Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Motivation, YAY!

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So much has happened this summer, including my annual women's backpacking trip, which I hope to write about soon, but the most exciting thing I have to share is that I feel confident in saying, my mojo is officially back. And not a moment too soon because the path I was on did not feel good and was scary and playing with fire. 

I appreciated a comment from Karen on my most recent post, what she called a cautionary tale, about not taking weight gain during maintenance seriously enough, how she wishes she had taken her initial 10 pound weight gain more seriously and maybe she wouldn't have gained so much. Maintenance is so tricky isn't it?

Speaking of comments, in my last post I wrote about not feeling like I had done something "wrong" by gaining weight, but also that I was unhappy with the weight gain, and working (mostly mentally at that time) on shifting course. This is such a fine distinction, and I responded to some of the comments that I'd interpreted as having a moralistic judgment of weight gain...I'm so careful with NOT doing that for myself that I'm quick to squash any hint of it in my orbit...BUT, in the process, I don't ever want to make a reader here feel like I'm coming down on them or calling them out for the way they say things. I love the feedback and have learned so much from comments and I'm sorry for the reactionary response to your comments on "admitting" to weight gain. 

So, as I said above, my mojo is back. What does that mean? It means I'm motivated, positive, means I've shifted from thinking about making changes to actually making changes. What changes? A lot. I've started tracking again. You might remember that I'm not a believer in lifelong tracking (for me. I know it works for others) but I do use it as a tool when needed. AND...I'm exercising. 

But the really big deal is, I'm doing both of these things because I want to be doing them. For at least the past 6 months, if not longer, exercising and paying attention to what I eat have felt like something I had to do, that nagging voice inside my head that tells me I need to, should be, have to....and I have never responded well to that voice.

Once I noticed, really noticed, the external voice had gotten hold of me, I started actively working my thoughts to banish it. What do I want? What feels good? How are my current behaviors affecting me? Do I want something to change? What is it I want to change? How might I go about changing it? What price am I paying for the choices I'm making? Where will this lead if I don't make a change? Is that where I want to go? ...and so on, and so forth. 

So I've probably lost about 5 pounds of fat, and gained a tiny bit of muscle. Going back to the gym was painful, both psychologically and physically. I've lost SO MUCH strength. I used to do 40 pushups, now I can barely do one. And I'm sore. I did legs/shoulders yesterday and, ouch... BUT, it feels so good to be using my muscles again, to be doing something I love, and feeling good about it, that the discomfort is worth it. I know how this works, if I keep going, I will get my strength back. I am lucky, I know what works. I talk to a lot of people who struggle to find the right formula to lose weight.

And I am mining this experience for lessons...what did I do right? Well, I didn't beat myself up, I showed patience, I did what I could to prevent a total free-fall/relapse, I weighed myself regularly despite the number going up, up, up, I never-for-a-moment gave up, etc. What could I have done differently? I'm not sure about this one yet. Maybe I could have changed up my workout routine, tried something new? know, this one will take me longer to understand. I had a slump that lasted a long time, but it wasn't a full relapse, but...I don't know. Maybe what I did was the best I could have done? And still, I want to learn something so maybe if this happens again I can not gain almost 20 pounds. 

I want to write more about what I've been up to this summer. Because even though I've been in a slump with eating and exercise, I've managed to keep living. The couch did not win. Most important, I want to write about my backpacking trip, because that helped light this fire. Because of my lack of fitness I suffered, not too badly, but more than I wanted to. What price am I paying for the choices I'm making? Plenty of time to think up in those quiet, pristine, gorgeous Sierra mountains.

I'll close with a few recent pics that say a lot about how I'm doing...

My first day back at the gym

A grocery store run.

An actual run. On the beach in SF. One hour.

How I handled a burger night at at friend's house

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I've Done Nothing Wrong

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I haven't been writing much but in my most recent post, I shared that I've gained some weight (I'm 15 pounds over my official "goal" weight - even though I kind of don't believe in the concept of a goal weight anymore), that I'm not exercising like I used to, and that I've been struggling to find a way to address the weight gain.

For me, this wasn't something I was hiding, or felt/feel ashamed of. It just is. So that's why I was taken aback when a comment included now that I've "admitted" to the weight gain, I can begin to address it. I thought, woah, wait a minute...admitted? I generally think of needing to admit to something when I've done something wrong. For me, it includes a sort of moralistic aspect to it, inherently suggesting that whatever I'm admitting to must be bad. Maybe that's just me. And then another commenter used the word again. 

Which, me being me, got me to thinking. I have nothing to admit to. I can share, report, update...disclose even. But I was never hiding the weight gain and don't see it as anything that needs admitting to. Maybe I'm making too much of this but, for me, getting the right/wrong, good/bad thinking out of my head when it comes to my eating and exercise choices and my body, was a lot of work. Work that I think was integral to changing the way I thought about weight loss (and maintenance). 

So, my weight is hovering around 159 pounds and I'm not pleased with that truth and I'm a work in progress as to how to address it. But I'm good. I know I would feel better if I were exercising regularly and eating better, and I believe I'll find my way in due time. I also believe this type of episode might be a normal part of long-term maintenance for a person like me, who got what I call the "food gene."

I'm still doing some things that are very important to not falling entirely off the wagon. Most important, I'm weighing myself almost every day. It keeps reality in front of me. Without that, I could be in a major state of denial and just let the pounds keep adding up. And I'm still making an effort, here and there, to eat better and exercise. As I said before, all is not lost. I'm no longer wearing a size 4, or 6 even...most of my pants are a size 8. And I can still run a 5k at the drop of a hat. Most weekends I go on a run of some sort.  

Running, let's focus on that, because I still have a love affair with running. Last week I was driving through San Francisco, it was a gorgeous day, and I just so happened to not be in a rush. As I was passing over the Golden Gate Bridge I thought, "I should go for a run." I had my gear in my car, having packed it that morning thinking, "I'm a runner, and runners carry running gear." But my lazy brain said, "eh, running is hard." Yes, but I love it. I LOVE IT!

So I pulled over before I could listen to my lazy brain, changed in my car, and went for what turned into an hour run along the beautiful San Francisco coast. Glorious!

 Here's the route I took (highlighted in yellow).

Because I'm not running regularly I ran at a very leisurely pace, and walked up the occasional stairs, but it felt amazing. And when I came around to the beach, I just kept on going. 

I felt so good that I had a hard time turning myself around. Yet I knew I'd been running for 30 minutes and pushing past an hour could lead to pain, or injury even, so I turned around and soaked in the gorgeousness and the feeling of being a bad ass runner woman as I ran back to my car.

Ok, what else? There's been so much going on I can't even tell you. I think I said I had a job change, which was a huge source of disruption to my routine. And the changes are still coming. Life, right? Change, settle, change, adjust, least that's how it's been this year. Some days I have moments of fear and panic that it's too much, that I want everything to be predictable and easy but then I have moments where I am excited about all the possibility. 

Anyway, so the other thing is...summer trips! I met Mr. Mr in Munich and we spent five days in Europe. I landed mid-morning and one of the first things we did was...go for a run! I was determined to go on a run because I felt so bummed that I didn't run when we were in Sweden earlier this year. So we ran along the Isar river for I don't know how long, taking in the sights, and then went for dinner. We got up in the morning and started a road trip though the Alps and down to Milan. We stayed in a small town called Bormio, and ran along a river there too. And then made our way to Lake Como, taking in the lake and the beautiful small towns surrounding it.
On Lake Como
Oh, and we walked on water in Lake Iseo, taking in the artist Christo's latest exhibit. That was totally surreal, I could probably write a book about that day.

The other summer thing is Miguel and I took the kids camping. I unplugged so completely on that trip that I have almost no pictures. But here's a picture of my two bugs climbing lakeside on a tree branch. I'm so grateful we can do these things together, I know it feeds their hearts. They had a child's dream of a time, playing in the lake and building sand castles, roasting s'mores by the fire and waking up to birds singing. So fun!
So much happening and so much to think about. And, as you can see, so many opportunities to indulge. I know I'm eating more and exercising less than I'd like, and I know there's a path to feeling better about all that. I'm on that path, even as I feel a little lost, I'm on that path. Ok, that's all I have time for today. Thank you for all the support. It really helps to hear you cheering me on and know my readers believe in me, even when I don't know the way exactly.