The never-ending struggle

Today is my day to post over at Losing it in Ottawa.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for 39 weeks and that we’re just 13 weeks away from our first anniversary.

Honestly, after such a long time, I thought I’d be a lot further along in my progress, which has me wondering what to do next. Do I continue, even though I know that I’m not giving weight loss top priority in my life anymore? Or is this part of the journey for me?

The comments so far in response have been full of the support that the LIO community has become known for. I’m blown away and humbled by the support shown every single time my posts are published. 

I hate exercise. Well, maybe not completely.

This week we’re welcoming our eight brand-new bloggers over at Losing it in Ottawa (LIO). It’s an exciting time of growth for our little venture and the new group has generated an excitement and energy we haven’t felt since early on. I think we’ll all see some pretty fantastic things happen this year with the LIO crew. I hope you’ll stop by and say hello to our new bloggers - they really are a great bunch!

Since they’re all introducing themselves this week, the rest of us are on a blog break, though the Losing it is hopefully still going strong. But I wanted to share some things and since I’m not up to post again for two weeks, I thought I’d just say them here.

I’m excited right now about what I’m doing. When I say that the new group has re-energized us, I really mean it. It isn’t easy to share such a personal part of yourself every week. Weight issues are fraught with insecurities and apprehension. And when you’re trying to lose, you almost need ten successes for every slip.

My ratio has been flipped the other way around, but that’s primarily due to poor choices on my part. Lately, though, I feel the need to recommit and even take some extreme action. I’ve started my extreme action with my regular workouts. I’m spending the time I would normally spend on my elliptical, but taking the intensity up a few notches and then I’m doing several challenges - 200 Squats, 200 Situps and 100 Pushups. I’ve just started, but it’s going well.

I’ve finally narrowed down a major block for me when it comes to exercise. It’s the getting moving part. Whether it’s the morning just after I get out of bed or the evening after Brandon goes to bed, something in me just wants to go (back) to bed. And it’s very easy to convince myself that “I’ll just skip tonight and work out tomorrow instead” which is too often a lie. So lately I’m forcing myself to get moving. Just do it. Even if it means I’m not done with stretching until after 9:30pm, I’ve been getting my exercise in.

The best part is that I’m not focusing as much on how much I dislike exercise. My focus now is on how much I like the results of having exercised. Results like bouncing up a flight of difficult steps - the kind that make you feel like you’re wading through mud going uphill. Results like running full tilt to catch my bus - and not only making it but not wheezing to death in my seat. Results like picking up my son a knowing that it’s getting easier, even as his weight increases. And then there’s the opposite result that I’m noticing more and more - skip a workout and the bounce is gone and I can only run five feet. There’s no doubt about it - regular exercise just feels good.

I mentioned in my last post over at LIO that I was going to do a sugar fast. I haven’t started it yet, but life legitimately got in the way of my planning for this week. My goal is to be ready to go by the end of this weekend, cutting carbs and sugar for a few weeks to get my body off the sugar highs and lows it’s been experiencing for far too long.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m down 1.7lbs? And, yeah, that makes my total weight loss at an even 20LBS!!!! I was thrilled to hit that milestone and I can’t wait to make it to 25. And one day maybe I’ll finally figure out what I want to do for myself to commemorate the milestones I achieve.

I’m open to suggestions - anyone got any?

*****

PS - There’s lots of great introductory posts over on Losing it in Ottawa this week. I hope you’ll stop by and welcome our new bloggers.

December 28 – Achieve (#reverb10)

December 28 – Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today. Author: Tara Sophia Mohr

In 2010, I started a weight loss journey - one that was more about changing my ways than actually going on a diet.  In fact, I’ve lost over 18lbs. without adhering to a structured diet plan (Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc.). I didn’t want to be constrained by rules that I’ll inevitably “break” and feel bad about. So, I’ve committed to take steps to eat better and exercise. It was my goal to lose 1.5 pounds a week, which would have put me at roughly 30lbs. as of the end of the year. Alas, I didn’t even hit the 20lbs. mark and I’m okay with that. The last few months of this year were surprisingly stressful. 

Just before the end of the year, I was out at a holiday get-together with many of my twitter friends and this lovely lady pointed out that slow or fast, it’s not a race. It’s about changing my life and that takes time. There will be days when I don’t eat as healthy as others. But the goal is to reprogram my ingrained habits so that the healthy choices become the default rather than an afterthought.

So, that’s what I want to achieve this year - a new frame of mind. The process is already started and moving along smoothly, but I’d love that switch to be flipped so the changes feel like they are a part of who I am and what I do on a daily basis rather than something I have to constantly work at.

I know my weight will probably always be a struggle, but by exchanging my unhealthy habits for healthy ones, I can hopefully get to a point of maintaining a healthy weight. If I happened to get to said healthy weight in 2011, I could live with that achievement as well.

A little venting and a lot of laughing at myself - because I need to

I can’t give specifics, but I found out something this morning that upset me quite a bit. I’m torn between whether to care at all or whether I should dig a little deeper to find out the story behind it. Another part of me wants to let it ride and see what happens, but I know I may never find out the whole story and it feels too passive. Which makes me wonder if I even need or want to know. Do I?

I probably need to answer that question and then decide what to do next.

*****

Monday of this week I arranged a strollercise date with three other ladies who are all Losing It In Ottawa. Our plan was to meet at the parking lot of the Experimental Farm at 10:00.

I was looking forward to this all week. I had Thursday and Friday off to spend with Brandon and this would give us a good activity outside the house for the morning. My only concern was whether he’d actually let me put him in his stroller. The last time I took him for a walk with it, he used it with very little fuss, so I was hoping for a replay.

I was ahead of schedule all morning until we took longer than I realized to get packed up and get out of the house. I turned on the car, saw the time and knew I was going to be late. I was also not 100% certain of where I was going. I’ve lived in Ottawa 10 years and this was my second trip to the Experimental Farm. The first one was in 2002, so it’s been a while. (No, we don’t get out a lot.) I knew generally where I was going, but when I got to the farm, the “parking lot” part of our meeting place had me stumped. I really should have asked which lot - then I wouldn’t have stopped at half a dozen before I arrived at the right one.

Fortunately, my fellow exercisers were still patiently waiting for me. I quickly assembled the Chariot, threw everything in and got Brandon out of his car seat. When I tried to put him in the Chariot, I faced full-on opposition. So, I decided to go with it. I’m not interested in forcing him into strollers when he’s not interested. So, he held my hand and we straggled along behind the other ladies and their compliant, okay-with-strollers children. (I’m trying really hard not to be jealous of them, but the green-eyed monster is alive and well. Why won’t my child just enjoy his stroller days?)

Less than about 2 minutes in, Brandon’s shoe fell off, so I had to stop and fix it. The ladies kept going, but waited for us further ahead on the path - presumably when they realized Brandon and I were missing. That was when I threw up my mental white flag and told them to go on without us. We were all there to exercise and somebody should get to benefit from the trip. I decided to enjoy the scenery and a leisurely walk with Brandon.

We occasionally bumped into the rest of our group here and there, but we lost them completely about 30 minutes in when Brandon became fascinated by a particular tree. Not long after we left said tree behind, Brandon decided the stroller looked really good and he climbed in on his own. Being a responsible mother, of course, I fastened the straps for safety.

He can’t stand being strapped into a stroller. I don’t know why, but he was getting pretty freaked and wouldn’t calm down, so I had to undo the straps, at which point I begged and pleaded with him to please not stand up while the stroller was moving. If he’d been attached to my bike, this wouldn’t have been an option, but we were just walking with the jogging kit so I didn’t see any harm in it. 

I took full advantage of my newly unencumbered state and started booking it to attempt to catch up to Amy, Lara and Sara. (HA!) I don’t know exactly how far I went, though it was a pretty decent distance. I finally accepted there was no chance to revive my attempt at social strollercising and I turned back to head to the car.

It didn’t take long for Brandon to decide he’d had enough of the stroller again. When he started to climb out, I was tempted to cry. What I didn’t know was that it was about to get worse. Within 5 more minutes, he wanted me to carry him. 

I tried reasoning with him. That almost never works with my 2-year-old.

I tried telling him I couldn’t carry him. In his mind, this is a lie because I carry him all the time (but not for a kilometer to get to our car)!

I tried talking him into getting back in the stroller. He looked at me with his big, tired, blue eyes and started crying when I suggested it.

So I picked him up and started walking. Carrying over 34lbs of a little boy (who is snuggling up and trying to fall asleep) while pushing a stroller down the street. All the way to my car. I was sure my arm was going to fall off, but thankfully it didn’t.

The good news is that I did benefit from the trip after all. I got aerobic exercise and some unexpected strengthening exercise in. (I’m just not sure how I’m going to input the leisurely walk carrying a 34lb child into my calorie counter. I’m just guessing, but I bet that isn’t an option.) The bad news is that strollercising is officially off the list of possible activities for the future.

No longer the queen of denial

A number of years ago, I was talking with a friend about our respective drinking habits. I don’t recall what she said or even how we ended up on the topic, but I mentioned that I feel almost like a freak sometimes because Matt and I don’t choose to drink regularly. It’s not because of any beliefs about the “evils” of alcohol; we do drink socially a couple times a year. It’s just not something that we’re into. I went on, saying that because I have alcoholism in my family, I feel a need to be cautious because I’ve heard that there might be a hereditary link. Then, in my oh-so-self-righteous way I stated that despite the history in my family, I don’t think I have an addictive personality.

What’s that thing they say about pride and falls?

Monday evening on my commute home from work, I was reading this post over at Trains, Tutus and Tea Time. I was reading Corinne’s words about Corinne’s life and Corinne’s struggle and my inner cheerleader was doing backflips I was so thrilled to hear about her six-month milestone. I also realized i could relate to some of her feelings, which is pretty strange for someone who doesn’t have an addictive personality, right?

At some point as I read and absorbed the story, I finally realized and acknowledged that I have an addiction of my own. I’ve never thought of it this way before because I’ve always pretended that the issues I have are beyond my control. I’ve blamed genetics - there’s that hereditary link - and my health and bad habits. And there is some truth to all of these assertions. But that can only go so far before one must simply grow up, get over oneself and choose to take responsibility.

My addiction is food. I love food and I eat too much of it. I don’t stop eating when I’m full. I eat foods that I know will harm me. I choose unhealthy foods over healthy foods far too often. Self control is a problem for me unless I strictly regulate my diet.

Some might be taken aback with my comparing food addiction to alcoholism. But you know what? I’m pretty sure statistics will back it up that food addiction/overeating are serious problems. I’m 33 and I have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer, just based on personal and family medical history. By not taking care of my body properly, I’m increasing that risk every single day.

I call this the “fall of skinny” because it was fall and I was basically the smallest I’d ever been in my adult life. I may never look like this again, but I can feel that good and I will. (Geez, we look so young!)Six months or so from now I want to be able say I’m six months healthier. That I’ve made good food choices - more often than not - for six months. That I’ve exercised regularly for six months. That I’m losing weight (though that truly isn’t the point, but it’s an obvious consequence of taking these other steps). I want to be able to say that I feel better. And look better. I want to know that I’m doing everything within my power to live a long, healthy life. To be there for my husband and son.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone needs to look like a model - trust me, that is so not going to happen for me! I believe that if you’re comfortable with your body and your health, then why change? My reality is that I’m uncomfortable. My clothes don’t look or feel good. I’m self-conscious and there are things I want to do that I physically can’t and that bothers me. So, I have to be that person who takes responsibility and makes some changes.

The changes are already happening. I feel like the pieces of a puzzle are finally fitting into place. I’m thinking and planning and also doing, because thinking and planning will get me nowhere without action as well.

In the next couple of weeks, it will all become clear.