Tag Archives: big thoughts

Third Trimester Wrap

I thought I would have a look at the last 13 weeks today so that I don’t forget in all the excitement of the 40 weeks.

The last 14 weeks have been difficult. Work stress has resulted in some uncontrolled binging. I have had 4 gains in this time. But overall I have lost 9kg and I am happy with that.

Each time things went badly and I started using food as comfort or to suppress my stress, I did have some awareness that it was happening. I remember thinking things like this ‘things are hard, so hard, it is ok to stop and use any way you have right now to manage. but come tomorrow, there will be exercise and better eating. this is a way to manage today but not a way to manage long term. so for today and today only, it is ok to use food for comfort and food to forget’. And then I ate and felt the relief that came with that. And then I felt physically uncomfortable from overeating and I tried to remember that ill feeling for next time. It took 3 or 4 days after a binge to get back to feeling right again. The loss of that time frustrated me and I tried to remember that as well. The awareness of what was going on is a big step forward for me. It helped me limit my comfort eating and get back on track. So, I am glad that I have been able to learn a little about myself in this area.

I also know that I managed so well through this time because I had been exercising consistently leading up to it and I kept exercising through it. I don’t want to think about how difficult it would have been without having the exercise to keep me mostly sane. Having exercise challenges was a wonderful thing to have in place 🙂 And walking buddies 🙂

Apart from those times of really high stress, I did ok foodwise. There were also some social occasions I did really well at and some I did badly at. But I learnt through them, too. I did not cook as many new things but I did get the soupmaker and I am still having soup every day for lunch.

Exercisewise, I started jogging more in my walks and signed up for the Up and Running 5K course. In the week ending 18 August I was proud to be jogging for 2 minute stretches. Now I am halfway through the course and can jog 14 minutes! Amazing!!! Looking back, I have not done much resistance training. Maybe I should think about my routine and where I can make it fit because I think it is important. But I have exercised between 4 and 6 hours every week, usually getting in just over 5 hours. Exercise helps me feel strong and powerful.

I have noticed my shape changing alot in the last 6 weeks. I am enjoying my waist and I watch the muscles move in my legs. I can feel my hips and my pelvis. And I like feeling my ribs. I love my collarbones!!! This is my body and it is starting to look good 😀 I am also starting to wear clothes that cling to my curves.

People comment regularly now on my weightloss. And I talk about it alot. I am humbled that people look at me and are inspired to make changes to their own lives. That also helps remind me that what I have done is actually unusual and I am proud of what I have done.

There has been alot of good things in the past 13 weeks; good learning, good exercise and food, amazing support. I am happy.

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Kaleidoscope view

I like who I am. That is a good starting point.

About a decade ago, I was in a bad situation. Part of the consequence of that situation was that I lost my sense of self. I did not know who I was, what I wanted, found it difficult to form opinions and more difficult to vocalise them. I was scared and felt trapped. I was not safe, there was no respect for me at home and I had very little respect for myself. I did have enough respect for myself to leave.

A year or so after that I had found a good counsellor. One of the things I spent alot of time working on was who I was. At the time I felt defined by the bad situation but I came to understand that was just one aspect of who I was and that aspect did colour alot of other things about me at that time. That aspect is still a part of who I am but has very little impact on my day-to-day anymore. Building a concept of who I was involved several of these aspects and all of them impact to some extent. Then there are the other things about me – skills/talents/preferences. These also help define who I am. For example, I like reading, I like making things, I like cooking and am good at it; and I don’t like watching or participating in organised sport. These are tangible things about who I am that other people see and also know about me. There are also some fundamentals that define me – I am a woman, live in Australia, white anglo-saxon protestant upbringing. This is a very basic and simplified summary of the work with my counsellor on this issue.

I look at all of this and to me it works like a kaleidoscope. The aspects are like colour filters that fall in and out of view. The fundamentals and preferences/skills are like the jewels that are in the kaleidoscope. All the components are there but it shifts and changes. The aspects give their different hues depending on how dominant they are at the time. Who I am changes but is made up of the same components.

And so, I like who I am. I like having this understanding of who I am.

I am coming to realise that there is a part of me that I have never really addressed. It is an aspect that I am actively aware of, it is dominating at the moment and I want to reduce it’s influence. I have always been the fat girl. I am working on changing that. Part of me wants to keep changing it and part of me wants things to stay as they are now. Being fat has always been part of who I was. When I left school, I was bigger than I currently am now; that was 18 years ago. In the last 18 years I have only once made it close to where I am now but the bad situation that I described above happened and that was that. So, for my entire adult life, I have been fat. I have used it to avoid doing things that I did not want to do; I have hid behind it; I have used it to fade out at social occasions; I have used it to be invisible in public. I had accepted that being fat was ok.

But I know who I am and I like who I am. I am not defined by my physical size. Sure, ‘fat girl’ has been an aspect of who I am but it is not me. I am so much more. I have so many skills and I know what I like and what I don’t like. I need to start saying goodbye and letting go of ‘fat girl’. It is really hard to replace something with nothing. So, I need to start celebrating something new and help build this new aspect of who I am. How am I going to do this? I will enjoy the journey – enjoy the exercise, challenge myself with exercise. I will enjoy what I am eating and keep that interesting. I will enjoy my body, wear clothes that fit and that make me feel good. I will think about my goals of being healthy into my future. They are some big ideas and I don’t quite know how I will make it happen day to day. I will think about it. I also don’t want to be defined by the fact that I was fat… so ‘former fat girl’ doesn’t really work for me. It will be there but I want to work on the idea of ‘healthy for life’ as my new aspect.

I don’t need to be scared about this change. Sometimes it feels like it is all unknown from here. But it isn’t because I can apply the same things that have got me this far to the next stage of my journey. I know I can lose weight, I have already succeeded there. I know that I can get clothes that fit on the internet or at second hand shops that will get me through the changing sizes. I know that I can manage my food and exercise consistently. I know that I am getting better at managing my stress with strategies which don’t involve eating. I know I have the support of my family and friends. The fact that I don’t know what I will look like or feel like at a healthy weight is ok and is actually only a small part of the journey. Afterall, I like who I am.

The great unknown

I go to work today but I am going to a different position. This should help. This should make a big difference.

The week was busy and stressful. I was still stressed over the weekend. My guess is all that nervous energy is helping me weight wise because I have not been consistent with exercise in the last week. I will take this week’s loss as a gift and encouragement to continue.

Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
Today’s weight: 102.4 kg (225.3 lbs)
This weeks loss: 0.9kg (2 lbs)
Total lost 38.5 kg (84.7 lbs)

I have some big thoughts floating around in my head. They are around the fact that I don’t know what I will look like if I lose more weight, I don’t know what I will feel like in my body. This is uncharted territory for me. Which makes it kind of scary. Where I am is known and feels good in comparison to where I have come from. So, I will be working on these thoughts because I don’t want to sabotage myself.

It is going to be a good week at work. It is going to be a good week at home. The days are getting longer and warmer. This week, I choose to be healthy.

stress management list

I am a list girl. I like making lists and having action plans that I can call on when my mind stalls in indecision. I am working on a list of stress management options.

– tea: the process of making a pot of tea is a ritual that is soothing. Get the teapot, rinse it out, select the tea of choice, put the tea leaves in the infuser, boil the kettle, light the tea light candle that sits under the teapot, pour the water over the leaves and watch the tea infusing. Even at work, without the glass teapot, I still have two or three different kinds of loose leaf tea. And I think I might get a teapot just for work because it will help me manage stress during the day. And then there is the drinking of the tea! Making tea gives me a chance to take a break when I stop and take time for the whole process.

– exercise: exercise that is physically draining can get me quickly to a place where my conscious mind steps back and my unconscious mind takes over, it is all about one foot in front of another, breathing, checking the path ahead, breathing and expending the excess energy. At the moment I use power walking to get me to this place, I think jogging and running will also do it. And walking/jogging outside in the fresh air with the sun is an important factor for me, too. But regualar exercise has also helped me…

– journaling: when I am working through an issue, it helps me to write about it. I can vent my frustration, disappointment, anger in a safe place. Sometimes what I write is private, sometimes I make it available to friends or publically, depending on the situation that I am working through.

– talking: for the same reasons as journaling, talking about what is going on helps me manage stress. But I need to pick my person to talk to. And I usually don’t start talking until I have high stress levels or I have already put some thought into what is going on.

– relaxing baths: for the same reason as tea and exercise, taking a bath is about taking time out from what ever else is going on.

– crocheting: I like to crochet, it gives me things to do with my hands (which is not eating) and I can make something at the same time. And it is an activity which allows my conscious mind to step back and the routine take over.

– change of activity: at work if there is something getting to me about a particular activity/task, one way to manage is to put is aside and focus on something else. That means I can do little bits of the stressful task but keep my stress levels from not getting too high.

At work I have the following options: tea, change of activity/task and exercise (during my lunch break). I try to take a good lunch break every day and 3 of my 4 lunch breaks I go walking. This helps with the ongoing stressful environment. When I need to manage the stress of an immediate situation, I will go walking on my own and really push myself hard to help clear my head.

Hmmm… there are 3 different strategies I use: process, time out and general ongoing maintenance. That is really interesting – I hadn’t realised it till I started writing. For flare ups I need to take a break from it and allow the energy to dissipate. When I am living with a stressful ongoing situation/environment and my stress baseline is raised above normal I need to manage the underlying stress levels by processing the issue with journaling and talking. And then there is the general ongoing maintenance of healthy heating, getting enough sleep and regular exercise which helps me keep my stress baseline low.

I like this. I can use this! I have ways of managing different kinds of stress. It gives me options. I have some ideas for flare ups which require immediate action. I have some ideas for situational or ongoing stress which require processing. I will keep thinking about other ways I can manage my stress. And the only place food features is in the day to day and that is about healthy eating.

6 months!

I have been watching what I eat and exercising for 6 months! People say that they are impressed I have kept at it and I was thinking about that because it feels easy for me. But that is one of the reasons I have been able to keep at it. Some of the key things for my plan are that it fits into my life now, I enjoy the food I am eating, I enjoy the exercise I am doing, it is easy to keep track of what I am doing, while I have a balanced diet I do have treats (whether that be chocolate or alcohol or biscuits) and I don’t feel deprived. There is flexibility and variation.

I also have some really clear goals; some are short term (this year), some are medium term (in the next 5 years) and some are life goals. Some goals are weight related but most are fitness and health related. And I really want to reach my goals. I really want it. My commitment to my future self supports my present self in making the decisions which will get me to my goals. And again, I don’t feel deprived.

I don’t feel overwhelmed by how far I have to go. I was overwhelmed at the start and a couple of times throughout but usually it is not an issue. On most days, I only look at what I need to do on that day. On weekdays, the only thing I need to think about is dinner because exercise and all other weekday foods are routine. Planning generally helps with that as well. On weekends I have a little more time and as long as I track as I go I can keep to target. A couple times a week I have a look at how I am travelling for that week in terms of exercise done and average kJ intake. Based on that I can make some decisions about what how I manage the rest of the week. And then occasionally I look at the short term, which I am doing at the moment. I am revising my goals for the rest of the year and celebrating my achievements so far.

It is constant. I put alot of work into setting up my plan at the beginning of the year and again 3 months ago when I moved to counting kJ. So, when I say it is easy I don’t mean that I don’t think about it or that I only think about it occasionally. It is constant and my food and exercise choices are conscious choices. But with my goals in view, enjoying the journey and not feeling deprived it means that I am happy to accept the constancy of watching what I am eating and counting the kJ. And occasionally, going above my target is ok but I really try to make it a conscious choice rather than mindless eating.

This weeks stats:
Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs)
Todays weight: 106.2 kg (233.6 lbs)
This weeks loss: 1.2 kg (2.6 lbs)
Total lost: 34.7 kg (76.3 lbs)

75 lbs – that is a cool amount to have lost. And I am also 2/3 of the way through my 40 week plan. In the last 13 weeks I have lost 13.4 kg. I have exercised 81 of the 91 days.

So, here is to another day, another week, another trimester and another 6 months of healthy living. And to icreased fitness and decreased clothes sizes as well 🙂

2nd Trimester wrap

On the third of April I wrote “A 40 week plan has to be split into 3 trimesters”. Well here I am, wrapping up the second trimester.

These last 13 weeks have been a period of finding my own path and consolidation of good healthy living habits. I started counting kJ at the beginning of April and needed to increase my food intake as I realised I had not been eating enough. I then looked at an average day of food in terms of the macronutrients I was getting to make sure my intake was balanced. What I am eating now is a good balance for me, nothing extreme and nothing denied. In working all this out, I developed a much better understanding of how exercise impacts my energy requirements. As a result, my weight has loss slowed in the last 13 weeks from an average of 1.5kg a week in my first trimester to an average of 1 kg a week in the second. I am really pleased with this.

I have kept building my exercise routine as well. In April I challenged myself to exercise every day of the month. In May I started parking further away from work to increase my incidental exercise. In June I started resistance training. Somewhen as well, I started including jogging intervals during my walks. I now aim to exercise 5-6 days a week and to spend about 5 hours a week exercising. And I have done this pretty consistently over the last 13 weeks. With winter coming on it was also important to find ways to keep exercising and so I am doing more inside now. I use my exercise DVD 2-3 times a week and am really pleased that I have it. Most mornings at the moment are below 0’C and I don’t want to go out walking when it is that cold and it is also dark. But I am looking forward to August when it will be light enough in the morning to go walking… I miss my early Monday morning walks.

Work also changed for me in April, I went from 3 days a week to 4 days a week and I am still adjusting to that. The four days are better for work, the three days were better for me and home life. Working the extra day meant that I had to plan meals a little better and plan exercise a little better. It also means the cleaning is done less frequently and things are left lying about…

I am still participating in the Get Healthy Program. The next call is my last call as it is only a 6 month program. I really enjoying getting calls every 3-4 weeks from a health coach. It was like having my own little cheer squad. And there was always something to think about after the call.

It is really good to realise that I have also not been sick as much in the last 13 weeks. I know that as I increased my exercise in the first third of my plan that I was not eating enough. I think that I really was pushing myself too far and my immune system was struggling. I was also exposed to alot of germs as my toddler bought home every sniffle and cough from daycare. The combination of all that meant I had 4 colds by April and a couple of nasty infections as well. But since then, I have had no illnesses to complain about. I am so pleased that I moved to kJ counting and started eating more!

So, what do I want to work on for the final 14 weeks of the plan?

I want to run. I am going to register for the Up and Running Online Course (www.upandrunningonline.org) starting Sep 5. It is an 8 week course and will give me a goal that ends after my 40 week plan which I think is really important. So, until then I want to work on increasing my fitness with jogging intervals in my walks and with resistance training.

I want to keep eating well, cooking new things, enjoy the occasional baking and track my food and exercise.

I want to think about what motivates me and make sure that I have things in place for when my 40 weeks is up. I will still be about 30kg from my goal weight and that means I can’t stop. Actually, stopping is not an option I think about. These changes are not ones I have picked up to lose weight and that I can stop when I am done. At 70kg overweight I think I will always need to keep an eye on what I am doing. This doesn’t scare me like it did once. Tracking my food and making sure I eat a balanced kJ aware diet and planning in regular exercise seems a small cost for a healthy life.

How? Why? Trying to make sense of my size

140kg is alot. It’s 310lbs.

How did I get there? Why did I get there? It is important to try and make sense of it if I want to move away from it.

I am about the size I am today as I was when I left school about 18 years ago. Today I am a size 18 (AU) which is a 16UK or a 14US. In January 2011 when I started out I was a size 24. I know that the clothes I wore to school in my last year were about an 18 or 20. So, my weight is not a new problem.

I have a few memories that I think are relevant. Once when I was 5 or 6 our family went out to dinner at a friend’s house. They were Italian. I remember the ricotta in pastry. I remember eating several of them. I remember that I was physically ill after eating so much that night. I remember Dad saying something in the car about that. Already at that age I had lost the ability to know when to stop eating.

I was in WW with mum when I was 11 or 12. I know that I wasn’t allowed any lollies or chocolate at that time. I would get them, though. Nan bought up lolly bags for us three girls every week when she visited. When I stopped getting them I would sneak something from both of my sisters bags so they would not notice. And then I started shoplifting chocolate. I was never able to explain to mum why I did it when I was caught. But looking back, it was the deprivation that drove me to it.

And I remember my Grandpa asking for a slice of the fat when we had baked dinners, because ‘that was the good bit’.

I knew that I was bigger then most girls my age. I don’t remember when it started bothering me. I do know that I was always told I was loved just the way I was, that God had made me just the way I was and that I was made with purpose and design. The message my brain got was to accept my size because that was the way I was made and was supposed to be. But somewhere in my head I did not feel comfortable in my skin. I remember feeling misunderstood and I have several memories of specific situations where people did not listen, or I was laughed at for not understanding something. I did not know I could stand up for myself. I was lonely. I felt unloved. I know my family loved me then and love me now. Knowing something in your head is different to knowing it in your heart. Maybe this was all normal for a teenage girl? I don’t know. But I ate for comfort, for acceptance and fulfilment and I ate in secret.

In my last year of school, I got some award for being the nicest person in the year. I don’t remember what the award was for but that was what I joked about at the time. I was super nice and helpful and considerate. I was the fat girl and that was the only way I knew to fit in. Being fat was ok, because I was loved and accepted for who I was. And by that time I was not the only overweight one in my extended family. There were several of us cousins who had put on weight, who carried it well, who enjoyed food and alcohol, who were loved and accepted and it was never an issue.

Fitness was not a priority growing up. I played netball but as a family we did not do any health/fitness/exercise things really together. I remember mum riding on the exercise bike, night after night, going nowhere. But exercise was something I was happy not to do. So I didn’t.

So many mixed messages! So much confusion and insecurity. And I ate because I did not know any other way to cope.

I am very fortunate that I don’t have a terrible story in my past which drove me to eat. It makes it hard to understand why I did. It was just life.

So, what can I learn? That accepting myself is different from wanting to be healthy. I have done alot of work on understanding myself in the last 7 years and for the last 5 I have been happy to be me. I like who I am. This is a big change from the 18-28 year old girl that I once was. I want to respect the person that I am. I want to live long life. I want to know that I can run if I want to. I want to look after myself physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. And part of that is losing weight.

Food is not a source of comfort or acceptance. Food is just food. It can be delicious. I can enjoy it, the cooking and the sharing of it. But if I need comfort then I need to look elsewhere. If I am stressed, I need to work on resolving that stress, not just eating it away. And if I need reassurance from my man, from my family, I need to ask them and not turn to food.

Having thought about it has made it easier. I can understand how and why. But I can’t continue on that path. It would kill me. So, I am changing. I am no longer that scared, confused girl. I am a strong woman and I will make the changes I need to make. I won’t stop when I get to a healthy weight because then the focus shifts to maintaining a healthy weight. This journey needs to be about so much more than just losing weight; it is about having a healthy body, a healthy mind and being active as I grow older.