A fresh start

I tend to blog in spurts. That doesn’t do much for holding onto readers, let alone expanding readership. So, beginning today, I’m going to try to be a lot more consistent; “try” being the operative word. Sometimes work and life become so overwhelming it’s all I can manage to update my Facebook status or tweet something just once a day, let alone post to my blog. But if I fancy myself a writer – which I do in the fantasy world in which I often dwell –  how lame is that? Writers write. They MAKE time to write, no matter what. It takes discipline – something I have too often fund to be in short supply where I’m concerned. When I want to be, I can be more disciplined than a US Marine. In the past, I have been crazily disciplined in a bunch of different areas:  golf – hitting 500 range balls and playing 18-27 holes of golf every single day for months until I achieved a 6 handicap; hunt seat (English) equitation – riding for hours with no stirrups at a posting trot to strengthen my legs and perfect my independent seat; weightlifting – lifting heavy weights six days a week, come Hell or high water, and going from 26% bodyfat to 16% bodyfat in a matter of months, just to name a few examples. Unfortunately, it can take an act of Congress, impending doom, or seeing a photo of myself at 40 pounds over my normal weight, to drop kick me into disciplined Marine mode. None of those scenarios are applicable to writing, but the desire is strong right now. Maybe the timing is right. My favorite author, Diana Gabaldon, says you have to write every day, even if only for 10 minutes. Good grief. I should be able to find at least ten minutes in a day to write. So… we shall see.

Now, a brief update:

I was doing that Fit to Fat @ 57 series on this blog, albeit for a very brief time. I stopped because I ended up with a stress fracture in my left tibia and femur at the knee and had to cease all exercise, making losing weight and becoming fit almost impossible. Well, it seemed impossible to me at the time. That was the undisciplined me. The disciplined me would have continued to diet, regardless of the fact that I couldn’t exercise. Instead, I gave up and ate whatever I felt like eating. I’m sure you’ve guessed that I gained back everything I had lost, finding myself back at square one. In fact, I was a square minus one, because I gained an additional 4 pounds during my feeding frenzy.

I saw photos of myself in May of this year and was disgusted. The person in those photos was NOT me. At least, not the “me” in my head. I decided I had to do something NOW or live forever unhappy with myself. So, on May 10, 2013 I started the HCG diet. I am proud to report that I have lost 35 pounds and MANY inches – 6 of which were off my waist, 4 from each thigh, and 4 each from my hips and chest – since I started the plan. The program goes in rounds and phases. Phase 2 is the weight loss portion. Phase 3 is the maintenance portion. Phase 4 is how you eat for life. I have done two rounds consisting of Phases 2 and 3. I have happily maintained my losses during both Phase 3 rounds, which is huge. If you can stay within 2 pounds of the low weight you achieved during Phase 2 for at least 21 days, you can begin another round in an attempt to reach your goal. I have maintained twice now, which feels so great. I know I can eat “normal” portions and not gain. I also have learned my triggers – foods that I added that caused me to gain weight or retain water. It makes me feel much more in control of my weight and my eating, as opposed to feeling as though food controlled me. I have maintained my 35 pound loss for 21 days and through two rounds. I am beginning a third round tomorrow with a goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of the weight loss round – just in time for a conference I will be attending in November. I’m actually excited to start the next round because I know I will be successful and finally reach my goal.

Another benefit of this diet is that I have been completely weaned off bread and sugar. I no longer crave bread, pasta and other starches. I can make the spouse’s sandwiches for his lunch, fill Baggies with pretzels, chocolate, candies, and other snack foods, and not be tempted in the least to down a few bites in the process. I can go to a fast food restaurant and eat a salad while everyone else chows down on burgers and fries, and I don’t feel deprived. I feel GREAT! I look pretty good, too, or so I’m being told with increasing regularity. My clothes are all too big for me, so I’m digging out stuff that has been packed away for several years that is a size smaller. Even some of those things are too big. I’m almost two sizes smaller now. In another couple of weeks, I fully expect to be back in a size 10.  The things I like about this diet are that a) you lose quickly so it’s easy to stay motivated, b) the strict requirement to forego sugars and starches in Phase 2 and Phase 3 helps break the addiction to those things, and c) the support provided on the website and the HCG Diet Facebook page really helps when you hit a rough patch. I know I have developed eating habits that will be sustainable for life. I am not just dieting. I am eating in a much healthier way, sans binges, and with no wacky, unsustainable food plans. I now crave lean proteins, vegetables, and salads and can easily pass up bread, starches, and sugars. That’s not to say that once I reach my goal I will never allow myself to indulge on occasion, but as one successful dieter and author recently said in an interview, “rewarding yourself with food is like an alcoholic rewarding a month of sobriety with a beer.” That’s one of the best analogies I’ve heard in a long time.

In addition to the diet, I have been exercising. I rode my bike to work and back as often as possible this summer – an activity I absolutely love. The weather is changing, and riding is not an option a lot of the time. Sadly, all too soon it will be too cold and too dark to ride to work and back, so I’m back at the gym. Getting up at 5:15 a.m. to go workout, especially when it’s dark, raining or snowing, and quite unwelcoming outside, is not my favorite thing to do. So, I am attempting to develop the habit now, while it is not THAT dark, not THAT cold, and not THAT nasty out. Hopefully, I can string together enough days of successfully getting to the gym that it becomes a habit, and something I look forward to doing. If I can accomplish that, it will carry me through the dark and dreary days of winter that will be upon me before I know it. I know that long-term success with keeping my weight off and being fit lies in habitually going to the gym as much as it does in eating properly.

So, today is a fresh start in blogging and a fresh start on my way to achieving the level of fitness I had fifteen years ago. I know I can succeed at both with a little discipline.

Fat to Fit @ 57 – Day 45

Wow, has it really been 45 days since I began this series? Where has the time gone? Unfortunately, I have not come close to the goals I set for myself for this time-frame. I honestly thought that I would have been riding my bike almost daily to work, would have been eating really well with very little cheating, and would have lost 10 or 15 pounds by now. Almost non-stop rain thwarted my bike riding plans initially. When the rain finally stopped, my knee was hurting so bad that I could barely walk, let alone pedal my bike. Two weeks of perfect cycling weather have passed, and I have been unable to ride even a half a block. I hope to remedy that this Friday when I visit the orthopedic surgeon to find out what the heck is the source of my pain.

As for the eating, I have been mostly “good”, eating primarily lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables, but I have had bread on too many occasions, and indulged in the snack-sized versions of Cadbury chocolate-coated ice cream bars after dinner more often than not. The pounds have refused to budge. I blame that on the lack of exercise more than my dietary indiscretions, though. Well, now that I think about it, I’m sure diet is equally to blame. Had I been more careful with my food choices, I am sure I would have lost several pounds by now, even without the cycling.

So where does that leave me as of today, 45 days into this journey? I am down 8 pounds. That’s better than nothing. As of today, my knee is feeling better, leaving me hopeful that I will be able to ride my bike to work again next week. Oh, wait, I’m on vacation next week. Well, I won’t be riding to work, but I do hope we get a few bike rides in while we’re off. The Spouse and I keep vowing to get up at 5:00 AM to hit the gym. We have had a success rate of about 20%. We really need to work on that. This past week has been tough for me because my knee pain has kept me awake a lot, making a 5:00 AM rising time very difficult to handle. I really hope to get back in the groove soon. I do want to get back into the shape I was in just a few years ago. There really is no excuse. I can be fit and lean and healthy again. I simply have to buckle down and get to work.

My goal for the rest of this week is to eat better, to log my food in MyFitnessPal, and to try to get some walking in at lunch now that my knee is feeling better. I would love to log at least two or three pounds of weight loss by the weekend.

Fat to Fit @ 57 – Days Five & Six

Yesterday was a busy day, and before I knew it, it was over, and I’d failed to blog. That probably is no big deal to most of you – my 5 or 6 readers – but it is a big deal to me, because I had promised myself, as part of my fitness regimen, to post daily. Fifty lashes with an uncooked piece of spaghetti should be sufficient punishment for my first transgression, don’t you think?

Day Five was actually a pretty decent day. I went to the gym and did a chest and back workout. Wow, I am SO weak compared to what i used to be able to lift. This is going to take some doing! It was also nice enough that my coworker and I managed our 2.3 mile walk at lunch. I wanted to take the dogs for a walk when I got home, but I had stayed an hour late to help a patron, so it was too late by the time I got home.

I did pretty well with my eating – not counting the piece of baby shower cake I had. A girl has to indulge every now and then, right? I didn’t eat chips or Cheetos, or even any Ritz crackers when I got home. I did, however, have a plate of spaghetti with a very tasty marinara sauce and a couple of pieces of French bread. For dessert we had fresh strawberries and lite whipped cream. It was not a bad day.

But the highlight of my day occurred when I was called out to talk to one of my favorite patrons. She and her husband are filmmakers who come in and use the special computers with professional film editing software that we have set aside for our local filmmaking community. They come in spurts, often for weeks in a row, then we don’t see them for a few months. I hadn’t seen her since the end of last year. When I walked out and saw her, the first thing I thought was, “holy cow! Ms. Skinny Bones Jones!!” She gave me a hug and I asked, “what have you been doing? You look fantastic!” She just beamed. I had never known her to wear makeup, but she was sporting a hint of eyeliner, mascara, and maybe even some blush. She looked amazing! She shared that she has lost over 50 pounds! When I asked how, she told me she’d been doing the HCG diet. Of course! I told her that I had lost 28 pounds on it, and had kept off all but 5 pounds until early this year, when another 15 crept back on. I bemoaned the difficulty I’d been having getting back on the program. She acknowledged that she had had the same difficulty starting subsequent rounds, until her husband came home from a filmmaking gig in California and joined her on the program. He has lost over 25 pounds. They are just getting ready to do another round because she wants to lose another 20 pounds. Interestingly, I had ordered some HCG and had planned to start today, but was still having a hard time “flipping the switch” that has to flip in order to stick to any program. Well, she has motivated me big time! I told her about my walking regimen, and she is going to join us beginning Tuesday, weather permitting. We’re going to have a regular cadre of lunchtime walkers!

Today is my 31st wedding anniversary. I rode my bike to work and back this morning in the glorious sun, went for a 3 mile walk at lunch, and my HCG came in! The first two days on the diet are loading days. You eat as much as you possibly can. Good thing, since there was still a lot of baby shower cake at work, and The Spouse and I are going to dinner tonight. I can indulge! I had two pieces of cake, and a healthy smoothie my coworker/walking partner brought to work for me. Tonight at dinner, I am going to splurge, because after tomorrow, it’s back to 500 calorie days eating spinach, chicken breast and apples. I really don’t mind the HCG plan, and I lost quickly, so it’s very motivating. But I have so much delicious food in the house, it is going to be a real chore to try to eat it all before Sunday! 🙂 Okay…I’m not REALLY going to eat it ALL. I’ll save some for The Spouse.

Have a very nice Friday evening! I’m enjoying a delicious glass of Barefoot Zinfandel while I blog, and correct the Runkeeper map of my bike ride home. It had me going 7 miles, when the route is not even 6 miles long. The GPS readings have me hopping fences and jumping from one street to another in a few seconds. It would be nice to think I’d ridden over 16MPH average speed all the way home, but I know better. And if you look at the map, it looks like I was drunk or high, zig-zagging all over the place. Silly Runkeeper!

The good news today is, my subconscious has not yelled at me once today!

Fat to Fit @ 57 – Day Two

I had every intention of getting up and going to the gym today. I thought about it, visualized it, and planned for it. And then, I had a ridiculously sleepless night. At midnight, I was still tossing and turning. My usual tricks of reading until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and saying the alphabet backward did nothing to send me into slumberland. In fact, I think the reading actually kept me awake. I finally did nod off, only to awaken in the middle of the night. Oh, wait, I didn’t even fall asleep until the middle of the night. I had turned my clock so that I couldn’t see the time, and was NOT going to look to see what time it was, but I finally just had to know. 3:40 AM. Okay, not bad. The alarm would not go off for another ninety minutes! I snuggled down into my pillow and let the Sandman pull me back into his arms. And then, the alarm sounded. Clearly, it was malfunctioning, because there was no way I had slept for ninety minutes already! But a glance at the clock dispelled that belief. It was indeed 5 AM.

“Okay” I told myself. “Day One… turn on the light. Get out of bed. Get to the gym.” My body did not respond. “Come on! Get up!” My subconscious was shouting. “You will be so angry with yourself if you don’t get up!” Nothing. To my utter horror, my hands reached for the clock (actually, my iPhone), turned off the 5:00 AM alarm, and turned on the 6:30 AM alarm. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING????” my subconscious was screaming. No response. “Oh, sure, you tell the world how you’re going to do this, you’re going to do the things you know you need to do to get into shape, lose the weight, blah, blah, blah, and the first time things get tough, you bail. Some role model you are!” I mentally held my pillow over my subconscious’s face to shut her up. And then Mr. Sandman wrapped his arms around me and pulled me back to sleep. The next time the alarm went off, at the much more tolerable hour of 6:30 AM, I tumbled out of bed, took the dogs outside, and began my day. And yes, I was furious with myself for failing right out of the gate. But my new mantra is, “I will not beat myself up for small transgressions.” That’s a big deal, because I am very, very hard on myself. I’m going to try to give myself a break – but to big a one.

I had planned to ride my bike to work today, too. Alas, my knee was really hurting all night, and I wasn’t sure that it was quite ready to pedal the six miles to work. Besides, the weather forecast was very unsettled, and I really didn’t want to ride home in the rain. As it turns out, it is beautiful outside, and I probably would have had a stellar ride. To make up for it, I walked for just under 2.5 miles at lunch today. The knee is sore, but I can’t just sit and hope it gets better. “A body in motion tends to stay in motion. A body at rest tends to stay at rest,” to quote a famous arthritis drug commercial. I want to stay in motion, thank you very much.

Someone at work brought homemade chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. 🙁 Do you think I could pass them by? You should see the look on my subconscious’s face! She is so disgusted with me! But hey, I didn’t have breakfast today, so I’m counting the oatmeal as breakfast. I did walk, so I probably burned one of them off (oh, I didn’t mention that I had more than one?) I’m planning on a nice salad for dinner, so I’m not beating myself up over this, either.

Tomorrow, I WILL go to the gym. I am going to go to bed at an obscenely early hour so that I get plenty of sleep, and then leap out of bed when that alarm goes off at 5:00 and zip off to the gym, no matter what. In fact, I think I’m going to put my phone across the room so I HAVE to get out of bed to shut it up. That should do the trick. In the meantime, for the rest of the day, I will drink a lot of water, walk around work a lot and take a few trips up and down the stairs – well, maybe only up the stairs (going down really hurts my knee, so I think I’ll take the elevator down) – and eat my big salad for dinner. Today should turn out okay after all.