Monday, July 25, 2016

Let's get real: Weight regain


I get fascinated with the Facebook feature "On this day," which lets me look back to memories as long ago as about 2008, when I started using the site regularly.  Lately "On this day" has been letting me know that about two years ago, though I was not happy with my weight, I was thinner than I am right now. The picture on the left was taken a few weeks ago, and the right, two years ago.

I haven't quite gained 20 pounds, but close, and that means that instead of trying to lose the last 20, I'm dealing with 40 unwanted pounds. This is what two years of weight gain looks like:


You'll notice it's not all straight up, lots of peaks and valleys. Still, the general trend is up. And what happened in those two years? For one thing, my dad started to go into a rapid decline, eventually leading to a long period of suffering before his death. I was also starting to realize that my "dream job" was no longer what it had been. That started one uptick. Then things leveled off for a while. I even lost a little bit of weight as I was training for my big race last year, not a lot, but a little.

Then, after the race, I decided to see a functional medicine doctor, who told me I was exercising too much and that I should back way off of my workouts, cut out dairy and coffee and go gluten-free. At the time, I didn't realize how sharply my weight was rising. I'm sure that I could have handled all of that better. I had also quit my old job and committed to my new corporate contracting gig. At that time, I liked the work, but I had less time for my old routines, and I'm sure that didn't help.

I'm in a situation now where I want to make a lot of changes. I have a different assignment at work and I don't like it as much as my original one. It involves a lot of administrative tasks and not a lot of human interaction. It's stressful and boring at the same time. I have been really regretting not finding a way to stick it out at my faculty job -- even though I was unhappy with a lot of things that were going on there, I had a role to fill and a lot of people I cared about. Now I spend most of my days alone in a cubicle doing computer work. I feel like I gave up on my dreams trying to chase a higher salary, and I didn't even get the money to show for it.

It has been really hard going through all of this. I don't say that as an excuse -- I'm disappointed that I wasn't able to hold my healthy habits together better than I did. I still am hoping to find better, more satisfying work, preferably in an environment that is more conducive to my mental and physical health. In the meantime, I'm going to do my best to make changes where I can.

Me on the left, with two of my awesome tri friends.

It's not like everything has been failure. I did some of the most challenging races of my life in this two years.  Last Saturday, I did my first century bike ride -- 100 miles in one day. I have some great friends and family members who have been really supportive through all of this. It has just been hard, and I feel like I have been hiding from the truth, so here it is. I am hoping that posting this will help someone, maybe even me.


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Introspective in Indy: Fitbloggin' 2016 follow-up

This year's Fitbloggin' was a different kind of conference than the three previous ones I attended. In the past, the focus was definitely on the quirky, accepting community that started with the first conferences in Baltimore, and continued as the convention moved on to Portland, Savannah, and Denver.

In past years, I had always enjoyed the sessions, but the real focus was on the free-for-all of interactions with people I had met in previous years, or with new attendees. There were big social events like the opening mixer and casual activities in the expo hall to facilitate these interactions.

Denver. Sadly, Margo and I are the only ones pictured here who made it this year.

This year was the first year that the conference was handled by Zephyr, and though I think they did a great job of finding speakers, there wasn't as much of the informal social time that helped to provide opportunities for new people to meet up with old-timers. A lot of people decided for one reason or another not to attend this year, a huge Southwest glitch grounded a lot of the West Coasters who were planning to be there. There were also no real group meals, which on the positive side allowed us to explore the city's fantastic food scene, but made it harder for new people to find a foothold.

Great, but not quite enough breakfast for a long day of Fitbloggin'

Brunch later.

I was very happy that my perennial Fitbloggin' roommate Margo was on one of the few Southwest flights that made it. This was her first time in the Midwest, and as an Ohioan, I'm glad it made a good impression (see her video review). We had a lot of fun together, including an excursion to a local bar for a drag show (the bar pointedly displayed signs that they proudly serve everyone) and two trips to the fabulous Eagle's Nest revolving restaurant.

Drag shows don't make for great photos...
This pic does not do the epic Streisand costume justice


Revolving restaurant FTW!

Margo looking fab as always...
Beautiful bird's-eye view of the Capitol

Indianapolis sunset
More important to me was the time for reflection. I have been going through a lot in the last couple of years, from the deaths of loved ones to difficult, ongoing career transition. I don't like to wallow, so I have been struggling to stay positive, but I'm not sure I ever took the time to really feel and come to terms with that grief and loss. I have been really hard on myself about the weight I have put on during that time, but haven't done much reflection on the feelings that have contributed to the gain. I've been avoiding writing about it here, hoping that I could just "fix it" and move on.

The group sessions at Fitbloggin' and the professional speakers helped me to see things in a different light. It always helps to hear from people who have successfully dealt with the same situations, like David, Martinus, and Angie. This year I also found food for thought in keynote speeches by Lisa Delaney and Brooke Randolph. It's not like I needed information on the mechanics of weight loss. As someone who has lost and regained weight, I have all the information I need -- I just need a way to get through the stuff that gets in the way of doing what I know I need to do. I'm not saying I found ready-made answers, but I think I found a few insights that will help me build my own.

I'm going to read this and get all the secrets.
Plus, there was the chance to do my annual Zumba class, which satisfies my Zumba requirement for the rest of the year.

Introspective in Indy: Fitbloggin' 2016 follow-up

This year's Fitbloggin' was a different kind of conference than the three previous ones I attended. In the past, the focus was definitely on the quirky, accepting community that started with the first conferences in Baltimore, and continued as the convention moved on to Portland, Savannah, and Denver.

In past years, I had always enjoyed the sessions, but the real focus was on the free-for-all of interactions with people I had met in previous years, or with new attendees. There were big social events like the opening mixer and casual activities in the expo hall to facilitate these interactions.

Sadly, Margo and I are the only ones pictured here who made it this year.
This year was the first year that the conference was handled by Zephyr, and though I think they did a great job of finding speakers, there wasn't as much of the informal social time that helped to provide opportunities for new people to meet up with old-timers. A lot of people decided for one reason or another not to attend this year, a huge Southwest glitch grounded a lot of the West Coasters who were planning to be there. There were also no real group meals, which on the positive side allowed us to explore the city's fantastic food scene, but made it harder for new people to find a foothold.

Great, but not quite enough breakfast for a long day of Fitbloggin'

Brunch later.
I was very happy that my perennial Fitbloggin' roommate Margo was on one of the few Southwest flights that made it. This was her first time in the Midwest, and as an Ohioan, I'm glad it made a good impression (see her video review). We had a lot of fun together, including an excursion to a local bar for a drag show (the bar pointedly displayed signs that they proudly serve everyone) and two trips to the fabulous Eagle's Nest revolving restaurant.

Drag shows don't make for great photos...
This pic does not do the epic Streisand costume justice


Revolving restaurant FTW!

Margo looking cute as always...
Beautiful bird's-eye view of the Capitol

Indianapolis sunset
More important to me was the time for reflection. I have been going through a lot in the last couple of years, from the deaths of loved ones to difficult, ongoing career transition. I don't like to wallow, so I have been struggling to stay positive, but I'm not sure I ever took the time to really feel and come to terms with that grief and loss. I have been really hard on myself about the weight I have put on during that time, but haven't done much reflection on the feelings that have contributed to the gain. I've been avoiding writing about it here, hoping that I could just "fix it" and move on.

The group sessions at Fitbloggin' and the professional speakers helped me to see things in a different light. It always helps to hear from people who have successfully dealt with the same situations, like David, Martinus, and Angie. This year I also found food for thought in keynote speeches by Lisa Delaney and Brooke Randolph. It's not like I needed information on the mechanics of weight loss. As someone who has lost and regained weight, I have all the information I need -- I just need a way to get through the stuff that gets in the way of doing what I know I need to do. I'm not saying I found ready-made answers, but I think I found a few insights that will help me build my own.

I'm going to read this and get all the secrets.

Plus, there was the chance to do my annual Zumba class, which satisfies my Zumba requirement for the rest of the year.

"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