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Diet, Exercise

Here I am again… Part 1

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve been to this blog. I somewhat fell off the wagon there with maintaining it. I’m back, now, and hoping to restart my weight loss. I figure keeping a bit of a diary will help keep me on track, even if just for a little while.

To pick up from my last entry way back in 2008: I continued my exercise and diet routine into 2009 and up until May. At that point, I had reached my ultimate goal of 60kg, and I was working on the last few kilos to reach my ideal BMI. I believe I even hit around 57-58kg, if my memory serves me right. I was extremely pleased with myself for reaching a goal I never thought I’d get to, and I was fit enough to walk 5 miles a day and feel great. I had done fantastic for myself, better than I had hoped. My fitness was better, I was eating healthier, and my weight was lower than ever. My family and friends were amazed and happy for me.

So what happened? At the end of May, I packed up everything I could into a suitcase and flew overseas to marry the man I loved. He would be the same one I mentioned in my About page who had supported me the whole time in my goals. In May, he had just finished a 6 month deployment overseas, and I couldn’t stand the separation any longer. So hence, I went! I was over the moon to see him once more, safe and sound back at home, and he was surprised to see the new me, down two sizes and feeling great!

I’m not afraid to admit I got a little lazy there for a while, settling in with my fiance, but I still found some time and energy to wander around the neighborhood and hit the pool. I was maintaining a healthy weight, even if I was indulging my taste buds with a little American food here and there. (And the food is amazing, even if the portions are criminally huge!)

We married in October with our close friends and family to witness. I had gained a few ‘happy’ pounds in the intermin, as I called it, but I still felt and looked fantastic in my wedding dress. Much better than I had hoped!

It wasn’t long after that when my husband left the military, and we moved back to his home state of Louisiana. We stayed in a tiny 1 room apartment with some family as we got on our feet. The change in location wasn’t exactly an undesirable one, but I found it was not conducive to my love of walking. Whereas before we lived in the city limits, we were now living in a more rural area. There were no readily accessible sidewalks, nor was walking on the local roads a safe alternative as the road we lived on was a main drag for traffic, long and straight, always busy with speeding vehicles. With the lack of a sidewalk and deep ditches on both sides, there literally was no shoulder to safely walk upon.  The regular demolition of the neighborhood mailboxes didn’t help my confidence in the driving skills of the locals much, and I didn’t enjoy the vision of myself decorating someone’s dual-cab truck like a hood ornament.

I attempted over the months to walk the driveway, but even that wasn’t concrete and I found myself twisting my ankles on the uneven gravel, pitted with potholes and bumps.

So admittedly, as we stayed in a tiny apartment and looked for work, I got depressed. We made a few token trips to the local high school track to stretch the legs, but the gas cost too much to make daily trips, so I stopped asking to go. Instead, I attempted to work out on a manual treadmill. I failed miserably at that.

To get off track a little, this is one thing other people don’t exactly understand with me. I intensely dislike being cooped up in a room if I’m going to exercise. I’d much rather get out in the fresh air and have a change of scenery. If I’m walking, I like to go on my own, have some music playing and be left to my own thoughts. It’s meditative. Being stuck in a room with distractions like a TV, computer or telephone just drags out the time and makes a hobby plain old work. I’m not getting anywhere. I’m not accomplishing anything. I’m staring at a blank wall, or watching the miles slowly tick on the treadmill’s odometer. If I’m out and about, I have things to look at, people to see, I have a goal – to get to this point. And when I’m done, I have to come back to get home. I can’t just stop and sit down at any point. I have to do it.

I couldn’t do the treadmill. It was tedious and made me frustrated. So I just stopped doing it. The weight slowly came back on. That by itself wasn’t too bad, but I fell into some comfort eating. Snacking often on junk, eating out. It didn’t help that the tiny apartment we lived in did not have a proper kitchen. Instead, we had a fridge and some counters and cupboards. His grandmother, bless her, bought us a tiny two-burner camp stove that I could fix food on, but one burner didn’t work. So I struggled to make good meals with a microwave, fridge, two-burner and no sink. Our diet wasn’t exactly the best.

And we lived like this for two years.

So yep, the weight came back on. Clothes started getting tight. I was slowly putting away my newer clothes that I had bought and donning my older, looser clothes. I eventually started to take my hubby’s shirts to wear. We were tight for money so I made do with my jeans (those had to be put away, and I had to buy a new pair) and t-shirts. My self-esteem took a plummet.

The family holidays and trips didn’t help. A family holiday to New Orleans for the weekend packed on some more pounds. I married at around 135 lbs (61kg), by the trip I was about 145lbs (65.5kg), and after that weekend of eating out… I hit 150lbs (68kg). I was devastated to reach that number. I had gone from the bottom of 60kg to the top in under a year. The weight didn’t move, and I continued to gain. I tried a mini-diet, and it seemed to work for me, but I fell off that bandwagon and kept gaining. I seemed to stabilise at around 155lbs (70kg). If I stayed under 155, I could live with it.

I stopped weighing myself. I started a cycle of denial. Whenever I put my jeans on and they seemed to cut me in half, I grew depressed and angry. I refused to buy more jeans to fit. I even stopped wearing them for a while because they had grown too small to wear, but I didn’t want to do anything about it.

In October 2011, we moved to our own house. After 2 years of living in a tiny one room apartment, we had a place of our own! I started cooking once more, focusing on more healthy food. We were eating a lot of grilled chicken, salads, fresh vegetables. Thanksgiving came, and so did Christmas. Imagine my surprise when I finally stepped on a scale last week to discover I had hit 161.5lbs (73kg). I had been working on a better diet – less eating out and more fresh food at home – but I hadn’t fixed the main issues that I’ve come to identify:

  1. Snacking. I still snacked on unhealthy foods like chips, sunflower seeds, popcorn. I’d snack all during the day, even if I wasn’t hungry. It just gave me something to do. There’s that boredom/comfort eating I was guilty of.
  2. Portion sizes. I still kinda gorged myself more than I should have. My eyes were bigger than my stomach, as my mother would say.
  3. Little or no physical activity. I was still living inside most of the time. We had a Wii Fit and we played it, but that was about all the physical activity I got.
  4. Irregular eating. Hubby was working shift work with his schedule constantly changing, so our sleeping and eating patterns were all out of order. We’d eat dinner at 2am, fall asleep at 5am, wake up at noon, not eat until much later. We were all out of whack!

For the most part, I pride myself that I’m not a trashy eater. I didn’t binge regularly on Taco Bell. If we ate out, it was generally at a place like Chili’s versus a greasy fast food chain like McDonald’s. (I’m not saying that Chili’s isn’t junk either, but the food selection was closer to healthy, as I’d pick up salads or fresh vegetables with chicken.) At home made fresh burgers, spaghetti, salads, grilled chicken. All that good stuff. It was just too much.

And the snacking! Agh! I’d developed a sweet tooth, and I was munching on sweets like never before. Bad me!

After Christmas, when I realised how unfit and overweight I’d become, I mentioned to hubby that I wanted to start trying Weight Watchers. Back in 2008, when I’d started my exercise routine, I’d dabbled in WW to help me maintain a steady diet. I wanted to pick it up again this time around to aide in my weight loss. He was fully supportive. Back in October, he’d been accepted into a police academy for training and also needed to work on his fitness, so I was going to put the pair of us on WW.

It’s funny timing, and really didn’t have anything to do with making resolutions (I’m not a big fan of those), but I started January 1st to actually sit down and track our workouts. Just the week prior, hubby and I had discovered a nearby suburb that was being built. The roads were laid, but only a few houses were built. The whole area was 1 perfect mile around. I had just discovered my own personal roadway! With little to no traffic, and just a few minutes walk from our house, this was exactly what I needed! I started walking there, starting with 1 mile… then working up to 2. Then continuing.

While hubby jogged on the school track, I walked it. When he was taking a break or at the academy, I hit the suburb. On January 1st, I did 2 miles. I was stoked! My old knee grumbled a bit, but I was feeling positive. The next day, another 2 miles. On the 4th, I amped it up to 3 miles – 60 minutes of walking. Then the next day I did it again.

In the first week of January, I walked 12 miles (19 kms). I was back outside, with my iPod blaring, my sneakers laced and I was feeling fantastic. I even ventured out in 38F (3C) weather to get my walking in. Despite my intense dislike of the cold, it was completely worth it.

It was on January 6 when I finally sucked it up and got onto the scale. That’s when 161.5lbs stared up at me in digital print. Agh! I was shocked to see I’d gained beyond my self-allowed 155lbs, and had even moved into the next realm of 160. No!

But my shock aside, I wasn’t too hard on myself. Despite my weight gain, I felt fantastic. My blood was pumping, my face red, I felt on top of the world. I was active again.

Then, on the 11th of January, my WW member kit arrived. I was really excited, and chattered to hubby about it. That was also the day that I first walked 4 miles (6.5km). Now we were talking and I was getting into the groove.

The rest of the week I did well, weather permitting (some extreme cold and rain kept me indoors). Counting Sunday that just turned over to early Monday morning now, I finished up the week walking a total of 15 miles (24km). It’s my first big goal and I’m very happy with myself! I haven’t dared to weigh myself yet, but I’m hoping the results will be good. If anything, the way I feel is reward enough. I’m not so exhausted anymore, and my crabby mood seems to disappear after an hour or two of grooving to some good music under the sun.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: Here I am again… Part 2 « Dear Belle - January 16, 2012

  2. Pingback: Boredom and Comfort Eating « Blue Runners - March 8, 2012

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