Posts Tagged ‘losing weight’

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

CatAndMirrorI have a magic mirror in my bedroom. When I was heavy, it was always kind to me. I’d get ready for work in the morning or to go out somewhere and it never made me feel fat, well not too fat anyway. There was no getting around the fat thing really. I was never that delusional.

But I always felt ok in my clothes until I’d see myself unexpectedly…in a store window say, or in pictures. Is that what I really looked like to other people? Because it wasn’t how I saw myself. As a fat woman, I generally dressed in clothing that was on the loose side. Even though all of the magazines said dress in fitted clothes to shed ten pounds instantly, I was never comfortable with that. Wear a belt? God forbid. In reality, I probably made myself look even larger than I was (now looking back at pictures), but my thinking was that if I hid the rolls, no one would notice? Silly, I know. How, after all, do you hide three chins?

Ok, so now when I look into my mirror, I recognize that I’m smaller but I still see myself much the way I saw myself back in the “fat” days. Remember, in this magic mirror I didn’t see a really, really fat girl. I have sucked it up and changed some of my wardrobe habits. I wear fitted clothes now and belts, sometimes. But I’m still not so comfortable there. Give me a nice roomy empire waist top….a long flowy skirt with elastic waist, a pair of jeans two sizes too big now, and I’m a happy camper. I feel smaller when I’m wearing clothes that are larger. I also like layers. I’m trying to wear clothes that are more fitted though. And I bare my arms and even my legs from time to time.

I ran into Macy’s the other day with my daughter right after work and I passed a mirrored pole and caught my reflection.

When I passed, I had to back up and look again. There was a small person there. That couldn’t have possibly been me, could it? I was even smaller in that mirrored pole than I ever thought at home.

And when I see pictures of myself now, I’m kind of shocked. Only one chin? A collarbone? Biceps? I see these things in the mirror at home but I don’t know if I believe them. I keep waiting for fat me to return; I know she’s still lurking inside my head just waiting to make her grand entrance.

I don’t know that I’ve accepted myself in this new fit body just yet. And I should have by now. I’ve been working on it for quite some time. Maybe it’s that I am still working on it that keeps me from really appreciating how far I’ve come. Maybe its simply that I spent so much time in the other body, I’m reluctant to let it go?

How could that be you say? Being fat is like a security blanket. You get used to having it around as a protective shield. And change is scary. Even change for the better. I mean what if after all this hard work, the benefits I thought I’d gain from my fitness quest elude me. I’m still me. I still have the same insecurities and fears. I’m still unorganized.  I still procrastinate with the best of them.

I know getting fit doesn’t change everything, even though I suppose I hoped it would have in some ways. Get fit and win the lottery! Doesn’t work that way, right?

But it has changed one very key component of my life and for that I am grateful: my health. And with my health, I hope to live long enough to work on all those other pesky changes.

P.S. I lunched with a friend today who I’ve seen a number of times as I’ve been losing weight. I was late and she was waiting and she admitted that twice, she saw women she thought might be me and then realized, no, those women looked like the old me, not the new me. It seems people who know me are still adjusting to the changes too.

And then she told me I look really good. She’s a good friend. 🙂

Getting Fit? Which Exercise Is Best?

In my quest to get fit, I’ve done lots of reading and research. Other people’s struggles. What works for them. The best shoes for my feet for running. The best exercise routine. I read the information and try to take away what I find most important. The stuff that will help me with what I want to do.

There seems to be two hard core exercise camps, and then a bunch of us in between. The cardio people (of which I am currently one) and the strength training crew (I aspire to strength training but am not quite there yet). What amazes me are the fanatic fringe in these camps. The cardio people who say you have to do cardio…it’s the only way to lose fat. Nothing else will work.

And the strength training folks who say you have to strength train because it builds muscle, which ups your metabolism. Nothing else will work. I read one strength training article that went so far as to say cardio is bad for you because it makes your body more efficient and if you ever have to stop your body will basically become a big blob again. I don’t know. I knew a weight lifter guy once who stopped lifting weights and he turned into a big blob too.

For me, I knew I needed goals to get fit, so I started training for triathlons. I like to swim, I can bike, and now I can run. Without something to train for, I knew I wouldn’t be regimented about exercising. For some reason, a healthy body was just not enough to get me into the pool or even into my sneakers.

Race training works for me. I have a goal. I work toward it. I feel like I’ve accomplished something when I complete a race. I look for a bigger goal.

What I’m doing, though, isn’t going to work for everyone. It’s not going to work for most people.

But something can work for everyone. For the strength trainers, it’s lifting weights. For the cardio people, it’s walking or running or swimming or…. For yoga people, it’s yoga… you get the idea. I’m betting it’s really best to do a little of all of those things.

Bottom line is if we’re going to get fit, we have to move, even if it’s just from the couch to the front yard at first. Even if it’s dancing to your favorite song in the living room.

I’ve found something that works for me and I’ve stuck to it for a year. It’s challenging, not boring and ultimately, fun. I do a little of other stuff and I plan to add more. But this was where I needed to start.

Whatever the fanatics say, I’ve lost weight, built muscle tone and have more energy. And when I take a day or two off, I don’t turn into a big blob, but I do look forward to getting back to my training.

Do what works for you. Do what you are going to stick to and enjoy. Do something that will challenge you and that you can build on. Have fun. And don’t listen to what everyone else has to say. That’s my prescription for a good exercise program.


So this week I threw my points to the wind, sort of, and decided instead to concetrate on what types of food I’ve been eating. Remember, I’ve been at a plateau now pretty much for the last three months.

I went pretty far over points on Thursday and Saturday. Not great on Friday either. I return to counting points on Sunday though. Here’s the thing. After my frustration with the scale on Thursday this week, I decided (when I finally let it go) that this week would not be about counting points and it would not be about losing weight. WHAT?, you say? Has she gone over the edge?

Nope. I feel like I’ve been letting my frustration with my “weight” really take away from all the healthy changes I’ve been making. I’m thinking my obsession with what the scale says could even be one of the reasons I’m not losing. So I decided to stop letting the scale rule.

Instead, I chose to pay attention to the quality of the food I was eating and enjoy it, even the Godiva chocolates. [Side note: my hubby and I took a lovely ride into Greenport on Saturday to hang down by the docks, look wistfully at the boats, and walk around the quaint little town. We ended up in a store called Sweet Indulgences, where they sold…wait for it….candy, among other things. I bought three Godiva truffles and enjoyed every last bite. No guilt. Not even a little.]

I am a self-confessed snacker though and I tend to eat lower-point meals sometimes to fit in my “treats.” So this weekend, instead of focusing on points, I re-evaluated what I was eating instead of the point value. I realized I was eating a little too much bread and maybe not enough lean protein. I actually cooked this weekend, a lot. Bay scallops, rice with cream sauce, barbecued chicken, fresh veggies… Saturday night I even had real ice cream!

I paid attention to my portions and cooked healthfully and I continue to track everything. I made some easy changes and have been choosing better quality snacks (grapes instead of a weight watchers cookie for example). Although if I want it, I’ll still have the WW cookie. I’m paying attention to my actual, physical hunger and trying to decipher what my body is craving. Mindful eating? I realized I’d become a Weight Watchers robot, eating the same things at the same time every day, focusing only on not going over those points.

I don’t know if it was the boost in points over the weekend or the changes in WHAT I’m eating, but the scale seems to be moving in the right direction. I’ll let you know how that goes on Thursday when I weigh in.

In the meantime, even when I wasn’t checking the scale (I managed to stay off of it from Thursday through Monday) I felt less anxious about my food intake and just better in general.

It’s also home stretch for triathlon training. Three weeks to go! The healthier food choices will definitely have a positive impact on my performance on race day!

Struggling Through a Plateau

This morning when I got on the scale, it finally budged. I’ve been battling the same two or three pounds for four or five weeks now (I’d stopped counting) and I’ve been more than a little frustrated. This morning I was down two pounds from my weigh in on Thursday, where I was down a mere .2. That’s a total of 43 pounds but I’ve been stuck right there. I’m going to make sure I eat even healthier this week to keep this momentum going.  It just seems so easy to bail when the scale won’t give you any love.

Don’t get me wrong. I know it’s not all about the number on the scale. I’ve been getting in my workouts and feeling stronger and stronger. And even though I’m still a little worried about my race in a month, I know I’ll be able to finish it, even if I do have to walk some of the run.

My clothes are fitting so much better, and people are taking notice. It’s easy though to get lax when everyone is proud of you and the scale doesn’t want to cooperate. I feel like maybe I’m just fine where I am. But I’m at the plateau that got me the last time. I stopped what I was doing when I hit this weight because I felt good and looked better. I figured it was enough. I know this time though that it is not enough. I don’t want to be super-skinny, but I want to be truly fit. And I know that is going to take at least another 20 pounds, preferably 30. I want to feel like I felt before I had kids. I want to know what it’s like to be able to wear anything I want. No layers. Sleeveless maybe even this summer.

My workouts will get easier as I get smaller too, and that will help my race stats.  This first race is just one I want to complete. But going forward, if I want to “compete,” I’ll need to be in top form. And that means staying on track through this plateau and the next until I’m at a weight and size I know is right for me.

My Weight Is Not “Lost”

I gained this week. And rightfully so. Valentine’s weekend, which was also my daughter’s birthday, was a diet disaster. Chocolate, out to dinner, homemade birthday dinner and birthday cake… I was up two pounds at Weight Watchers on Thursday, but that was down from where I was on the Monday following that weekend.

But that was ok. I take full responsibility. I ate too much and I “gained” weight.

It got me thinking though. I get to take responsibility when I “gain” weight. Why do we say we “lost” weight when we are getting rid of it?

I mean, I’ve lost my keys, you lose a tennis match, I’ve lost my mind, I lost my dog, I lost all my money in the crashing stock market….

If you think about it, when we “lose” things, it’s rarely intentional. An these are all things we’d like to get back, in fact, we’d work hard to get them back.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’ve “lost” 43 pounds. And I have no intention of finding them again. In fact, I still have more to get rid of. And my weight loss isn’t unintentional. I didn’t wake up yesterday morning to find my clothes too big. “Hey, where did those 43 pounds go? I could have sworn they were right here on me when I went to sleep last night.”

Nope. Instead, I’ve worked really, really hard to get rid of the extra weight. I’m careful about what I eat now (except this past weekend) and I get out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to go work out. This is not unintentional.

So I think we need to change the way we look at what we are doing when we “lose” weight. We need a new verb that gives us ownership of the process and all the hard work we have put into this effort.

How about shed, got rid of, obliterated, eradicated, tossed to the the curb? Anything that puts us in charge of the process. I think after working this hard, I should get to have ownership of what I am doing and make sure those around me know I’m doing this on purpose to be healthier.

This past week I gained 2 pounds (ownership). I didn’t find it. I know what I did to get it back.

Next week, I’m going to eradicate that two pounds and hopefully toss a couple of its friends to the curb along with it. There. Now it’s an action I’m intentionally taking. And that’s empowering.

Juicy Juice

v8fusionI struggle to get my veggies and fruits in most days. I get close, but sometimes five is tricky. I’ve always been a fan of V8 Splash and Fusion juices but they are on the high side calorie and sugar-wise.

Recently though, I discovered V8 Fusion Light Strawberry Banana–50 calories and 10 grams of sugar in an 8-oz serving and only 1 point on Weight Watchers. Plus, it’s a full serving of fruit and a full serving of veggies.

And it’s yummy to boot. I think I can snake a point from somewhere else in my day to drink up and get those fruits and veggies in. Even though I just lost another point.

At weigh-in this morning, I was down 1.8 for a total of 41 pounds, which puts me into the next lower point range. Thank goodness for exercise, which gives me some activity points back.

The Candy Conspiracy

cadburycremeeggI was in Walmart last week, buying size 14 pants….a size I haven’t seen in many, many years. It was soooo exciting! Even though I still think sizes have gotten larger along the way (or else how else could they possibly fit me?), buying a size 14 pair of pants that I actually wore to work the next day was a thrill!

Happily striding up to the checkout counter, I buzzed right past the pretty packages of Valentine’s Day candy–you know the ones in the heart boxes where you have to bite in to find out just what you’re eating? I love those. And in the past I could finish a box in one sitting. Always had to know what was in that last one? Would it be caramel or coconut or some fruity creme? But this day? I went right past. I didn’t even look at the boxes wistfully! After all, after six months of Weight Watchers, I can wear a size 14 again!

And then, right there in front of the registers, where you can’t miss them if you tried….. Cadbury Creme Eggs. For Easter. Seriously? It’s January. Not even the end of January. We haven’t finished buying our Valentine’s Day candy yet. Easter isn’t until April 12. WTF?

I will admit, right here and now, that Cadbury Creme Eggs are my all-time very favoritest of all holiday chocolate. I’ve waited impatiently for those sweet gooey treats in the past. And yet, this year, as I proudly carried my size 14 pants to the register, there they were, months ahead of schedule. AAAARRRGGGHHHH!

I didn’t buy one. I resisted. My size 14s kept me strong….this time. Problem is, I can’t go into Walmart now until May.

And it got me to thinking. What is with our country? Every holiday from Halloween through Mother’s Day revolves around candy. It’s no wonder we all gain 10 pounds in the winter. We all join gyms and diet programs in January to peel off the Christmas Holiday treats just in time for another candy barrage from Valentine’s Day through Easter, which the stores begin merchandising on Dec. 26.

Are the candy companies and diet centers working together? I can hear the conversation now…. “You get ’em to join Weight Watchers Mary, and then send them over to us to buy their healthy food. We’ll make sure the Valentine’s M&Ms and Cadbury Creme Eggs are right in the path from the produce aisle to the diet soda!”

I don’t expect to make it all the way to Easter without having at least one Cadbury Creme Egg. In fact, I’m planning to eat at least one and keep it in points. But I will not succumb to retail merchandising and get them every time I go into the store and they are staring me in the face. Oh no. They won’t get me this year.

I’ve worked too hard for the past six months to lose 39.2 pounds and get into a size 14. I’m not going back. But I have to tell you, I’ll be happy when it’s June and holiday candy takes a back shelf if just for a month or two!

Triathlon Here I Come

Ok, so it’s official. Back when I decided it was time to get fit for my 50th birthday (and actually even way before that), I had always had the idea that I would participate in a triathlon. My brother is a triathlete, a good one, and he is in incredible shape. Coming from the same gene pool, I figure I can do this too. (oh sure.)

So I signed up and the date of my very first triathlon will be April 18, 2009, just one month before the big birthday. It’s a starter triathlon (Mini Mighty Man) with a 400 meter swim, 6 mile bike and 2 mile run. However, coming from my state of years of no exercise, this will be a challenge. I started preparing when I started weight watchers in July, with walking. Now I’m at the gym swimming, biking and trying to run (this will be my toughest challenge as I’ve never been a runner).

I’m fortunate to have a background in competitive swimming, and even though I hadn’t been in the pool in a very long time and am still recovering from a torn rotator cuff injury, this has come back easily.

The rest will be a little tougher. However, I’ve made the commitment, I’m ready and I’m really excited! Of course it’s easy to be excited when I haven’t been to the gym in a week because of schedule conflicts, but I’m back there tonight.

I know exercise is an essential part of losing weight. However, I’m not a huge fan of it (even though I love the way I feel when I’m done). It’s so easy to find a million excuses not to exercise. I figure signing up for this triathlon and sharing my intentions with the world will be one really big, good reason to be exercising…and getting fit along the way!

I’ll keep you posted.