April 1, 2012

Workouts: March

My workouts this month were good - not great, but good. I walked a lot, which I don't track. According to my workout log, I ran 30.41 miles and biked 159.92. The biking was less frequent than previous months, and shorter rides (most under 20 miles). I ran most days, but did a lot of shorter runs (usually 1-3 miles). I ran the Shamrock Shuffle while I was in Chicago - I finished in 49:09, taking 1:26 off my last 8K time (and 8:09 off last year's time at the same race).

I want to increase my numbers for April - both for workouts and weight loss. While it's true that I had a lot of work-related obligations in March that had to take precedence some days, I also had a lot of days when I chose to do nothing, or do less than I could have.

To be completely honest, I'm really, really exasperated by all this. It's been two steps forward and one step back for eight months now. I feel like most days, I'm just treading water, desperately trying not to drown. I'm still breathing, but barely.

I used to love sharing my accomplishments here. Lately, though, it's been a struggle. I've had a hard time seeing what I've done as "accomplishments." I run, I bike, I eat well - but not consistently. I hate giving excuses as much as people hate reading them, so I'm not about to sugar coat it.

January 1: 207
February 1: 198
March 1: 195
April 1: 192

My lowest weight for the month was 190 - it lingered there for a few days, then worked its way back up. I'm grateful for being in the 150+ loss range still, but frustrated about starting another month in the 190s.

I'm trying to focus on the fact that, small as it may be, it's movement in the right direction - but what frustrates me more than anything is my inconsistency. I used to lose three pounds in a week. Three in a month? That's the result of not making good choices consistently. I make great decisions for a few days at a time, then get overwhelmed by one thing or another and slip into old habits.

I used to post here every single day. I loved the accountability, as well as sharing my stories and my successes. Now, it's much less frequent, mostly because I can't stand to hear myself complain (and I've received a few e-mails from people who tell me, for one reason or another, that I have no right to complain, that things are really so good for me right now).

The truth is, this used to feel like a safe space for me to vent, and sometimes it doesn't, mainly when I get feedback like that.

This blog is a glimpse into my life, raw and exposed. And I'm struggling. I'm depressed. I'm frustrated.
  • I'm frustrated about being stuck in a small farm town in central California, and even more anxious thanks to the recently discovered fact that my job here might not be safe. I relocated for this job. I gave up so much to be here. And even though I am profoundly unhappy here, it's still a full-time job that pays well. So I'm also frustrated by not knowing what to think or feel.
  • I'm frustrated about loving so many people who are thousands of miles away. When I first started living healthier, I recognized that "food doesn't love me back - food is not my friend, my friends are my friends." I lived by that. Here, though, I'm struggling without any close relationships, debilitated by the pain of missing my friends and family. I love visiting, but every trip hurts because I know it's temporary. I'm reminded of how wonderful it was to have local love and support, but it's fleeting, and the feeling of safety is taken away just as soon as it comes back.
  • I'm frustrated by what feels like I'm failing at something I used to be fairly good at. I lost 150 pounds in a year, but I'm down only 3 pounds in the eight months since then. I've lost and gained the same ten pounds for months. I know the number on the scale isn't everything, but I'm also not terribly proud of my non-scale accomplishments. The half marathon, the race PRs ... I don't value them appropriately because all I can focus on is the fact that I'm all but entirely relapsed into an addiction I formerly had under control.
It's illogical to deal with an inability to commit to eating well and exercising by overeating and being lazy. Yet I still self-medicate with food and naps.

The thing about overeating, and I can't say this enough, is that it isn't about food for me. I keep trying to remind myself, I want to look and feel my best, and I want it more than I want to eat X. But it isn't really about *wanting* to eat X, Y, or Z. It's a compulsion. I get stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and this is how I hurt myself. Some people drink. Some people cut themselves. I eat until it hurts, cry, and take a nap. I always regret it, but in the moment, all I want is the high. I want to shut off the anxiety for a few minutes and lose myself in the good feeling of overeating, even though my logical brain knows it's all temporary and I'll end up feeling worse afterwards.

Somewhat topical, given this week's events: when I was first starting to lose weight, I shared an article I read about an idea called "the lottery effect." People who lose weight, like people who play the lottery, tend to think that if only this one thing wasn't a problem anymore, that everything else would be fine as well. The only thing winning the lottery solves is having money in the bank; the only thing losing weight solves is having a smaller number on the scale. The problems and issues you had before are still there, needing attention. I've been really overwhelmed with problems and issues over the past eight months, mostly because I've tried to ignore them, hoping they'll fade away. Really, though, they've intensified. There's an incredible scream inside me, aching to be released. And I can't keep quiet for much longer.

Right now, my top priority for April is getting my mental stuff in order. As always, I want to lose weight and all that, but above all else, I want to work through these emotional issues. Face my stuff instead of stuff my face, so they say. Reach out to the people who love me when I feel anxious - they understand, and they can help me through it much better than a binge will. Stay active, eat well, drink lots of water - and do it all consistently.

What about you? How was your March? What are your goals for April? How do you work through the emotional side of weight loss?


Simply Sara said...

My weight loss hasn't been going as quick as I want it too either!! I was really successful 2 years ago, and lost 50 pounds, now it seems to have slowed down so much. I run 2 miles 5 days a week and do my WW, (except this weekend, it's my birthday, so I am just taking a couple days off, maybe that's why it's going so slow, haha.) started the year at 196 and now I am at 188, 3 months later. My goal is 160, will I ever get there?!? I try to stay motivated, but it's so hard sometimes when things go so slow! Starting following your blog a while back! Enjoy reading!! :)


CarolineCalcote said...

I know it is trite, but you really should be proud of your accomplishments. Yes, you want to lose more weight. So do I. I ALWAYS do. If I could get to where I really want to be, that would be 150 pounds (5'8"). I have never gotten there! That will always be my holy grail, but if I don't actually ever get there? I'll keep trying and keep enjoying my life in the meantime. Is there anything physically that being at your current weight prohibits you from doing? If you can run half-marathons, then I don't think so. You can comfortably fit into an airplane seat. You can run, walk, bike pretty much any distance you want to (and you are faster than me!). You can buy clothes easily and look cute (I've seen the pictures!). I understand that you are not where you want to be, and neither am I. I don't know if I ever will be, but it really doesn't matter. I am not limited in how I live my life by those last (relatively few) pounds, and neither are you. In fact, I am constantly motivated by them to keep moving, keep trying. Even if I did reach the magical 150, it would be fleeting. There is no resting on your laurels in this weight-loss game.

I know it's been really tough on you in California, and my heart has ached for you. I hope that you can get those issued worked out, and I know that over time you will. You have so much life ahead of you...you are still really just starting out. You can make your life whatever (and wherever) you want it to be. I hope you keep blogging because you inspire and entertain me, but I know how it is with blogging. I go through phases where I don't see the point anymore. Then I'll get a really nice e-mail from a reader and know that somebody (for some reason) was inspired by my writing and I get re-energized.

Okay, now I'm rambling. Love you Mary!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I understand what you're going through. I had lost about 50 pounds by just moving more and eating less junk, and then I was stuck. Then I found MFP and started counting calories and watching portion sizes. That helped me lose another 25 pounds. And now I'm stuck again, battling the same 5 pounds +/-. So, now I found Insanity, hoping that will push me over the hump to lose the last 15 or so lbs. Maybe you just need to find something new to restart your engines. If I look at things closely enough, I can see that I wasn't giving 100% all the time, and that's why my results have slowed/stopped. But I have been maintaining my loss and that's something I've never done, so that's an accomplishment in and of itself. What if you wrote what you felt, every day, day in and day out, but didn't publish every post? You can use the writing as therapy but not be concerned about the naysayers who love to bring you down. They don't want to read it only because they probably see their own thoughts in black and white. I'll keep reading!

Leigh said...

I get tons of inspiration from your blog. I lost less weight this month than I have been in the past...but I'm okay with that. I have been running for almost 4 weeks now. You have definitely been one of my biggest inspirations for running. Thanks for always sharing and being so honest about yourself. Don't let others dictate to you what you should and shouldn't be writing about in your own blog. Vent away if you feel so inclined! I'll keep reading:)

Anonymous said...

I lost a good amount of weight last year, but have been kind of stagnant myself the past few months. Then again, the past few months, I left my job, moved in with family, and am still trying to find a new job. So on the one hand I try not to beat myself up about it, but on the other hand I keep thinking how much fitness-type activities I could be doing in all my "free" time.
We all have our baggage, and you have every right to bemoan your own setbacks. Sometimes you need to vent and get feedback from a sympathetic ear in order to move on, and that's okay. I think you, in taking the time to really get to the root of your troubles, will have long-term success. It's easy to just sit here and tell you to be patient, but ... slow and steady. You've done great so far, don't let a little plateau take it away from you.

Krista said...

I just wrote a big long comment for you and then there was an error. Not sure if you got it?

Claire said...

My March was lacking commitment too. I was really on track January and a good chunk of Feburary but I have been trading water in March. I was 195 at the beginning of March and 194.8 at the beginning of April...how is that for a holding pattern. I could blame it on a heavy work travel schedule and a whole heap of other things but they really are excuses. I am going to focus hard in April, I see the track and I am getting back on it.

Jordan said...

I moved around a LOT in the last 13 years, from Ohio to South Carolina, to Washington DC to overseas, to Oregon and now Upstate NY. In my joy and excitement at discovering new places I totally discounted the emotional cost of starting over so many times. (South Carolina was really tough for me since it's SO different from midwest Ohio - so I feel your pain about small town CA!) The big, tough part is starting from scratch developing a support network. It's really hard!!! It may have something to do with why I gained 100 pounds in that time. I am only now learning how to take care of the emotional me in ways that don't rest on food. My success at doing that will determine whether I stay thin(ner) or regain. I do journal every day in addition to blogging. I'm also seeing a therapist.
Your success at conveying the good AND the bad in your life is what made you a big inspiration to me. Maybe you didn't get closer to your goal, but you've made exercise a part of your life, you've moved across the country (and I KNOW how hard that is)-without gaining. Have you ever done any work on self-acceptance? I think you're pretty great!

Caron said...

I can identify with making a move that is not the best for you. In all my moves in the past 45 years, some were great while others were horrible. I saw a move as a success if I could either get a job I liked or make friends with people who shared my interests. Sometimes, neither of those worked out. Hopefully, you are keeping an eye out for job openings that you might be able to fill. :)

I disagree with the naysayers who say you have no right to complain. Who among us is totally upbeat 100% of the time?

Oh yes, I read the Donald Miller book and enjoyed it very much. Thank you for posting about it.

Weight Wars said...

Oh it pains me to hear you say these things. I know it all to well - how it feels, how it's hard to swim out of it.

NO ONE has the right to tell you that you don't have the right to complain. Peoples misery is not a competition, we all have different challenges and hopes.

I spent last year really struggling, you supported me without question and I was so grateful for that, I hope I can return the favour.

Can you find something that inspires you that you can have in Cali, even if you have to create it yourself, otherwise I'm just going to have to fly over and kick your butt. Much love to you lovely xx

Jen said...

I just found your blog recently. It saddens me that people are cruel and leave you feeling liek your very own blog is not a safe place to share your honest feelings.

I admire your dedication and ability to self reflect and recognize that we can always improve.

I've just started on my journey to lose 100+ pounds. Down 16 pounds in 5 weeks, I recognize that I can't keep up that pace forever. While I am able to tell myself that now, I know when the time comes I will be spitting mad!

Celebrate your success, but realize that your feelings are yours and you are entitled to them (complaints or not). Refocus, and move forward. Best wishes to you that you obtain your goal in the very near future.

Unknown said...

Oh Mary --

I think any one of us who has gone thru weight loss can relate to the roller coaster you are on!

You have the right to feel what you feel and ignore anyone who tries to tell you otherwise.

i had one whole year in the middle of my own weight loss journey where I only lost 7 pounds in the whole year - the WHOLE YEAR! And while at the time it sucked and I felt frustrated those those seven pounds meant something. They represented my commitment even when the going was tough. Even when I was still battling my own eating/working out demons.

So consider this struggle as an important part of your overall journey.

I also could relate to what it means to be far from home. I live in Los Angeles for 2 years and came back to NJ - I missed my loved ones too much too!

Krista said...

So, let's try this again! What I said earlier was first of all: congrats on your races! That is fantastic. Secondly, if you read my blog last week, then you know that I've been struggling as well. I am in the same boat as you in the sense that I lost over a hundred pounds in two years, but in the last year not only have I not lost any weight but I've put on a few pounds. I know there really isn't anything I can say to make it better, but it helped me when people left nice comments reminding me that I wasn't alone. So that's what I'm doing for you -- you are not alone and you are not the only one going through this. The only thing we can do is just wake up and remember that every day is a fresh start and just keep on going. Hang in there girlie!

Unknown said...

I can completely relate. I have great runs at weight loss where I am consistent and committed.

My first run was without exercise and now that I've been exercising I struggle with keeping consistent with my eating. So I end up undoing what I worked for and then get frustrated.

In March I was completely stuck at one weight, so some additional loss, just to have it creep back.

For April I decided to start the month of with some strict meal plannig. Calendar up on my fridge and mark off the days to help me refocus and jumpstart weight loss again.

You are living much healthier and have good goals ahead of you. Refocus and press ahead, as many times as necessary. All progress is good progress, regardless how small.

Renee said...

Is this my blog?? Did i write this??? Because i have felt every word you wrote. (And i dont have a public blog
..so its like you are in my head!!!!!!) When my kids asked me who i was talking to i realized i was nodding my head and randomly saying "yes" outloud....

No words of wisdom except try not to be so hard on yourself...i still think you are amazing, even though i dont know you.

LynnieG said...

Hi Mary - Everyone has already said so many of the things I wanted to say. I think you've done amazing things and have much more inside of you! My heart aches for you because I've felt so many of the same feelings that you've shared. It's difficult and all you can do is work through whatever comes up every day. It can be exhausting, but in the end - rewarding. I have to comment on your race picture - just look at that girl...strong, confident, happy...do you need to be in Chicago to look/feel like that? If so, then maybe it's time...

El said...

i really feel your pain. it sounds like you are dealing with so much. even though you say you are complaining i think you are handling it like a champion. it's not easy dealing with the mental aspect of it.

Martha Jane said...

I know that when you are frustrated with your progress and upset with yourself, that there isn't a lot anyone can say to cheer you up.

But I just want you to know this:

You are AMAZING. You are my inspiration. Your progress and success if like a giant light at the end of my tunnel.

I don't know if that really makes sense but I hope you understand what I mean.

Don't be down on yourself - you are a ROCKSTAR. A freakin rockstar.

Denise said...

My March was awful, actually. I gained weight back and went back to eating shitty food and it was generally not great.

April will be better.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with mental issues and I hope you're able to find the release that you're looking for.

Tim said...

The mental side of weightloss is what is causing me to struggle too. I have a complete lack of motivation ever since I hit my goal weight. Having a new goal weight just isn't very exciting and every day seems like I have to run through a brick wall to get results and even when I do run through the brick walls, I don't often get the result I expect to see. Sometimes I wonder why I bother because it's so frustrating!!

alaskagirl said...

share your heart, share your struggles. it's ok to be vulnerable. to be imperfect. to have really hard days or months. and to complain out of frustration. it's all very brave, honest and real. remember that nothing anyone ever says or does is because of you. a critical comment directed towards you says more about the person being critical than it does about the intended recipient. I commend your bravery and your honesty.

LynnieG said...

That tweet to @kiahc is pretty intriguing. Was I a psychic in my earlier post??
Peace, Lynne.