I Deserve a Medal!

No, I really do!  A shiny one on a pretty pink lanyard.  I could so easily have stayed home today, wrapped my heating pad around my tummy and slept all day long.  But no, I got up, walked to work and worked the entire day with the worst cramps I’ve had in months!  They say that the less fat you eat and the more exercise you get, the easier of a time you have it but I don’t know if I buy in to that after what happened yesterday and today.  Does anyone have any good tips on what foods to eat, beverages to drink or exercises to do that help with the cramps?

I’m a little worried about my weigh-in tomorrow night, what with how terrible I’ve felt for the last couple of days.  If I lose 2.8 I’ll be officially out of the 200’s.  I don’t know that I’ll get there (at this point, I’ll just be happy for a tiny loss) this week but it’s coming and I’m excited for it! 

Tarable and I were talking today about sustaining weight loss.  (Actually, we had a good conversation about something else too, which I’ll discuss in a moment).  The lowest that I ever remember getting was 208 and that was about 6 years ago.  I didn’t actually DO anything to get the weight off and so when the mystery thing that I was doing stopped working, I had no earthly idea how to turn it back on.  This time though, I am all over it!  I know exactly how my body works, how it processes food, how it responds to exercise.  I also know what my limits are and what I am and am not willing to do to get where I want to be.  I think that knowing your boundaries can be just as important as any other aspect of this.  I know that I am NOT willing to go to the gym at this point.  I know that I am NOT willing to put out anymore effort exercise-wise at this point.  I know that I am NOT willing to cut out all treats, now or ever.  Those are all boundaries that I need to be aware of because that means that for me to continue to be successful, I have to operate within the framework of both the limits that I’ve set for myself and the limits that are inherent to me being who I am.  Declaring that I am going to start visiting the gym 3 days a week (or even one) is a recipe for disappointment because I know me well enough to tell you that I won’t go, not one time!  Declaring that starting tomorrow instead of walking I am going to run the 2.5kms to work and back is a silly thing to even dream up because it is simply not possible for my body to do that at this point and wishing it true unfortunately doesn’t make it so.

This time I have set groundwork and done actual listening and learning to make sure that I know why my weight loss is working.  I know now that maintaining a watchful eye on the scale and on my plate is extremely important.  I know that exercise makes me feel better and look better and lose better.  I am congnizant of how my clothes fit, what I look like in the mirror and how I’m feeling.  I believe it’s when you stop watching yourself carefully that things go awry and weight comes back.  I know how easy it would be to give myself the approval to go ahead and binge and over-indulge because I’ve done so well thus far.  I know that I could very easily reward myself with food for being so diligent over these last months.  It’s definitely a harder road when you are honest with yourself and paying attention and learning to let food be sustenance rather than the answer to every question.  They say ‘ignorance is bliss’ but I say that ignorance is the quickest way to destruction.  I don’t know if you can find bliss by weighing and measuring food, by marking down what you eat, by exercising even when you don’t want to.  Maybe bliss is elusive and just a pipe dream created by people with their heads in the sand.  Or maybe bliss is looking good in a nice pair of jeans, being proud of yourself for pushing through, knowing you’re treating yourself in the best way you can.  I’m not sure how you’ll define bliss for yourself or even if you believe that it exists.  What I do know is that the ignorance that got me to more than 80 pounds overweight was no bliss that I ever want to relive.

Switching gears (sort of) for a moment.  Since the first of January there have been a multitude of new blogs being started and restarted outlining the weight loss hopes and aspirations and goals of a wide variety of people.  I’m excited to see all these people making a committment to their health.  I’m also sort of leery about how some of them are going about it.  From my point of view (and I’m not an expert, I’m a realist) the bigger the change and the more of them you decide to make all at once, the smaller your chances of success with any of them, both short and long term.  I remember when I started WW a little over 4 months ago.  It was all I thought about and all I talked about and all I did.  It consumed me because I knew that I had to give it all my attention and all my focus.  Other things in my life slid by the way-side while I got used to the new routine and the new way of thinking.  Eventually the actual WW program started to get a little easier to carry out every day and I became ready to start incorporating exercise.  Once I started my walking program, that took up all my mental focus.  The eating was already becoming second nature so I was able to focus a great deal of my time and attention on the exercise.  I have to be perfectly honest, if I would have done both at once, I would not have lasted one week at either of them, it would have been too overwhelming and way too much of a shake up.  People crave consistency and comfort and generally try to avoid change.  That’s why sometimes when I’m reading these new websites about how much exercise the person is going to start to do all of the sudden or how the person is going to lose weight, quit smoking, start exercising and stop drinking beer all at once, I get worried about them.  I worry because I know how much mental focus the first few weeks of a change takes.  I know that it can be exhausting and upsetting and trying and no fun at all. 

I certainly do NOT wish to be heard or seen as a wet blanket or unsupportive or condescending or rude.  I sit here in the evening and go through the Tag Surfer and I think positive thoughts for the bloggers that I read.  I also wonder if these bloggers understand how much they are biting off, if they understand that making these huge changes are the reason that it hasn’t worked in the past.  I wish that they understood that the smaller the change the easier it is to adjust to.  The weight did not get there overnight and unfortunately, no matter how hard you work or how miserable you make yourself, it’s not leaving overnight either.  I agree that a major effort with major calorie awareness and major amounts of exercise are going to produce some quick results.  But is that effort sustainable?  Is that something that you can forsee yourself doing for the rest of your life?  Because that’s what it is.  If you don’t want to gain it back then whatever and however you decide to do the weight loss has to be sustainable for the rest of your life.  I wish all of you all the success and all the pounds lost in the world.  But please, don’t set yourself up for failure!

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10 Comments

  1. Comrade GoGo said,

    January 8, 2008 at 8:02 am

    I love reading your posts because I can tell you put a lot of thought into what you’re saying, and that even if some people might disagree, your opinion is well-formed.

    I happen to agree with you ;). I must admit, the temptation to try to make Big Changes is a very real one for me, for my personality type. Changing my food habits takes soooo much effort for me, and makes me cranky, and tired. The walking I have taken up simultaneously is, for better or worse, mostly unavoidable, because my car is has been such a spazz over the last few months. But I’m going to try to be nicer to myself about everything. I’m using some of my 35 weekly bonus points every day, because the adjustment from overeating quite a lot to being on the WW plan is pretty intense. So I’m not going to feel bad about using those points. And I’m not going to feel bad about not weight training.

    I think the hardest part for me is getting on that scale at the meeting next week, and knowing that plenty of the other new joiners there will have lost a lot more weight than me this week. . . . I need to not compare myself to others. Comrade GoGo is unique!

    Anyway, thanks for this post, Shanny. It was timely :).

  2. Leslie said,

    January 8, 2008 at 8:59 am

    Check out this link for some great yoga poses that really help with cramps – and you can do ’em in the comfort of your home, right before crawling back under the heating pad. Good luck!

  3. Leslie said,

    January 8, 2008 at 9:01 am

    whhops – here’s the link! http://fitsugar.com/131470

  4. Tarable said,

    January 8, 2008 at 10:37 am

    I wish I had an aswer to your problems… alas I have tried every food and drug (both legal and otherwise) known to man and have not found a single thing that eases the pain/discomfort during that time.

    I will continue to experiment and will advise if I find anything that helps.

    😉

  5. Me said,

    January 8, 2008 at 11:49 am

    Amen Sister. It is a struggle to make one change at a time but so worth it. Over the last several years I have made huge changes, one at a time. Very few foods in a box, more fruits and vegetables, leaner meats, whole grains, no caffeine, no smoking, no alcohol, and now no sugar (desserts).

    I have had the motivation for all of this because of a medical problem, and I am thankful I have taken each step. It is so hard not to want to do it all at once. I have tried it. It doesn’t work at all. Then I just quit everything. And once I have something under control I can bend the rules a bit. I will have half a glass of wine every six months. I will have iced tea when I go out to eat. I will occasionally have white pasta or rice. I will allow myself to eat a chicken skin or a fatty slice of steak every once in a while. But when I start something new I am very legalistic about it. For a stretch of time.

  6. Anonymouse said,

    January 8, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    I’ve been thinking about maintenance of weight loss quite a lot myself lately and have gathered some ideas for a post, in my mind.

    About the cramps. Owie! I feel for you! I have endometriosis and it was running my life until I got a hysterectomy. This is not a recommendation but just thought you might get some ideas if you Google for endometriosis, since severe cramps are one symptoms women with endo have to cope with.

  7. p4pretention said,

    January 8, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    Food & Cramps: avoid salty things, keep up the water intake, and avoid caffeine.
    Exercise-wise I have found swimming to work, but then you have to go to a pool &c. &c.

    I take drugs.

  8. Marueze said,

    January 8, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    Ouch! Hope you are feelling better – I use ibruprofen when really bad I resort to having blackberry brandy. Maybe blackberry tea would also help????

    Maintaining weight loss. Such a topic. When losing weight we get into our zone and our body gets into the zone and we push and work at what we need to do and we do it and yay if we really are doing it the way our body likes we lose weight. And then we have to keep it off. we don’t have that desperate desire any longer becasue we are there. We keep it up until one day something slips, then the next days something different slips…leading us to a path where we are forgetting all the good stuff that got us where we wanted to be and the scale weight starts sneaking back up.

    You are doing wonderful with your journey. You keep up the stuff you are doing. You are still having fairly consistent losses. You have not plateaued at all. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep focused as you have kept focused.

    I started going to the gym because I had to. I still haven’t gotten my food under control yet but I am better. I was shocked this week end when the guy paid me a compliment stating that I look better than I did last year it must be the gym. Honestly my weight is basically the same if not higher it is just placed differently because I have slightly toned up. But hey I’ll take any compliment I can get.

    Don’t stress doing more you are doing quite enough – just need to keep doing that!

  9. PrincessSisterPants said,

    January 8, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Sister!

    Take Vitamin B6 EVERY DAY OF YOUR LIFE! Avoid caffiene (chocolate included) and avoid fat… mostly the week before… But the VitB6 will work…not a b complex, actual VitaminB6

  10. Lady Shanny said,

    January 8, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    Thanks, GoGo. I was unsure about posting this one because I didn’t want to get a bunch of hate mail on my website about not being supportive or coming off as high and mighty. Truly, everyone will have different opinions because weight loss is so incredibly personal.

    Leslie, welcome! I don’t think I’ve seen you here before but here you come with the super yoga poses of freedom from cramps and bullshit! Good job!

    Tarable, if I thought for one second that getting completely shit-faced or stoned out of my mind would have helped me these last few days….well, let’s just say that it wouldn’t have been my choosing not to go to work, I think the powers that be would have decided that one for me….permanently! 🙂

    p4pretention, I do take the drugs. Many of them. Actually, what I NEED to do is go back to the doctor and get the better drugs. I had a prescription for the ‘good stuff’ but after it ran out I thought I could deal with it on my own. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure that I pay for most of Motrin’s overhead expenses once a month!

    Mareuze, thanks so much for your unwavering support!

    PrincessSisterPants, love the new name! I had forgotten about the B6. You’ve done that for a long time now, haven’t you? I will go and get some this weekend.


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