Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Transparency and Distended Bellies

We're coming up on our fourth weigh in (not counting the starting) and I'm excited and nervous about my results.

I've been continuing with the squat challenge and have increased to the point where I can do 100 squats in a sitting. Sure my legs are shaking and I can't walk confidently for a while afterwards but progress is progress. Just yesterday I managed to do 260 in a night which I believe is my current record! Speaking of squats, I've started developing some silly habits when it comes to them. I play a lot of video games and when I get to a particularly long loading screen, or a long que to enter a dungeon I've started grinding out some squats while I wait. I can only imagine how silly I look, holding a controller in my hands and squatting repeatedly while staring at the T.V. But it doesn't stop there. The other day I was showering before bed and realized that I hadn't met my squat challenge quota for the night. Instead of finishing, towelling off, finding a spot and cranking out some squats before bed I just stood there in the shower brushing my teeth and squatted under the spray. Now that's multitasking!

It hasn't been all good this week though. Earlier we had a potluck in my department for someone's birthday and there was so much delicious food that I couldn't help but go over my calorie limit for the day. I know it's fine to have a sort of cheat day every now and again but the following day we had the same thing. Two days in a row of overeating and boy was I feeling it. On the plus stuffing myself those two days in a row made me realize something. I've been steadily decreasing my meal size and I feel that by now I've gotten to the point where my meals are close to what the average person should be eating. On those two days I ate what several months ago would have been perfectly normal meals for me. The sheer contrast in meal size really drove home the point that I was eating way more than I needed to. On both days I not only ate my fill, but stuffed my stomach to bursting. This is what pre-2016 Me thought it meant to be full. Growing up I had just thought that that bursting almost queasy feeling was what people were talking about when they said they were full.

When it comes to this month's challenge in my company's weight loss challenge I think that we had all given up any thoughts of winning once we saw the statistics for week one. The top team for the week had more than doubled our second place position. This was a bit of a disappointment for my whole team and I know a lot of people pulled back or gave up entirely but I was happy to see that most of my team were still soldiering on with a focus on weight loss instead of winning the challenge. People were sending challenges back and forth and even though our numbers did dip, the change was only small and we were still grinding out some pretty big numbers. Another surprise I was happy to see was that I wasn't even the top person on my team numbers wise. I had figured that as soon as those intimidating numbers were shared that my team would lose it's motivation and I would be the only one logging any numbers but no, I wasn't even the top person on my team! Some people did fall off and stopped entering numbers but at least two people in my team are out producing me. Go team green!

I've also come to a decision with regard to my weight. I'm by no means a shy person but I've decided that I'm really going to be open with the numbers on my weight. I've danced around it saying things like I weigh a lot, or I've lost a little but I want to be 100% transparent. I started this competition at 336.2 lbs and as of our last weigh in I am down to 319 even. My goal weight which according to the math of my calorie counting ap I should reach in a little over 500 days of good behaviour is 186 lbs. I found this number by consulting google to find out what my healthy weight would be according to my height and age. There were several different weights according to a few different formulas and I may have picked the largest number but as a longterm goal I thought it was a good place to start. Also it ends in 86 and I just plain like that number.

I've also noticed a few things in the past few weeks both good and bad. First off, I've begun to fall off with my calorie counting. The counting feels less necessary to me now that I'm sort of on track with meal size as well as cutting back snacks but I know I have to tighten that back up in order to keep from straying. As a reminder I've started setting the connected website as my homepage so every time I use the internet I still get a reminder to enter my food. I've also been ignoring the gym recently. After a painful introduction to lunges which it took me a few days to recover from I took some time off from the gym and have been putting it off far too often. I've caught myself justifying my actions by saying "oh I'm still doing my squats every night, I don't need the gym too," or something along those lines but I need to nip this in the bud before I drop the activity entirely. Speaking of nipping things in the bud, I've also noticed that I was beginning to develop a habit of grabbing a large breakfast from the cafeteria at work. Just like with the gym I always had a justification of "my lunch is small today so I'll have a big breakfast." The moment I realized I was doing this I stopped it entirely. That was just too tempting and I knew it would become a permanent thing if I didn't stop it immediately. On to more positive things, I've noticed that some of my clothing has been feeling loser. At the time of writing this I'm currently wearing a shirt that was almost embarrassing since the pulling of the buttons would create lines on my stomach as the shirt pulled tight. It now fits me almost as good as any other shirt in my wardrobe. This brought me to another goal I will be adding to my list. I have one specific shirt which used to be my favourite unfortunately I haven't been able to wear it in several years. This red silk dragon covered piece of clothing is straight out of the 90s but god did I ever love it. My newest goal is to be able to one day wear it like I used to in college.

What I've learned:
Stop bad habits the moment you notice them. That egg sandwich might be nice to tide you over this morning but before long a big fast food breakfast could become part of your daily routine. Learn to notice these signs and put a stop to them!
My meals have gotten much smaller in the past few months. Those two days of putting up with a grossly distended belly have just reaffirmed that I'm making positive changes in my life and need to keep it up!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Disappointment Management

Second weigh in is in the books and I'm a little disappointed in my results. My previous weigh in showed that I lost 9.3 lbs in 2 weeks and I know that was probably a bit too high so I was aiming a bit lower and hoping for 7 lbs. Unfortunately when I stepped on the scales I saw I had only lost 2.8 lbs though. I know, I know, I should be happy with any progress no matter how small but it was a bit of a disappointment to go from 9 to 3 so quickly.

I allowed myself to sit and wallow in disappointment for a while just to get it out of my system. I feel it's important to let those feelings out rather than bottle them up and try to put on a happy face. After feeling as though I had spent enough time on it I then started making plans for the next weigh in. First, I decided that I was eating too many cookies and my morning snack had to go, Bam. Next up was my coffee. I had been planning to try to drink it black, and since I didn't particularly like the taste to begin with no milk and sugar didn't seem like a huge stretch, Bam. Third I decided to tackle the stairs. I wanted to start taking the stairs but the people I usually go on break with don't have the same goals so we always took the elevator. I made a new friend who I could take the stairs with every day and now the stairs are part of my morning routine, Bam. Goals in hand I started feeling motivated instead of disappointed.

With the weigh in came news of this month's challenge which would net the winning team a few lbs off of their totals giving them a better chance at the competition. The announcement wasn't exactly… well received… by most of the competitors though. At first it was telling us that we had to complete a minimum amount of 5 different exercises and the first team to complete them all would be the winners. The amounts were about what someone in training for an upcoming event would maintain so they were all pretty lofty goals. That combined with the fact that some of the people in the competition were overweight and had joint issues led to some unhappy campers. Burpees are torture and should not imposed on people you like. After receiving some emails they changed the competition to whatever team had the highest total number of exercises at the end of the month would be the winners.

Once the announcement was accepted and circulated my team went into full on motivation mode sharing tips and issuing friendly challenges. One woman shared a squat challenge as something to aim for since squats were one of the counted exercises. I in turn challenged her to double up on so we could both really flex out some high numbers. The team aspect of this competition has been a huge help for me. Having a group with similar goals where you can offer help or a friendly push is so helpful when you're feeling under motivated. I have them to thank for a lot of my progress both personally and in the competition.

What I've learned.
Be careful when you set your goals. Goals are necessary and are a big help when you're trying to achieve something but beware of setting too high of a goal. The backlash of not achieving a goal can sometimes set you back further.
When you do feel disappointed make sure to embrace that feeling. Don't push it off because it won't go away. Let yourself feel it then think about improvements you can make. Use it to fuel a positive change and that disappointment might wind up helping!
Teamwork, teamwork, teamwork! Find a group that has the same goals in mind. You can play off of each other and the energy from a good team can be super helpful in your #weightlossjourney!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Snacks and first weighin

Late update incoming!

Two weeks down and my first weigh in has come and gone. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I had lost 9.3 lbs!

It's hard to pick out any one thing to attribute my success so far to but if I had to pick my top reason I would say it would be my calorie counting. Counting calories has really made me evaluate what I eat and has made me realize that so many of my meals were far bigger than they needed to be. It also helped with snacking because I would look at my calories and think hmm, if I only need these many calories and I'm already at my limit, am I actually hungry? Most often the answer is no but for the few times that it isn't I have some small snacks to satisfy those little cravings.

I've also changed the way I buy food as well. Instead of buying one large item and getting a good deal I've instead been buying a greater number of smaller items. I know that I wind up spending more this way but I also know myself and that my own lack of self control would cause me to eat the entire stash. But, if I buy smaller portions I can eat a single grab a single portion, walk away, and then the cravings are easier to control.

Some people reading this have pointed out that counting calories doesn't mean you're eating better. You could eat nothing but pizza in small amounts and theoretically stay under your calorie limit but a diet of pizza alone would be extremely unhealthy. These people are 100% right and this is by no means a diet guide. This is my own personal experience and I visited a doctor to learn if there was anything I should be watching out for. In my case it was the sheer number of calories that was the greatest danger so that is my starting focus. Once that is under control I can work on other parts of my diet like lowering my salt intake for example.

I suppose the number one take way from this should be that before starting any changes in your diet you should visit a doctor to see if there's anything you need to keep an eye out for. Assuming that you're in the same situation as me and weight alone is your biggest hurdle then counting calories is the way to go!

What I've learned:
-Buy a greater number of smaller items to help fight snacking.
-My body sometimes snacks out of habit, keep an eye on those calories to know if your body needs the food or not.