…for a total of 14.2 pounds lost since March 1st.
I have had a wonderful feeling the last few days. Three weeks in is a good place to be. Every time I’ve tried a new diet and failed, it’s been within the first ten or fifteen days… if I’ve made it a few weeks and am still going strong, it’s usually a good sign that something has taken root. It means that very shortly I’m going to notice a difference in my appearance, and shortly after that other people will start noticing, and once I’ve got that kind of positive attention, I’m golden. I usually notice a change in my face first, and I have to say, I don’t see it yet.
Here’s the most recent picture taken of me (and my adorable husband).
But I’ll see it soon. My clothes will be looser and I’ll just have the one chin and before I know it… collar bones! A little more time, a little more patience, a little more hard work. Although I’ve yet to have a really challenging week- so far this is very easy. I’m not counting calories; I’m just eating sensibly. I’m not killing myself in the gym every day; I’m gradually incorporating more movement into my daily life.
I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine who has also recently committed to a weight loss plan. She asked me if I’m a stress-eater, and actually, the opposite is true. When I’m stressed, I lose my appetite. If I’m having personal conflict with someone, I just can’t eat (or at least enjoy) a bite until it gets resolved. Nope, I eat when I’m happy. When all is right in my world, I celebrate by overeating. Perhaps one of the reasons I gained weight so fast once Chris and I got together is because I’m blissfully happy much of the time. Another emotion that, for me, is strongly connected to food? Relief. Whether it’s finishing a task I wasn’t looking forward to, the resolution of a yucky situation that turned out all right (or is at least over with), or just getting myself through another work day, I reward myself with food. I associate food with that happy feeling of nestling in at home when your work is done and you have the evening to spend as you like. It’s one reason nighttime binging has always been a problem for me.
So it seems to me I need to replace that instinct to binge with other things. I’ve started taking baths at night a few times a week, really enjoying my time in the tub rather than frantically rushing in the mornings. I’ve been watching The Biggest Loser on Netflix starting with season 1, and that’s an indulgence for me, as reality tv is a guilty pleasure of mine. (Dorky confession: a few years ago I had an impossible crush on trainer Bob, and I used to daydream about becoming a contestant on the ranch and making Bob falling in love with me. And he was straight and everything, which is how you know it was a daydream.)
“Hey girl, you ready for that five mile jog? Or we could just stay here and cuddle.”
A few things I’m particularly proud about this week:
We went as a family to Happy Jack’s last night, which is a cute little diner in McHenry with a nice ice cream section. I told myself (and Chris*) on the way in: “If there’s a flavor that looks truly delicious or irresistible to me, I’m going to have a small scoop. If there’s not, I won’t.” And guess what… there wasn’t! I love ice cream, but there wasn’t anything that looked good enough to risk negatively affecting this morning’s weigh-in.
Superman ice cream may not have looked appealing in the freezer case, but it looks awesome on my stepdaughter’s nose.
And just like last week, I let a day go by without getting my exercise in. I was all comfy in my robe, ready to plop down in front of the tv. But I realized what I’d forgotten, got up and did my laps around the house, knowing I’d feel awful about it if I broke my streak. By the way, I’m eight days into my fifteen days in a row of fifteen minutes of exercise. Counting the ten days of ten minutes of exercise previously accomplished, that makes eighteen days in a row of intentional exercise. I think that’s a personal best!
Unlimited cake available to me at a cast party. I love cake so, so much. But I had one moderate piece and left the rest alone.
*By the way, Chris’s role in this whole thing so far has mostly been a sounding board and a passive accountability partner. We’ll walk into a party and I’ll say “Don’t let me have more than one piece of cake”. Or I’ll fix my plate at dinner and say “This is all I need to have, so don’t let me get seconds.” Or I’ll make cookies with Natalie and say “I get to have one, don’t let me have any more.” And his response is always the same: “Okay.” I have yet to test him on this, because for right now the simple act of declaring “This is what I intend to eat” has been enough to shame me into being self-controlled, should I want more. But I’m interested to see what he’ll do if I ever go for that second piece of cake or plate of food or cookie. I can definitely be stubborn, but so can he. I’ll be sure to let you know if there’s ever a showdown!
I’m always going to try to close with a couple of things I’m looking forward to, when I get closer to my goal weight:
1. No more foot pain. My feet hurt every morning and every night, to the point where I’m almost limping some days, and I know it’s because they are carrying far more weight than they were designed to handle. I’m sorry, feet. I’m working on it.
2. Not feeling winded from just going up the stairs, cause in a three story house, that is getting OLD.
3. Going into an audition to play a cute young thing and FEELING like a cute young thing. :)
Enough for today. Thank you as always for checking in!
Seventeen days in, 12.4 pounds down! I feel really good about the result this week, particularly because as of Wednesday/Thursday, I wasn’t really budging. (Yep, I hop on the scale every morning because I find it very motivating to monitor my progress. When I start checking the scale more than twice a day, I’ll go ahead and call it unhealthy, but I’m good for now.) But my body started to do its thing over the last couple of days. It’s not the big drop I experienced at the first couple of weigh-ins, but I was actually expecting to lose less than a pound, just to let my body catch up. One and a half pounds a week is pretty standard for me- it's a marathon, not a sprint!
Great news- I accomplished my first mini-goal of ten minutes of intentional exercise for ten days in a row, and I’m two days into my fifteen minutes for fifteen days mini-goal! I still don’t like walking. There’s nothing I can think of that I would enjoy more (and that I have time to do), or I'd get out there and do it. But I’m treating it as a non-negotiable. I will get my exercise in every day.
Temptations conquered this week:
Last Sunday (almost a week ago), I noticed that it was 11:30 pm and I hadn’t done my ten minutes of exercise for the day yet. It was the last thing I wanted to do. Chris and I had just hosted a poker party for the cast of our current show (The Odd Couple, lots of poker in the play, we thought it would be fun!), and after the social exertion of having people over, I just wanted to curl up with Chris and finish watching Parks and Rec. But then I started mentally composing the SpireSpire paragraph where I had to admit that I’d failed at the “Ten days of ten minutes of exercise”, and I got up! I started doing laps around the kitchen/dining room/front room/hallway circuit of our house, chatting with Chris while I walked around in circles for ten minutes. Looked silly, felt great.
Another victory at that poker party: I cooked BLTs, we ordered pizzas, and we set out chips, Cheetos and peanuts. And I ate exactly what I had planned on eating and nothing more (one piece of pizza, two small BLTs, and none of the snacks). The chips were in front of me all night and I stayed out of them.
The next conquered temptation is part of a slip-up… at work, there were some Saint Patrick’s Day treats put out for the teachers. I debated and then decided to take a frosted sugar cookie, figuring one wouldn’t be so bad, and I would have it in place of a snack after dinner that night. Good plan! But then the kids from the school-age class came around handing out delicious looking homemade brownies with two layers of fudge on top (chocolate and mint). Totally regretted eating that frosted sugar cookie, because the brownie looked SO much better.
I mean, a child put this into my HAND.
And I decided to take the brownie, which I probably shouldn’t have done. But- here’s where the conquering-temptation part comes in- normally when I eat a food I didn’t plan on having/shouldn’t have had, it completely derails the day and I pig out at dinner and into the evening, figuring "I already messed today up, I'll get the cheating out of my system and start over tomorrow”. But nope. I had a reasonable dinner, skipped the snack that night, and moved on. Like I said last week, the world I live in contains surprise treats like that all the time, and I can’t just close my eyes to them altogether… the key is to make room for them.
Okay, so, you know how I mentioned in my first paragraph that I can’t control how fast my body lets go of the weight, I can only control my efforts? Bearing that in mind, I don’t set hard deadlines for weight loss, such as “I will lose ten pounds this month.” I usually try to make my goal something I can control. However, it’s fun to dream about upcoming events and what I’d like to be wearing for them. And I think I have some realistic hopes. Such as…
May 5th: a good friend is getting married and I am standing up in the wedding. I would really like to fit into the dress she and I have been discussing (it’s an old dress of mine that I’ve worn for other things but the color is perfect). I’m a size 18 right now- the dress is a size 14. It could totally happen!
Mid-July: Chris and I are going to a Lord of the Rings Gaming Convention at Cedar Point in Ohio. There will be several gaming geeks like my husband, and I want him to have the cutest girl on his arm. :) If I can be in size 12 jeans for that event, I'll be thrilled.
Maybe just a little like Felicia Day?
I'd love to go to a Halloween party wearing something cute in a size 10.
And if I can wear a size 8 on my December 11 one year wedding anniversary, I'll just be the happiest girl.
My daydreams are more about how I look and feel than about what the number on the scale says. But the number on the scale is a great way to measure how I’m getting there.
Thanks for checking in! Just knowing that people are reading about my attempts gives a big boost to my spirit of discipline.
Actually, 10.8! I haven't lost that fast since high school! For anybody concerned, yes, I know that if I continue to lose at that rate it won't be healthy. Stay tuned because it will slow down very soon, believe me. But for today- hooray!
March 1: 247.2
March 3: 240.8
March 10: 236.4
I've had a great first week. It's been the first time in what feels like ages where I actually had a couple of free nights, without rehearsal or meetings. Those nights can be trouble for me... home on the couch is when the ice cream or Cheetos start calling to me. But I'm in the honeymoon stage with this diet, so everything is easy. Temptations conquered this week include a Chinese buffet work meeting (filled my plate carefully, mostly veggies), baking cookies with my stepdaughter Natalie (I ate exactly one), and birthday cupcakes for one of the kids at the day care (politely declined, because those things never taste as good as I think they're going to; no store-bought oily frosting can stand up to my Mom's homemade awesomeness... now I want one of my Mom's cupcakes. Dang it!).
So here's how I'm handling my food intake this time around: I'm embracing the philosophy "Don't do anything to lose weight that you aren't willing to do every day for the rest of your life." For me, that means no pills, no meal replacement shakes, no drops, no starvation, no three hour workouts, no outright banishment of the fattening foods I love. I have to learn how to navigate a world with donuts, bacon and a McDonalds on every corner.
will be sharing most of my dinners with at least one other person for the rest of my life, and while he'd no doubt be willing to try eating kelp or something crazy five times a week with me as a temporary means to an end, there is just no way we're doing that forever. My food plan needs to include a wide variety of things I like to eat, things I can afford, and things my husband/family will eat as well, cause I sure as heck won't plan and prepare two dinners a night, or deprive myself of the yummy things I'm making for other people. I need to find a balance.
The last ten days, I've been having a piece of fruit and a fiber bar for breakfast, a can of Progresso light soup (they have some great flavors; I highly recommend the Chicken and Dumpling and Clam Chowder) and more fruit for lunch, plus whatever vegetable is being served at the day care, and then a reasonable portion of whatever Chris is having for dinner (he's a meat and potatoes guy, so lean steaks and roasts and baked chicken with a small baked potato, that kind of thing). When we eat out, I stay away from fried things and try to stop eating if I feel full partway through the meal. I'm trying to keep my nighttime snacking to a minimum, picking just one thing- like a bag of 100 calorie popcorn, or some fruit, or a popsicle. I'm listening to my body's cues and being smart about portions.
I'm also drinking water like a maniac. I can't stand the stuff, frankly; I'd much rather be chugging Diet Something-or-Other. I hate running to the bathroom every half hour, particularly in my work situation where I have to ask another teacher to watch my class while I do so. But I notice the difference on the scale when I drink my water, so drink it I shall. I heard somewhere that you should take your ideal weight in pounds, divide that number in half, and that's how many ounces of water you should drink daily. My ideal weight is 150 (although I'd be thrilled to just get under 170 again), so I drink 75 ounces a day.
Exercise... I can tell you exactly what my problem with exercise is: I hate sweating and I don't like how it feels when my heart rate goes up. Swimming and tap dancing are about the only things I've encountered that I actually kind of like. Swimming is out for now because I just don't have the time... Tap dancing is a part of my life again this spring because I'm choreographing a community theatre production of Nunsense. But those rehearsals are only a couple of times a week, so I need to do more.
I am challenging myself to do ten minutes of intentional exercise for ten days in a row, "intentional" meaning that daily things like housework and chasing kids on the job don't count. It has to be focused, on purpose exercise. I started the ten day streak of this on Monday, and it's gone well so far! I've been walking laps around the playground while I'm supervising the kids at recess. They think it's a little strange, but they're a little strange sometimes, too. (Prime example: talking about worms a couple of weeks ago, one of the girls acted afraid of them. I said "Worms aren't so scary!" "The talking ones are," a four-year-old boy replied.) Next, I will challenge myself to fifteen minutes, fifteen days in a row. Then it'll be twenty minutes, twenty days in a row. If I can follow through on that, I'll be extremely proud of myself, and hopefully by that time I'll have started to make my peace with the fact that regular exercise simply has to be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Okay, I'll close with some "dreaming" kinda stuff. Things I can't wait to do*:
1. See my collarbones again. These little beauties get covered up by a layer of fat whenever I'm over 200 pounds.
2. Reconnect with the four huge bags of clothes that are too small for me now but I can't bear to part with. This is my "real" wardrobe, the stuff I want to be wearing. I'll probably devote a whole entry to the experience of shopping for new clothes when you weigh more than you want to, but it's too depressing to delve into right now.
3. Enjoy getting dressed up. When I'm in shape, I look for any excuse to put on a dress. I got all fancy three nights in a row during the performance weekend of a show I directed, not so much because the occasion called for it, but because I was keenly aware of the jawdropping effect it was having on the cast member I had a crush on. (Who ended up marrying me. Never underestimate the power of a cute little dress.) But when I'm heavy, I don't enjoy getting dressed up. I hardly ever do my hair or wear makeup. I spend as little time in the mirror as I can get away with.
*Allow me to make a disclaimer: lots of women with my body type feel great about themselves at any size and still enjoy getting fancy and love their current wardrobe and don't miss their collarbones one little bit. They are healthy inside and out and feel great in their own skin. I affirm the women in my own life who fall into this category. But this blog is where I get to be a little egocentric and occasionally shallow, so please know that I'm not saying these desires are universal. This is just about me. :)
I wish I could fast forward and have all these things right now. But the journey itself is part of the reward. Thanks for checking in with me this week!
247.2. I've actually been a little higher: exactly three years and two months ago, I looked down at the scale and saw 253.2.
[A note from Shay: Sheri's post is highly pictoral....I suggest heading to her stream to get the full effect of her post.] Click Here
I'm 5'10", and according to the Body Mass Index used by physicians and generally held to be the standard for good health, I should weigh roughly between 150-170 pounds. Three years ago I set out to get myself into that healthy weight range, joined Weight Watchers, and dropped 85 pounds in a year and a half.
My weight loss strategy during that time was very repetitive eating... Six days a week, this was what I ate, pretty much without variation: a cheese stick for breakfast, a can of soup for lunch, a Subway foot long veggie patty sub and chips for dinner, and lots of snacking at night on fruit, low-cal popcorn, low-cal pudding and jello. On the seventh day, I binged. A 24 hour free-for-all where I ate anything and everything I wanted and went to bed feeling uncomfortably full. Advantages to this strategy: While repetitive, the food I was eating was pretty healthy, tasty, and met my nutritional needs. I didn't feel deprived most of the time. And three days of the week were very easy: 1. The day before weigh-in, because I wanted to have a good result on the scale, 2. the actual weigh-in day because after the scale check I would begin my binge, and 3. the day after the weigh in, because I still felt quite sick from the day before. Disadvantages to this strategy: it's expensive to eat Subway six times a week, and my binge days would usually end up costing $40 or $50 for the day. I went into debt during that year and a half, and I'm still working it off. It strikes me as not very healthy mentally to binge until to the point of physical discomfort every week. Also, I began dating Chris, and food was one of the things we did for fun. It's hard to go to Subway every night when you are eating with someone else. Chris is tall and burly and made me feel like a tiny pixie who could eat anything and still be little. He can also eat a lot more food than me and maintain his weight. So those are the reasons/excuses why I fell off the Weight Watchers wagon, trying to climb back on several more times, but never managing to get my footing... on the wagon? I'm mixing my metaphors here, but I think you know what I mean.
You know what I mean because for many of you, this is your story, too. You've been on a cycle of weight gain, weight loss, weight gain, weight loss, over and over since adolescence. I certainly have. I've never maintained my weight for more than a period of two or three months- I am constantly either in a period of losing or a period of gaining. I don't know how to stay the same. I know how to take weight off and I sure as heck know how to put it back on... what I don't know how to do is get healthy and stay there. THAT is what I need to learn this year.
When I started dating my husband, this is what I looked like (approximately 165 pounds):
[Head to Sheri's Steam.
Several months later (approximately 215 pounds):
Okay, here come the painful ones, from our wedding weekend/honeymoon, a year and a halfish after we started dating, around 240:
To be clear- I'm not blaming my weight gain on Chris. He supported every effort I made to get back on track as the wheels started coming off the cart. He never tries to talk me into eating unhealthy food with him (heck, he doesn't have to), and he always says "Anything I can do to help?" And never at the wrong time or in a way that pisses me off! He's really pretty awesome. He tells me that I'm cute and beautiful and sexy and gorgeous every day, and I know he really believes it... but I don't feel that way about myself anymore. Regardless of whether or not he "deserves" a hot, skinny wife, he at least deserves a wife who feels good about how she looks. So it's time for a change.
When I heard Shay was doing another round of SpireSpire, I knew I wanted to jump on board. I have this really obnoxious tendency to want to impress people all the time, and while I have to tame that beast in other areas of my life, I have a feeling that chronicling weight loss in a public forum could be a very, very good thing for me. Knowing that I have to post my weight (and every week, I'm going to post the actual ugly truth in terms of pounds) for all of my friends and family and random internet strangers to see... that is a delicious kind of accountability for me, and I'm excited to see where it goes.
I started on March 1st because that was the kickoff day for this round of SpireSpire, but I'll be weighing in (and blogging every Saturday). Starting with this morning:
Beginning weight: 247.2
Current weight: 240.8
Six and a half pounds down, in two days- not too shabby! At this rate I'll hit my goal by next month! :) I know it will slow down and take most of the year... but I love how excited my body gets when I first start a diet. It is SO willing to work with me and give me the encouragement I need in the beginning.
Next week, I'll be writing about the HOW... for instance, I plan to incorporate exercise this time around- I didn't last time. My first challenge: ten days in a row doing ten minutes of intentional exercise (meaning not "I'm doing laundry- doesn't that count? I'm going grocery shopping- that's exercise, right?").
But for this week, I'll wrap it up! If anybody reading is also starting a weight loss journey, I would LOVE to hear from you in the comments on a regular basis. I'd find it so interesting to hear how your weigh-ins are going, and how you're doing it, and your insight on this whole struggle because we have a lot that we can learn from one another.
With hope and joy,