Exercise, The Good, The Bad, The Ugly
A few months ago I said that I would consistently bike and work out for the benefit of circulation and heart health… I quit probably the next day.
However! I lost a considerable amount of weight through eating properly so I thought I might try exercising to start building muscle and tone my body for when I lose enough weight for it to show. A few weeks ago I began cycling on a stationary bike and lifting weights and the difference between how I feel about exercising now compared to how I felt about it then is lightyears apart. When I weighed 270 pounds I would try exercising and feel horrible about myself because everything hurt and I couldn’t accomplish the physical tasks that a normal person could do. I believe I was 210 pounds when I tried biking again and I felt the exact same way. Now that I am 190 pounds I feel like I can actually move my body without it hurting!
I think that the problem with when I started exercising before is that I set a goal that was unachievable, I think the goal was something like; bike for an hour each day or until I burned off 500 calories. Immediately I was exhausted, in pain, and willing to quit. Now I only bike for 25 minutes every other day and lift weights for 5-10 minutes and I feel amazing!
I can wake up naturally at 8:00am and feel vibrant, each time I drip with sweat I feel this overwhelming sense of accomplishment, and the exfoliation is amazing. I don’t think I would be able to do any of the exercise at this consistency with the weight I had before. I realize that I was over extending myself and flying past what I should have done for what I was able to do but I have this new understanding of how important nutrition for the journey of weight loss.
I have recently been interested in the YouTuber Michelle Khare who makes videos called ‘Extreme Body Makeover’ where she takes a friend or family member and helps then achieve their ultimate physical potential. Several of the people she helps are over 250 pounds and while they do incorporate exercise the reality of the situation is that if they (even stated by the nutrition guy) if the diet does not correspond with the exercise there will be no results.
When you start exercising, be respectful to what your body can handle. If you sit on the couch every day then your body cannot handle a sudden flip to running for 30 minutes everyday. Pick something fun as well! I found this great spin class video on youtube that does an intense 20 minute work out and it is so much fun!
I really forgot what it was like!
Yesterday I had the privilege of being a poll clerk at my local voting station. The day was exceptionally long, the final result is 15 hours clocked in but the pay (and the story) is totally worth it.
A day before I was scheduled to work the poll I was called by a fellow worker to describe to me what I needed to bring and apparently one of the other women was a caterer willing to provide food for the day for $10 dollars a person. I knew exactly what the food would consist of so I covered my tracks and said that I have a whole bucket worth of dietary requirements so I will have to bring my own lunch.
I arrived and noticed immediately that I was the thinnest one there, I was shocked, this has never happened before, it was’t a matter of scrutinizing and comparing myself to everyone else but an instant realization, everyone weighed at least what I used to at my heaviest or more. Everyone had several fifteen minute breaks that I tried to take advantage of but could never seem to use up the full time. I would fill up my water bottle, make some tea, eat my egg, go to the bathroom, get back to my table and be told that I only used up seven minutes.
I was shocked at my partner, for breakfast she ate goat cheese and blueberries. For lunch she had the little sandwiches, some veggies doused in sauce, and the sugar nibbles provided, several times. She then proceeded to snack on trail mix, raisins, granola bars, and eventually some ‘yogurt balls’. She turned to me and said, “these are balls of yogurt but my granddaughter thinks they are white chocolate! So I let her have at them.” and instinctually I replied, “well, there’s probably the same amount of sugar in them as white chocolate.” She looked at me for a second and admitted that they were quit sweet, then proceeded to look at the package, then hurried into the kitchen to look at a package of sugary treats, then for at least 20 minutes maintained a perturbed look on her face. Of course dinner time finally arrived and everyone had their turn going at it. Each of the people I worked with piled their plates high with pasta and ‘salad’. They all hid in a corner to eat their food, then went for seconds and there was still food left over! Everyone had piles of carbs on top of dessert which was some kind of butter tart with chocolate.
Even though the food was supposed to be eaten by the people who payed for it there were several instances where different people suggested that I have some. Even though I continued to say no, I brought a lunch, I have dietary restrictions, I’m allergic to chocolate, the guilt tripping and pushing just kept coming. I stayed firm but I had no idea how much time I used to take out of my day to eat! It was like the people coming in to vote were interrupting the main event, snacking.
Overall, what I am trying to say is, if you don’t understand why you are not losing weight or are gaining weight, tack a look at your environment. This was all normal to these people, the carbs, the constant eating, and it used to be normal for me too. Now I know.
So here’s the thing, I like exercising. I get on my stationary bike every other day and I ride until I am dripping with sweat. I lift weights! I lift weights until my arms tell me not to lift weight anymore. Do I think exercising is good for you? Oh yes! Definitely! Do I think exercise can help you lose weight? No. No I don’t.
Exercising makes me feel amazing! I get the rush of it, the satisfaction of it, the accomplishment of it. It makes me feel detoxified and strong, has it ever helped me lose weight? Has it burned my fat? No! Exercising is great in the way that it helps with circulation, muscle maintenance and growth, and sweating out excess water, but it doesn’t burn the fat.
If you are thinking about losing weight but are afraid of exercise, don’t over do it. Focus on the diet and changing the way you eat first, make healthy decisions and once you are confident you have the food under control then attempt the exercise. This way you won’t become overwhelmed with changing everything about how you eat AND feeling uncomfortable with movement and muscle fatigue.
I would like to say that I am thankful for everyone who reads this blog, is supportive of learning about nutrition, my weight loss so far, mu future weight loss, all of the people who have supported me, and more!
This Thanksgiving was wonderful. I spent time with my family, I spent time with some friends, and I cheated the hell out of my diet! Luckily my brothers birthday falls on the day after Thanksgiving so I got all my cheating over with in two days but wow! Is the feeling of awfulness lasting for longer. My body is definitely sending me a sign that I feel really great on the diet and I feel really NOT great when I am off the diet.
I indulged in potatoes, stuffing, squash, birthday cake, cocktails with sugar in them, all that fun stuff. I am very excited to get back on the lifestyle to say the least, I feel bloated and gross. Not only do I feel gross but I did obviously gain some weight during this holiday splurge which I was not surprised about. I am now worried that I won’t reach my goal for this year due to this, so now I am turning up the keto to high intensity! I am fasting, eating zero carb, and drinking my weight in water to get the motion going.
Bear with me! And wish me luck!
Beyoncé Cochella Diet
I have spoken about the pros and cons of a vegan diet before, most of my friends who turn vegan make the mistake of substituting all the protein they need with high carb alternatives such as bread, bagels, wheat made whatever, etc. Looking at Beyoncé’s diet I feel like this is what I would have to go on to lose weight and maintain a vegan status. Here is the basis of her diet,
Beyoncé: I’m limiting myself to,
I don’t have Netflix so I did not watch her documentary but I did watch a lot of Youtubers trying it out and I discovered two things, #1 I find it extremely difficult to watch Youtubers and #2 there was a lot of substituting protein with carbs and sugar.
What I noticed was that people trying it would eat a ton of smoothie bowls and if you are a keto lifestyler like me you know that there is a ton of sugar in fruit that has been blended up together.
I was also surprised at the lack of imagination and creativity that went into meal preparation, so many people just gave up and bought ready made meals from vegan stores. I have always detested the idea of becoming vegan myself but I have friends who are vegan that I help with recipes all of the time! Just the other day my vegan friend discovered mushroom caps and I came up with four different recipes on the spot!
If I had to do this diet this is what it would look like,
Lettuce leaf (as the wrap)
Grilled red pepper, onion, cherry tomatoes, oregano and a touch of olive oil.
Boil up a head of broccoli,
Blend the broccoli with some of the water you boiled it in,
Add some non sweetened almond milk,
Bing Bang Boom Broccoli soup.
Steamed spinach with garlic
Grilled green pepper and onion
There you go! As well to this diet there was an excessive amount of training and cardio. I don’t know if this diet would really work better than other vegan diets without the exercise.
Try it, be careful, have fun!
Plus Size Clothing
The biggest size that I have ever been is a 22 (24 on a bad day). Just when I thought I had gotten myself down to a size 16 my mom buys me a pair of shorts (out of the kindness of her heart) and they are a size 18. At first I feel bad because I think that I am going to put them on and they are going to be too big. I put on the shorts and they fit just right. Unfortunately for my poor mother this put me in a horrible mood. I even measured myself to see what size I am according to the internet, and to my surprise the internet says I am a size 14.
What. The. Hell.
Needless to say, store sizes frustrate the hell out of me. One minute I’m a size 14 and the next I’m shot right up to a size 18 in the matter of walking from one rack to the next. I find I still go to plus size clothing stores because I feel like even though I should technically fit into anything at the regular store, I just don’t. Plus size clothes confuse me as well however, I bought the first pair of short shorts that I have ever owned. I have worn them several times (mostly around the house and the pool) but the material has already worn out. The elastic that I am assuming is woven into the material has broken in the front, making a puckering effect that is not flattering whatsoever.
I am always frustrated at the lack of quality of plus size clothing, especially for the price that they are sold at. The cut is always in a “this is what a ‘woman’ shape is” sort of cut. So what do I recommend? Make your own clothes. I know! This sounds stupid! But it isn’t, really. I made a dress a while ago that is a size 16, my mother was the only one who could wear it, until now. Not only does it fit, not only is there wiggle room, but I think that I am almost a size smaller than it! All of this is amazing, but to the big brands I am still a size 18… or 16…. or maybe 14 on a good day.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I love this movie. I have never watched a movie about a day dreamer that has been done so well! ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ is about a man who has never done anything significant in his life but constantly day dreams about doing the most extraordinary adventures. Suddenly his lively hood is threatened as his job is deemed unnecessary so he sets out to find the one piece that might save it. He learns how to be adventurous, courageous, and live in the moment. Of course in the end he also gets his love interest and a whole bunch of other things that he always wanted.
ANYWAY I thought I might write about it today in an attempt to connect it to the weight loss journey. A great way to understand what it is like to be an entirely different person with an entirely different life is to physically remove yourself an put yourself where you want to be with the people you want to know. Start going to places and behaving with people in the way you want to. Want to be apart of a tennis club? Go join a tennis club or at least write down the way you think they would act, what they would talk about, what they would eat.
I have always dreamed about living in an apartment in New York City. The walls would be brick and painted yellow and the grouting would be filled in with black paint. I would have a big beautiful oil painting that is filled with rich deep colours hanging on the wall. The others walls would have shelves where I put all the things I have collected from my travels over the years. I would have pictures framed! My refrigerator would be filled with healthy food that I bought from the local market! Every room would be neat and tidy but welcoming in the sense that someone lived there. I would have a fragrance from candles in my beautiful apartment and every month I would switch it up! I would have cute clothes that I would feel proud to wear and take Instagram photos of all the time!
This is a pretty big dream that will take a TON of work to achieve, but I don’t need to actually live in New York City to live this way. I can clean my room and make it look tidy, welcoming, and smell good right now! I can go to the local market (that is probably more local than anything in New York anyway) and buy healthy produce and meats. I can make a dream board that will help remind and motivate me with all my goals and aspirations in life!
I can eat like I am the healthy person that I have always wanted to be, I can behave like the happy person I am and will become, I can be the person I want to be even if outwardly it isn’t reflected right now. Right now you have a secret life just like Walter Mitty, day dreaming and hoping something amazing and noteworthy might happen, the truth is you can make this happen right now or take the steps to getting it going right now! Take the leap!
Breaking the Allusion
How long have I been photoshopping my face onto a supermodels head in my mind? Probably years. That’s the goal right? To have perfect sun kissed asking, smooth body parts that have never experienced any form of stress, hardly an ounce of fat to be seen. I recently realized that this is never going to happen. Shockingly enough, it has taken me this long to come to terms with this fact!
Am I surprised? Not really. Am I devastated? A little bit. Losing weight and overcoming the sugar addiction, and accepting that I won’t be able to ever eat my feelings again is a ton of work and to come to the conclusion that all of this hard work won’t result in a body that a magazine would publish is sad. Unfortunately, even with this conclusion, I can’t turn around and just give up.
This realization can be shattering for some people as they have been fantasizing themselves into a supermodel for years. The important thing to remember is that if you reach your goal, even if it isn’t the goal you originally dreamed up, it will be better then the state you were in before. I remember when I weighed 270 pounds, was I happy? No. Was I proud of the way I looked? Absolutely not. Did people treat me well, with respect, admiration, kindness? Close to never.
I am not at my goal yet, I am not even at a healthy weight yet, and how has my life changed? I feel comfortable buying clothes. I am happier than I have ever been before. I am treated with respect, and if I’m not I love myself enough to give those crappy people the boot. Understanding that I will never have the ‘perfect body’ took a bit of grieving. Did I cry? Maybe I would have a few years ago, but no I didn’t. I have proven to myself that I can be happy without the photoshopped body. Maybe I won’t wear a bikini but I will wear a bathing suit at the beach, and that is a huge accomplishment.
So Close Yet So Far!
Meeting goals and staying happy and satisfied with your progress don’t always come hand in hand. My overall goal for this year was to lose 50 pounds by October 22, and I am nervous. It is already October 9th and while I have made great strives in my weight loss journey I am still 13 pounds away from my goal. This only gives me exactly 13 days to lose 13 pounds, and there is the hurtle of Thanksgiving, then going to Toronto for a few days on business. Never mind, I am not nervous, I am terrified.
It pains me to type this, and by no means am I giving up, but I think I may have to accept the fact that I will not achieve my goal. I will not let myself fall into despair by any means because coming this far is such a huge success that there is no way to ignore my weight loss. I will not lose sight of the real goal; to become healthy. I will not allow myself to throw in the towel and let the intrusive thoughts of ‘I will never be thin’ enter my mind.
Staying positive, and on the right track, even though there is a huge possibility that things won’t work out exactly as you want them to is a way of being that must be acknowledged and addressed. When you are making any kind of change in your life, saving money, changing careers, having a child, moving to a new house, there will be so many things that go wrong and right that you did not expect. Maybe you won’t be able to put on a brave face through it all, but staying true to the final destination is important on the road to success.
I am not going to get discouraged or sad or angry at myself. Instead I am going to continue what I am doing. I am going to do what I know works and implementing all that I have learned from writing a blog post about health everyday for 351 days! I am going to instil fast days again, I am going to cut back the carbs again (yes, maybe my short comings have been because of my love of grapes), and I am going to ride the waves of cravings until I get to my goal.
As for Thanksgiving, I am a little trepidatious that I will over indulge on some things, and I probably will, but this is nothing a huge bucket of water and a fast day immediately after can’t fix. I will enjoy myself and keep my goal in mind so I don’t lose focus.
Not caring about food
We’ve all thought about it, ‘how do skinny people not care about food?’ I would be lying to you if I said that I no longer care greatly about food. I still fantasize about pumpkin pie and turkey when holidays are nearing, my mouth still waters at the thought of going out to the movies, I still have to force myself to remember how much I like salad when going out to dinner.
Learning how to not care about food is probably something that is unattainable for me because my whole being revolves around food. I revolved around it when I was addicted to sugar, and I revolve around it now that I have to concentrate on not eating sugar. People who don’t care about food grew up in an environment that did not prioritize it. I remember comparing myself to my friend when I was much younger, my family ate together during dinner, watching T.V., birthdays, any holiday, what have you, all we thought about was the meal to come. My friends family on the other hand revolved around sports. They would plan hikes, bike rides, swimming competitions, whatever physical activity they could get their muscular hands on they would do it.
Do I wish my family was more interested in sports? No… not really. Meal time was more of a bonding experience then sports was for her family. I remember the strenuous relationship she always had with her parents and her brothers because, well, three of them were boys so they were automatically better at sports than her and her mother was a champion biker, swimmer, and runner. There was a lot of competition in the family and a lot of the time the one not winning was her. My family was just bonded because everyone was interested in cooking, learning new recipes, trying new things, enjoying or hating it together. There was no competition, until it came down to who was doing the dishes.
Instead of learning how to not care about food, worrying when you will be able to ‘take it or leave it’ it is better to learn how to respect food and your body. Everyone dreams that one day they will be able to look at a carrot and have the same reaction as looking at cake, but that will never happen. Learn how to say to yourself ‘if I don’t have this now, it is not the end of the world.’ and be able to sit with yourself in satisfaction that you did not indulge in overeating of cheating on your diet.
Respecting food means to be able to look at it, leave it, and come to terms with the fact that it’s not that you will never be able to have it but you just don’t want it right now because it does not coincide with your goals. Be able to care about food in that it is to fuel your body, meet your goals, and achieve a healthy way of being.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.