Thursday, September 3, 2009

My Torpid Turtle-esque Self

Honesty.

Not so much fun.

Especially when it has to do with me. And my weight. And my discipline. Or the lack thereof.

Last year I lost thirty pounds, which was a wonderful and rewarding thing to do.

And for about fifteen minutes during that period of time, I actually dropped down to a size ten, from a size fourteen! Which was also wonderful and rewarding.

Unfortunately, my "ten-ness" was severely compromised by the arrival of Christmas. It's hard to maintain any consistent smallness when Christmas concoctions and fabulous fudge start showing up regularly in the vicinity of one's person.

So I went pretty quickly back up to a size twelve which I was really okay with. I'd rather be a size twelve and be happy than struggle and starve and be miserable trying to be a size ten.

And I've done really well maintaining that weight for almost a whole year, an accomplishment which I am quite proud of.

However, a few weeks ago I started getting just a wee bit lackadaisical about going to the gym because, as I whined to myself, going to the gym just wasn't fun. (Pitiful, I know.)

And then we traveled out of town to Nag's Head and Manteo and and I ate a lot of yummy beach food while we were there.

From the beach, I left almost immediately for Wisconsin to be at my Dad's side as he passed away and to attend his funeral. And I ate a lot of yummy "family gathering" food while I was there.

And then we flew home and we were in three airports and I ate a lot of yummy airport food while I was there.

And then? Well, then I got home and a fabulous, famous food group called Comfort Carbs and Calories started calling my name. And so I've been heating a lot of yummy comfort foods while I've been here.

And you've probably already guessed the rest of the story.

The rest of the story is that a few pounds have come back for a visit. In fact, earlier this week I was getting dressed and I thought, "Wow! These pants have really shrunk in the dryer."

Except of course, the pants hadn't shrunk. The problem was that I had shrunk earlier in the year and then unfortunately neglected to do any unshrinking.

And so yesterday I somberly headed out to Goodwill to purchase a couple pair of slightly roomier carpi's to get me through this temporary unshrunken state.

Not so fun.

Something else that wasn't so fun was going to the gym on Tuesday for the first time in a month.

I sat down on that little torture machine which is supposed to work the inner and outer thighs. (Not that my inner and outer thighs need any work, mind you.) I did one little 'ol rep and stopped dead in my tracks. I looked at the weights to make sure they were set at the lowest weight possible.

They were.

Then I looked to see if anyone had hung an additional weight on the machine, which people do sometimes do when they need a "half way" setting between two weight choices.

They hadn't.

I sat there and pondered some unhappy ponderments.

A month ago, I could do fifteen reps at that low weight and now I could barely do five?

Not a good thing.

I also made a heroic attempt to do my pre-treadmill stretches which was really pretty funny, in a nonfunny sort of way. The stretches I used to do fairly easily in the past were now throwing me into great contortions of flinging and flailing. There was not one part of my body that was willing to bend, flex, or stretch, no matter how nicely I asked.

After I had spent a mere five minutes on the treadmill, going at a pace that very closely resembled the torpidity of a turtle, I felt like I was going to fall over, pass out, and/or have a nonfit fitness fit, right there in front of everybody.

And the day following my pitiful, mini non-workout? I felt woefully weak and wobbly all over, as if I had just complete the world's most difficult Triathlon after having climbed Mt. Everest.

And yet as hard as it is to work out at the gym, I do know that staying home and eating Little Debbie's is obviously not a solution. (Although I think that somewhere in a more perfect world, it really SHOULD be a solution.)

I told Steve how discouraging it was and he said to look at it another way. He said, "At least you know that when you exercise it makes a difference, because you can tell such a big difference when you don't!"

Which is true. But I still don't feel terribly encouraged.

I just mainly feel terrible.

I'm still dealing with Dad's death, still bursting into tears for no reason whatsoever, still longing for my pj's, still hankering after creamy, comforting carbs and yet STILL trying desperately to get a grip on stuff so that poor choices don't completely short circuit whatever good health I have remaining. With major inflexibility issues, muscle weakness, and lung disease, I really do need to stay as fit as I possibly can.

Of course, in addition to those aforementioned challenges, I have a huge life change coming up that will affect where I live, what friends I have, what friends Sarah will have, what house I will live in, my husband's ministry and career, our finances, and just about anything else you can imagine. (Not to mention the wonderful challenge of homeschooling my lovely daughter.)

Obviously, there's been a lot on my plate recently. Um. Both figuratively and literally.

So that's my confession for the day. I've lost muscle tone. I've lost strength. I've lost flexibility.

However, if we want to instead focus on what I have found, then I will tell you that I have found six pounds. Yup! I just turned around and there they were!

If any of you reading this morose missive today should have any words of wisdom, or encouragement, or cheer--or even a recipe for a low cal item of comfort-- I would be most grateful.

In the meantime, I shall take my torpid, turtle-esque self away and engage in some sort of terrific, torpid, turtle-esque activity. (Do turtles eat Little Debbie cakes?)


19 Had Something To Say (Just click here!):

Lesley said...

OK Becky, I am SO where you are...And like you, I know exactly how I put the weight back on that I had lost. I had to(and still want to) eat all those carbs to get me through the stress and anxiety of these recent months. It works for the short term but now I am literally looking at the long term in the mirror-eek!
I know that I, too, have to buy a pair of pants to get me through this temporary 'situation'. But, I feel better just knowing someone else is in the same boat and I think it's time for me to get back out walking and eat better. I think we can both do it. We both did it once before! It would be a lot easier if the stress was resolved, but I can't wait for that. I will be much too heavy by then :)
So you go girl, keep us appraised and I will do the same.

Karen C said...

Becky ... please don't be so hard on yourself. You have not only one but multiple stressful situations -- all of which are at the top of the "most stressful events" list. I think most of us would be gaining a pants size or two ourselves if placed in the same situations.

Try to imagine your workout as a gift to yourself to actually help handle the stress and just have exercise and diet goals for that day or week -- thinking too far ahead is just way too overwhelming for most of us. I found a book at the public library (Abs Diet for Women, by the editor of Mens Health -- name starts with a "Z") that is a really helpful book for diet and exercise specifically for women -- best I've seen so far.

Hang in there -- praying for you.

Leesa said...

Becky I applaud you! For the fact you have the fortitude to go to the gym at all.
I know exactly how comforting those carbs and chocolate can be.
After losing both my only brother and mom in a 5 month period a few years ago, (incidentally the right after my 40th birthday) I gained over 50 pounds!!! I just last year had the strength to finally start walking and dieting to get it off!! So for you to take stock of your situation at this point in your life is very impressive to me :) Just keep trying, and you will succeed!

Sheri Holthe (Oleson) said...

I am so sorry you are going through all this. It isn't fair. I searched the web for Low Cal Comfort foods and found this site:
http://www.amarillo.com/stories/032702/foo_healthy.shtml
Let me know if it doesn't work and I can email you the items and recipes. Ask Sarah if she would like to go for a walk as part of school each morning (gym class). I have yet to get back to our gym since doing my first triathlon this summer..oops. Here's to getting back into training for all of us :). Good luck and I will say a prayer for you!

Melissa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

I feel your pain. Several years ago I lost 50 lbs. I maintained that loss until I got pregnant. I gained 50 lbs. during my pregnancy. My son is now 5 years old and I STILL have not lost that 50 lbs. In fact, I am now 60 lbs heavier than I was pre-pregnancy, so I kept the 50 I gained from that and added ten more! How wonderful! I hate to exercise more than anything, I'd rather take my own gall bladder out with an oyster fork than exercise! When I try, it only makes it obvious how out of shape I am. It doesn't seem fair that you work so hard to lose the weight and gain muscle tone only to have it disappear so fast. I'm sure that once your life settles down you'll get back on track. Don't be too hard on yourself, you're going through some major life changes. Me? No real excuse! (Sorry, had to delete this when I posted it previously as it had so many typos it was ridiculous)

Vickie said...

Start by forgiving yourself. Then move on. Immediately. Then do what Karen C. said.

VB

Catherine said...

You go girl! You lost all of the weight last year and you are a carb junkie to boot! I am envious. That is my downfall too. I just love those carbs. I need to take off and keep off about 10 lbs and it is ever so difficult.

Angela from Edmonton said...

Hi Becky,

Note: Your muscle tone return back to where you were a month ago faster than when you first started. I would say within the week/2 weeks (not sure how many times you go) you will be back to what you were a month ago. I hate going to the gym and figured out that I needed to find an excersie regime that I love. I found out that if I have a group of people to workout with I feed off of them. I join a martial art. Now I love working out, feeling the sweat on my body and feeling the soreness the next day. Maybe at your new parish you could start a 'women's walking/running club' meet once a week and go walking together, or one group runs and the other walks. Make it a social outing.

I excersie (6 hours of cardio a week) a lot but have issues with carbs. I have about 70lbs to loose to get to a comfortable weight. but can't seem to not eat the bad food.

Anonymous said...

Hi from a first time poster long time reader,
You certainly have a pile high of stresses so those pounds are earned but knowing that probably does not help you feel any better.
I am a trainer/nutritionist and here are some of the things that help me or that I suggest to my clients when they are under stress. Feel free to disregard them all if they don't feel like a good "fit" for you.
It will be easier to get back in shape this time, it really will. You have only been out of the gym a month, you have not lost all the strength you have gained. Start off at a slower pace on treadmill but try and so the same amount of time. The pace doesn't matter as much as sustaining the activity. I am sure you know this but exercise will help reduce your stress and help balence your emotions. You will feel more energy in the long run. Exercise actually can be addictive as chocalate it just takes some time. Steve's right now at least you know it makes you feel better.
Here are my favorite low fat comfort foods--microwave popcorn, the low fat no butter flavor by Orville or Paul Newman, rice krispie treats, or one of my favorites-- blending together a 4 or so ounces of skim milk, some powdered Nestle quick, two ice cubes, and two rounded table spoons of non fat vanilla frozen yogurt --all mixed together in the blender. It tastes like a shake without all the calories. Even add a teaspoon of peanutbutter if you like, a small amount adds a lot of flavor and it is protein. Also, Luna bars (Nutz over chocalate is my favorite), they a nutrition bars for women, tastes like a candy bar with all sorts of healthy stuff in it and not too many calories. Ok, not as good as a milky way but still a treat.
You may also have to (gulp) ban "Debbie" from the house. It won't be easy but if she is not there she will not tempt you. Get the whole family on board the healthy snack kick and it will make it easier.
Also, try a no pajama, no yoga pants, no stretchy clothes rule after the morning hours--it is too easy to not feel the "expansion" occurring in expandable clothes (believe me we have all been there).
I am sure I have given way too much advice. You may just need to give yourself the gift of time. Before you know it you will be so busy packing, moving, running errands that extra weight may come off on it's own. Grief has no time clock and rushing through it never works.
Min

Anonymous said...

(((hugs))) Becky... give yourself cred for surviving so much, all at once, and then going on to write fantastic blogs about it all. Your perspective is needed and appreciated. Just try to guess how many women read your post, sighed, and said "ME TOO.". Everyone likes to shout successes, yet we cower and hide from our slip outs. The thing is that we can't have one without the other! Thinking of you! -Tess

Sue G said...

Becky, everything is relative. Six pounds on you and you go up a size. Six pounds off you and you go down a size.

Six pounds on me either way does not show at all, nor is it reflected in the fit of my clothes.

So, you see, you wouldn't have these problems if you weren't so dang thin to begin with!

(I'm not saying I'm really, really fat...but it looks as if I swallowed Little Debbie herself!)

Nancybratt said...

Becky
I just want to say that I agree with everyone here. Please dont be so hard on yourself. Your life has been piled with stress lately. I dont kno whow you do it sometimees. You are one of the strongest people I know.
We love you Becky!!!
Nancy

Anna said...

Becky, Start with a little and add to it each work out. I'm a PT and I have to admit, I don't like to work out but it feels sooo good afterward.
Maybe there are people who would like to organize a work out buddy system on the internet. We could all post our goals for the week and then report how well we did. (We would all have to be honest) :) I don't have anyone to work out with so this might make me more accountable. We could also have a buddy to whom we can send encouraging messages. I don't think we should focus on the weight loss, but instead the achievement of working out. If we work out, the weight will come off. Hope this makes sense.

Pam D said...

First of all (Sue G? Are you reading? Cause yes, I'm throwing down this card AGAIN), when I saw you (LiVE, in person.. yes Sue, I did) this spring, it was past Christmas. And you were thin. Slender. Svelte. Somehow a size 12 on you looks MUCH better than a size 12 on me (I know, you're about 20 inches taller than me), but I would have honestly pegged you at a 6/8. But I know the concern isn't just about appearance; it's about living and breathing. So, it sounds as if a lot of these comments contain some great advice (and it's true; since you've been exercising for all that time, your muscle memory will kick in and the pain will go away much faster than it did originally). And a great side benefit of the exercise is all of those endorphins, which will even help lift some of the sadness. So, ya got ta move it, move it... and those clothes will fit well again in no time!

Regina and Madie Ice said...

Oh Becky, I do understand the 'call of the carbs' after such tumultous days. It helps a lot to plug the holes that get poked into my high spirits!
:-)
And you gotta love Goodwill!! I am so thankful for them!! Amen!!
Kuddo's to you for getting to the gym! Yippee! Myself, I am soo wimpy (and a little scared) to try it, so you are well ahead of me. I look up to you with respect and admiration, so please feel free to put some of that in your pockets and walk around with them!
Remember, one day at time.
Lots of hugs and love to you and the family as you get through these days of change!

Lyndsay said...

Oh gosh, I think we've all been there (the "found pounds" and lost fitness, not everything else you're having to deal with).

I agree with Steve though. I remember a few years ago when I started a kickboxing class, it nearly killed me. I barely survived the first 60-minute class. But I kept going and by the end of the session I could do it! It was still challenging, but I could do it! In the break between sessions I didn't exercise much so when the classes started up again I had that 'first-class experience' again. But it helped to remember that I'd been there before, and eventually I'd be back up to speed.

Keep exercising - you need those endorphins now more than ever!! Good luck!

MaryH said...

I like Steve's take on this situation - it is more like the "half full" as opposed to "half empty" scenario. Pam D.'s endorphines theory is right on also - it won't take as long as before to get back in the swing of exercise and it will help your mind and spirit- and I seriously doubt (even though I have not seen her in person - ever) that Sue G. really looks like she swallowed "Lil Debbie." Very funny mental image, however! I do emphasize with the "dryer shrunk all my clothes" theory - I have thought that myself recently - but I am back with that exercise video - not as diligently as before - but it is a start - so, Becky, we are all in that waiting room with you again - only, thankfully, this waiting room is outside a gym!!! Have a good weekend! My daughter and baby are in town and he is precious!

Ann Martin said...

Know exactly how you feel. I had lost about 7 pounds in the past 6 months and then during Daddy's illness and death I gained 5 back. I am trying to lose them again. So far, this morning showed I had lost 2 1/2 pounds. Now tomorrow I have a wedding and reception to attend so I may put those 2 1/2 pounds back on. Oh, well, I'll keep trying. I found the best help is to eat before 6 PM and not to snack after that time. I try to eat healthy but sometimes just have to have that chocolate. Of course I eat dark chocolate which is healthy. I just keep telling myself that. Have a great week end and holiday. We will be cooking steaks on Monday (bought some on sale at Food Lion today) so we can all be together again (except my brother in Florida). Didn't want Mama to be by herself on this first holiday. God bless and love you guys.