Sunday, July 31, 2011

Weigh-in no. 46

I'm still here.  Two weeks since last weigh-in and up two pounds.

Starting weight:   327.0
Last week   :        270.0
This week:           272.0    
Gain of                +   2.0
Total Loss          -  55.0 lbs

I didn't post last week because I didn't have anything to say.  And, while I don't really have much to say here either (or at least I don't think I do....), I couldn't not post.  

Two months from yesterday, all being well, I will be finished with my interruption in trying to lose weight.  My dissertation will be handed in and life will return to a new version of normal.

Some reflections on things as they stand at the moment:
-  I'm starting to feel fat again.  I'm only up 2.8 pounds from my lowest weight, but I can feel it creeping back into my psyche.  It's partially related to my gain, but mostly I think it is because of my substantial decrease in exercise.  Sitting on my bum all day at a desk typing away isn't doing a lot to keep the slob monster away.
-  I recognize that my quest for balance feels a little out of balance with my priority toward this dissertation taking center-stage.  And yet, I feel as if it is the best thing I can do for me at the moment.  It's not my only choice - I could quit, get an extension, or whatever - but it's the only thing I want to do.  It has to get done, and the sooner the better.  And I think it's just part of life that sometimes you have to put important things aside for a short amount of time to get other important things done.  It doesn't make it easier though....

So, that's where I am.  Hanging in there.  Waiting for October 1 to hurry up and get here - but not too fast because I still have a lot to do!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weigh-in no. 45: between starshine and clay

Weigh-in no. 45 (-0.6)

Starting weight:   327.0
Last week   :        270.6
This week:           270.0    
Loss of                -   0.6
Total Loss          -  57.0 lbs

I'll take it. 

This week has been a bit blah for me, so a loss is welcomed.  Everything sort of culminated this week in my mind - the weight of my dissertation, the weight of the f*%cked-up-ness of this place I live in called Northern Ireland, the weight of my attacks of self-doubt that I'll actually pass and get those three letters after my name and a decent job after all this work, my actual weight and inability to focus on it right now....

So I've been a bit down this week.

But things are coasting slowly back up.  I've made some decisions regarding my research and what I need to do to get it done, I've tried to note where my doubt is rational and irrational and act accordingly, and have reminded myself who I am, where I want to be, what kind of life I want and what it'll take to get there.

I'm aware that this period in my life is a transition time as I know I am finishing up one big thing to eventually move into something new.  Those times in life (and I've had my fair share) have always been hard for me.  You'd think I'd deal with change well after all the moving and re-starting somewhere new that I've done in my 35 years...but the unknown and insecurity about what the future holds always weighs on my mind when transition is imminent.  

And the fact that I'm not self-destructing by gaining a lot of my weight back in all of this is pretty amazing, really.

Note to self:  Take heart.  Have courage.  You've learned a lot in the last few months.  You're human and you'll continue to make mistakes, but look at all you've done with your life thus far.  You're gonna get through this, and it'll be fine.  Your mantra has always been "Somehow, it always gets done and things work themselves out."  No reason to stop saying or believing that now.

One of my favorite poets is Lucille Clifton and I am reminded of a few lines from my favorite poem of hers, called "song at midnight," on these days:
won't you celebrate with me
what I have shaped into 
a kind of life?  i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.
Lucille Clifton, "song at midnight," from her collection called Book of Light (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1992)Available on Amazon here.

And so I continue to move forward.  One foot in front of the other.  Without drama, but with determination.  One page and one footnote at a time.  Trying to asking no more of myself than to do the very best I can, knowing that it will not (and should not) be perfect.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weigh-in no. 44

Weigh-in no. 44 (- 0.8 lbs)

Starting weight:   327.0
Last week   :        271.4
This week:           270.6    
Loss of                -   0.8
Total Loss          -  56.4 lbs

I get the feeling that over the next couple months, I'll keep losing and gaining the same couple of pounds over and over.  But as I decided a couple weeks ago, I've committed to maintaining until I get my dissertation finished (I know y'all are going to get tired of hearing about it, but it is pretty much all my life consists of right now!).

However, perhaps I should say that even though I didn't go to the gym this week, I did run/walk intervals and churned out 45-50 pages.  That, I think, is worth celebrating!

Also, my best friend back at home put some goodies in the post for me for my birthday, including some clothes that I had ordered from Old Navy (on a side note: jeans here in the UK/Ireland don't seem to be made for big-bottomed girls.  Most larger women I see here (or most people in general, I have to say) have kinda flat patooties.....and, for that reason, the jeans just never seem to fit me right around the hips and ass area.  So I have to order them from the states).  I ordered 2 XXL t-shirts (not the plus-size, but normal XXL) and 2 pair of jeans in size 18 & 16, so I could work my way into them over the next few months.  The t-shirts?  Kinda big!  I can still wear them, but I think I could have gotten away with an XL in both.  And the jeans?  I could put on the 18's and wear them, but I wouldn't leave the house in them just yet.  So nearly there....and while I've committed to maintaining, perhaps they'll be a good motivation to lose just that little bit so that I can wear them.

On the exercise front, I find myself a little frustrated with the whole running gig.  I still like doing it and I'll continue because the movement I'm doing, regardless of the time I'm able to do, is good.  However, as you may notice if you read the blog regularly, before I left on vacation in early June, I was able to run 13 minutes (1 mile) on the treadmill without stopping.  Not a huge amount, but a hard-won and kinda big deal for me.  

Granted, it was on a treadmill.  With no resistance or incline.  In a climate-controlled gym.  

And I took a break from running for about 3 weeks.

And now I'm running outside, around my neighborhood.  There's hills.  Gentle inclines, more like....up and down....

But damn if it doesn't almost kill me to do 3 minutes now!!  I went back to Couch to 5K training just for the ease of things (time, music, prompts, distance measured, etc) and Week 3 kicked my ass.  What the hell is that about??  (can you tell by my profanity that I'm frustrated?)

Seriously...I'm heaving by the 3 minute mark...WTF?

Oh well.  At least I'm not getting stitches or shoulder pain anymore, which I was getting when I first started running outside.  And I'm learning how to regulate my pace better.  And I'm getting my heart rate up despite the amount of time I actually run.  So I'll keep at it.....but still.  Damn.  Kinda makes me mad.

Oh, and I've figured out the snack food for the library thing.  Measured servings of dry cereal like Cookie Crisp or Cheerios seems to do the trick for me with the need for crunchy, bite-size snacks instead of M&Ms or the like.  The roasted chickpeas didn't turn out so well - a bit like unpopped kernels of popcorn at the bottom of the bag - so I'm not sure if I did them wrong or if that's just the way they're supposed to be.

And that's me for the week.  Wish me luck - chapter due to my supervisor this coming week!!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

weigh-in no. 43: Mindful vs. Mindless Eating & #DIY5K

weigh-in no. 43 (+ 2.0)
Starting weight:   327.0
Last week   :        269.4
This week:           271.4    
Gain of                +  2.0
Total Loss          -  55.6 lbs 

Yep.  A gain.   To be fair, some of it is water gain I think: my feet and hands feel a little puffy, mostly since I did my #DIY5K run/walk yesterday (more on that below) and didn't drink enough water over the course of the day afterwards.

But still, I'll admit that my eating was out of control this week, wanting to snack and munch like my life depended on it.  Most of it was healthy (except for some M&M's and Galaxy Minstrels), but that problem of just eating too much of good things has probably taken its toll as well.

Is it emotional eating?  I'm not feeling particularly emotional right now - positive or negative.  There's a moderate amount of stress due to all that's on my shoulders at the moment, but, to be honest, I expected to be much more stressed out than I am at this stage.  But as I've said before, I find that oftentimes I mindlessly eat out of boredom or out of just not knowing what else to do.  And as I sit there all day in the library trying to give  birth this 80,000 word (200-300 pages) dissertation baby, I just find that I keep wanting to nibble on something to do something else besides just stare at the screen and write.  Hence, the M&M's and Minstrels.

On a subconscious level, I wonder if I'm eating in order to feel some satisfaction, a sense of being full, a sort-of completion.  Working with something that will take a while longer to complete, I wonder if I'm eating in order to stimulate that feeling outside of the actual experience of being done?  I've searched high and low for negative issues like sabotage, but I don't think it's there.

At the same time, I have noticed how much time and energy it takes to eat mindfully - particularly since this week I have eaten somewhat mindlessly.  Now that I have something else that is requiring a huge amount of my time and energy, I find I have little left over to devote to planning meals, talking myself out of snacks or finding other activities to divert myself, etc. 

Exercise has been fine this week; I've run 3 days this week in the neighborhood and have felt good about my progress, considering my decision to scale back a little bit.  I've actually gone back to Couch to 5K (C25K) training just for the ease of time, distance, and intensity (and I've got a great iPhone app!).  I started back at Week 3, which is fairly easy but given the hills and resistance running around in my neighborhood provides, I thought it'd be a good place to start.

Also, I signed up to the #DIY5K for the month of July.  Have you heard of it?
DIY 5K is a monthly challenge to complete a 5K at any time during the month, race-style. You can run it or you can walk it. If you're handicapable and use another modality (bike, wheelchair, etc.), you can do that. It does not matter - this is your 5K, your way.
In addition to signing up to the challenge, I've decided to take it further and challenge myself to do a 5K once a week during July.  I thought that a do-able and yet hefty enough challenge for these next 3 months.  And I've set myself a baseline time of 58:44 that I'll work on beating each week.  1 week down.  4 more to go. 

What challenges - private or with others - 
are you participating in right now?

What are some ideas/recipes for snacking/nibbling that are a better choice? Roasted chickpeas? Kale chips?