Jumping In and Landing Softly

Where does a girl start when she’s coming off of an injury (well, technically still injured), and wanting to get back to some healthy living?  Secret of Change QuoteShe starts at the beginning…by focusing on what she can do, and not what she can’t do.

It began with a trip to the grocery store.

I certainly haven’t been giving my health much thought over the last six weeks, at least that’s what the 10 lb I gained are telling me.  By filling myself with comfort food and laying around on the couch, I basically invited those 10 lb in and rented them a room in my apartment. But like any crazy, annoying roommate, I’m ready to kick them out.  Unfortunately, they won’t leave without a fight.

Over the weekend, still bogged down with pain in my leg from my sciatic nerve, I was thinking about how I could begin to get back into a healthy frame of mind.  I’m not able to do much in the exercise department right now, so my plan is to focus on food.  Without having to worry about fitting in workouts, or how many calories I’m burning, I can put all my attention on cleaning up my diet and learning to eat for energy and sustenance rather than pure pleasure.  Or because I’m sad.  Or lonely.  Or bored.  Or my shoe is untied.  Take your pick.

A couple of weeks ago I went out for coffee with my friend Christine, and we were discussing my blog.  She mentioned the 28-day Challenge I had completed back in May.  That was the Prevention Magazine Challenge in which I practiced clean eating clean and exercised for 28 days.  I mentioned to Christine that I lost 7 lb at the end of 28 days, and that it was the most weight I has lost since I started the blog.  Her response kind of stopped me in my tracks:

“If it was working so well, why did you stop?”

That’s a fantastic question!  Why did I stop?  I could have easily carried on with clean eating and kept the momentum going.  I keep thinking about going back to Weight Watchers, or joining Jenny Craig, or the doing the Southbeach Diet, or any one of a million different diets, hoping that one of them might work this time.  In the meantime I’ve been completely ignoring the one thing that DID work for me, which is eating clean.  The one thing that ISN’T as diet at all, but an overall way to eat for health and nutrition.

So, I went to the grocery store.  I stocked up on healthy foods I love and now I’m prepared to start moving towards learning more about eating clean.  I’ve got a couple of books to read, I’ve scoured the Internet for information, and I’m arming myself with all the information I need.  I’m making in my mission to educate myself about food and how it can help my body.

Anger, Thy Name Is Victoria

The last two weeks have been, what I can only describe as, a complete disaster.

I injured my back, and just when I was starting to feel better, I took a turn for the worse and injured it further.  I spent the better part of four hours in the hospital, in the middle of the night, hoping like hell a doctor could make the intense pain go away.  I was prescribed medication, which made my feet swell up, made me tired all the time, and included a host of other symptoms I’m not going to share (trust me, you don’t want to know).  I’ve been in pain basically 24/7, parked on the couch, or a chair, or whatever piece of furniture was comfortable at the time (it changed daily), all while switching between ice and heat on my back (because what felt good changed daily as well).  I have been miserable, and moody, and whiney, and frankly I’m surprised my brother hasn’t moved out and left me here on my own.

You know what the worst part of all of this crap is?  I have no one to blame but myself.

I’m so angry at myself.  I’ve spent the last two weeks feeling sorry for myself:

  • My back hurts so I’m going to rest and watch TV for hours.
  • My back hurts so I’m going eat whatever I want to comfort myself.
  • My back hurts so I’m going to continue to eat whatever I want…

I know I was injured, and I know I needed to rest (which I did), and I know I needed some TLC (which I got), but I missed a golden opportunity here friends.  My weight factors into what happened to my back, and instead of trying to do something about it, I ate. And ate, and ate.  I haven’t weighed myself, but I’m sure I’ve gained like 10 lb in the last two weeks.  As a matter of fact, wait right here and I’ll go weigh myself.

Yep, ten pounds, boy did I call that.  I am now officially at the highest weight I have ever been.  😦

The question that now remains is: what am I going to so about it?  I’m going to take that anger—the sadness, the desperateness I’m feeling—and channel it into my health.  It’s on now, no holds barred.  I said that I was going to start asking for help, and I absolutely will.  I have friends who know fitness, I have friends who know food, I have friends who live healthy lifestyles who can teach me and inspire me to become the best me I can be.  Right now I don’t feel like best version of me, and I want that to change.

So today, is the day.

Today is the day I put all my excuses behind me and I go for it.  I’ll have limitations at first—my back is still healing, I’m still dealing with medication side effects—but I will do what I can until I can do more.  Then I’ll do more after that until I get where I want to be.

There is no turning back, so watch out.  Things are about to change.

28-day Challenge Week One Recap

Well here we are at Day 7!!  I made it through Week One and it was a pretty good one if I do say so myself.

The Highs

I think one of the best things this week was that I managed to keep my eating mostly on track.  I had a couple of—we’ll call them indiscretions—but for the most part I stuck to eating whole foods and stayed away from the processed and packaged junk.

The other good thing this week was that I think I stuck to my intention of showing up, at least when it came to eating.  I planned, I cooked and it worked in my favour because I had yummy, healthy eats available.

The Lows

The low this week was my utter lack of exercise.  I only got in one strength training workout this week and only about an hour of cardio.  It was something, but I’m going to try harder this coming week to make exercise a priority.

The other low was the bagel and cream cheese I ate at the train station on Day 6.  That was me just eating because I could and not because I needed to.  I thought about why I ate the bagel and the only thing I could come up with was that I felt like I deserved a reward.  I had just come from my first class at Ryerson that went really well and I’d been having a really great eating week.  When I emotionally eat, my brain doesn’t seem to distinguish between happy and unhappy.  When I’m unhappy, I’m eating to soothe, when I’m happy I’m eating to reward.

Week One Weigh In

Drum roll please……………………….I lost 6 lb!!  I’m very excited and going to use this as momentum to push ahead into week two.

Week Two Intention

My intention for week two is to move my body more.  I did a piss poor job of exercising this past week so I’m going to focus on that this week.  I’m looking forward to week two—incorporating more exercise and refining my eating a little more.  It’s going to be a great week!

28-day Challenge Day 2

Oh Day 2, why couldn’t you be as nice to me as Day 1?

Day 2 didn’t start out great since I didn’t sleep very well the night before.  I’m not sure if I have mentioned this on the blog before but I’m not a great sleeper, I never have been.  Plus, I was diagnosed with sleep apnea over a year ago—you try sleeping with a giant mask strapped to your face and see how well you do!  I’m sort of used to it now, but sleeping, for me, still comes with some challenges.  And Thursday night was definitely a challenge.

The other issue was that I had a massive headache all day long.  I think part of it was from the weather here in Southern Ontario—it’s been raining all week long—and the other part was my lack of sugar intake.  You know that refined, white, granulated yumminess??  I think I’m starting sugar withdrawal.  I seriously considered just having anything—a cookie, a granola bar—just to see if it would help, but then I thought that I’d feel much worse after I ate it.  So I took a pass…score one for me.

I headed out to the grocery store around dinner time to pick up a few things that I needed heading into the weekend.  You how people tell you not to shop when you’re hungry?  Yeah, that advice is pretty valid.  I shopped the perimeter of the store first, as I normally do, but then found myself strolling the aisles thinking about having a “treat”.  Just one treat, I thought, no one has to know.  My brother, who has a pretty serious ice cream addiction, is also trying to watch the number of treats he has.  To give you an idea about how desperate I was, I actually tried to bargain with him the middle of the grocery store.  It went a little something like this:

Me: I want a treat
My Brother: No, you don’t.
Me: I NEED a treat.
My Brother: (shaking his head) No, you don’t.
Me: Aren’t you going to get any ice cream?
My Brother: Nope, I’m trying to stay away from that stuff.
Me:  I’ll make you a deal.  You buy ice cream, and I’ll buy my treat.  We’ll eat them and no one has to know.  You and I will be the only ones who know.
My brother: (Laughing at the absurdity of what I just said) I don’t think so.

So there I was, denied.  I can be a master manipulator when I want to be, but I couldn’t even coerce my baby brother into helping me.  Although by saying no he probably helped me more than if he had given in to me.  Why didn’t I just indulge even if he wasn’t going to you might ask?  The thought of him watching me buy something, let alone eat something I shouldn’t, when he knows what I’m trying to accomplish with this 28-day challenge just brought on massive feelings of guilt.  So I cashed out with my green beans and rotisserie chicken and headed home.  So score two for me, with an assist from my brother.

All-in-all, not a horrible day, but it had its challenges.  It certainly hasn’t been the first day like that and it won’t be the last.  I’m glad I stuck it out though and didn’t breakdown and eat something that would have made me feel worse off than if I hadn’t eaten it.  It makes me think that I really am taking this seriously now and I have a chance of forming some really great habits.

Super-spectacular Meltdown Week

The last couple of weeks have not been great. I’ve been struggling with my eating, not getting any exercise, and am generally unhappy with the way I’ve been (or not been) handling my health. All of this led to a spectacular meltdown Monday afternoon. I tend to keep things bottled up inside, until BLAM! I can’t take it anymore and all the toxic stuff inside comes spewing forth like an emotional volcano. Villagers take cover…she’s gonna blow.

(This is going to be a rant by the way, so if you’re not interested in listening to me complain for a couple of paragraphs, you can skip this post 🙂 )

Let’s start with dairy. DAIRY!! Why didn’t one of you tell me how hard it is to give up dairy?? It’s everywhere taunting me, mocking me. I have dreams of swimming in cheese sauce, while cows float by on rafts. I’ve slipped up a few times, but I’m trying to stay on track.

Next is my general eating, which has been—out of control sounds harsh—but basically that’s it in a nut shell. Food consumes my thoughts on a regular basis, and definitely way more than it should:

What time is it? Do I need to eat?
How many calories are in that?
What should I have for breakfast? Lunch? Dinner?
How much fat is in that?
Have I eaten enough today?
Should I skip dinner since I ate a big lunch?
Fuck it, pass me the Doritos.

And on, and on, and on…the cycle in my head never stops. It’s exhausting. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think eating should be this hard. I’m probably the most frustrated I’ve been in a while and I honestly don’t know what to do.

Then there is this weather issue…COLD! SNOW! COLD!!! I am so unmotivated to go anywhere and do anything other than go to the office and home. I feel like a bear in hibernation mode.

These are sob stories…I know. There are people way worse off than me, and I’m just complaining, but if someone out there is wondering how hard and frustrating it is to lose weight then read no further. This is the real deal, and I’m tired of pretending like I have my shit together and everything is going well. It’s not. It sucks on a pretty regular basis. I read these amazing success stories every day of people who have persevered and lost the weight and got themselves healthy. All I think is why can’t I do that? What glitch is there inside my brain that just won’t let me do what I’m supposed to do to lose the weight. I mean, I’m a smart girl, and I’ve got the resources to do it, but for some reason I just can’t get things to click.

My meltdown yesterday got directed towards my friend Dave, who patiently listened to me vent and then calmly told me two things:

  1. Losing weight is hard. It’s physiological and psychological. It’s like trying to beat an addiction.
  2. You need to try to go easier on yourself.

How quickly we forget – that was my one and only resolution for 2014. Go easy on myself. If I could just learn that lesson, I bet everything else would fall into place. Maybe that’s the click I need.

Ah Sugar Sugar…

classic_lgThere is nothing so lovely as the promise of food to soothe my aching soul.

A tad dramatic, but stick with me on this…

Food is my go-to choice for emotional comfort—happy or sad mind you—it can mend my most broken of hearts and reward my greatest triumphs.  There is one specific little food-type vixen, however, that can set my heart a flutter like no other.

Sugar.  You saucy little minx…

Whether she’s hiding in a carb-loaded macaroni and cheese, or spooned into a cup of tea in its most refined, granular state, I love all her forms.  Especially when I’ve had a bad day (I told you I was going somewhere with this).

I started back to work this week after a two-week, much deserved, I-have-to-get-out-of-this-office-before-I-curl-up-in-the-fetal-position-under-my-desk vacation.  Why on earth do I ever think that I’ll be able to ease back into work with a stroll rather than a sprint?  I never learn.

Yesterday and today were both filled with chaos-induced stress and ended with me in the office this evening until 7 pm. “Why, Victoria, why?”, you may be asking yourself, “why would you stay in the office so late?”. Some people tell me I’m crazy, others tell me I’m dedicated to my job.  I think I fall somewhere square in the middle…but I digress.

As I was packing up to leave the office, my mind was only on one thing – FOOD!  Ahhhh…COMFORT!!  Come to mama!!  Time Horton’s for donuts?  McDonald’s for a Quarter Pounder??  No..No…Cinnabon!!!  Sweet, sugary goodness all wrapped up in a convenient to-go box—they think of everything those Cinnabon people—and as luck would have it there is a Cinnabon on the way home at the train station.  Hallelujah!!

I made my way out of the -38°C polar vortex (thank you for teaching me that term this morning Al Roker) and into the warm train station.  So, here’s the thing about Cinnabon—it has a very obvious aroma.  Some might call it a dream-like state for your nostrils.  This sugar and cinnamon bouquet, however, does not stay contained within the walls of Cinnabon itself-no, no, no, no, no, no-it wafts throughout the entire train station, and proceeds to slap you in the face as you walk through the doors.  So even if you wanted to avoid it, there’s not a polar vortex’s chance in hell that’s going to happen.

Check the clock, 15 minutes until my train departs…check the Cinnabon, no line-up…at last the fates are aligned, destiny has taken my hand, mercy is for the weak!!! (ok, I may have watched the Karate Kid over the weekend, ignore that last part).  I meander over and stand in front of the Cinnabon, coming face-to-face with my arch nemesis.  It’s now-or-never, do-or-die time.  As I stand there, it suddenly occurs to me that I don’t have to do this.  I’ve been eating well this week, I’m back to the gym tomorrow morning, why do I want to ruin this?  Why, Victoria WHY???

The truth is I don’t want to ruin this, I was just momentarily blinded by Sugar and her promise of feel-good endorphins and mouth-watering deliciousness.  What she always fails to mention though is that the mouth-watering deliciousness quickly turns into an unhappy belly.  Oh and those feel-good endorphins?  Yeah they get pushed off a cliff by their good friend depressed sugar coma.  So what starts out as a rockin’ good time, quickly turns into Victoria laying on the couch moaning “why do I do this to myself?”.  Why indeed Victoria, why indeed.

So what do I do??  I’m standing there, 5 minutes left on the clock, unhappy, hungry, and worst of all desperate—and ain’t no one making a good choice when they are desperate.  I do a 180, searching for an answer, and behind me lies my salvation—a little sandwich shop.  Before I know it I’m standing in front of said shop ordering a turkey and veg on whole grain and a bottle of water.  Whole Grain Bread!  Vegetables!!  Water!!!  I have control…I have the POWER!!

Take that Sugar-bitch…there’s a new sheriff in town.

So what started as a completely crazy day and slowly morphed into what could have been a day in which I completely sabotaged myself, turned out ok.  Victoria got fed, felt better, and didn’t let good ol’ Sugar get the best of her.

Until me meet again my friend…until we meet again.

Feelin’ the Love

I am a very lucky girl.

If I was feeling down about my weight loss progress, the love and support of my friends, family, and blog readers has certainly helped to turn things around.  Thank you to everyone who commented here and on Facebook – your support means a lot.

I saw this Weight Watchers commercial and I want to share it because I really love it.  Not because it’s promoting WW, but because I think it sums up exactly the mindset I should be in.

I had an opportunity to spend some time with my friend Ivy this weekend.  She lives out-of-town, so we don’t get to see each other very often.  Ivy has been going through her own road to healthy and is looking great.  I’m so proud of her for the hard work she had put in—walking, biking, boot camp workouts—she is so inspiring.  We talked about how I was feeling about my weight loss and the difficulties I have been having.  We both agreed that I’m not ready to give up, but that I definitely need to stop being so hard on myself (so not easy for me).

Having a community of people around me that understand what I’m going through—helping to celebrate the ups and helping to soothe me during the downs—is an amazing feeling.  It makes me feel like I can accomplish anything and that I’m really not alone in all this.

So, thank you friends—you have inspired me more than you know. 🙂