Week Eight, Not Great

I find myself at the end of another week I’m not entirely happy with. I feel you might be thinking, “What’s the problem? You’ve lost weight every single week.” But I know what I’m capable of, and I haven’t been at my best. This week just may have been my least satisfying. I didn’t go on a single hike, which makes me feel very off. I’m still trying to find the balance again between working 7 days a week at two jobs, and how I want to spend my precious little leisure time. Lately it’s been to sleep, which I honestly need during the week as much as possible considering if I don’t nap when I get home from job #1, then I’m running a full day on 3 hours of sleep, which trust me, is awful. I think I have it figured out though. I’m going to pencil in specific hikes into my planner for next week, just like I do my work hours. I’m going to hike on the two days I have my evenings free, and the one day I have my morning free. That way the other days I have both jobs, I can rest in between and not feel like I’m unable to do what I love. Also, the weather is supposed to still hold up and be gorgeous. No rainy season yet. A girl simply must take advantage of that. I feel that with a little advanced planning I should be able to hit some trails without a problem.

The other “ugh, boo week #8” feeling I have is how I caved in to emotional eating on more than one day. Which means I went way over my daily points allowance a few days and maxed out my splurge points before the week was even half over. An absolute goal for week #9 is to get back to keeping within my points budget. The weeks that I do that always yield the best results. Plus, emotionally, it makes me feel a lot better to keep my points intake in check.

Those are my two goals for the new week: Pencil in three hikes, and stick to my daily points allowance (with allowances to use my splurge points).

In regards to my recent post on emotional eating, I have decided to deal with some of the underlying causes of my recent binges in a professional setting. I know exactly the issue that triggers it, so what I need to work on is the issue itself. I’ve already taken the steps towards doing that. It feels good.

Last night’s staged reading was amazing.  We only had two rehearsals leading up to the actual reading, and it went so much more wonderfully than I could have possibly anticipated. We had quite a full house, and everyone was extremely responsive — hysterical at the comedic moments, silent, intense and focused in the dramatic moments. They were 100% with us throughout the entire script. It was fantastic. Not to mention, I received some really wonderful and touching compliments afterwards. It was truly a banner evening.

Today I treated myself to a dress I’ve been coveting for months now, from one of my favorite fashion websites, ModCloth. Looky looky!

My budget was a little tight over the summer months so I held out, but now that I have two paychecks coming in all the time now, I went for it. I usually wear an XL in dresses, so I purchased this in a L. It’s the first dress I’ve purchased since I started losing weight, and with nearly 20 lbs gone, I feel pretty good about sizing down. Look at how gorgeous it is! I can’t wait to wear it as soon as it fits. When it arrives, I’m going to keep it in full view in my closet as further motivation.

Alright. Tomorrow is weigh-in day. I don’t feel good about it, but I’m not skipping it. Going to face that scale and then dive into a fresh and successful new week.

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In my element.

When I mentioned the other day the furthest I feel from any destructive eating is when I’m hiking, that’s partly true. I forgot, and have no idea how this slipped from me (I blame feeling down), that the best state you will ever find me in is when I’m on stage. Performing, rehearsing, preparing for a role in my off time, any amount of time surrounding a production I’m involved in.  It’s like all of my creative energies take up so much space in my body there isn’t room for anything else. It’s the best feeling, and the most alive, I ever feel. There’s no feeling in the world like walking out on stage, breathing life into a character I’ve poured my heart and soul into, and creating an entire world within a play. Truly magical. Emotional eating doesn’t even exist in the events leading up to this.

That said, I’m feeling really good today. I’m performing in a staged reading tonight of this truly fantastic play comprised of four women. I’m also very lucky to have very good friends both in the cast and as the director. It’s been a great experience so far, culminating in tonight’s performance. I feel focused and ready to conquer the day. I fixed myself a good, healthy breakfast and am now going to head out and run some errands before coming back for last minute preparations for tonight.

These are the good days. The days I wish I could experience always. The days where only magic happens and destruction is a non-entity.

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Emotional Eating.

This is a topic of real importance to me, and it’s one I find that rarely (and this time back around, not at all, yet) gets addressed in WW meetings. Which is odd, when considering I know I’m not the only member of WW that eats to soothe emotions.

I thought about emotional eating tonight, because I recognized I ate beyond my points allowance and didn’t even try to stop myself because I wasn’t done soothing myself. Granted, I didn’t splurge on anything very unhealthy, as I’ve done a decent job to keep mostly healthy food in my kitchen, but it was still much more than I planned to or wanted to eat. When I find myself in a dark place, or sad, or stressed, or even just bored, I turn to food. And this has been the case for as long as I can remember. You don’t get to be nearly 100 lbs overweight because you really like food, you get there because of something much deeper, and overeating happens to be a symptom to a larger issue.

I know exactly what triggered this tonight, and it’s an ongoing personal issue I’m trying to work through, but when it arises my general afterthought is usually, “screw this, what do I have in my cupboards?” And then I succumb, and it’s awful, even when I’m doing it knowing I know better. I know a walk around my neighborhood would have been a far, far better and healthier option, and one that also would have allowed me to put my thoughts in order instead of shoving food down my gob. But rationale is always furthest away from the surface when you’re looking to soothe yourself. I imagine addicts to drugs, alcohol, self harm, and other destructive behaviors operate in much the same manner. You need the immediate release. For me, it’s food. I wish it wasn’t, and I know this is something I’m going to have to keep working at the rest of my life, long after I hit my goal weight.

What’s also hard for me is sometimes I just really need to talk about things with people who understand. And not so much a therapist, though I’m sure I could use one. But more just a sense of community, like I’m not alone in this, and there are others who have the same issues but they’ve been able to manage them. Every day is a fight for me to manage my emotional eating.

Since I live alone, I find I have a lot of time to myself with my own thoughts, which makes it much easier for me to dwell on them. So then to shut out all that emotional turmoil I turn to food. When I’m out hiking is when I feel furthest away from any destruction. I feel vibrant and alive and inspired by my surroundings. Everything is sharp and beautiful, and I feel focused and happy. But I’m not always hiking, and the moments I can slip away out of the city now that I’m back to two jobs is getting fewer and further between. When I’m hiking, even if I’m by myself, I never feel lonely. It’s when I’m shut up in my apartment and trying to deal with all this terrible crap in my head that I feel so painfully alone, and food is just a terrible, soothing, immediate, convenient companion.

I know I need to talk to someone going through similar experiences, and even though my WW meeting room is full of folks who are, we have yet to broach the subject. And I know WW meetings aren’t meant as a substitute for therapy, but sometimes I wish meeting topics were a little more honest than many of the usual, obvious, and repetitive ones. However, Sylvia is about the most real, genuine, and honest leader I have had the privilege of learning from. I have her email address, since she’s been kind enough to make herself available to anyone if they need to contact her outside of the meetings. I’ve been feeling tempted to write to her about my concerns with my emotional eating. I’ve also thought about coming into the WW center during its open drop-in hours to talk to her, but I have no idea if and when she’s there.

In the meantime, something really wonderful happened immediately after my meeting on Saturday that I forgot to mention. Since I have been officially pegged as ‘the hiker’ of my meeting group, Sylvia now asks me every week where I’ve been and how it was, which is great because it gives me incentive to make sure I have at least one weekly hike so I can share it with her. But right after the meeting, as I was walking out to my car, I heard a woman behind me ask, “Excuse me, Jen, right?” I turned around and said yes, and she introduced herself and told me she and her husband like to go on hikes in Forest Park and out in the Gorge, and if I’d ever like a hiking companion, she would be more than happy to be mine. She said I always seem to go on all these great, different hikes, and that she’d love to join me. I said I would definitely love that. Except I foolishly didn’t even ask for her contact information. I just said I would love that, got in my car, and was kicking myself the entire way home. The worst part is, while I remember her name, I only vaguely remember what she looks like. The first thing I want to do on Saturday is exchange contact info. I desperately hope I remember what she looks like. I really would like a new hiking companion, but most importantly, someone who likely has the same struggles and issues that I do. I do my best thinking on hikes, I can only imagine our conversations. I am extremely grateful to her for coming up to me after the meeting and making that offer.

Anyway. Thanks for listening to this. It’s just been a hard day.

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Week #7 Weigh-In!

Another loss this week! 1.2 lbs to be exact!

Amazing, just under half of a pound away from 20 lbs lost. I have to admit, I didn’t expect to have losses every single week for seven weeks straight, but here I am, with totally decent and healthy losses every. single. week. It’s an awesome feeling, and awesome to know that even though my weeks aren’t perfect (so not perfect) what has been successful is moving quickly pass the “oops, oh crap” moments and not making them any bigger than they were.

Another thing I’m trying to work on is feeling bad whenever I dip into my splurge points, because I sort of do and I don’t know why exactly. Since my weigh-in was yesterday, it meant I had a new crop of splurge points for the week. My friend Marissa asked if I wanted to go out to our favorite Spanish restaurant after we got off work for some late night happy hour action, to which I enthusiastically said yes. I had already eaten all of my points for the day, so I knew I was dipping into my splurge points. Since I try to ration them out through the week, I decided to order a sangria instead of my usual margarita since it has 1/3 the points (and equally delicious). But then Marissa ordered a giant plate of nachos that looked crazy delicious. She felt bad for ordering them because I was trying to resist, but I hate when people feel bad for ordering food they want just because I’m watching what I eat. Ultimately, I decided I would try just a few nachos, and of course a few turned into many. By the end of the night I accounted for all the points between the sangria and the nachos, and it was a lot. But not so much that I used up all of my splurge points. Still though, I felt bad. Maybe what I felt bad about was the fact that I didn’t plan for them. But you know what? Nachos happen. And when they do, as long as I track them and account for them, I’m going to damn well enjoy them. They were freaking delicious.

That said, I am now completely back on track for week #8 with activity. I didn’t go on a single hike last week as I was letting the last of my blister heal (it’s still there, but thankfully, healed to the point where it no longer bothers me). I mean, I’m not really going to count Latourell Falls, because most of the trail was closed and we barely did a mile round trip. I’m already planning out my Monday and Thursday hikes. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to be back on the trails. I am, however, woefully behind on my hiking blog. I have about 3 hikes to catch up on, so I’m hoping at some point today between working two shows at the theatre I can get 52treks updated by the end of the day.

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Possibly noticeable changes?

When I look at myself in the mirror, I still don’t see the physical changes of my weight loss yet. Not that I’m in any rush to, because I’m not. I’m looking forward to the “oh hey, there it is!” moment that is sure to come at some point, but when exactly that day is doesn’t matter. However, tonight, for the second time, someone has said they’ve noticed. Andrew told me just a few days ago when I weighed-in and was all giddy about my 18.4 lb loss that he can see it. Then tonight, my boss (who I haven’t seen since my birthday) asked me about all of my summer hikes, and I told her that I definitely feel a difference in what I can handle now vs. what I could handle just a couple of months ago, and she said, “Well I can definitely see the difference, too. You look great.” She said it so matter-of-fact that I couldn’t help but have to believe it. That definitely made me feel good that possibly these small changes are adding up to a noticeable difference, just 7 weeks into WW.

Today was incredibly active. Here in Portland, they just did away with the free rail zone (which was how I got myself to and from work at the ‘bux, fare-free). I decided that I now a) didn’t want to spend a lot of money on transit fare, and b) I didn’t want to spend even more money on city street parking, so I went with an option C, which was: Park at my theatre (where I have a staff parking pass for the lot), and walk the 2 miles roundtrip down to my s’bux and back. While the weather is still nice, this is perfect. But once the rainy season hits in a few weeks the long work walks might have to change. But for now, I actually enjoyed it.

Then work tonight at the theatre was certifiably a full on work-out. While I spent the late afternoon/early evening setting everything up, I ended up (according to Fiona) climbing 40 flights of stairs (which meant I went up and down the gargantuan staircase 20 times), and walked an equivalent of 4 miles within the building. Not to mention, the endless heavy lifting of boxes that I did. Whew! Definitely earned some WW activity points there.

I have a very, very good feeling about making all of my activity goals for the week, now that I’m back at both jobs again and walking around downtown so much more!

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And now onto 10 months of mayhem.

Tonight is my last free night before starting back up at the theatre again, 5-6 nights a week, every week, until the last week of June. Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

Before you get me wrong, let me clarify: I love my theatre job. Love. It. It’s working my theatre job and Starbucks together that made last year super crazy. I basically lived to work, existing on a series of naps, and making God awful food choices to get me through. This year, however, is going to be very, very different. How? Because I’m going to do what it takes to make healthier choices. I want this to be a better year. And I’m going to make it better one choice at a time.

Today wasn’t exactly as planned, but overall I’m happy with how it turned out. I made Andrew and I veggie omelets and baked hashbrowns, then we set off for a hike. Except the hike turned out to be a bust, because most of the trail was closed due to construction. I wanted to get a full hike in, so I suggested revisiting one of my favorite hikes, Wahclella Falls. Except it took us nearly 40 minutes just to get back out to the highway due to the sheer volume of cars trying to get a spot for various hikes along the gorge. We decided to skip it altogether, since it was so crowded and anywhere we went would be ridiculously crowded and impossible to park at due to the holiday. So we came back and decided to catch a matinee at the local theatre pub. I indulged in some popcorn and a soft drink (all points accounted for, of course), then took Andrew home. As I was heading back to my apartment, I really just wanted to veg out and eat terrible things, a theme of feelings I’ve been having for the better part of a week. Instead I threw on some running clothes, laced up my sneakers, and went out to the track for a run. I ran 2 miles (holler) and cooled down with a walk. Yay me.
The blister is still kicking (good. gravy.) albeit not getting worse. It’s feeling less uncomfortable in shoes, which is good. I’m hoping that in another week my foot will be top notch again.

Alright, off to veg for an hour or so before bed. And so begins my 10 months of working like a madwoman.

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Week #6 Weigh-In!

Oh. My. Gosh.

I don’t…..

I don’t even know how it was possible but….

I mean…. you guys….

I LOST WEIGHT THIS WEEK!!

WHAT! WHAT!! WHAAAAT!!!

I really couldn’t believe it. I went in there, mentally prepared for a gain after a week of being mostly laid up and a full on chocolate binge. I took a breath, stepped on the scale, and then my leader spoke these words, “Yeah Jen, you are just killing it!” I asked, surprised, “I lost weight?” To which she replied, “Down 2.4 lbs this week. Great job!” She printed off my little weight sticker, put it in my booklet, and handed it back. As soon as I sat down I had to look in there to be sure, and there it was: -2.4 lbs for the week, for an 18.4 lb total loss. I was relieved and delirious.  The human body is just such a crazy thing.

I’ve decided to be happy (so happy) with this and move forward. I certainly don’t want to get cocky thinking I can just lose weight without even trying or with major gaffes, because I certainly can’t. If I pursue every week like last week it won’t be long before the scale goes back up again. I looked back on the things I did right this week rather than focus on the ones I did wrong, and there is plenty I can give myself kudos for (a 13+ mile hike, walking on the track when I felt ready, moving past my binge as soon as it was over). I also know there will be weeks when I do everything right: staying within my points allowance, keeping active, staying hydrated, and making all the right choices, and of those weeks there are sure to be a few where I won’t lose anything. Those weeks will certainly be the true test to my commitment.

That said, I’ve also reached a milestone! I’m down in the 220’s! I’ve kissed my 240’s and 230’s goodbye forever, which feels fantastic. I’m also a few pounds less now than I was when Shannon last saw me. It gets me excited knowing that the next time I see her I will be super fit and nowhere near resembling the body she saw me in last May. But even if I just happened to run into her on the street (a highly unlikely pure hypothetical), from here on in I will look better every day than when she last saw me. Just a little thing that makes me happy, and gets me super excited for the vacation we’re saving up for.

So the blister is still there, but still healing, albeit as slow as ever. Andrew looked at it last night and confirmed that it appeared to have gotten infected, which is why it’s taking so long to heal. But since it isn’t getting any worse, I just need to let it heal fully before taking any long hikes again so I don’t risk reinfecting it. My foot is still uncomfortable in a shoe, so I just wear my flip flops whenever possible (thank goodness it’s still flip flop weather here) with the toe securely wrapped in a blister-aide.

So, moving forward, I’m trying to think of two September goals. One is, for sure, to be able to run 3 miles without stopping. Seeing as I’m running a 5k (3.1 miles) on Sept. 29th, I hope to be able to meet this one for sure! I was also going to have a hiking goal, but seeing as my right foot is out of commission for my hiking boots at the moment and I start my job at the theatre again on Tuesday (on top of my day job) I have no idea what I could realistically shoot for. I’ll have to think about this over the next couple of days.

Seeing as I (and Andrew) have tomorrow off, I was hoping to get out on an awesome hike. But just as with every other day this past week, we’ll have to gauge it when I wake up. I’ve been trying really hard not to let my foot get me down too much, esp. considering it’s put me out of commission for approx. 3 hikes at this point. But Andrew made the good point that as soon as I’m up for it, I’ll be out there again soon enough tackling trails despite a busy schedule. And I know he’s right. I’ve been itching to get out there so bad I know I can make the time for hikes because of what they do for my soul. So, I just have to take care of my foot in the meantime and exercise patience.

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