Saturday, March 7, 2015

Finding My Wagon

As much as I don't like to fixate on numbers, they can be good for the sake of comparison. So...without further delay, here are mine...

138 point something - the lowest weight I was when I was in the groove of eating in a way that felt healthy and consistent. Not perfect, but consistent, with few binge-y episodes and not a lot of junk. **138 is NOT my goal weight or something I am striving to get back to. My goal is to get back to eating and exercising in a way that feels good, consistent, in control (mostly), and what happens with my weight is what happens, I can't control that part. I'm only mentioning this weight as a marker of change. Coincidentally, or probably not, I was last in this weight window around the time Miguel and I began our separation, which was October 2013.

153 point something - the highest weight I've been lately. Again, the number in itself is not the problem, it's the eating behaviors and lack of exercise that are the problem.

25% - lowest body fat percentage I was. In no way is this a goal, I got pneumonia around this time and I suspect it's not a good BF for me. But now I'm closer to 33%. At 139 pounds, 25% BF = 35 pounds of fat. At 153 pounds, 33% BF = 50 pounds of fat.

12/23/2014 - my last "regular" workout. I've done some weekend runs and two random gym visits in January, but other than that, I haven't been in an exercise groove since December. I want this to change.

Ok, so there you have some info about the where and when and whatnot.

The bottom line for me is that I had so much going on, stress that was building and building, for months, for over a year. And the beginning of this year the stress reached a point where I no longer had the mental energy, the motivation, the desire, whatever it was I needed to maintain my goal-oriented eating and exercises habits, I just didn't have it. But what I did have, was a giant excuse to take a breather. When it comes to excuses, divorce is right up there with pregnancy - why not sit with a pint of ice cream and a slice of chocolate cake? Miguel and I have 50/50 joint custody, a couple nights a week and every other weekend they are with him. With the kids but not with their dad, not with the kids, dealing with separation and divorce - I'm not super human. Life happens.

All that said, however, I didn't fall off the wagon the way I would have before this lifestyle change. I didn't shut off the part of my brain that was paying attention, I didn't pretend that I had stopped caring. In short, I didn't put my head in the sand and act as if this (unhelpful eating, almost no exercise, weight gain) wasn't happening. When I had KFC for lunch I reminded myself that although I'm not making what might be a good choice, I can still make a better choice. Instead of having a 2-piece meal I'd have something that was still satisfying without going overboard, which might be two chicken wings. I didn't always make this better, less-bad choice, sometimes I'd get the two piece meal. But after eating it, when I felt bloated and over-full, and I questioned, "why did I just do that? I'm disappointed in my choice," I'd note those feelings and remind myself to use that memory as a guide the next time. Stick to the chicken wings.

For a time I got quite rebellious, "I don't want to eat healthy foods! I don't want to exercise!" and I got lost in this thinking, without a lot of awareness that it was happening. I took my eyes off the road, but something kept bringing me back - maybe it was the 153 on the scale, or my tight jeans, and I started gently reminding myself, "no one is making you do anything, this is your choice, for you. If you don't want to exercise, fine, don't exercise, and know that's a choice you're making for yourself."

So I'd keep an eye on the scale, I didn't wear bigger pants, I felt my jeans cutting into my waist and told myself, "this is the other part of the deal. If you want to eat a pint of ice cream after dinner, fine, but know this is part of that choice." All the while I tried to be gentle with myself. My self-talk often (but not always) consisted of things like, "It's ok, you'll find your way, you've been here before, don't beat yourself up, do the best you can, you know you want this healthy lifestyle, that it's so important, you'll figure it out."

And those thoughts, the gentle compassion and patience, eventually led me back. The other thing that happened is that my excuse was waning, Miguel and I signed our final papers a couple weeks ago. And then I asked myself, "Now what?" The answer is I went to a WW meeting this past Wednesday, my first in months. I paid my dues (literally, I had to pay since I'm over my WW goal weight of 147), and listened. And after work that day, I went to the gym. I ran a slow couple of miles, and I lifted weights - less and fewer than before, but I still did it. And I reminded myself no outside force is making me do this. It is all. for. me. I went to the gym again on Thursday. Yesterday I wrote the separation blog post. I'll be going on a run or bike ride today. Life goes on. And I know how I want to live.

Writing all this I'm realizing something, I didn't fall off the wagon. I might have taken my eyes off the road for a bit, but I was never not in the driver's seat. I took a little side route, got off the main road, and now I'm finding my way back. Finding my way back to the road that has scenery I prefer - like jeans that fit, feeling in control of my eating, being strong and fit and in shape. Maybe this analogy is off kilter, it's ok, I don't need to define it, I just know things are getting better.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Separation

This blog is about my weight loss and maintenance journey but along the way, the story of my life drifts in too. Miguel and I met over 13 years ago and started a love story that led to marriage and two beautiful babies. And life is complicated, and so is love. So I'm writing to say we're separated. This is the personal struggle I've been referencing for more than a year. If you've been through something like this, then you know. With change comes plenty of heartbreak and sadness.

And yet, because there's also plenty of love and joy, our family endures. Our marriage partnership is ending but we are both so blessed to have from that two adorable children that we love beyond words, and so the four of us will always be connected as a family. Our children are doing well, we still care about and respect one another - and my humble heart is beyond grateful for that - and the power of that caring coupled with our love for our little ones, is driving us to do this in the very best way we can. I won't be sharing details beyond this post because mine is not a blog about my marriage or family and because this is deeply personal for us and our children. But I will continue to write about the ways the change and all that comes with it impacts my eating and fitness and will connect the two when appropriate.

The readers of this blog have been a huge support to me. I've hinted around at a life struggle that has challenged the confidence and routine I had, and you've told me time and time again, both here and on my Facebook page, that I'll figure it out. And I'm getting there. More on that in my next post. I hope now that I've shared this big change in my life, writing will once again come easy. Thank you for listening.