June 2009, Weight Loss Journal
Content Updated on June 27, 2009
29 June 2009
Weight: 174 (lost 26 lbs. total)
Clothing Size: 14
It has been nearly two years since I stopped documenting my weight loss progress weekly in favor of focusing on my mental health. I'm proud to say that my depression has been gone for a long time. My anxiety is now just something that pops up during prolonged stressful situations, and even then I just use good ol' cognitive behavioral therapy to deal with the symptoms. I've worked through most of the underlying problems that were causing my persistent anxiety, all those traumas from the first twenty years of my life, and I'm happy to say that I've been able to let them go, to decide that I'm not going to let them make me feel guilty or worthless anymore. I also stopped hoping for a fantasy happily-ever-after ending with the people from my past. There's no point in fighting for something you can never win.
So a month ago I went in for my annual physical exam. I don't remember what the scale read at the clinic, but my scale at home told me I was 183 lbs., creeping back up to my pre-weight loss number. And suddenly I had one of those epiphany moments as I was lying there on the table, embarrassedly exposing myself to my very attractive doctor (which, let's face it, makes the procedure so much more embarrassing) and talking about how I was planning on getting IPL on my face for rosacea (although now that I think about it, I'm sure the cosmetic laser center consultant who told me I had rosacea was probably using my family history of rosacea to scare me into buying the very expensive service she was trying to sell because after reading about it for a bit, I really don't think my skin is all that bad). My epiphany moment was a tiny voice in my mind and sounded something like this:
"You're complaining about the minor cosmetic flaws of your skin as your getting a breast exam to look for breast cancer which can kill you. You're going through all the trouble of having this annual exam and the even more embarrassing pelvic exam that is coming next along with the dreaded needle pokes because you supposedly put a high value on your health. Meanwhile, you're still 50 pounds overweight, which is the biggest cosmetic flaw of all, far worse than broken capillaries and red skin, and if you really cared about your health, you'd be dropping those excess pounds to reduce your chances of getting cancer and heart disease in the first place. Kristen, you're acting like an idiot."
So I immediately decided that I was going to stop acting like an idiot and hypocrite. I went home and started making plans to resume my weight loss mission. I had to do one hour of cardio exercise every day. I could break it up into small sessions or do it all at once. Right away I started taking my evening walks, about 4 miles (6.4 km). I also started strength training again: upper body on Monday and Thursday, lower body on Tuesday and Friday, core on Wednesday and Saturday, yoga on Sunday, repeat. I started measuring my food portions again and refusing to eat second helpings. Then I went back to scheduled eating rather than just eating whenever I was hungry (which was often stress related rather than real hunger anyhow).
Really it isn't that difficult to do. I strength train while I watch my favorite shows or listen to podcasts. Going out for a walk by myself is a nice break from the stress of the day and gives me a chance to listen to my favorite music or podcasts or to just daydream. I always come back feeling refreshed. Since I started going vegan (something I decided to do on Mother's Day as a gift to myself as well as to all the mamas of the animal kingdom, mostly hens and cows... yes I'm a neo-hippie), I've lost my desire to eat high calorie cream and cheese and eggs (and I was certain I would go crazy without them). I spend a lot of time thinking about how I feel when I eat. Am I truly hungry or just dealing with stress? And whenever I realize that I'm stressed out, I find other ways to de-stress, ways that don't involve food. I haven't felt starved at all. I still get to indulge, but I eat smaller portions of such foods and I savor them slowly. I don't feel the slightest bit deprived. In fact, I feel fuller, not with food but with energy and confidence.
The big hurdle for me is traveling. It throws off my routines, stresses me out, and then I find myself eating organic tortilla chips in large quantities. Last week we went on a family camping trip, but this time I was mentally prepared. We hiked, climbed, biked, hiked some more, and went for walks. I got plenty of exercise. I refused to even bring any of the treats I feed myself when I'm stressed. I measured out my portions, read labels, filled up on veggies and fruit, stuck to my eating schedule, and avoided soda like the plague. When I got stressed out, I stopped everything, grabbed a book or my ipod filled with university lectures (I'm such a nerd), found a comfortable place to sit, and kept my mind busy with happy amusements until those stressed-out urges to eat went away. It was the first time ever that I came back from a trip having lost weight rather than gained it.
And now, today, I'm 174. That means I've lost roughly 2 lbs. per week since my annual physical exam. I haven't been down to 174 since December of 2007. It's definitely nice to comfortably fit back into some of the clothing that was becoming a bit snug.
When I first started losing weight, I set 170 as my first goal, but the problem was that when I got there, I became complacent and didn't bother to set a new goal. So now, every week my little goal will be to lose another pound or two, but my big goal will be to stand on the scale and see 130 lbs. This time, I'm not going to be satisfied with something half way there.
See other Kristen's Guide topics in this category.