fitness and nutrition

Back on the Wagon

After “keeping it off” (mostly) for a few years, my weight has drifted up, up, up. I had an “alarm bell” weight of 180, where I was supposed to get my act back together and tighten up again. I hit 184 about a year ago and shifted my nutrition to a template with more vegetables, little added or artificial sugar, limited dairy, and lots of protein at each meal. I lost weight and felt better, even getting back into the 160s briefly, but mostly hanging out in the 170s.

Late in the year I hit 180 again. Then my weight continued to go up. Sugar made its way back into my eating toward the holidays. Then cheese started to creep in pretty often, too. Sigh. I just didn’t feel like resisting everything anymore.

My clothes didn’t feel right. I couldn’t see my muscle definition buried under more pounds. But couldn’t get going in a better direction.

Then, a post from a co-worker. Folks at work are feeling similarly and need motivation to get on track before summer brings swimsuits and skimpier clothes. 20 dollars and one weigh in at the beginning, one at the end. Highest percentage of body weight lost gets the pot.

Wanting to game the system somewhat, I gave myself a “free for all” weekend before the first weigh in. I went for Mexican and dove into the chips. Ate big desserts. Fried chicken. The works. Unsurprisingly, I weighed in at my highest number in several years.

So now I’m back on the nutrition bandwagon. Here’s the plan… I’ll keep the vegetables and protein. I’ll reduce the fats and non-vegetable carbs that had been taking up more and more of my plate of late. I’m going to add back in high-protein flavored yogurt and some chocolate chips in moderation. I’m hoping that intentionally incorporating some of the things I crave will keep me on track and not going overboard.

Still working on water. Still skipping alcohol. Keeping up with workouts. Posting here for accountability. I have until May 2 to see how this little experiment works out. Updates will follow.

In the mean time, readers, how do you deal with nutritional backslides? Setbacks? Redirects?

dare to be different

Finishing Touches

I used to be a jewelry maven.

I have an entire jewelry organizer. Drawer after drawer of necklaces, rings, bracelets, brooches, hair ornaments, all of it. Gold, silver, rhinestones, turquoise, plastic. I loved it. All of it.

Every color, plastic costumey stuff, and beaded, and then my mother’s good jewels. Oh yes, there were also scores of scarves and other accessories. Jackets…oh, the jackets! I used to really love adding the perfect touches to all my outfits. Those were especially true of my days on the conference presentation circuit and when I taught college. Everything had to be just so!

These days, I mostly live in gym clothes. For work, I own a handful of bottoms and a few conservative patterned tops. Most everything matches and I just rotate it all. 99 percent of the time I don’t wear jewelry or accessories at all.

Why the change? Looking back, I think in some ways my accessories were a way of hiding. A splashy necklace or striking ring would attract attention away from my extreme obesity.

Maybe it’s also that a change in career. The life of an elementary school teacher isn’t as prestigious or as glamourous. And most of the time I am going directly from work to the gym. It just seems unnecessary.

Don’t ask me why a few weeks ago I remembered a necklace I purchased last year. Sparkles. A friend made it and I honestly loved it. I had a thought to put it on over a dress. Matching earrings too. I hadn’t felt that “put together” in a long long time. I walked a little taller. Felt a little prettier.

So maybe I’m back into it now? Hard to say. Precious morning minutes and easy to forget after being out of the habit for so long.

But maybe on special days I’ll be more likely to dig in and add those finishing touches that make me feel special. What are the finishing touches that give you a lift?

fitness and nutrition

Six Pounds

How much exactly does six pounds weigh?

Is six pounds of fat the same as six pounds of stress? 

Does eating six pounds of ice cream mean you will weigh six more pounds on the scale?

How many inches off your body is six pounds?

Is it worth it to abstain from alcohol to remove six pounds from your body?

Is it worth it to avoid pizza to keep six extra pounds off your body?

The questions above are really just a few of the many questions many people ask of themselves when they are monitoring their food intake to ultimately live healthier. For each person there are variables and of course obstacles. No two people will ever have the same journey of six pounds.

Whether the six pounds go on or off there was a story behind the why. It could be hard work or it could be grief and more. Variables. Journeys. Stories. Ups. Downs.

Everything in between. What is your story? Do you have six extra pounds that you would like to lose? Did you lose six pounds and now have sags where you don’t want them?

Is six pounds even worth writing about? Losing weight takes effort by the individual but may require a community for support. Gaining weight is normally about choices and environmental conditions. It could also be related to many other things.

What does six pounds represent emotionally? Can that six pounds weigh more like twenty to the person carrying the weight? What about a person with an eating disorder? One who struggles to maintain weight? What does a six pound loss weigh emotionally for this person?

Non-scale victory. NSV is a term I’ve seen before. Your victory may be another’s loss. Different journeys. Different stories. Physical and emotional weight. How do the differ or are they the same?

Just a post to ponder today.

healthy hacks

The Extra Weight

It was Amazon Prime day. I had been thinking about purchasing a weighted blanket. The price was right. I took the plunge. Was it worth it?

First, the box was heavy. It was a weighted blanket inside the package. Why wouldn’t it be? Nothing fancy from the aesthetic side but functional and purposeful….we shall see.

Night one. It’s heavy! It’s heavy on my body. Maybe a bit of a smothering feeling. Almost seemed like it would be so much extra effort to get up and go to the restroom.

Night two. I knew what to expect now. Today it was hot. Come winter that will be good but today was a warmer fall day so it didn’t have me jumping for joy.

Day three: the real question was did I sleep better? I don’t know is the answer. I don’t have an issue sleeping so it was in/out just like normal.

Day four: I was sore from my workouts. Going to bed was an extra effort. Lifting that extra weight seemed daunting but I did it. That extra weight seemed to diminish the aches or soften it a bit. Off I went to lala land.

Day five: I had to travel. A hotel was in the mix. I noted I missed my weighted blanket. It could have been the newness of it but I missed it. Obviously I’m not going to travel with my weighted blanket so I’ll have to wait a few days to get back in the comfort flow with it.

The verdict is: I’d say give it a try if you have been considering a weighted blanket. Your results may be more spectacular than mine. I could see it being a benefit if you are stressed and need that weight to calm you or if you struggle winding down it could definitely help you get settled due to the weight alone.

My package said it’s like getting a giant hug. With so much physical distancing these days maybe you need one just for that hug option.  Just another weight post for you think on.

business

A Numbers Game

I work in a profession where numbers are king. Pre-post data. Year over year growth. People love numbers. But not me, at least not always.

I have a love-hate relationship with numbers. I like the scale when the numbers go down. I’m not happy when the number goes up. Ever since I started Weight Watchers for the first time at the ripe old age of 12, I’ve watched that number on the scale with trepidation.

In my last round of weight loss, I learned that the scale can sometimes be a damn liar. There are all kinds of reasons for the scale to go up or down, some of which have little to do with what I did or didn’t eat. Maybe it means muscles are growing. Still, sometimes, I forget and get all tied up in what the scale tells me each morning. It becomes more than data and sometimes inches in to my judgment of self-worth.

Perhaps the number I fear the most has a dollar sign in front of it. For a long time, I have held on to a number as a symbol of my security, my prosperity, my future. That number meant a lot to me. So much that I refused to change it except when I was forced to.

It took a push from a dear friend and the universe to finally change that number from something that just appears on a screen to something real. Yup, I doubled down on my dollar sign and transformed that number into grass, soil, and timber. I changed in what I thought was the security of being a passenger and put myself in a driver’s seat.

So, the digits after my dollar sign may be smaller now. It’s what I have always feared. I have to look at it with a deep breath sometimes and remember…instead of disappearing, I am taking that number and transforming it into something new. Betting on my sweat and effort instead of just watching the screen, crossing my fingers and hoping it goes up. I’m taking the reins, moving in new directions, from the ground up.  Using my roots to create something new, beyond numbers.

Watch it grow.