Category Archives: Body Changes

Day 3

As I think I’ve told you, I work nights. I am super late writing today because when I got home this morning, I was just too tired to write anything. The night ended unusually stressfully; so, all I wanted when I got home was a hot bath. After having a good wallow in hot Epsom salt water, all I could think about was sleep. I didn’t even eat any dinner: I just went straight to bed and to sleep.

Obviously, I have not hit the energized state of the process; however, to be fair, I have to admit that I have also dropped caffeine this week. My body’s two favorite stimulants – sugar and caffeine – are no more. As a result, I’m dragging – big time. However, having been through all of this before, I know that this is a temporary state and that I really will feel better without those things in my system. (Although I’d probably sell you my sister for a Diet Coke right now.)

Last night was a HUGE test of my will power! My company gave out sugar cookies to all employees (which I was obliged to hand out as a member of the committee), and one of my colleagues gave me a Dove heart, Valentine M&Ms (peanut ones. Yes, my favorite.) and a tiny Snickers. I was in purgatory and I’m not even Catholic! To deal with the strong temptation (after all, those chocolates were really small, how much could they hurt?), I asked myself the question that is the last item on Dr. Allie’s list: “Is this going to help me reach my goals?”

No. No, those treats weren’t.

So, I gave out the cookies with a smile and ate none. I gave the small chocolates to a pregnant friend who was thrilled to have them. And the lovely M&Ms are in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed in a reasonable manner after I meet my goals.

Day 3 was tough. I was tougher. It was close, but I’ll take the win. You bet I will!

 

 

Detox: Day 2

It’s a short visit today, y’all, on account of I feel just like the woman in this picture. My headache is monumental. I’m tired. I’m cranky. And I nearly killed a colleague last night for his peanut M&Ms (although in all fairness, those are my favorites). I was offered cheese pizza for dinner and the new cinnamon bun flavored Oreos for a snack. Really it’s nothing short of a miracle that I didn’t completely flip out.

But sometimes miracles do happen.

I remained fairly civil, maimed no one and that one incident of chasing Damon for the M&Ms hardly even counts. It’s Day 2 and it’s been so long since I’ve done this, I don’t really even remember how many hideous days I have to endure before I start feeling sharp, alert, and healthier. I don’t remember how long this goes on; but, I do remember that it has an end and at that end I will, indeed, feel mentally sharper, more alert and a great deal healthier.

So, we put this one in the books and say, “Bring it on, Day 3!”

News From the First Weigh-In

scale-with-feet-3

Project 40 has Monday morning weigh-ins; so, obviously, I weighed in yesterday. I had planned to post my progress in that post; but, there’s a reason I didn’t.

As you might have guessed, I don’t write most of my posts on the day they are published. I usually write them the day before; so, I wrote yesterday’s post Sunday night, originally leaving a sentence at the bottom to share my progress number.

Then I weighed in and thought we needed to talk about it a little bit.

You see, in the first week of Project 40, I lost ten pounds. Ten! I had expected five, but certainly not ten. Frankly, ten pounds is too many to lose in a week. I might be concerned about it except for these things:

  1. I know that it was the first week of this program and I always drop a lot of fluid weight in the first week.
  2. I’m a woman and (every 28 days or so) we tend to retain extra fluid. The start of Project 40 coincided with when I should have lost that extra fluid anyway.
  3. I walk a great deal at work and my accidental exercise calorie burns are estimates that are likely on the low side.

So, it is my strong belief that most of what I lost last week was fluid. Will you lose ten pounds in a week if you eat exactly the way I did last week? I don’t know. Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how much fluid you have in your body, your body weight, how much you move around and a whole bunch of other stuff. (This is when I should also voice that standard warning: Consult your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. I’m no doctor or personal trainer. I’m just a chick who found something that works for her.)

Speaking of moving around, that is my challenge this week.

Last week, I rearranged my food, this week I’m adding structured cardio exercise to my routine. That means that I must find at least 30 minutes in my day to do some cardio – walk, run, swim, elliptical, stair climber, whatever. I plan to do a combination of all of them so that my body doesn’t get too comfortable in any given routine and the calorie burn needed to complete it.

My clothes already fit better and my skin feels less tight. I feel lighter on my feet and when I sit. I am already feeling more comfortable in my own body again and I have to tell you that it feels really nice. Those first ten pounds were mostly fluid – the easy stuff. Now I’m getting into territory where I have to use and lose actual, stored fat. That is going to mean more physical work.

With an encouraging start like the one I have, I’m thinking: Bring it!

 

Project 40: The Zen of The Diet

zen foodIt’s been a week since I started Project 40. Seven days. 168 hours. 10,080 minutes. 604,800 seconds. And in nearly every single one of those seconds, I’ve had to remind myself of why I started this project to begin with. I want to fit into my clothes again. I want to feel lean again. I want to feel strong again. And, mostly, I want to feel comfortable in my own skin again.

It has not been an easy week. Several times I would have traded one of my kidneys for a Snickers. By Thursday, my mouth felt and tasted like a sock – not that I have tremendous experience knowing what socks taste like, you understand. I just have a great imagination. You know how your mouth feels when you need something to drink? That pasty, sticky kind of feeling? Well, it was like that only with sawdust. Awful. It felt awful, tasted awful, and (I fear) smelled awful. This week I may have to keep some sugarless gum on-hand.

If you review my worksheets for the week, you’ll discover that there are times when Susie Nutrition was on point and times when she was obviously absent. Popcorn? As a meal? Well….. Obviously, it had the calories I needed for the day, but not the nutrition. I was feeling very snackish, though, and that tub of unbuttered, unsalted popcorn did the trick; so, I’m good with it. It’s not like I ate that at every meal. Most of my meals were pretty sound, actually, if not necessarily traditional.

Over the course of the week, I remembered little tricks that helped make the Great Reduction successful and many of them are zen things I saw in a meme this week:

1. Do one thing at a time. – I can’t watch tv or cruise around the internet while I’m eating. That turns eating into a mindless activity where I eat faster, I eat more, and I feel less satisfied. So, when it’s time to eat, I have to turn off the tube, turn off the laptop, and put the phone in another room.

2. Do it slowly and deliberately. – I must eat slowly. Normally, I’m done with my meal in fifteen minutes or so, which doesn’t give me time to savor anything or to let my stomach tell my brain it’s full. I slowed down this week and even put my fork down between bites a few times.

3. Do it completely. – I have to really chew my food. One of the things about eating quickly is that I don’t chew my food much, either. This week, I paid attention to that. Rather than tossing a handful of peanuts into my mouth at once on the day I had them for snack, I ate one peanut at a time, chewed it, enjoyed it, then had another.

4. Do less. – Of course, I have to eat less of the things that are bad for me, although I can still have them. Last night, I enjoyed some So Delicious Cashew Milk Dark Chocolate Truffle frozen dessert. I scooped out 1/3 a cup and savored every molecule of it. I’m not going to lie and say that it didn’t cross my mind to get more (or even the rest of the pint), of course it did! But, I didn’t do it. I have to relearn to enjoy calorie dense foods in moderation.

5. Put space between things. – I take space OUT for this one. I use smaller plates and bowls. It really does make a difference to my mind! When a smaller plate looks full, I will feel like I’ve eaten more than if I serve the same amount on a larger plate, which would look emptier.

6. Develop rituals. – I chop vegetables and store them in the fridge when I get home from the store, before I actually need them. If I keep veggies ready to use, I’m much more likely to actually use them.

7. Designate time for certain things. – I have something of a schedule when it comes to eating. This helps me ensure that my blood sugar levels stay fairly constant, which helps avoid cravings and overeating.

8. Devote time to sitting. – No more eating over the sink! I eat at the table…on a real plate…with real cutlery. I have to get back in the habit of making meals appealing to my eyes as well as to my tastebuds.

9. Smile and serve others. – Forget it. I’m eating.

10. Make cooking and cleaning become meditation. – I enjoy cooking anyway; so, this one isn’t hard at all for me. Now, making cleaning become meditation? Prolly not.

11. Think about what is necessary. – I have to plan my meals with an eye for variety so that my body gets some of all of the nutrients it needs. In addition, it’s such a temptation on a diet to opt for easy foods like salads. However, if I don’t give my body and tastebuds the variety they need, I’ll end up fighting cravings and, well, ain’t nobody got time fa that.

12. Live simply. – My menu consists mostly of things that I could grow myself or make at home if I choose. I do have some vegan cheese, some vegan cheddar crackers, and some cashew milk frozen dessert. Those are clearly processed; however, they are a minimal part of my diet. Most of my menu consists of foods that have one ingredient: themselves.

It was a good week, overall. It was challenging, for sure, but good. Project 40 is off to a good start!

 

 

The Other Rebellion

couch potato catYesterday, I said that when the Sugar Monster slumbers again, all would be peaceful in the kingdom – kinda. The “kinda” refers to the Couch Potato Resistance. That battle is going to be a long one, I fear.

As I’ve told you, I don’t like to get sweaty. I don’t mind being sweaty, it’s just those moments between dry-and-comfy and wet-and-what-the-hell that I really hate. I hate that sticky, itchy feeling that lives in that transition. Silly, right? It’s not like that sensation lasts all that long; but, I just hate it! However, muscling through that sensation on a daily basis is going to have to happen if I’m going to return to feeling strong in the way that I like.

For a few days early in the year, I went to the gym after work and rode the recumbent bike. I didn’t do any strength training because I didn’t have a plan and, for me, a plan is crucial. I’m a creature of habit and I like for my workout routines to be, well, routine. I like to know what exercises I’m going to do. If I don’t have that plan and don’t know what I’m going to do, I don’t do anything. The Couch Potato Resistance wins.

For Project 40, I have come up with workout routines to get my strength training on track. I have two routines each for legs, core, and arms, chest and back (I always work those three groups on the same day). In addition, I have four different cardio exercises to do. This way, my workouts will be familiar; but, they won’t be the same each day. Therefore, my muscles won’t get used to any given routine and stop progressing. At some point, I’m sure I’ll change this up, as well, to add new exercises to hit the muscle groups from different directions. But let’s get real here, that’s not going to be for awhile yet. I haven’t had a really good structured workout in probably two years or, at least since right after my knee surgery. I know that for the first few times, I’ll hate it. I’ll want to wimp out, get in the car, go home and eat some popcorn or, really, a Magnum ice cream bar (320 calories, 14 grams of saturated fat, 29 grams of sugar). I’ll have to trash talk myself through those times to get to the times when I really look forward to working out. As I recall, those days did come.

Just after my knee surgery, I was having some serious professional issues. I remember thinking that I would feel so much better if I could just go for a run. Before surgery, I was able to run about three miles and felt awesome afterwards! After surgery, I wasn’t allowed to even walk for exercise for six months. During that time, I allowed myself to lose momentum, finally arriving at today, with me having the couch fabric impressed into the skin of my posterior.

As I begin my workouts, you’ll see all of the routines listed on my Project 40 worksheets. If you have routines that work for you or ideas on ways to make my routines more effective, I’d love to hear from you!

Just For Me

Love yourself

My friend Kent read yesterday’s piece and, like the wonderful friend he is, said, “Time to be blunt. I didn’t see the weight gain until YOU mentioned it.” That may be true; but, I saw it and my vision is really the most important one here – as long as it stays realistic.

What I mean is this: I’m the one who has to feel comfortable in my own skin and, right now, I don’t. I feel bloated, thick and weak. I don’t like feeling this way, particularly since I now know what it feels like to feel svelte and strong. Okay, maybe I wasn’t exactly svelte in everyone’s definition, but I certainly was in my own and I want to feel that way again.

I don’t like feeling winded when I walk up one flight of stairs. I don’t like feeling like I have rolls of fat on my belly. I don’t like feeling like I have no control over my appetite. Frankly, right now, I do feel winded, fat and out of control. My feet, knees and hips hurt. I’m the only one who can change that. I changed it before and I can do it again.

Now, if you look at my activity sheet from yesterday, you’ll notice that there are no structured exercises or accidental exercises listed. That’s because I was so worthless that I wasn’t worth the 12 cents for the bullet to shoot me. Working nights is more tiring that I ever imagined when I worked a regular schedule. I just don’t rest as well during my work week. So, at least once a month, I sleep most of 24 hours on a day off. Yesterday was that day.  You’ll also notice that I did not consume enough calories.

I should consume at least 1200 calories per day just to fuel my basic bodily functions. If I consume fewer than that, my body will react by going into starvation mode, converting all calories to fat. I will also become listless, confused and will feel cold all the time – at least that’s what happened when I consumed too few calories during The Great Reduction. I will have to plan my meals better so that I get the calories I need to function and to burn excess fat efficiently.

Whether I want to look better or feel better, this endeavour is all about me, really, isn’t it? It’s what I want for myself. It’s not that I look or feel just horrible now; but, I know what it feels like to feel better and I want that again – just for myself.

 

I Would Like to Vuy a Bowel, Pat

For ages, my friend Joey’s standard greeting was, “Hey! How you doing? How’s your bowels?” I have no clue why, that was just Joey. He was sort of a cross between Barney Fife and Kramer – always a little edgy, always a little off the cuff and always funny. Anyway, as I’ve been transitioning my menu choices, I’ve been thinking a lot more about Joey’s greeting.

Because, friends, let me tell you, my intestines have never been happier!

Without going into all the gory details, I’ll just tell you that as a child, I was intimately familiar with the taste of Fletcher’s Castoria. I often had a difficult time going to the bathroom and it’s something that has followed me into adulthood. IBS attacks when taking clients to lunch plagued me during my days in sales!

Not on a whole food, plant-based diet, though!

When I was going through the Big Reduction, I made sure that at least 75% of my meal was fruits or vegetables. And that made a huge difference in my system. Incidents of stomach upset and tear gas production decreased dramatically and I was thrilled! However, as I’ve shifted away from all animal protein, those incidents have decreased even further (as long as I stay away from soy).

While none of the Forks Over Knives books has specifically mentioned decreased digestive complaints as a result of following the lifestyle, in my experience, constipation, diarrhea, bloating, and excessive and biohazardous gas production are all gone!

It’s a really nice change.

Vodka on My Breath

I haven’t written in awhile. There have been several reasons; but, the chief reason was that I have been unwell and, in my illness, I felt like a fraud. The Positive Thinking Blog Goddess was having trouble thinking of reasons why brushing her teeth on her off days was necessary. Hardly positive thinking in anyone’s book, I’d say. To me, writing about making good food choices, good health choices or positive choices of any kind would have been tantamount to standing up as a sponsor at an AA meeting with vodka on my breath.

How could I talk about it with any conviction if I knew that I was failing at it in my everyday life? How could I talk about making healthful dietary choices when the primary components of my own diet were popcorn and Hershey’s with almonds?

Since November, when I got the Depo-Provera shot, I have been trapped in a binge-eating nightmare. All of the old, unhealthy language has reemerged to strengthen those old, unhealthy habits. I have felt completely out of control and powerless to do anything about it. My body has been screaming for sugar and salt – mostly sugar. My first thought upon opening my eyes has been, “What can I eat?” Literally, that has been my very first thought. I dream about food. I make good choices at the grocery store, then eat candy out of the vending machines at work or I make a stop at the drugstore for a box of Russell Stover caramels. And the internal litany that accompanies every sugary bite that I take is, “Look at you! You can’t control yourself. Sure, you were thin for awhile, but you’re fat again now, aren’t you? Go ahead. Eat another one.”

Despair-300x199That is the kind of language that kept me trapped in an obese body for decades. No. It’s not the kind of language that kept me trapped. It is the language that kept me trapped.

I have felt myself spiraling down and have been unable to stop it. So, now, even my stretchy pants are tight and my blue jeans aren’t even in the realm of possibility. While certainly nowhere near my heaviest, I am fatter than I have been in three years and I am angry and humiliated about it.

I’ve talked to several people about the depo shot and have heard the same thing over and over – women who took it experienced significant weight gain. I was so focused on the result I wanted from the Essure procedure that I didn’t fully consider the consequences of the preparation stage. I should have done more research. I expected that my doctor would not follow a protocol that would not be the best for me as an individual – this is a doctor I see, at best, once a year. I still think that she’s a good doctor and I will continue to see her; however, I will never again blindly follow a procedural protocol without educating myself. Please understand that I’m not blaming her. I am responsible for my health choices and if I choose to blindly and completely hand over full control of my body to another human being, I am accountable for the results – even if it’s significant weight gain.

I’m taking steps to regain control of my life and my cravings; but, I’m a long way from being in control. So, what you’re likely to see here over the next weeks and months is what my friend Rebecca wanted me to write about in the first place – my very real and sometimes ugly struggle to get my body, mind and spirit back to a healthy place. It’s not always going to be pretty and some days, I’ll write with vodka (or chocolate) on my breath.

Appropriate Accomodations

With all of the see-sawing I’ve seen in my weight over the past few months, my clothes have gone from loose to snug to don’t-even-try-fitting-that-in-here back to just tight now back to you-must-be-delusional. It’s frustrating and irritating.

Just before I took that ridiculous shot which started the two month PMS cravings, I had gotten rid of my Fat Jeans. I’m seriously regretting that decision now and have considered several times going to get some larger pants. I still have some stretchy pants that I can wear, but my jeans are out of the question. And I really like wearing my jeans – particularly since my favorite footwear (my cowboy boots) look ridiculous with yoga pants. Alas, I’m in yoga pants right now. So, really, it’s because of my cowboy boots that I’ve considered buying another pair of Fat Jeans.

Uh huh.

You may notice that I’ve said “considered,” not “bought.” You see, I know that lie. “I’ll just buy these so that I can wear them for a little while until I get back into my regular jeans.”

Lie.

You know as well as I do what would happen. I’d get all kinds of comfy in those Fat Jeans and wear those suckers out. Who knows? I might even eat my way out of them into the next size up. I’ve done it before and I’m not stupid enough to say that I wouldn’t do it again. For me, there is a slippery slope there. Just like Marie Osmond said in a NutriSystem ad a few years ago – your jeans get tight and you get a little muffin top going on. You wear a sweater to cover the muffin top. Eventually, you buy bigger pants to get rid of it; but, you just grow another one that you cover again with larger, loose-fitting shirts. The cycle spirals up and up until you look in the mirror one day and wonder who that fat woman is staring back at you.

Well, if I don’t buy larger clothes, I hope to short-circuit that process. I cannot get comfy in larger jeans if I don’t buy them. I will wear what I have and be sick of it until I can fit back into my jeans again. I was closing in on it before last week’s ginormous binge. Looking back through my posts, I’m amazed that less than ten days ago I felt like things were getting better only to crash again. Last week lasted about 46 days, I’m pretty sure.

Only it didn’t. It lasted the normal seven and I am still alive and have the will to get back on track. I have a closet full of appropriate clothes that have fit me before and they’ll fit me again. No need to move into larger posterior accommodations. The accommodations I have are just fine and I’ll be comfortably back in them in less than a month.

Feeling Groovy

I suspect that my high school AP history teacher, Mr. Paterson, had a party going on in his head most of the time. He would constantly interrupt himself with non sequiturs and asides to the point that it was almost like listening to a rubber ball bounce off the walls of his mind. He loved history; so, to sit in his class was as informative as it was engaging. Anyway, I mention him because of today’s title – Feelin’ Groovy. The actual title of Simon and Garfunkel’s song was The 59th Street Bridge Song; but, everyone knew it as Feelin’ Groovy. Anytime Mr. Paterson would mention the song (which was more frequently than you might imagine in a history class), he would say, “Feelin’ Groovy, whoever that is….” As a result, I never think of the song without thinking of Mr. Paterson.

feelin groovyAnd, I think of him today as I am feelin’ pretty groovy myself.

I’m about a week and a half into my Recommitment and things are humming along nicely. I can actually feel where I have lost weight in my hands, my abdomen, my face, my thighs and my shoulders. I love that! In addition, my hunger pangs have all but disappeared. Some of that may have to do with how worried I’ve been about the pup; but, regardless, I feel less hungry. I’ve eaten tasty meals heavy on the veggies with some starch, grains, nuts and legumes thrown in for balance. I’ve enjoyed snacks of fruit that give me plenty of fiber and a little burst of sugar when I need it. I am sleeping more soundly and am waking with good energy. At work, I’m getting in plenty of walking; so, my exercise is covered, as well. As a result, I’m feeling stronger. So, it’s good things all around!

And I do mean ALL around. Trey actually ate some of his dinner out of my hand last night and he was hungry for more when I got home this morning.He’s got some pain meds that are helping him manage. While he is still approaching the rainbow bridge, at least he is more comfortable for now. He may even be feeling a little groovy.

Like I said: good things all around. So why wouldn’t I feel groovy? Do something good for yourself today and join me! (beads and flower headbands at your discretion)