Adventures in Dieting

A few months back I wrote about becoming more comfortable with my body and getting into fitness. And I’m proud to say that there have been only a few weeks this year where I haven’t worked out at all. But I haven’t met my weight loss goal. I’ve been losing and gaining the same few pounds all year. A lot of that was due to my eating habits, but stress and lack of sleep didn’t help either. The latter two are anathema to any kind of lifestyle change–you simply don’t have the willpower or energy to do better. Even after quitting my job, I didn’t get it together the way I told myself I would. My workouts got more frequent, and I ate a few more meals at home, but I didn’t make any drastic changes to my eating habits.

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Well, I promised myself that if I didn’t do it on my own I’d have to get a personal trainer or something. I really thought exercise would be the hard part for me, but now I realize why it wasn’t. Exercising means that you only have to make the right choice once a day, at most. Provided you’re doing at least moderate intensity workouts for the recommended number of hours a week, you can get results exercising 4 days a week or all 7. But you have to eat, multiple times a day. And you’re supposed to eat meals and snacks from multiple food groups. So that means your burden to get it right, and opportunity to get it wrong, multiply exponentially!

Long story short, I signed up with a virtual nutrition coach a couple weeks ago. I get personalized meal plans via Dropbox, twice weekly meetings over the phone or via Skype, and workout suggestions as well. Since I know exactly how many servings of each food group I need each day, it makes meal planning much easier. I no longer have to agonize over whether I’m supposed to have something or not. And the plan is structured in such a way that I don’t have to count calories.

Just by comparing what I normally eat to the sample menu, I saw that I was eating way too many starches, somewhat overdoing the fruits, and not eating enough protein or veggies. They put me on a 3 day cleanse (which was actually really reasonable and involved all solid foods). But the one stickler was no starches! I could add one serving of a healthy starch for each hour of exercise. Y’all, I didn’t think I was going to make it. Bread is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G. Bread is bae. Bread is life (ask Jesus!). I mean, “give us this day, our daily bread” comes BEFORE “forgive us our trespasses” in the Lord’s prayer.

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And truthfully, on the first day I was hurt. Looking yearningly at the husband’s breakfast bagels in the pantry. Nibbling sadly on (literal!) nuts and berries, thinking:

got-carbs

And of course there was no sugar either. I was limited to 3 fruits (and not the candy tasting ones like pineapples and mangoes) and 3 TEASPOONS of honey per day. Y’all. That is ONE cup of green tea. I started to have an orange midafternoon and then told myself, “Better save that for dessert.” DESSERT, Y’ALL! On the second day, I went searching through Pinterest to see how I could make grapefruit more appetizing. I cheated (slightly) because sniffing a bag of dried semi-sweet coconut turned into eating one glorious, 1/2-inch piece of sugary goodness. But I got myself together and had an oven broiled grapefruit topped with cinnamon and a precious 1.5 teaspoons of honey (I just sucked it up and had some dry ass green tea). It wasn’t cake or cookies or anything like it. But I gutted that thang! The third and final day was much better, and I realized that my sweets craving is much more emotional than anything else. I don’t need it, and surprisingly, the fruit satisfied me enough that I didn’t go looking for more sweets. I got tired of tea and wanted some coffee, but that usually involves significant amounts of cream and sugar. So I went to Starbucks and got a skinny french vanilla latte instead (it’s made with skim milk and sugar free syrup). The last time I had one, I was disgusted. This time though? It. was. hitting! And for under 150 calories too.

This is what my life has come to. *weeps silently, yearning for a biscuit*

Body Party

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First, can I just say that whenever you see something in all capital letters you know it’s going to be some ignorance. But this hit one of my sore spots and I felt the need to address it.

Growing up I was called fat, and to be honest it scarred me for life. Looking back, I realize that while I was what qualifies as medically overweight, it was just baby fat that I would grow out of it. And in high school, I finally did. But having spent my formative years being teased, and a doctor who lectured my mom about watching my portions at every yearly checkup, the damage was done. I was a perfectly normal size, and in decent shape thanks to that godawful Presidential fitness test we had to do in PE every year. But looking in the mirror all I ever saw was fat.

It took me until I was an adult, and legitimately plus-sized, to realize how wrong my thinking was and do something about it. It’s only now, at 28 years old that I can look at myself and say, “yeah, you’re bigger than you would like to be- but you’re still beautiful and have nothing to be ashamed of.” I was embarrassed by my body for so long that I never wanted to do anything that would call attention to it. So I shied away from sports, and even though I would have loved to take dance classes, the thought of squeezing my (roly-poly, I thought) body into a leotard was TERRIFYING.

It may seem like one of those hippy-dippy, touchy-feely, politically correct things but the plus-size and HAES (health at every size)  movements against body shaming have roots in the type of ignorance displayed above. You can’t change your body overnight. And even with living the ideal lifestyle of 100% clean eating and a tailored exercise routine, there are limits to how much you can realistically change your size and shape. For example, I’m never going to have one of those perch a tray on it booties. I can definitely build it up, but  absent a commitment to  surgical intervention, it’s just not going to be a bubble butt. But to take it even further, the demands of our careers, significant others, and family prevent us from being able to live that ideal lifestyle.

The judgment from others is unnecessary. Overweight people know they’re overweight. They can’t forget because we idolize certain body types and mock those who don’t meet the standard. For example, the Playboy model who filmed a woman changing in the gym locker room.  For all we know that woman has already lost 25 lbs. But she was made a mockery of because she didn’t have the “perfect” body.

I love myself, rolls and all. I’m strong enough now not to let anyone discourage me. I haven’t met my goals yet, but I have more energy. I look forward to moving my body. I’m getting more flexible and discovering muscles I didn’t know I had. I’m saving money by cooking more and eating out less. I’m craving more fresh foods and less sugar. Whether or not anyone else can see the changes on my body, I’m happier with myself. I’d like to lose 50lbs, but even if I only lose half that, at least now I know that I’ve done everything I can for my body to perform optimally.  I’ll end up wherever I end up and have fun doing it.

 

January Goals Report

STATS:

24 workouts,

+ 2.5lbs

222,293 steps/97.34 miles walked

Average ~40 oz of water per day

This month was a success overall. I definitely committed to moving my body more and it while it isn’t second nature, it doesn’t feel like such an ordeal either. I realized  that I don’t necessarily need 64 oz of water a day to feel hydrated. I don’t sweat a whole lot in general, and very little right now outside of workouts since it’s still winter. On most of the days where I drank that much water, I felt like I was literally sloshing around inside and had to get up in the middle of the night to pee.

As you can see, I actually gained a little bit of weight this month. I was feeling bad but had to adjust my thinking. I’ve been tracking my calories and while I was not a paragon of healthy eating, my intake wasn’t noticeably different than it has been the past couple of months. The actual numbers don’t support that weight gain from eating, so I was forced to conclude that I had actually gained muscle weight. I’ve been doing a lot of strength training this month, especially weighted lunges, squats and leg presses. My measurements haven’t changed yet (it has only been 4 weeks after all), but my pants are fitting a little better and my tush is looking a little higher. This month I plan to incorporate a diet-based goal so I’m sure that will make a difference in my results.

Still, I’m trying to focus on the journey and not the end goal. I’m sleeping better and feeling stronger. I’m proving to myself day by day that I can be a fit, athletic person. I’m working my life around exercise instead of vice versa. Slow and steady wins the race!