It finally stopped when I got an unexpected call from a friend from New York who happened to be in the area and wanted to meet for coffee. I have a lot of AMAZING and supportive friends, but she was just the person I needed at that moment. Not only has this friend lost a tremendous amount of weight over the past year, but she understands what it’s like to be CONSTANTLY working at it. She is calm and understanding and chock-full of actual useful suggestions. She let me dump all my issues and worries onto the Starbucks table between us and helped me sort through them. I needed someone to hear me out, get where I was coming from, and not dismiss any of my feelings or challenges and magically she appeared.

I’m still tired and stressed. I’m still awash in hormones. I’m still not particularly interested in food. None of it is GONE, but I’m calmer and more in control.  The lesson I learned from this is that my binges are trying to tell me there’s something I need that I’m not getting and it rarely has to do with food. What I learned this weekend is that my friends are like a baseball team and each player has specific strengths and purposes. I’d never ask Derek Jeter to pitch, so why was I asking friends who don’t have the skills or experience with my issues to handle them and give me an MVP performance? I need the right man for the job.

For now The Beast is being held at bay but I know I’ll see it again; at least now I know what it takes to put it back in the cage.

Making the Right Choice For You

24 Feb

You've got it baby!Losing weight can be a very lonely process. Some of us do it in secrecy, protecting ourselves against embarrassment if we fail, while some of us join a program, like Weight Watchers, where we can be a part of a community with the same goals and struggles. Regardless of how we pursue loss, we still have to continue to exist in the life we’ve built over many years. We’re still members of a family (or two, or three), still have friends, co-workers, and social obligations. The challenge, inevitably, is maintaining focus and resolve while engaging in daily life as well as the battle of the bulge.

I have friends whose tastes run to burgers, fries, and shakes. As much as simply the thought of those foods, especially in combination, makes me drool like Odie at an Alpo convention, seeing it across the table from me is far worse. I envision lunging across the table and inhaling it, leaving behind a crime scene that even CSI would find horrifying. I think that’s a pretty typical difficult situation, but what makes it more challenging is being “out” with the same friend.

Once you’re out of the closet where your weight loss effort is concerned, you often feel like you’re denying your friends or family the things that they want because you want to make healthy choices…this is the beginning of the story of every backslide I’ve had in the past five years. The first time my friend suggests going to one of our favorite haunts, heavy on ice cream, burgers, and fries, but then adds “Oh, but you’re on a diet.” I’m a little embarrassed and uncomfortable. I feel bad.  I think “One meal won’t kill me.” I cave. Then the next meal gets easier, and the next easier still.

We want to say yes. We want to see our friends and family. We want to please people – make it easy for them. We want to sit down for a meal without worrying about the fat, carb, and calorie content of our meals. We feel bad and eat emotionally.  In the end, isn’t that what has gotten to us to this very moment? Didn’t not wanting to inconvenience other people or think about what we’re putting in our bodies get us here?

In the end, it’s a choice; a choice that requires us to put value on ourselves. Isn’t it time that our health, happiness, and self-esteem matter as much, if not more, than our friends getting to eat a burger and fries? I’ve talked about backsliding before, and while weight loss is about choice, backsliding is about not making a choice in your own favor. It’s about grabbing the immediate gratification and letting go of the long-term payoff.

What I’m finding, day by day, is that I can give myself some short-term gratification AND make the right choices daily. What works for me is having one “easy day” – in my case Saturday. I weigh in at Weight Watchers at 9am, go to the meeting and then ask myself “What do I want? What have I been craving?” If it’s pizza, I have pizza for dinner, if it’s a cookie, I get myself a cookie at my favorite bakery. I still count the points, but I don’t worry about it as much as I would every other day. Knowing that there’s a day in my week when I can indulge (though not in excess) makes it easier to make good choices every other day. What’s more, it takes away the taboo on certain foods – there’s nothing I CAN’T have.

The most important thing is that I’m making a choice here – not abdicating responsibility.  In the end, when I sit down with my friend The Hamburglar it’s not as hard to make a healthy choice, because I know, come Saturday, that if I still really want a hamburger or  fries I’ll eat them.  What works for you in these situations?

Have a great, healthy weekend!

Scaling Back

14 Feb

Welcome to Valentine’s Day at my house. I’m fetchingly dressed in pink sweatpants, a knitting bunny tee, and my lumberjack shirt – an incredibly oversized fleece button down stolen from a boyfriend circa 2001. I’m surrounded by flowers…when I say flowers I mean crumpled tissues. No, I’m not weeping like a jilted woman in a romcom because I’ve not received a bouquet – I have The Plague.

Ok, so I don’t have The Black Death – it’s more likely a cold or sinus infection – but I enjoy the drama…like calling impending snowstorms “Snowpocalypse.” I find myself wondering why it always is that when I’ve just hit my stride at the gym that my body throws a wrench in the machinery. It could be that it’s asking for more rest or it could just be crap luck but it’s so frustrating. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just a head cold and that I could go to the gym for just a bit, but that familiar feeling in my eyes lets me know that I’m going to fall into a short-term coma as soon as I find a mildly comfortable position and that I probably have a wee fever. I don’t own a thermometer because when I do I take my temperature too frequently. Which gets me thinking about my scale.

I should probably send my scale the way of the thermometer because I can’t stop myself from jumping on it at least once a day. It has become an oracle that determines my moods and, often, makes it harder to stay on track with my eating. I need to stay far away from the feeling that this is not working and that I’m doomed to be my own plus one. The scale is like the worst “Mean Girl” I’ve ever met…just when I’m feeling good it takes me down a couple pegs…and makes out with my boyfriend…ok, maybe not that.

So, here are today’s goals: Drink a lot of liquids, stuff my gullet with Mucinex, get some rest, hide my scale, and be mentally and physically healthy enough to go to yoga tomorrow night.

Do you have any special goals for the day or the week? Comment away!

 

Bloated, Bothered, and Bewildered

11 Feb

Well, after a week of exercising and eating my points and no more, I weighed in this morning. While Fantasy Lisa would have lost 5 pounds and received a little star sticker that excites all us Weight Watchers as much as a kindergartener, Real Lisa gained a pound.  A pound is a funny thing – it’s nothing when you consider normal hormonal fluctuations, the difference in your weight after you drink a couple glasses of water, or the added weight of a sweatshirt, but it’s celebration-worthy in the Weight Watchers meeting room when you take it off. 1/2 – 2 lbs a week is considered normal, healthy weight loss. It’s not so much the ONE pound that bothers me, it’s the others that should have melted off after all the work and water and carefully measured food.

Wrapped up in all this worry and disappointment, like the cream in a cannoli, is the beauty of Weight Watchers meetings. As I walked away from the scale, looking like I just lost my puppy, my WW leader, Davida, zeroed in on me and said, “How are you doing this week?” I looked at her dolefully and said “Meh.” I explained that I had started an exercise routine that included yoga and cardio on the elliptical trainer, had eaten my Points, not used my Activity or Weekly Points, and had been drinking all my water but still managed to be up a pound. She looked me right in the eyes and said “Good.” She told me that this is to be expected, that my body needs to adjust. She told me to keep on program, keep racking up the Activity Points but not eating them, keep drinking my water and that next week I’ll see the difference.

I’m not going to BS you and say that I’m not bummed out anymore, but I DO feel better. It’s great to have someone who has been there tell you it’s ok – that your body is doing what bodies do, that you’re doing the right thing and it will pay off. When I got home, my friend Emily reminded me that this will happen when you’re turning fat into muscle…and I believe everything Emily says…dude, it’s science…she’s got a PhD….plus, she takes honest-to-God boxing and could kick my ass.

Today is a rest day and I went to my beloved Hobcaw Cafe to get a coffee treat. I have water in my glass and a healthy dinner defrosting (beef stew with lots of veg – yum!). I’ll probably nap in front of the TV. I’m just going to be kind to myself and get some rest and stay on track. Today I may be bloated, bothered, and bewildered, but next week will be better.

Back in the Saddle Yet Again

10 Feb

It’s been a long time since I wrote, mostly due to an epic backslide. I went gung ho in preparation for my brother’s wedding in August with lackluster results, confirmed by picture in which I looked like I was competing in a beauty pageant with the Queen Mary. It was discouraging to say the least. Consequently I proceeded to add an extra twenty pounds, stop exercising, and to feel really, really sorry for myself. It was a very productive couple months.

In November I signed up for Weight Watchers. I really believe in the program – no weird eating or purchased meals – and took off almost 10 pounds but then the holidays proved too much for me. I got busy with parties and friends and stopped going to meetings…then I put the weight back on plus a smidgen more. I kept telling myself that I’d return as soon as I took the weight back off. Pure and simple – I was embarrassed. At the end of January it began to bother me. I knew I should go. I knew I wasn’t happy with myself.

Finally it occurred to me that people don’t go to Weight Watchers because they’re in control of their eating – the staff and other members understand backslides and gains – and that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I recognized that I needed to get back on the horse and start over because the only person I was disappointing was myself. I mentioned this to a friend in my knitting group and it just so happened she was going through the same thing. So, 2 weeks ago we made a commitment to each other to go to meetings together. The fact that I now have someone I have to call and say “I’m not going today” will help keep me on track as I’m more likely to let myself down than someone else.

Last week’s weigh in, after a full week of being back on program, showed a 3.8 pound loss. It was a nice welcome back present and I’m hoping to post another solid loss tomorrow. Since returning to Weight Watchers I’ve embarked on an exercise program with another friend which involves an hour and 15 minute yoga class at Verona Yoga once a week and regular elliptical workouts at the gym. I have to say I’m feeling really good. I have more energy, feel lighter, and sleep better.

I’ve always wanted to try yoga but was nervous about being the big girl in the room and, quite simply, was afraid I just couldn’t do it. My friend and I found that Verona Yoga not only offers a new student 3 class special so we could try it without making a big commitment, but also has an Absolute Beginner class so we felt that there was no expectation about our ability and no pressure. It turns out we both love yoga! Our instructor, Laura, is amazing – not only shows us modifications and use of props but encourages us to use them and not push our bodies too hard. There’s absolutely no judgement.  The people in our class are so very nice and I don’t feel self-conscious in the slightest.

It’s really interesting to me how aware of your body you become – even after just a few classes – in a non-judgmental way. I’m aware of what muscles are tight and which are more limber. I feel my muscles loosening throughout my practice and feel good about my progress. Better yet, a lifetime “bad relaxer”, this body awareness is really helping me unwind. So, yoga is a big success and we’ve decided to continue taking classes and really look forward to them.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got some things to do around the apartment and have a gym workout scheduled for this afternoon. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for my weigh in tomorrow and have a great day!

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?

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.”

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