Seeing red … A numbers game

I am shocked I haven't gone certifiably insane during this whole healthy life journey.  If you aren't careful a person can get very caught up in the numbers.  Numbers like:

How many carbs did I have today? What percentage of my day was fat and what percentage was protein? Out of the carbs I ate how much of it was good useable carbs? How many glasses of water did I drink? On and on and on.

The number that is kicking my ass this week is the scale.  The scale and I go through different periods.  Sometimes I get on it I see a loss and I'm happy.  Sometimes I get on it and I see no loss but no gain and I'm okay with it because I know I still look good.  Sometimes I see a gain and I'm fine because I probably retained more water that day or worked out too hard. Sometimes I see a gain and I see red. Sometimes I see a loss and I want to smash the fucking scale to pieces.

Here is an example.

About two weeks ago I reached 142 on the scale.  I was over the moon.  I felt like a sexy, fit, healthy, mass of awesome.  I was the lightest I had been in 14 years.  The next day I hit 141.  There was some fist pumping and naked dancing involved.  Then, through a series of unfortunate events I saw 144 on the scale.  I was destroyed.  Not because that is a bad weight but because I knew how I had gotten there.  It involved a sandwich, an injury, and one bad mood.

It took me five whole days to see 142 on the scale again.  One would think I would be happy.  I am not.  I am not because it should be 138 not 142.  I shouldn't have had the gain to start with.  This time around, two weeks later 142 feels fat, it feels like shame, it feels not good enough.  It makes me want to throw my glass scale at a wall.  I feel frumpy, I feel like the same clothes that fit at 152 are suddenly now tight and gross looking.


This was me at 152.  I felt skinny, and cute and full of progress.  Today I won't even look at those jeans because I just know they would look awful on me.

This was a progress shot around 150…I was so proud.

This was a progress shot at 141.  I was feeling it that day.  I had only small critiques, I was rocking my red booty shorts, I didn't hate my stomach above my C-section scar.  I was the bomb.  Today….I won't go near the mirror. I weigh one pound more then I did in that photo, and that one pound is murdering my mind.

I finally fit into my little red lounge shorts two weeks ago.  I felt stunning. I strutted around the house in my little outfit feeling the best I ever had.  Today, I crumpled up the little red shorts and shoved them in the bottom of my drawer because I just know they will not fit.

Last week I was progressing photos left and right.  I was feeling good. I was feeling like I had muscle. I was confident at the gym.  I was loving me.  Today I want to wear a mumu.

I've been wearing my little shorts to the gym, seeing progress in my legs, learning to be comfortable with the fact that my legs will never look like the younger girls at the gym, but they look better then they did.  Wednesday and Thursday I wore pants to the gym, because I couldn't stand my legs at 143.

I know this will go away, that it's a mental phase, and that in a week I will feel normal again but this week, this week has been hard.  Some weeks I can ignore the scale. Some weeks I know that my weight might go up but my body fat goes down.  This week, this week everything logical has left my brain and I'm mad at the world.  I'm eating as clean as possible. I'm watching my macros. I'm working out as hard as ever, where are my fucking results.

I know, I know somewhere in the rational part of my brain that I only weight 142 pounds, I am not going to have huge losses anymore. I'm going to maintain and it's going to take even more time to reach goals then it ever has.  I've tried changing my goals from numerical goals to gym goals. I want to be able to do cleans.  I want to be able to do a stupid overhead squat.  I want to see definition in my back.  I'm trying to not give myself numerical goals.  It's almost impossible, because the back of my mind always has a tiny number bouncing around inside of it laughing at me, teasing me.

I hate, HATE, the weeks I cannot make my head be rational.  It's worse knowing I'm being completely irrational and still continuing to do so.

I wrote about this for one reason. I  wanted everyone to see this journey isn't easy.  That 17 months in I still struggle.  That I'm not some perfect little fitness geek who has amazing results every day and who never judges herself harshly. I wanted you all to also see that I'm not quitting.  That I'm mad as hell right now and nothing is going my way, but you can bet your ass I took myself to the gym four days last week and still ate clean.  I did not binge, I did not stay home and be lazy, because I knew in the end I would rather not look back and regret the time wasted, the workouts lost, and the food eaten.  I want people to see every side of this journey.  The good parts, the progress photos, the weight loss celebrations, but also, the bad parts.  The self loathing, the mind fucks, the weight gains.  All of it, so that when it happens to you and you want to give up, you won't. Because this has happened before and I always manage to pull out of it, and come out ahead, and you can too, as long as you don't give into the negativity and let it win. 

But how did you lose the weight

I just realized I spend a lot of time talking about my progress but not enough time talking about HOW I've lost the weight.  I'm going to tell you what works for ME.  Just because it works for ME does not mean it is right for YOU.

The first thing I did was join a gym.  I joined a gym to see if I could stick with it.  I worked out on my own for five months.  About three months in I began to change my food slowly.  First I just tried counting calories.  Then I met my trainer and I got a little more serious about my calories. 

One day it all clicked.  You cannot lose weight without eating right. This meant a complete overhaul of my food.  Abs are made in the kitchen not the gym.  The first thing I did was join a private Facebook group with other women trying to lose weight.  We made a pact to eat clean and log all of our meals, along with photos to share with each other.  For me tracking my food is necessary.  I use the My Fitness Pal app and it works wonders. I tracks my calories, my protein intake, my cholesterol and sugar.  I had to learn how important protein was.  For my body and workout load I need 105 grams of protein a day.  I had to learn that my trainer was right, focusing on weights was far better at burning fat then cardio. I typically spend five days a week going hard on weights alternating upper body and lower body every other day.  Once a week I do a strictly cardio day. Once a week I try and get in a good hike or a long walk with my dog.  I make sure to use every possible muscle during my workouts.  I learned to squat at least seven different ways, all of them working a different area of your legs.

I made the change to clean eating.  The first big change was eliminating almost all processed foods, anything artificial and anything with fake food dye in it.  However I don't eliminate any other food.  My morning protein shake has a quarter cup of raw oatmeal in it.  At lunch I have a half of a whole wheat flat bread with my avocado and toppings.  I splurge on cashew butter. I keep chocolate chips in the freezer in case I get an insane sugar craving.  I don't eat eggs which means I had no problem giving up cookies or cakes.  The lack of eliminating foods makes this so feasible.  My morning protein shake includes organic chia sees, unsweetened coconut milk, organic plant based protein powder, frozen fruit, or sliced apples, and some Stevia.  I snack ALL DAY LONG.  I honestly probably eat every hour or two.  Raw cashews, apples, fresh cherries, avocados, and hot sauce are staples in my daily life.  I subscribe to the Graze Calorie box for good clean snacks when I really really need a treat.  The biggest hugest change I made was cutting out all coffee creamer.  I now use unsweetened coconut milk and Stevia.  Nothing else.  If I have a late night junk food craving I eat a quarter cup of good vanilla yogurt, sliced strawberries and ten chocolate chips. On the rare occasion I have oatmeal or granola for breakfast it is filled with at least a quarter cup of fresh blueberries, and topped with coconut milk. I cut out ALL soda.  I only drink water, sparkling water and coffee.  Nothing else.

I make sure to have protein AFTER my workouts so I can replenish my muscles. 

I workout often.  When I cannot workout I do things like sets of 100 squats while watching TV.  I focus on my planking in all positions to help my oblique, core, and the rest of my body.

I do not exceed 1200 calories.  I also track my workouts on Run Keeper which imports my calorie burn to my Fitness Pal so I can see what my calorie deficit is for the day. I wear a Polar Watch to track my daily gym burn. 

I've eliminated cereal, cookies, ice cream, ramen, from my regular foods.

If I am out and about and need a quick breakfast Whole Foods helps

At night to cleanse my system I add this to boiling water and drink it, along with a shot of apple cider vinegar.

At work when I'm in the middle of my snacking I usually turn to this as a quick fix for carbs, and healthy fat.

Whole Foods rescues me for lunch sometimes too

I keep these protein bars in my gym bag for a quick clean protein fix after my work out.

My morning oatmeal prep

How I pack for work

Quick dinner ideas, Portobello, avocado and seasoning

I work out hard.  I do not screw around at the gym. I don't chat, flirt, or behave lazy.  I go there to do work.  I have a trainer who taught me all of the muscles in my body and which order to work them so I don't fatigue myself.

This has been over a year long journey and honestly it never ends.  There was no quick fix. I refuse to join some program or buy into a meal replacement shake. I just eat clean as often as possible and work out as much as I can.  I subscribe to the 80/20 rule.  That means 80% of the week I eat on point and 20% of the week stuff like dining out happens.

I've stopped rewarding myself with food. When I hit a goal I do something for myself, a pedicure, new work out clothes, etc.  I never reward with food.  If I have a bad day where I mess up and eat some chips I don't panic, I just continue on my path.  There are no gimmicks, no pills, no quick fixes.  This is the healthy right way to live and it works.  I hope you finally wake up one day and realize you are ready for a change also.  Because this has been the most incredible thing I've ever done for myself.

The weight of it all

Yes. I'm still talking about fitness.  Get used to it. I suppose I could change the name of this blog but I don't want to. Just because I chose to stop putting my kids lives out there for the world to see doesn't make me any less of a misguided mommy.  Now I'm just a fit mommy.  You guys all traveled through the first years of parenting with me when all I talked about was poop, and baby clothes, and granny panties.  Now you can follow along with me on this life changing experience.

I've talked about this before but since it's happening right now at this very minute I thought I would bring it up again.  Weight loss is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise and a billion percent mental.  By far the biggest struggle I've had is convincing myself I do not weigh 198 pounds again.  I think people who maybe just gained baby weight and lost it don't quiet understand the struggle of spending at least 10 years of your life overweight and then losing 55 pounds in just a year.  I took ten years to adjust my head around being fat, I cannot adjust it around be thin in only 15 months.  Everyone has their own coping mechanism and mine happens to be photos.  My iPhone right now is 90% pictures of me in various states of undress or different gym outfits and maybe 10% family.  This has been the most helpful part of my mental journey.  This weekend I gained three pounds.  Normally I'm not bothered by that because usually It's after a good workout and my body fat is dropping so I know it was muscle.  This time however I knew it was poor food choices.  The first poor food choices I have made in almost 90 days.  Those three pounds quickly manifested into ten pounds in my head.  By the time I hit the gym I no longer weighed 146 pounds, I weighed 178.  By the time I made it home I was almost back to 198 pounds in my mind.  My stomach was protruding and fat and looked like I was carrying a four month pregnancy. I felt gross and could not wait to take off the cute gym shorts I had loved hours before and hide my thighs immediately.

Tonight though I did something different. Instead of hiding I got in front of the mirror and started snapping away.  I'm a firm believer that mirrors don't lie.

Wait. That girl in the mirror isn't 198 pounds.  Shes kinda hot. Let's double check.

Those are two totally different girls. How did I not see this? 

This morning I started the day out feeling so thin, my shirt size was smaller, my pants too baggy…where did it all go wrong?

Wasn't I just the girl proudly wearing a cute little romper around feeling like the most beautiful girl in the world?

I know what happened.  I went form 143 to 146 without a body fat loss.  In my head I can gain weight as long as my body fat drops.  If I gain and the body fat stays the same my mind spirals out of control with doomsday scenarios.

It's so strange that I can lose 55 pounds (52 as of today) and yet I'm still at the store buying large shirts,

When will that fat girl mentality go away. When will I walk into a store and confidently pick up a medium, or hell even a small and know that it will fit? When will I stop second guessing myself and the words of everyone around me?

I've been accused of being a gym rat.  Of spending too much time at the gym.  Of wasting too much time taking photos and doing side by sides.  I've been told to let it go, move on…insert the chorus of "Let It Go Here."  This makes me so fucking massively angry.  How dare you judge my journey.  How dare you judge my methods of getting there.  I eat clean.  I work out. I hike. I run. I go to the lake and hike the rocks and then spend the day relaxing.  I rent giant inflatable slip n slides and spend the day with a bunch of nine year olds racing down the slide with them.  I take my dog for walks.  I do squats while I watch TV.  I am living a healthy lifestyle this is my normal.  But telling me that my way is wrong or frowned upon is the worst thing you can do.

I'm bipolar, manic depressive and have one of the worst cases of self abhorrence I've ever seen.  Telling me that my way isn't right isn't going to encourage me to do it your way, it's going to encourage me to stop it all.  If you really love me you need to accept my methods. Spending nights at the gym is what works for me.  It's motivating.  I walk in and people stop me to tell me how incredible I look.  People stop me, ME, now to ask for advice.  People stop me and say "I've seen your photos you are such an inspiration." That doesn't happen on a walk.  That doesn't happen on a bike ride. That happens in the gym.  You develope this incredible group of friends who become a solid support system. Who notice if you stop coming, who notice when you are having a bad day and need a push, who notice your achievements.  I've never been on a hike and had someone stop me to tell me how inspirational I was.

All of the positive feedback at my gym has encouraged me to take classes to be a trainer.  I may never become a trainer but what better way to get in shape then to take the classes and learn all about your body.  I have the most incredible trainer ever.  He's seen me at my lowest, my heaviest, my saddest, my most broken and beaten down moments and he's picked me up and cheered me on and supported me through every single moment I question if I had one more squat in me, one more dead lift, one more minute of fitness left. He's stood by me, never missed an appointment, always had a smile waiting, and encouraging words.  He's never let me give up.  He has always treated me as though I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.  Perhaps to some paying for a trainer is the wrong way to do it.  For me, paying this man to be by my side daily has been the best choice I could have made to change my life.  He is truly one of my closest friends.  Not many people can handle my moods, my self loathing, my temper, the moments when I shut down and get lost in my head and just cannot keep going. He does.  He stops the workout, helps me clear my mind, and then punishes me for even second guessing myself.  I've said it a thousand times before I owe Rockey my life.

You don't get this kind of feed back and support outside on a hike or a bike ride.  I'm sure there are people out there who don't need that reassurance but they didn't spend 10 years at a dangerous high body weight, with heart disease inducing cholesterol.  Maybe those people with just a few pounds to lose have no idea what it's like to have been an XL bordering on an XXL they don't know that when your solution to everything is emotional eating and self hate that gaining back every pound is a real fear.   People need to realize every journey is different.  Mine started and ends at the gym. I feel safe there. I feel welcome there.  I feel supported there.  I am praised there. I'm an inspiration there.  People stop me at the gym now for advice and tips because they have watched my progress this last year and a half.

Remember before you judge anyone method of losing weight to realize that most likely they have chosen the method that they know is the safest to keep them from falling back into old habits.  They pay for that trainer because his job is to hound you, and encourage you and tell you that you can do just one more set, just one more curl, just one more, and then high five you and whoop loudly at the gym celebrating YOU. 

No I won't stop taking before and after pics. I won't let it go, I won't move on from that.  Because those photos are what saves me from feeling super depressed and eating a bag of ramen, a family size bag of lays, an entire container of chocolate chips, and jelly straight from the jar, all in under ten minutes.  Those photos stop me in my tracks, clear up my perspective and save my life daily.

Look at her.  Isn't she beautiful?  Isn't she worth it?  Thank god she took that picture that morning, so later in the day when the self loathing kicked in she could flip to that photo in her phone and realized, she is perfect in an imperfect way.