Archive for the ‘weight loss’ Category

Another Full Body Experiment

The one thing about learning to really love your body is that there is not a lot to talk about. It’s just like when you’re in a relationship with another person. When it’s shitty, you can’t shut up and there’s usually an audience for that. When it’s going great, you forget about it – not that any one wants to hear about it anyway.

But a few weeks (cough, months) ago, my sister sent me another email about the importance for weightlifting for women over 40. Since I’m 43 (and I read the same stuff that my sister does) this came as no surprise. Then, the very next day, just minutes after I said to my husband, ‘I really need to start doing something with weights…..” I opened my email and in my inbox was an info product ad.

It came through someone who I know (who is an online entrepreneur). And I trust this guy, so I thought, surely he wouldn’t be hocking junk. And then I clicked on the 30 minute marketing video while I was drinking my green smoothie. And within 5 minutes, I was hooked. (I know a little about marketing and let me just say that this guy did his homework). I had my credit card out before the water for my tea had boiled.

I won’t bore you with the details of the program. However, it was a 12 week weight workout (similar to, but not nearly as crazy as P90X, which I had done several times in my 30s), and an eating schedule. I say schedule, because you can eat whatever you want, but they want you to rotate your calories so that you confuse your metabolism. It goes like this: for the first two weeks, you eat “down” 5 days and then eat “up” on the sixth day and then you repeat the process.

My down days are 1,250 net calories and my up days are 1,885 calories.

The one thing I realized is that I have not been eating very much. My net calories are usually closer to 700 (or less). Because I love cardio (still!) hitting the down day numbers are hard for me. Which makes me think that I had probably crashed my metabolism without realizing it.

So, I’m on week three of this program. The exercises are getting harder (the reverse lunge with press is my current “favorite”). I haven’t really gained any weight, I’ve lost inches, and I’m eating like a PIG. It’s quite interesting. It’s also funny to be in the position of worrying about eating enough calories, as opposed to eating too much.

Additionally, I sort of went Paleo about the time that I started this program. I say sort of because I’m not doing the whole bacon as an appetizer, main course, and dessert thing that you see on line. But I have upped my egg intake and cut my carbs dramatically, though I’m still eating over 100 carbs a day in veggies and stuff. Insight: you don’t get hungry when you’re not eating carbs.

I’ve decided that the day before my next “up” day, I am going to eat a bunch of carbs before I go to bed so that I’ll be ravenous the next day. Actually, as I look at my calendar, that would be today!

The other thing that I really like about this program (which is really just counting calories and resistance training) is that the producers are really working hard at breaking the associations with “good” or “bad” foods. Here you can have anything – you just have to count (and account for) the calories.

I’ll keep you posted. So far, so good. Because in addition to the loss of inches, the pushups, planks, and the variety of lunges are getting easier. And, even though it feels totally counter intuitive, eating a lot of actually sort of fun.

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Accepting What Is

The other day, I watched a coaching video and the major point was that in order to make a change you have to first accept what is. Only once you’ve truly accepted what is, and learned to appreciate it, can you make a change. Part of appreciating what is, involves building an ecology to support the life that you have now. Not the life you want and certainly not the life you used to have. The life you have now. Accept it. Appreciate it. And support it.

It seems a little counter-intuitive, doesn’t it?

But the guy is a little bit brilliant and I’ve seen his results in other people who I admire, so here I go.

Let’s just be really transparent, here: I’ve gotten fat.

At this moment in time, I am significantly larger than I was last year.

In fact, I just spent two hours cleaning out closets of clothes that used to be loose and now won’t even button around the middle. Seriously, about half of the clothes that used to be in my closets no longer fit.

But let me not get ahead of myself.

Yesterday, I lay on my bed crying, because I couldn’t wear any of my summer clothes. I was literally swimming in a swamp of self-loathing and self-pity. I was also going to skip the annual Memorial Day picnic at Michael’s dad’s because I didn’t have anything fun to wear. (I actually did end up going, but that’s another story). And I certainly wasn’t accepting what is. You know that river in Egypt? I was there.

This morning, however, I decided to shake it off and make a counter-intuitive decision; well, at least one for me.

Normally I would have stayed in the water. However, today I decided to accept what is.

Instead of beating myself every time I go to the closet this summer, I decided to go shopping. Essentially, I decided that if I didn’t have clothes that looked good on me that fit, I should go buy some. I decided to not hate on myself for what is, but to honor what is. (Trust me; it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either.)

At one point, I was standing in the local department store with 5 pairs of pants/shorts – all of a size that I had convinced myself was my upper limit. I was wrong. None of them fit. It was ugly. But instead of getting really down on myself, in that admittedly teary eyed moment, I realized that where I am is not going to be fixed in a week or two. Where I am is going to require a level of discipline that I’ve seen precious little of over the last six months. Where I am is not solely the result of water retention, my faulty thyroid, the wheat that I accidentally ingested last week, my out of whack hormones, etc., but rather a combination of chocolate, wine, improperly combined foods, and general overeating. Where I am is going to require attention and effort. Where I am is going to require commitment on my part and the support of my partner, my friends, and my inner child. Where I am is going to require pushing myself through more intense workouts, instead of gliding through what’s become increasingly comfortable.

Instead of buying one or two things, I bought an entire wardrobe: four sundresses (they’re more forgiving than pants and can be paired with jackets, sweaters, and tights to be worn into the fall), three skirts, three tops, a camisole, a jacket, underwear, a corset (!), capri tights, two pairs of shorts, a pair of pants, and a pair of fuck me shoes. (Just because I’m tubby doesn’t mean I can’t be sexy!)

Does this mean I am staying here?

Not at all. It means that I accept where I am in this moment – without excuses or illusions – and I am creating an ecology where I can still look good and take care of myself. I’m allowing myself to have pretty and fun things to wear that will help prevent me from beating myself up or feeling (and looking) even bigger than I already am. Where I have pretty and fun things that will keep my feeling attractive and motivate me to do what’s right for me and my body as it is right now.

Now that I am no longer in denial, I have placed one pair of pants that no longer fit in plain sight. These are the motivators. In fact, these are the smallest pair of pants that I’ve ever owned as an adult. Everything else, however, has been put away, out of sight. There is nothing in my room (other than that one pair of pants) that doesn’t fit well or look good.

Now that I am out of denial, I know that what I have been doing isn’t getting me (and isn’t going to get me) where I want to be.

Now that I am no longer in denial, I will make a plan that supports not only where I am in this moment, but what I can and am willing to do.

Back to Basics: Three Solid Squares or Five Small…Triangles???

One of the biggest contradictions in the health and fitness field is how much you should eat and when.

In my mother’s day, the conventional wisdom was that you should eat three square meals a day (whatever that means) and minimize snacking.

In recent years, however, the experts say that it’s better to eat five half meals a day (usually between 300 and 400 calories per meal).

The former is supposed to give your digestion system a break between meals.

The latter is supposed to keep your digestion system running – burning more calories. Also, eating every couple of hours is supposed to keep your blood sugar from crashing, which helps prevent fat storage. There are a lot of really healthy, skinny, and attractive people out there who swear by this method of eating and it makes a lot of intuitive sense to me.

However, in practice, it just didn’t work. That is, it didn’t work for me.

My problem? I’m not sure, but my best guess is portion control.

See, I like to feel full. I tend to eat fast and I have never gotten the hang of stopping when I’m 80% full. If I could remember to eat slowly, I would imagine a whole host of problems would resolve themselves. But no matter how hard I try, I’m usually 75% through my meal before I remember, “Oh yeah. You were going to slow down.”

I kid you not: I’m actually considering having the worlds “breathe” and “slow down” stenciled on the wall of my office.

Of course, not eating at my desk might also help, but I digress….

Regardless, eating five meals until you’re full really meant that I was eating way too much food.

I have tried to eat less. I have tried to slow down.

Unfortunately, however, “try” is outcome equivalent of “close.” And as “they” say, “close” only counts in horse shoes.

Thus, I have gone back to three solid squares a day and, so far, it’s working for me.

It’s working in the sense that I am less hungry and, contrary to popular belief, I am actually eating less food, calorie-wise.

At first it seemed scary to eat a meal with 500 calories in it, but I’m getting used to it. And as it turns out, the key to feeling full (and not crashing your blood sugar) is protein. Lots of protein.

For the last several days, it’s looked like this:

Breakfast Smoothie (384 calories; with 54 grams of protein).

Lunch (385-450 calories; with 21-24 grams of protein)

Snack (150 calories; 14 – 27 grams of protein)

Dinner (400 – 600; 30 grams of protein)

After dinner snack: herbal tea!

And, believe it or not, so far so good.

It’s working a lot better than the 5 meals, though I suppose that could have something to do with the fact that I have completely cut out sugar (averaging about 16 – 25 grams a day)….

I haven’t been back on the scale since this has all started, but I’ll be sure to let you know. I was thinking about “weighing in” on Friday…or not. Though I probably will, because, as I will discuss in another post, I’ve also come to appreciate having tighter feedback loops.

Oh, one last thing! Since I’ve gone back to larger three meals – instead of five smaller ones – I’ve had virtually no stress eating or any other compulsive food-related behavior. That in and of itself is worth the cost of an extra meal.

Exiting the Roller Coaster (Becoming My Own Expert)

I’ve been thinking about this blog post for a while now. It’s definitely been a long time coming.

Exiting the Roller Coaster – appropriate, but not necessarily enlightening.

Becoming My Own Expert – probably a little more elucidating.

How about, Reclaiming the Owner’s Manual?

Last year was a year of experimentation and disappointments for me in terms of my health, my motivation, and – let’s get real – my weight.

It started with the food allergies: gluten, dairy, soy, and – as much as it pains me to admit it – nuts.

In an attempt to deal with those, I went raw and for 4 or 5 months, I felt great. In fact, in May, I felt (and looked, lest we forget that I am much more shallow and vain than I had ever given myself credit for) better than I had in my entire life. I also weight in at a slight 132.5 (a whole 100 pounds from my high weight recorded in the Weight Watchers office at 21st and Sheridan in 1986).

In June, things started to change.

My energy started flagging. I was no longer working. I could barely get out of bed and on the days that I managed it, I often spent the afternoons on the couch. I think the most worrisome thing for those closest to me was that I was no longer exercising. Not only did I not have the energy, I didn’t want to. Zero interest.

In an attempt to jumpstart my interest – in anything – I started looking to experts. I tried High Intensity Interval Training (which I hated) and, even though it worked for everyone else, it did nothing for me. I read a book where the authors suggested that counting calories was bad and that you should just eat slower and take more pleasure in your food.

Due to a strange twist of fate (numbness in my hands which resulted in a second degree burn), a neurologist did a panel of blood tests and as it turns out, I have Hashimoto’s disease, which means that my autoimmune system is attacking my thyroid. My chiropractor recommended that I start eating some cooked food. My health coach recommended that I start eating small amounts of animal protein at every meal and that I treat the underlying problem using herbal and nutritional supplements without taking the prescribed synthroid.

About this time, I also started working with a fitness coach, who convinced me to separate food from exercise. I took supplements, I cleansed. I didn’t take the medicine as prescribed. The thyroid numbers got worse and worse.

I took belly dancing, yoga. I danced in my living room.

You name it, I did it.

And I still felt like crap and still had no energy.

I cleansed again.

And still my clothes didn’t fit. In six months I had gained 16 pounds…. Ugly.

My mood swings were turning into tilt-a-whirls. I started the synthroid, while continuing the herbal treatment for the underlying adrenal exhaustion.

I have recalled my calorie tracking program and relinked calories in with calories out, even though I do know enough to know that not all calories are created equally.

This is not a New Year’s Resolution. This really is more of a state of the union. The state of the relationship between me and my body.

To date, we are stronger than we were just a few weeks ago.

Why? Because I’ve decided to stop listening to the experts and to really tune in to what I/we need to heal.

But trust us, we have a long way to go.

It’s funny, I used to know what worked for me, but in the last six months, I’ve felt completely out to sea. Not only out to sea, but out to sea without a map and, if truth be told, without a compass.

Over the next few days, I’m going to get serious about creating that map and putting it into place. I am also going to tune into the compass – that is, my intuitive knowledge about myself – that I have also been so steadfastly ignoring. I’m, importantly, I am going to use this blog as a personal and public tool for accountability as I turn this ship around and get headed in the right direction.

And over the next few weeks (and months, as I have no illusions that this can be undone as quickly as it was done), I will chronicle my fears, my frustrations, my joys, my successes, and my aspirations.

I love my body. It’s the only one I have and – barring all medical emergencies or miracles – the only one I’m likely ever to have.

If any of you would care to join me, I’d love for you to come along for the ride. Or if you’re simply willing to bear witness, I’d appreciate that too.

Yes, It’s True – I Changed the Tagline

I was reading a book the other day on the law of attraction (don’t ask!) and it stated quite simply a principle that I have heard, yet stubbornly ignored, my whole life: you get what you focus on.

Or, to put it another way, that to which you give your undivided attention grows.

In this particular book, there was one line that struck close to home. It said very clearly – if you focus on losing the last ten pounds of fat or body weight, your body will automatically create situations for you do that. In other words, if you focus on losing the last ten pounds, you will always be losing the last ten pounds – because “the law of attraction” will bring to you that thing upon which you are focused.

In order to get what you want, you should focus on what you want – not what you don’t want.

In fact, the authors go on to say that you should live your life as if the thing you want is already true (which, in my case, is a flat, toned, size two tummy) and feel all of the good feelings (which, in my case, is confidence, higher self-esteem, higher sense of self-worth, accomplishment, health, pride, etc) that you feel now that that thing that you want it actually true.

Make sense?

Well, I stepped on the scale today.

And despite that I am only about a half size up, I have gained 16 pounds since last March.

Yes, you read that right, meaning that once again, I have 8 pounds to lose (which is pretty darned close to 10) if I want to get back down to my desired goal weight of 140.

Argh!

Believe it or not, I decided not to beat myself up over this.

Instead, I thought about that book.

And I asked myself what I’d really like to happen – to keep losing the last ten pounds or to have a flat, toned size two tummy.

It’s a no-brainer. But just for those of you who know that I have a history of being dedicated to struggle, I did indeed choose the latter.

And I imagined how much more secure, happy, comfortable, confident, and energetic I would be if it were true.

So, from here on out, it’s going to all be about getting my flat, toned size two tummy and letting the last ten pounds take care of themselves. And, as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Namaste.

Paying the Piper – Stepping Back on the Scale

Yesterday it felt like autumn and I pulled out my jeans.

There’s nothing like putting your jeans on after months of shorts and linen pants to shake up your psyche.

They were snug. And these weren’t even the 4s. These were the 6s!

So, in the interest of being honest (with myself more than anyone) I am going to the gym for the first time in months (MONTHS!) and after my workout I am going to actually step on the scale.

I’m doing this for two reasons.

The first is that I’d hate for three months from now to try on the 8s and have the same thing happen.

The second is that I am starting a new program – this one a little more intensive and comprehensive than the last. And, unfortunately, they want a starting weight…not just measurements.

So I think the key thing for me is that whatever that number says – which I have no doubt is higher than it was in March when I hit the magical 132.5 – is just a number.

It’s just data.

It’s not an endorsement.

It’s not failure.

It’s a starting point.

Just one more point on the road.

Wish me luck and, as always, I’ll keep you posted.

Peeking Under The Hood: It’s Not Just Calories In, Calories Out

Over the last month or so, I have hired a personal coach. Ostensibly, the goal was to help me break through my unfortunate, not to mention unhealthy, addiction to stress eating. And I don’t just stress eat – I do it at night. And I do it with just about anything with the word butter in the title – peanut butter being my ultimate favorite, followed closely by almond butter, then tahini (which, you guessed it, is sesame butter)! I guess the only good news is that I don’t like, eat, or use real butter, so it could be worse!

Regardless….

I have hired this amazing coach, Steph, and every week we talk on the phone for about an hour – every fourth week it’s an hour and a half. And guess what? Never once have we actually talked about food.

According to Steph, my remaining issues with food – the stress eating, the over reliance on fat and salt as a coping mechanism – are all symptomatic of deeper, underlying issues, many of which have their origins in childhood, but were undoubtedly reinforced in adolescence as well as in adulthood.

Last week, Steph took me on a guided meditation using a lot of Native American symbolism and other shamanistic healing techniques. She asked me to imagine a wooded setting and just to let different animals appear to me and to guide me through to my destination.

Although I was skeptical at first – aren’t I always? – my subconscious mind presented me with different guides with very little prompting. One, I had always suspected was a guide for me – the Deer. The others – an Owl, a Woodchuck, and a Peacock – were a little more surprising.

After the call, I did a little google searching on animal spirit guides and here’s what I found:

The Deer: The deer as a totem serves as a bridge between the wild and the tame. This is because the deer will often be seen on the edges of the wilderness it calls home. Deer will also venture into our roadways and gardens. When deer appears you may want to ask yourself if there is a wild streak in you that desires taming. Or, have you been too cautious lately and desire to take a walk on the wild side? Deers have acute senses, they are always on alert to keep themselves from harms way. Deer totem may appear when danger is lurking, it also serves as a reminder to be watchful and alert to potential harm….”

The Owl: “The owl represents wisdom and higher education. Because of the owl’s keen eyesight it considered to be a great visionary. It also has superb hearing. As a totem it can reveal clairaudient and clairvoyant abilities. This nocturnal bird is called “The Keeper of Dark Secrets.” The owl totem has a connection to the dark side and the dead. The owl is associated with superstition and magical powers. Whenever an owl appears or you hear an owl screech in the night it may be that a secret will soon be revealed to you. Also, if a secret is shared with you in confidence, the owl serves as a reminder to honor that knowledge and keep the secret private.”

The Woodchuck (aka Groundhog): “The groundhog is symbolically known as being a trance dreamer because of its deep slumber while hibernating underground. If the groundhog is your personal animal totem or makes its appearance in your life it may indicate that messages are being given to you through your dreams. Because the groundhog is a territorial animal, you may be in need of setting up boundaries or guarding your personal space.”

The Peacock: “The peacock is a majestic and mystical totem symbolizing inner wisdom. Whenever the peacock visits it is an invitation to view higher aspects of yourself through the eye image displayed on its magnificent display of feather plumes. The eye is your gateway to higher knowledge. Ask yourself if you need to widen your perspective and look deeper regarding a situation. The iridescent hues of blues and greens in the feathers have an exotic look. Are you stuck in drab surroundings? Are you able to reflect light and deflect dark emotions? The peacock teaches us to stand upright and show others our talents with pride.”

This may not be that resonate with you, as my readers, but, trust me, it’s very resonate with what’s going on in my life at the moment as well as in the foreseeable future.

If you haven’t ever looked beneath your own hood – I highly recommend it. It’s interesting. It’s fun. And it’s surprisingly insightful.

If you’re interested in finding your animal guides, here are three steps taken from an article originally posted at ehow.com.

Step 1
Find your power animal pro-actively by asking the animal spirits for a dream. Then rest and let the power animal find you. Don’t dismiss smaller animals such as mice or even insects. Animals have their own unique strengths. You may want to keep a journal beside your bed and make note of recurring dreams in which an animal or some form of an animal appears again.

Step 2
Notice the things in nature that you are continually drawn to. Power animals may guide your senses and attention to certain elements, natural sites or geographical phenomena that are reminiscent of or peculiar to a certain animal. If you are repeatedly captivated by nests, burrows or snow, for example, let the animal world communicate itself to you.

Step 3
Take time during the day to relax, close your eyes and breathe. Power animals frequently make themselves known to us when we are conscious as well as when we are asleep. Be receptive to visions through meditation. In your calm state, imagine a situation where you move out of your personal space such as your home and enter into an unknown but unthreatening and quiet natural space such as a field or a cave.

Read more: How to Find Your Power Animal | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_2202396_power-animal.html#ixzz0w1WxcSIj

For those of you who know me, you’re probably thinking: What?! Who are you and what have you done with KJ?!

Don’t worry, the staid, quiet academic you know and love is alive and well (well, when she needs to be), but this year has been a time of deep reflection and exploration for me. I’ve stepped away from strictly rational explanations – not that I am implying that there is anything irrational about spirit guides, mind you! I have also lessened my reliance on strict sociological explanations and have begun to include more psychological insights into my view of the world.

So, does this mean I’m flip-flopping or abandoning my roots? No, not at all. I prefer to think of it as growing. Of letting go of some of the rigidity of my youth and seeing the world and myself in different and multifaceted ways. And, hey, if by opening my mind to new possibilities means I can get rid of these stubborn couple inches of belly fat, all the better. Regardless of what happens with my waistline, I can tell you one thing – since I have been, as Peter Gabriel so eloquently put it – digging in the dirt – life has gotten so, so much easier on so many fronts, the least of which is food!

Eat more fat and eat less, period?

For the last couple of years, I’ve been told about the importance of eating high quality fats for weight loss (not to mention overall health more generally). And though it made sense, intellectually, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I mean, I’ve had a bottle of Udo’s 3-6-9 tablets in the fridge for well over two years and I may have – maybe – taken about a third of them.

A few weeks ago, I went to a nutritionist, who wanted to see a list of everything that had gone into my mouth for a week. SInce I was still counting calories then (more on my experiences not counting calories to come) I had a very detailed account of what I had been eating, not just for a week, but for months (if not years).

After about ten minutes of flipping through print outs she asked, “Where are you getting your fat from?”

I looked at her sort of funny and said, “Well, as you can see, I eat a lot of tahini. It used to be peanut butter, but I can’t control myself around that. I had switched to almond butter, because I didn’t like it as much and then eventually got to be just as much as a trigger food as peanut butter. Now it’s tahini.”

She flipped through another few pages. “Do you eat olive oil? Fish? Flax?”

Uhm, not really. Mainly I had stopped eating all of that stuff because my nut butter compulsions were so out of control.

Her suggestion: Maybe the reason I can’t control myself around peanut butter, almond butter, and (while not quite as bad as the other two) tahini is that I’m fat deficient.

To be honest, I almost laughed.

Until she started giving me the symptoms associated with fat deficiency: constipation, dry hair, brittle nails, dry skin, fatigue, depression, anxiety – you name it, I have been experiencing it.

Prescription: eat more fat.

More to the point: eat a wider spectrum of fats.

Since I met with her I have really upped my fat intake and, importantly, reduced my nut and seed butter intake dramatically. So instead of eating nut butters and or tahini straight out of the jar and feeling like an out of control pig in the process, I am consciously adding fat to every meal.

To my morning smoothie, which is heavy on the rice protein, raw cacao, and dark leafy greens, I am adding 1 tablespoon of Barlean’s Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Essential Oils for Women. (If you haven’t tried this stuff, it is so good that you could eat it – literally – off the spoon or as a topping for ice cream. Seriously, it’s that good!)

To my lunch, I have added an avocado.

For my snack, I am having 1, if not 2, tablespoons of coconut butter. (If you haven’t tried this either, get some, as it is truly divine. I am not kidding, it is absolutely heavenly!) This particular brand comes in regular, which is just straight coconut and in chocolate – aptly named Raw Organic Cacao Bliss, which is coconut and raw cacao. Either way, it’s delicious. It’s a bit hard to deal with in the summer months because it goes liquid at 72 degrees, but where there’s a will, there’s a way! And trust me, its inconsistent consistency hasn’t stopped me yet. Again, delicious straight off the spoon, off my finger, or as a spread.

For dinner? Well, it depends. Sometimes it’s more avocado. Sometimes it’s sesame oil. Sometimes it’s flax seed. Sometimes it’s olive oil.

Bottom line: I am now eating essential fats at every meal.

And guess what? I’m no longer binging on peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini. In fact, it’s been days since I’ve had any of those things and I haven’t even missed them!

As someone who has counted calories (and fat) for years and who has tendencies to binge on high fat foods, the notion of adding fat purposefully and consciously into my diet not only seemed counter-intuitive, but also scary. However, it’s eliminated the binging and, more importantly, all of the subsequent guilt, self-abuse, and self-ridicule.

And how has this affected the scale, you might be wondering?

Well, I couldn’t tell you, because in addition to ditching the calorie counting, I also have stopped weighing myself. But it appears – by sight, by the fit of my clothes, and by the number on the measuring tape – that Barlean’s claim to be an “approved belly fat cure” may not be as overstated as I originally thought.

Got fat?

Strike Two on Personality!

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently learned that INTJs (Introverted INtuitive Thinker Judgers), under times of stress are more likely to seek out full body experiences, which include, among other things (like sex and exercise), eating!

Given that I have struggled with stress eating (some would call it bingeing) and – to a lesser degree – overexercise my whole life, this made a lot of sense to me.

We then moved on to the Enneagram Personality Model. Well, as it turns out I am a 5 Personality Type (also known as the Stinge). Stinge’s hoard. They always think that they need more of whatever it is. I could give you a thousand examples of how this plays out in my daily life now that I am aware of it (including how I routinely hide protein bars in my bag so that Michael J won’t eat the one’s that I want and how I routinely hog all of the flat surfaces in the house with of the stuff that I’ve been hoarding for God only knows how long), but I won’t. Just trust me: it’s there!

Interestingly, the Enneagram Personality Model tells you what your basic preferences or behavior patterns are at three points: where you are normally (which for me is a 5) and where you go under times of stress and intimacy. Without going into too much gory detail, where I go under intimacy explains a lot about my history with men (and with friends). And where I go under stress is – you guessed it – Gluttony!

Interestingly, the Myer’s-Brigg and the Enneagram are not perfectly correlated with one another. You can think of one as supplementing the other.

So, just my luck – what didn’t get covered by stress eating gets “covered” by my propensity to choose gluttony!

Now, one approach to this information might be just say, that’s the way I am, so I have permission to act that way…so I should just pull my chair up to the fridge and be done with it. However, personality can also be thought of as a decision that you made as a child in response to an arbitrary event that you had confirmed over and over again during the course of your life as opposed to something that’s biologically hardwired. If you take this second approach, then I can view my propensity to stress eat simply as a learned pattern of behavior that can be unlearned.

The key is remembering to observe it (and acknowledge it) not as something that can’t be changed, but as just something I do because it’s comfortable. It’s a choice. It’s not set in stone. It’s not just the way I am. And, perhaps even more importantly, it’s not me.

So the next time I catch myself stress eating, I will just observe the behavior and acknowledge that that’s the choice I made.

And, who knows? Perhaps, in time, I’ll learn to choose a different choice.

It’s Very Rare That I’m Speechless…

…but it’s been known to happen.

Today was one of those days. I literally lost my whole train of thought, my mind blanked out and literally jumped tracks.

I was at a business meeting. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but the gentleman to my right said (to me): “But you’re very thin.”

All of the noise in the busy cafe faded to nothingness. I totally forgot what I was saying. If the floor didn’t tilt it very well could have. And I just sat there – mouth open.

‘Really? Can I kiss you?’

It really was shocking to me to have someone that I didn’t know refer to me not only as thin – but as “very thin.”

Although I didn’t ask if I could kiss him out loud (though I might have, now that I think about it), I did ask if he was serious. “Really? Do you think so?”

He looked at me like I was crazy. “Yes,” he repeated, giving me a strange look. “You’re a very thin woman.”

Michael J, from his seat behind, me laughed, “Identity shift in action.” (He told me later that the silence emanating from me was deafening.)

It really was one of those moments where I felt like I had to explain my whole sordid history with food, but luckily for me (and probably for the poor guy who’s thinking he’s never going to comment on a woman’s weight again) I managed to choke it back after a quick false start.

It was an interesting moment – or ten, as that’s how long it took me to get my head around the fact that to the rest of the world (that is, the part that really doesn’t know me) thinks of me as being not only thin – but very thin.

There is no real moral to this story; I just wanted to write it down for posterity (especially now that I think I’m writing this in the middle of an earthquake!!! Time to go check CNN!)

post script: As it turns out there was a earthquake (5.9 on the richter scale) south of here, but it appears to have passed. Wouldn’t have that been a fitting? The first time a stranger refers to me as thin and the ground opens up and swallows me.

And the experiment continues (no more calorie counting)

It seems like everyday I am trying something new with my diet.

This weekend (and in the coming week), I have made a deal with myself to try the previously unthinkable.

I am not counting calories.

I have put away the LoseIt and I am going on trust. In other words, I am going to trust my body to tell me what she wants to eat and in what quantities.

For those of you who don’t know me, this is as scary as hell.

I’ve been counting calories (and keeping a food diary) for three years now – religiously.

But I decided that it’s time to cut myself some slack and to try trusting myself around food for a change.

And this doesn’t mean that I am doing the mental calorie calculations in my head and just not writing them down, which is what I sort of what I thought would happen. I literally haven’t even thought about the calories. To tell you the truth, it’s more liberating than I thought it would be (and it sort of belies all of those times that I told myself [and Michael J] that I really loved counting calories)! Because, to be honest, meal time – and life in general – is so much more pleasant and relaxed without it.

The interesting thing is that it seems like I am actually eating less than I was when I was counting calories! I think part of this is because since I am trying to feel that satiation point (instead of eating a certain number of calories) I have really slowed down my eating. It’s amazing how much less you eat when you slow down enough to savor each bite.

The hardest part of this whole thing I am realizing is not the trusting, but the slowing down. Sometimes (most times) I am three or four bites into it before I realize that I am eating way too fast. When that happens, which it does at least twice a day, I have to literally put down the fork (or the spoon or the piece of flax bread) and remind myself to breathe.

I’ve been trying to remember to take three deep breaths before I put anything in my mouth and to continue to take deep breaths through my nose while I eat, but it hasn’t been perfect. Slowing down and breathing while you eat makes a huge difference. I enjoy my food more. I eat less. And I feel much more satiated.

I would like to say that I discovered these strategies on my own, but alas that would not be the case!

To give credit where credit’s due, I am currently reading The Slow Down Diet: Eating For Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss, by Marc David. It’s a great book. I highly recommend it, even if you don’t have any weight to lose. It seems so intuitive, yet potentially life changing.

In fact, it may be that this relatively short, easy to read book may hold the last of the answers I’ve been searching for.

As the title suggests, the key is really about slowing down enough to trust yourself – neither of which I have been able to master in my previous relationship with food. This program seeks to remedy that by encouraging you to get in touch with your “inner nutritionist” and to really be present, pay attention, and get in alignment with your needs and desires.

And although the focus is on food, if you squint a little, you can see quite easily how the principles therein could also apply to pretty much every aspect of your life.

Essentially, The Slow Down Diet is designed to be implemented over an eight week period. Each week focuses on one of the “eight universal metabolizers,” which David identifies as Relaxation, Quality, Awareness, Rhythm, Pleasure, Thought, Story, and the Sacred.

At some point, he states that our approach to food (or eating) mirrors our approach to life. In other words, the way we do food is the way we do life. Reading this book, especially the chapter on awareness, has made me see that not only do I not eat with awareness, I also don’t live my life with awareness to the degree that I would like. That is, I don’t bring my full concentration to bear on many things – not just the food that I used to shovel down unthinkingly, but also my relationships, my work, or my home.

As I work on implementing the principles of this diet in my relationship with food, I also hope to deploy them in other areas of my life. Wouldn’t it be nice to be more relaxed, to have more quality, to be more aware, and to experience more rhythm, pleasure, and thoughtfulness? Wouldn’t it be absolutely joyous to rely (or access) better stories and to be more profoundly in tune with the sacred?

Potential for weight loss aside, doesn’t it just seem like a better way to live?

I know that when something sounds too good to be true, it often is. But there is something so intuitive about this book; it makes so much sense to me at such a deep level that I could not not try it.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted as the experiment continues. I do, however, think it’s worth noting that I do trust myself enough to at least try it, which, for those of you who know my history, is truly saying something and really speaks to the identity-level changes that have occurred over the last three years.

If you’re someone who bolts your food down without tasting it, who eats in the car, or who lives off fast food only to find yourself back in front of the fridge (or back in the drive-thru) an hour later, then I recommend you read this book. Who knows, it might change your relationship with food.

And, if you let it, it might also change your relationship with yourself, if not your entire orientation towards life.

Learning to Listen

Over the last few weeks I have been doing my best to learn to listen to and, subsequently, trust my body.

I’m doing this, in part, because I am beginning to appreciate that my longest term, most committed relationship to date is not the one I share with my 19 year old long haired white tortoise shell cat, but the one that I share with my body.

And unlike all of the men in my life, the relationship that I have with my physical self is literally, “Til death do us part.”

With a little help from some very talented weight loss coaches, I’ve come to understand that I need to love my body, because when I start loving her (notice I did not say it), she will start loving me back.

When I start trusting her, she will start trusting me.

And when that happens, we will begin to do what we want.

And what we want, ostensibly, is to feel great, have tons of energy, and live comfortably in our skin.

My journey towards self acceptance started about two years ago when I realized that there was some part of me that still linked weight loss to death. I named that part of me Kathy Jo and have since teamed up with her so that we can, in fact, reach our shared health goals.

Today, my body was hungry. Very hungry.

In fact, by 10:30 a.m., not only had I eaten breakfast, I had also had a couple of snacks and started lunch.

Was this a binge? No, not really. And I say that not because I didn’t eat 750 calories in the space of a few hours (which I did), but because I took several deep breaths between bites, drank quite a bit of water, and really thought about the question: Are you really hungry?

As it turned out, the answer was yes.

So, I ate: an Organic Raw bar, a handful of raw almonds, a serving of tomato and basil soup (also raw), and a zucchini sliced up like Ruffles Potato Chips.

Then, not surprisingly since I had just consumed all that energy, my body wanted to move.

Was this the mind, feeling guilty about all that food? Maybe. I hope not.

So my body and I packed up our work and went to the gym.

And instead of punching in a pre-selected workout, I did whatever my body felt like doing – at whatever length and at whatever level of intensity.

And the minute that she was done – the minute that it even whiffed of punishment – I stopped.

I didn’t push.

I wasn’t disappointed.

In fact, as it turned out, I actually had a better workout (body-wise, heart-rate-wise, and even calorie-wise) when I let her do it.

My weight loss coaches tell me that the body doesn’t like to be defined by a number on the scale and the body certainly doesn’t like counting calories.

While I have let her have her way on the former, I still cling stubbornly to the latter. I’d like to think that I am merely recording what I eat, without actually restricting what I eat, but – in practice – I know that’s not entirely true.

Sometimes I wonder what (and how much) I would eat if I stopped counting calories. Other times I wonder if it would be possible for me to sit down to a meal and not automatically know how many calories were adorning the plate.

My biggest fear is that I would overeat (whatever that means) and that I would do it often.

My coaches, however, would say that if I were truly listening, I would only do it once, because the body doesn’t like to be numbed out, overfull, or stuffed. That if I truly listened, I’d reach for the salad naturally instead of the tahini or the cacao or, better yet, the full-fat, full-sugar ice cream that I haven’t had in months, if not years.

Needless to say, I’m not entirely there yet.

But I am listening – or at least I am trying.

And, perhaps even more importantly, I forgive myself for my inability to trust.

I also keep reminding myself (particularly every time I fire up LoseIt) that the more I listen, the more likely it is that I will eventually hear.

Treating your body as an equal

I was listening to an audio recording with wellness coach Jena LaFlamme, who posited, among other things, that in order for you to be successful in your weight release efforts, you have to learn to “treat your body as an equal.”

While I was still trying to figure out what that even meant, she went onto to point out we tend to blame our body for it’s failure to comply with the mind’s demands (i.e., to be thinner, to be healthier, to be stronger). That we try to force our body to do what we want it to do. That we, all to often, feel betrayed for our body for failing to meet our expectations.

Although I had been listening all along, when she used that word – the ugly b-word – I sat up and took notice.

How many times have I used that word in the last six months?

More importantly, how often have I said out loud (or thought without speaking, but that my body could hear nonetheless) that I just couldn’t trust my body.

Isn’t it funny that when my body is doing what I want it to do, I take full credit, but when it’s not (or rather, when I’m not) I blame my body. It only makes me feel marginally better that that’s the way it tends to go for most people. That is, we, as humans, tend to take all the credit for the successes and shirk all of the responsibility (that we can) for the failures.

I hadn’t realized however – that is, until I heard this recording – that I did the same with my body.

My willpower got the credit. My body, as if it weren’t actually a part of me, got the blame.

Pretty interesting, huh?

Pretty sad.

So, in the interest of facilitating my weight loss efforts and minimizing my tendency towards negative self-talk I am willing to accept the fact that there is two of us: the brain (which houses the willpower) and the body.

And I am also willing to entertain the notion that we need a relationship intervention.

And that means that I – that is, my brain, my willpower, my conscious thought (or whatever you want to call it) – is going to have to learn to treat my body as an equal. And that means that I am going to have to start listening to, start trusting, and stop betraying her.

I know that earlier in this post I said that I often felt betrayed by my body. So, if my body is the betrayer, then why would I have to work on not betraying her?

Well, when I started thinking of my body as an equal – even preliminarily – I realized that I (i.e., my mind) has been a worse friend to my body than my body has ever been to me. I’m the one that made the decisions to eat junk, to drink alcohol, to exercise to the point of injury (or not at all), to deprive us of sleep, etc. You name it – with the exception of a few truly dangerous and disgusting habits – I’ve done it.

And what has she done? Well, she’s got me where I want to go and she’s – thankfully – stored fat to protect me from all of the stress of my bad decision making. (For those of you who have been following my efforts at weight release, you probably realize how hard it was for me to actually put that last sentence into writing!)

So, in the interest of creating a true relationship with my body, who is my equal as opposed to being my possession that I can neglect, abuse, or blame at will, I will do my level best to listen, trust, honor, safeguard, nurture, and love.

One of the quickest and most effective ways to create lasting change in your life is through the use of positive affirmations – affirmations are statements that are positive, have an emotional intensity, and are written in the present tense. I will say these these – both morning and night – until, eventually, they’ll be true:

  • I listen to my body
  • I trust my body
  • I honor my body
  • I safeguard my body
  • I nurture my body
  • I love my body

Exercise and Weight Loss (or Not)

Fascinating (albeit somewhat depressing) article on the effects of exercise on weight loss.

Lots of science! And backs up my own experience of rapidly dropping weight after dropping the heavy duty calorie burns associated with spinning!

Favorite quote, which explains a lot:

In practical terms, the results are scientific proof that life is unfair. Female bodies, inspired almost certainly “by a biological need to maintain energy stores for reproduction,” Braun says, fight hard to hold on to every ounce of fat. Exercise for many women (and for some men) increases the desire to eat.

This isn’t the first article I’ve read that has caused me to rethink my attitude on exercise. For a less scientific, but perhaps more human perspective, check it out here!

Meanwhile, I’m off to do some yoga and get some sleep – two strategies that are (or at least still) consistently associated with shedding unwanted pounds.

Namaste and goodnight.

Stepping Out of The Vault (Raw Food Rehab)

At the beginning of the year, I joined Raw Food Rehab, a wonderful on-line resource for those interested in raw food, and checked myself into “The Vault.” The Vault is one of the site’s private rooms – meaning that it’s members only – where you can go to get extra accountability for your weight loss and health goals.

Penni Shelton, the cruise director, if you will, routinely organizes 11 Week Health Initiatives that encourage members to eat more raw foods in their daily lives.

She also posts wonderful recipes and inspirational videos that tap into the inner game of weight loss, and – on occasion – she encourages us to move our bodies.

Although all members of Raw Food Rehab are invited to participate in the 11 Week Initiative, the Vault-lings (as those brave people in the Vault endearingly called) actually commit to posting their before photos, starting measurements, and starting weight at the beginning of the initiative. Then, they are required to log their weight every week, upon threat (and reality) of expulsion. At the end, they post their after pictures, ending weight, etc.

Despite my own aversion to scales, I did this. And it was great.

At the end of the first 11 Week Initiative for 2010 I had lost 14 pounds; and I am now the smallest that I can remember being – ever! An additional and unexpected bonus was the number of good e-friends I made along the way!

The next 11 Week Initiative started yesterday, and after much soul searching, I decided to sit it out. I feel a little remorse about this decision. I also feel a little disappointment.

This disappointment, by the way, is directed not at Raw Food Rehab, the Vault, nor even my own performance during the last initiative.

Instead, this disappointment lies squarely in my own inability to see that the little number that appears behind a pane of clear plastic is not an indictment of my entire person, but is, rather, a tool to help me reach – and to maintain – my goals.

Essentially I have come to the conclusion that I am still too emotionally tied to the scale.

Although I know – rationally – that the scale is just an inanimate object, I still give it the power to mess up my day, if not my week.

This is particularly ironic, because given my current weight, I just don’t see me losing any more weight. More to the point, I don’t really think that I need to.

What I do need to do, however, is tone up and add muscle.

A little deeper personal excavation revealed that the real problem lies in the fact that I am having a hard time accepting – at an identity level – that I actually have reached my desired – if not ideal – weight.

What this means is that whenever I see the actual number, I freak out (and eat).

However, if the number goes up, I also freak out (and, you guessed it, eat more).

And, even harder to explain, if the number goes down, I also freak out (which manifests itself not in depression, anger, and disappointment [see above] but in joy, excitement and fear). Regardless of the emotional cocktail, the result is the same: I eat. Specifically, I eat until the number goes back up and it starts all over again.

It really is a no-win situation.

When I think about it, rationally, I can see that the chances of my gaining weight over the next 11 weeks are actually pretty high. Not that I am giving my permission to gain fat, mind you, but I do intend on adding muscle as I continue to work towards my goal of doing 100 consecutive push ups (I did 69 today, btw), and do yoga, K-Bells, and Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred.

So instead of focusing on weight, my personal goals for the next 11 weeks are to 1) stay in my skinny pants, 2) lose another inch off my waist, 3) tone up the crepe-like skin on my arms and thighs, and 4) rid myself of my limiting beliefs about what I do and do not (and should and should not) look like/weigh, etc.

I hope that I’m not just chickening out, but I acknowledge that that is a possibility.

Notably, this is the exact place where I lost my mind when I did Weight Watchers about 20 years ago, and then I still weighed about 10 pounds more than I do now.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Until then, enjoy the day!

Happy Belated Anniversary

Wow!

I just glanced over the the sidebar on this blog and realized that I have been writing about these last ten pounds for about a year now; since April 3, 2009 to be exact!

A lot has happened.

I started buying information products on health and fitness.

I went gluten-free.

I stopped spinning.

I started working with a coach.

I learned to love yoga.

I went raw.

I did my first fast (10 days consuming nothing but limeade made with organic limes, Grade B maple syrup, and cayenne pepper) and then followed that up with a 21 day sugar detox cleanse (well, 24 since I haven’t actually had any sugar yet – though, technically, I could)!

I met my weight release goal – in fact, I blew right past it without even knowing it.

I saw a number that I never thought I’d actually see on the scale – at least not while I had both feet on the surface!

I lost 4 pants sizes. Indeed, not to toot my own horn too much, I am sitting here typing in my pair of aspirational pants from the Gap (in case you missed that post, they’re a size 2). And more to the point, they actually fit – well. Further, still, I’m not at home afraid to go out in them lest they split with the slightest touch of resistance; I’m sitting in my office, where I’ve been meeting comfortably and confidently with students for hours.

I got Michael J to eat beets! 😉

It’s been a good year – strange, exciting, and unexpected, but awesome! Over the next few days, I’ll be setting some new goals. Because for the first time in my life, I don’t need to lose weight. It’s really awe-inspiring. I can only imagine the kind space of energy that simple fact alone is going to open up in the brain.

I’ll keep you posted.

Note to self: Living in the primal brain

I suppose that the title of this blog is somewhat redundant, because isn’t that what a blog is, by definition?

Yesterday
I blogged about how bad I felt after a day of high-fat/low-water content food. I literally felt like crap. It’s amazing what you can do to yourself even when the only thing in your carry on bag is either made out of flax or almond. It’s scary to think of what I might have gotten up to if I’d actually had junk food in there! Or had helped myself even once to the stadium box of glutenous, sugar filled, processed crap that the airlines attendants – good intentions aside – were peddling (or rather, pushing).

But I digress.

My point is that this morning, I woke up feeling amazing!

Yesterday, I reverted back to my old eating and exercise habits – well, actually with a little dose of circumspection thrown in for good measure.

So, even though there may be a couple of extra pounds for a while, it was good to know that I can get back to go – at least in terms of how I feel – with just a little direction, dedication, and – of course – resources. Because goodness knows I like to tell myself that binge wouldn’t have happened if I’d had access to veggies!

(And I’m going to keep telling myself that, for the time being, but there will be more to come on this topic in future posts!)

While most people might read this and think, “Duh!”, I realized that when I fall off the wagon – so to speak – I automatically assume that I’m off the wagon forever. That if I had one bad food day – that’s it! I’ll never be able to eat healthy food again. If I eat cooked food, I’ll never want anything raw again. If I gain 1 pound, I’ll never lose it again! Not only will I never lose it again – 100 of it’s closest friends are going to move back in as well!

I’m sure that this comes as no surprise to anyone who has ever spent anytime around me after a bad food day – it certainly won’t to my sister! – but it was quite the epiphany to me.

I went to a marketing seminar this weekend and the presenter said that when people are in pain, they lose their ability to think rationally in terms of consequences or cause and effect. That they revert immediately to their “primal brain” – the one that is concerned only with survival. They essentially lose the ability to think, which is why some of the best marketing strikes at emotion, as opposed to cognition.

So, I realize – after close to 24 years – that when it comes to me and my weight issues, I go immediately to the primal brain.

So I learned what happens.

And I also learned why it happens.

Unfortunately, I missed the how – that is, how the heck do I stop going there every single time?!

Well, for now I guess it’s enough to know – at least in my human brain – that it does happen and that I can pull myself out the tail spin at any time.

As I work on figuring out the how – including what I can do to put these strategies into place right now, I’ll be sure to share. Just on the off chance anyone else reverts as quickly as I do. And, as always, any suggestions that you might have will be welcomed with open arms!

The Verdict’s In

I stepped on the scale yesterday wrapping up a ten day limeade cleanse and the first five days of the subsequent 10 Day Biotics Cleanse.

I sort of knew something had changed when I tried on a size four dress in the juniors department at Kohl’s the other day and it actually fit!

Regardless, you could have knocked me over with a feather when I actually got on the scale. And got off of it. And then got right back on it.

I swear, if that scale had been in my bathroom instead of in the faculty locker room at the gym, I probably would have fallen asleep there standing upright!

For the first time in my adult life, I don’t need to lose any weight! In fact, in a completely unanticipated turn of events, I am actually substantially below my stated goal weight!

Go figure. I guess all of those old boyfriends who used to tell me that I was full of crap were actually onto something!

Anyway, goals or no, I’m curious as to what the next 15 days will bring!

Fifteen days – that is – that include 5 more days of prescribed deep liver cleansing, followed by 11 additional days of sugar detox!

Then let the maintenance begin….

Just in case you were beginning to wonder, the fun never seems to end here at Camp Living Lively!

And just when I thought I had it beat….

….stress eating comes a callin’!

Ironic, given that I just lost that ten pounds again.

Yes, I am back below 140 and look remarkably different than I did just 5 weeks ago.

All of my clothes are looser, the shape of my thighs are different.

I’ve lost at least one inch off the waist.

I should feel pretty good about now, right?

Then why did I spend the entire evening eating way more than I should and, more to the point, more than I really wanted?

All of the weight loss coaches I know say that you eat to hide your emotions and that you’d be better off journaling them so that you can confront them once and for all. Intellectually, I know that, but it’s so much easier to grab a handful of walnuts.

(The good news is that although walnuts are incredibly fattening, they’re also really good for you. So, in that sense, I suppose it could have been worse).

So what am I feeling?

Besides overfull?

Well, let’s be honest: fear.

Fear.

Overwhelm.

Jubilation.

Excitement.

Fear (oh, did I say that already?)

I know the what; what I don’t know – really know – is the why.

Why am I afraid to be thin?

It’s not about not feeling strong or not wanting to be healthy – it’s about the size and shape of my body. And this isn’t the first time it’s happened. When I lost the weight the first time, I was at 142 for all of about 2 days. Last year, I got to 138.4, which lasted a little longer – at least 4 days, maybe 5!

So here are my questions for tonight, assuming I was the journaling type: Why am I afraid of being thin?

And when I figure that one out: What is the end goal? What does it represent to me if I achieve it? And what does it mean if I don’t?

Is it more important to be a solid size four (which means breaking through my limiting beliefs about who I am and what I look like) or to be a semi-solid size six who is comfortable in her skin?

One of my coaches says that if you really don’t want to do something, then that’s the thing you need to do most.

I’ll think about that too.

And who knows, I might even pick up a pen and write about it (because God knows that I’m going to be mad as hell if I get back on that scale come Wednesday and it says 142).

Getting Rid of the Shell, While Staying in the Game

Several months ago, I blogged that I had thrown the scale away and how liberating that was.

Well, this year, I joined the The Vault, a group over at Raw Food Rehab really focused and committed to adopting a more raw lifestyle. One of the conditions of being in the Vault is that you weigh in every week. I really had to ask myself if being part of the Vault was going to be worth reintroducing a scale into my life, with all of the craziness that that entails.

After much deliberation, I decided it was.

But the minute I stepped on that scale, my whole focus changed.

The first few weeks were good, if only because I was losing! It’s always good when you’re losing, right?

Then, last Wednesday, although nothing had changed in my diet (except that I had actually eaten somewhat less and exercised a little bit more), I was up a pound and a half. Hmm, not so good.

I think that the most important lesson I learned there (after I stopped sulking) was that I realized that I was going to have to put my money where my mouth was, as I had just spent the last two and a half weeks encouraging my less “successful” fellow Vault-lings that if they just stayed on the path, eventually their body would catch up.

Then, on Monday, I was up three and a half pounds! Ouch.

Then, on Wednesday, not only was that three and a half pounds gone, I’d actually lost a smidgen. I’m sure that all of the women out there (and any of the men who have actually lived with a women) know exactly what just happened, but I digress.

Today, given that my body has released a lot of the pent up gunk and goo that it had been holding on to, I feel totally thin. In other words, I feel like if I got on the scale, yet again, it would be something entirely different. And, chances are, something entirely better.

Then why don’t I? Good question.

Well, the scale isn’t in my house. It’s actually almost 45 minutes away (a two hour round trip once you count in parking, etc). I got up this morning, thinking, ‘I bet if I go weigh in, I’ll have lost more weight when I check in at the vault.’

Then the craziness started. I actually began creating excuses for going into town – all for the sake of a number. A number that, I have come to realize, has nothing to do with my greater path towards health and fitness. Nor does it have anything to do with what I put in my mouth over the week or with what I will put in my mouth over the upcoming weekend.

So, instead of driving 70 miles out of my way in the hope that I will be able to log in a lower number on my virtual community, I am going to log in over at Raw Food Rehab when the Vault opens, enter in my .10 weight loss from the week before and that will be okay. It will be okay, because the number is just that, a number.

And what am I going to do instead? I’m going to sit in the sun, blog, write and love on my ailing cat. I’m also going to figure out what I’m going to have for lunch tomorrow at Grezzo, where my love is taking me in honor of my 40th birthday. I can’t wait! (And I am most certainly not going to count calories)!

Have a great day.