Monday, November 28, 2011

The never ending mental battle

It is such a mental battle for me...all or nothing. I need to learn how to accept good and not always demand perfection of myself. Nobody is perfect.

I have known for a while that the mental challenges are the toughest for me and today was no different. There were a lot of things on my mind today before my stress was the main issue today. Lately I can't forget my constant stress concerning my mom's health. And most recently I have an odd stress that I think has really consumed my brain this past week- I am only 2 lbs from my 200 lb weight loss goal. I've been on this weight loss journey for 2.5 years and I am finally close enough to reach out and grab this huge milestone which will put me that much closer to my goal weight.

The reality is...I won't hit this milestone this week. I really have to truly be prepared for this reality because it is extremely difficult to lose 2 lbs in one week, especially given the fact that I have lost 8 lbs in the past 4 weeks. FYI- that is freaking FAST. Of course, it's not biggest loser standards but I also need to remind myself that I am NOT on the biggest loser and I can NOT lose like they do because I am not working out 8 hours a day. It's better for my body to lose the way I am anyway and I am happy with that.

But...I WANT IT!! When I woke up this morning I had zero appetite. So I ate like a bird, even though I knew I had an hour workout with Emily today because my brain was telling me- don't eat when you aren't hungry. Fat girl's dream, right- no appetite? Heck no, you need to eat to lose weight! Seems so counterproductive but you can't work out without enough fuel in your body....enter exhibit A- my workout today and all of the mental battles I put my poor trainer through.

First off my elbow is flaring up again...which isn't really helping with my stress level. So we did legs, abs, cardio today- all body weight exercises so a ton of squats, lunges, and crunches (all the hardest exercises for me). Enter exhibit B- my ever constant obsession with perfection. I was over analyzing my form to the point that I could NOT stay on the darn bosu ball during the first exercise- squats. If you have ever done bosu squats you know that they are hard, but not as hard as my brain was telling me because my body could do them once I allowed myself to. I literally could not keep my balance worth to save my life because all I could think about was adjusting my form this way or that way and how I needed to do each one perfectly. But, I talked myself through them with Emily's help and by my second set I rocked them out.

And then there was my cardio section....the first 15 minutes section was AWESOME. It was freaking hard because it always Emily pushed me to my limits, but I ran harder, longer and faster than any run I have ever had. Which as she said just means I can't run slower than today Second 15 minutes...well this is where my major mistake with not fueling my body kicked me really hard. I gulped water before I started running and less than 30 seconds into what should have been a hard but not impossible cardio section my stomach felt like it was turning inside out and all the blood rushed to my head making me feel like I was going to either start throwing up or faint...or both. I got about 15 seconds more into the run before I realized that there was no way I wanted to do either so I hit the stop and regained my senses. I told Emily the reality of this crazy day- I had eaten about 250-300 calories total before the workout which was at 3:30pm. That is obviously NOT enough especially when your heart is beating at 183 bpm (I just had to get that in- holy high heart rate!!).

What happened next I am actually proud of. After recovering and giving myself some positive self talk I started back and did the first pyramid....and then decided I could totally handle another one after about a minute of 4.0 where I had allowed myself to cool down. I could have quit with the dizziness but I didn't give up and I survived 10 minutes of the 15 minute 3 set pyramid! I definitely would not have done that even 4 months ago. This trainer thing is paying off.

So, true biggest loser style, through the pain and anguish I had a breakthrough today with Emily. I really do have an all or nothing personality. This obviously translates into my struggles with weight and my binging as well as my weight loss and fitness regime. When I start struggling with a specific thing I immediately start beating myself up and sometimes it helps...but mainly it just holds me back unless I have somebody telling me I can do it and forces me to- enter my sister and Emily, both awesome at encouraging and cheering me on when all I want to do is collapse onto the floor and quit.

But the king of negative thoughts is centered around my running ability. I thought for a long time that I could NOT run a 12 minute mile and that I would always just be a jogger not a real runner. Then I did, during the first mile of my first 5k race. So....that was just in my head after all. I thought there was NO way I could run at 5.5 mph on the treadmill. Then I did, a month ago with Emily during a killer speed interval workout. mind games holding me back. Running outside is also nearly impossible for me, but I fought through my head on Thursday and had a solid run outside for the first time in years and it felt great! And last but not least I thought there was no way I could do a 12 minute mile on the treadmill because the only reason I ran that fast during the race was adrenaline- until I did just that today. My self doubt needs to take a hike and leave me alone.

Can you see all these excuses and how they hold me back because I don't believe in myself?! So frustrating! Today Emily said that I will be running at 6.0 mph on the treadmill and that is our new cardio goal to get me comfortable there. My eyes bugged out and my brain started immediately telling me all the reasons why I couldn't run that. And then I realized....that's not that much faster than 5.5 and I CAN do it! I am only 2 lbs away from 200 lbs lost forever- I can do anything!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm not actually hungry but my brain doesn't know that

Ever had that feeling like you could eat everything in your house? If you answered no to that, I'm just going to assume that you aren't human.

For everyone else- I'm curious how everyone else handles this- please respond with your helpful hints because I could use them!

I tried all my standard tactics....obviously I had dinner first and drank plenty of water and waited a good 30+ minutes after I was done dinner before I even considered entering the kitchen again. Usually this kicks my binge desire in the bud because I actually allow my brain to catch up with my stomach- what a novel thought!

30 minutes later and I still feel like I could devour everything that isn't nailed down. So, I had a little bit of my go-to craving solver- 1 serving of baked tostitos scoops with salsa (yum yum yum) along with an apple and felt a little better. To distract myself further I ripped my 3 new CDs that y'all will either cheer or point and laugh at me for. "NOW that's what I call music"- volumes 38, 39, and 40. I never looked at these albums before because I thought they were just for teeny boppers...until I was in Walmart today and realized that I liked every single one of the 20 songs on each one and they were only $12. HECK YEAH! So now I finally have some decent workout music. RHCP, I still love you, but sometimes you just plain suck to run or lift to and I want some Britney and Pit Bull.

So...I came here to further distract myself from further binge damage. This past week has been really stressful with my mom receiving some bad test results but it's calmed down a little bit because today the oncologist feels we can wait another month to recheck blood work and the CT scan and then go the surgery and chemo route. At least this way we can celebrate the holidays together before she goes into another round of terrible cancer crap...such a relief.

Ever since I got a scary text from her Thursday afternoon I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions and honestly can't believe I came out the other side 2 lbs lighter. I can thank my friends for that - I truly do have the best friends on the planet and I am SO lucky. After all who else would listen to my rantings and complaining and then stay on the phone with me for an hour and a half just so I didn't run to McDs and binge? Or talk to me for an hour and check on me every day even though they were sick (hugs to Jen). That's dedication because everyone knows I can TALK. I wanted to binge my brains out Thursday on my way home from a work seminar that didn't have me leaving White Marsh until 9:00 pm....yeah insanity. Thank goodness for Kevin for talking me off the ledge and letting me rant like a lunatic, although I know I could have called many others and they would have given me the same support and have in the past <3

Three years ago I wouldn't have even stopped to pick up the phone to ask for help...I would have driven directly to the nearest fast food joint and shamefully binged in seclusion, cried, felt guilty about my binge and the cycle would have continued the next day. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Straight to fat jail for me in the form of a food binge. But not now!! I have control of my own life.

And in some good news....Jen and I went shopping at the White Marsh mall yesterday and it was a BLAST! It's really amazing to be able to shop in the same stores as my fit friends FINALLY and be able to just try on cute party dresses because you want to and not burst into a puddle of pathetic fat girl tears because you can't find anything that fits. I've been there so many times before and felt so left out and miserable but that has come to an end.

I love how this dress looked and it made me feel awesome- but not enough to part with $100 for it- so here's a picture! Now looking at it I see all these flaws but I don't care because it's a size 16 and I haven't worn that dress size since I can remember. And this thing was FITTED. Happy day at Macy's!

I can't believe I just put it out there to the world my dress size, but I am damn proud of that and you better believe I will be shouting it to the world when I am a size 10!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are you ready for THE DINNER?

Since we are in the middle of the Bermuda Triangle of weight loss, of course we talked about THE DINNER today at my weight watchers meeting.

THE DINNER? Yeah, Thanksgiving, duh! For a recovering food addict, it can either be a nightmare or a success story. Imagine an alcoholic having an entire day centered around drinking. "O just try a little rum, a sip of wine, a gulp of beer- no big deal, it's just one day" said by all your friends and family. You would never imagine doing that to somebody who has been sober for 6 days, 6 weeks, 6 months, or 6 years. But remember, you can't just quit food cold-turkey (go ahead, soak up the corny pun. ha ha).

That's what makes beating a food addiction so hard. Sure, I can cut some things out, which I have. I haven't eaten fast food of any kind in over 2 years. Yes, this includes fast food "healthy options," because fast food used to be such a problem for me that it's better to stay away completely. I've had quite a few people tell me that I'm still on a diet because of this fact. To those people who believe that- you can bite me! I have changed my eating habits and chose to live a healthy lifestyle and there is no place for crappy fast food in my life. Yes, I use weight watchers to help me track my food because it works for me, but I have changed the way I look at food.

I digressed...but you get the point. I have no doubt in my mind that quitting smoking, alcohol, or any other drug is very hard to do- some say near impossible. But to me beating this over-eating addiction has been nearly impossible at times.

During the meeting today Joni asked us to share our most memorable Thanksgiving. I shared my most memorable- it was the Thanksgiving of 2009, less than a month after joining weight watchers. For the first time in my life I made the RIGHT choices on the day of feasting. I did enjoy my favorites (I refuse to live without a little stuffing and a crescent roll on thanksgiving) but I had them in moderation. And when those all familiar food pushers started their tirade "O Colleen, you hardly have anything on your plate. Don't you want more? Here have another serving. Don't you want pie?" I said no thank you even though it was extremely difficult and I wanted to scream at them for being so thoughtless by encouraging me to eat. They didn't mean any harm- they couldn't have known how hard it was for me then to say no, especially to my favorite foods. That year though, I didn't feel so full it was uncomfortable- I felt satisfied and not stuffed. Who knew you could do that on Thanksgiving? I SMASHED my next weigh in and lost at least 3 lbs. I still remember Joni jumping up and giving me a hug to celebrate. 100% worth it!

Joni, my fearless weight watcher leader, once referred to the three dreaded food-related holidays of the fall/winter as the The Bermuda Triangle of weight loss. If you think about Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/Hanukkah what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? Candy, turkey feast, and another feast. Family gatherings or parties all centered around the big F word- FOOD. See why so many "dieters" get lost to never be heard from again?

Don't get lost this year- take control of the day and PLAN ahead what you want to eat. Pick your favorites, chose reasonable portions (fyi- a reasonable portion of stuffing is 1/2 cup for you all you stuffing lovers out there), and stick to your plan. Don't let food pushers make you eat things you don't really want because it is YOUR body and you chose what you put into it for fuel. If you need to- tell a friend or family member what you want and ask for their help. Don't be afraid to ask for help to keep you accountable or make your day easier- your body will be thanking you at the end of the night!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Exercise is the best stress medicine

Exercise is truly the best medicine for my stress, and this week I had a lot of need for it...

This week I was in Richmond, VA for a regional meeting for work. Imagine being in educational and/or business meetings from 7:30 am till 6pm. 2 full days of that, with a half day on either side. But remember, you are constantly around co-workers (or Senior VPs in the case on the first 2 days) so you have to be on your 100% A game the whole time. O yeah, and I woke up at 5am Wednesday and Thursday morning to work out for an hour each day before hand. And I was up till 11:30pm each night networking....

Now I need to breath and reboot....It was a very educational and rewarding week. But I haven't been this emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted since my last new hospital opening.

So when I got home I went immediately to the Y to get a solid lifting workout in. I started thinking I would do the first circuit Emily gave me, then decided to do both circuits- 2 sets each. It took almost 2 hours from start to finish, including a long stretch before and after. I had just been in a car for 4.5 hours...I was stiff and my body was telling me so in the beginning. I considered stopping early after some elbow pain but luckily a mini break, some extra stretching throughout and lighter weights the first set worked out the kinks. Totally worth it because by the end of the first "Mega set" I felt great! There isn't anything better for a stress headache then a solid endorphin releasing workout!

I did lift on Wednesday in the tiny excuse of a hotel gym that the Marriott had while some scrawny guy was "trying" to do P90X. Before you think I'm a horribly judgmental person, cut me a break- the guy was just NOT bringing it! Many of you know my love of Tony Horton, so to see somebody going through the motions with such a lack of enthusiasm was annoying. It's one thing if you are really trying and just not doing well (been there, done that) but when you're just attempting to go through the motions - chose another workout for goodness sake!! And on top of that, he was hogging all the weights, the bench, and really any spare room.

The nice thing about him being in the way and lacking in any enthusiasm was that it made me want to show him up....So I did. Completely and totally. Emily (and Tony Horton) would have been proud. lol. Not only did I do most of the moves that he did on top of my normal set of squat and lunge variations (after doing a solid run and incline workout), but I also did my stationary squats on the wall with 10 lb weights, plus the alternating one-legged stationary squats that he was attempting (with said 10 lb weights in each hand). Yes, they are hard (and make you scream at Tony because he enjoys making others feel pain)- but you are doing P90X in a public gym- you better BRING IT! At least TRY to get into an actual squat instead of just casually leaning against the wall with your leg a foot off the ground. LAME!

So, thank you fitness for giving my brain and body a reboot- I needed it!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Goodbye old clothes!

This weekend has been full of fun and activities and some purging of my old life as well.

We were actually in Gettysburg this weekend, and since I finally have friends to hang out with (It took long enough, huh?) Saturday was a blast! Spin class was surprisingly small because apparently the regulars were feeling lazy or had something better to do at 8:45 am on a Saturday morning (I know, what could be better than spin?!) which didn't hamper the overall awesomeness of a totally new set of music. Speaking of which, I finally came out of the closet to my husband last night after drinking a shot of delicious cake vodka (before you get on my case- yes I counted all of the alcohol I drank last night! I'm a good little weight watcher and tracked in my phone right after every drink!).

If you've already heard the rumors they are true- I love Britney Spears!! ::hides::

In reality, I love current pop and hip hop music in general. I know, shocking, right? Not really- it's the best music to workout to! Don't worry, I still enjoy classic rock in the car, but who really wants to listen to the Beatles when you are trying to get yourself pumped up for a hard core workout? If that's what floats your boat, then good for you- but I love some good Pit Bull, LMFAO or Britney Spears any day.

I can honestly say that 2 years ago I never would have admitted this. Sounds ridiculous, but my whole life I have always been so conscious about what others think of me and since most of my friends (and husband) are avid classic rock fans why would I ever tell them that while my favorite band is still 100% the red hot chili peppers- I love Britney and Justin? This exact problem actually cost me a few friendships when I was in middle school. The girls said I was too pliable and that I didn't have my own strong opinions or views (so insightful in 7th grade!). I haven't been that bad since high school- but it's the same basic idea.

So, getting back to the great day now that you know my dirty secret....After spin and a brutal, leg heavy circuit with Emily she told me all about this clothing drive that the boy scouts were doing at the outlets- bring in 10 articles of clothing and get a $10 gift card. SWEET!! So, after stuffing my face with an egg beater, veggie, and turkey sausage omelet (heavenly) and cleaning off the grime of an hour and a half in the gym (not so heavenly) I tackled my closet head on.

Before I knew it I had spent over an hour trying on almost every article of clothing in my closet including shirts, shorts, jeans, skirts, and dresses. I had already decided to donate everything that was too big....which was more than half my closet. Except for my work clothes that is, which I am very diligent about keeping up with my current size- to the dismay of my bank account. By the end of the marathon of shopping my closet, I had bagged up almost 40 articles of clothing. That's not even including several items that I have ear marked for friends or loved ones that are my old size and could use the clothes. Holy overload of big clothes! Believe it or not, I just did this less than a year ago....

The end result- I brought in all 6 grocery bags full of clothes and then immediately used my $10 gift card to buy size L (eek yay!) workout pants at the Adidas outlet. SCORE!

For me, it feels very cathartic to remove all the clothing from my sight that are too big. I've heard of many people that hold onto some of their "fat clothes" just in case they gain the weight back. I REFUSE to gain this weight back. It has been way too hard thus far- too much blood, sweat, and tears have gone into this process of finding myself to just give up now when I can see my goal ahead of me! I am way too stubborn to go backwards in my progress ever again. There is no way I want to let myself tip the scales as high as I did in 2009 or even come close to it. I know that I will have more slip ups and some weekly gains and fluxuations, but I'm confident that I will never have to buy the size clothing I just donated again. I am woman- hear me ROAR!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Healthy lifestyle while traveling? Totally!

Sometimes traveling while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle is challenging...but you can do it!

I went to a local Pittsburgh chain tonight for dinner, right next to my hotel because I hadn't tried it before and I figured there was probably at least ONE decent option for me there. I can pretty much make any restaurant work for my lifestyle.

Yeah....this restaurant is now on my "avoid like the plague" list that includes ALL fast food restaurants (I don't count Subway as fast food), any buffet restaurants, and pizza joints. The one thing I could make work- a chicken salad. First, I had to pay extra to have grilled chicken breast instead of fried and then I had to say remove the french fries (yes french fries- who puts french fries on a SALAD?!?!), cheese, and eggs (these aren't bad, I just don't like hard boiled eggs). Apparently because they couldn't believe that I could just want a small amount of ranch as I asked for, they brought me a BOWL overflowing. Really?!?! I actually started laughing when she put it in front of me. Could there possibly be a person that would use all this ranch? The sad answer- there probably is, which is why she brought it out like that. Gross.

In the present state of our country, with continued attention given to the obesity crisis, I'm surprised and disappointed to see that such a place still exists in such a blatant form. Almost all restaurants- even McDonald's (shudder) has a "healthy options" menu. I tried to modify a different meal- but they didn't serve non-breaded fish and all their vegetables are cooked in butter and they wouldn't cook it without. Really?! I should have walked out at that point, but I was determined to prove the point I have made to several friends and family members that you can create a healthy option at any restaurant, even if you have to modify it a bit.

Well, thank goodness this isn't a common problem I have! While on the road especially, I avoid my trigger restaurants and foods. Between Panera Bread (O how I love you, Panera), Subway, Applebee's (holy weight watchers menu, batman!), Ruby Tuesday's, and some others- I have plenty of yummy options to chose from. What helps me is planning and knowing exactly what is a true healthy option for me and then sticking to it. Also, I refuse to stay at a hotel that doesn't have a gym, even if it's just for one night. Luckily, my company is able to accommodate this request- which is awesome! A nice bonus- the RVP (boss of the Northeast region) is a big gym rat along with me, so we always workout next to each other during regional meetings. Basically the entire high teer of management in my company consist of big fitness nuts which is a great continual motivation when the CEO of your company is working out in the gym with you at national meetings. I love my job!

Bottom line is, if you want it bad enough, you can keep losing weight while traveling. My coworkers especially seem to be in disbelief of my continual weight loss. My job has me on the road driving at least 1.5 hours each day, 4 days a week. It means a lot from them because they truly understand the demands of the job- which are often exhausting and stress filled. Often times I am gone from my house 3-5 days in a row at least 1 week a month, often 2 weeks a month. Sounds like fun, huh? You try it and tell me what you think ;)