Monday, August 29, 2011

Sometimes all you can do is try to hold on and not fall off the wagon

The last two weeks have been such a time for me. Lots of eating out. A tight packed schedule most days - and I need some time alone to replenish my energy, so too many plans stress me out. And, of course, when I'm stressed, that's when all my good intentions get out of dodge.

The low point was the day I ate brownies for every single meal (including breakfast!) - not my proudest moment. Luckily, the very next day was the opposite - I managed a whopping 1800 calorie deficit without even trying! I ate what I usually eat, but didn't stay off my feet the entire day. No strenuous exercise (except for my c25k run), just cleaning the house, taking a (slow moving, non sweaty) dance class and walking there and back. I was flabbergasted by how many calories you burn when you're not relaxing in front of the couch as I do way too often. I don't think such a large calorie deficit is good in the long run, but it really helped after the gazillion brownie calories from the previous day. :)

Despite the stress, I did manage to get in all my c25k runs, and I am very proud of that. I've made those runs a priority! Even though I sometimes had to run far later than I wanted (I get wired and can't sleep if I exercise too late in the evening), I did manage to squeeze them in. AND last night I ran 30 minutes for the first time! Woot woot!

Right now it sounds like I actually did pretty good these past weeks. I didn't, I just don't like to dwell on the negatives. I don't believe in beating yourself up after you've slipped, that only lead to self loathing and often makes it even harder to get back on track. But I DO believe in learning from your mistakes, so here is what I (re)learned (nothing new under the sun here).

  • Stress, and having too many plans, no matter how fun they are, is a major trigger for me. I need to prioritize more 'free' days, and I need to find a way to lower my stress when I can't.
  • It is much harder to avoid candy that is right in front of me, then to just not buy it. I have the latter down, but in order to not pig out when someone else brings candy, I'm trying out chromium in large doses to see if it helps.
  • When I've mentally prepared to stay off a certain temptation (ie a special type of candy), and another type appears instead, my mental strength falters too often. Not sure what to do about this, maybe try to not focus so much on what kind of temptation I'm expecting?
  • When I have a planned cheat, I way too often feel like that gives me a free pass to eat whatever I want the rest of the day/week. Challenges help with this, so maybe I'll try some half-day challenges as well.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Working towards a new and improved me

Last week, I've done two very important things. I believe they are going to help me on my fitness journey, but also make me feel better about myself.

1) I signed up for my first race! I'm going to participate in Oslo Maraton. Of course, I'm not going to run the marathon. I'm going for the 3K, you know that distance that is so far from a marathon that the race isn't even the same day as the real marathon.

Anyways, it is the perfect first distance for me, as by then I'll have finished c25k and I'll have a few more weeks to work on my speed. Any tips on how to build speed would be greatly appreciated! I'm thinking intervals is probably the way to go, but I haven't been able to find any good sites on this.

The race will (hopefully) give me the motivation to put in the extra effort in my running program. I also love having a goal to work towards, it helps me focus and keep going even if I don't feel like it a day or two. And I've read so much about others who love racing, so I'm hoping I will, too! :)

Image by jscreationzs /

This being my first race, I don't know what kind of times are attainable, so I decided on these two goals: To complete the whole race without walking, and to not finish last.

I've been thinking about signing up for this race for a while, but the thought of finishing last held me back. I was plagued by flashbacks from high school, when I was always picked last for sports, when I always finished way behind the others, when I hated exercising. I was afraid of feeling that way again, afraid of the bottomless pit of self loathing and self berating. I don't have to win, but I really HATE to suck at something.

However, I couldn't let that stop me, now, could I? First of all, just by participating I'd be winning over my fears and bad memories. Second, even if I DID finish last, would it really be such a disaster? I would probably feel bad right there and then, but I'd be able to work through it. It wouldn't be the end of the world. I am a big girl now, and I can handle disappointments. What I CAN'T handle, is sitting around, not daring to live my life in case I might disappoint myself. I've done too much of that in the past.

But, still, I'd prefer not finishing last, so that is one of my goals, and I think it is perfectly attainable. If it's not, well, as the saying goes: "Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars".

2) I changed my style in clothes completely. I was fed up with my old style, or rather, lack of style. I loathed what I saw in the mirror. I didn't care much about fashion, just put on whatever I found. My clothes were clean, yes, but flattering? Nope.

So, I enlisted the help of a very stylish friend. She helped me choose stylish and girly clothes that fit me, and taught me a thing or two about accessories. It cost a fortune, and I'm sure I spent as much on clothes in that one day as I've ever spent in my whole entire life. But it was well worth it!

Now, when I look in the mirror, I actually like what I see. I'm not so hung up on my weight anymore, because I look GOOD in my new clothes. They work WITH my shape, not against it. And while I am still heavy, I don't think it is as obvious any more. The right clothes can really work miracles, both on your appearance and your self esteem!

I believe this will be an important part of learning to love myself the way I am right now. I've learned the hard way that if you don't work on your feelings, thoughts, and self image when you're losing weight, you'll have a harder time keeping it up, or, if you reach your goal, maintaining a healthy weight. It is not just about the weight, it never was. The cognitive part of this is just as important. And I'll be focusing a lot more on that now, and I believe it will help me reach my goal weight and stay there. I'll keep on finding new ways to treat myself right, and hopefully my mind will catch up and realize that I am, in fact, worth it.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Planning to fail?

Lately, I have started noticing how my mind is constantly trying to avoid failure, rather than working towards success. It became very evident when I first decided to do a 1 week 1 kg challenge. As I started to write the blog post announcing my challenge, I almost scared myself into quitting before I'd even begun. Thoughts like "what if I can't make it", "I will be publicly humiliated", "I'm not good enough" and "Now everyone will see what a failure you really are" raced through my mind. 

I noticed these fears, and decided to not let them stop me. But I also wondered how many times these fears have stopped me from doing something that I want to do. I am not always as aware of them, or if I am, I believe them and give up before I've even started. Frankly, I'm a little scared to think of all the things I've missed just because of my gut reaction of "you're not good enough".

I recently read You CAN be thin by Marissa Peer, and she talks (among other things) about this. Her advice is to tell yourself that you are enough, and repeat it until you believe it. I've started doing that, and I've also started being my own cheerleader instead of my own worst enemy. Well, I'm trying to anyways, my inner critic has been a part of me for years, so the habit takes a while to break. But at least I'm trying. :)

Of course, when I first started c25k, I was attacked by the self doubt monster. When I looked at the schedule ahead of me, I quickly decided that this was way too hard for me, impossible even. Yet, others who hated running had managed to come out alive and with a new-found passion for running, so I gave it a shot after all.

The first few weeks were okay, but as soon as the running time doubled from 1,5 minutes to 3 minutes, my doubts resurfaced. You may remember that I very nearly convinced myself I'd reached my limit. Luckily, I refused to give in, and managed it just fine. There and then I decided to stop believing that the next run would be too hard, and think positive instead.

For a long time, I actually managed to do so. I cheered myself on. At one point I even started feeling like I looked forward to a new challenge. Things were looking good. Then the dreaded week 5 of the c25k happened. From the very beginning I'd feared this week. Somehow I had managed to push it from my mind, thinking it was way in the future. Then, all of the sudden it was there, and there was no way I could quell my self doubts this time. Really, whomever thought that it was a good idea to go from running 8 minutes straight to 20 - TWENTY - minutes straight? They should be locked up, crazy people!

I was quite sure I'd never make it, my fear of failure was warning me against trying - no good could come out of this. Well, I'm very stubborn, and I hadn't come all this way just to quit. So I set out to prove myself wrong. I kept Jillian in my mind, and I envisioned the triumph of being able to blog about it afterwards. And I DID IT! Not only did I run 20 minutes straight, I went on to run really fast (for me - remember my definition of running at this point is 6 km an hour - babies could probably crawl faster) for a while afterwards, just to quiet my doubts once and for all. Take THAT, evil self doubt! Totally knocked-out there, inner critic!

Image by digitalart /

So now I'm more determined than ever to not let my fears stop me. I will not be planning to fail anymore, I am going to plan success instead. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

I made it! :)

I managed to have a calorie deficit of 5000 cals, in fact I did even better - I ate 5630 calories less than I needed!

AND the weight went down, - 0,9 kg! NOT BAD! :)

Yet, when I see the stats on my Tanita scale, things don't look quite as good:

Weight: 77,1 kg - down 0,9 :)
Body fat percentage: 38,9% up 0.9% :(
Body fat in kg: 29,9919 kg up 0.2 :(
Muscle mass in kg: 11,2615 down 0,27 :(
Water weight in kg: 33,5385 down almost 1 kg :(

Seems like all I've lost is muscle and water, and gained fat. :( That seems kind of strange, though, when I've been so good. 

I guess I can't really trust Tanita blindly, either. It changes too much from day to day, and these last results sound impossible considering that I have such a high calorie deficit. Oh, well, I'll just have to look at the results in the long run instead. I have been working out, both running and shredding. I am getting fitter and I am losing weight. Hopefully the fat percentage and the muscle percentage will reflect that soon enough. Patience, my dear, patience. (this is quote from one of my favorite shows when I was a child - the musical Rock 'n' roll wolf - I still love it to this day! :) Just too bad I'm not the most patient type. ;)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

New challenge

I wanted to do a new 1 week 1 kg challenge this week, as I didn't have any plans and it seemed quite doable. But then I was invited to a friend's birthday party, and I realized that such a goal would be totally unrealistic this week. My friend is originally from Azerbaijan, and his family was visiting and they were making traditional, Azerbaijani food for us. Now, how often do you have the opportunity to taste real, authentic traditional Azerbaijani food, made by Azerbaijanis who also happen to be excellent cooks? Not very often, and there was just no way I was missing out on this or trying to restrict my food for that particular day! 

The food tasted wonderfully, probably one of the best meals I have ever had (and I've even been to a 2 star Michelin restaurant!). I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was SO worth every single calorie, no question about it! Incidentally, I think the food was quite healthy, however there was a lot of it, lots of different dishes to try, each better than the previous.

So, no regrets there. What WASN'T worth it, though, was that I let myself lose on eating other things, too, just because I had let myself lose for that particular event. I had already let my guard down this weekend and binged on way too much candy, so I was heading down a dangerous path. I needed a new challenge to get back on track, and I decided that the rest of the week (Wednesday through Sunday), I'd lose 0,7 kg. The rules are the same as last time, I'll reach my goal if I manage a deficit of 5000 calories throughout the rest of the week. If the scale follows, that'll be great! :)

At first, my mind was stuck on the idea that a challenge had to last an entire week. I'm glad I got past that notion, though. There is nothing wrong with having a challenge for just a day, for that matter. I think this will make it easier for me to stay on track in the weeks where I have plans that make weight loss hard for a day or two. I don't see any problem with letting myself lose (within limits!) for a couple of days, the problem is getting back on track again. Hopefully this will help!

I'll be using my weight yesterday as a starting weight, because I am all bloated today, so it wouldn't be a good starting point.

Here are my starting values as reported by my Tanita scale yesterday morning:
Weight: 78,2 kg
Body fat percentage: 38%
Body fat in kg: 29,716 kg
Muscle mass in kg: 11,5356 kg
Water weight in kg: 34,5644 kg