Monday, January 30, 2012

Tool: Tracking

I know that to make this weight loss work, and make it stick, I need to be accountable. And I know that I need to journal/track/write down what I'm eating.

I've used a lot of different methods over the years - the weight watchers system and their online tracker, pen and paper, even posting my daily food consumption on this blog.

This time I've decided to use SparkPeople, because it's free, it's online, and it's easy. It works with pretty much every diet system (except Weight Watchers, but it's essentially the same). I've used it before, and it has a recipe calculator, and the website is kind of fun to use.

I'm sure there are hundreds of options out there. I thought about going back to pen and paper, but for now, this is the best option for me.

What do you use to stay on track?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Starting from Scratch

I stepped on the scale at the gym on Friday night and scoffed. It must be broken, I thought. It's definitely not the same as the scale at home, I reassured myself.

And then on Saturday morning, I checked the scale at home - for the first time in several months - and surprise, surprise. The scale at the gym was bang on.


That's almost right back where I started in 2010.

Utterly depressing, right?

Well, yes. And, no.

I'm all for a fresh start. I've had dozens of fresh starts. But I sort of reassured myself when I fell off the wagon, knowing that I'd "maintained" my weight loss for over a year.

I've stopped maintaining, and put on about 10 pounds since October. That's a wakeup call that I definitely needed, knowing that I can't eat whatever I want and stay the same weight - even if it was a weight I wasn't exactly happy with.

So instead of getting depressed and heading for the chips, I've decided it's time to get real with my bad self.

I got dressed and headed out to Michael's to pick up a few things I'd need to motivate myself.

This is the first tool I'll be using. I got the idea from my friend Carmen, who got the idea from here.

Inside this glass container are 450 rocks. I know, I counted them each individually. Each rock represents a tenth of a pound - so 45 pounds. Every week, I'll remove from the jar the appropriate number of rocks - if I lose .40 of a pound, I'll take out 4 rocks. If I'm down 5 lbs (hahahaha) I'll take 50 out of the jar. And then, one day, that jar will be empty.

Something I've always had trouble with is the notion that smaller losses are just as good as larger ones - because they're more sustainable. If I'd lost even .2 pound/week for a year, I would have lost 10 pounds, not put them back on.

So this tool is going to serve to remind me of that fact. It's sitting in my living room right now, but it's going to move around. Maybe the dining room. Maybe the kitchen counter. Maybe the bathroom. Wherever I need to see it, to be reminded of my goals.

I've got a few other tools that I'll be using to get on track and stay motivated, so check back later this week. I can't WAIT to share good news with you :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012


The internet is not a very nice place sometimes. And I've been really fortunate to not actually experience this first-hand. I don't have any snarky commentors, and I'm really grateful for that.

I was on a website recently, looking for some shapewear to wear under my wedding gown. Shapewar is awesome. It smoothes out everything and thank god for it. But anyway, I was poking around, looking at photos and reviews, when I came across a "vision board" that someone had made, that was basically a collage of plus sized brides on one side (faces cropped out) and much slimmer brides on the other side. One set was under a heading that read something like "How I probably look now, gross" and the other set had a "motivation!" headline.

You can guess which set of photos went with which headline, right?

It broke my heart. It hurt so much to think that somewhere out there, someone might be looking at photos of me and filing them under a "gross, stop eating or you'll look like this! FAT BRIDE!" file.

But I do it to myself all the time. I have a photo of myself in a bathing suit when I was 20 pounds heavier that I look at sometimes when I'm craving nachos. I think, "gross, don't want to look like that! Ewww." and then feel quite satisifed that I've resisted temptation.

How is that ok? Running through the scenario casting the words I say to myself in the mouth of someone else makes me want to die. The hot shame, the pain, the feeling of choking back tears. I'd never say something like that to someone else.

But I say those things to myself and believe them ALL THE TIME.

I don't know where I'm going with this. We're all beautiful. I couldn't believe that someone would actually say/write those things about gorgeous women on one of the days when they are told to be, and are actively trying to be, their most attractive. It's an important day, a memorable day, a vulnerable day.

But I can't decide if it's more appauling that I might say those things about myself.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I am still sick.

This is the longest I've been sick in a very long time. Last week was spent moving from bed to couch to office and back to bed. Tonight I have plans to head to the gym, but only if I'm still feeling ok. Given the number of people there, it seems like perfect germ breeding and spreading conditions, and even I'm not that cruel.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Under the weather

Friday night we were super exciting people without children or responsibilities and hit the gym. Ah, Fridays at the gym - quiet, spacious, undisturbed workout time, even in the midst of the resolution rush.

We had plans to do the same on Saturday morning, but when Gary and I woke up, he was feeling very stiff and quite sore in his leg, and I was feeling like I'd caught the cold Gary nursed all of last week.

So, instead, we went for breakfast and then I met a friend for coffee. Gary hung out with his friends and I made dinner for my brother - pure comfort food, sausage and perogies sent back to us from Grandma's - and then I spent Saturday night and most of Sunday on the couch, consuming cough drops and watching Downton Abbey.

My fingers are crossed that I'll be feeling better tomorrow. I'm really hoping to get to the gym 5 times (yikes!) this week, but it's very hard to get motivated when you feel like your head is full of fluff and the couch is calling your name.

What's your go-to workout for days when you're feeling a bit sick? Or do you scrap the workout and call it a rest day? I'm not sure I deserve any rest quite yet - you kind of have to do some real work first, don't you?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lunch at My Desk

This is my lunch today. Half a chicken breast that I baked in the oven, leftover from dinner on Wednesday, with spinach, a few walnuts, and a handful of raspberries and blackberries. Top it with a tiny bit of calorie wise balsamic vinaigrette, and it's pretty tasty!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hello, Old Friend

I spent some time with an old, trusted friend today - the elliptical machine at the gym.

The gym was, as you can expect for the first week of January - totally packed. But it was a pleasant surprise to see that the gym has replaced a lot of their equipment, and added several more cardio machines. That's great, because finding a treadmill or bike can sometimes be really challenging during peak hours.

I refrained from commenting on the "new machines" in case they were actually brought in sometime in early November, which, to my estimation, is the last time I set foot in there.


But it felt good to reconnect with my old pal, who tonight, I shall call Elly. I'm not a fan of giving names or genders to inanimate objects, however, so I wouldn't really expect to see the name stick.

Have you made it back to the gym? Did you go through the holidays when it was dead and are grumbly about the influx of new blood, or does it excite you to see so many new, fresh, dedicated faces?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Embarassed, Disappointed, Ashamed

Those are three words that describe how I feel about my diet and fitness efforts lately, and generally about myself.

In late September, I was in a wedding. This is the picture. I'm the girl on the left at the end. Nice dress, right?

Well, I figured I'd wear it for my company Christmas party in the middle of December, two and a half months later.

Except it didn't fit.

My dear fiance, Gary, was kind enough to spend 10 mintues with me trying to get the zipper up in the back. Of course it fits. Don't be ridiculous - I just wore it! is what I was thinking.

Finally, the zipper was up but the dress was bunching in the back, obviously too small. I bit back tears as Gary told me that it didn't matter, I was lovely, why don't I put on the black dress I wore the weekend before?

He loves that black dress. I wore it when we got engaged.

I hate it. It's a safety dress. It's black stretch jersey, draped in front, and hides a multitude of sins - and big fluctuations in waist size.

That day I added mortified to the list of words that describe how I feel about my body. And I sat around for the rest of the month, shoving whatever I wanted into my mouth and not going to the gym - because what's the point? I am fat.

Then today, I woke up, and after I blinked back my hangover, I realized that I don't want this to happen on my wedding day. I don't want this to happen on any day, ever again.

I'm tired of being embarassed and hiding in well-cut drapey dresses. I'm tired of putting the jeans that make my butt look awesome in the back of the closet because I've gained a bit too much weight to pull them off. I'm tired of looking at photos and thinking they should be titled, God, Look at How Fat My Arms Look.

I'm tired, and feeling quite depressed about it. I want to be done with wallowing and just DO it already, dang it.

Anyone else with me?