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Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

I often ramble on here just about certain things that I may have on my mind or that I feel I want to just “get out there”. This post is definitely going to fit under that category…

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine (K) and the topic of weight came up. [… a little information to preface: I have known my friend K for pretty much my whole life. She is short (just about 5 feet) and has always been really small and very skinny often trying to maintain her weight in the “healthy range”…]

So we were sitting by the pool and weight came up, as it sometimes does with women. She had mentioned that her cousin, who is overweight, got called fat and was obviously hurt by the comment. K responded by trying to make her feel better, but her cousin snapped back at “K saying “how she doesn’t know how it feels”.. or does she? K has been called “too skinny” plenty of times, and has even had the “go eat a cheeseburger” comment thrown at her for good measure.

As someone who has been on both sides of the fence, being called ‘too skinny’ is just as offensive as being called ‘fat’. I have been asked “are you still trying to lose weight? You are already too skinny” similar to when I was overweight and someone would call me “fat and tell me I need to go Jenny Craig”) Both comments come from opposite ends of the spectrum, but both comments have the same effect: they make a person feel inadequate about their body.

Although I have only considered the ‘too skinny’ comments in passing, after talking with my friend and considering my own experiences I do think that the skinny comment is just as offensive as the fat comment. Since our society [if you’re an American] values thinness, I don’t think people realize that it can be just as hurtful to call a person “too skinny” as it can be to call a person “fat.”

When I think back to the way being called ‘fat’ made me feel I realize that being called ‘too skinny’ makes me feel just the same. Both comments leave me self-conscious and inadequate. Regardless of where the comment comes from, it is intended to point of a flaw…

And I don’t think anyone really needs someone else pointing out their flaws…

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I am not a number person. Blame it on my hate for Math and any other math-related school subject, but numbers and I just do not get along. I always let someone else figure out the tip, always pass off the score envelope on Rummy 500 when the adding has to be done (because everyone else uses old mail envelopes for score keeping – right?) and 2 semesters ago was the hardest school semester of my life due to my statistics class. Why the number talk you ask? Well, yesterday I read a great post about calorie counting and it really got my mind going (love, love when a blog post does that, fyi) about my own relationship with calories and numbers.

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I am sure like many other people out there, calorie counting and I go waaaaay back. When I first started on my weight loss journey I was completely clueless as to what a calorie even was. I never gave a thought as to what I was put inside my body, and thankfully not because all I ate back then was garbage. Salad, to me as a teenager, was two pieces of lettuce and half a bottle of salad dressing. I had no concept of what was healthy and what wasn’t, which is partly the reason I turned to so many fad diets.

I think the first diet I started was the Slim Fast diet; the one with the shakes that taste like chalk. I have said before that I have tried them from Atkins to South Beach to the Caffeine & Nicotine diet (similar to the ‘Red Bull Diet‘ except with the addition of nicotine) and of course had no success. I would “diet” for a bit and then lose steam and end up giving up and eating 2 boxes of Kraft Mac & Cheese. The cycle just kept going – and a vicious cycle it was. I would fail at whatever ‘diet’ I was on that week and then feel guilty and bad for failing, overeat and eat junk for 3 days, then feel guilty because of the overeating and try another diet plan.

It was these times that I first began to count calories. At first, I was counting calories to go along with the crazy diets I was but the ‘diets’ stopped and I was counting calories so I wouldn’t go over a certain number on a specific day (usually 1500). Towards the end of my actual ‘diet’ phase, it was more about the calories in/calories out. It was a constant number game, and on some days my “calorie count” could make or break me.

Even though I had lost almost 75+ pounds with all my crazy dieting, I still was just as unhealthy as when I had began .. except I was struggling mentally and emotionally. I was beat and realized that I couldn’t continue on the path that I was on because I was just making myself crazy. So, I needed to change. I needed a way of life not another f-ing diet. I began to learn more about healthy eating and living and through blogs, books, and some classes at school. I learned about what a calorie really was (fuel) and began to re-examine the food groups and macros.

Although my fad dieting is long behind me, there is still one habit that I have not been able to give up: calorie counting. It is almost like it is ingrained in my head; it is automatic. Although before I kept a food journal, now it is a mental log so at the at the end of the day I know where I stand.

I have thought about really trying to rid my life of the habit, but realize that it does provide me with some piece of mind. As someone who can emotionally eat, calorie counting does keep my mind from going crazy. I also use calorie counting for the opposite reason too. I count calories to make sure I have eaten enough energy for any given day. After all, it is calorie counting that allowed me to account for my unintentional weight loss last year. Calorie counting is a double-edged sword for me – although it does provide me some comfort, I also don’t like that is a behavior (just a personal opinion).

For now, it goes in ‘working on myself’ category and only the future will tell where this habit ends up…

-Amy

Q. Do you count calories? Have you ever?

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For someone that has been on both sides of the weight spectrum, I can say that sometimes it is true about what they say about the grass always being greener… especially when it comes to weight loss AND weight gain. Yes, I said weight gain. In today’s society, most of the diet talk out there is centered on losing weight. What about the ones that struggle to gain weight?

I don’t know if I mentioned on the blog before, but leaving my desk made a major difference in my diet. When I first got my desk job (at a college) I joked that it made me gain 5 pounds. Because I began sitting at a desk all day and not nearly moving around as much as I once was, I had put on a few pounds. Last May, after I left my crappy job, I noticed a difference in the way my clothes were feeling .. except they weren’t tighter. They were looser. Then other people started to notice too, and I got the words that I never thought I would hear in my lifetime: “You are too thin” Whhhhhaaaaatt?!?!? Of course, I quickly dismissed the remark as absolutely crazy. But then after hopping on the scale (at this point, I wasn’t weighing myself regularly) I realized that I had lost weight since leaving my day job – what the… Then after giving my daily routines some thought, a lightbulb went off in my head.

I completely underestimated all the “snacking” calories I was consuming at work. I was so bored out of my mind, that I was pretty much snacking and munching all. day. long. And although I was still snacking on healthy snacks, all those calories did add up and where I was sitting all day, my calories “in” weren’t balancing out with the calories “out” and so forth. Then, once I left my job I was not snacking nearly as much as I had been before. And I was moving around during the day more. That is when I started to lose weight. Makes sense. It also makes sense that I gained a few pounds when I first started there. But, something happened to my body over that three years at my job…

and when I left last May, I ended losing the 5 pounds I had gained but then kept losing. I wasn’t eating nearly what I was eating when I was working and I was constantly moving about, excited about not being chained to a desk all day. I ended up being on the skinnier side of my “happy weight” and (although it took me longer to realize than my loved ones) I had to get back into the middle of my happy weight spectrum. I had all this knowledge in my head about weight loss in a healthy manner, but never once thought about weight gain – in a healthy way (without eating cupcakes for breakfast…)

Honestly, I didn’t know where to begin. In our society, everything is about diet this or lose weight that. There is always a commercial about some new diet product or a celebrity endorsing a meal plan. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do know that for many, losing weight is an everyday battle. I am not saying that it is easy or making light of the issue. I just was surprised that with all of the information out there on diet and exercise, there was only about 1/4 of that on actually gaining weight in a healthy manner.

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For me, actually hearing those words “too thin” definitely brought about mixed feelings. Isn’t this what the “fat” me wanted all along? Isn’t this what I had been working towards? All those hours at the gym, all those desserts skipped? And here I was being told that I was now too thin, and I had gain weight. I felt like I couldn’t win. I definitely had feelings of resentment towards my body, and the fact that I now had to try and “undo” the weight loss.

I do realize that this was most likely some of my disordered thinking talking in my head, partly because when I did take a good, hard look at myself, I knew that I was too skinny for my liking. But, even knowing this, why was it so hard for me to grasp that I had to “gain” weight. It was like my mind was just revolting against the fact that I had gain. The emotions that came about all by three simple words: you’re too thin. And of course, the even harder-to-swallow words: gain weight still are with me to this day.

Even though I slowly realized that I could get back up to my “happy weight” without getting back up to 200 pounds, it was still a hard process. A process that did make me realize that for some, the quest to gain weight is just as hard as the quest to lose weight for others…

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The grass is always greener..

-Amy

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Today was a rainy, dreary day. I complain about the weather. A lot. I know this, and at least I am in not denial about my constant bitching complaining about the weather. But, when you wait for Spring after dealing with the crap winter we had here in the Northeast, and then Spring decide not to show up for the party – well it is a little disappointing. But, there really isn’t anything I can do about the cold weather now is there except pollute the earth and pray for “Global Warming”. Nope. Moving on…

Today was nothing special in Amy land. I got a cardio work out in, did some chores around the house including super fun stuff like laundry and dishes. Yup, fun stuff I tell ya. However during my puttering around (i love the word “puttering” btw) I also did a little thinking. The topic? My relationship with the scale. After reading quite a few posts about scale use –  (like on Trying to Heal and Meals and Moves) my mind got going and I started to think about my use of the scale…

I wish I could sit here and say that I am one of those people who have gotten rid of my scale and haven’t looked back. I wish I could say that I do not weigh myself, and that I don’t even own a scale. But, I can’t. I do own a scale and I do weigh myself. But, lets backtrack a bit…

When I was overweight I never, ever weighed myself. I never stepped on the scale, and the only time I found out how much I weighed was when the doctor weighed me. And it was during one of those doctors visits that the doctor told me I was overweight and needed to lose weight. (Although the funny part about this was that I was not even at my highest weight when I was told this; I was about 145 pounds at 5’4 – and I had already started actively trying to lose weight) It was when I actually did start trying to lose the pounds that the scale became a part of my life. At first, I welcomed the scale. I welcomed the feeling I got from seeing the number drop and drop. And even if it didn’t drop, I was still ok with that too. I was losing from 200 pounds, so being the “skinnier” me still seemed so far away for me. (I often wonder if it was this reason that when I was at a higher weight, it didn’t seem to matter if the number on the scale changed or not.) Unfortunately, my relationship with my scale eventually changed, and not for the better.

It was only when I started to enter 130’s that the scale actually started to matter to me. Of course, as my weight got lower the number on the scale began to stay the same and on some days even go up. Like many others, when I would step on the scale and the number went up (or even stayed the same) it took a toll on me. I would get down on myself, and beat myself up over it. I thought the fact I wasn’t losing I had initially meant that I was doing something wrong or not working hard enough. The scale affected me, regardless of I wanted it to or not.

It was around this time that I took my first nutrition class and this was also when reading healthy living blogs became a part of my life. I slowly started to gather more and more knowledge about health, nutrition, weight loss, etc. I learned about water weight and how many calories a pound of fat. Everything that I was learning pointed out the fact that my scale was a crappy unreliable weight loss tool. Regardless of all this, everything pointed out in front of me in black and white, I still couldn’t ditch the scale.

And, I still can’t. I have become dependent on this silly little tool of mine. It doesn’t determine my mood or any other aspect of my life for that matter, but I just can’t seem to rid my bathroom floor of it. In the last year, I have watched my weight go up and go down – on the scale. And even when the number was on the higher end of my “happy weight spectrum” I was still ok with that (albeit I made an effort to fit more comfortably into my jeans); it was more about just knowing.

I wonder if I will one day live scale free. I wonder if I can go “by just how my jeans fit” or measuring myself in another way. Maybe a part of me, the crazy-disordered me, thinks that if I get rid of my scale I will one day wake up right back to where I started. Maybe not. The point is I haven’t figured it out yet – and this ok.

Because every day I figure out a little bit more

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-Amy

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Ever since I wrote about “non exercise guilt” I have been giving my eating and exercising habits a little bit more thought than usual. For the majority of the time, I have been always been a gym rat (or at least active in one way or another) on a daily basis. Even when I had my desk job, I used my lunch break to squeeze my workout in (luckily the building I worked in a training room upstairs that employees could use for free – so it actually was quite common) It wasn’t until the Holidays that my regular routine was interrupted (since we moved in December!) and then again in February, when I got a bit of post-vacation blues. Other than that, it has been a major aspect of my life.

If you had asked me 5 or 6 years ago why I worked out, the answer would be simple: to help me lose weight. But after I dropped the weight and I really started learning about healthy living and studying health and nutrition in my classes, my outlook on exercise completely changed. The point in which my thinking was completely turned around was when I read that exercise can actually add years to a person’s life expectancy. Of course, when I entered into a relationship with someone who was 16 years my senior, I began to care more about things like living longer and living healthy. But that’s besides the point.

Then, of course, there is the benefits of exercise for me:

Regular physical activity can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular physical activity boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol while decreasing triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.

And there’s more. Regular physical activity can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer. (source

And although the benefits are amazing, I do believe that exercise habits have to be in balance with other aspects in life life eating/nutrition…. Which leads to my point of my rambling…

You see exactly one year ago (May 1), I quit my desk job. It was absolutely, without a doubt, effecting me in too many negative ways for me to continue to ignore. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally drained and therefore was no pleasure to be around. Eventually, I got to my breaking point. After talking it over with the boyfriend, I walked in one day and gave my notice. It was the best decision I had ever made. Seriously. Ok, I got sidetracked again with my incessant babbling on (I do that often) Where was I? Oh, yes. Back to after I left my desk job…

And that I did - I went back to school!

The days of sitting at a desk all day were over. Days of munching all. day. long. were also over. My day to day changed, my eating habits changed, and even my exercise habits changed. Before I knew it, July came around and the boyfriend looked to me and said, “Honey you are too skinny” Of course, I had never heard these words before (it usually was just the opposite) but after stepping on the scale, I was shocked to see that he was right.

I had not taken into account the major changes that came along with NOT sitting at a desk 9-5. I wasn’t eating what I was eating before and clearly hadn’t realized that I was practically grazing all day long. (which in turn did lead my work pants a tad tight but nothing I really gave thought too) and I was practically sedentary for the majority of the day. When I realized my lifestyle had changed, I had too change my eating/exercise habits so they would be more balanced with my new lifestyle.

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t concerned with eating too much, but with not eating enough for my day to day life. I had to pay more attention to the details of my diet, and be more mindful of how my body was feeling. So, as it is one year later you are probably curious if I have found my “balance“…

Short answer: Not even close. It was a lot harder than I anticipated, and each day that I become more informed about health and nutrition; I believe I become closer to finding my balance.

But, at least I am a work in progress.

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Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has committed an offense, wrong, etc. It is an affective state in which one experiences conflict at having done something that one believes one should not have done (or conversely, having not done something one believes one should have done).

As I touched upon yesterday in my post, I am a person that has suffers from “non” exercise guilt. Imagine my surprise when Guiltless posted on a similar topic last night. (For those who have not checked out Guiltless — Do it. You won’t be disappointed)

For me, it isn’t so much exercise guilt as it is NON exercise guilt. I don’t feel like I need to work off calories or earn my dinner. Instead, I find myself feeling lazy and therefore – guilty, when I don’t workout or exercise. I am a believer in “active rest days” so when a day comes that I have done nothing active, I get down on myself and end up feeling guilty about feeling the way I do. In the past, there have even been days where I have given a certain choice of food a second thought, due to the fact that I had been lazy and not exercised on that particular day. Albeit, these feelings haven’t caused me to change my choice as of late, but was definitely more of an issue while I was actively trying to lose weight. During my weight loss days, I would feel that not exercising would “undo” my work for that day. I also was very ill-informed and now look back at the disordered thinking I had with amazement (and not the good kind)

Although, I can say today that as every day passes I become more informed and more “in tune” with my feelings as well as my body. As far as my exercise “non” guilt is concerned, I feel that as long as I continue to make strides in recognizing this harmful way of thinking and feeling, I believe one day I will overcome these feelings completely.

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As I had said in one of my very first posts, my weight loss battle was and still is something that I don’t know how to quite to classify and explain. I have said in the past that I had tried every diet out there and my weight loss was definitely not done in the healthy, recommended way the majority of the time. I have made two very important realizations regarding this aspect of my life since embracing a healthy lifestyle:

1) Recognizing disordered thinking (regarding weight loss, body image etc) can lead to an opportunity to fix such thinking.

2) The more informed I become about healthy living, the more I want to live a healthy life.

¤  Mentally ¤ Emotionally ¤ Physically ¤

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I realize this post is quite jumbled and all over the place, and I apologize. I felt just “off” today and have no idea what the dealio is. I go from cold to hot in a flash. I get that feeling where I just want to crawl out of my body and have a rental for a few hours. One thing that may be attributing to me feeling like poo is lack of sleep. It really is becoming a pain in the ass butt. Last night, I tried a new to me product called SleepMD:

Holy Nightmares. I am talking the type of gory nightmares that would make an excellent horror movie (like The Hills Have Eyes, and The Hostel) My panic and fear woke me up at 3 different points from 1:00 am – 5:30 am and then I tried falling back to sleep at 5:30 but couldn’t. So needless to say, I think it is safe to say that the 10 bucks I spent on this product goes in the loss column.

Such is life! Now, my bed is calling… let’s hope it is my name that it is calling! Here’s to a good nights sleep…

-Amy

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