The Climb Begins… Again.

Sulphur Mountain, Banff, AB. Photo Credit: Jason Nadon

This week begins a new attempt at my most recent weight loss goal and making the choices needed to have success in my attempt. I haven’t done a lot different than what I’ve written about previously – I’m making sure that my daily affirmations are on point, I’m making time each night to capture what went well and where I find difficulty. I’m planning on reviewing the difficult spots and seeing if there is anything I can do week to week to plan better or adjust so that I’m prepared for those same situations if they happen to come back – which they most likely will at some point. Most of all, I make time at the beginning and end of each day to be grateful for the day and where I am in the process and as me. Being grateful for the day and my blessings hasn’t been an area that I’ve struggled with in the past – but being OK with me as I am, in the moment, has been. It’s a work in progress for me and is outside of my comfort zone.

I have made the choice to head back to a familiar place / plan and that is the ketogenic diet. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it, so I’ll save the details unless someone really wants to know specifics about what I’m doing – but it’s pretty much the normal – “limit carbs, lots of protein and some of the ‘good’ fats” type of diet. I know it works for my body – so I figure why fix something that isn’t broken. There are other areas of me that I would classify as broken or at least severely damaged – but my plan through this journey is to acknowledge and work through some of those areas in the hope that I can better adjust to the new me. I’ve told myself to pause on labeling any area where I think I need work – because I do believe that the power of choice allows me the freedom to adapt – and therefore – things can change. I fear that using labels and accepting them would put me in a spot where I feel that I’m unable to change things – and that’s just really not the case. Is change easy? Nope. Is acceptance of myself easy? Nope. But, I once knew someone close to me that wrote a lyric “Nobody gave you a promise that life would be breezy”, and I’m keeping that in mind.

I have worked on reframing my feeling about progress in a positive light – and I’ve decided that I can use the new year as my measuring stick. So far I have 6 days that I would call “off plan”, and 3 that I would call “on plan”. This means that after this week, I’ll have more “on plan” days for 2019. This change in perspective allows me to reach for a very attainable goal and will help with momentum into the second week. I decided to choose the year, but honestly – it could have been anything, a month, a week, even a day. There are times when I need to reframe my perspective to look at the day and just focus on making it the best I can because looking beyond that is too much to handle.

As of today, I’m enjoying feeling better than I have recently while avoiding sugar for the last three days. I’m finding strength in each positive choice that moves me closer to my goals. I’m working to remove stress in anyway possible, and when I feel overwhelmed – taking time to just breathe. I’m looking forward to testing tomorrow to see if I’ve officially reached into the fat burning state of ketosis.

Have you set any new goals recently? How are things going?  

It’s Just A Mountain

The thought of starting over with such a large journey in front of me is a bit scary, a bit frustrating, and a bit overwhelming. I recently heard a song on the radio and it has inspired me to adjust the message a bit and claim it as my mantra for the journey – “it’s just a mountain”.

When I think about it – sure my goal is huge and seems like it can’t be conquered – but I know that the desire to take one step, the commitment to repeat, and the patience to allow for time to pass as steps grow from the first one to the hundredth, thousandth and so on – will eventually see that mountain behind me (again).

There are many beliefs, and much has been written to show that planning your goals out in small, manageable chunks helps to keep the motivation going to set and reach new goals. Some folks call it “small wins”, others refer to it as a different name. The idea behind setting attainable goals is that each time you meet one – you’ll get that feeling of accomplishment, of pride, of confidence in yourself and all of these will lead you to look to the next goal with renewed passion and belief that you can succeed. I used this method when I set my goal to lose weight at the end of 2015. Had I chosen to set my first goal as “lose 200 lbs”, the likelihood that I would have struggle, became frustrated and quit would be certain. I mentioned some of the smaller goals that I had along the way to my main goal in this post about reflection. I plan to use the same method as I re-start, yet again to lose the weight. It’s tough this time around – because I achieved my goal – I made it to where I wanted to be – and then things happened in my life that caused me to question everything that I was doing, including the change to a healthier me. Here is my previous before and after.

Anxiety and depression have taken me back to a spot where I feel like all the work that I did has been undone. It was 14 months of hard work for me to lose over 200 pounds, a 7 month struggle to keep it off and once I felt I had lost the battle it was 8 months to put it back on.

Now I’m starting all over again. Many will tell me that since I’ve done it once, I can do it again. They are right – for it’s just a mountain and I’m mentally preparing myself to start the climb with my first step.

Here’s the song that inspired this post. I’m going to be keeping on high rotation through the journey and especially when I hit those tough spots!

Thanks for reading and following along with me on this new journey.

Another Tough Week – But I Ain’t Done

It has been another week of reflection, reaching deep inside and doing some soul searching, and although I don’t think I like the answer – I may have found an answer – or at very least – something to explore further.

My inner dialog is interesting to me, as I search out answers to what I think are problems. I’m sure that I’m not alone in my general feeling of having things that I want to change, but the tough part is when I try to understand the “why” of the conversation. There are many perspectives of “why” that come into play – the “why do you want to change that?”, “why can’t you just accept you for you?”, and the more negative “why bother?”.

I’ve been on a steady incline in the numbers on the scale and have felt quite out of control with the situation. The higher the numbers get, the more lost I feel, the more I dislike myself, the more weapons my mind seems to pick up and shred my self-esteem with vigor! It’s a nasty cycle of depression, anxiety, self-hatred, self-loathing, and learned hopelessness.

Deep, deep down – there is my logic sector. The part that reminds me that I know that everything comes down to the choices I make, and if I’m unhappy with the choices I’m making – I can change them. This sector and it’s stupid logical thinking usually frustrates me and causes me to activate another area that is more focused on emotion – it’s also the area filled with “why”. It’s a dangerous area for me because logic drowns in that area.

On this horrible one-directional roller coaster ride of weight gain that I’ve been riding lately – I’ve noticed some things and I need to be honest with myself. I’ve been binge eating. I’ve been hiding my eating, and eating the bad options when I’m alone. In a culmination of horrible decisions last weekend I overate to the point of feeling sick, and then it happened – I was sick.

After cleaning up the mess I knew that I needed to think on where I’ve brought myself to and how it is affecting me physically as well as mentally. Over lots of thought and searching, I landed on “food addiction”.

Others may have been able to get to this same conclusion earlier than I – but I’m pretty good at masking / not being *fully* honest when it’s convenient for me, so it may not be apparent to everyone around me.

I told myself that I just needed to stop with the bad food, with the binge eating, and just get back on the program that helped me lose all the weight in the first place. I listened closely for a response… and then heard a soft, meek inner voice say “I can’t”. At this moment I realized that it really may be addiction.

I gave myself some time to let these feeling soak in and didn’t immediately jump to conclusions. I was gentle with myself for the first time in a long time.

I started thinking back to the program that I was on when I lost all the weight. It was extremely restrictive and I was determined to lose the weight. I had wonderful success with it – right until the final phase. In this final phase, I was told that we could add “cheat days” back into our new healthy lifestyle. I was hesitant about this – as I had been avoiding such things with all my might for 14 months at this point.

Slowly I introduced them back in, and looking back I can clearly see that I did have a struggle with it at first. Then as weeks turned to months, I started making it two cheat days a week instead of one. Then as my stress level built and I started to see a bit of the weight come back on – I started to doubt myself and then two cheat days became three and so on. This pattern didn’t stretch (pardon the pun) to the point it has now overnight – it has been a little over a year.

I think that I’m realizing that the introduction of the cheat day was a bad thing for me, because I think (with pretty good certainty) that I’m addicted to certain “bad” foods. I also have an “all or nothing” mindset that makes it very hard to do the “all things in moderation” style of life.

So – where does this leave me? Well – I think that I have a problem that I need to make the choice to address. I know that there are options out there, and I need to battle through the feelings of anger, shame and anything else that comes up (anxiety, depression, self-hatred) that may get in the way of good progress to a better place.

I’m not certain if this will work, I’m not certain if I’ll be able to commit to the change needed to be successful. The only thing I’m certain of right now is that I’m not done… I’m not giving up just yet.

 

Reflection – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

As I type this – I’m on a search for inspiration for myself from myself. The past week has been a bit more cloudy than most in the past month and I’m finding that I’m moving into the hopelessness stage. As I’ve been searching to find inspiration and motivation to help drag myself up from the “funk” I’ve been in lately – I have found myself reflecting on past success. The funny part is – it doesn’t seem to be helping as much as frustrating me.

I can distinctly remember in my journey to lose over 200 lbs the first time – setting goals and working really hard to progress through each one of them. In fact, the goal levels that I had originally are listed below – each is crossed out as I hit the goal – and then at some point – I stopped crossing them out, probably because losing weight became part of me.

  1. “Let’s See The Three’s” – It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a three digit number that starts with a “3”, so that’s my first goal. It’s absolutely obtainable and I’m excited to reach that goal. There is a small in-between goal on the way to this one, which is 410lbs, the weight I was able to get to back in 2012.
  2. “Bringing Back ’98” – When I reach this goal I’ll be back to the weight I was in 1998. This is also the lowest weight that I can remember as an adult. The official weight of this goal is 368.
  3. “Three’s Across The Board” – I randomly picked this as a third goal. Achieving this will prove that my fourth goal is attainable.
  4. “The Terrific Two’s” – Anything with a two in the front counts – that means 299 or less. At this point, I’m planning that I should be moving more into a maintenance phase and looking to introduce other activity to help me keep the weight off and continue losing, but at a much slower rate.
  5. “A New Me” – Life in the two’s with a goal of reaching 280. I want to work on my mental state and start getting used to living my new, lighter life to the fullest.
  6. “Positive Motion” – Focused on activity, this goal will drive me down to the 260 lb mark as I work to continue to lose and start to learn how to maintain.
  7. “Training to Maintain” – This goal will have me arriving at 240 with the thought of maintaining that weight or lower for the rest of my adult life.

I managed to actually get even lower than this and the lowest I had weighed in at was 223 lbs. It’s amazing to think back to that point – because I was starting to fit into XL-sized clothing – where previously I was in 6XL shirts. It’s also painful as I struggle with my current motivation level and coming to grips with the fact that I’ve gained so much of that weight back on.

I look back at pictures from that time frame and I feel amazed and disgusted at the same time. It’s a very confusing and frustrating feeling.

I think at some point I need to forgive myself and start down the path again – but holding an already strong dislike for myself is not making it easy to “move forward” again. I’m also feeling a large amount of shame and find myself not wanting to be around people that had last seen me at the lighter weight.

There are other things that I noticed while losing the weight that are hold true as I gain it back. Here was something that I had put in my journal as I was looking at how some things had started to change as I started losing weight.

I’ve noticed a change in how people treat me…

This one is a sad but true fact. As I’ve been dropping the weight, I’ve noticed a large change in the way that people treat me and I’ve been noticing fewer (still lots) of stares from strangers. This has been one of the most welcome changes for me. I don’t want people to notice me – I just want to live my life without instant judgement. This seems like it will continue to get to a more manageable level, which is exciting.

Now as I’ve moved way up the ladder on my weight again – I’m noticing the stares are increasing. This time I don’t get as frustrated with other people as much as I do with myself, since I had gotten to a place where the staring was minimized quite a bit. This builds on the disdain I feel internally.

I’m at a tough spot… on the positive side – I know in my mind that it’s all about the choices I make and that I can start back with small choices, and the more of the better ones I make the better it will get. On the negative side – there is a part of me that remembers what happens when I get to the summit again. The person inside doesn’t change. The hatred I feel for myself will subside, but not disappear. The elusive “happy” feeling won’t magically appear.

Since my mind is in a bit of a fight with itself right now, I decided that perhaps the more personal post with struggles I’m dealing with was better than trying to get in the mindset to share coping strategies for stress and life balance – I think I’ll save that one until I in a more positive spot.