Dropping Pounds – The Challenges
I didn’t mean for there to be more than a few days between posts on this but I’ve been working outside most of this week on getting some stuff done, and was sick yesterday. The first two months of the school year should have extra parent sick days allotted, in my opinion. Our kids go back, and they bring home all these wonderful germs that leave us all feeling a bit bombarded. But, I have noticed a difference this year in how my body is being affected by this stuff, and I think it’s because I’m trying to be healthier overall and my immune system is working better.
The stuff I’ve been working on outside is in an effort to get our house DONE. We moved in last December, 10 days before Christmas. It was crazy, but we did it. There are still a few outstanding projects to finish, which is actually why I still haven’t gotten to doing a full house tour on the blog yet, even though people have been asking to see things since we moved in. The office is mostly finished, just a few little paint touch ups that would really take me about 15 minutes. The kitchen is mostly done, except for the cabinet doors under the sink. We changed our approach to that whole space, and I’ve been putting it off until I do the closet built ins because then we can do all the doors and drawer fronts at the same time, paint, etc – all assembly line. Makes sense, right, but we’re still living with not quite done. And, sadly the bathroom upstairs already needs some TLC. When we installed the tile around the tub and put the tub in we didn’t realize that the tile around the tub wasn’t quite level, so whenever we have showers this trail of water runs along the inside wall and around the end of the tub onto the floor. I think I’ve figured out the fix, but it’s going to take some time and I’m thinking about doing it when Chris is gone in a few weeks because it’s one less person using the shower.
This week it’s been working on closets. Our closet units were put in back in April while Chris was away, but I still need to do all the face frames and trim work on them, and put in drawers and cupboard doors. Our ceilings are about 9′ 6″, and we’ve gone all the way up so we have a ton of storage, but I didn’t want it to be all open like it was at our old house because it’s a pain to dust up that high. Also, I don’t want to walk in and visually feel like our stuff that’s stored up there is going to fall on our heads, even though it literally won’t. I wasn’t working on the units for our bedroom, just giving guidance, so they weren’t built exactly to my specs, so as we’ve been working on the kids closets I’ve been doing a lot more attention to detail and I’m happy with how things are coming together. They have a primer coat on them and either over the weekend or on Monday I’ll start painting the good coats, and then we’ll install them. We’ve taken the paint ahead of time approach because it’s so much easier to do the bulk of that outside in our work spaces than it is to paint inside where I’m worried about getting oil paint on floors, taping things off, etc. I will have to paint all the trim work inside, but that’s not going to be a huge amount and will be much easier than crouching down and trying to get all the undersides of shelves done.
So that’s what I’ve been up to, now let’s get down to business.
In my first post about this whole weight loss thing I talked about why I’m doing this. I’ve been having issues with the way WordPress is pushing these to Facebook, so I know that some of you probably didn’t even see the second post about what I’m doing differently this time. I don’t want to drag this on and on, so I’m going to talk about a few things today. I want to share what I’m doing specifically, and what some of the challenges have been so far.
The first is how I’m managing what I’m eating. I mentioned some of the things that I’ve tried in the past and even told you that I decided to use SparkPeople.com again. In the past month or so I’ve realized that I do well when I’m tracking my food, and I wanted to be more honest with myself about exactly what I was eating, when I was eating, so I could learn and be able to make better food choices. Knowing approximately how many calories are in a particular food and knowing how many calories I should be aiming for each day helps me plan what I want to eat over the day and make choices about what is most worth my calorie investment. Does that make sense? The tracker on SparkPeople.com also does the breakdown of fat, fiber, and carbs so you can see what your foods are looking like and make choices based on that. I haven’t used that as a guide as much as I do just to see what I tend to gravitate toward and asking myself how I can maybe exchange some of those comfort food carbs for good for me fiber, for example.
Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m a rock star about all of this tracking and that things are going smashingly, because that would be far from reality.
The truth of the past few weeks is that some days/weeks I’m doing really well with tracking, and other days/weeks like this past one, I’ve done not so well with things. I was really in a funk in the past week, which I know was partly because of the lady business where all I want to do is sleep and eat all the carbs while I probably cry or something. Seriously. I went from feeling amazing to feeling like I didn’t want to drag my sorry self out of bed. And I definitely was not wanting the salad and healthy things. No way! I wanted pizza, and all the comfort food.
That said, it was educational for me. Realizing that a) it’s one week or so, and b) that even in the times where I felt like crap, I was still willing to make mostly good choices and when I stepped on the scale I hadn’t gained back all the weight I’d worked hard at losing, even if my body felt like it.
The last thing that has been eye opening is seeing the difference in how I feel depending on what I’ve been eating. That’s been the most interesting, and honestly kind of shocking. I think shocking because in theory I’ve known this about myself, and if I think back to when I was doing less carbs, for example, if I’m honest I was feeling better. As I’ve been going through things and trying to listen to what my body wants more than the theory of a diet/food plan I saw how I started gravitating toward healthier fare, and in turn my metabolism kicked into high gear. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that for several days about a week and a half ago I could not fill myself up. I would eat, and eat good things, and then an hour and a half later I was ravenous. I was tracking my calories and was eating about 2200 calories a day, and yet dropped more than 3 pounds in one week. I was definitely not starving! It was crazy. And a bit uncomfortable. To the point where I deliberately ate pizza one night because I just wanted to feel full for more than 5 minutes. I think the difference was that I was unintentionally not eating unhealthy carbs like pasta, breads, etc. And my body went into burn mode. Then, I indulged myself and let those things in and I directly saw how cruddy I felt.
I’m still coming off of that and working to getting back to tracking every day and trying to eat better again. It’s HARD. It’s a constant battle between my body and my mind and my heart. But, even when it’s been hard I have been still trying to make better choices than when I’ve gotten to this wall in the past, and you know what? The scale is still slowly, but surely going down. And that feels good. I did have a bit of a cry the other day when I was telling Chris that I just felt cruddy and discouraged and he just reminded me that he’s so proud of me and that I have been doing really well. This is just a few days, and it doesn’t change the long term outcome. I needed that reminder from someone outside of my head.
The one thing that I have been consistent with is exercise, which is usually the thing I battle most. Again, I’m not going to lie, it’s been a battlefield this past week. But, even when I might not have been eating as well as I could have, I’ve been making myself keep active, even if it’s the bare minimum. Seriously, when I feel like I have daggers stabbing at my abdomen the last thing I want to do is get on the treadmill and punch out my 20 minutes, but I did it. Today was the first day that I didn’t stick to my schedule because I was sick yesterday and didn’t want to over do it. Last Friday I did actually over do it :( It was a combo of being outside in the heat and sweating a lot and wanting to just do that one more thing. I spent 5 1/2 hours outside weed eating, mowing, and dividing and moving plants around. When I entered all that into the exercise calculator I’m pretty sure I burned more calories than I took in during that part of the day, and I felt it. Headache, exhaustion, etc. Not fun. So, I’ve learned that as much as I might want to keep going, I can’t battle the realities of living here in the heat and humidity and I need to take things in chunks.
My goals for the rest of this month are:
~ Keep being consistent with my exercise, not just for controlling my weight, but because I feel so much better when I do it and get those workouts and time outside in. My whole outlook is just better, I feel better, I’m less cranky and I like all that. It’s definitely worth it!
~Get back to tracking regularly so I can continue to learn about what my body works well with, what it likes, what makes it feel good and strong, and what doesn’t work well. Being tired and cranky isn’t a good feeling and I know that what I eat directly affects that, so I want to focus on some of that.
~Being more in tune with myself in the sense that I want to pay attention to what feels good in exercise and food choices, what leaves me feeling sluggish and tired, what my body is craving or wanting for exercise, and even what I’m enjoying and not enjoying.
~Being gentle with myself and remembering that it’s okay to be really focused most of the week and then give myself time to enjoy food/life for an evening or even a day, and know that is not going to undo all the work I’m doing the rest of the time.
~Some people say weighing yourself daily is a bad thing because it’s too much focus on the number, but it works for me as a check point through the week. I don’t panic if the number goes up because I know that things like water retention, bowel movements, etc all affect that, and just use it as a guide to think more about choices for that day. I do an “official” weigh in weekly and that’s the number I use to gauge where things are at in the bigger picture. I want to keep checking in with myself like this.
This whole journey is hard, and several of you have let me know that you’re on it yourselves, whether it was in the comments or through personal messages. Thank you for sharing! It was so encouraging to me. And, I want to encourage you too. We have bad/hard days. Life happens and sometimes there are things that come up that need more of our time and attention than what we’re eating that day. That’s okay. Doing well or working at it for 80% of the time is going to show changes, good ones. Giving ourselves a bit of grace and not getting into the shame conversations that like to roll around in our heads during those times is such a key thing that I’m learning, and I realize that this is where I’ve struggled in the past. Instead of being able to look at that as one rough day or week, or even weeks, and getting back up again I would let it define the whole process and give up.
Let’s not give up. Let’s get up the next day and try again. Maybe we’ll do really well. Maybe that bit of exercise is going to feel amazing and we’re going to feel like we can conquer the world. Or maybe it’s going to suck the entire time. I so appreciated a Facebook post by a friend in the past couple of weeks that literally said, “First post baby work out yesterday. It completely sucked.” I’ve had times where I get through my time on the treadmill and my strength training and I feel like Rocky when he runs the stairs. Last week I was almost crying because it sucked so bad and I just wanted it to be done. But I pushed through and finished and felt like I should have gotten a medal just for trying. The part that was soul lifting was not letting those “can’t” voices in my head win and later being able to say “did it”. I have a lot of weight to lose to be at a healthy level and I need to continually remind myself it’s going to take work and that it’s going to happen over time. Over and over and over again.
I’ve been spending time on Pinterest just cruising through the Heatlh and Fitness pins to get inspired, and as cheesy as some of the quotes are, some of them do get me going again. If you’re needing some inspiration here’s a good link for you :)
I would love to hear what’s working for you guys, what’s hard, what you’re learning… Please share!