One step forward, two steps back…

So…I have come to the realization that I do not have to be skinny to be happy, that I do not have to be 130 lbs to be beautiful, and that no number in the world should dictate my happiness.

Easier said than done, however.

I suffer from chronic, debilitating anxiety. Usually, it’s enough under the surface that I can handle it by breathing or talking to a friend or even just having a nap. Sometimes, though, it gets so bad that I feel like I can’t breathe. I can’t stop crying, I hyperventilate, my stomach is full of knots and I feel like I will either lose my mind completely or die.

Most of the time, to an outsider, it’s irrational. Lots of people get nervous or anxious about everyday things, but I bet that most people don’t understand what it’s like to let your imagination truly run away with you…it’s terrifying. Horrible images play in your mind, negative thoughts run through continuously, and you feel like you will never be happy again. You almost want to die just to make it stop…I’ve had those thoughts before. I’ve never attempted suicide or even made a plan…but when my anxiety is bad, there are times when I think “If only I were dead, then this would all be over”.

It’s an awful, awful place to be. Exercise helps anxiety, in fact, it’s one of the most effective treatments for it. However…it’s really REALLY difficult to motivate yourself to exercise when you feel like utter garbage. When you’re lying there wishing you were dead, usually the thought of putting on gym clothes and sweating on a treadmill ranks next to strutting naked down the busiest street in your city.

I’ve been exercising relatively regularly these days. Not as much as I want, but usually at least twice a week. I also got a FitBit for Christmas and so I’ve been trying to get in 10,000 steps every day, but it’s difficult sometimes.

So…we’ll see. I’m searching for a new therapist at the moment, as I don’t think that mine is working out very well. We just talk…which is okay, but I can do that with my friends. I need more.

Does anyone else deal with anxiety and depression? Have any of you ever tried CBT or DBT or meditation? I’m hoping to find something that will help me…

Progress Update – as of September 6, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Weight: 294.3 lbs
Gain: 0.1 lbs
Current BMI: 46.1
Gain: 0

So, I skipped August 30, as you may have noticed. The past couple of weeks have been SUPER busy for many reasons: my brother’s birthday, acquiring a new kitten (he is the cutest little fluffball you ever did see!!!), picking apples and plums off the trees before they all fall AND, most importantly, preparations for my very best and oldest (we’ve been friends for 24 years!) friend’s wedding, which happened on September 6th in the mountains of Alberta. Normally when I don’t do a blog post for two weeks, I like to update with both days, but I honestly cannot remember August 30. I weighed myself, but I didn’t record the number (wedding prep drove pretty much everything else out of my mind) and so I have no idea. Oh well. 

What I Did Well This Week:
1) Well, not a lot. I’m frankly surprised that I only gained 0.1 lbs, given how little sleep and exercise I’ve gotten in the last two weeks. Not to mention that I haven’t been eating very well (the whole “no sugar” thing was a total bust) and then of course weddings mean FOOD (including the most delicious red velvet cupcake I’ve ever had in my life) and drinks. I have never had a rum and coke before the wedding and I have to say, I’m hooked! 

What I Can Improve On:
1) Now that the wedding is over, I really want to get back on track with my exercise and my eating and my sleep patterns. Cutting out sugar completely was a total mistake, as I went overboard later, but I am still hoping to reduce my sugar intake. 

How I Feel:
Pretty darn good, actually. The wedding was so wonderful, I had such a great time, and I am really hoping to use the positive energy from the weekend to help me with my goals. 

Cheers, happy losing!

Progress Update – as of April 21, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 275.0 lbs
Loss: 9.4 lbs
Current BMI: 43.1
Loss: 3.0

Holy guacamole!!! I figured that I would see another loss this week, but to lose almost 10 lbs in a week is crazy! I don’t anticipate that this trend will continue for long (and I don’t want it to, as it’s not healthy) but hey, a loss is a loss!! And it’s possible that this isn’t totally accurate anyway, the scale that I weighed myself on last week is a different one from this week, so it’s highly unlikely that they are exactly the same, I find that most scales tend not to be.

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) Getting lots of sleep, once again. I did a lot this week, sight-seeing and such, and I prefer to get up early and start my day so that I make sure that I take advantage of being in a foreign city. Plus, I didn’t know anybody in Wellington (where I was) so it wasn’t as though I was out and about socializing into the wee hours.

2) I did a fair amount of walking this week as well, sightseeing and the like. I have never had trouble just walking around on flat surfaces, but hills and stairs (not to mention running) are the death of me! I think it’s getting easier though. There is less cursing under my breath when I have to climb a big hill or walk long distances, so yay me!

What I Can Improve On:

1) I didn’t really eat that well this week. I tried to make healthier choices, like choosing a sandwich and milk for lunch instead of a burger, but I was still rather lacking in fruits and vegetables intake. However, I am now at my uncle’s house for the next week or two. He is a health maniac and so I think that I will be eating very well for the time that I stay with his family. He bikes 15 km every morning, for example, and then has a fruit smoothie for breakfast, chock full of healthy stuff. So I think I will do well this week…

How I Feel:

I feel really good! I am feeling a lot better mentally (although travelling is fun, being by yourself in a strange city can be very lonely) and so I think that just being with family and kind of feeling more at home here, as opposed to living out of a suitcase, will be good for me. I don’t anticipate losing 10 lbs again next week – and I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained some soon, as it’s possible that some of this weight is water weight – but I’m on the right track and that’s all that matters.

Cheers, happy losing!

Progress Update – as of April 14, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 284.4 lbs
Loss: 9.9 lbs
Current BMI: 46.1
Loss: 1.6

WOOHOO!!! As you can probably tell, I am super ecstatic at this number. I haven’t actually been able to weigh myself for 3 weeks, but boy it is nice to get on the scale and see that! Since the beginning of this journey, over 5 months, I have lost 18.8 lbs. I am disappointed that it isn’t more overall but I haven’t been consistent with my efforts over these 5 months, so that’s to be expected. At the end of the day, I am thrilled to be down almost 20 lbs and it makes me want to go more more more!!!

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) Well, over the past several weeks, I have been walking a lot. I do take public transportation, but most of that doesn’t drop you off exactly where you need to be, so I’ve had to hoof it around a lot. I’ve also chosen to walk for monetary reasons. For example, the hostel that I was staying at for a while did not have free wifi, so I opted to go to the library instead. Walking there, a 15 minute walk, saved me the bus fare and meant that I could come and go as I pleased, instead of waiting on a bus schedule.

2) I have also been eating as well as I can. I have been staying at hostels and due to my intense germophobia the thought of actually cooking in a hostel repulses me (I don’t trust anyone to clean dishes properly, especially not with the dish brushes that appear to have been sitting out since 1993, gross), so I have been relying on staples like PB&J sandwiches and ramen noodles. Ramen are not that nutritious, I know, and neither is PB&J (although I have only been using good, whole-wheat bread, natural peanut butter and no sugar added jam) but I have had access to a fridge, so I’ve also been eating fruit, yogurt, veggies and milk. It’s not an ideal diet, but I’m attempting to make it work anyway. And when I go out to eat (which I have been trying to avoid doing, because it’s ridiculously expensive) I have been trying to make better choices, like having sushi or a sandwich over a cheeseburger.

3) I have been getting lots of sleep. I don’t drink or smoke and I find that a lot of the activity that goes on at hostels later at night tends to be of that variety, so instead of participating, I will usually read and go to bed early. I like going to bed early when I’m travelling, actually, because I like getting up in the morning and doing stuff, instead of sleeping until noon like I often do when I’m out really late. And bonus, it’s good for you!

What I Can Improve On:

1) Getting in more fruits and veggies. I was really good for awhile about eating apples and carrots and veggies that don’t need prep, but I’ve slacked off a little in the last week or so and not done that well, so I’m hoping to get back to my earlier, better habits.

How I Feel:

Pretty awesome!!! I have been feeling really down lately, to be honest, because I have kind of been stuck in one city for awhile and I was really missing home. However, this weigh-in certainly boosted my spirits (as well as Skype sessions from home, I love you Skype!) and I am hoping that it continues!

Progress Update – as of March 19 and 26, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight (March 19): 296.3 lbs
Gain: 0.3 lbs
Current BMI (March 19): 46.4
Gain: 0

Current Weight (March 26): 294.3 lbs
Loss: 2.0 lbs
Current BMI (March 26): 46.1
Loss: 0.3

Sorry for the delay this week folks, my life has been a bit of a whirlwind for the last couple of weeks. As you may know by now, I am in New Zealand! I wanted to take time to write on here, but the sun was shining and there were lovely beaches calling me, so I found myself putting the computer down and going outside. Ah well. I will try to keep up this week, but I am no longer staying with relatives, as I’m bouncing around the countryside and the wi-fi is a bit spotty.

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) I have been eating really well. I am staying in hostels at the moment, so it’s not like I’m cooking up sumptuous meals (and I’m a germaphobe, but that’s another story) but I’ve got apples and carrots and yogurt and milk and good bread and PB&J (all natural, no added salt or sugar or other crap) so I’m doing okay. However, before I started travelling around, I was staying with relatives. Relatives who happen to grow a whole bunch of produce in their garden and who have their own chickens and who are very health-conscious and only buy the best (meaning organic) of everything, so meals with them were lovely, always really healthy, high-quality ingredients with tons and tons of vegetables and fruit.

2) I have been exercising like crazy. Not like what I normally do, which is weights and rowing and treadmill, but just walking everywhere and being an active tourist, as opposed to sitting inside and watching television all day. New Zealand is also very hilly, which has meant some hiking with STEEP climbs (which either means hundreds of built-in stairs or steep stretches of path), which of course makes my legs burn and makes me sweat like crazy. By the time I go back home (for Christmas), I am going to have a butt that you can bounce quarters off. I also find that I am really enjoying the exercise. (Well, mostly, let’s not get carried away here.) For example, just today I went on a 3 km hike around Wai O Tapu, which is a “geothermal wonderland” (their words, not mine). Basically, New Zealand is a volcanic country with lots of geothermal activity and so there are lots of places where you can hike around huge pieces of land and see geysers, boiling mud pools, sulphur caves, mineral lakes etc. etc. That is what I did today and, because I wanted to see everything, I did the longest hike. I was swearing a blue streak under my (heaving) breath at one point, as I was confronted with what seemed like a thousand stairs, but for the most part it was really enjoyable. I like being outside and hiking through nature, so I’m hoping to do a lot more of that in the future.

3) I have been getting a lot of sleep. The time difference has really helped me, to be honest. At home, I would often stay up late at night a) talking to friends (thanks Facebook!) or b) watching Netflix. Here, I am five hours behind, so if I’m talking to people at night, they have usually gone to bed by 8:00 here. And you can’t get Netflix here and I have yet to find something to bypass that hurdle that doesn’t make my computer slow to a crawl. So I’ve been going to bed at a decent time and then getting up early in the morning to SEIZE THE DAY and see and do as many things as possible. This going to bed at a good time and doing a lot during the day has changed my schedule so that I’m actually tired by 10:00 pm and I go to bed. It’s a good system.

What I Can Improve On:

1) There is always room for improvement, of course, but I have been doing so well that I think my goals for the upcoming weeks are just going to be to keep doing what I’m doing.

How I Feel:

Great! And my stress level is back to normal, since now I don’t have to worry about packing or cleaning or all that stuff. I am normally one of those people who has trips planned to the last second, but this time around I am just kind of going with the flow. I have so much time here, I’m just allowing myself to relax and not feel like I have to cram absolutely everything in, it is lovely.

As of right now, I no longer have access to a scale. I suspect that this will be the case for the next couple of weeks, so I will just continue to post as normal, without the weight. I am hoping to buy a measuring tape though (something I forgot to bring!) so that I can do measurements, but we’ll see how it goes.

Bye for now!

Progress Update – as of February 5, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 294.0 lbs
Gain: 3.9 lbs
Current BMI: 46.0
Gain: 0.6
Bust: 50 in.
Waist: 56 in.
Hips: 51.5 in.
Pants/Dress Size: 18

Hello readers,

My apologies for my tardiness in this post. As I have mentioned previously, in passing, (or at least I think I did!) I am moving to New Zealand in approximately 3 1/2 weeks and it is seriously stressing me out. I have so much to do before I go and life is kicking my butt right now. If I didn’t need sleep I would be in great shape, but unfortunately…

Also unfortunate is that I gained weight. Annoying, yes, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected. I was ill from the 25th to the 30th, then I was away from the 31st to the 7th, so my exercise routine was non-existent in that time period. I could have worked out when I was away, but at that point I had kind of fallen out of the habit, so I honestly wasn’t all that motivated to work out. My bad, I know.

I did eat fairly well in the week that I was away, but given that I had been existing on chicken soup and juice the week before when I was ill, I assumed that most of the weight I lost was water weight and that it would come back as soon as I started eating real food again. I was right. And I was with my aunt and grandmother, who are both excellent bakers, so I may have overindulged in some goodies like cake and cookies and fudge while I was away. However, it’s a new week and I am determined to see a loss next week!

As of the start of this blog, my net loss is 7.8 lbs. Not as high as I wanted, but it’s still a loss, so yay me. January was pretty good to me and I’m hoping that February will be the same.

My measurements have not changed, but it’s okay, we’re getting there!

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) I ate more fruit, especially in the mornings, and I ate breakfast every morning. My grandmother is an early riser, as is my aunt, so I was up early every morning while I was gone and I had a healthy breakfast every day, usually consisting of fruit, oatmeal or toast, and a glass of milk.

2) I drank a lot of liquids (my grandma is really into tea, so she drinks several cups a day and we always joined her) which is good, because when I am not exercising I usually do not drink as much liquid as I should.

3) I got a lot of sleep. Back at my place, I usually stay up as long as I want to. My grandmother’s apartment is small and she and my aunt go to bed early, so I went to bed when they did because watching TV or something like that would keep them awake. It was good though, I never get enough sleep.

What I Can Improve On:

1) I haven’t exercised for about 2 weeks, so I really need to get back on that wagon. When you’re really busy, it’s so easy to push exercise to the side, but I love how it makes me feel so I really want to make time for myself during the day to exercise and stay on track.

2) I also didn’t really track my food intake while I was sick or while I was away, so I need to get back into the habit of doing that. I did eat pretty well while I was away, but I still think that it’s a good idea for me to write down what I eat so that I can make sure that I’m not overdoing a certain food group and to make sure that I’m getting enough fruits and vegetables.

How I Feel:

Right now, I honestly just feel really, really stressed. I have so much organizing and sorting and packing to do and it is really making me feel a bit overwhelmed at this point. I do feel like I am still on the right path towards weight loss, but when I get stressed out I tend to not exercise (which, ironically, helps with stress) and I tend to eat emotionally, so I really need to keep that in check.

Anyway, happy weight loss to all and let’s hope that next week is better!

Progress Update – as of January 29, 2014 aka I survived the plague and can post again

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 290.1 lbs
Loss: 3.9 lbs
Current BMI: 45.4
Loss: 0.6
Pants/Dress Size: 18, down from a 20! Hurray!

This week, I lost 3.9 lbs for a total loss so far of 11.7 lbs since January 1st. However, I have been ill this week, so I suspect that much of that loss is due more to the fact that I have been existing purely on tea, juice, noodle soup and saltines than any effort on my part. I imagine that this loss is mostly water, not fat, so it’s possible that my weight will go up next week, but we’ll see!

I did eat well and workout for the first part of the week, but I came down with a terrible chest cold/flu on Sunday and have basically been resting since then. I attempted to work out on Saturday (when I was feeling a little bit bad, but not full-blown terrible yet) and I was able to do some weights, but as soon as I got on the treadmill my lungs started screaming in protest. Much as it annoyed me to break my exercise streak, I figured that it was a better idea to rest and get better than to make my sick lungs work. I am feeling much better now – my fever has disappeared and the cold has moved from my chest to my sinuses – so I’m hoping to get in a workout today, but we’ll see how it goes. At least being sick meant that I made my goal of getting more sleep this week!

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) For the first part of the week, I kept up my exercise routine and did very well. I also kept track of my eating and exercising, at least up until I got sick. I’m going to go back and fill it in, but at the time I didn’t have the energy to write down how many points a cup of chicken noodle soup was. Considering how poorly I felt, I will forgive myself for this lapse.

2) I ate a lot of fruit (yay Vitamin C smoothies), which was good. I don’t eat as much fruit as I should (something I’m still working on) so trying to get as much vitamin C in my system as possible forced me to eat more fruit, which I’m glad about.

3) I also got a lot of sleep. I mean, being sick, I got more than a healthy person needs, but it reminded me that I usually do not get enough for a healthy person, so I should make it more of a priority.

What I Can Improve On:

1) Eating better, as always. Always room to improve!

2) I think half the reason why I’m not getting enough sleep these days is that I work out in the evenings. I try to work out at about 7, so that by 9 I have finished and showered and all that, but for the past couple of weeks it’s been more like I start working out at 9 or even 10 or 11 some nights. I find that a) this obviously keeps me up later because I’m not done until close to 11 or midnight or sometimes even 1 am and b) exercising close to bedtime makes it harder to sleep. So one of my goals this week will be to make time in the morning or earlier in the day to work out, so that I can get to bed at decent time and that I won’t be wired when I do go to bed.

3) I am leaving this week to go visit some relatives (it’s my grandmother’s 92nd birthday on Friday and one of my cousins is moving to China and I myself am moving to New Zealand very soon, so we’re having a little meetup in Saskatchewan) so this week will be a test for me, to see if I can get in a workout when I am away. It’s one thing to be away in a hotel, because then you can kind of do whatever you want, but it’s another ball game to be in someone else’s house. I was always taught to eat whatever I was served when a guest at another person’s house, so it will be up to me this week to get in workouts in a place where there is no treadmill (yay for doing laps around an apartment building!) and to make the healthiest choice from what is available, since I will not be the one in charge of the cooking. We’ll see how it goes!

Happy losing folks, hope you all are well!

Progress Update – as of January 22, 2014

Height: 5’7″
Current Weight: 294.0 lbs
Loss:  1.4 lbs
Current BMI: 46.0
Loss: 0.3

So this week, I lost 1.4 lbs for a total loss so far of 7.8 lbs since January 1st. Although I am wishing that my last couple of weeks had yielded a bigger loss than just 1.5 lbs, I think that 7.8 lbs in 3 weeks is pretty good. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s an average of 2.6 lbs a week. In a year, that’s 135.2 lbs!

Normally, during the week, I exercise on my treadmill for 30 minutes every day. This past week, I tried to go for an hour. Man, I overestimated my fitness level! My 30 minute workout is getting easier, but an hour of fast walking (and some jogging) is just too much for me right now. I thought I was going to pass out near the end, and after I finished I needed to use my inhaler (I have asthma), something I haven’t done in months. So clearly, I pushed myself a little bit too hard. Baby steps!

Also, part of the hour treadmill program includes a little jogging, and I could feel my butt jiggle when I did it. It was simultaneously funny and horrifying.

What I Did Really Well This Week:

1) Once again, I exercised every day. I find myself almost addicted to exercise now. I don’t always love how I feel when I’m doing it (like when I’m cursing under my breath while doing planks) but I love how it makes me feel and when I’ve showered after a great workout and I’m climbing into bed (I usually work out at night) I just feel so fresh and clean and healthy. It’s a great feeling.

2) I’m still keeping really good track of my eating and exercising. That has been a struggle for me in the past, so I’m happy that I’ve been able to keep that up.

What I Can Improve On:

1) Eating better is something that I am constantly striving for. I didn’t do that well this past week with getting more fruit and veggies in, nor with eating breakfast, so that’s something. This week I am going to try the Simply Filling plan from Weight Watchers. There are foods that are considered “Power Foods” by Weight Watchers: low-fat dairy, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and certain carbs like whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa etc. On the normal Points Plus plan, you are assigned a certain number of points based on your age, weight, height etc. Each food has a Points Plus value and portion size is very important in tracking, as the PP value depends on the serving size. The Simply Filling plan is different. It’s a plan where you don’t have to count points, so long as you only eat Power Foods. The idea is that you eat when you’re hungry, as much as you need to feel satisfied, as long as they’re good choices. On both plans, you also get 49 weekly points to use however you like and you earn points for exercise, which can be used towards food or not used at all.

Anyway, my goal is to be on the Simply Filling plan this week. Then I can make sure that I’m making healthy choices. I am staying within my points value every day, but I’m not always necessarily using my points on the best things. I mean, you can eat 1200 calories worth of jelly beans a day and lose weight because of the calorie deficit, but you’re not exactly going to be healthy.

2) I need to get more sleep. I did better last week than the week before, but there is still so much room for improvement.

How I Feel:

Proud and happy. I admit, when I weighed myself this morning I was frustrated at only a 1.4 lb loss. With how hard I’ve been working out, I figured the number ought to read more like a 14 lb loss. But, when I reflect, 7.8 lbs in 3 weeks is pretty darn good.

There is also a part of me that is really anxious to see a difference too. I know that I’m doing well, but I haven’t really been able to see a difference in my body yet, so I’m getting antsy! But I know it will come, in time. I just have to be patient. Unfortunately, patience has never been my strong suit. I guess that’s another thing I’ll learn on this journey!


The Battle of the Bulge – Christmas Edition and an Update

Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. I love the lights, the music, the snow, the decorations, the colours and spending time with my family, it makes me so happy. BUT…there’s also the food. 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the food. Pecan pie, ice cream, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, candied carrots, gingerbread, sugar cookies, shortbread, cranberry sauce, butter tarts, rum balls, pumpkin pie and, of course, CHOCOLATE. So good.
But, of course, when you’re trying to lose weight, it can be difficult! I do want to make good choices, but Christmas does only come once a year so I feel like splurging a little is okay…right?

I haven’t been exercising at all, Christmas kind of took over my life, what with shopping and decorating and baking and wrapping and trying to balance work and the like. But Christmas is over, (most of) the junk food has been eaten and I don’t have to worry about shopping for presents for another year, so we can get back to working out! 

Also, last weight (as of December 23, 2013): 298.4 lbs. So I’m up, but it’s okay! I just dread what it’ll be next week…