Monday, May 30, 2016

Focus T25 Day 1

Today started with my workout. CARDIO!!  I knew that if I didn't start my day with the workout I wouldn't have done it.  So, that was what I started my day with, and it was awesome.  I feel like I did awesome in this workout.  I had to stop and shake it out a couple times because my hips and legs are tight.  Every once and a while I slowed down to follow the modifier because I was getting tired, but I am pretty damn proud of myself.  I've been amazed at what my body can do lately.  I've been doing really well in my workouts and pushing myself.

7 minutes in peak?!?!  That's amazing for me.  I was super impressed my how many calories I burned, too.  I've been logging my food in order to keep track of everything in my Fitbit app.  This way, I know when I have been hitting my target calories.  I've also been trying to eat cleaner.  Today was not a good example, I ate oatmeal from mcdonalds, Chinese food (moo shoo pork), and Mexican (grilled chicken quesadilla with grilled mushrooms).  It hasn't been terrible, and I have stayed within my caloric limit, but it hasn't been as natural or clean as I would like.  

My biggest problem today is I'm exhausted!  I did some work from home this weekend to get caught up since it was such a crazy week last week.  I finished it all, but I think I wore myself out.  I really want to get back into reading at night and going to bed at a decent hour so I get all of my sleep.  I know that's important too.  

Overall, I want to be more balanced.  I think I'm on my way there, I just have to keep at it and be more disciplined.  My challenge to myself is to get 10,000 steps everyday this month as well.  We are going to see how that works out for me.  usually I get close, but I don't quite hit it.  So, we are going to see how that goes.  

well, I'm going to enjoy the Game Show Network for the last day I have it, maybe get some reading in, and hit the hay super early.  It's back to work tomorrow.  

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Focus T25: The Beginning

I've officially ended 21 Day Fix Extreme.  All in all, I lost 7.3 pounds, which is nothing to shake a stick at.  That's a pretty awesome weight loss, especially since I skipped a week.  I didn't expect to get such good results since I was pretty lax on the meal plan and missed a whole week of workouts.  Now, I am on a mission to complete all of the programs I have purchased.  I'm not turning in my pictures to beach body for this one because I did not complete the program.  My goal is to turn in pictures and get the swag for all the completed programs.  Then I'll have a whole collection.  To see my workout schedule for the year, go here.

I'm starting with Focus T25 for two reasons.  First, I think it's a better program for beginners.  Second, I have completed the program before.  I did Alpha, Beta, and Gamma.  it was awesome, but I don't think I got the results I wanted because I ate like crap (although I did get some results).  So, I'm gonna make sure I eat pretty clean and do well so I can get maximum results.

Focus T25 is 5 workouts a week for 25 minutes a day.  Well, really that's kind of a lie because on Fridays you do double workouts, so really it's 50 minutes of Fridays.  Saturday and Sunday are rest days or you can do stretch on Sundays.  The stretch DVD in this program is the BOMB.COM.  It's awesome!!  You will feel so good after you do it, especially after a grueling week of workouts.  I'm so glad I bought the program (the first time I did it a friend bought the program and we liked it so much I bought gamma) just for the stretch DVD.

I'm hoping, after the Alpha round, to be in the 230s.  I've never been able to break the 240s.  Really, I've never been able to break 245.  So, I'm excited to try this and get some good results.  I know that nutrition is the key, and it is my weakness.  Therefore, I have to plan for it in order to get results.  But, results I'm going to get!!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Final Days of 21 Day Fix Extreme and STATurday

I know I haven't posted in a while.  I usually won't post on Thursdays because those are my long days.  Yesterday, I was so stinking tired I hardly did anything. However, I have kept up on my workouts!

Thursday was leg day (Lower Fix Extreme).  This was squats and lunges, squats and lunges, and more squats and lunges.  This killed me, especially the sumo squats with plyo followed by the back lunges with plyo gets me every time.  It's craziness and completely burns out your legs.  Then, Friday you do Cardio Fix Extreme.  I was sweating up a storm.  It's craziness.  Today was Dirty 30 Extreme. I don't think I have ever sweated so much in my life.  I mean, holy moly...I've workout out hard these last couple of days.  I'm pretty proud of myself, to be really honest.

My nutrition has been on point as well.  This latter half of the week, I've been trying to track my nutrition in My Fitness Pal.  Lately it's been about eating the rest of the leftovers in the fridge so we can restock for this coming week.  Thursday lunch I finished off the turkey stuffed zucchini, and that night I finished off the salad.  I also took a better picture of it.

Yesterday for lunch, I ate at Arby's.  We've been seeing commercials for their Bourbon Brisket bacon sandwich, and it looks really yummy.  So, I had one.  I calculated it within my calorie intake, and I made sure to take the dogs for a walk too to help burn off what I ate.  But, it all worked out for me. Dinner was grilled chicken tacos and green beans.  Yum Yum. 

Today I weighed myself and lost 8 pounds from last week! I was pleasantly surprised.  I forgot to take my other measurements, so I will have to do that tomorrow, especially in anticipation of Focus T25.  This was my lunch today.  I took my mom out before we went grocery shopping. 

I have more carbs in this week's meal plan, so we will see how that translates on the scale and in the measurements.  I'm excited for Focus T25.  let's hope next week is as good as this one!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

21 Day Fix Extreme Week 3 Pilates Fix Extreme

Today didn't start off so well. I was exhausted, but I dragged my butt out of bed anyway to find my dogs had chewed my resistance bands.  Grrr...they're acting out since my wife is in Africa.  I cleaned it up, got out my other resistance band, pushed play, and was so tired I turned it off 10 minutes in, and I went back to bed.  I know sleep is an important part of this process, so I went ahead and took some time.

Because I slept in, I didn't eat breakfast.  I know...that's bad. I meant to drink my shakeology at work, but I just got busy and forgot about it.

My mom joined me for lunch, which was great because I was in my office most of the day.  We ate a grilled chicken quesadilla.  I put a little salsa on it, and yum yum.  I did indulge in the chips and salsa, but I didn't eat the rice or beans that came with it.

Dinner was this beauty.  They are Turkey Stuffed Zucchini from my favorite healthy food blog, skinny taste.  This is so yummy, and a great way to get your veggies as you put the guts of the zucchini back in the stuffing.  Yum Yum

While I didn't do pilates, I did take my monsters (I mean girls) for a walk tonight.  We go out and got our steps in.  The plan is to go to bed early tonight so I can kill leg day tomorrow!  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

21 Day Fix Extreme: Week 3 Upper Fix Extreme

Today's workout was Upper Fix Extreme.  Can I tell you, I did not get my ass out of bed.  I even thought about not doing my workout because it's "only upper body."  Once I got up, dressed, and was ready to workout, my wife called from Africa.  Her first question was if I worked out yet, then she made me hang up until I worked out.  Even from Africa she was super supportive. So, I got it done.  Push ups and dolphins killed me.  I cannot plank to save my life; it is really hard for me.  However, I was super excited when I could hold myself up and do tricep dips.  These are so hard for me, and while I couldn't lift my leg, I could at least keep my butt in the air. Definite win for the last time I'm doing this workout in a while.  I'm pretty sure tricep dips are going to come back in before I revisit 21 Day Fix Extreme though. 

Breakfast was the same as yesterday, but I added a banana.  It was just as good as it was yesterday.  I don't know how I feel about microwaved eggs, but it is good that I'm eating a nutritional breakfast before I go to work.  

Here's a picture of the salad I talked about yesterday, and it was just as good today as it was yesterday.  You can't see a whole lot of what's in the salad, but at least you get a decent idea.  It's super yummy.  

Dinner was Honey Lime Sriracha Chicken with green beans and yellow squash.  It was also super yummy.  The chicken was excellent, but it was not as spicy as I thought it would be.  We think that maybe it needed to be marinated overnight and eaten right off of the grill.  The squash is also grilled, but the green beans are roasted.

For dessert, I had reese's peanut butter cups.  Yes, I had a treat, but I was also spot on with my nutrition throughout the day.  I go by the 80/20 rule; otherwise I'm going to crash and burn.  So, today was a good day.  Now, to do it again tomorrow.  I'm hoping by the time I complete Focus T25 Alpha, this is a habit and it doesn't become so hard to get up in the morning.  

Here's to hoping!!

Monday, May 23, 2016

21 Day Fix Extreme Week 3

While the title of the post says week 3, you all know I skipped a week in there, so I haven't really completed the program.  Side note, for this reason I'm not sending in pics for the shirt.  Anyway, I figured I would finish out the month with this program and change to Focus T25 in June.

So, today was the last day of Plyo Fix Extreme.  I decided to try out my Beachbody Performance Energize, and it was Amazing!! It is meant to give you energy to enhance your workout.  I read reviews that have said it's especially good for people who workout early in the morning and are tired during their workouts.  That's me(!), so I was excited to try it.

During my workout, I felt like I was on fire!  I did the whole workout for the whole time.  I felt SO GOOD when I was doing this workout.  I was able to have a good range of motion, I barely stopped even thought there were a lot of jumps.  I usually poop out or "half ass" it, but not this time.  I was a machine.  However, my fitbit did not necessarily reflect this, which was kind of disappointing.  I still think I need some Energize in my life though.  We are going to see how the rest of this week goes, but I'm certain I'm going to be purchasing more of that soon. 

The left picture is from today (with energize), and the right is from the last time I did this workout.  Notice I spent a minute with my heart rate in peak today, but last time I spent more time in "cardio."  I think the biggest thing for me is how I felt during this workout.  I legitimately felt like a beast, and I have never felt that way before.  

As for meals, I ate really well today.  I only took a picture of my breakfast, but I ate salad for my other two meals, and it's the same salad I'm eating for lunch all week so I will eventually get a picture.  This is an egg casserole I made.  I realized yesterday as I was meal prepping I got rid of my muffin tin, and I improvised.  I cut the casserole into 12 pieces, so I would only get one egg per square.  In this, I used 12 eggs, lots of spinach, mushrooms, and feta cheese.  It was actually really good.  I refrigerated the whole casserole and only reheated the squares I need.  I think in the future, I will add some red bell pepper.  I also don't know how I feel about the feta.  It's just not evenly spaced. 

Spinach, Mushroom, and Feta Egg Casserole
1 green, 1 red, 1/2 blue

My next two meals were Honeycrisp Salad.  It had spinach, blue cheese crumbles, dried cranberries, pecans, and a homemade apple vinaigrette.  It was delicious.  During lunch, I added some shredded chicken, which was also really tasty.  This is definitely a salad I will bring back.  I also used the spinach I bought at the Farmer's Market, which was really yummy.  It was extra crispy, so it will really a different kind of spinach than what you purchase in the store.  I'll be sure to take a picture of it tomorrow.  

Honey crisp Apple Salad
2 green, 1 red, 1/2 blue, 1 purple, 1 orange

finally, a friend of mine asked to meet me at Dairy Queen.  To be honest, I wasn't really excited for ice cream.  I didn't really want it.  I had a mini blizzard, and I was surprisingly good with that.  Considering yesterday I wanted to eat all of the candy, cookies, and ice cream in the town, today was a pleasant surprise.  I was on my cycle this previous week, and I wanted to eat everything in sight.  Good thing that doesn't happen all of the time.  

Today was a great start to getting myself back on track.  Even though it was a stressful day (that's what happens when an employee walks out on you), I didn't let it get me down and I didn't stress eat. Overall, today was a win.  Let's hope I can continue my awesome decision making through tomorrow. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

STATurday and Farmer's Market

I weighted myself this morning, and the scale said 260.  Which means, the scale is definitely going the wrong direction.  Since I started 21 Day Fix Extreme, the scale has been going up.  I know my diet hasn't been 100% on point, but it has drastically improved from where it was.  I think that is part of my problem.  I don't need to be so fixated with the number on the scale.  Because it had been going up, even if my body fat percentage went down, I got a little discouraged.  Now I'm super discouraged.    But, I'm going to do something about it.  

Today, we went to the farmer's market in effort to purchase local produce so I can meal prep tomorrow.  

This is an awesome farmer's market with lots of local farmers, and a lot of them are all natural/organic farms.  There were a lot of flower and herb vendors this time, and the selection at the farmer's tables were very limited.  I think this is because it is early in the season.  We were able to get some spinach, zucchini, and meat.  

They also had this awesome band that played while you can hear it throughout the market.  It's nice to have some atmosphere.  This is something I really enjoy doing, but I don't do it enough.  We are going to try to make it a habit to go every Saturday.  It is kind of far out of the way for me (it's about an hour north), but I'm hoping that it will be worth it.  

There were also food trucks while we were there.  There was one called Pandamonium Doughnuts, and it had a humongous line.  I've heard they're really yummy.  We ate at this food truck called "Cracked," which had egg products.  I had an egg sandwich with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, hash browns, and chipotle pesto.  It was delicious.  

Tomorrow is definitely a reset day.  Yoga Fix Extreme, meal plan, and clean the house.  That's going to be the plan, and I am going to post day by day to assist me in documenting my journey.  

Friday, May 20, 2016

New Goals

Clearly what I'm doing isn't working for me.  I haven't worked out in a week, I haven't been eating the best (although it is better than eating greasy fast food every day).  I know I need to change things up (drastically), so I'm going to change the way I do things.  Clearly specialized posts aren't working, so I'm going to post daily.  I'm going to post pictures of what I eat and the workout for that day.  I'm going to try to make it my nighttime ritual.  That and reading.

The first thing I need to do is figure out my photo storage so I can access all the photos on my phone from my computer so I can post them.  I'll also post them on social media and Facebook to keep myself accountable too.  It's just something I need to do anyway, but this will give me a good excuse.

Also, I want to complete all of the exercise programs I have purchased.  So, I have created the following schedule:

May: Finish 21 Day Fix Extreme
June: T25 Alpha
July: T25 Beta
August: T25 Gamma
September: Bodyshred (month 1)
October: Bodyshred (month 2)
November: Insanity Max 30
December: Insanity Max 30
January: P90X3
February: P90X3
March: P90X3
April: 21 Day Fix Extreme

Then, I also have Insanity (the original) and Insanity Asylum Vol. 1 as well, but those seem really scary right now, so I will just hold off.

I'm also going to meal plan and count my calories.  I'm going to post pictures of my meals and make sure my calories count.  I will try to post the containers if I can figure it out.  I'm not very good with following that meal plan.  I know it works for a lot of people though.

Here's to a new plan, and continuing the journey of me.  I just have to accept that during this time there is going to be rough spots.  I'm going to have to figure out what works for me and how to keep myself motivated.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Workout Wednesday: 21 Day Fix Extreme, Week 1

This was my first straight week of 21 Day Fix Extreme, and boy is it extreme!!  However, it is just the right amount of intensity for me.  It's a good challenge, to say the least.

Monday: Plyo Fix Extreme
This workout is made of five rounds.  Each round has two moves (three if you are doing something with for each leg).  Each move is 30 seconds with a 30 second water break in between.  30 second may sounds like a lot for a break, but it goes by fast.  It does not go by fast when you are dying in your weighted lunge hops though.  Lunges are soooo hard for me.  I'm not sure why.  The burped tuck jumps are a-la insanity, but it's only 30 seconds, and you get a break.  So...just a little crazy, not fully insane.  I felt this one afterward.  It's that good kind of sore feeling, and you know you've worked your ass off.  I'm excited to get better on this one.  I know I will progress far.
Max Heart Rate: 137          Calories Burned: 379

Tuesday: Upper Body Fix Extreme
I don't remember how many round this workout is, but I do remember you do it twice.  There's a nice little progression of shoulders to back to biceps to triceps.  Man, does it make your arms hurt.  my favorite move was the ones with the resistance band.  You really want to make sure you are using proper form with these.  I have a hard time knowing if I'm actually working the muscle I'm supposed to be working.  And, crab dips are the worst.  This was one you didn't feel until the next day, but man oh man do I feel it.  I have zero upper body strength, so I'm hoping this helps out! 
Max Heart Rate: 117          Calories Burned: 249

Wednesday: Pilates Fix Extreme
This was a great workout, but I'm having a hard time seeing the benefit.  Don't' get me wrong, I know there is one, but I didn't burn a lot of calories, and I don't feel a whole lot different.  The resistance bands were tricky to use.  When we did moves on our hands and knees, the band hurt to hold on to, and it would rub against my leg and get stuck.  I don't know that I got a whole lot of good out of this one.  I'm ready to do something a little more intense that will burn mega calories and get my heart rate up.  That's probably going to come tomorrow
Max Heart Rate: 111          Calories Burned: 177

Look for the other workouts to come next week.  I'm glad I'm doing all of this, but I really need to dial in my nutrition as well.  That's going to be most of the battle. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Truth Telling Part 2

Here is the second part of the 20 questions from The Big Fat Truth.  I've been gaining insight since reading the book, and I've noticed a difference in the way I think about food.  I don't want fast food anymore, but I eat it sometimes because that's the way we live.  My wife was stressed beyond belief this week, and we chose to eat out more than we usually like.  However, this has really helped me conceptualize the emotional part of my weight loss journey, and I have taken back some of my power over food.  I'm excited to see where this journey takes me.

Food to me is....
Wow, this is kind of a hard one.  What I believe and what I practice are two different things.  I understand and believe in the "fuel" concept.  I know that food is fuel for my body, and putting bad things in there is clogging up the lines, and eventually, the car will stop.  However, I treat my body and eat like I believe my body is a convenient store.  I run though fast food because it is convenient and fills my need for grease and sugar.  I treat food like a drug and use it to fill emptiness for things I haven't quite dealt with.  Food is the answer; although, I know that it's not.  Food is the problem. I only need to conceptualize food as fuel; what I put in my body will determine how efficiently the car runs.

Do you have kids?  Have you passed on your poor eating habits?
I don't have kids, which kind of reinforces bad eating habits because I don't have to set examples for others.  I am conscious of what people are around when I eat and what I eat when I am around them.  Not necessarily because I think they are going to take on my habits, but because I am embarrassed.  Also, in my line of work, I talk about the importance of nutrition and how healthy nutrition benefits the body and helps combat symptoms of mental illness; however, I feel like a hypocrite.  I know that people know I don't necessarily practice what I preach, and I think that discredits me a little bit...a lot bit.

Are you afraid of dying prematurely due to your weight?
Hell yes, I'm afraid of dying prematurely.  I'm also afraid of my wife dying prematurely.  I have nightmares about it; it causes me a lot of anxiety.  I constantly think something is going to happen to one of us; it secretly consumes me sometimes.  I tell my wife this, and she assures me she's not going to die, but I am still afraid.  Before my wife lost a lot of her weight, she was having heart palpitations, and she didn't really tell me until much later.  This contributes to my fear.  

Describe how your family upbringing has played a part in your weight gain.
I feel like I've already answered this question before.  My dad was very conscious about his weight because his father passed away early due to a heart attack.  Because of this, he was very critical about everything we ate, which caused my mom and I to sneak food.  We also ate out all of the time, which didn't help anything.  Being overweight was shameful in my family, but it is also the norm.  I mean, everyone (almost everyone) is overweight.  It was normal to go out, have lots of carbs and cheese for holidays, and gorge ourselves on food.  That was the pattern I saw and I lived in, and that is the pattern I am trying to break.

Have you let yourself down by being overweight?  Have you let your family down by being overweight?
Yes I have let myself down by being overweight.  I am better than this; I am stronger than this.  The me on the outside doesn't project me on the inside.  I don't think I have been treating myself the way I deserve to be treated.  That makes me sad.  I do think I've let my family down as well because they worry about me.  I also think I disappointed them a little but because I cannot seem to get my stuff together.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?
I try not to look in the mirror, especially when I'm naked.  I don't really look at myself because I'm ashamed at what I see.  When I am clothed, my eyes immediately go to my midsection to see if I look too "lumpy" in the clothes I am wearing.  I think I don't look because I know I'm going to see someone who is unhappy with the way she is, and she is overall unhappy.  I would see someone who doesn't have her shit together (and I am someone who always has my shit together).  I see someone who is sad and unfilled...and lost.  I don't know that I know what to do to get back on track.  Well, I do, but it's about consistency, and if I don't see results I get discouraged and don't do anything.

Is there anything you haven't even told your significant other or best friend?
Nope, I have told my wife everything and she knows me and loves me anyway.  I'm pretty open with people who ask about my background.  I don't share with everyone, but those that are close to me (wife and best friends) know.

How much weight do you want to lose?
I want to lose about 130 pounds.  This will get me down to where I'm supposed to be health wise.  I want to have a healthy level of body fat, and I want to be toned.  I also want to lose the stress of being overweight, I want to lose the sadness I feel sometimes, and I want to lose the negative self-image I have about myself.  I think once I let some of that go, and I think I've already started, then the rest will follow.

What is going to be different this time around?
I'm actually diving into the why of being overweight.  I'm doing the emotional work as well.  I can already tell I don't want to run through fast food or that I'm disappointed when I don't work out.  I'm changing the story I tell myself about losing weight and why I'm participating in this journey, and I think that makes a big difference.  I think I've learned to set small goals and make small changes.  I'm holding myself accountable.  I'm also posting things more often, which helps in holding me accountable.  The next step is probably posting things where my support system can see them or knows about them, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Update on Life

I know I was supposed to have week 1 of the 21 Day Fix Extreme, and I did the first two days, but the other days I was extremely tired, and I could not get out of bed.  I did pretty well on eating until the last couple of days.  We had a cookout for some of the students my wife is associated with, so the last couple days have been spent eating leftover hotdogs and hamburgers.

Today, I felt like crap.  I have bad sinus issues, and it all caught up with me today.  I've spent most of the weekend sleeping and trying to just take care of myself.  I learned some things about work that were not the most pleasant, and I've been ruminating on how to manage the information I have and what my responsibility is since I now know.

I've ordered a couple of things I think will help with my fitness journey.  The first is a Beachbody performance sampler.  This has things for pre workout, during workout, post workout, and sleeping supplements to help further my performance.  I'm excited to try it, and I will definitely be posting about it.  I never feel like I get the right nutrients for working out, and I know this is going to help tremendously.

Also, I've been doing a lot of research on PCOS, and I'm convinced I have it.  While I've never been formally diagnosed, I have a lot of the symptoms.  While I take birth control to control my cycles, I still feel really symptomatic sometimes when my body is trying to have a period.  i've been doing some research, and I found a lot of people use Teami products to help control the symptoms (bloating, acne, stable moods).  So, I ordered the detox pack today.  I'm excited to try it and see how it works.  Again, I will be posting about this too.

My wife leaves for South Africa next Saturday, and I'm pretty worried about her.  This is the longest we will have been apart with minimal contact in a while.  My mom is coming to help me take care of the dogs, and I'm hopeful I will have enough distractions to manage while she is gone.  She is gone for two weeks, is back for a couple of days, and leaves again for a month residency for her phd program.

So, that's what's going on in my world...and why you haven't heard from me in a while.  That changes this week :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Truth-Telling Part 1

I've started reading The Big Fat Truth, written by the producer of The Biggest Loser  and Extreme Weight Loss.  The premise of the book is the emotional journey behind weight loss and getting to the heart of why you gained weight, work through it, so you don't regain all of the weight back.  There is a section in the book where he gives you questions he asks of contestants prior to their acceptance on the show.  The questions are supposed to make you dig deeper and really identify what is going on behind the weight gain.  So, here are the first half of the questions with my answers.  I want to get better, and I don't want to gain all of my weight back.  I'm very committed to this journey, and I am ready to move forward.

The author stated that these questions should take a few hours to answer (and they did).  I'm going to split this into two blog posts so I have more time to answer the questions.  I spent a lot of time because I really need to figure this out, I really need to get my shit together.  I want to be my best self before I am 30, and I know I need to do the emotional work to make this stick and last a lifetime.  So, here I am, digging deep, trying to be my best self.

Is weight an issue in the family you grew up in?  Who suffers from it? How much do they need to lose?  Do you blame your family for making you overweight?
Hell yes weight is an issue in my family.  All of my dad's side of the family is overweight.  My grandfather died of a heart attack when my dad was young, and all of my dad's siblings have a weight problem.  My dad's eldest sister has been yo-yo "dieting" for several years, and I have seen her lose a lot of weight and then gain it all back.  I know when she is on the wagon because she talks about it all of the time.  Then, I know when she falls off because she stops talking about it.  She recently lost about 100 pounds, which is amazing; however, I saw a picture of her recently and think she has fallen off the wagon again.  There's no way to know how much she has to lose, but my fear is she's going to gain all of her weight back.  My dad's younger sister had been overweight most of her life.  I remember when my wife and I went home for the sugar bowl, and i thought my aunt had an eating disorder.  Turns out, she had weight loss surgery and just ate too much the night I saw her.  She has never told me about her surgery; I had to hear it from other family members.  She is at a good weight now, but I bet she lost about 100 pounds as well.  My dad's younger brother is the largest of all of them.  He had an aortic aneurism many years ago and has gained most of his weight back.  It's really sad to watch him do daily activities.  He lived past the age of his dad, but I don't know that he is going to live much longer.  He has probably about 250 pounds to lose.  My dad watched his weight all of his life.  I remember he would do fad diet after fad diet to make sure the pounds stayed off.  It didn't come naturally to him either as I think he would like, and lately he has started to gain some comfort weight as he is now in a committed relationship.

When I was growing up, my dad was especially hard on my mom and I about what we ate and how much weight we had gained.  I understand where he was coming from, but it was very demeaning and did not build self-esteem or confidence.  He used a lot of "you" language instead of nearly stating that he was concerned and wanted us to live long lives.  This drove my mom into a deeper depression, which caused her to eat more.  His comments were shaming and made me feel like he didn't love me because I was fat.  After my parents were divorced, my mom was diagnosed with diabetes.  She worked her booty off to lose weight and eat healthy, and I think she was off of medication for a little while; however, she moved back in with my grandfather and has had difficulty maintaining it.  She doesn't have a whole lot of weight to lose, probably about 50 pounds.  However, I don't think anyone in my family is good with dealing with emotional stuff, which is the contributing reason to their weight gain and inability to maintain a healthy weight.

I don't blame my family for my weight gain.  Ultimately, I am the only person responsible for what I put in my mouth.  I think, sometimes, it is really easy to blame them, and I wish people, especially my dad, had addressed things differently when I was a kid.  I know a lot of my behavior is learned, but as an adult, I have the power to change my habits.  This is about me and for me.  I think I need to work up enough courage to tell me family "no" when they want me to participate in engaging in unhealthy behavior.  For example, I do not want a whole pan of spinach dip that could feed a small army every time I come home, even though it is my favorite.  I may want a serving or two while I am there, but I do not need to bring it into my home. I mean, I definitely have to unlearn some habits my family taught me, but I don't think it is their fault.  They don't know any different, and while I wish they would take the time to do some of this work that I'm doing, I understand that it is hard and scary to look inside yourself and face all of the scary demons that contribute to your weight in the first place. While I wish they would do the emotional work, they have to want to do it for themselves.  I have to control what I can control and let go of what I cannot control.

What is your ethnicity? Does your culture play a part in your weight?
I am white.  I think food is a large part of the white culture.  We revolve everything around dinner, dinner parties, parties with snacks, movies with popcorn and candy.  Obesity is also at an all time high in America, predominately with the white culture.  It's not culturally acceptable to have problems, be emotional, blah blah.  It's just not cool.  Also, it's completely the norm to go through fast food and order the oversized, deep fried, quick and cheap meal because you are stressed, don't have time, don't feel like cooking, etc.  It's just the cultural norm.  So, yes, I think our culture plays a huge part in my weight.  It's more convenient to make an unhealthy choice than a healthy one.

Also, my family is from Italian decent, which means we practice lots of Italian tradition.  This reads every function has food filled with carbs, cheese, and sugar.  Again, this plays into traditions and practices.  Everywhere I go, I'm programmed to bring food as a thank you, to contribute, etc.  Food is such a large part of the Italian culture; however, in America you don't have the walking, farming, general physical exercise you would gain in Italy.  Therefore, it contributes to weight gain.  It's so much harder to make healthy choices when there are no healthy choices around. It's also considered "rude" to say no thank you to things, so you feel obligated to put it in your mouth.

Food is very much part of the social experience, and it is difficult to opt into healthy options when you are surrounded by people that do not choose the same.  Then, you don't want to be thought of as "weird" or "different," so you choose to participate, which only reinforces the same messages and beliefs that got me to 253 pounds in the first place.  Now, it's about standing up to the "norm" and setting boundaries with others, including friends and family, that preserve my health and wellness.

Describe your occupation.  Does your weight affect your occupation?  How?
I am the Clinical Director of an outpatient mental health facility.  In the state of Illinois, I am a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, and I absolutely believe my weight undermines my ability to effectively counsel people.  I think it tells my clients that I cannot handle my own stuff, and, if I can't do it neither can they.  I think my weight is a walking billboard of how much I need help and how unwilling I am to deal with my issues.  Again, if I cannot deal with my own issues, how am I supposed to help other people deal with theirs.  Shouldn't I practice what I preach?  I don't notice that it has been a problem; in fact, most clinicians in our clinic are overweight.  However, I also know that most counselors become counselors in order to learn how to deal with their issues or to focus on helping others so they do not want to help themselves.  I believe that I have come a long way in my recovery, but I also believe I have a lot of work left to do.  By actively working on myself and striving to improve, I think I'm showing others that it is possible, we are all human, and we all have our own struggles that we can overcome.

What is it like being overweight? How does it affect your everyday life?  How exhausting is it?
It's horrible being overweight.  It's like carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders and being unable to take it off.  It's shaming and debilitating.  You feel like an outcast, and you work hard to preserve the identity you have outside of your weight.  It makes you a little defensive because you always think people are going to judge you based on your weight.  In other ways, it is a comfort.  It is a pass to feel invisible and fly under the radar.  No one notices you, and it gives you the freedom to continue to deal with things the ways you have always dealt with things (read food), and gives you room to not be criticized.  It also keeps you in your comfort zone; you don't have to change if no one notices.  You also constantly compare yourself to others; very much the dreamer and not the doer.

My weight is always one of the first things I think about in the morning.  I'm always asking my wife if I look fat in my clothes.  I am conscious of everything I do, because I do not want others to judge me based on my weight.  I may chose not to do things, such as going out with groups, because of my weight.  Also, I do not like to eat with others, especially if I am eating something unhealthy.  This started fairly recently, but now I am very self-conscious of it.  It is very exhausting everyday to play mind games with yourself.  Does this person not like me because I'm fat?  Is this person going to take me seriously because I'm fat?  Do they really like me or are they just nice to me because they feel sorry for me?  These mind games are detrimental to my mental health, so I ignore it, go to McDonalds, and shove greasy food in my face until I go to sleep so I don't have to deal with it.  It's a vicious cycle.  But, it's more mentally exhausting to break the cycle because then you constantly have to think about it.  It's just easier to ignore it and continue putting crap in your face until you die of a heart attack.  Not really, but that is what my actions say.  I'm committed to making my thoughts and my actions match.

What are all the thing you missed out on being overweight?
There's nothing I can think of that I intentionally did not do because of my weight.  However, I think there are things I unintentionally avoid because I am overweight.  Thinking about it, I think I have missed out on fully living life.  I don't do adventurous things.  I missed hiking in the mountains, running on the beach, snorkeling, just being outside and learning the benefits of a good walk or fresh air because there were things I never did.  It feels like there is this whole other side of life that I haven't experienced because I've never been exposed because I'm overweight.

I think I just aimlessly went through life not really paying attention to what I could or could not do.  There were things that just "weren't meant for me" or that didn't really "interest me" because they seemed like dreams, and things like that don't happen to people like me.  I guess by "people like me" I meant fat people.  Unconsciously. And, I don't know that I'm fully aware of all of the things I missed out on because I am overweight.

I want to be adventurous.  I want to go on hikes, zipline, be able to do physical things and ENJOY them.  I remember when I was in Europe, I climbed to the top of the Vatican and did all of the things I wanted to do; however, I was always concerned about my weight and comparing myself to other people.  I want to run 5Ks and 10Ks (the Disney Princess half marathon is on my bucket list).  I just want to be active and not do activities that involve food.

What activities are difficult at this weight, physically or emotionally? List anything from getting in and out of cars to getting undressed in the locker room at your gym without feeling self-conscious.
I think simply living is difficult at this weight.  Again, from all of the emotional stuff you worry about, it takes a toll on you.  I'm always self-conscious and never think I look good in what I wear.  I barely look at myself in the mirror, I don't like to get dressed in front of my wife (even though she always tells me I'm beautiful), and I don't like to eat in front of other people.  I'm even self-conscious during sex because of my weight.

I can do most of my daily life without noticing my weight.  Sitting in my car is tight, buckling my seatbelt at a airport is difficult, going up long flights of stairs is difficult.  Again, I don't have a very active or very interesting life, so I guess I wouldn't notice my weight a whole lot.  I mean, I've built my life around not noticing my weight and only now am I waking up to smell the coffee.

Does weight interfere with your life as a person in a relationship?
Yes and no.  My wife is overweight, which means there is a comfort in that because we can be overweight together and accept each other.  This also means we enable each other; we keep each other fat.  I think that means we don't introduce new things into the relationship.  We have just started being active together, and we notice that we are much happier and feel much closer when we are engaging in a more active lifestyle.

My self-consciousness with my weight prevents me from being affectionate with my wife.  I think weight interferes with growing our relationship.  We spend so much more time together when we are active, which develops our relationship even further.  Right now, it's the elephant in the room and we don't really talk about it, but we know it would be for the best.  When we are sedentary, our relationship stays sedentary as well.  It prevents me from being my best self in our relationship, which isn't fair to me or my wife.

What would it mean to you to be at a healthy weight?
I don't know that I've ever thought of myself being at a healthy weight.  I know I should if I'm really serious about this weight loss journey, but I don't know that I've ever truly thought about it.  It would mean that I reclaimed my life, that I took something I never thought I could do and I did it.  It means I will live to grow old with my wife, it would mean I changed the pattern of my family and their way to manage emotions and food.  It would mean that I have found inner peace.

There are also a lot of superficial things it would mean.  It would mean I can shop at any store I want, all of the boutiques and things I look at; I could actually purchase clothes from there.  It means I would not think about my weight or if people are judging me because of my weight.  It would mean that I don't have to worry about my health or if I'm going to develop diabetes or die of a heart attack at a young age.

Have you ever been thin?  Why haven't you lost the weight?
I have never been thin.  I've been thinner, but I have always been overweight.  I've never lost the weight because I've been in denial about the weight.  I don't think I paid much attention to what I could/need to do about the weight and just subscribed to the fact that this is my life.  I tried to minimize the impact of my weight, said that it wasn't a whole lot of weight gain.  I remember when I weight less than 200lbs.  I remember the first time the scale said 200lbs, and I promised never to go over 200.  Little did I know is three or four more years I would weight almost 300 pounds.

I also think, subconsciously, I thought I would be the outcast in my family.  That my family would think I'm "too good" for them and they would not love me/like me/want to be around me.  So, I didn't lose the weight.  I didn't want to abandon my family.  It then became a pattern, a lifestyle, and changing habits is much more difficult than anyone would like to admit.

Describe your diet from the minute you wake up to the minute you go to sleep.
Currently, I wake up and eat an Attain bar before I workout, I work out and drink a shake.  Sometimes I blend spinach and fruit smoothies with protein powder, sometimes I make a simple protein shake.  That usually holds me over until lunch, where I make some sort of salad or bring a frozen dinner.  If I have meal prepped over the weekend, we eat what I have prepped, which usually comes from a Beachbody meal plan, skinny, or other healthy meals I found on pinterest.

When I fail to plan is usually when I don't make healthy choices.  I run through a fast food joint (and justify it because this is the "last day" or it is "just this one week" or "just this one day," which is always a lie).  if I forget to plan lunch, I go out to lunch.  The problem is, I make unhealthy choices because this is going to be the exception to the rule when I forget my lunch and I can indulge "just this once" or whatever justification I chose to tell myself.  But, it's always based on lies.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Soulful Sunday: Letting Go

This week in Bible study, we discussed Ruth 2:1-23.  In this passage, Ruth goes to a local farm to green the harvest, and she unknowingly stumbled upon the farm of a (distant) relative.  because of her consistency in her faith, her relative, Boaz, showed her tremendous kindness and compassion.  We discussed how nothing happens for no reason, it is all part of God's plan.  God sent Ruth to the farm, who "just happened" to be owned by a relative.  This is evidence of God working in our lives, and how trusting in God and living God's word consistently will "pay off" in the end.  

The concept of God's Plan is a difficult one for me.  I constantly want to be in control and to know what and when things are happening.  When I feel out of control is when I turn to food, because that is often what I can control.  Often, the food is not good quality and is very unhealthy.  That's why I'm 253.8 pounds...because I feel out of control a lot.  Eating and "stuffing it down" is a lot easier than admitting I feel out of control, I'm scared, and I need to talk it out or time to figure stuff out.  It's about learning how not to rely on food anymore.  

I've always been overweight.  With all of the crazy stuff I endured as a kid, I think food was my mom's comfort, and therefore became my comfort.  I remember we used to go to Burger King everyday after school and I would order a chicken sandwich meal.  We ate out A LOT, which I think is why it's so difficult for me to get into the habit of eating at home.  However, my weight got really out of control when I came out as a lesbian.  My family has conservative values, my wife's family has super conservative values, and it was difficult for me to express myself.  So, I ate, and I ate, and I ate.  

All of this stuffing stuff down is (quite literally) killing me.  So, I know that I need to follow God's plan and put all of my trust in Him to guide me and know that everything is going to work out exactly the way it is supposed to.  Since I have been trying to practice that and do constructive things to manage my stress, I do notice that I have been feeling better.  I am really tired.  In fact, I slept the majority of Saturday.  But, I still have a lot of growing (and hopefully shrinking) to do to meet my goals.  What is ironic is that I'm a mental health professional, and I know all of this.  I need to start practicing what I preach, which means practicing what Jesus preaches and getting to know God...right?