Thanks for taking a look at my blog about creating art and losing weight. Feel free to shuffle through my most personal thoughts, insecurities, victories, and struggles. No really, it's fine.

April 2021

So I am feeling proud of myself in this moment. Cataloguing my hurdles here has made me understand them more completely. I understand now that my struggles loop, ever-cycling within my own brain. And I can’t fix anything just by cycling through the struggle loop faster. I need an escape from my own thoughts. I need help.

I hate asking for help, so it’s taken me almost 40 years to ask for help with my health. I have asked a psychologist for help with my mental health. I visit with her online every 3 weeks. I have asked a trainer for help with my physical health. I see her twice a week before the sun rises. I have asked a friend for help with staying motivated. We share our setbacks and accomplishments daily. I have asked my husband for help keeping it all going. We have shifted our finances to make the training sessions work. He is on standby every morning in case David wakes up early before I get home from the gym. And he is here loving me every day, even when I make missteps over missteps.

So now I have all these people helping me, and I am very thankful to be privileged enough to have access to their help. I am also proud of me for letting them help.

Fall down eight times, get up nine.Japanese Proverb, modified

Here we are again. Naturally.

I’m really tired of feeling like crap all the time. My habits are terrible right now. So let’s see where we are:

Bad Habits That Have to Go -> Why I Have Them:

  • Being sedentary / no exercise -> It’s easy and I live in my head
  • Going to McDonald’s or Tim Hortons for breakfast -> It’s easy, tastes good, and is soothing
  • Eating quick, convenient, carb heavy lunches -> It’s easy, tastes good, and is soothing, triggered by childhood tastes
  • Sneaking sugar snacks -> It tastes good, and is soothing
  • Not planning for the week ahead -> It’s easy
  • Not eating enough vegetables -> It’s easy

Good Habits I Want to Keep -> Why I Have Them:

  • Waking up early -> Only me-time I get, and I am naturally a morning person
  • Eating lunch and dinner at home -> Covid, and my wonderful husband likes to cook dinner
  • Drinking lots of water -> Makes me feel hydrated and refreshed, and I like it

I’m at 271 pounds. I’m honestly shocked that the scale isn’t higher. I feel like my body just refuses to go above 275 pounds, which is nice I guess. It probably means with all this sedentary-ness I have lost any and all muscle mass I used to have. My clothes are fitting tightly, so my body mass is increasing even if the scale doesn’t agree.

So Long Trigger

Last Tuesday I ate 1,424 calories OVER my daily allotment.

I felt possessed. I was well aware of my weight loss goal and what I was SUPPOSED to be eating. But my MIL had brought over ice cream the night before, 2 large cartons. One was UDF Homemade Peach ice cream, the other was UDF Homemade Chocolate Chip ice cream. My husband and my son don’t eat ice cream. So they were just in the freezer laughing maniacally at me the next day.

Well actually it was just the chocolate chip. Peach is too meek and kind to lure me the way chocolate chip does.

So I had a spoonful at lunchtime to shut it up. Then I had (for me) a small bowl as an afternoon snack. And then I had another bowl after dinner.

But you know what? I weighed the bowls as I scooped. I tracked every calorie. I may have eaten 3 cups of ice cream, but I can still count Tuesday as a win.

So the next day I tossed the rest of the carton. I apologized to my husband for being wasteful with food (another one of my hangups), but he fully supported my decision.

Rumblings of Ruin

Yesterday was day 12 of my new healthier outlook, and right on schedule, some negative, derailing thoughts started creeping in. I was in a bad mood because our AC is on the fritz, it was 94 degrees outside, and our landlord isn’t taking it seriously. So I was grumpy and then realized I had overeaten a little at lunch and couldn’t fit dessert within my calorie allotment. Granted, I haven’t given myself any hard and fast rules about calories yet, but since I’m tracking my food every day, I want to see if I can eat within a small calorie deficit sustainably. And my brain started whispering things like “you’ve done so well, treat yourself” and  “you’ve had a hard day, you deserve ice cream”.

I definitely need to address the fact that I think dessert is a prize for doing well or enduring hardship.

I’m proud that I recognized that wanting dessert was simply an emotional reaction because I was hot and unhappy. I wanted a cool treat to soothe myself. And honestly, I could have had my 150 calorie ice cream sandwich and it would not have been the end of the world. But I wasn’t actually hungry for it, and I want to break the cycle of emotional eating. I ended up eating a 44 calorie chocolate square instead, and it satiated me.

I’m still not sure I did the right thing. Maybe I should have just eaten the ice cream and then had less food the next day. Maybe I shouldn’t have had any treat after dinner at all. Maybe I should have found an alternative activity to soothe my mind. I’m still figuring this out.

But I’m not berating myself, I’m just trying to learn what works. Or I could just plan to never be unhappy again. That’s a viable option, right?

Half Size Me

I have stumbled upon the Half Size Me podcast. The creator Heather Robertson has successfully lost more than 170 pounds, but perhaps more impressively, has kept it off for I believe 8 years or more.

I have been looking for a way to address my mental health while tackling weight loss, and this I think could help me on my way. I have been listening to the podcast for about a week. There is also a group to join, and some modules to follow. I am waiting to see that I stick with the podcast and it helps me for at least 2 weeks before I commit with a monthly subscription.

It doesn’t seem to advocate any particular diet or fitness regimen, rather focuses on the mentality you need to adopt in order to attain long-term steady weight loss. So much of what Heather says rings true for me. The core of her teachings is that you shouldn’t introduce anything into your life while losing weight that you can’t sustain long-term. You have to know yourself fully, accept your flaws, work around them, and be realistic with your goals. There is a total mind-shift between “I’m doing this for now to lose weight” and “I’m changing what I eat and how I exercise forever”.

I have fallen into what she calls “the Diet Cycle” before. I lost 75 pounds through Weight Watchers once, but gained it all back. Although I lost in a healthy, slow way, I definitely did have the mentality that I was on a program temporarily and if I didn’t eat within the guidelines, that I was off my diet. This thought process gave me the option to stop, and I inevitably did.

She also advocates journaling your process, so huzzah, I’m already on my way!

No Shame, No Blame

I feel like I am on track for success. I have been tracking my calories, and I have been more actively mindful of my food intake for 10 days (since June 27th, 2020). I am not focusing on the scale yet, that will come. Instead, I am focusing on creating healthier habits and working them into my life in a sustainable way.

So future me can look back, I want to document a little of what that looks like:

  • I am tracking all my food in MyFitnessPal. I haven’t even set a strict goal of eating under a certain calorie limit, I just want to form a habit of tracking for now. Turns out though, when you have to come face to face with your food choices, it inspires you to make better ones.
  • I am tracking seven habits in a personal journal. I use a green, yellow, red color coding system to track how well I did with my breakfast, lunch, dinner, vitamins, exercise, water intake, and mental strength every day. I track it once a day, after breakfast and it takes about 5 minutes. I am starting to see some patterns emerge and it simply helps me to better self-assess.
  • I am actively listening to health focused podcasts and videos.

That’s it. I am focusing on sustainability, playing to my strengths, and being better aware of my weaknesses. I have not made a goal to write Art per Pound posts, I just do that when my brain is swirling and I want to get the thoughts out.

I want to improve my health for good, and that means being honest about my own shortcomings and the realities of life. I am trying to take away the shame and just be realistic. So much of my struggle with food is emotional, so stripping out the emotion and looking at the facts hopefully will help me make better choices. However, I know I need to address the emotions too, in time.

Fall down eight times, get up nine.Japanese Proverb, modified

So apparently June is my month to refocus and restart. Man I hate being predictable. Good thing I have a terrible memory so I can easily forget my repeated stumbles.

So since we last spoke I have quit therapy, regained the weight, my son turned two, and oh yeah, the world has been gripped by a global pandemic.

I’m not upset with myself for quitting therapy, it wasn’t a good fit. I tried it for 3 months, but I always left wanting more from the session; some advice, a guidebook, homework, SOMEthing. It felt like I was paying someone to let me complain to them. And maybe that could help some, but it wasn’t helpful to me.

Since saying goodbye to my therapist, I’ve known that I want a more engaged and active approach to mental health. I still think that addressing my mental health is paramount to finally overcoming my weight issues. That’s proven by the fact that I know exactly what to do to lose weight, I just don’t do those things.

Right now I am trying to be more self-aware about my food choices and have more integrity. By integrity I simply mean being honest with myself. Not judgmental, just honest. I am less focused on the scale right now and more focused on my decision making.

I Flick My Stubby Finger At Thee!

Alas, sugar has me in her tantalizing clutches once again.

I don’t know how I let it happen. Soft serve on a rare Thursday night date, a spoonful of peanut butter on Friday morning when breakfast didn’t feel like enough, key lime pie to celebrate my father’s birthday on Saturday, then pancakes, pizza, and cinnamon dough on Sunday. The urges are swelling like a snowball tumbling downhill, quickly and too easily. But instead of Olaf, I get two pounds of fat back on my hips.

It’s crazy. It didn’t feel like a lot at the time. None of it was frenzied eating, just irresponsible, unprepared, and lazy. That little voice told me I’d earned it somehow. I have to learn the difference between my conscience and the little devil sugar fairy on my shoulder. I want to flick her in her little liar face.

So, we right the ship again. My breakfast and lunch have been sensible, my dinner is planned, and I’ve already had 30 oz of water. I’m feeling better, less headachey and fake-hungry. We sail on.

Spot the Difference

Last week I found a “Weight-Loss Reflections” journal I wrote in 2008. I took “Before” photos that would now feel like “Progress” photos. I was 227 pounds when I started that time. This time I started 50 pounds heavier.

11 years ago I wrote, “It’s going to take A LOT of work and time to undo a lot of what I’ve done to my body.  This initial motivation is going to fade, I’m going to get frustrated with the lack of obvious results, and I’m going to want to quit. I feel as though I’m finally being realistic about that. That doesn’t mean I expect to fail.  My past habits will not be repeated if I acknowledge them, prepare for them, and battle through.”

Oy. It hit me really hard listening to my own optimism that in time proved to be insufficient. What struck me more was how I could have written so much of that journal again today. Have I learned nothing? Have I not grown at all? Is this weight loss attempt also futile?

Oh Sisyphus, I know that feel brah.

I let myself feel sad and broken for a few days after reading it. I’m still sad, but also a bit more determined to do better. I have to be honest with myself about it. I have already come to terms with the fact that weight is my battle in this life, so I haven’t really learned anything new. It was a bit of a smack in the face nonetheless.

So how is this go-round any different? Besides of course, being older and fatter. And does it even need to be different for it to work this time?

Well I’m finally going to therapy to address my broken brain. That’s something. I also have a much better support system now. My husband is damn near perfect, but don’t tell him I said that. Plus, I’m taking everything much slower now and have accepted the fact that this will be a long journey. I also appreciate my current body and its capabilities more now, even though it’s older and creakier.

So who knows? Maybe I will be reading this again someday wishing my starting weight could be 278 pounds. If that’s the case, here’s my message to me: “Hey you, glad you found your way back to a healthier mindset, despite what you’ve been through. I’m doing my best to help you out, but we are both aware of this cycle, and how flawed I am. Try to be kind to yourself and do something today to feel more in control. You can think about your issues for ages without gaining insight. Action matters more. Love to you.”


2 Months In

Starting Weight: 278 pounds
Current Weight: 259 pounds
Weight Lost: 19 pounds

I have logged all my food on MFP for 60 days in a row! Woot! Woot! It seems everyone has a different timescale for what makes a habit. I have logged for 2 months now, but I wouldn’t call it a habit yet, it’s more like a benign chore. Just something that needs to be done in order to function as an adult, like cleaning the kitchen. I don’t really mind and I feel better once I’ve done it.

After I felt myself losing focus last week, I made the following list of Scale and Non-Scale Victories that I am looking forward to checking off:

Scale Goals:

✔ Down 10 lbs: 268 lbs
☐ Down 25 lbs: 253 lbs
☐ Weigh <250 lbs by John and Sam’s wedding (Sept 20, 2019)
☐ Lose more than my son weighs: ~243 lbs
☐ Down 50 lbs: 228 lbs
☐ Weigh less than my husband: 224 lbs
☐ Under 100 kg: 220 lbs
☐ BMI Class 2 Obese: 215 lbs (39.3 bmi)
☐ Onderland: 199 lbs
☐ BMI Class 1 Obese: 188 lbs (34.4 bmi)
☐ 100 lbs down: 178 lbs
☐ BMI Class Overweight: 161 lbs (29.4 bmi)
☐ Reached Goal Weight: 160 lbs
☐ Lose ~1.2 lbs/week on average

 Non-Scale Goals:

☐ Someone notices my weight loss
☐ Wedding ring fits on ring finger
☐ Fit into 2x company cotton polo
☐ Fit into wedding dress
☐ Ride a rollercoaster without worry
☐ Take an airplane without worry
☐ Buy clothes in standard shops
☐ Fit into skinny clothes box
☐ My husband is able to lift me up

It really helps me to focus on the small scale victories. Looking at  losing 100+ pounds is simply daunting and seemingly insurmountable. But my next scale goal is just 6 pounds away!