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It’s Been Awhile!

I don’t know how many folks actually read this but if there are any that have been wondering what’s going on with me and my weight loss lately, I have some excellent news! I have managed to lose 33 lbs. to date! For the first time in a long time, I feel like I am in this for the long haul with no danger of falling off the wagon. That’s how motivated and determined I am to get it right this time. No quitting or giving up. No diving back into my old habits. No, indeed. I got sick of feeling sick. I got sick of being so uncomfortable in my own skin. So I did something about it. I am doing something about it. I am changing my life, one day at a time.

You may be wondering how I’ve done this so far and I’ll tell you honestly: there’s no magic to weight loss. No super pill or miracle diet. Only hard work and determination. I have been using a website called http://www.sparkpeople.com (I’m neecole09 if you want to find me there. I’d love that!) to count calories, track my workouts and my weight, read articles about all sorts of health related topics, get pointers and support from other members, be a part of a community or challenge team… It’s a very judgement-free place where people that are in the same boat as you come together to share a common goal: to become more healthy. Some people have 100+ lbs. to lose, some only 10-15 and some are trying to maintain their healthy weight. But none of that matters. Everyone is there for everyone else and it is really, really neat. I strongly suggest checking it out if you are interested in losting weight or becoming more active, whatever your reason may be.

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The Urge!

Something I’m not sure I accounted for was the urge to basically just say, “FÜ¢< it", and dive head first into as many bad foods as I can find as fast as I can. I had the urge to do that last night and it was strong. But, I'm happy to say that I recognized the feeling for what it was and got through it and moved on. I will say that I ended up ingesting more calories yesterday than I have lately (damn my husband for bringing me a delicious coffee from an espresso stand!) but I didn't plunge head first into a binge like I have in the past.

I'm also happy to report that I weighed less this morning than I did yesterday morning. Honestly, I was shocked about that. I was cringing as the little screen was doing its analysis of doom, but was pleasantly surprised when the reading finally popped up. Could be that I’ve been making a conscious effort to drink 3 water bottles worth of h2o every day. That’s over 100 oz. since I fill it to the brim and the line stops at 34 oz. OH YEAH! Cleaning out the ol’ organs! Or it could be that I’ve been working my hiney off lately and it’s literally starting to come off (please, oh please!!!) Whatever  it is though, I’m not complaining.

Speaking of body cleansing, last night I finally was able to watch a webinar for Advocare. I may give the 24-Day Challenge a shot soon. My good friend is an Advocare advisor and she is really going places with it.
Yay for getting healthy!

Wearing my proverbial heart on my sleeve here…

First and foremost, thank you to those of you that have read this blog and have reached out to me to say that they are proud of me and think what I’m posting is incredibly brave and courageous. I guess they’re right. It’s insanely difficult to allow the whole world to read about my innermost thoughts and insecurities, especially on an issue that is particularly delicate to me like this one is.

Sometimes I’ll type something and hesitate before posting because I can almost see the people who will read it and instantly judge. It almost prevents me from saying what I need to say. Almost. When this self-conscious aspect of me comes forward, I try to remember that that is one of my main motivators for this particular blog. I’m trying to become less self-conscious and more confident. I’m trying to get healthy and as I’ve said before, that includes the mind. Hiding and not allowing my voice to be heard is what I’ve always done and it does not work.

In a way, by forcing myself to type the things that I really would rather not confess to the interwebz, I am forcing myself out of my cozy comfort zone and into a new way of thinking. And you know what I’m thinking? Those who may be reading and judging couldn’t matter less because I’m doing this blog, this lifestyle change, for myself. Nobody else.

So thank you for the support! It means so much more than I am capable of expressing!

Calorie Conscientious

Lately I have been really, really watching what I eat. And it has been an eye-opener, not only calorie-wise but nutritionally as well. I use an app on my iPhone called MyFitnessPal (try it!) that I just absolutely love. It has a barcode scanner that you use to scan the packaging of things that you eat so you can track exactly what’s going into your body. I have also found that if I eat something that doesn’t necessarily have a barcode to scan, like the food in the cafe at work, I can search for foods in the app and can always find something similar. The database for food is pretty huge. You can also track exercise and calories burned.

The other really nice thing about this app is that it breaks down everything that you eat so that you can see the nutrients that you’re taking in. It allows you to set your goal weight and how much you want to lose and will calculate your daily target calories and nutrients for you. It will then log all of your food and data of that food for the week. That’s how I discovered that I’m ingesting way too many sugars every day which is kind of scary because I have a family history of diabetes.

Wouldn’t it be awful to discover that you’re pre-diabetic even though you thought you were eating better? I’m afraid that might happen to me if I don’t get my bad habits under control now. I think one of my small goals will be to learn more about diabetes and how sugar can affect your body.

Goals – Examined

Note: This is the second “original” entry. Dated 1/2/13.

I realized since typing my last entry that I need to be more thorough in my explanation of my goals for this upcoming year. The last post kind of glossed over them so this one will explain them in more detail. The idea is that if I ever start to falter I can at least go back through these posts to remind myself why I started this journey to begin with.

I’m having a hard time putting a number to or listing these goals in a certain order because really, one is not more significant than the other. They are so intertwined that I can’t have one without the other. It just doesn’t work that way. The goals have equal weight and bearing on my overall well-being, so to say that one goal is number 1 and the other is number 2 doesn’t seem fair… But for explanation’s sake I have to have some way to describe them so instead of saying goal 1 and goal 2, I feel it’s better to think of them as 2 halves of a whole.

Half #1: Reach a healthy BMI

Setting a goal of losing a certain amount of weight in a certain amount of time is admirable to those who can accomplish that, but I’m not one of them. I don’t like the strictness of it I guess. There’s no room for forgiveness (half #2) when you mess up. For example, if I were to say to myself: “You must lose 70 pounds in 3 months!!!” I would be setting myself up for failure because that would literally be impossible and I don’t want to fail at this again. That’s why I don’t see anything wrong with setting a goal of having a healthy BMI. There’s no set weight that MUST be reached, but a healthy range of weight for your frame instead. I feel that trying to achieve a normal BMI is a much healthier aspiration than setting a nearly-impossible goal of X amount of weight in X amount of time.

According to the website for the hospital that I work at, a healthy BMI for a woman my height is 18.5 – 24.9. Right now I’m at a 36, roughly, since I don’t know exactly how much I weigh at the moment. (I’m happy to say that since the time I wrote this and now, my BMI is down to 34. Still not great, but it’s improving!) However, a few pounds in either direction won’t change the fact that I am in the obese category. Obese. Let that sink in, brain.

Half #2: Change the way I see and think of myself on the inside.

I was going to change that last sentence in the above paragraph, but I won’t because it’s a perfect segue to the second half of my goal, which is being kinder to myself. That self-deprecating tendency to put myself down is exactly what needs to be changed. This blog is probably going to be rough and hard to write or read sometimes, but damn it if it won’t be honest. I’m not going to keep pretending everything is fine when clearly it isn’t. This is a huge internal battle I’ve been having with myself for a very long time and it needs to end. So, every time I have a demeaning thought about myself, I will try to stop it in its tracks before it gets anywhere. I will tell it to shut the F up and compliment myself on something instead. Which brings me back to those small, attainable goals that I make daily. Those are great things to compliment myself on, especially since it’s hard to compliment myself on anything to do with my physical body right now. If I can work up to that by allowing myself to feel good about doing something well, then I think my self-esteem issues can be conquered. It’s going to be so nice to take a compliment and give a genuine thank you because I know it’s true, too!

Notice how there are no time frames here? I don’t believe in setting a time frame on something of this scale. This MeVamp might take me awhile. I may not accomplish both halves of my goal in this one year, but you can bet I’m going to get a good start on it. Because a year from now, I want to look back and think, “Damn, girl. You rock!”

GOALS! GOALS! GOALS!

NOTE: This entry is dated 12/31/12 and is the first of the original posts that I typed out for later entry into this blog.

My idea is called MeVamp 2013 and this post will explain it in detail.

That’s right! It’s the last day of the year and I have a New Year’s Evolution, if you will. I know it’s “resolution”, but those aren’t the correct words to describe what I’ve got planned for myself. I usually don’t make a resolution because I don’t put enough stock in them to see them through. The usual goal of losing 10 pounds sounds simple enough, but I’ve never been able to make myself accomplish that simple resolution before. And it’s only 10 measly pounds… That’s not so hard, is it? Well, apparently so and I’ve realized why…

I set myself up for failure every time I make a resolution because I make the resolution and that’s it… no commitment, no plan to get from point A to point B, and I fail. In past years when I’ve made a promise to myself to lose X amount of weight it ends right there. There’s no thought process. No follow-through. No weight loss. And as soon as those Christmas goodies are on the table and I eat one, I think, “Fuck it. I already failed. Might as well have another piece of fudge.” The snowball that started out on top of the hill quickly becomes an avalanche of self-inflicted torture and excuses that develop into gaining 10 pounds rather than losing it.

I’ve let myself slip. A lot. Actually, that’s a huge understatement. I have essentially slid down Fat Mountain on my double chin. And I can make any number of excuses about why I gained the weight but the truth remains the same: I’m fat and I did this to myself. That may sound very harsh and perhaps it is, but the truth hurts sometimes. Looking in the mirror hurts. Avoiding people who knew me when I was skinny because I know what they’re thinking hurts. Eating anything that isn’t considered healthy hurts because the guilt of that seemingly innocent action HURTS!

Over the years I have developed a very unhealthy image of myself in my mind. The girl I see on the outside is ugly and extremely insecure. She hides those insecurities behind a plate full of fattening food because it’s easier to hide insecurities behind fat and trying to go unnoticed than to feel good, confident and healthy. I’m my own worst enemy. I beat the shit out of myself constantly, always condescending and comparing myself to every airbrushed woman on TV, in magazines and movies, and even just beautiful women I see in passing every day. I think you’ll agree that this is a sad way to live. What’s worse though is that when I think of my daughter someday growing up and treating herself this way it makes me sick. As it is right now, I am not a healthy role model for her. But I’m going to get there.

If you asked my husband, he would tell you he sees me in a completely different light. He thinks I’m pretty, smart, funny, etc. While it’s nice to hear him say these things and know that he truly believes them, I have a hard time believing them. I really would like to be able to see that girl too, but I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get there. I mean physically as well as mentally. There are a lot of deep wounds that I’ve inflicted on myself that I tend to reopen every day with my negative thoughts about myself. Anybody knows that a wound can’t heal if it’s constantly picked at. That is why I’m going to take a different approach to getting healthy. One I’ve never tried before.

In the past I have done the fad diets and the killer workouts and they worked for awhile, but the problem was that although I was retraining my body to run an 8-minute mile or lose another 10 pounds, I wasn’t retraining my thoughts about how I felt about myself or the way I eat. I never bothered to analyze it back in high school when I had a gym class and sports to keep me in shape and could eat whatever I wanted , but mental and physical health go hand in hand. And even back then at 18, 5’7″ and 140 lbs. I still felt like crap about myself.

Fast-forward almost 10 years and here’s the equation:

Insecurities about myself
+
Constant images of flawless women from the media being pounded into brain from a young age
+
A monster sweet tooth
+
Not really knowing how to eat healthy
=
An unhappy, unhealthy girl.

I’m not great at math but even I can see that those things add up and continue to add up until you subtract something. So what do I subtract first? What seems like a simple question isn’t so simple. It’s going to take a lot determination and heavy lifting.

My first plan (PLAN! A PLAN!) of attack is to get myself a journal and write down a very simple, very small, very achievable goal. Something I can easily accomplish that will make me feel a tiny bit better about myself. I decided to test my small goal theory and I did it! The goal was to choose to eat a healthy breakfast and making that decision before even going to the cafeteria at work. There were all kinds of bad for you tastiness awaiting me but since I already had my small, achievable goal in mind I was able to accomplish what I went in there to do: Get a healthy breakfast. Sitting here thinking about that small victory, it dawned on me that I hadn’t even thought twice about the junk because I was so pleased with myself for achieving my goal. In fact, I didn’t even think of the other options until now and realized I didn’t miss out on anything other than a ton of carbs and calories. It’s a wonderful epiphany!

(The goals I set for myself that day were to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and to take the stairs whenever possible. I did all three.)

My homework for myself comes in the form of an idea that I had this morning that goes along with the journal. I am going to think about my short-term and long-term goals. I find that setting an X number amount of weight to lose as an end-all, be-all goal is very difficult for me to achieve. I set myself up to fail when I set a strict number and I don’t want to do that because I’ve proven to myself that it doesn’t work for me already. So I am changing the way I think of the long-term goal; instead of saying I’m going to lose X amount of weight as quickly as I can, I am changing it to this: My long-term goal for 2013 is to reach a healthy BMI, in a healthy manner and time frame.

To me this is achievable. It isn’t strict and I won’t see myself as a failure if I don’t lose X amount of weight in exactly X amount of time. Because really, it isn’t just about losing pounds. It’s about getting healthy. Not skinny. However, like I mentioned earlier, physical health and mental health go hand in hand. So:

My long-term goal for 2013 is also to work on my body image, self-esteem and self-worth.

This one is going to be more difficult but I have a great support system and I think once I start to become more physically healthy I will get more mentally healthy. Admitting that there is a problem is the beginning of the end of beating myself up, comparing myself to others, and feeling uncomfortable in my skin.

My journal is going to be an important tool in this mind-body transformation. It is going to be where I keep all of my short-term goals that will build up to achieving my long-term goals. It’s just like a ladder. You can’t take one big step to get to the top. You can try, but you’ll fail. You have to take each small step one at a time, which is the safest, best way to get to the thing you’re trying to reach. Health, in my case.

What are your long- and short-term goals?

A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step

And does it ever feel like this journey is a thousand miles long… But all journeys and great adventures have to start somewhere, right? Why should this one be any different?

The journey that I am talking about is something I dreamed up right around the beginning of the year. I was feeling down about myself, which isn’t really something that is new, and that struck me as a gigantic problem. You see, there are a lot of beautiful women in this world and I don’t consider myself to be one of them. The reason being is that I have always had terrible self-esteem, even when I weighed 140 lbs. and was in amazing shape. I thought I was fat then and the weight that I’ve gained over the last few years hasn’t helped with my problem in the least.

But I realized one thing while I was wallowing in self-pity and that is this: the pain is self-inflicted. I did this to myself. Once I realized that I was the one who chose to eat poorly and not maintain an active lifestyle and then suffer the consequence of a weight gain of nearly 80 lbs., I began to think that maybe losing the weight and getting healthy was also in my hands. So I sat and I thought about it. I even typed up several different blog posts and printed them out for later use since I didn’t have a blog at the time and didn’t want my ideas to get away from me. I’ll post them here soon.

The basic jist of it goes like this: To me, the process of changing my outer appearance also means battling the inner demons that tell me I can’t. I mean, I’m going to have to skewer those a-holes and hang them out to dry if this is going to work. Because my own worst critic and my biggest enemy live within me and that has to change before I can truly begin to change my weight. Sure, I could go on another crash diet again and lose a lot of weight again, but the reason those diets don’t work for me (and millions of other people) is because if you don’t change your inside, you gain the weight back and then some! You might set a strict goal and you might follow through, but once you fall off that wagon, you’re done. You crash and burn and there’s no coming back because you haven’t changed your thinking about yourself and what you put in your body. At least that was my experience.

So this blog is dedicated to me, because I need a motivator and somewhere to go to vent and also to celebrate my progress. I am worth more than my demons who have kept me down for far too long.