February 24, 2012

Roses and thorns

You know, for a three-day week, I'm feeling oddly exhausted, and looking forward to catching up on sleep this weekend. There's absolutely no reason for it - between a shorter work week due to the holiday, and the fact that my workouts have dropped to pretty much nothing (a few days of Wii Fit, a few walks, and one 3 mile run) - yet I've gone to bed entirely exhausted every night.

To be honest, I think it's the stress of the past few weeks catching up to me.
  • All the grief over my bike - the tears shed for it, and the loss of other things I cared about very deeply last semester that mysteriously vanished from my life (not to be vague or anything).
  • Frustrations with teaching - namely, a few difficult students, wishing it was okay to yell "Just pay attention, jeez!"
  • Going through a tough time with Matt - not seeing him for so long would have been tough enough as-is, but with other emotional struggles these past few weeks, it's been very difficult.
As far as the bike, I ordered a new one, and hopefully it comes in today or tomorrow. As far as teaching, a few days of rest and extra-thorough lesson planning will help me strengthen my defenses and shield myself better against smart mouthed college kids. And Matt ... *sigh*

I've been ruminating a lot over Gary Chapman's 5 Love Languages after a post on them on Scoutie Girl, and part of the difficulty with us working long-distance is that we both show love/caring with Physical Touch. According to Chapman's website, this means:
This language isn't all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face - they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
Our other major hurdle is learning to be open and communicate our thoughts, issues, concerns. When you don't have in-person interactions very frequently, you have to be extra vigilant about communicating your feelings. There's no way for you to guess what I'm feeling, I have to be open and tell you. Since we're both non-confrontational (and both relatively new to dating and relationships), this has been one of our biggest problems - last summer, and now. We've sort of forced ourselves to have honest, frank discussions lately, and I certainly believe they have made us a lot stronger. Now, to keep it up.

I've been having honest and frank discussions with myself lately, too, about my eating and my exercising. Food has been hit or miss - especially this past week, it's been mostly good stuff, just too much of it - another week of maintenance, to no one's surprise. I'm still fascinated by weighing my food, and I've also been trying to listen to body cues for when I should eat, instead of going by the clock or any other schedule. I'm in a bit of a rut with running, and as fun as it is, the Wii Fit really isn't the workout it was when I was 300+ pounds. I'm really, really, really ready to get back on a bike and pedal away my frustrations.

Feelings of failure and negative self-talk have been all-too present lately, and instead of being the strong determined person I know I am deep inside, I've let old habits win, choosing naps over workouts and mindless grazing over willpower and making mindful choices. I'm unhappy - this is not the life I have worked so hard to create. Yet I can't seem to drag myself out of the slump. I'm hoping the new bike (and restored mobility) will help me get back to the way I spent the first half of the month - ready, focused, and looking/feeling my best.

February 19, 2012


The other night, I was reading an old book on food and nutrition that I found at a thrift store in Chicago, one volume of the Life Science Library, and one section stood out to me:
There is no point in enduring the agony of losing 50 to 100 pounds (23-45 kg) if the dieter slips back into his former eating pattern. The influences that made him overweight in the first place are, in all probability, still present, and he will soon regain his excess weight. If the dieter is to be successful, he must reconcile himself to a decided change in his mode of life, and a permanent one. He needs willpower strong enough to defeat the habits of a lifetime. (p. 132)
It was in a chapter called "Diseases of Feast," which talked about the history of food shortages and the problems that have arisen as a result of social and technological progress. The book was published several years before I was born, but now, over a quarter of a century later, it's all still so valid. The key, I think, is that this book isn't a fad diet book. It's the science behind weight loss, which doesn't make any promises for losing X number of pounds in a week by drinking only this special shake and doing a particular exercise.
... there is only one remedy for excess weight: a low-calorie diet combined with exercise. This combination, by supplying less energy-producing food than the body uses, reverses the process by which the fat was acquired in the first place. For once the body has used the energy that has been made available by eating, it will then turn to its fat storehouse, making gradual withdrawals until all of the excess has been burned off and body weight has again been returned to normal.

Any diet may be termed a good reducing diet provided it is low in caloric value and nutritionally balanced ... diet alone is not enough, however. Fat people generally exercise too little, and unless they alter both eating and exercising habits, they cannot attain healthful slimness.
(p. 130-131)
Some of the terminology is interesting, but all in all, it gave me a lot to think about. Mainly with strengthening my willpower muscle to get back on track and push forward towards my goals, but also, with thinking about how to eventually maintain a healthy weight.

So, in the midst of my failed month of non-weighing, I found myself in Target yesterday contemplating buying a second scale. Not for my body though - for my food.

In both arenas, I need this kind of accountability. While focusing on NSVs is both important and necessary, neither NSVs nor scale readouts can be the only measure of progress for me. I need to balance them both. Right now, I am what I'd call a healthy level of obsessed about numbers - until I reach my long-term goal (and even then, I'd say), they matter a lot. Even as measuring my body's weight becomes less of a daily priority, measuring my food will still be something I need to keep up. The changes I have made and will continue to make until I reach my goal won't end when I "cross the finish line." The best advice I've gleaned from maintenance bloggers is on how to prepare yourself mentally for life at-goal, the biggest hurdle of which seems to be accepting the truth that there is no finish line.

This small digital one was on sale, so I got it. About 6 and half pound capacity, measures in both grams and ounces. I have a hard time estimating calories with things that don't have nutrition information printed on them - namely fruits and vegetables, and meat. Underestimating by a few calories here and there can add up.

Example: yesterday morning's breakfast was my standard breakfast these days, yogurt and a banana.

That seemed right to me. This morning, though, same breakfast, except I weighed the banana - which I believe was about the same size as the one yesterday.

That's a pretty significant difference! 40 calories here isn't fatal, per se, but 40 unaccounted-for breakfast calories for a year adds up to over four pounds. And if I'm underestimating here, odds are my other estimates are off, too. A lot of little things can quickly become a big thing.

It's a basic kitchen tool, but still, I'm really thrilled about this investment!

What about you? Do you use a food scale to weigh your meals?