Tag: getting healthy

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

Thank you everyone for always being amazing supporters!

Getting Healthy: 500 Days Strong

Today marks the 500th consecutive day I have logged into MyFitnessPal.  I’m pretty sure I have NEVER done anything in my life before this for 500 days straight.  And this time it was for my health.  Honestly I couldn’t be more proud of myself for staying committed to something this long.

In 500 days I have changed my life.  It seems like a long time, but it really isn’t.  It’s 1 year and 4.5 months.  A lot more things in life take a lot longer than that amount of time.

In that time, I’ve done the following:

  • Lost 90 pounds total
  • Said goodbye to the 200s and welcomed a 1 in front of my weight for the first time in over 15 years.
  • Exercised 229 out of the 500 days
  • Logged 12,897 minutes of exercise.  Or 215 hrs or 9 days of the 500 days total.  That’s only 2% of my time spent on exercise during those 500 days. TWO PERCENT people!
  • Burned 136,031 calories from exercise
  • At 3,500 calories per pound, I only lost 39lbs of the 90 from exercise and 51lbs from diet alone.

Pssst…excuse me as I get on my soapbox and remind you that that means diet is more important than exercise….again.

  • Lost 11.5 inches from my waist.
  • Went from a plus size 20 to a normal size 10.
  • Started and completed 3 workout programs – Insanity, Focus T25, and 30 Day Shred
  • Stopped drinking soda
  • No longer frequent a fast food restaurant on a weekly basis.  Can’t even stand to eat McDonald’s.
  • Tried new foods, like green smoothies, chia seeds in oatmeal, kale, roasted cauliflower, black beans in everything (I love black beans), found alternatives to breads and pastas, and I eat A LOT of veggies and like them!

And most importantly, I changed my perspective on life and how strong I am, what my body can do, and how important mental health is as well as physical health.

iamstrongI wasn’t perfect out of those 500 days.  I had my ups and downs.  I had my great days where I logged every single calorie and every minute of exercise and stayed within my limits, my good days , my bad days, and my just plain ugly days where I logged it, but wanted to look away at the same time.  But the important part was that I stayed the course.  Just because I tripped up one day or one meal didn’t mean I gave myself an excuse to ruin all that hard work.  I recognized the bad, picked myself up, dusted myself off, had no regrets (most of the time…because you have to live a little), and corrected course.

So, all of this is to say that 500 days ago, when I really, REALLY got serious about taking back my life and my health, I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to accomplish (lose weight), but I never imagined what all else would follow.

317 to 177

Getting Healthy: Why I’m Choosing Not to Focus on the Last Pound – For Now

I recently hit 176 on the scale.  That means I only have 1lb left to hit my goal, but I have chosen to forego that last pound right now.

I know, I know.  You are saying, “What the frig Tracy? What are you thinking?” But hear me out.

In the process of getting to the 176 from 180 I lost myself.  For the past few months, I plateaued in my weight loss and hovered anywhere between 180 – 184.  It was frustrating, despite my constant – DAILY – reminder to myself not to get fixated on a number on the scale.  So, finally when the scale dipped below 180, unfortunately the crazy clicked on in my brain too.  I had another boost of motivation to keep going, but maybe a little too much of it.  I got laser focused, to the point of extreme.

I forgot about the journey I was on.  The journey to be healthy.  And instead all I could think about was a number.

So after some reflection, several long chats with friends, and a really hard talk with myself, I have decided to push the goal of 175 to the side (for now).  I’m still on my journey, that will never change, but I’m choosing something else to focus on in a healthy way.  Before I can get to 175 I have to mentally become healthier.  Along the way I’ve realized my mental health is just as important.  And going to extremes or becoming obsessed with a number on the scale is not the way to get to my definition of a healthy me.

I’ve thought about what being healthy is for me and it’s not that number.

Yes, one day I will get to 175.  It may even be tomorrow, but being healthy is so much more.  It’s being able to walk up the hill to the parking lot at work and not even get out of breath.  Carrying a 4 year old up 2 flights of stairs and not even think about it.  Running around outside with the kiddo.  Being more centered with who I am.  Controlling my anxiety and depression better.  Going for a run to let off steam.  Gaining my confidence back to make smarter choices.  And living in the here and now.

Here’s a look back, again to celebrate where I have come:

Sep 2012 to May 2014 - 140lbs

Getting Healthy: Why Your Scale Isn’t Always The Best Measure of Success

Today marks something amazing for me on this journey.  Two things happened.

First, the scale hasn’t moved in months.  It hasn’t budged past my lowest of 180lbs.  Now for someone trying to get to 175lbs this would be frustrating.  Like seriously what the frig.  But, and there is a big BUT here, everyone who is losing weight has to remember (and I seem to constantly have to remind myself of this fact like a big slap in the face) –

Your scale isn’t always the best measure of success!

Why do you ask this?  Well the second thing that happened was when I stepped on the scale and it read 182, I then went to my closet and zipped up a size 8 pair of pants for work.

A size 8 people!

I don’t EVER remember wearing a size 8.  Maybe like when I was 10 , but it just goes to show that with eating well and exercising my body is still changing, getting stronger, leaner and healthier!

So here they are, my size 8 pants:

Size 8

Starting Weight: 317lbs | Current Weight: 182lbs | Goal Weight: 175lbs + Healthy

 

Getting Healthy: New Workout Gear

When you are on the journey to get healthy, nothing makes you feel better than some new workout gear and a dear friend of mine got me hooked on Athleta’s clothes.  I am in LOVE with everything Athleta.  I’m pretty sure I have circled one of everything in the last catalog I got in the mail.

Their clothes are amazing for any type of workout.  I’ve started up another round of T25 (yes, I couldn’t stay away from Shaun T for too long), which means I need something tight with compression that will hold everything in and keep it from bouncing all over the place when Shaun T has me jumping, shuffling and doing 100 burpees.

photo1The first thing any girl (guys are so lucky) needs is a good sports bra to hold the girls in (You know what I’m talking about.  Let’s just be thankful that mine are not as deadly now that I’m smaller.).  I found the Hullabraloo Bra from Athleta that is AMAZE-BALLS!  By far the best sports bra I have ever owned.

The next thing on the shopping list for me is a good pair of compression pants.  I’ve tried all kinds from full tights, shorts, and capris and I personally prefer the “knickers” length that comes just below my knees but gives me full coverage everywhere I need it.  I always feel like when I wear capris that I’m hiking them up and with shorts I’m pulling them down, so knickers are the way to go.  I got the Be Free Knicker from Athleta (size M).  These compression pants are great for HIIT workouts, running, yoga, whatever you want to do!  They hold EVERYTHING in and stay in place.  For anyone who is losing weight and working out I strongly recommend compression pants.  If you have any loose skin or fat, compression pants help in keeping all of that in place so it doesn’t hinder your workouts.  Because seriously who wants your belly to be bouncing more than your whole body?

Finally, a good compression/support top rounds it out for me.  I found the Empowerment Tank from Athleta (size M). I went with a slightly tighter fit on this top to make it more of a compression tank to once again hold the tummy.  Love this top with all the cool straps on it in the back.

For a girl on a budget, Athleta is a little pricey, but definitely worth the price because the clothes hold up.  If you can’t afford Athleta though, I would recommend Old Navy’s active wear.  Until now, I have been an exclusive Old Navy active wear girl, but it was time to treat myself to some really nice workout clothes to keep me moving forward on my journey.

Starting weight: 317lbs | Current Weight: 181lbs | Goal Weight: 175lbs + Healthy