Getting Healthy: Testing Myself, Trust, and Accountability, Part 2

Here’s Part 1

So what did I learn?

I have changed. It was a lesson in showing me that I have established habits that are set in stone now. I started out thinking I was going to kill a 500+ day streak on MyFitnessPal and I was ok with it, but because of my healthy habits I wasn’t able to break it. During the 7 day test I was running. And running meant turning on an awesome app called RunKeeper which logged my runs into MyFitnessPal…not breaking my streak. So there was that.

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Me and my friend Julie ready for the Midsummer Night’s Run 5K.

Trust. I do NOT trust myself. I could write pages about this and maybe one day I will, but for now all I can say is I have trust issues. With myself. And myself around food. I actually did pretty well in what I ate during the 7 days, but I second guessed everything I put in my mouth. Was it the right thing to eat? Can I Sherlock the calories in my head and trust that it is ok to eat? How did I forget how to add big numbers in my head? I ate that piece of cake and I can’t weigh myself tomorrow, do you think it will matter? Seriously, all of these things went through my head.

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I came to the conclusion, you might say, that I didn’t trust myself because I didn’t trust ‘Fat Tracy’ to not rear her ugly head. To binge and run off the rails completely. So, I have to learn to trust myself. To know that I am a different person with imperfections, ups and downs, and that I’m on a journey. I have to trust that I have learned healthier habits. I’m not the same person, that 317lb woman who was eating herself into a life of unhealthy habits. I’m stronger now. I know I can push my body to amazing physical feats and come back from it. I can’t stuff a whole cake into my stomach and be OK with it.

I’m a better, healthier version of that fat girl now, but she’ll always be there as a reminder. And I have to learn to forgive her, but never forget.

Baby steps. Back to that whole cold turkey thing. Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. So what was I thinking going cold turkey with logging and not weighing myself? Obviously I had a temporary lapse in judgment. Or just plain stupidity. You call it. What have I been saying is one of the keys to weight loss and building healthy habits? BABY STEPS. I mean seriously, BABY Fucking STEPS! I’ve made it this far in my journey to change my life into the healthier, stronger woman that I am because I took it one day at a time and made changes slowly. So why should that be any different when going into a new phase of my life? Well it shouldn’t…but again…momentary lapse in judgment on my part. So my takeaway was to SLOW DOWN.

Baby steps, Bob.  Baby Steps. baby-steps

Accountability. My process to lose 140lbs was to be accountable. Set small goals to get to the big one, but I always had a system to keep me accountable. I still need that accountability. It’s part of that trusting myself thing. So I have to put the brakes on my new journey to ‘normal’/maintenance. I can’t just flip a switch and be in maintenance. I have to break down the process in my head and ease into it. Just like I eased into the process of losing the weight. Now I have to ease into maintaining my current weight to make this my new ‘normal’. Because honestly, I don’t know what my normal is yet.

So, I’m on the quest to find my new ‘normal’. To find that balance. To maintain. And to give myself a break sometimes.

Getting Healthy: Testing Myself, Trust, and Accountability, Part 1

I didn’t realize it’s been almost a month since I last posted anything until I started thinking about EVERYTHING I have done over the past month. Most of which involves going over and over in my head this quest to find a normal and how I go about doing that. I proclaimed in one of my last posts that I was “breaking up with food”, but I’m going to be honest with you. I’m not quite there yet. It sounded good, but what is something else I HAVE learned on this journey to health? Baby steps. So, I’m taking a step back.

What have I been up to you might ask? Well for the first part of the last month or so I conducted a little experiment/test on myself. The second part of the past month was working on screwing my head back on right. You’ll see….read on.

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As part of my grand ‘breaking up with food’ I decided I needed to cleanse my body – a reset – then test myself by not logging my food for 7 days. Well the cleanse went well. I should honestly just leave it at that, but in my vow to be honest and open I will elaborate for you.

Let me start with the cleanse. I’ve never done one. Ever. I look back now over my adolescence of being overweight and actually find it amusing that I’ve never done a cleanse before in my entire life. It wasn’t as scary or bad as I thought it was going to be either. Thankfully I found a great product through Beachbody called the 3 Day Refresh. Yes, it had shakes, but you also got to eat fresh fruits and vegetables along the way. And it truly refreshed and reset my body. I would highly recommend it. The big thing I got out of it was stripping all the dairy and caffeine out of my diet and realizing 1) I was drinking A LOT, like WAY TOO MUCH, if there is such a thing, coffee and 2) me and dairy really just aren’t friends anymore (yay for getting older?). And I lost 6 lbs of yuck from my body.

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So after the cleanse, the next phase was to test myself. To see if I could go 7 days without logging and without weighing myself. This was a mental test. A test of my willpower. A test in trying to find my normal. Whatever that is.

The beginning of those 7 days was HARD. I’ve logged my food for over 500 days straight. Every calorie consumed (for the most part). And then to just go cold turkey? Oh and don’t forget no weighing myself on top of that. When I normally weigh myself every morning. Some say that may be bad, but it’s my checks & balances system to make sure I know I have been on the right (or wrong) track. Well remember when I said one of the things I have learned on this journey is baby steps? Obviously I forgot about that since I decided to go cold turkey. Cold turkey has never worked for me (except for eating on sandwiches).

I passed my 7 day test, despite going cold turkey, and I learned a few things about myself. It’s a journey right?

Part 2 to follow soon.

Getting Healthy: Why

The word why is very important when getting healthy and losing weight.  You have to find your WHY.  Each person has their own.  I know I’ve touched on this before, but when you are wavering on motivation, you have to go back to those whys.

This beautiful girl is one of my whys:

1915858_1438293167217_4844792_nbut back then I didn’t realize I needed a why.  I hadn’t reached the point in my life that I really saw the importance of having a why.

When my motivation has weakened through this journey I like to come back to my whys.  Why do I want to be healthy?  Why do I want to lose the weight?

To show my daughter how to be a strong, healthy woman.  To see my daughter graduate from high school and college.  To see my daughter get married and have children of her own.  To see her live her life from a beautiful little girl into a successful, smart, beautiful woman.

My why isn’t just for my daughter, but it is a big one.  I have had many whys along the way.  Some that are constant – to be healthy for my daughter, husband and family.  And some that have come and gone….to get to the next goal, run the next mile, or fit into a certain size clothing.

So, remember your whys and they will get you through to the next wave of motivation that you can ride to your next goal.

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Getting Healthy: Finding my normal and breaking up with food

I’m going to start with saying, brace yourself.  This is a long one….

I went on vacation at the beginning of the month to visit family and my hometown of Tulsa, OK. I was so excited to see my family – my mom, my sister, my aunt Nancy and my cousins, and even some old friends to show them the smaller me.  It had been a year since I had seen most of them.

While I was on vacation, two things happened; both revelations of sorts that hadn’t happened yet in this journey to get healthy and well frankly needed to happen.  And in their happening it has sent my head spinning.

The first being, I finally really, truly saw my size. After 140lbs gone and countless times trying to tell my mind what my eyes saw, I finally got it. I finally was able to compare myself to the girls….um women (my sister and cousins) that I’ve compared myself to my whole life. And for the first time I saw myself as “normal.” Whatever normal is in my mind as in relation to these women and their body size, I finally saw it. I know each of them thinks they have have a few pounds to lose here, but to me, TO ME, they are and always have been beautiful, normal sized girls and I finally am one of them in size. Something I have wanted to be my whole life.

10492462_10204354069961742_419664018350698078_nAnd then the second thing happened. Like any good vacation, I was excited about the FOOD and a lot of the vacation stemmed around the next place to eat. There was the hometown pizza joint, the coney place, the hamburger restaurant my grandfather dearly loved, the taco place and of course Braum’s ice cream.  You see where I’m going here.

Somewhere in between hamburgers and my second (or was it third) trip to Braum’s I realized something, I have no self control. Like none. I have somehow managed to lose 140lbs and still have zero self control. On my long 2 day trek home with a belly screaming at me from the food I shoveled and then continued to put into my stomach I realized there is a huge disconnect between the journey it has taken me to lose the weight and the self control I have when it comes to my food addictions.

10463900_10203520500189624_5119309662123644224_nHealthy me watched as if in an out of body experience as “Fat Tracy,” as I so affectionately call her, reared her food addicted head and took back over my body. It was like every childhood emotion, coping mechanism, excuse and lack of control took over being around these foods I had as a kid, all my old demons returned and I lost the enjoyment in those foods and went back to my old ways that I had desperately tried to hide deep down inside.  Don’t get me wrong, I had fun along the way, but that’s when it hit me that along this journey I haven’t fully dealt with all the whys and my food addictions and lack of self control are two giant pink elephants wearing feather boas in the room that is my journey to get healthy.

I know it’s a journey and I will get there, but after the 5th or probably 6th slice of pizza or the 2nd double dip ice cream cone those giant, frilly elephants came thumping up to me as if to say “wake the frack up Tracy.”

I think part of this pink, frilly elephant wake up call has been because of my quest to find balance. To get to a normal in maintenance mode. I’ve scoured the internet reading blogs, articles and anything else I can on being in maintenance. Maintenance, just like my addictions and lack of self control, is scary. Like, really fucking SCARY.

I don’t know what normal is now. I’ve meticulously counted every calorie along the way, logged every piece of food that has gone into my body and now it just sucks. My ability to go 110% into anything I do is backfiring on me because I don’t know when to quit. My only control has been in my ability to be really good at calorie counting. Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but hopefully you know what I mean.

So now I have to find a balance and at the same time work on my food addictions and self control when it comes to listening to my body when it says, “enough is enough” on the full meter. I was reading a great blog by Andie Mitchell who lost a lot of weight herself and went through a similar journey as mine to find the balance after losing weight. She talks about having to rebuild her relationship with food.

I came to realize that in dieting, I thought I missed the foods themselves, when in reality I missed the quantity. I missed the abundance and the overeating. That’s when I knew I was using food to fill a void. I didn’t just want the taste of a warm brownie sundae, I wanted it to make me so full that I became numb and couldn’t think about anything but my distressed belly. I suppose whatever emotion I was feeling inside I wanted to stuff away. And truth be told, I never once felt any better in doing this. One hour later, the emotion was still there and food had not cured it. In learning that I missed the “over” part of overeating, I felt sort of free. It’s impossible to ignore the emotions when you don’t numb them anymore with massive quantities of food. Instead, I sat with the emotion. I let it be. That’s where the healing starts.

I read that and a light bulb went off for me. Even through calorie counting and getting healthy I have been able to stuff myself to the gills and get that absolute full, gut busting feeling at times to numb whatever emotion I didn’t want to deal with. I haven’t had to go over in calories because a lot of times it was with low calorie foods that I also love. On the flip side and with my food addictions in tow, I crave, no I desire, all those “bad foods” that “Fat Tracy” used to binge on day in and day out. So through this journey I have created this unhealthy relationship with food.  It’s no longer enjoyable.  Between counting calories or fighting against my food addictions and lack of self control, food has become the enemy.  It has become either a number I have to log or it’s “BAD” and I can’t eat it for fear of going off the rails and heading into a shameful, food addicted, emotion numbing, gut busting spiral.

10553349_876062915756490_4695463194082161705_nSo, I’ve decided I’m breaking up with food.  I’m facing those pink, frilly elephants in the room head on but in a different way.  I’m not going to let food rule my life and I’m going to begin the healing the process.  Counting calories and meticulously logging every morsel I ate was the tool to get me to where I am today, don’t get me wrong on that, but for my sanity, I have to start letting it go.  I have to continue to find that balance between eating healthy, enjoying treats, learning to cope with my addictions, and dealing with my emotions, anxiety, and depression without stuffing myself to numb it all.

If you made it this far in this post, thank you for reading.  I haven’t written much lately because I guess I was embarrassed, but I started blogging to be honest about the journey.  And this is part of it.  Losing 140lbs didn’t fix my anxiety, depression, emotional issues or addictions with foods, but it’s waking me up to them and the tools that got me to that goal are helping me work on achieving BALANCE.

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Getting Healthy: Being Healthy

So the last few weeks have been somewhat of a test for me.  I’ve come back to the conclusion that again I need to stop focusing on the scale (I know, someone is just going to have to beat me over the head with it to be me to understand this) and I need to focus on my overall health.  After getting the shingles earlier this year I’ve started having a multitude of health issues and I realized this week that I have not been practicing being healthy overall.  I’ve been so focused on diet and exercise and my mental health that I forgot about the BALANCE.

You have to find a happy medium when it comes to getting healthy overall.

Over the past year and a half I’ve focused in on cleaning up my diet, making exercise routine, and taking control of my mental health, but at times I take one of these to the extreme and I forget that everything needs balance.

Losing weight is not going to be the rest of my life, but living a healthy life is.

So where does this leave me?

  • I’m celebrating everything I have done to get me to this point.  I found the most unflattering photo of me that was taken a few weeks before I started this journey and it really reminded me how far I have come.

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  • I’m going into “maintenance” when it comes to calories.  The idea of this is literally terrifying for me.  TERRIFYING.  After counting calories (at a deficit) for 19 months, it’s shocking to think I can “eat more”.  Now, that doesn’t mean I’m going to start a daily routine of ice cream and oreos, but it does mean I can splurge more here and there and eat a little more of things that I love…like sweet potatoes and black beans.  And I will always log my food and participate in the wonderful community on MyFitnessPal, but relax on the constant pressure I once put on myself to log every single calorie.
  • I’m continuing to challenge myself with new workout routines and programs that help me gain more strength and stamina, but don’t kill my body.  I want to tone and become stronger.
  • I’m practicing the skills I have learned to cope with my anxiety and depression.  And continuing to look inside myself on how to better manage them.
  • And learning when to stop.  How to keep the balance.  When to know I’ve gone too far or not far enough.  Listening to my body.

So, I’m working on practicing what I preach, finding the balance in my life, and celebrating how far I have come.

May 2014

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