December 10, 2010

Roses and thorns

I lost one pound this week, making my current weight 265 and my total loss 80 pounds so far. Even NSVs can't save my spirits right now, and that's a shame, because there were several this week - like when a group of my students came for pre-finals tutoring and I admitted that I had lost 80 pounds this semester, and they applauded. Or another faculty member telling me that I was such a huge inspiration and that because of my saying that I was running, she decided to get back into running herself. Or buying size 20 jeans for the first time in ten years (and discovering that they are too big). Or this picture I just took of me wearing a pair of work pants that were tight on me in June:

those were lane bryant 28s. i can wear old navy 18s.
Emotionally, though, I'm drained. Just completely exhausted. I'm ready for a little time off. It just feels like everything conspired against me this week. With the stress of wrapping up the semester, I felt hungrier than usual, and while I worked out about the same as I usually do, it just wasn't enough to balance my choices (which, in retrospect, were not as great as I thought they were). I can still manage great losses with an occasional splurge - but a little something every day adds up.

I'm pretty disappointed in myself, to be honest. Not because my loss was "only" a pound - a loss is a loss, and I'm okay with that. But because I actively made poor choices. Mom made me feel bad on the phone, so I broke down and ate one of the ginger cookies. I'm trying to eat what's in the house before I leave for Connecticut, and one of those things was a frozen container of macaroni and cheese (and not my spaghetti squash with reduced fat cheese, either - the real deal, made before I starting eating better). art by baptiste ibar for the science of sleepAnd I knew my boss was ordering pizza for the staff for exam night, and so I ate dinner before I left the house - then I felt hungry post exams, and the sight of it filled my brain with all sorts of warm, comfortable thoughts, so I ate some.

My problem in these situation is not actually about the food so much as my feeling of not being in control. It's not about the pizza - I don't want things to be off-limits, I want to be able to control myself. My problem is with the fact that I forbid myself from having it and ate a full dinner, THEN had pizza. If I had just allowed myself the pizza to begin with, it wouldn't have been so bad. And when my mom made me feel bad, I ate a cookie - not the two or three dozen I would have eaten in the past, but still, I find myself turning to my old coping mechanisms when I feel stressed or overwhelmed.

I think I am especially disappointed because this is my last weigh-in before going to my parents' house. Right now, I am in Chicago, and I am in charge of what I buy and prepare to eat, and I am in charge of when I go to the gym and for how long. If I can't control myself here, how will I do in Connecticut when I am not in charge? I wanted to have a hugely successful last few weeks before heading to the place where I feel weak and powerless and vulnerable. This week was supposed to be a success, because this week I am here, and this week things should have been easy. Chicago is easy - Connecticut is hard. And this is not stair race hard. art by baptiste ibar for the science of sleepThis is not Couch to 5k hard. This is a different kind of hard, a mixture of physical and emotional, and goodness knows the emotional hards are my weak point.

I wish I could just take off whenever I wanted and go to the gym or to a park or whatever like I do when I am in Chicago - but without a car (or a drivers license, for that matter), I'm very dependent on everyone else's schedules. I wish I could keep my own food in the house to prepare for non-holiday meals without criticism. I wish I could offer to make meals for my family without being greeted by either gagging noises or teasing about my being a "health nut." I don't wish that going home will be easy, I just wish that it felt manageable, and not like some huge obstacle. Racing up my office building seemed huge, but I trained and I did it in great time. Running for a minute at a time seemed impossible, but now I'm running two and three-quarter miles at a time. So why does going home to be with my family feel so much tougher than everything else I have done up to this point?

One of my goals for this trip home is to focus more on feeling and less on numbers. My parents don't have a scale in Connecticut, and so this will also be my last weigh-in for 2010. I'm kind of relieved, to be honest. I want to feel in control and make the decisions that are the best for me and my body without fixating on numbers as much as I tend to do. I know exactly when I am eating well and exercising enough, and I will consider my trip to Connecticut a success if my weight upon returning shows maintenance. I'm not looking for a huge loss - or any loss, for that matter. I just don't want to gain. And most of all, I don't want to feel like I am not in control.


Life as a Caterpillar said...

I completely understand what you are saying Mary. It's the 'feeling in control' bit that baffles me too. Even if i have lost weight that week, if i haven't felt i was 'in control' of my eating i don't feel it is a result.

Although the losing weigh bit of this isn't hard when we have the knowledge, it is the breaking free of all the old habits that is the truly difficult part. I empathise with you.
I , too have not conquered the raging desire to turn to food when stressed/ anxious/ upset.

I wish you all the very best in your trip home. I will miss you if you are not blogging.

Please know that i am CERTAIN you have the strength within you to make sensuble choices, stand your ground when faced with criticism (or ridicule) and be proud of the 'health-nut' change you have made

Much love

Joy said...

Girl...Pull up those boot straps and set your game plan. You do what you HAVE TO DO FOR YOURSELF ~ NO MATTER WHAT!! I don't care if they make fun of you. Get to the store and buy food that is good for you. Even if it's just breakfast and lunch stuff. Make those your clean meals and eat dinner with the family. Do the best you can with what they serve. Get out every day and walk / run. Look at the house and see what you can do to create an at home gym. Use canned foods for weights, use a picnic bench for a weight bench. Whatever it takes. If the weather is bad, tell them you need to get to the store/mall and walk it. Stuff a jump rope and other exercise things into your suitcase. Plan on drinking your water! Go with an attitude of success!!!! Don't go back as mom & dads little girl...Go back the strong, healthy and fit woman who has made amazing strides to get fit and healthy. Rock their socks off!!!! Don't back down and don't give in. You can TOTALLY DO THIS!!! I believe in you!!!


Ann (-50 lbs in -60 lb challenge) said...

Holy cow, EIGHTY pounds?!!! Congratulations! That is a huge milestone.

Instead of beating yourself up over the challenges of this past week, you should be taking something useful out of those experiences. You've identified weak spots, and now that you know they exist, you can better combat them next time.

It is easy (and common) to focus on the negative aspects and see the week as a series of failures. But you are NOT common. You are extraordinary! (Seriously, how many dieters ever get to 80 pound losses?) Do what is not ordinary, and you will succeed.

Make your review of the week's events constructive, not destructive. You learned ...

When you are tired, you are tempted. So, you know you have to build in something else as a go-to, that you enjoy.

Mom presses buttons, and you need comfort. What else can substitute (and I recognize carrot sticks cannot always replace cookies) ... is there something else you love, that would provide comfort?

You have frozen no-no food in the freezer. Gift that stuff to a friend or neighbor, rather than feel obligated to finish it off. Trust me, someone will enjoy it!

The big one is the out-of-control feelings, which you do not like. Taking control takes practice. Practice makes perfect, but it isn't perfection itself. Practice includes failure and half-attempts, and mistakes ... but eventually, the results shine through! It is about making one good decision - just one - and each hurdle is a new opportunity to practice. Sometimes you'll succeed amazingly, sometimes you'll fail miserably, but each time builds on the next and it will get better.

Keep your focus on the positives (seriously, I've never had a room full of people applaud ME), and learn from the not-so-great things, but never carry the burden of negativity. It is destructive and from all I've read ... you can't afford to fly home carrying that yoke.

What is your plan for dealing with the food situation in CT? Or is a better question, how will you deal with some of the family trying to push your buttons? They may try, but only YOU control whether the buttons work or not.

I'm very proud of you, you know. You've carved out your own life, and it is a pretty nice one! On top of that, you've loat a lot of weight, continue to lose, and still stay pretty amazing in the process. Don't let other peoples' fears or jealousy affect you. Love them all, but realize you don't live there anymore, and your life is what you make of it. You live with yourself every single day - they don't.

I wish you a happy ans satisfying holiday, and a wonderful New Year! And when Mom tries to push a button, just think about this - you are an amazing woman, with a fantastic life, in an exciting city, respected by many, admired and even applauded, for Pete's sake ... oh, and by the way, you are getting more goreous by the month! You shine - inside and out!

Maude said...

I really feel you on the family time. My parents are coming for a visit at Christmas, and even though I'm not stuck in their home, it's still tough to deal with the pressures from them. And I don't think they even realize that they're pressuring! Family members just interact a certain way and rarely think about it. I can certainly see how you're worried about your family's lack of understanding about your new lifestyle. I read somewhere that making the right choices is like flexing a muscle - it takes practice, but the longer and more often you do it, the better and stronger you will be. Just keep trying to make the right decisions when you're there. Keep saying no to the things you know you don't want or need. And thanks to your dad, you have a perfect escape if things get too intense - the gym! It'll help clear your head AND burn off some calories.

Amy said...

I know exactly what you mean about the control thing. That's honestly my biggest issue, I don't always have control over my impulses, and in turn you feel guilty and angry with yourself.

I think preparing to go home and dreading it so much, you might be setting yourself up for real disappointment, or perhaps it will be the opposite and it won't be as bad as you've been dreading. The main thing will be to go home and enjoy your family. Don't think about the food so much and the exercising, you've been doing this for many months now so eating well and exercising is habit. Eat portion-controlled foods... and since you can't drive place, go for walks after every meal since as well as working out with your fabulous gym membership your dad got you! You aren't working so make that your job. But when you're at home, just have fun and enjoy your time with your parents and siblings.

You don't want to get back to Chicago, and see your weight (plus, minus, the same) and think, I wish I had of enjoyed my time more!

I know that your family isn't your biggest support in your weight loss, but I'm sure they'll be supportive while your home, I think you have seen that with your dad's help before you have even come home!

Remember, it's only one month out of your life, and this is your lifestyle now! You'll just come back to Chicago and hit the ground running in January!

Jessica said...

I have felt more out of control this week too. Most of the time, I look forward to the gym, but this week each day has been a struggle, and I know myself well enough to know had I not been doing the Merry-thon I wouldn't have made it to te gym much this week. My food has been less controlled too, I have been HUNGRY every night...and I have eaten more. And like you, I have vacation time coming up...since I live almost 45 minutes away from my gym it is so easy to talk myself out of getting there when I don't have to drive in for work. If I have struggled this much going to the gym and it is on my way home and my clothes are already packed...I can only imagine the stuggle when I don't want to leave my house. But we just have to keep pushing through...keep fighting, and we will make it to the other side of these holidays.

Big Clyde said...

I like that you are looking critically at your choices, but I encourage you to take your cursor and highlight certain sentences:
"wearing a pair of work pants that were tight on me in June"...this one stands out for me.

If we truly look at this lifestyle-change thing as a marathon, not a sprint, then you are doing AMAZING on this marathon! Keep your head up, enjoy the holidays, and be proud of the fact that you are running a strong marathon!

Anonymous said...

You've got this! Ya know what I think? I think you need to talk to your family! Point blank say "if this isn't what you want to do, that's fine, but I want to be healthy and the gagging, snickers, jokes, and sarcasm aren't welcome." I mean, if they really knew all this was bothering you, I think they'd stop wouldn't they? Your family loves you, it's just that they are adjusting to a new person as much as you are adjusting to the new person you've become.

Talking always helps.

Drink water, walk, bring exercise dvds with you, portion control, and when they go to the grocery, go with them! Buy things you like and need.

Katie Warren said...

I agree with Clyde! This is a marathon and your trip home is a recovery period (I think that's whay they call the bit where you run a little slower to get a rest). You have done such an awesome job so far.

I completely understand what you mean about feeling out of control. I have been feeling that for the last few weeks...

Debbie said...

Congrats on the loss and 80 lbs girl.. You have done amazing. I understand that you are going though a bad period, but you will get through this. We all loss control once in a while..

jayme @ Losing Half My Weight said...

everyone's already said what i would say. you can do this. enjoy your time off. talk to your family about what helps and doesn't help you. be you and take care of you.

will be thinking of you and keep us posted!