Thursday, May 14, 2015


So I figure if I am going to be able to keep walking down this path I had better figure out what set me on this path to begin with.  Seriously I feel like I had to pass through Hell and back to get to where I am now.  The past 7 months have been horrible for me, physically, mentally, emotionally, and my weight has reflected that.  Gaining weight back was not fun.  Sure I was eating whatever I wanted but I was out of control and eating that way made me feel sick physically, and also made me feel worthless emotionally and mentally.  I mean it's just food right?  So why can't I get it under control?  I was doing so good and then BAM!  Now I'm spiraling out of control into an ever darker pit that threatens to consume me.  I was depressed, holding onto emotional baggage, and wishing I could change the past. 

I am doing much better now, and it didn't "just happen", I was actively seeking help, actively trying to pull myself out of the pit.  But no matter how hard I tried to pull myself out, I kept getting sucked further into the darkness.  My weight creeping up to 161 pounds at its all time high on the scale and my willpower gone.  All I wanted to do was eat, and knowing that was the one thing I shouldn't be doing made me want to eat more.  I was in a dark place.  So what changed?  How did I end up where I am now?  I'm totally rocking staying on track with my food.  Sweets are much easier to say no to, I am not having a problem with afternoon snacking, and I'm killing my training workouts.  I'm happier than I have been in years and I feel really good: physically and mentally.

One of my problems was that I was trying to climb out of the darkness, or in other words I was going against the grain, kicking against the pricks, trying to force myself into doing what I thought I should be doing and hating it all the while.  I had to pass through the darkness to see the light on the other side and resurface in a different place than where I had entered.  The first thing, and I think you will remember these blog posts, I had to do was let go of my past.  My past was holding me down emotionally.  I had to let it go and embrace the here and now.  I cannot change the past, I can only learn from the past and work to make my present and my future the best it can be.  How did I let go of the past?  It wasn't easy.  It took A LOT of prayer and scripture study and tears, but eventually I was able to feel peace, comfort and love.

Once I let go of the past I took action to make my present better.  I knew I wanted to do more activities with my kids.  I felt like the days were unstructured, and the kids watched too much TV.  But I don't really like playing with the kids toys.  So I embarked on another project and I bought the kids a bunch of activities and toys that I would like to play with.  I bought the kids a bunch of educational toys from Melissa and Doug, things that I could interact with them more and teach them something.  Something we could do together.  Another note on this is that my husband who is getting his doctorate in Psychology was taking a training on something called KIPS so he could do parent child interactionals (basically evaluating how well parents interact with their children).  I watched the training videos with him as they were really interesting and they talked about 12 different categories ranging from physical touch, language development, giving direction, setting expectations, choosing age appropriate activities, etc.  This helped me gain some insight on how to better interact with my kids and get the most out of our time together.  Next, I found an online preschool program that I knew would be great for both of the kids.  Preparing for the preschool program (printing and laminating activities etc) gave me more purpose and doing the preschool in the afternoon used up time I otherwise would have spent eating.  Now I am teaching my children, playing with them, interacting with them, and working on things to do with them instead of sitting around being bored, bemoaning my life and stuffing my face with food.  When I am busy I am not hungry and I just had way too much free time before because the day was so structureless and I never had anything planned in the afternoon.  Now, with preschool in the afternoon and preparation coming whenever I can fit it in I have much less time to sit around and think about food.  I am enjoying it and the kids are enjoying it and we are all much happier.

The next thing that happened is that I actually started my triathlon training program.  I am registered and training and now suddenly the whole thing seems much more real.  This is something that I am going to do, there is no way out of it now and I certainly don't want to be the laughing stock of the race.  I don't want to come in so far behind everyone else that the course clean up crew passes me by.  I have read several stories of people signing up for races and then coming in so far behind everyone else that even the race markers are removed before they finish.  That sounds like a nightmare!  I want to give it my all and do my best.  I don't mind coming in near the end of the pack but I would like to not come in dead last either, or if I do at least not so far behind I embarrass myself.  This gives me motivation, and determination to not only track my food but to also stay within my calories and to say no to extra treats.  This also gives me a reason to do my absolute best at the gym, instead of just getting through my workouts I give it my all and try to improve.

Another piece of the puzzle is that I started wearing my HRM while exercising again.  I'm keeping track of my HR and using the calories burned on my HRM during my exercises to determine my exercise calories for the day.  I am taking out all calories given me by my fitbit since it isn't accurate for things like Zumba or swimming and biking anyway.  Also, it gives me calories for things like cleaning which I don't consider an official workout.  The extra calories it gave me throughout the day just threw me off and confused me.  I never knew if I should or should not be eating those calories and the general confusion it caused gave me an excuse to not track and eat whenever and whatever I felt like.  Now I set my calories at losing 1 pound per week and I only add in the calories I burn reflected on my HRM.  I am allowed to eat all of my exercise calories in a day if I want to eat them, but I have found that most days I don't eat all my exercise calories.  Days where I don't exercise are harder to stay within my calorie goal, but all I have to do is take a look at the race registration taped to the fridge and remember that I am a triathlete now and if I want to survive the upcoming race I need to stay on track.

Water.  OH my goodness, water.  My nemesis.  The first week I felt sick after drinking water.  Seriously I would drink a little bit of water and my gag reflex would go off and I thought I was going to puke.  One week later I found my mouth becoming dry and I would more willingly drink some water, which then made my stomach hurt and I felt sick.  Two weeks in, water in much more tolerable and I find myself reaching for water more than my diet pepsi.  Water still makes me queasy but I know it's important and I'm working hard to change my habit of drinking more diet pepsi than any other liquid.  It pays off in the long run, I don't feel queasy for too long and drinking more water makes me feel satisfied longer and so I am not as hungry.

Weigh ins: I have a very strict rule of weighing in only once a week.  I know I get scale obsessed and this is still very hard for me to adhere to but it is pretty much my only rule.  I can weigh in once a week, therefore I might as well not think about my weight every day because there is no point.  I will find out Saturday morning and I had better keep off the scale in the meantime.  This has helped me become less weight obsessed, less scale obsessed, and allowed me to focus more on living life every day to its fullest, making choices based on health and fitness rather than what it will do to the scale the next morning.  It frees up space in my mind and helps me to accept myself and my body at where I am now instead of where I want to be several months in the future.  I used to think "I can't wait until this month is over because I will be x pounds lighter".  Now it's about "How far can I progress this month in my fitness?"  My focus has changed.

Did you catch that?  My focus has changed Somewhere along this weight loss journey your focus has to shift from losing weight and wanting to fit into a certain size jeans to wanting to be healthy and fit and wanting to live life to its fullest and enjoy life.  That's what drives you to the end and helps you maintain.  I thought I had hit that point before but it was just a basic understanding of that is what should happen, a desire to have it happen to me.  And that is where it starts.  But I still was weight loss driven, I still hated my body, and hated the fat on my body, and really it was still all about hitting a number on the scale and fitting into a certain size pants.  And to be perfectly honest, all that is still there lurking beneath the surface but it is secondary now.  Now I am more interested in being active, being happy, doing things, going places, moving forward.  I know that what I am doing now will cause my body to change and when my body stops changing is where my new habits will have lead me and maybe by then I will be happy with the changes in my body and my pants size and I won't have to think about it so much, or maybe it is just one more challenge I will have to over come, one more thing I will some day need to let go of.

For now I am taking things one day at a time.  Every day is a new day with different challenges, different activities to overcome, yesterday is gone and the only thing that matters now is today and the future.  

A lot of little things, (okay and some really big things) have added up to some serious changes in my attitude, and my physical and mental actions.  This is how the change came about.  Now I know, and now you know.  Take action.  If you can't get yourself to count calories now then what is something that you can do?  If you can't get yourself to stop snacking in the afternoon then what is something that you can do?  I didn't start preschool with the kids thinking "this will stop my afternoon snacking" I started preschool because I wanted to be more involved, I wanted more structure, I wanted to do something fun, and as a result I became busier and my afternoon snacking subsided.  I felt like I had more purpose and became happier.  I'm not perfect, far from it, but I have made a lot of progress. 

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