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Archive for the ‘motivation’ Category

If you’re not one of the lucky, naturally-thin folks out there who is blessed with a metabolism that leaves you actually wishing you could gain weight, then most likely some form of weight management needs to become a part of your life forever. Unless of course you want to “accept” fatness as a facet of your identity ala the Fat Acceptance Movement. That’s fine and dandy to me. I certainly have my personal issues with the movement, but if people choose and want to stay fat, that’s their choice. For those of us who don’t wish to accept a fat body and would like to maintain a healthy weight, we have to accept that there is no magic fix to weight management and that it’s going to be a lifelong process.

This is why I’ve personally chosen to embrace a life of health and fitness. It’s hard to get fat if the only reasons I miss a workout are being sick or injured, and if I watch what I eat 99% of the time. I make allowance for special occasions and times for treats, but I know that maintaining a healthy weight is within my reach. My attitude before I began this journey was one of defeat. I had sort of decided that while I knew I needed to lose weight, I loved my food too much. I also thought I was eating “healthy” most of the time and that my job was enough exercise. Then, like most of us, I had my wakeup call. The back injury and the crippling and excruciating pain that came after. I can’t remember exactly the day that I started, but there was one day that I decided I was going to eat the way I normally ate for a day, but write it all down. I was astonished to find that I was eating enough calories for 2 days – doubling up.

Some of you may not know this, but I actually managed to lose a good chunk of weight back in 2001-2002. I started out healthy, then got unhealthy as I turned essentially to drugs to help “rev my metabolism” – it’s so embarrassing to think that at one point in my youth I thought that would actually work. It did kind of work, yes, but I felt like crap and looked like crap, too. I also didn’t build any muscle – in fact I’m pretty sure a lot of the weight I lost was muscle. Either way, for some reason my old habits came back and as I got comfortable in my life situation at the time (a new relationship), I stopped watching what I ate, stopped regularly exercising, yet for some crazy reason I didn’t expect to gain back the weight I lost. But I did, with a vengeance.

I’ve vowed “never again” especially after the pain I went through. My petite frame was not meant to carry that much extra weight, especially since I tend to be “top heavy” when I put on weight – no wonder my back went out! I was carrying around the equivalent of several bulk bags of rice on my body. No way do I ever want to go back! But the key mentality to have if you ever lose weight is that unless you stick to what works for GOOD, the weight can, and most likely will, come back.

I mostly bring up this point because a lot of people see weight loss methods as only a means to an end that they’ll get to stop one day, and then just go back to normal, yet not put the weight back on. Or some people slim down quick for an event, say a wedding, then after that they decide that they no longer need to work on it. Also, a lot of these diets focus on omitting an entire food group from your diet instead of working on ways you can permanently change your habits for good health, changes you can live with for life. I’ll pick on the low-carb diets for a second…I don’t think I could live on a low-carb diet for life. I don’t think anyone really could. Also, a lot of people don’t stick with exercise for life. They see it as yet another means to an end, just like they view their diet.

The fact is, watching what you eat and daily exercise are not only good for weight loss or maintaining healthy weight for a lifetime, they are also just generally good for your health. I’m just wondering who wouldn’t want to do all they can to enhance their quality of life into old age? I’ll cite the example of my grandmother who did live a long life, but she was very unhealthy. Sure, she lived to be 86. But she was miserable and sick for the last 15 years of that life. She smoked, was an alcoholic, did not exercise and did not watch her diet – she basically lived on TV dinners from the mid-80’s until she was placed in a retirement home in the late 90’s. She wasn’t fat, but she was very unhealthy. She had emphysema, stroke, and heart disease. I’m wondering if she may have possibly also had liver problems due to her drinking, which she didn’t quit until she was checked into a retirement home. My family found her stash as they were moving her! And my family kept a close watch on her and took turns caring for her each day, she just hid the booze that well! We never found out who was buying it for her because at that point she was no longer driving. Anyway, my point is that people have this mentality for some reason that they will “die anyway, so why bother?” Well, of course we’ll all expire eventually. Healthy people die every day, too. But to me it just seems downright foolhardy not to at least try and maintain good health anyway. When I’m in old age, I want to still have my faculties about me, I want to still be able to move around and go do things. I do NOT want to be sitting on the couch watching television all day when I’m old. I want to be interacting with others. As long as I’m physically able, I’d like to do volunteer work when I’m old. I’d like to still be exercising every day. I’d still like to do a lot of fun things as well. I don’t expect to be hanging ten on a surfboard when I’m 80, but being able to walk and even possibly run at 80 sounds amazing and very doable if I were to continue taking good care of myself. Plus if I have kids, I feel like I would owe it to them to take good care of myself, to lessen the burden on them with my care when I do get really old. Other case in point, my own parents. They’re already experiencing some frailties in their 50’s. I grit my teeth at what it’s going to be like to care for them when they’re older. It’s always hard to care for elder parents even if they are very healthy, but my parents are not as healthy as they could be. The main thing is their smoking, although they’re both putting on weight as older adults.

Part of the problem I think is that for generations people were told that total decay and frailty is just a part of getting old. Losing your memory, losing your faculties, losing your ability to care for yourself, were all seen as inevitable. I think the baby boomers were also told that, which is why I think my parents never really considered their health when they were younger. Right now I’ve made a conscious decision to not repeat the same mistake. I refuse to accept health problems as inevitable things that can’t be prevented. Yes, I acknowledge that there are cases where a person was very healthy and still got sick. But I’m still not willing to gamble and just lie down and accept it. I’ll be proactive.

Which brings me back to weight loss. I’ve made a promise to myself that once I do reach my goal weight, I will remain on a maintainence plan. Part of that plan includes weighing myself once a month. If I start to creep over a certain weight, I will look into why and change my habits. I am not one of those people who has a fast metabolism – I accept that if I want to be a certain weight I’ll always have to watch it. I’d much rather do that than end up unhealthy and unhappy like I was. Plus, I’m young now and it’s easier to deal with this now than it is when a person gets older. I’d so rather get a handle on it and master the good habits now than wait until my 40’s to be proactive.

Some links that help strengthen my point: http://www.latimes.com/features/health/la-he-exercise13-2009jul13,0,6577878.story
http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/03/us/exercise-and-longevity-a-little-goes-a-long-way.html
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/hq01676
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=10074

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Amy Tracks Her Progress is my new blog. It’s more or less an online archive/back-up of my spankin’ new food/exercise journaling/progress tracking program I designed for myself by tweaking a food/exercise journal template I found on The Balanced Weight Management site . Go to my new blog and you’ll learn of how I tailored my new journaling system to work just for me (although it may help others as well). I’ll be keeping a Weekly Assessment page (which is also in spreadsheet form on my PC), as well as my journal entries (which are also saved as Word documents on my PC). It will differ from this blog in the sense that it’ll focus mainly on my personal weight tracking and thoughts regarding weight, whereas this blog’s topics have strayed all over the place (not that there’s anything wrong w/ that).

Also, I have a page on there with pics of myself at various stages of weight gain and loss since 2001. I’ve blocked out my face, as a personal safety and privacy measure (I only show un-masked photos on more “private” venues online where only people I know can see them), but it gives a bit of a visual representation of my battle of the bulge. It also helps me, because sometimes the number on the scale isn’t always the whole story.

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Well, it’s been a long time since I posted. I realize that there are going to be infinitely stupid things said and thought about weight loss and healthy lifestyles in general, so it might not be the end of my desire to post on here. I’ve had many unfortunate things happen in my personal life in recent months. My friend passed away, both me and my housemate lost our jobs (he was laid off, I was fired). I’ve luckily landed a job, but it doesn’t start until next week so things are tight financially. But either way, it’s been a rough go.

I am not perfect. My weight loss has come to a standstill, and it’s because I haven’t been 100% with my diet and exercise. I tend to cycle through stages where I’m gung-ho and into it, and stages when I’m not. Luckily with diet, I never tend to overeat enough to gain any weight back…but I’m steadily maintaining. I haven’t been into working out lately, either. I’ve definitely had times where I’ve fallen off the wagon with this whole thing, but I’m still walking every day and keeping tabs on my weight. It’s not always easy, especially when I get depressed about things I tend to want to be isolated from people. Ugh, it’s like a battle of wills with myself. But as long as I don’t backslide, I’m not terribly worried. The difference between now and my past is my awareness of this tendency within myself to stagnate. Also, I actually own a bathroom scale and check my weight frequently enough to be aware of it. It’s a manual scale as opposed to digital so I can’t use the “battery died” excuse.

There is definitely more to life than weight, but at the same time I have to remember that my weight is somewhat of a manifestation of my emotional issues. It’s a symbol of falling down and staying down (to me), of stagnating, of not moving forward. I also admit that maybe a small part of me is still afraid to experience the life of a thinner person. I’ve never been a slim adult. Social attitudes and expectations are slightly different for thin people, by my observations.

Old habits die hard. I still feel proud, however, of the fact that I have never given up on this goal, even if I have “taken breaks” from actually really working towards it. I’m still around 30-ish pounds overweight. I used to be around 80 lbs. overweight. That’s definitely nothing to sneeze at, but at the same time if I had been stronger in my will over the last 2 years, I’d have reached my goal long ago.

I think posting in this blog might help me get motivated again. I hope so!

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I have stretch marks and saggy skin from all the weight I’ve lost. I’m young enough that I know that’ll eventually go away with time. I have a pretty good skin-care regimen, I use a good cocoa butter lotion and such. But it’s annoying, and it’s a reminder of the damage I did to my body by being so fat for a good decade or so. At least now when I’m walking I can look down and see my feet. Most people in my life consider me a “normal” weight at this point. I have about 30 lbs. left to lose until I’m at my goal of 120. It feels good being in the “home stretch” for sure, but I just really hope that my skin starts to look normal eventually. I accept that I may always have a little bit of stretch markage going on, but I hope they at least become reduced in appearance.

My ankles are weak for some reason. Wearing ankle braces while I work out isn’t really helping, it almost seems to make it worse. I still work out and work on my feet anyway. I have to. I deal with the pain with Tiger Balm, ibuprofen, and soaking my feet and ankles in epsom salt. I keep telling myself that this too shall pass. I can’t afford new shoes right now. Good shoes are expensive, even if you get them on sale.

My mom got me a cute, new workout outfit to wear to the gym. My current workout clothes are more appropriate for winter time and what my mom got me will be good for when the weather is warmer. We’ve been having really nice, sunny, warm days this week so I’ve been skipping the gym in favor of getting outdoor exercise. I just can’t stand being shut-in inside all day. I’m on day 2 of a 7-day work week. This shall be interesting. I know that exercise will help me not get too stressed at work. The next Saturday that I get off work, I want to go swimming. The bathing suit I bought at the end of the summer last year that was a bit too snug now fits great. It’s not a “sexy” bathing suit, it’s just a nice suit that a swimmer would wear, very full-coverage and aerodynamic (or would that be hydrodynamic?)…Even when I get to be thin I’m not sure I’m into the idea of prancing around in a bikini.

I would rather have saggy skin than extra fat. I know for a fact my skin isn’t as saggy as some people’s who’ve lost a lot of weight since I’ve lost weight slowly, and because I didn’t get as fat as some people.

I’m going to go change into my workout clothes and run now. It’s really pretty outside and unseasonably warm.

As far as being poor goes, we seem to be doing ok. I’ve picked up extra hours this week at work (obviously) and hope to pick up some more later, enough to cover all the bills and such. It’ll be close, but we’ll make it. Roomie’s bosses want to get people back to work in a few weeks if all goes well. Think positive for us, I’m doing my best to do so.

I had a tough weekend with food. I succumbed to my lust for donuts and ate a half dozen of them over 2 days. I guess some would argue that you could do far worse than that, but 3 donuts is a lot of calories and sugar and bad crap. This is why you eat before going grocery shopping. Me and the roommate went to go get a few necessities and neither of us had eaten much that day. That was a mistake because we cruised by the bakery to maybe get a little of the day-old bread for dinner, and instead left with a dozen donuts since they’d marked down the day-old ones to half priced dozens. I told myself I’d only have like 2 of the whole dozen and the roomie could have the rest, but I ended up having six. And I felt it, too. Blarf. I suppose that other people do worse and maybe I shouldn’t beat myself up over it, but because I felt very “out of control” and binge-y while indulging in these things, instead of it being a planned thing, I feel that it merits a little bit of reflection so I deter myself from doing it again. That being said, we rarely keep any sweets in the house aside from his lime sherbet and pop tarts (which I hate anyway, they’re all his and the skinny mofo can eat a ton without gaining an ounce), and sometimes some lowfat frozen yogurt for me to have on weekends (to keep me from eating things like donuts, lol). So I guess I didn’t do as bad as many people do every day. Sometimes I wonder if I do replace food for other forms of pleasure that would actually fulfill me more, like masturbation or massage…haha. Either way, back in control yesterday and today, which is good.

OK I’m going to go exercise now. Laters!

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Well, my gym finally re-opened, and I went and had my I.D. card made for my membership. I am officially a member now, with a shiny, plastic ID card with a silly picture of me, still wearing my coat. I look fat as hell in it because my winter coat is huge on me. But also because I’m still fat. I even quipped to the woman who made my ID that I hope I look drastically different from that ID pic later in the year. She was pretty encouraging. I told her that I’ve been exercising at home for awhile now and that I’m ready to take it to the next level.

Since it’s a college gym, and yesterday was the first day back at classes, it was pretty crowded. The gym I’m at is where there are a lot of phys. ed. classes going on, and the college does require that you take a minimum amount of phys. ed. You could tell that some of the people there really didn’t want to be there, and you could tell the ones who DID. I was one of those people. But I must admit, there were a lot of really fit and attractive people there of all ages, and it was a little intimidating. It’s easy to think while working out at home that I’m so bad-ass and getting in shape, but when you’re surrounded by muscular and hot people, it can be easy to let it play to your self-conscious side. Also, I could feel some stares. People thinking, “oh look, another New Year’s resolutioner,” those kinds of looks, but I suppose it comes with the territory. I won’t let it scare me away or stop me. I actually want to keep going and see how many people I saw today actually keep coming in regularly. I also talked with a staff person about personal training options. I have dabbled in strength training, but I want to take it to a new level and have someone with more expertise coach me. You have to pay out the ass to have multiple sessions, and I’m a quick learner so I’m thinking I could do the package where you just have 3 sessions for around $100.00, then have it all squared away and take it from there myself. The weight room was of course completely male-dominated by hulking body builder types, not a female to be seen. I’d love to break that barrier. More women need to lift weights. The guy I talked to seemed impressed that this short little fat girl was interested in becoming serious about lifting. He also commented that it was good that I’d lost as much weight as I had and noted the muscle tone in my arms. I do pushups daily which has helped, but I haven’t yet gotten serious about lifting.

I did 3 miles of running, varying the intensity from time to time a la interval training, with a bit of an incline on the treadmill. Because of the time it took to get me processed as a new member, I didn’t have as much time to work out as I would have liked before I had to shower up and get ready for work. But when I go again tomorrow I’ll have way more time. I’m pretty sore today because I admit I haven’t been working out as hard or as much over the holidays, and I got more out of shape than I thought I did. I was really feeling it, but it felt good. I love when I’m doing cardio and I finally get into what I like to call the zone (not to be confused with the high-soy Zone diet plan, yuck) where I’m really feeling it, that “runner’s high” thing, feeling my heart pumping, starting to sweat, etc.

I felt wimpy doing 3 miles on the treadmill and getting so sore from it (it was a reality check to how out of shape I let myself get, as I didn’t push myself as hard over the holidays when I worked out), but a friend of mine who works next to me and frequently comes into the store for lunch said that she was impressed by my 3 miles and that she can barely jog a block before she gets tired of it and wants to quit. So I suppose I’m not in terrible shape compared to others, but I’m also not in the BEST shape either. I chalk it up to the fact that I don’t drive right now and do a lot of walking (even when I take the bus, I have to walk to the bus stop from my house and I get off 6 blocks or so from work so’s I don’t feel completely lazy), and that I have to be in enough of decent shape to perform my physical job (lots of lifting of boxes of stuff, going up and down stairs [we have stairs in my store, yes], store stocking, running to and fro to grab things for customers, cleaning, etc.). If the weather is decent I often elect to walk home from work instead of taking the bus to avoid the crazy bus people. So I’m in way better shape than a lot of Americans, but I always want to get better. I also want to be able to run away from crazy people, and sprint to beat dwindling traffic lights when I’m crossing the street (which I can do the latter way better than the former). I also want to run a 5k later in the year. And I want to be able to lift a lot of weights and be insanely strong compared to most women. I don’t want to ever have to ask a guy to lift something for me anymore. I want to be the chick that guys at work ask to lift something for them (hahaha). I have some big fitness goals and a long way to go, but I suppose we all have to start somewhere. I’m glad to be starting young.

Tomorrow I’m going to the gym before work. I’ll have way more time to try more than just the tread. I’m thinking for the cardio I’ll do the elliptical for an hour or so since my ankles and insteps of my feet hurt pretty bad today, and I do work on my feet and would like them to be reasonably comfortable. I think I may hit the equipment room for some boxing gloves and try my hand at the giant punching bag. There was a really cute boy practicing high-kicks and punches on it yesterday, and it looked like a very gratifying exercise. I want to beat the crap out of a punching bag, too! Today I’m going to do my Abs of Steel tape. While my legs, feet, and ankles hurt pretty bad, I can at least flail about on the floor and do some toning exercises, better than nothin’. The weather here toady is pretty stinky, lots of snow. So I’ll probably have to shovel later, which will be more exercise. I also have to work today, which inevitably means exercise. Yay exercise!

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There seems to be a mentality that some weight gain in life is inevitable and completely unpreventable. For instance, when we age, or when women have children, they are almost expected to get fat. The thing is, becoming fat is not essential to having a healthy pregnancy. In fact, it can put a lot of undue strain on the pregnant woman to not only be carrying a child but also the excess weight. It’s one thing to put on about 10 – 20 lbs. during your pregnancy, and then lose it after. It’s another to get so fat you can’t move, then blame it on your kid. Also, getting older doesn’t mean that you should get fat. It’s better to maintain a high level of lean muscle mass for life, which can make the aging process be less hard on you. Being healthy in general can prevent a lot of problems.

Some people wonder why one would complain of being 10, 20, or 30 lbs. overweight. Why would one complain since being just a bit overweight doesn’t make you look hugely fat? Perhaps it’s because it’s common sense to want to prevent further weight gain by “nipping it in the bud” when it’s an easier thing to manage. Think about it, if a person consistently gains 10 lbs. a year, in 10 years they will be at least 100 lbs. overweight, which is debilitating. But our culture has adopted a mentality that we should wait until a problem is debilitating and out of control before we solve it. This is why we have these TV shows on certain cable networks that show a person so fat they can’t leave their house. We have a mentality that we should wait until it gets THAT BAD before we do anything to remedy it. It’s this lack of preventative measures mentality that leads to the majority of us being unwell, unfit, and unhappy. We’re all sick, fat, and tired.

Perhaps instead of thinking, “oh, I’m only 20 lbs. overweight, I’ll just eat whatever I want, after all, getting fat is just a part of getting old,” people should instead think, “uh-oh, I’m 20 lbs. heavier than I was a year ago. I’ve been eating all the wrong stuff and sitting around when I’m not working. Perhaps I should do something about that so that in 10 years I’m not too big to leave the house.” hmmmmm….

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Well, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas! I sure did! I enjoyed some really fun times with my family and my housemate who came along for some of the celebration since his family lives pretty far away. Christmas eve I spent at an uncle’s house doing the family reunion bit, and Christmas day me and the housemate spent over at my folks’ with them and my sister, and one of her friends who came by for awhile. They got my sister a Wii, and those things are fun as hell! I thought it was funny that the person who played with it the most was my stepdad, who got really into the Wii sports, and was kicking butt at the boxing game! I’m thinking he’s going to be addicted to it enough to buy one for him and my mom to use, since my sister will be taking hers to school with her. He was actually joking, saying, “well, we’d better keep it here and not send it to school with her, she’ll never study if she takes it with her!” haha. The boxing game is actually a pretty good workout if you play it long enough – my stepdad was sweating after an hour or so of the boxing game. I liked the tennis and golf ones, too. I used to pretty much be annoyed with video games since I’m such a dirty hippie and like to run around outside all the time and I view video games as a lazy person’s recreation, but Wii is respectable because it gets you up off your butt out of your chair and actually physically engaged in the games. I could see how a person could have a lot of fun with a Wii.

I got some lovely gifts. My mom and sister gave me cute clothes and some much needed socks, underwear, and long underwear (I am outside a lot and need it to keep me warm in the winter, and my long underwear from last year was falling off me). My sister gave me this gorgeous, purple hippie skirt with a drawstring so I can keep wearing it as I shrink. The underwear my mom got me is the girly version of kids’ underoos but in women’s sizes. They’re very comfy but adorable at the same time. I work on my feet and walk everywhere so I wear through socks quickly, so the crew socks I got were much appreciated. I use a pre-paid cell phone and the folks got me the ultimate minutes card, which gives you 800 minutes, a year of airtime, plus double minutes for the life of your phone. I refuse to get a cell phone contract, so this is the best deal. I was grateful for that. Also, my mom and stepdad got me something really awesome: a gift certificate for a year long membership to the gym I like to go to! It’s close to work and it’s a really nice facility. I’d been going sporadically and buying day-passes, but this way I can get more bang for my buck and go more often. They have a really nice natatorium, and I LOVE to swim for cardio, so I win! In addition to that they have a running track, a lot of other really nice equipment, and a SAUNA! So I’ll be going in to redeem that ASAP. I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun 🙂

All that being said, it’s about the love, not the stuff. I feel truly blessed that I have an awesome family and set of friends who love me. While I love the gifts I got and appreciate it all, what I appreciate most is the people in my life, they are the real gifts 🙂

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