Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Weigh-in no. 47: the kid's alright...

It was my blog's one year birthday yesterday!  My first post was on 8 August 2010 and, my my...what a year it has been!!

After last week's weigh-in, I was feeling a little defeated, reluctantly resigned to the idea that, yes, I am probably going to gain a bit over the next 7 weeks as I try to finish my dissertation.  Somewhere in my head, I had translated last week's 272 weight to 273.  And just to beat myself up a bit more and know just how bad I've been doing, I weighed yesterday morning (notice I didn't even bother to weigh on sunday) expecting to see 274 or so....

and lo and behold....

Weigh-in no. 47 (-1.4 lbs)

hot diggity dog!!

Starting weight:   327.0
Last week   :        272.0
This week:           270.6    
Gain of                -   1.4
Total Loss          -  56.4 lbs 

* sigh of relief *

Blame it on stress, blame it on water weight gain, blame it on whatever....but man, I feel so much better knowing that I actually am maintaining rather than gaining.  At 270.6, I'm only up 0.8 lb from when I started maintaining in June to finish my dissertation.  Suddenly, I go from disappointment in myself to pride in a matter of minutes.  Crazy, huh?

I'm usually loathe to blame gains on the time of the month or whatever for myself, mostly because I have a Merina IUD which pretty much causes me to hardly ever have a period, but this past week I had a bit of one.....and that must have been what caused the gain.... because I haven't eaten any differently than I have been eating....

And let's talk about the whole eating thing.  I still eat healthily.  I looked at our grocery basket Sunday night when we went to get groceries and it was full of fresh fruit, veggies, complex carbs, healthy proteins, and the like.  Despite the gain I thought I had, I was proud that our eating has changed and that even at this stressful time, the basket wasn't full of junk.

'Cause you know what?  If the house had junk in it, I'd be eating it right now.  I've mentioned it before, but I want to say it again: this whole losing weight business takes a lot of time and energy.  Some folks think that it's just a bit of a shift and life continues on as normal, but it doesn't.  At this particular stage in my life as I devote 90% of my mental energy to the labor and delivery of this PhD dissertation, I have been overwhelmed with the reality that I just don't have the energy to count calories and give serious thought to my food choices.  The amount of energy that it takes to have that mental conversation, talking yourself out of eating something....it's just not there.  

Which is why grocery shopping has been so important in this process.....that is the only time I really have to be intentional about what is purchased and stocked in the house.  

In other news, I had a chance to meet up with friends this past weekend (which is a big deal in and of itself....this whole PhD malarky is such a solitary business!!) and, after hearing my disappointment in gains (this was before I weighed), they encouraged me to post about everything I'm losing right now - not just weight but things I'm ticking off my list that show progress on the dissertation front.

I don't want to bore you with details, but I will share where I am and what I still have left to do, just so this all makes a bit more sense (as it's ridiculous for me to assume everyone knows the kind of stuff I've been busy doing):
  • Since June, I have wrapped up writing and editing five chapters, totalling roughly 240 pages (66,000 words in the actual dissertation, 36,000 words in footnotes).
  • Yesterday, I sent those 5 chapters plus an argument summary for each section and a table of contents to external readers and supervisor for editing, proofing and feedback.
  • I still have my final chapter - chapter 6 - to finish, plus overall introduction, conclusion and abstract/summary to write.
  • And finally, I have to make whatever changes my external readers suggest I make and final edits to the entire dissertation once it's all finished.
And I have 6 weeks left to do it all.  Turn in date is 30 September, but it needs to be finished about a week before that in order to have time to get it bound into soft cover (paperback) in order to be submitted for examination.

At times (mostly it's when I'm getting down on myself about not losing weight), I begin to think that what I'm doing isn't that big of a deal, that I'm making it into a huger deal than it actually is.

But other times, when I consider that it's taken me almost 4 years to get to this point, and that this is the culmination of a LOT of work, stress, and thinking, I give myself a break.

And it occurred to me the other day that I have never once heard anyone say, "Compared to this, doing a PhD is a piece of cake," or "My PhD was so much easier than __fill in the blank __."  One friend reminded me this week that its supposed to be hard, otherwise everyone would do one.  And this process is supposed to weed out those who can't produce what one needs to produce in order to get those letters behind one's name.

But is my success guaranteed?  No.  I could do all this and still not pass.  What are the chances of that happening?  Ummm....I'm not sure.  I'll have a better idea when I hear back from my readers in about 3 weeks' time.

So, with all that going on, I have to give myself some credit; a .8 lb or even 5 lb gain isn't that big a deal.

Mel Gets Fit posted this image on Twitter the other day and I loved it. (btw, you should check her out - she's doing great work!)  It seemed to sum up not only my weight loss journey, but just where I am in general right now on good days...or what I have to remind myself of on bad days:


1 year on and I've lost 56.4 lbs (4 stone) and am churning out some of the hardest work I've done in my life. 
I think that's worth celebrating!