It Got Real Really Fast

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 11

I must offer a sincere apology to my faithful readers. I haven’t posted a “Weight Loss Endeavors” update in two weeks; because my schedule changed and I hit a bit of a down period due to PTSD triggers.

I’m also going to have to change the day of the week that these posts hit — once again. (I know, I know… but I truly appreciate those of you who have stuck with me, as the previous shift was made.) I will now be posting these pieces on Fridays — when I am free of academic obligations.

So let’s get started with the nitty-gritty.

Weigh-in History

Thursday, August 18th: 264.2 lbs
Sunday, August 28th: 263.4 lbs

Contrary to the thought that I had gained a little over half a pound, I actually lost a lil’ more than half a pound. Seems I was stewing over a mathematical mistake (due to the unstable memory of an aging brain) rather than my weight πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ.

Unfortunately, that brooding caused some unhealthy food choices over the past week; so I’m not sure that I’ll see an additional loss on the scale the next time I sack up and step on to the damn thing. Sigh.

Fast Food and Snowballs

I’ve been so busy with school that I can’t honestly recount what or when I’ve eaten over the past week; but I can remember what I ate yesterday.

After school, I was craving salt and fat; so I had a twenty-piece McNuggets, french fries, and a Hi-C Orange drink. It tasted good for all of about a nanosecond, and then I just felt icky and sluggish for the rest of the day (a sentiment that Mitchell shared).

We didn’t make dinner due to exhaustion and the previously mentioned “icky” feelings; but we did snack throughout the evening. I had Chex Mix, pretzel sticks, Snowballs and Krispy treats. (I know, why would you eat all that junk when you’re feeling like crap? Because you have a binge-eating habit that’s really hard to break.)

Needless to say, I wasn’t very happy with myself by the time I went to bed.

I’ve mentioned before that counting calories doesn’t really work for me, because I view it as a challenge. (i.e. If I can eat 1700 calories/day and lose a pound each week, then I will eat 1700 calories/day! Hungry or not!) But I think I can somewhat modify this type of thinking.

I’m hoping that if I pay attention only to the unnecessary items that I eat, like Krispy treats (they really are my favorite thing in the whole world), and then add those calories to my workout (if one treat is X calories, then I need to work off an additional X calories the next day), I might end up with a better understanding of how these poorer choices are affecting my weight. I could also decide that an extra X minutes on the recumbent bike really isn’t worth that next sugary snack.

So here is my promise to you Dear Reader: I will keep track of the calories I’m consuming that truly aren’t needed for my everyday activity level, and will add them to my workouts this week… at least, until I get dizzy and fall off the treadmill 🀣. I will report back to you about how much additional time it takes to keep the Krispy treats from taking up residence in my already-sizeable thighs… and we’ll decide together if it’s really worth it.

Shifting My Perspective

It would be easy to sit and mull over the fact that I haven’t lost a great deal of weight over the past couple of months, despite my toiling at the gym… and I did do that for a while; but recently, I thought about the history of my weight.

Over the past five years, I have put on approximately twenty pounds each year. This year, however, I’ve managed to maintain my weight. I may not be losing, but I ain’t gainin’ either… so my efforts have not been for naught.

I know this isn’t a grand revelation or anything; but it’s enough to keep me moving forward.

Workout Review

This is a review that covers all the time between my last workout posted (Monday, August 15th) and today. To say it’s “dismal” would be kind. Due to the fact that I’ve been drowning in a swarm of new activity, I’m not going to bother with the days I didn’t work out, just with the ones that I did.

Friday, August 19th

Bike: 30 min 6.66 miles 235 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min 1.81 miles 262 cals burned

Sunday, August 28th

Bike: 30 min 5.95 miles 192 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min 1.77 miles 258 cals burned

Monday, August 29th

Bike: 30 min 6.22 miles 224 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min 1.74 miles 255 cals burned

Wednesday, August 31st

Bike: 20 min 4.39 miles 138 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Upper body 35 min
Treadmill: 25 min 1.23 miles 179 cals burned

Trekking Across Campus

Four days each week, I’m climbing several flights of stairs and hauling my butt across campus with a backpack slung over my shoulders. It isn’t technically working out, but believe me when I say that my forty-four-year-old body can’t tell the difference. LOL!

The Missing Piece

Mitch hasn’t accompanied me to the gym in a while. When he first returned to his day schedule, we talked about hitting the gym when he got home from work; but that hasn’t exactly worked out. By six in the evening, Mitchell has worked a twelve-hour day; and I’ve been running all over town and studying for hours. We’re both exhausted, and neither has the get-up-and-go that would inspire the other to action.

Since I’m the cheerleader in this particular arena, and due to the fact that Mitch can’t go to the gym without me (a thrifty glitch in our membership details), I need to summon the courage to change this. So this week, I’ll take the first step; and talk to my husband about what he is capable of doing during the workweek.

He still goes on weekends, and I’m grateful for that. It is much more fun to have him with me, and I’m more motivated to go with him than I am without.

The Ever-Looming To Do List

It honestly seems that the more I do the more I want to be doing, which can sometimes lead to total paralysis. I start thinking about another task I’d like to be doing while doing the task in front of me, then an additional item on the to-do list jumps to mind, followed by another and another… and I start thinking, “Holy shit! I don’t have enough time left in this life for all this shit! I got started way too late.” Which, inevitably, triggers a brief — but overwhelming — mental and physical paralysis.

This past week, I did get back on track (somewhat) with the laundry; but I have yet to work in my other household chores.

I would also like time to truly enjoy recreational activities; and right now, that just doesn’t seem possible.

I have not been this tired since Bug was a baby. I did not anticipate how exhausting it would be to walk around campus in the sweltering heat of the Sonoran summer. I couldn’t have guessed how mentally taxing one of my courses would be (due to an unruly student and a professor who seems incapable of reigning her in). And I surely didn’t think I’d be falling asleep in the living room, often before eight o’clock.

But! The only way out is through… and so, my lovely readers, I shall persevere. I may never get everything on the damnable to-do list done; but I plan to cross as many things off of it as I possibly can — and just maybe, a few on the bucket list as well. Wish me luck!

Soundtrack: “Bucket List” by Mitchell Tenpenny

“Yeah, life is like a first kiss
You don’t know how long it’s gon’na last
All you get is what you get
And it gets real really fast

I’m a love a lil’ more, dream a lil’ deeper
Leave all the leavers, keep all the keepers
Find peace of mind in the time the Good Lord gives
I’m’a cross one off, put two more on it
Say I love you ‘fore the moments gone
And never have to ask myself what if
When I get to the bottom of my bucket list”

Don’t Tell Me I Should Do Something Either

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 10

(Side Note: I apologize for posting late this week. I encountered an issue with WordPress yesterday, and just gave up in my frustration. Next week, I will be posting on Thursday per the usual.)

Last week I chose not to set any goals in stone (i.e. write them out). Why? Because just as I will go to any lengths to prove you (or myself) wrong when I’m told I can’t do something; similarly, I will go to extreme lengths to demonstrate that I don’t have to do something. (While this mindset is common in addicts, it is not unique to addicts. My husband — who is as equally stubborn as I am — confronts opinions and advice much in the same manner.)

So not setting goals was an experiment of sorts. Would I do better without feeling as if I had to do something? As it turns out, yes I would.

Eating More Than Once

I did much better on this front over the past week. After my workouts, I ate a piece of fruit and a Kind bar. Usually, this occurs around noon… so between then and our evening meal, I didn’t eat anything else. Lunch is something I still have to work on; but, hey, any progress — no matter how small — is still progress.

Rein It In

Mitchell noticed that I was having greater difficulties maintaining my workout schedule as of late, and suggested that I take it a little easier on the cardio the days that we lift. He explained that only thirty minutes of cardio is required for a “decent” workout, and asked that I try fifteen minutes before lifting, and fifteen minutes after (versus my twenty minutes before and thirty minutes after).

Of course, having a deeply engrained need to push the limits, I protested. Eventually, we settled on twenty minutes before and after (with a five minute cooldown in the after part). To my surprise, this did not diminish my sense of accomplishment. On the contrary, it seemed to make my workouts a bit more enjoyable. (Point to my husband.)

He also asked that I take a day of rest if I felt pain and/or the precursor of an injury. I rolled my eyes, and sighed deeply, but agreed to give it a try this week; and I did take a couple of days off when I rolled my ankle in the Walmart parking lot πŸ™„.

Don’t Give Up, Just Turn It Down

Core lifting still proves to be more difficult than upper and/or lower body lifting. Perhaps it’s because I’m much more fluffy than I should be, maybe it’s just that my core is subpar, or it could be that I’ve never had a great sense of balance… regardless, I tend to consistently hit a wall after this particular workout.

This past week, I was halfway through my twenty minutes of closing cardio when my body started to protest; but instead of just hitting the emergency stop and giving up (like I normally would), I decided to turn the speed on the treadmill down and continue on.

Granted, I felt dismayed at this (because I’m a perfectionist) at first; but in the the end, finishing the workout was a better feeling than giving up would have been.

Weigh-In History

Thursday, August 4th: 266.4 lbs
Thursday, August 11th: 263 lbs
Thursday, August 18th: 264.2 lbs

I think the loss that occurred between the 4th and the 11th was due to the fact that we replaced my usual evening snacks with healthier choices, while the gain between the 11th and the 18th was most likely a reflection of the less-healthy choices I made while trying to quit vaping.

I still have junk food in the house; but I have been a little better with my portion sizes. Once the junk is gone, I plan to return to the healthier choices I was making the week before last.

Workout Review

This past week I increased the speed on the treadmill (3.2 mph), and the target heartrate (144) on the recumbent bike — both by tiny increments, but tiny increments will eventually add up.

Thursday, August 11th

Bike: 30 min 6.43 miles 212 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min 1.81 miles 260 cals burned

Friday, August 12th

Mitch was with me on this one.

Bike: 20 min 4.41 miles 145 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Upper body 55 min
Treadmill: 25 min 1.28 miles 183 cals burned

Saturday, August 13th

I overslept, and made the decision to skip my workout in lieu of spending the day in Tubac with my family. Mitch and I had a really good day, ending with a lovely dinner with my mother-in-law.

Sunday, August 14th

Mitch was with me on this one.

Bike: 20 min 4.74 miles 161 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Lower body 55 min
Treadmill: 25 min 1.28 miles 183 cals burned

Monday, August 15th

Bike: 20 min 4.45 miles 147 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Core 25 min
Treadmill: 25 min 1.24 miles 179 cals burned

Tuesday, August 16th & Wednesday, August 17th

Intentional days of rest, nursing my rolled ankle and diminished mental state. (Being without nicotine proved to be too much of a battle, and I have resumed vaping. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ)

Once a Dragon, Always a Dragon?

I posted earlier in the week that I was trying to quit smoking. I managed to go ninety-two hours without nicotine, before I broke.

Unfortunately, without my one remaining bad habit, my uglier cravings began to surface as well; and since my drinking was devastating to my family, I decided that it was okay to continue smoking (the lesser of two evils).

Someday, I might be able to quit… but right now, I’m just enjoying the last of my vices, while trying not to judge myself for carrying the family curse of addiction.

The Winds of Change

The week ahead is going to be a challenging one. School resumes on Monday; and this is my first semester back on campus (versus taking courses online). I’m not sure what my course load is going to look like homework wise — though one of my professors has already assigned forty pages of reading prior to the first class, so I imagine he’s going to be tough — nor how tired trekking across campus is going to make me.

My hope is that I can continue to workout at least five days each week; but I’m willing to allow some leeway as I adjust to the new schedule.

I have discovered that this sort of self-kindness — rather than being self-judgmental — leads to better mental and physical health. Thus, I will do my best to reside in serenity (blissfully soaked in nicotine), regardless of what this week may bring.

Soundtrack: “Rx” by THEORY

Nicotine is the only way I “medicate” these days; but once upon a time, it was much, much worse…

Damned Either Way

Saturday evening, while playing a game on my computer, I reached out in the dark to grab my mod… and knocked it clean off the coffee table. The tank shattered; and I shorted-out a brand-new coil (which was, unfortunately, my last). I was doomed to be without nicotine for at least fifteen hours, because the vape shop I frequent doesn’t open until noon on Sundays.

The next morning, Mitch timed our gym visit perfectly. We would finish up just in time to land on the front stoop of the vape shop at exactly 12 p.m. (My husband doesn’t like being around me when I’ve been without nicotine for an extended period of time. Its absence tends to make me moody.)

But then? A funny thing happened.

I noticed that my resting heartrate (which the equipment measures when you sit down to start your workout) had fallen fourteen points. It was below 100 beats per minute — something I haven’t seen since I began working out over a month ago. My cardio heartrate (at the height of my workout) dropped six points. I also found that I wasn’t having as difficult a time breathing as I normally do. Sure, my breath was still strained at the peak of my workout; but not nearly as much as it usually is.

As we exited the gym, Mitch said, “Goin’ to see the boys, yeah?” (The vape shop I visit is run by a group of really nice young men that have been there for a long time, and know us well; thus we have dubbed them “the boys.”)

And kind’a to my own surprise, I said, “No? No. Nope, we don’t need to go see the boys.”

“You’re really going to quit?” my husband asked with trepidation.

I told him about my observations in the gym; and said that I honestly wanted to try.

Mitch raised an eyebrow and said, “Okay, on to Walmart for hard candies then.”

So that’s what we did. We went to Walmart and stocked up!

An Addict is an Addict…

Yesterday (out of desperation for a hit), I tried to prove that Sunday’s observations had been a fluke. I went to the gym, determined to see that my resting heartrate was back up over 100 bpm; but it wasn’t. It was maintaining at around 93. Damn it!

I kind of thought my breathing had returned to its former state of more labored; but I was also looking for an excuse to start vaping again (See?! Not smoking really hasn’t made a difference!), so that could have been entirely psychosomatic.

It’s been sixty-three hours — with dozens of hard candies consumed — since I last hit the mod; and I feel like I have bugs crawling under my skin. I want to vape so bad that I can think of little else.

Sunday wasn’t this hard.
Monday wasn’t this hard.
But today? Today, it just f*cking sucks!

Maybe it’s because I realized this morning that I have a spare tank buried away in my supply drawer and know that if I really felt like it, I could jerry-rig the battered coil. (It’s amazing how much ingenuity addicts can harness for a fix. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ) I truly could get it to work… and I’m struggling not to.

When Mitch called just a little while ago, I explained how disconnected and agitated I feel (but didn’t mention the tank and suppressed ingenuity). In response, he pointed out that I’m going through withdrawal. He also offered to stop by the shop on his way home from work for new supplies, if I really needed them.

And I want him to… but I also don’t want him to. Ya’ know? Because the absolute truth of the matter is I don’t need nicotine. It’s not like my lungs will suddenly stop working without it; on the contrary, they’re likely to work much better in the absence of my dragon-like vape-cloud inhalations… but goddam it, do I want it.

What In the HELL Was I Thinking?

I don’t know if I can honestly go through life without an active addiction.

Every time I give one up, another one seems to take its place. I gave up pills for booze, booze for food, (some) food for nicotine… and have suffered from a shopping addiction in the past.

I’m tired of my bottomless need for something costing my husband money — especially when I can’t explain why I’m so empty without it (and in truth, am also empty with it).

Honestly? I understand addiction better than most. I know why I am the way I am; but knowing the why of it all doesn’t change what is.

I’m forty-four years old, and don’t know if I have the strength to truly change in this department.

I enjoy smoking. In truth, I always have… but sixty-three hours (without it) is a lot of time to throw away.

I don’t know what I’m going to do…

Swing and a Miss

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 9

This past week was challenging. I wasn’t necessarily “low” (mood wise); but I was definitely in some sort of slumber mode. I didn’t have a lot of motivation to leave the house, and felt like I might have been fighting a bug of some sort. Then again, it’s monsoon season in Arizona; and it could just be that my allergies are kicking my ass.

Tracking Last Week’s Goals

As far as last week’s goals? I only hit one of the targets I set. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I went to the gym four out of seven days — versus five. (Miss.)

I did get to gym on Saturday with Mitch; but I did not make it on Sunday. (Half a miss.)

We did not get out and walk Tocho, because it’s been showering in the evenings and our boy does not like to get wet. (Unavoidable miss.)

I ate more than once each day a couple of days, but not consistently. (Miss.)

I did choose healthier snacks (Score!); but as I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m still eating too much in the evenings (healthy or not).

I am posting on time again; so I suppose that’s something (even though I didn’t necessarily set that as one of my goals).

All in all? Not a great week.

The Numbers Just Ain’t Addin’ Up
Weigh-In History

Thursday, July 28th: 263.2 lbs
Thursday, August 4th: 266.4 lbs

I’ll be honest, seeing that I had gained weight (working as hard as I’ve been) was extremely discouraging. Mitch says not to let it bother me — that building muscle mass takes time, and that it will mess with the numbers on the scale for a while; but I think the man’s just being kind.

The bottom line is that I’m consuming more calories than I expend… and I just can’t reign in the habit of binging in the evening. I try and I try… but often, I find that it’s more difficult to fall asleep if I don’t indulge my cravings (which just rattle around in my head until I act on them).

It is better that I’m eating snacks that are lower in fat and carbohydrates, but I still have to manage my calorie intake… and I just don’t know that I have the strength to overcome in this department. Ugh.

Workout Review

Normally, I find joy and pleasure in my workouts. But this week? I just couldn’t find it. All I could think — while riding the bike and stomping on the treadmill — was that I’ll have to start doing multiple workouts a day if I want to lose weight. As it stands, I’m working out to maintain my weight… and I’m not happy with how heavy I have become.

The numbers on the scale went up; and my excitement about cardio and weight training went down. I honestly haven’t had any enthusiasm when I’ve been at the gym… which leads to me tapering off, and sulking around the house.

But here’s what I did accomplish (half-heartedly):

Thursday, August 4th

Bike: 20 min 4.45 miles 154 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Lower body 25 min
Treadmill: 28 min* 1.44 miles 213 cals burned

*The treadmill I was on went to pot near the end of my workout, so I just decided to end it a lil’ short.

Friday, August 5th

Bike: 30 min 6.93 miles 228 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min 1.75 miles 257 cals burned

Saturday, August 6th

Mitch was with me on this one.

Bike: 20 min 4.41 miles 151 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Upper body 55 min
Treadmill: 35 min 1.76 miles 258 cals burned

Sunday, August 7th – Monday, August 9th

Nada.

Tuesday, August 10th

Bike: 30 min 6.28 miles 202 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min 1.76 miles 259 cals burned

Wednesday, August 11th

Nada.

Success is Directly Correlated to My Motivation

What I learned this past week is that measuring success — and then achieving it — is an instrumental part of my motivation faculties.

If I know I’m going to — or maybe, just might — fail, I’m far less likely to try; and after last Thursday’s weigh in, I stopped trying.

Mitchell has stated that the scale is a poor source for tracking my progress… that it’s more important that I focus on what I’ve accomplished; but what the hell have I accomplished if I’m gaining weight?

I feel like a failure; and therefore, start to act like one. Which, I know, makes absolutely no sense what-so-ever. Do I honestly just want to sit here and continue putting on the pounds? No!

Do I feel like my efforts have all been in vain? Yup.

I got’ta get out of this cycle of self-pity and self-destruction… but it’s easier to give in to the melancholy.

The one thing I will say is that I did not judge myself on those days when I just stayed home. I tried to show myself a little kindness and leeway; but I do need to find a way out of this stupid, dismal pity party.

Cowgirl, Up!

Clearly, I haven’t been to the gym today yet (because my mood does not reflect the fleeting happiness of the endorphin rush); and I just need to suck it up and get off my duff. But today is weigh-in day; and I’m dreading the numbers on the damn scale. (Avoidance is one of my many talents. 😜)

Mitchell’s long weekend is coming up; so he’ll be home tomorrow through Sunday… and I want to go the gym with him; but I don’t want to go to the gym with him. Partly because I’ve been skirting my weight training, and sticking mostly to my cardio workouts. But! If I want to build strength — especially in my core — then I need to get back to it.

Also, I want to have a better progress report for you next week, Dear Reader… so it’s time to don the yoga pants and Cowgirl, up!

Sigh. Adulting is such a drag.

Soundtrack: “A Little Bit Off” by Five Finger Death Punch

Forgive Yourself, and Find Your Inspiration

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 8

Oy! That’s really the only way to describe how I’ve been feeling the past couple of days (as you could probably discern from my lack of writing).

I’ve been working out at least five days each week since early-mid July, and I’m just not seeing the results I had hoped to on the scale (or in my figure).

It took me years to put the weight on; so I know that it will probably require the same to take it off… and that’s just depressing (and discouraging) as all hell. Especially when you consider an addict’s mentality: Instant gratification is never fast enough.

Which, of course, leads right into the binge-eating cycle. Scarf a bunch of tasty carbs, and I immediately feel more satiated (literally and metaphorically speaking)… only to later feel like more of a failure. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Journaling for Better (and for Worse?)

I keep a journal record on my phone (through the Quillo app) of all of my workouts; and it does make me feel better to look back and see all that I’ve accomplished. Unfortunately, it isn’t always enough to keep me motivated.

I take some time off (as I have over the past couple of days) — for a variety of reasons — and it’s always difficult to get moving again. Thus far, I’ve been able to fight the desire to surrender (and return to my former habits); but this week, I just can’t seem to harness the drive required to overcome.

I’m really disappointed in myself for not being able to change my eating habits in any sustainable way. Even when I do eat during the day, I still find myself binging at night… and it just sucks. Mostly, because I’m still consuming more calories than I expend (at least, I’m 90% certain that I am); which means I’m not going to see any real change. If anything, I’m working to maintain — rather than lose — the weight.

So I started wondering if keeping a food journal would help… and then thought about the shame it might cause. Wouldn’t that be worse for my mental health? Or would it inspire a more responsible accountability? Hell if I know… and since I don’t l like uncertainty, I just haven’t tried.

Pretzels, Oranges, and Muffins… Oh My!

Mitchell and I have started buying healthier alternatives, when it comes to snack foods. Instead of binging on Krispy treats and chips, I’ve began snacking on pretzels, oranges, and whole wheat English muffins… but I’m still eating too many of them.

We did stock up on a bunch of fresh vegetables; and Mitch has been diligent about cutting them up and portioning them out to facilitate eating during the day, if I so choose to… but I don’t always choose to.

I’m eating more often — on occasion — but I just haven’t found the necessary motivation to do so on a regular basis; and I don’t really know why.

If They Can Do It…

My beautiful blogging friend, Ms. Annemarie at “Seclusion 101 with Annemarie” has been challenging herself for twenty-five weeks to be more health and fitness oriented; and reading her posts about it has been a huge inspiration. (You can read her latest post here.)

As with most challenges in life, they seem easier to face when you know you aren’t facing them alone… even if you live in different countries.

But of course, it can also be frustrating to feel as if you aren’t living up to their example (and Ms. Annemarie is an excellent example); and that’s kind of where I’m at this morning. I feel like I just can’t; and knowing that I can isn’t necessarily enough to make me do so… and then again, I don’t want to disappoint my most inspirational readers; so maybe I should just suck it up and get out of this damn chair. 😜

When I Don’t Write

I’ve never been good at expressing my feelings vocally. For whatever reason, I just can’t properly sort all the shit in my head, until I sit down and write.

Many times, I have to write about a fight with Mitchell in order to come to a place where I can explain it. In fact, he often finds that reading the blog gives him a much deeper understanding of where I’m coming from.

It seems ridiculous that I can’t speak as well as I write (and I don’t often think that I do that very well, either)… but I can’t.

I also can’t feel as well as I write… and when I find myself in the rabbit’s hole, I often refuse to write (self-sabotage is something I’ve always excelled at); but when I do find the motivation to do so, all of my bitching and whining and hesitation and isolation seem petty and small.

Thus, I find myself (once again) a lil’ more inspired to get out of this chair simply because I’m reading about others who have done so — and I’m writing about wanting to be more like them — and if they can do it, then damn it, so can I!

Today, I will get out of this chair… if only to truly show my appreciation for Ms. Annemarie and all that she has accomplished.

Soundtrack: “House With No Mirrors” by Sasha Sloan

Three Out of Five Ain’t Bad

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 7

When I posted on July 28th, I was under the mistaken impression that it was Friday, instead of Thursday. So I apologize for this second shift; but my weekly updates will now be posted on Thursdays. Not Tuesdays. Not Fridays. Thursdays. πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Tracking Last Week’s Goals

Reviewing the goals that I put into place for the past week, I managed to achieve most — but not all — of them. Not ideal; but it could be worse. Three out of five ain’t bad, in my book.

I did manage to get to the gym five out of seven days. Woo-hoo!

I was able to pull myself out of the rabbit’s hole I plunged into during a depressive episode earlier in the week (largely, because I went to the gym as often as I did). Nice!

I am posting a weekly update on time. Yay!

Bonus (unlisted) goal! I have resumed doing one load of laundry per day — immediately following my trip to the gym — which I abandoned somewhere along the way; so Mitch and I aren’t walking around in our holey couture.

I did not end up limiting myself to one sugary (or salty) treat after my evening meal. There were days when I found it was easier to rein in the habit, and days when I just couldn’t. So there’s much room for improvement there (and Mitch has been really good about trying to limit the amount of junk food we have available).

I did not eat more than once each day, either. Occasionally, I had a smoothie after my workout; but I’m not quite sure that counts “as eating a meal”. This particular goal is going to be the hardest for me to achieve, because it’s a matter of breaking a twenty-plus years habit… and that ain’t easy to do.

All-in-all, it was a more successful week than I imagined it would be (because of above-mentioned depressive episode)… and I’ll take it as a win.

When the Pounds and Years Add Up

Oddly enough, working out is not as easy at forty as it was at twenty; nor is it as easy when your body is carrying an extra hundred pounds. (Who knew?! πŸ˜‚)

It’s hard for me to accept my limitations in the best of circumstances, and I want to workout like the star athlete I once was. I was a distance/track runner (in really good shape) in my early twenties… and I still feel like that girl; but I’m not. I’m a middle-aged housewife who kind’a let herself go; and thus, I face bigger physical limitations than I ever have before.

For awhile there I was attempting to push the boundaries each and every day — adding five minutes and/or more speed to my workouts. (That’s an addict mentality. More, more, more!) When I complained of “overwhelming exhaustion”, Mitch stated that he felt I might be overtraining; and therefore sabotaging any progress I was making. My husband really does know best in this arena, and I know I need to trust his judgement; so I begrudgingly admitted that he was probably right, and have returned to less strenuous — but still challenging — workouts.

And you know what? I still feel accomplished at the end of them.

All It Takes is Five-to-Seven Minutes (and Some Mind Games)

I find that when I first get on the recumbent bike or the treadmill, it feels impossibly difficult. As those first couple of minutes tick slowly by, and the intensity increases to get my heartrate to a cardio-workout level, I often feel like it’s going to be an impossible feat. (Oh my God! This is so frickin’ hard. I’m not gon’na make it! Let’s go home.) However, I have also learned that if I can just make it through those first five-to-seven minutes, it gets easier.

That’s not to say that the damn timer isn’t a thorn in my side for the rest of said workout. (Seriously, time does not fly when you’re working out with a fluffy figure.) Due to my OCD, I tend to watch it obsessively; so I’ve developed a few tricks that aid in getting through my twenty-to-thirty minute workouts.

On the recumbent bike, I try really hard to maintain a heartrate of 144 beats per minute (slightly elevated from the suggested 142). You’d be surprised how much concentration that takes; which, for me, makes the minutes move a little faster.

On the treadmill, I don’t hang on to the cardio/heartrate rail. I like to walk at a higher speed, utilizing my arms. Instead of trying to maintain a specific heartrate, I use the “hills” setting. This setting has a moving screen to indicate the incline of the shifting “hills”, and it changes every couple of minutes… so I can break the workout into more manageable pieces in my head.

I also like to play “Name That Tune!” while working out. I try to name the title, and artist responsible, for each new song that flows through my headphones; and I use a “workout mix” through my YouTube subscription to keep the playlist fresh and feisty. It’s easier to keep the legs moving to a snazzy beat.

Utilizing these “tricks” has allowed me to consistently work fifty-to-fifty-five minutes of cardio into my daily workouts.

Weigh-in History

Monday, July 11th: 264 lbs
Thursday, July 28th: 263.6 lbs (A lil’ loss is still a loss! 😏)

Workout Review

Thursday, July 28th

Bike: 30 min 6 miles 201 cals burned
Treadmill: 45 min (“Hills” Level 1/Speed 3.1 mph) 2.27 miles 331 cals burned

Friday, July 29th

Mitch was with me on this one.

Bike: 15 min 2.92 miles 111 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Upper body 55 min
Treadmill: 40 min (“Hills” Level 2/Speed 3.1 mph) 2 miles 291 cals burned

Saturday, July 30th & Sunday, July 31st

I fell into a depressive episode… probably enhanced by the pain I felt from increasing my time on the treadmill. As a result neither Mitchell, nor I, worked out over the weekend. Mitch was willing; I was not. (Bad Cassie! 😜)

Monday, August 1st

Bike: 30 min 6.07 miles 217 cals burned
Treadmill: 35 min (“Hills” Level 2/Speed 3.1 mph) 1.73 miles 255 cals burned

Tuesday, August 2nd

Bike: 20 min 4.18 miles 184 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Core 40 min
Treadmill: 5 min (“Hills” Level 2/Speed 3.1 mph) 0.24 miles 35 cals burned

The core lifting still proves to be incredibly difficult. The “core room” isn’t as well ventilated as the rest of the gym, which raises the body temperature; and I’m extremely sensitive to overheating. I hit a palpable wall when I got on the treadmill; but instead of trying to scale it, I listened to my body and gave in.

Β© Warner Bros. Pictures, “Storks”

Wednesday, August 3rd

Bike: 20 min 4.24 miles 154 cals burned
Weight Lifting: Upper body 40 min
Treadmill: 35 min (“Hills” Level 2/Speed 3.1 mph) 1.74 miles 255 cals burned

Noticeable Changes

I’ve been consistently working out (at least five days per week) since July 11th, and have started to notice some subtle changes. Old t-shirts slide over my belly a little easier, my yoga pants slide on with less effort, and my arms seem a bit smaller when scrubbing them in the shower.

More importantly though, I feel better about myself and have a lil’ more self-confidence — and a lil’ less hatred for my figure.

Goals for the Week Ahead

Get to the gym at least five out of the following seven days.

Be sure to workout over the weekend, so that Mitchell gets his time at the gym.

Take Tocho (our coonhound rescue pup) for at least three walks in the evening.

Eat more than once per day.

Keep reining in unhealthy snacks.

Those last two are gon’na continue to be a bitch; but I’ve got’ta try!

Soundtrack: “Confident” by Demi Lovato

May you all find a lil’ extra confidence in the week ahead!

Revelations

No. 1: A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed

I pulled myself out of my pity-party long enough yesterday to give my best friend, Ronnie, a telephone ring. She recently lost her father, and had to travel to Spain in order to deal with the loss. I knew she’d gotten back on Saturday; but I hadn’t felt up to speaking with anyone. Honestly? I didn’t feel like speaking to anyone yesterday, either; but I vowed to do at least one selfless thing… and so, I dialed her number.

We talked about her trip, her grief, and the struggles of her recent move; and then the girl turned the conversation on me (as she always does).

Ronnie is amazing in that she never takes, “I’m fine.” as an acceptable answer. She’s really good at asking questions that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead, she asks things like, “How are things between you and Mitch?” So inevitably, I ended up spilling my guts as well.

Before saying goodbye, she said, “Remember that I know you. Don’t go into your doctor’s office and tell him everything’s okay, you hear me?”

“Yes, ma’am.” (But in truth, I felt better just for having talked with her.)

No. 2: Psychiatric Revelation

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday afternoon, and spoke to him about the (rather recent) increased frequency of my down days. I explained that I tend to have two-to-three really good days (lots of motivation, positive attitude, action towards goals), immediately followed by one-to-two down days (lack of motivation, apathetic attitude, sans action).

He asked if the down days included periods of suicidal ideation… no, they have not.

He asked when these down days tend to occur… on the weekends (i.e. Mitchell’s days off).

He asked if I was getting enough sleep… six-and-a-half to nine-and-a-half hours per night.

He asked if I was eating more than once per day… nope, not usually.

Then he asked why I eat only once each day. I explained (again) that I suffer from IBS, and do not eat during daylight hours in order to avoid the consequences of an attack. “What does that look like, worst case scenario?” he inquired.

“Well, imagine that you are already described as ‘the old lady’ by your university classmates; and add to that the fear that you might lose control of your bowels during class. I really don’t want to be described as ‘the old lady who shit her pants’, ya’ know?” This made him laugh… something I rarely see him do.

Then he asked if any of my medications and/or lab work had changed. No med changes; but I have had an increasingly elevated liver enzyme (ALT) since the first week of February (something my primary care physician attributed to weight gain, even though there has not been a significant gain in that time).

In response to all of this, my shrink explained that both the increase in down days — and the ALT level — could be a result of the overwhelming stress over the past couple of months (February was when Mitchell rotated back to his night schedule, which kept him away from home for a week at a time). He suggested that I might tend to crash when Mitch is home, simply because I can (i.e. giving over responsibility for the household). He also stated that my serotonin and dopamine levels are probably adjusting to my new workout routine, which could throw my psych meds a bit off balance.

All-in-all, he said not to worry. Hang in there for two more months, see what happens when school starts up again, and we’ll revisit the issue at that time.

There was a bit of a relief that I wasn’t prescribed new and/or increased medication (and/or diagnosed with yet another mental health disorder); but also a tad of frustration that this undulating mood-cycle may continue for another couple of months. (Ah well, it’s nothing I haven’t already survived.)

No. 3: Let the Light In

Previous to my brief outing yesterday, I hadn’t left the house since Friday. The house is rather dark out of necessity (we use solar-blocking window treatments to combat the summer heat of the Sonoran Desert); so if I don’t leave it, I rarely see sunshine between the months of May and November.

Surprisingly, I found my mood began to lighten the moment I pulled out of the driveway. It felt good to be out in the sun (though not the sweltering heat); and I was motivated enough to hit the gym following my afternoon appointment.

I think the next time I’m feeling a little cranky, I may just pull open the curtains for a lil’ while.

No. 4: Fluffy People’s Happy Hour at the Gym

Because I put off going to the gym until after my appointment, I turned up there around four o’clock in the afternoon; and I was amazed at the difference!

It turns out that all of the younger, beautiful people workout in the morning (when I normally visit the gym), and all of the middle-aged, fluffy people congregate in the afternoon! Who knew?!

I felt much more comfortable and confident surrounded by “my people” than I ever have when submersed in the sea of well-muscled, spandex-clad (and often, half-naked) folks in the early hours of the day.

And, bonus! An older gentleman told me that “staring at my booty inspired [him] to stay on the treadmill for an extra ten minutes.” I laughed and told him that he’d made my day and (flashing my ring at him) my husband’s. He said he saw the ring, and was just “a harmless connoisseur of fine booties.” It was a nice contrast to the guy I posted about earlier in the blog… the one who pointed at me and my husband and said, “It could be worse. We could look like them.”

No. 5: Trying to Remember “This Too, Shall Pass”

It’s easy to grasp this concept when you’re on the other side of whatever it is you need to pass… but I tend to scoff and sneer at the sentiment when I’m in the midst of an existential crisis.

I shall try harder to remember that bad days are just that — bad days. They won’t last forever; and I am not an utter failure for having them.

Of course, the next time they roll around, I’m sure I will be inclined to scoff and sneer once more (Isn’t that what writing’s for? To bitch and moan about the hard times?! πŸ˜‚) ; but until then, I’ll work on who I’m meant to be.

Soundtrack: “Who I’m Meant to Be” by Anthem Lights

“Everyone is on their way, but I am standing still
Comparing my behind-the-scenes against their highlight reel.”

– Anthem Lights, “Who I’m Meant to Be”

I love this particular part of the lyrics, because I am so guilty of thinking that way. I forget that we all put our best foot forward — and don our happy masks — in public; but that we all have not-so-great shit going on behind-the-scenes as well.

A Cringe-Worthy Lack of Effort

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 2

I struggle with multi-faceted addictions; and though I have managed to beat some of the worst ones into submission, there are a few evil lil’ hamsters still prancing around the confines of my mind celebrating their own harmful choices and actions… particularly, the chubby lil’ furball who enjoys binge-eating.

The night before last was a rough one for me. I didn’t sleep well. I tossed and turned, waxed in and waned out of flop-sweat-inducing hot flashes (thank you menopause), and grew grumpier as the night wore on.

Aware of the fact that this particular situation rarely gets better before it gets worse, my ever-patient husband remained on the couch throughout the night and got very little sleep himself. So when I woke up — cranky, in a low mood, and kind’a angry — I let Mitch know that he could take possession of the bed, and sleep for as long as he’d like.

When he woke in the early afternoon, I was sullen and disconnected. He asked if I’d like to go the gym, and I said, “Nope.” Discouraged and frustrated with my apathy, I sought a false sense of solace through food; and when I went slightly over my weight-loss calorie count, I thought, “F*ck it. I’m over anyway, might as well continue with a full-fledged evening of binging.”

And that’s exactly what I did. I even stopped logging the calories I consumed. “Already set the house on fire, might as well let the damn thing burn down,” was my way of thinking at that point. (Definitely, a trait of addiction.)

So this morning, I woke up with feelings associated with shame and failure.

Why Do I Do This To Myself?!

Why do we embrace our negative traits, thoughts and actions (often to our own detriment)?

I’ve never really had an answer to this damnable question; but this morning, when I logged on to my computer, I read a beautiful post by my friend Ms. Simone at Wordy Spirit about “Labelling”; and she had written an answer for me:

“Because there is no going anywhere with talk like that. For it doesn’t require any amount of effort, sweat, and toil. We give ourselves an easy way out by labeling our behaviors, our personalities, and our very selves.”
– Simone E, “Wordy Spirit”

I’ll be damned, if the girl ain’t right!

It was far easier to just throw my hands up and stuff my gob. Just as it’s far easier to pick up a drink than it is to deal with my emotions… but I’ve managed to get a handle on that (for the most part — dealing with emotions is still not one of my strong suits); so I imagine that if I really want to (and I do), I can also get a handle on my terrible eating habits.

It Takes Time, Dummy

…and for me, instant gratification has never been fast enough.

If I spend a day at the gym, and keep within my 24-hour calorie limit, I want to see that result — literally see it — in the mirror that very evening; and unfortunately, that’s just not how weight loss works.

In fact, I remember reading in one my psychology textbooks (and I apologize for not knowing which one it was; and therefore, not properly citing here) that the body will do it’s best to maintain its equilibrium. If it’s overweight, it has an intrinsic desire to stay a bit fluffy.

In other words, my body is used to consuming thousands of calories per day… and as I try to change that, it will fight me every step of the way. That chubby lil’ hamster in my head will stomp her feet, throw a tantrum, and try to convince me that I’m starving to death… when really, I’m dealing with medication side-effects (i.e. increased appetite) and a desire to self-soothe through food.

So… What Now?

Well, the first thing I have to do is stop dwelling on my failure. The sun has already set on yesterday; and I cannot change the poor decisions I made… but they don’t have to affect the choices I make today.

I can choose not to think of myself as a “binge-eater”; and instead, recognize that I am a woman taking action against this discouraging label.

Yes, I screwed up a bit… but the two days prior to that screw-up were successes — I went to the gym and I stayed within my calorie intake goals. And if I did it once, I can do it again.

It’s simply a matter of not getting mired in the negative muck being flung around by my temper-tantrum throwing chubby lil’ hamster.

Much to her chagrin, when my husband rises from his slumber, I will be lacing up my brand new workout shoes and hitting the gym. I will ride the recumbent bike for 15 minutes, listen and adhere to my husband’s weight training instructions, and then stomp around on the treadmill for 35 minutes. I will make smarter food choices today… and will not wake-up feeling ashamed tomorrow.

And the next time I feel like throwing up my hands and stuffing myself with ice cream and rice Krispy treats, I will turn on my laptop and read the wise words of my lovely friend, Ms. Simone.

Besides, I’ve never learned anything the easy way… so I might as well take the harder path. 🀣

A PTSD Induced Change

Weight Loss Endeavors No. 1

I have been desperately trying to lose weight for months now. To facilitate this change, I was hiking on some of my favorite local trails on a fairly regular basis… but all of that changed one fateful, disturbing morning at the end of May.

At Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve (the most cherished trail in my collection), maintenance crews regularly work in the park — burning marsh grass, clearing wastewater pipe access, mitigating dangers to the wildlife, etc. Due to the fact that I live in the Sonoran Desert, these crews work early in the morning; and smart hikers, who don’t wish to fall face-first in the dirt due to heat stroke, hike at the same time. (Therefore, schedule predictability is a necessity that cannot be avoided in the summer and fall here.)

On the morning referenced above, I happened to run into a member of the maintenance crew that had said hello to me on more than one occasion (sometimes with an additional wink). I always politely responded in kind, and didn’t think much of it… until this man stepped out in front of me on the trail, and said with a smirk on his face, “You always hike alone, Gorgeous? That doesn’t seem wise.”

Those of who you suffer from PTSD know that your warning bells are always on hyper-alert… sometimes unnecessarily to our detriment (like when my poor husband accidentally “sneaks” up on me, and gets a terrified scream and punch to the gut); but in this particular case, my internal security system told me to run and never look back.

Feeling quite stupid for being so frightened by this encounter (because I never truly know if I’ve read too much into a situation), I hesitated to tell my husband about it; and just stopped hiking. But eventually, I worked up the courage to speak to him about it… mostly because my inability to do anything about my weight was slowly drawing me into a deep depression I knew I couldn’t fall any further into without dire consequences.

To his credit, Mitch did not pass judgement on the situation, and told me that he understood my fear and anxiety; and then asked, “What can I do to help, Cass?”

“I need a safe place to workout — somewhere where there a lot of people, and preferably several escape routes.” So my sweet husband gave me permission to join a local gym — one that is literally less than a block away from our home.

I joined on June 8th, and went everyday for seventeen days (feeling better than ever about my chubby lil’ self)… and then tested positive for COVID. I was sicker than hell, transferred the virus to my husband, and eventually had to be put on Paxlovid (an anti-viral) to beat the infection. So, I was unable to go the gym between June 25th and July 10th.

Weight Gain and Yet Another Change in My Routine

I returned to the gym two days ago; and weighed in. Over the course of my battle with COVID, I somehow managed to gain two pounds (going from 262-pounds on June 17th to 264-pounds on July 11th). I’m now the heaviest I’ve ever been.

Mitch, on the other hand — who has been joining me quite often at the gym, and serves as my weight-lifting coach — managed to lose five pounds; and though I understand that men and women have very different metabolisms, and that Mitch has more weight to lose than I do, I still felt slightly discouraged by his success when compared to my failure.

Instead of letting it deter me though, I decided to do something about it. I re-installed the “Lose It” app (designed to implement a calorie-intake regime based on your weight-loss goals), and stuck to it yesterday. I’m hoping to lose one pound per week, at the very least; and intend to keep going to the gym on a daily basis, whenever possible (because bad days, or illness, are bound to happen from time-to-time).

Numbers are Just Numbers

What I have learned from this experience is that regardless of the numbers on the damn scale, I feel better when I work out. Instead of feeling melancholy about my marshmallow figure, I feel accomplished and strong.

The weight loss will happen if I just keep moving my feet (and stop shoving too many snacks in my gob); but until then, I’m going to have as much fun as possible trying to win the battle of the bulge.