Thursday, February 28, 2013

early birdies

I am not a morning person.

I've never had to get up earlier than absolutely necessary because for my entire life, I've never had to commute for more than 15 minutes (max). Starting in Kindergarten, and all the way through to present day, I've been a fast trip from my bed to my school/class/office. It is hard to break 30 years of ingrained habit, people.

I'm not really functioning in the mornings. Like my Grandma Olga (who is 91 and still living in her own house, alone, in fantastic health), once my feet hit the floor I am in action. It's like I'm on focused autopilot. Do not get in my way. I need to pee, shower, brush my teeth, dress, "do" my hair (wet ponytail, anyone?) throw food in my purse and leave. Usually I can do this in 20 minutes.

But now I have a fancy job and I have to actually look like the poised, confident professional I am. So the whole routine, including a blow dry, skin care routine, outfit and accessories and a makeup application, now takes about 35 minutes.

I'd love to have a slower start to my mornings. I'd love to get up, do something inspiring and productive, have a cup of coffee and breakfast (not consumed on the way to work or at my desk), gather my thoughts and start my day.

I'd also love to get up early and get my exercise in for the day, because then there's nothing to derail my best-laid, scheduled in my calendar but even then, cancellable, fitness plans.

How do I do it? I've tried putting my alarm clock across the room - I'd stagger out of bed, turn it off, go back to bed. I've tried going to bed earlier but that doesn't seem to matter.

I'm not even trying to add that much more time. An hour. An hour earlier in the morning would give me 30 minutes to exercise, 15 minutes for coffee and reflection and a 15 minute cushion so I wouldn't need to blitz through the morning routine.

Does anyone out there have any ideas? (Several people have offered their toddlers, which I hear is effective but not exactly the method I'm going for!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Back at 'er

This week I started some new things that I believe will give me the kick I need to really make this weight loss happen.

5.4 lbs down in 2 months isn't nothing, and I know that. It's an accomplishment, but it's slow progress. And I will admit that I've wavered in my commitment to writing down what I eat, eating what I'm supposed to eat and not going off on a scenic side trip of snacky delights, and regular and consistent exercise. I do 'pretty' good, 'most' of the time.

That's not quite cutting it. I know I can do better.

Since the beginning of January, I've been tracking my food in a pen and paper journal. I'd argue that tracking is the most important part of the weight watchers plan (I feel comfortable writing that in all lower case because they've rebranded and that's how it appears. Hurray for lazy typing!) I started doing it the old-fashioned way because I felt like it would give me more of a connection to the program, make it less automatic and I'd put more into it.

That wasn't exactly how it turned out. I wasn't keen on pulling out my notebook and logging everything I'd eat. It took 20 minutes a day to sit down and write it all out, then find the points calculator or look up the values, and tally it all up.

So I signed up for the online component of weight watchers, which isn't free, but it includes a mobile app. I'm a heavy user of my smartphone so I figured it was worth a shot. I can always cancel it and go back to pen and paper if I want to, but for now, it's flashy and fun and most importantly - fast. Plus, it looks like I'm texting, so it's inconspicuous, and I can pull out my phone to check points values at restaurants before I order, if I want to.

Secondly, I've started the Couch to 5K running program again.

my jazzy new sneakers

My new office has a modest fitness centre for employee use. It's not open on weekends and is probably the size of an average hotel gym (2 treadmills, 2 ellipticals, 1 bike, free weights, etc) but it's provided at no additional charge to people who work there, it's on the same floor of the building as my desk, and it's not very busy. I work 10 minutes away from home so it's not inconvenient to stay after work, hop on the treadmill for 30 minutes, and then walk home. In fact, it makes for a nice break between the office and home.

I did two weeks of inconsistent running workouts and started over again at Week 1 on Monday. I know that I've tried it before and it never stuck, but I'm going to try again anyway. Maybe running isn't for me, but I'd sure like it to be.

Finally, I've started communicating about my weight loss journey again. I'm writing this post, and I posted on the weight watchers forum again. I have a really supportive spouse, friends and family, but sometimes the support and inspiration that comes from people working to achieve similar goals is exactly what you need to push through or stick it out.

So that's the plan. Track what I eat, move more, stay accountable. They're little steps, but I hope they'll add up to big success.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Slow start

Without a doubt, I totally fell off the healthy eating and exercise train - the scale, my clothes, and photos don't lie. But somehow, I don't feel like I ever "quit" dieting.

I put on over 20 lbs half-heartedly trying to lose weight. I would eat by the 80/20 rule - except that 80 per cent of my choices were unhealthy. I wouldn't think twice about an afternoon snack from the bakery, or a side order of fries, or extra dessert. 

I wasn't naive enough to think I was still losing weight, but I figured that I was maintaining. That was ok, I needed a pause.

But then, my clothes didn't fit right. There is no embarrassment quite like realizing that your underwear is the wrong size. 

I noticed that was out of breath more often. My knees and back hurt, for no reason. 

And then, at the end of December, we were going through photos from Christmas and I was horrified by what I saw.

I'd seen myself reflected in mirrors and windows and shiny surfaces for months and ignored what I saw, but there I was.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Grande Skinny Latte, The Sequel

This post has been a hard one to actually sit down and write.

2012 was a really big year for me. Yes, some truly excellent things happened. I got married, in my hometown, in front of so much love that sometimes I still tear up when I think about how many amazing people trekked from far and wide and across oceans to see Gary and I make it official. The thing that I didn't realize while we were planning our wedding was that it feels amazing to have that much joy and all the people you love all in one place, at the same time. And our wedding, dude. It was fun.

But rolled up around that big awesome was a lot of really shitty times. We both hit huge career bumps several times - lay offs, threats of lay offs, restructurings, pay cuts, unemployment, new jobs that started out great but rapidly turned sour... and that's just the work side of life. There was the usual drama that seeps in from all angles, friends and family and navigating the waters of fully merging our lives. Oh, and wedding planning, which actually is my least favourite hobby in the whole world.

And I gained a whole truckload of weight. I abandoned my gym membership and diets and squeezed myself into my lovely wedding gown (which I still think looked great but sometimes looking through photos makes me realize I could have tried so much harder). When we were living on one crappy income, we ate a lot of cheap convenience foods and basically sat around our home trying to hold tight to our mortgage and were miserable.

It was not a good year.

But in the last quarter of the year, it got better. Way better. We both found jobs that we totally love and I am happy to report that they seem to love us, too.

Our financial situation righted itself, and we're stable and secure and even have some extra cash lying around to do some fun things.

Like buy new clothes because I'm too fat to fit into most of the stuff I own.

This isn't supposed to be a sad-sack, Oh Woe, My Life is So Hard post because really, it isn't. I'm sure that 20 years from now we'll look back on the year we got married and laugh about it. We made it, we made it together, and that's the important part - and I'm sure that the boat will get rocked with harder, tougher, truly devastating things in the future, because that's how life works.

And so in January, life feeling stable, reeling from seeing myself in the photos from Christmas, I hauled my self into a weight watchers meeting and started all over again.

It's been 8 weeks and I've lost about 5 lbs, which isn't much considering the successes I've had before, but at least it's not 5 lbs in the other direction.

This time, it's really hard. Not that it wasn't hard before, but I felt so much more optimism and hope. Now, I feel desperate. And sad. And ashamed.

But hey, here I am. Ready to give it another go. With some really good reasons in my back pocket, and not one of them is a frigging strapless white dress.