Thursday, June 25, 2015

Weight Loss and Happiness,

   A WW friend recently posed the question - do you think losing weight will make you happier?  I've been thinking about it a lot, and the answer for me is: no.  And yes.

   I try to be positive, but I'm also realistic.  The fact is that losing weight won't solve all of life's problems.  A jerk boss, an obnoxious neighbor, a crazy family member - losing weight won't change any of it.  It won't solve money problems or keep your spouse from bad behavior.  It doesn't give you more hours in the day, and won't help with an ever-growing To-Do list.  Expecting that your whole life will be different and better if you could just lose the weight is unrealistic, and a great way to set yourself up for disappointment.

   I have a friend who suffers from anxiety and depression, and when he was really in the thick of it would tell me how it was hard to think clearly because of all the noise in his head.  And I have always liked that phrase, because for me, my weight problems have created a lot of noise in my head.  At the weight I am, and have been for much of my adult life, simply navigating day to day life creates lots of tiny stresses and worries that accumulate into a constant dull roar.  There are things I have to think about that most people don't,

   If I'm going somewhere I worry about the seating and if I will be able to be comfortable. Will there be a lot of walking or standing?  And if so, will there be places to sit and rest? Am I going to hold people back because I'm slower and tire more easily?  Are there weight limits for certain activities that look like fun?  Will there be people who stare or make comments, or maybe snap a picture to post somewhere at my expense?

   It's exhausting.  So I'm working to change it.  Because losing weight and getting to a more "normal" size will solve a lot of those problems and worries.  I don't even have to get all the way to goal weight to experience relief.  The noise in my head surrounding these issues will quiet down and eventually go away.  I may even have the mental and physical energy to deal with some of the other types of issues I mentioned earlier.  At the very least, just moving through and engaging with the world on a practical level will be easier and less stressful.

   So for me, losing weight won't solve all life's problems.  But it will solve a lot of them.

   And that will make me happier.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Learning vs. Dwelling - or How the Past is aTrap!

  So as I mentioned in my last post, I am in the middle of planning my epic 25th anniversary vacation for next May. As of now, all the hotels are booked, and all that's left is the flights and rental car, which I can't book yet - I guess it's too far in advance.  The first leg of the trip involves spending a few days visiting my niece in San Francisco.  The last time I was there was about 5 ears ago, when I went out there with my sister for my niece's grad school graduation.

   As I ALSO mentioned in my last post, I have gained back most of the weight I had lost.  And I think about how I felt the last time I was in San Francisco.  I was still very overweight, but was able to do much more than I had thought I would be able to do, and didn't have the problem of long recovery time after lots of activity.  It's very important to me that I get in the best shape possible before this trip next year, because I want to be able to be active and enjoy all the great places we are planning to see.

   I struggle sometimes when I think of how far I had come then, and how much of a failure I feel like for being back in this position AGAIN.  But I know that nothing positive comes from that kind of thinking - it just brings up negative feelings and lots of self-recrimination.   And it casts a very long and dark shadow that can last days or even weeks, and can trigger bad eating choices.

   Learning from the past is important - there is much good that I can focus on and try to replicate about my eating and activity choices from that time.  And this can help me be successful in the present.  But it isn't healthy to dwell on the differences in my weight and abilities between then and now - that way lies madness!  So I'm working on finding the balance between learning from and dwelling on the past.  Definitely a work in progress!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Back Again, With a Plan!

     Oh my goodness, it's been so long since I have worked on this blog!  When I look back at my old picture (which I will be updating soon), it makes me sad to see that I'm right back at the same weight pretty much.  According to my home scale, I'm at 350 lbs, which means that I've gained back most of the 25 lbs I worked so hard for over the winter.  I'll be honest, it makes me want to cry and just give up, but I won't do that.

     I have tons to say, but don't want this first post to be overwhelming.  Let me just say this - next year my husband I are will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary.  We have been working on a pretty awesome vacation plan for next May to celebrate. Our anniversary is in August, but the trip will be earlier, to accommodate my husband's work schedule and because travel will be much cheaper in May than in August!

     But it means that 1 year from now I have to be able (and willing) to fly.  And the trip we're planning will be SO much better the more active I can be.  At the weight I am now, with the attendant physical limitations I'm experiencing, this trip would be incredibly difficult for me to enjoy.  I haven't set a specific weight goal yet, but my main thought is to simply focus, focus, focus and lose as much weight as possible before vacation time.

     There are some details to work out, but right now I'm keeping that focus VERY small.  No more than one week at a time so it doesn't feel like too much.  So my goals for this week are:

               1.  Start attending WW meetings again, by returning to my Thursday afternoon group.

               2.  Track my food and water intake this week.

               3.  Enter my measurements into the WW site - something I've never done before!

               4.  Start easing into activity by trying my new seated cardio DVD and restarting my
                    physical therapy exercises.

               5.  Restart my blog! - oh look - I already met one of my goals!

     There are lots of things I want to talk about and get off my chest regarding this journey of mine, and what's been going on these last 2 years.  I'm having my husband take my picture tonight so I can update my site, and I may look into some design tweaks.  But mostly I want to post weekly - I think it will be helpful to working out some of the psychological blocks I'm having.

     I hope you'll come with me and enjoy the trip!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

In the Weeds

I have lost my way so badly I sometimes fear I'll never right my course.  But I know that I have to, and more importantly, I want to.  I need a plan, and then I need to set that plan into action.  I can do this, I know I can.  
Watch this space...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Meeting Shopping Once Again

   There's a new leader at the location I go to.  He's VERY new (only just past the maintenance stage himself), and very nice and enthusiastic.  His leader skills need a little work, but generally he's ok.  Here's the problem... he goes around to each member to ask them how they did at the scale - specifically how much weight they gained or lost.  And if you try to defer and just give a general statement, he really pushes the point.  And if you come in late, he will still make sure that he calls you out, even if he's in the middle of something else.  
   The two problems I have are this:  I don't always want to participate.  Even when I have a successful week at the scale, sometimes I just feel quiet.  I recognize that WW is best when people participate, gaining encouragement and a sense of community.  And sometimes I do like to participate, regardless of what the scale says.  But I feel like it should be my choice, and that if I try to politely decline giving a specific answer, then he should take the hint and move on.  There are lots of things I can contribute about how my week went, if everyone sharing their experience is his focus.  But that doesn't seem good enough - he really get relentless about the specific number on the scale.  
   The other issue is that it makes the meeting take WAY too long.  Sometimes he isn't done getting to everyone before it's time for the meeting to end, and then he still wants to talk about the week's topic.  It gets rushed, or sometimes brushed aside altogether.  And that's been in these last two months, when attendance is at its lowest.  I can't imagine how long it will take now that January is here, and the meetings get really busy.
   I plan on talking to him privately at weigh - in this week coming up, to see if we can come to some agreement about this issue.  One of the things I like about WW is that it is participatory, but I have always prized the notion that participation is voluntary.  I hate having to shop around for a different meeting, since I really like the group.  But the down side ends up being that I really don't want to stay for the meeting, especially if my weekly result isn't great.  And the meeting is important.  Hopefully there's a way to work this out!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Nice Fresh Start

   I made a decision a while ago that may seem controversial to some.  I decided to let my WW membership lapse so that I could start again.  Weird, right?  Let me explain - I've been struggling for a long time.  A little up, a little down, struggling to find and maintain motivation.  And the alarmingly overall trend in my weight has been slowly upward.  I was feeling exhausted, and spending a lot of time berating myself over lost ground.  It's an unhealthy mindset to be sure, but I couldn't shake it.  I started thinking about resetting myself - doing a mental do-over to reinvigorate my thought process and help find motivation.  Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn't.
   I'd been thinking about this, and trying to work through it for some time.  When Hurricane Sandy hit, we were fortunate.  Very minor damage, and we were in the lucky position of being able to help out and house family members who lost power and heat.  That kicked off a month of semi-controlled chaos, which included lots of ups and downs: the birth of a  new grand-niece, the loss of my beloved cat, the opportunity to spend time with far-flung family, and the loss of privacy and regular routine.  And the loss of regular routine was just what I needed.

   So after months of thought, I took the opportunity that this chaotic period provided to stop attending meetings and weigh-ins.  I let my membership lapse, and two weeks ago started my journey fresh.  New weight record, new goals, new tracking notebook, new gym membership.  I purchased the 10-week commitment plan, and had a very successful first week back on plan.  Second weigh in comes this weekend, and I'm once again looking forward to meetings.  It was a radical step, but I never had any intention of actually quitting.  Doing this allowed me to let go of all the baggage and berating self-talk, and I no longer feel like I'm failing.  It was definitely the right move for me.

   The next step in all the newness will be a redesign and relaunch of this blog, with updated statistics and some pictures.  It's funny how much lighter I feel psychologically and emotionally.  I'm excited once again, and feeling positive, and hopefully I will be able to use this blog to let those things come across!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Celebration Time

  So as I posted on Facebook earlier, I had a great week on the scale and lost 3 lbs.  What makes me happy about that, besides the simple fact of the weight loss, is that it brings me back to a total of 50 lbs lost.  For anyone who's been a reader before, this is a huge deal because I backslid for a while and gained back a lot of what I had once lost.  But I held on, stopped the slide, and started working my way back.  This benchmark is very important to me.
   Which means celebration time!  I already did one thing for myself, which is schedule a doctor's appointment.  I've been doing the very cliche thing and ducking the doc since my numbers weren't good.  Bad me!  So I went ahead and made the appointment, even though I'll still show a significant gain over the last time I was there, it's time to get back to doing the right things, and that includes getting new bloodwork and a checkup.
   But my real celebration will be more fun.  I'm going to go down to REI and get myself a really good and sturdy pair of hiking shoes. I usually go walking/hiking in my sneakers, and that just doesn't cut the mustard.   A 20% off coupon for the store just came in the mail, so it's like I get to celebrate and save money!
   It's my favorite time of year, and I've decided that since my stupid foots hurts whether I walk a lot or a little, I may as well feel the pain because I'm doing something I enjoy - I already have a few walks planned out in my head, so it's off to the store for me!