Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Body image realization: I don't feel one way, all the time

Photo from the Walt Whitman archive

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
-- Walt Whitman
 I realize that a lot of my posts have been dancing around the idea of body image and how I feel, think I should feel, or how people seem to be telling me to feel, about my body. You can see a bunch of them if you click on the body image label.

There was yesterday's post about the friend who brushed off my suggestion that losing weight might make me feel better.  There were the posts about HAES and the idea that weight loss is not a good goal. There is the eternal question of how self-love fits in with a desire to change.  It's not just me -- this is one of the central issues, if not the central issue of weight-loss blogland.

All of this discussion about how we feel, how people think we should feel, how we should feel, etc., are missing one big major thing: we don't feel one way all of the time. The other thing that seems to get left out of body image discussions is that we don't feel a certain way because we decide to feel that way.  Emotions aren't logical. As humans our "feeling brain" is a completely separate system from our "reasoning brain," one that is not accessible to it.

I guess I shouldn't drag everyone else into this, because I can only definitively talk about myself. I don't feel one way all of the time. I can be feeling great about the way I look, and seeing an unflattering photo can throw me into self-doubt. I can be feeling bad about myself and someone can compliment me and brighten my outlook.  What doesn't seem to work well for me is telling myself how I should feel.  I can try to look for evidence that my gloomy outlook is unrealistic, but I can't change my body image by sheer force of will.

I'm sure I've quoted this before, but I was deeply delighted when I read Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life and realized I wasn't the only one listening to the kind of craziness she calls "KFKD:"
f you are not careful, station KFKD (K-F*****) will play in your head twenty-four hours a day, nonstop, in stereo. Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime.
 I think it's wrong to expect that a perfectly consistent rosy self-image is the norm and the rest of us are all screwed up.  I would really be uncomfortable around a person who never, ever experienced a moment of self-doubt. I would probably suspect that person of being a psychopath. Or at least, it would make it hard for me to be my real, flawed, human self around them.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meatless Monday

This is partially a test post to see if BlogPress is behaving, but have you given Meatless Monday a try yet?

I'm not a vegetarian, but there are a Lot of great reasons to eat less meat:

Going meatless once a week may reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.


And the food can be quick, easy, and delicious. Below are some veggies I put on our indoor grill, some quinoa, and a little sauce made from puréed hot and sweet peppers and olive oil.





Now let's see if this one posts....

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Weekly update: The power of numbers


As I said, I knew I did some backsliding this week. I was "rewarded" with a 1.6 pound gain.
Not so fast, though. LoseIt is set for me to lose 1 pound per week by cutting 3,500 calories from the amount I need to maintain for the week. That would mean that to really have gained 1.6 pounds of fat, I would have had to consume almost 10,000 extra calories. Even if I inaccurately tracked a few meals, I was not that far off-course. At worst, I should have stayed the same.
When I was on track with Weight Watchers, I would have two weeks of small losses, an uptick, and a bigger loss. Interesting, no?
I plan to be very on-track this week just in case so that I see a loss next week. Since next week is also the first weigh-in of a new month, I will do my measurements too.


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Backsliding and Body Image

I Am Falling
Photo by pchow98 via flickr
I did really well for the first couple of weeks with my new food plan, but I have definitely noticed some backsliding this week. I have been getting a little looser on tracking, planning ahead a little less, and letting my portions creep up. Time to readjust and recommit. I have been doing well on the exercise front, at least.

I think a big problem is that I have been feeling frustrated with some things at work.  I have been feeling like there is something wrong with me, because I have my "dream job," but haven't been feeling very happy with it lately, and that makes me feel guilty.  There are some real reasons that this can be difficult.  Our terms are short and intense.  Teaching at night (my classes are four hours long and I sometimes don't get home until 10 if a student stays after to talk) is a real drag.  It's hard to wind down to get to sleep afterward.  My husband gets up early to teach high school so that means I find myself short on sleep.  I only teach two nights a week, but because the classes fall across the dinner hour, it does make it tougher for me.  I also have to be on campus a lot during the day for meetings, office hours, and more meetings.  I need to plan what I am going to eat and bring it with me.  I have to also realize that I need to get my grading and other work done earlier in the week so I'm not stressing out about it.  I find that I tend to stress-snack when I'm under the gun.  I think I need to manage my time and energy better.

Going back to the basics will help on the food front: Tracking, planning, slowing down to decide if I'm really hungry or just want to distract myself.  It's just a course correction.

In other news: I have noticed that being matter-of-fact and honest about wanting to lose weight makes people uncomfortable. Maybe it's just weight talk in general that makes people uncomfortable, but I think there might be more to it in this case.

A [much thinner] friend of mine seems to be obsessed with trying to figure out what is wrong with my foot.  I have explained that I am seeing a podiatrist for it but she keeps bringing up weird, unlikely possibilities. I explained to her the biomechanical explanation that my podiatrist gave me, I said, "I also think that it will help to take some of this extra weight off.  If I drop 20-30 pounds, I would be putting a lot less stress on my foot." She quickly said, "But, who wants to be a toothpick? It's good to have curves." I said, "I think there's a difference between trying to be stick-skinny and wanting to get to a healthier, more comfortable weight." I let it drop, but I thought the whole thing was a little weird.  Maybe she was trying to reassure me, and didn't see it the way I saw it: A matter-of-fact statement that I want to make a change. Maybe she thought I was being mean to myself or thought I was fishing for compliments.

I really think it's possible to honestly want to lose weight without hating myself now. I had plenty of curves and was far from a toothpick when I weighed a lot less.  I actually feel less "curvy" at this weight, because my waist is thicker. I think I will look more shapely when I'm not carrying so much weight around my middle.  I think I am being realistic in my goals, that they are achievable but will just take some work.

But I definitely do feel some distress and despair about my body sometimes, so maybe it's not surprising that she felt the need to jump in and "fix" how I was feeling, just like she was trying to fix my foot problems.  I think that since this kind of talk is distressing to her, I will just save it for my blog.

Maybe that isn't even safe. Kim recently posted an honest question about why she felt the need to compare herself to other people after being unhappy about a photo of herself, and all of her commenters (including me) felt the need to jump in and say that the photo looked good. I could see what she was saying, though, and tried to acknowledge that too.

This stuff is so hard. A fundamental question I continue to wrestle with is, "How do I accept reality and work toward change while still respecting the person I am today?"

Saturday, January 28, 2012

I love my Group Cycling class

Since I can't run right now, I have been going to Group Cycling two or three days a week instead. I am really enjoying it and I can feel myself getting stronger. The instructor of most of these classes has us doing pyramids -- either keeping revolutions per minute (rpms) steady and bumping up the resistance gradually, or keeping the resistance the same and doing one minute at 80 rpms, one at 90, one at 100, one at 110. It makes me feel cool and hardcore. I didn't like it, though, when we had a substitute instructor who had a playlist completely made up of Disney soundtrack songs. It's hard to feel hardcore and cool when you're hearing cutesy music from "The Lion King." And without the cartoons as a distraction, I was struck by just how lousy the music in those movies really was. I found it hard to stay focused and push myself. I plan to stick to a cycling emphasis even after I get my orthotics. I haven't been running in the cold this winter, and I don't think jumping right into it in February is going to work well for me. In previous years, I was able to gradually get used to running in the cold from fall through winter. But we have been having a mild winter so far, so maybe I can get a few outdoor sessions in. What I am thinking is focusing on cycling through late February or early March, and then, once it starts warming up, cutting back on my Spin classes and adding in more running. Once summer comes, I will be doing a lot more swimming. Signing up for the triathlon club has me thinking more and more about how I want to be ready to at least do a tri or two this summer, if my foot allows it. But yes, before anyone comments, I plan to take it very slow (using the "Ease into 5K" app) and listen to how I'm feeling. If nothing else, I can do relays or an Aquabike.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Tracking fail

I felt like I had eaten too many snacks yesterday, but my calorie-counting app showed I was still under my calories for the day. "Wow," I thought, "This is really getting easier."

Then I realized I had completely skipped tracking breakfast. Oops.

I have to get better at planning for long teaching days like yesterday, so I don't snack all day long.

On a lighter note, this portion control expert takes me back to my Weight Watcher days:

Portion Control Freak

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekly weigh-in: Lost a pound, probably didn't deserve it

I lost another pound despite some serious misbehavior on Saturday. I got loosey-goosey with tracking that day and didn't realize how far I was in the weeds until I calculated my calories the next day.

I just caught up with tracking for today. It's so easy to get behind. I know I have to stay on top of this if I'm going to continue losing.

Still, 3 weeks, 3.6 pounds and no deprivation. Seems like pretty good progress to me. I have less than 30 pounds to go now. I need to lose 2.8 to get back in the 170s. Hoping to reach that mini-goal by Valentine's Day.




- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Three reasons I'm proud of myself today


  1. I figured out a "financial freedom plan" to help us pay down our credit card debt in a reasonable timeframe and am tracking it with a spreadsheet.
  2. I rejoined the local triathlon team. I trained with them for a couple of years when I first started doing triathlons.  I quit when I started to regain weight. I have been waiting to join them again until I dropped some of the weight. I finally decided to join and not worry about what people thought about my weight.
  3. At my swim class, I competed in a few voluntary races my coach set up. My times weren't great and I screwed up most of my flip turns, but at least I decided to try the races and had some fun. This was a competition for the fast and slower group combined. I swim with the slower group. Most of my fellow B-teamers did not compete. I knew I would be one of the slowest ones and I was, but it was still exciting. I'm posting my times here so I can find them again later (don't bother checking to see if I set any records).
  • 100 yd. freestyle: 1:41.99
  • 200 yd. freestyle: 3:43.79
  • 50 yd. freestyle: 47.77
  • 50 yd. breaststroke: 58.19


Friday, January 20, 2012

The positive side of my running injury

Being injured stinks. There's no way around that. But I am beginning to feel that there has been a lot of good that has come out of the foot problems that have currently sidelined me from running.

  1. Indoor workouts: It was 4 degrees (F) when I got up today to scrape several layers of ice from my car. At least I didn't feel guilty about not getting out for a run today!
  2. More Spin classes: I hit 3 Spin classes this week.  When I was running consistently, the number was usually 0-1 per week. I find that I actually get a more intense workout on the bike than I can with running.  Having an instructor to push me makes a lot of the difference. 
  3. I'm finally making time for strength training: Right now I am enjoying a version of the Miracle Workout.
  4. More socializing: Now that I'm a regular at the gym, people are starting to smile at me and say hi when I come in. I feel like part of a community.
  5. It inspired me to get help: I have been dealing with various minor but annoying health problems, like allergy eye issues. This winter I finally got motivated to deal with them more directly instead of just trying to manage them on my own.
  6. I'm finally getting serious about my food intake: Running allowed me to think I could just burn off extra calories (even though it wasn't really true).  I am getting serious now because I don't have that illusion.
I am waiting for a call from the podiatrist indicating that I have approval from my insurance to get fitted for orthotics. Once that happens, I will probably get back to running 1-2 days  a week, but I definitely want to keep my new healthy habits too.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Deprivation as a virtue?

I have to admit I was hesitant to give details about what I am doing to lose weight this time, for fear of seeming like I am eating "too much," even though I have been losing weight. It made me wonder if, for some people, the real point of dieting is the deprivation itself, and not the weight loss.

At Christmas, my mother-in-law complimented my sister-in-law on her weight loss, and without barely pausing for a "thank you," launched into a story of how she put herself on a 1,000-calorie diet after her first child was born, and spent years following it even when she got into long-distance biking until she finally got sick and had to start allowing herself more calories.  It seemed like she wanted to be commended on her self-control. It is fairly impressive to be able to control yourself that strictly, but also potentially dangerous (as evidenced by the getting sick part).

I don't think most people are that good at self-control, they just don't like the idea of a high number of calories. It seems that to many people, having an appetite is unfeminine. I know I have told the story here before about the woman in my Weight Watchers meeting who was complaining that her points allowance of 22 was "too much." I was genuinely curious when I asked, "So how many points do you typically have per day?" She said, "I don't know, I don't keep track." Anyone who is not tracking really has no idea what is "too much" and what is the right amount.  It's easy for a lot of calories to sneak in without seeming like a lot of food.  Sweetened beverages, alcohol, condiments, salad dressings, etc., can all be real foolers.  Somehow everything at restaurants has double the calories of a similar item cooked at home.  That's why just keeping an accurate food diary can be a weight-loss technique: I know I have changed some of my habits once I saw the impact that they were making on my numbers.

I definitely will make other adjustments as I go through this plan -- if I stop seeing results, I will definitely cut back further. I'm deliberately taking this slow because I want fat loss, not weight (water, lean tissue) loss.  One pound to one-and-a-half pounds a week is perfect, to me. I want to lose the right way this time around, and not just lose quickly to gain quickly again.  I also want to avoid that "Who is that person in the mirror?" feeling I had last time. Losing slowly will give my brain time to adjust.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Teatime Diet: What's working for me now

This week I am down another 1.2 pounds, which, with the 1.4 from last week, gives me a nice 2.6.  I am shooting for one pound a week, so I am doing even better than I had hoped.  This week, as you can see from the weekly summary, I was about 1,400 calories over my weekly goals, which translates to about 200 extra calories a day. I expected this would result in only a half-pound loss, since my LoseIt! app is set up so that I should lose a pound a week.







Why do I think that this is working?

  1. Frequent, smaller meals on a schedule. I called this post "The Teatime Diet" because my husband and I have our "teatime" either a couple of hours before dinner or a few hours after.  Our teatime is a small snack with hot tea (I like herbal or green, he likes black).  We will have it before dinner if we're eating later so we can cook without feeling the need to rush. If we have an early dinner, teatime helps us avoid the late-evening munchies. I know a lot of people are not fans of this approach, but it works better for me because I always know that another meal or snack is coming soon. My basic plan is borrowed from the Flat Belly Diet, but I customized it to fit my preferences. One of those was to cut the fourth "meal" in half so I could have two snacks instead of just one. Sometimes I'll even add a third snack if I'm feeling hungry.
  2. It really is a lifestyle, not a diet. Yes, I am purposely stealing that line from Weight Watchers, but for me, Weight Watchers felt like a diet, because I was always hungry.  I get hungry now in between meals, but because there is always another satisfying meal or snack coming up soon, I am a lot calmer about it. Plus, because this is a lifestyle I want to be living forever, I'm not cutting my calories as drastically as I have on other plans.  I think I actually have a fairly high metabolism, because I always wanted to hurt the people who said they had "too many points" on Weight Watchers. I was always hungry and eventually, I would give in and blow out my points for the week, and since I had blown it, I gave up and overate.  My LoseIt! target is set for 1,728 "net" calories, plus any calories I burn with intentional exercise.  That's higher than most diet plans (even the Flat Belly Diet) recommend, but as long as it's working for me, I'm not messing with it. I don't want to aim too low and end up triggering myself to give up again. I'm following Russ and Jeff's philosophy of living the lifestyle of the person I want to become. I don't want to become someone who can never enjoy my food because I am restricting it so tightly that there's no margin for error.
  3. I love the food I'm eating. The recipes in the Flat Belly Diet Cookbook are amazing, and we are trying a new one at least every week. I think the extra fats in the diet help me feel more satisfied. I'm not trying to live on veggies alone.  I can snack on nuts or dark chocolate as long as I watch the portions.
  4. I'm paying attention to water and trying to up my intake.  
  5. I'm exercising but not in a desperate attempt to earn extra food. Daily exercise helps me feel more sane. I do a wide variety of activities and they help relieve stress and make me feel great.
  6. I'm doing the "head work." I'm reading Full-Filled: The 6-Week Weight-Loss Plan for Changing Your Relationship with Food-and Your Life-from the Inside Out  (review coming soon) and listening to Inside-Out Weight Loss and other podcasts, participating in the #twitterdiet community for support, and reading a whole bunch of blogs by smart, supportive people trying to lose weight in a smart way, or maintain their weight loss. This support is crucial.
  7. I am wearing better clothes. This may seem weird to include in a list of diet success tips, but I was wearing the same boring, dumpy tops every day because I hate having a "muffin top" when wearing sweaters with jeans. I finally bought a few pieces of shapewear (like this Toning Tank and I can wear all my cute clothes again. I hope that if I keep succeeding with this plan, I can eventually donate them to Goodwill. Feeling better about how I look helps keep me motivated

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Weekly update: The power of numbers

As I said, I knew I did some backsliding this week. I was "rewarded" with a 1.6 pound gain.

Not so fast, though. LoseIt is set for me to lose 1 pound per week by cutting 3,500 calories from the amount I need to maintain for the week. That would mean that to really have gained 1.6 pounds of fat, I would have had to consume almost 10,000 extra calories. Even if I inaccurately tracked a few meals, I was not that far off-course. At worst, I should have stayed the same this week.

When I was doing Weight Watchers fairly faithfully, I would have three weeks of losses followed by an uptick. Then the cycle would start again. Yes, that's a four-week cycle.

I plan to be very on-track this week just in case so that I see a loss next week. Since next week is also the first weigh-in of a new month, I will do my measurements too.





Sunday, January 15, 2012

By special request: My Twitter Diet

In a comment on my last, barely coherent post20 to Go requested a post about My Twitter Diet, saying, "I want in but have no idea how to start!"

Nothing could be easier.  If you have never used twitter before, or just want a quick, cheap, entertaining read, you should get a copy of the Your Twitter Diet ebook (less than $5 last time I checked), which gives a great introduction to twitter.   I will cover a few of the basics here, but the book goes into much more detail.

Signing up for an account on twitter takes a few seconds. Think of twitter as microblogging -- Instead of a long, tightly-edited blog post, you post a short, 140 character or less status update, called a tweet. There are some great videos about twitter, including "Twitter in Plain English." You can use hashtags (a word preceded by the # sign) to indicate the topic of your post. You can search on a hashtag to see other posts on the same topic.  Since hashtags cannot have spaces in them, people often mush together words in a hashtag like #twitterdiet. This allows an ad hoc virtual community to be created around a topic. You can save searches so that you can revisit this community whenever you want.

Your Twitter Diet also sums up the basics of twitter dieting, which are, as twitterdiet inventor @RebeccaRegnier said, "Tweet instead of cheat!"  If you already have a twitter account, you can do a search for twitterdiet and see the most recent posts from twitterdiet fans.  If you need support or just want to connect with the community, you can add the #twitterdiet hashtag to your post.  The nice thing is that you can use this whether you are doing Weight Watchers, low-carbing, or counting calories with LoseIt!.  The community is there to provide support or cheer you on, not tell you how to manage your food or exercise.

If you like someone's posts and want to read more by them, you can follow them so that their status updates appear in your twitter timeline.  You can also follow bloggers you read, like me, @toledolefty@shauna@jenful@priorfatgirl, etc. Because they are short and can easily be composed and sent from a mobile phone, tweets tend to be more immediate and really can make you feel connected.  Most publications and companies also have twitter accounts, so you can follow @nytimes (or @nytimeshealth, or @nytimeswell, or @nytimeskrugman, etc.), or @Shape_Magazine, or @FAGEUSA. It's fun to follow personalities like @JillianMichaels and her producer @JaniceUngaro.

You can post your own tweets as frequently or infrequently as you'd like.  It's worth giving it a try.  Just be forewarned that it is impossible to keep up with your twitter timeline, and if you're one of those people who obsessively worry if they miss anything, twitter might not be right for you. Otherwise, jump in and have fun!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

So Sleepy

I have so many things I'd like to blog about but I'm so sleepy:

  • I could share updates about my various medical conditions (yeah, I'm yawning too, but there is hope for me to get back to running, which is great news)
  • I could talk about the Flat Belly Diet, which is working well for me (though I had a higher calorie day today because I neglected to track as I was going through my day and just caught up
  • I could talk about the Twitter diet community
  • I could talk about a good new book I'm reading
But I'm really sleepy, as I said, so all of this will have to wait.  Feel free to let me know if there are any you'd like to hear first or even suggest other topics in the comments.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Week 1 Summary

I lost 1.4 last week! It doesn't show up in the summary report because I weighed in this morning. Exactly 30 pounds to go now. As you can see, I stayed mostly within my calorie targets, but ate more fats and less carbs than usual because I have been using the Flat Belly Diet plan, which emphasizes monounsaturated fatty acids. The reason I chose the diet was not the corny name, but the fact that it came up when I googled "menopause diet" and I like the foods it recommends. I do feel more satisfied than I did on a lower-fat diet plan. It is a Mediterranean-style diet and lines up well with my food preferences. I did a nice variety of exercise last week too. I'm feeling good -- this plan is something I don't mind sticking with long-term.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Learning from Injury

Full Moon Over the Rappahnannock River
Photo by valeehill, from flickr.com
I have the irrational belief that maybe if I can demonstrate that I have learned my lessons from these injury and health problems, they will go away.

I was thinking about it as I was swimming tonight -- one of the exercises I can still do well.  Spinning is another favorite.  One of the things I realize is how much I have taken for granted all the things my body does for me without complaint.  I really am learning to appreciate how lucky I am to have my good health, even though it's not perfect.

When I was healthier and fitter, I really didn't understand why more people weren't jumping on the fitness bandwagon. After all, it felt so good! Today I tried to take a walk in the beautiful sunshine, and my toes began complaining after only a few minutes. That pain -> inactivity -> pain thing can become quite the vicious cycle. I felt so discouraged I almost didn't go to my swim class, which would have been really self-defeating.  But I felt defeated already.

I am hoping that this whole experience will teach me to be more supportive and understanding of those who go through similar struggles. I have really valued the supportive comments I have gotten here (Carol, thanks especially for that latest one, it really lifted my spirits).  I know that I haven't always been that supportive to others and have even judged them for not making the commitment to fitness that I knew was so important.

I'm also trying to take Jillian's advice that when you can't exercise as much, you need to be super-vigilant about your calories.  Luckily, I really am enjoying the healthy recipes in the Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook, and feeling satisfied with less food.

According to Tarot.com, this full moon tonight is all about accepting vulnerability and changing our habits:
The Full Moon in sensitive Cancer on January 8, 2012 at 11:30 p.m. (PST) is a reminder to attend to our feelings. The opposing Sun in dutiful Capricorn sometimes hardens us to our inner needs, but this lunation touches us deeply, even spurring crises of insecurity if we're not taking care of ourselves. Establishing a healthy routine with a balance between work and personal matters is essential now. 
I'm really trying! Here's hoping that the next cycle will bring some healing.

Still on Track, Still Determined

Many times when a blogger posts a bunch of big goals and then goes into complete radio silence, that means that she has gone completely off-track and is embarrassed about it. I'm happy to say that is not the case right now. Things have been pretty busy, but in a good way that hasn't interfered with my goals.

I am not doing perfectly with my new diet plans, but I'm at least partially succeeding. Last night we had company over for dinner, and though I planned a pretty healthy meal, it's easy to overeat when you are having fun and not focusing on measuring out or even carefully eyeballing portions.  It was somewhat helpful that our guests are also watching their weight.  I jokingly said to my husband that we could only have formerly fat friends. He reminded me that a lot of thin people are careful about their diets too. So we decided (in jest) that we just can't have fat-and-happy-to-stay-that-way friends. Or at least not fat missionaries, people who not only want to stay fat themselves but want to make everyone else that way too. This is mostly in jest but I can think of a few examples of this phenomenon, friends who pout if you don't go "all in" on every social occassion and eat and drink several times your own body weight.

I'm more determined than ever to lose the weight because I continue to have foot pain, and continue to fear that I'm not going to get much help from the doctors. When the doctor's office called to tell me that I didn't have a stress fracture, the message was originally that the doctor wanted to "wait and see" if I got better. Since I have spent the last two years "waiting and seeing" and the last several months trying physical therapy and massage in the hopes of fixing the problem, I'm not feeling too confident that time alone is going to fix anything. I wish I had a diagnosis. I am going to talk to the podiatrist when I go in to get fitted for orthotics. I am hoping the orthotics will help, but without knowing the theory about what is wrong and why the doctor thinks they will help, I am less confident that the orthotics are the answer.

I was originally very anti-orthotic, anti-technical-running-shoes, because Chris McDougall's Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen had me convinced that running shoes were The Devil. But last summer I did my experiments with barefoot running, Vibram Five Fingers shoes, and even running in flip-flops and all I got was more pain. I recently listened to McDougall's TED talk and thought, the Tarahumara people live a completely different life than we do -- they don't have "day jobs," they don't spend hours and hours sitting on their butts, they don't have our crappy modern diets, etc. -- and we are supposed to buy his thesis that the real reason that they run well and we can't is because they don't have running shoes?

One thing that I thought is that they are probably a pretty thin group of people, and when I was thinner, my feet didn't hurt no matter what I wore on my feet.  So it doesn't take much mental muscle to get to the conclusion that maybe if I took some of the weight off my feet, they might feel better. Dr. Google backs me up on that here and here.

With all that in mind, it's hard not to be impatient. Wish someone had a Fat Vacuum that could restore me to my former slimness.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

No Stress Fracture

The nuclear scan did not show any evidence of a stress fracture. That's good news, in a way, but bad news because I still don't have a diagnosis. My doctor initially had said "we will just wait and see." Wrong answer. I have been waiting and seeing for years now and this thing is getting better.

The doctor did say that I have a hypermobile big toe joint, and it could be that my second and third toes are getting recruited to take too much of the impact from walking and running.  I also have bunions, which are not helping things either.  Since my insurance has approved orthotics, I am seeing the doctor next week to get fitted for them. Hopefully that will keep my toes in place and I'll feel better.

The doctor removed all restrictions, so theoretically I could run. However, since I haven't done anything to fix the problem with my foot, there doesn't seem to be any reason to think it would be a good idea to try, at least until I have the orthotics.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Starting Day

I weighed in, did my measurements, and even took a starting picture today. I was a little unhappy with the picture -- I have more of a spare tire than I realized. Still, the whole idea is that this is a starting point, right?

I am using the Flat Belly Diet as a baseline for my plan. I love the monounsaturated fatty acid foods (if not the acronym MUFA) that are required at every meal. Four 400-calorie meals seems like a good starting point, and as I said in my last post, I might allow myself some extra on days that I work out, if I'm really hungry and not just wanting a snack.  I am totally skipping the four-day jumpstart, as I know it would just make me crabby.  I'm using the #twitterdiet group for extra motivation.

So far, so good. I have had a very good breakfast and lunch and feel satisfied. I am about halfway to my water goal for the day.  I tried a new strength training class that I think will fit in well with the rest of my routine.

If I keep this up, I know I can improve on today's stats.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

New Year's Goals

I have felt ambivalent in the past about setting concrete weight-loss goals.  Wouldn't setting a goal mean I didn't love and accept myself just as I am?  I even read the Health at Every Size book to see if maybe I should stop shooting for weight loss and just ("just") learn to love myself as I am. I don't think it has to be either/or, though. I have set lots of other goals for myself without the implication that there was something "bad" or "wrong" about myself until I reached that goal.

I think for once, I feel like everyone else that I care about is fine with me just the way I am. I am even okay about the way I look now, but I know in my heart of hearts that I want to lose weight, for me.  I have gone over my reasons a lot of times, but the current problems I have been having with my foot are a big reminder that extra weight does have physical consequences.  I think this time my heart is finally in on the game. Before, I was trying to lead with my head, and it never worked.

Every year, the Fat 2 Fit Radio Show does a "goals show." I was listening to it and they referred me to the Fat 2 Fit book, which I have had for quite a while.  I decided to do the goals exercise in the book to get my new year started off right.  Here I will just be focusing on weight-loss goals.

One-year goal: 155 pounds, my old Weight Watchers goal weight. By this time next year, I will be maintaining at or below this weight.  If I decide I want to lose more once I get to that goal, I can always adjust downward, but I felt pretty good at 155 last time. I will do my "official" start weight tomorrow, but this would be a weight loss of about 30 pounds, totally doable if I maintain my focus.

Three-month goal: I will lose the first 10 pounds by April 1.  This is less than 1 pound per week.

Weekly goals: I will plan my dinners and exercise on Sunday evenings for the following week so that I will be primed for success. I will make sure to keep healthy foods stocked in the fridge, freezer, and pantry.  I will choose most dinner recipes from the Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook and my old Weight Watchers cookbooks.

Daily goals: I will log my food and exercise with Lose It! and my water intake with Waterlogged.  I will take my supplements daily.  I will use the meal builder in the Flat Belly Diet! Pocket Guide to help choose my meals and snacks.  I will give myself a little more calorie leeway per Russ and Jeff's recommendations and use the sedentary calorie level recommended by their BMR calculator as my LoseIt! baseline rather than the 1600 recommended by the Flat Belly Diet. If I am hungrier on days that I exercise, I can use some of the calories earned by exercise (but not all of them). I will make sure to have at least 3 meals and one snack a day. I will still shoot for a minimum of 3 vegetable servings and 2 fruits per day. I will use the #twitterdiet group to help with motivation.

This is just a baseline plan -- I will, of course, adjust as necessary. If the calories are too high for me to see weight loss, for example, I might nix the option for extra calories on workout days.

Tomorrow I will weigh in and take measurements and a starting photo.  I will post progress here at least monthly, though I will have more frequent updates on Twitter.
"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07