2012 Yearly Wrap Up

2013 3Hello and Happy New Year!!!

After taking a short break to my “get crap back together” after the school thing, am very happy to be back and will be blogging again regularly. Missed everyone but have been busy learning new fitness, nutrition, and motivation tips and tricks to help us all!

But first a quick wrap of “2012 Goals Achieved“!

INCHES LOST: I lost 4 inches off my bust, went from 22 to size 16/18 in pants and from 1X to Xlarge and some Large/Medium as well. Sold or Donated 80% (or more) of my clothes and shoes and, except for one shopping trip, have gotten everything but sneakers from Goodwill.

FAT LOST: I lost 15 pounds this year and have kept it off. Went through a cycle of gaining and losing, then plateaued for about 5 months but kept going.

STRENGTH: I am doing much better. Can do 3 rounds of full range of exercises with trainer. Bench press 40 pounds and squatting 60 pounds. Much better endurance and able to run 2 miles easily.

MOTIVATION: I began working in July with an amazing trainer and hit the gym at least 3 times a week now, if not more. That includes fitness classes, strength training, C25K training, and yoga. Also tried P90X with a group.

RUNS ACCOMPLISHED: I completed 3 separate 5K’s this year, up from 1 last year. Also decreased time on the last one – Thanksgiving Day – by 15 minutes!

DIET: This year I struggled with sweets and junk food, especially pastry, but was able to get friends on board with my “healthy eating program”. Also did a great job with food choices during the holiday’s compared to last year, and did a 1 day water cleanse yesterday – even with going to a friend’s gathering a being surrounded with AMAZING FOOD.

BREAKFAST: Eat breakfast every day, use stevia not sugar, cook with cooking spray.

WATER: Drink it like it’s out of style (at least a gallon a day). That, coffee, and protein shakes are all I drink now.

ENDING THE BLAME / GUILT CYCLE: I am finished blaming my weight gain on my condition (1 med a bit of an issue but have overcome it), my mom for passing the condition down, and beating myself up when I slip off the wagon, hit a wall, or fail at something. Now I can accept life as it comes, deal with it, and move on to make healthier, smarter decisions next time. This is a HUGE step for me!

TAKING CARE OF MYSELF FIRST: After the whole “class thing” and backsliding, I have been extra vigilant about self care, meds, preparing healthy meals, eating on time, and getting to the gym. The healthier I am in all areas of my life, the better wife, friend, and overall person I will be. Can’t help others with half a tank!

OTHER GOALS ACHIEVED OF NOTE:

SOCIAL: Went from anxiety/depression central and trapped at home 2 years ago to planning and hosting 3 parties/gatherings this year: a “Harry Potter Movie Marathon and Authentic Menu” Party, “Cocktails/Mocktails” Party, and a “French Country Christmas”. Also captained the 2012 NamiWalk, great success! Am almost anxiety free now and ready to kick another med to the curb! And will be reconnecting and visiting with friends monthly.

EDUCATION: Signed up for and completed 90% of a college class.

FINANCIAL: Also studying and creating a financial plan for my family for next year to knock out our debts. Paid off car and refinanced house this year. Exciting plans for 2013.

Have another set already of goals for 2013, some carried over from 2012, but many new.

Pleased to report that achieved almost everything on our “2012 Vision Board“. So for those of you who don’t know what a vision board is or just haven’t used one – I HIGHLY recommend it! Seeing your goals in color every day and the “check marks” stuck to the one’s you’ve achieved is an incredible motivator. Gives such an amazing feeling of pride and accomplishment. Have a blog entry from January 2012 explaining how to make your own vision board but even if you just create a “2013 Goals List” and display it where you’ll see it every day, then check things off as you do them, you’ll still get those “warm fuzzy feelings”.

So, welcome back everyone! 2013 is a year of challenging myself like never before, beating the sugar monster, and getting in the best health I’ve been in since my late 20’s. And I challenge you to go after your goals and “knock them out of the park” as well! Would love to hear some of your plans and goals for the New Year and your accomplishments in 2012. This is going to be exciting and thrilled you’re along for the Ride!

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Extra Weight Gain? Is it Food or Meds? Or What?

I’M UP 5 POUNDS, I FEEL LIKE CRAP, WHAT NOW???

We all know it starts with food – what we eat, how much, frequency, when, etc. Then it goes to activity, water consumption, getting enough sleep, but then it gets murky. In a depression, there’s tons of science about eating more, craving sugary/fatty foods, eating less or not eating. There are tons of factors but many of us end up with extra weight gain and feeling worse about ourselves as we move out of the depression or other episode. Not all, but the “I could care less” during the episode changes pretty quick for me when I look at the scale. The question is: did the depression cause the weight gain or did I gain weight by self medicating with food???? What other factors are in play?

For me, the main culprit has usually been meds. They helped me gain most of the weight, than I helped myself. Took 2 years to titrate (lower dosage) down 1 main culprit and another I was worried about dependency with. Then wham, bad episode, doc ups the “evil weight gain med” and a week later I’m 5 pounds up and feeling like a double failure. The pain of the episode, both mental and physical, pushed me over the edge to self medicate with food. Chicken, egg? The point: the med change helped me so much emotionally I’ve been coming out of the bad funk over the last few days. Have been able to slowly knock the increase back. And the 5 pounds, well with the lower dosage, lots of exercise, cutting back carbs, and increasing protein, not only are they gone, I’m actually back to July/Aug weight.

Lesson: There are so many factors that impact weight gain and loss, but for us on mood meds, they can have a very real impact on our hard work. Some are notorious “weight gainers” and while they help us feel more stable, we look in the mirror and are pretty unhappy with the side effects. What’s critical to remember is that mood stabilization, mental health, and mental safety come first. You can only do so much when you’re in an episode. Once you’re more stable, then you can talk to your doc about the weight issues and what you can safely do to address them. Be good to yourself – hopefully you have a plan in place and support system to call on when needed. If not – DO ONE!!!!! I wouldn’t be here typing away if those two things haven’t been my lifeline for 12 years. Although I’m preaching to many in the choir, hopefully this will shed some light for some others of you.

Huge Shout Out to Sandy Sue for her friendship and amazingly great advice/insight! Hugs!

Taking Care of Business

Quick update (and a shout of Thanks to Sandy Sue and other terrific supporters for your words of wisdom!):

– Depression beater 1 million: an hour deep tissue massage. Use a Groupon or online coupon. Hurts like heck during it, but could actually move and stretch again after a few hours. A bit sore today but not unbearable. Don’t be cheap, go for the hour to really hit all the knots depression hides in.

– Projects Help: A Lot!: continuing painting in the dining room and, even without doing trim work, is starting to look pretty amazing. Benefit: a mindfulness exercise, low stress, get in some exercise, but have to pay attention. Which keeps me from obsessing over…well, everything. Also went out and bought fabric for next big stitching project. Last one took 4 solid months. This one looks like about 8. Another mindful, mindless project that yields results to be proud of. Some people garden, cook, do woodwork – I sew.

– You May Gain A Bit of Weight, But You Probably Will Be Able to Lose It: Depression eating isn’t new, heck, many of us overindulge when we’re not depressed. But it’s only during an episode that I’ll make a 9″ pan of brownies and eat it all. We won’t talk about the brownie or cookie dough runs. However, after the initial “food medicating” is past, it takes a bit but one can get back on the horse, and with some initially hard work, lose that weight. Yes, it sucks. Yes, we initially feel even crappier thanks to the scale monster. Yes, we can do this…again. I gained almost 5 pounds in about 2 weeks and lost about .6 in 1 day through heathier eating. Imp: Results may not be typical!!!

– One Sure Fire Sign You’re Coming Out of It: ok, more than 1. You showered today and brushed your teeth. You were able to go back to work. You are back on your healthy eating program. You can stretch, move around, and want to get back to exercising, doing errands, and all that other life stuff. You may not FEEL 100% but you’re moving in the right direction. I’m at the “doing self care, eating better, and ready to get back to exercising”. Yay!

Only you know your “depression remedies” – and hopefully your significant other/support system in case you need reminding. As a rapid cycler, mine are horrible but short lived. If your main diagnosis is depression or you’re a BP1, your episodes may be much longer and require different remedies and much more time for you to see relief. That’s why it’s always so important to contact doc asap to discuss your plan and what you can do to get through this one and help make future one’s shorter and more manageable. I’m not a doc myself but after 14 years on this merry go round, have learned a tad bit. Hope this helps any of your out there or at least was an interesting read!

What Can You Do Now?

Depending on where you are with your personal weight loss journey, and at regular intervals, it’s a terrific idea to think back to where you started and take a few minutes to compare what you could do then versus what you can do now. Not the obvious things like being able to walk around the block, finish a gym class, are overall healthier and have more energy.

The less obvious ones:

* Being able to run to the car through the rain without being winded.

* Being able to bend over in the shower to shave your legs.

* Automatically reaching for an apple instead of a donut without realizing you’re doing it.

* Doing a yoga pose instinctively, perfectly, the first time, to your own amazement.

* Getting up from a low couch without leaning on something or needing help.

* Comfortably crossing your legs.

* Leaning over and wrapping your arms around your legs while seated on the floor, again without thinking about it.

* Moving past the conscious decision to do a healthier activity because so many are now second nature. Like taking the stairs and parking farther away to get a little extra activity.

* And the very little things like going to sleep at a decent hour because you’re honesty tired, not because you’re eyes are fried from too much tv or video gaming, but because your body has reset itself.

* Finally, the feeling developing deep in yourself that you’re a thin person, a healthy person, temporarily wearing a fat suit. That happened to me a few days ago and it’s been instrumental in strengthening my commitment to reaching my fitness and weight goals.

As you keep a food journal, an exercise journal, maybe think of starting a list of “new developments” list of thoughts and actions that you look back and realize how long it’s been since you were able to do them, if at all. More than a number on a scale or the amount of weight you’re able to lift or miles you can now run, it’s the little things that we now take for granted that truly make all the difference.

Start that list – you’ll be glad you did. Plus you can use it for a confidence boost when your commitment wanes or you hit a plateau!

Help, I’m Out of Control!

I’m Out of Control And Really Need Help

After 6 weeks I finally got the scale back and guess what, I’m almost 4 pounds heavier. Pretty upset about this.

It’s time to admit that I have a problem and figure out what to do about it. Yes, I’ve lost almost 80 pounds and for the most part have kept it off. BUT since losing that bulk of weight and still having 40 that I want to lose, I’ve been fighting a losing battle with emotional and impulse eating for the last 4 months. I’ve plateaued and been ping-ponging on the scale.

One of the reasons I’ve gained back 4 pounds is 2 weeks of limited exercise (no trainer sessions, no body pump classes, only a solid weekend of hard work outside). Even after the major lawn overhaul and then the following week getting ready for and getting some major dental work, the 2nd reason is that my eating is out of control. I try to stay with the plan my trainer gave me but during the weekend and the time around and after the dental work (about a week), it’s been carbs, carbs, carbs and SUGAR. Getting takeout, going out for lunch complete with pancakes two days in a row. Ice cream one night, a half container of caramel almond butter with chocolate chips another. Making mega brownies. Eating half a challah loaf two days in a row. No wonder the pounds are flying back on.

Add sitting on my butt on the couch for hours a day and not using the fitness equipment sitting in the other room and it all makes sense.

Although my trainer says over and over, it’s your fat percentage that counts and how your clothes fit, especially as you gain muscle and lose fat (muscle weighs more), because I am still so overweight that’s not the issue now. Get me down to 10 pounds to goal and we’ll talk.

I feel like I’m at the end of my rope – I’m sneaking sweet stuff again, staying on plan during the day and then blowing it at night, not getting in enough movement, and letting temptation rule my food choices. I’ll go for weeks on plan and then blow it over a weekend. And to make matters worse this Friday and Sat we’re eating out to celebrate with friends. So I’ll do great until Friday night then blow it with the bread at the restaurant. Saturday is a birthday party complete with cake that I’ll be making and dinner out at a japanese steakhouse. That’s what’s been happening the last few months and why I’m not making any progress. I’ll stay on plan and then at the slightest opportunity, fall right off. Sure I get back on but the damage has already been done.

Crappy factoid here: within a few hours of a high fat meal we put on 3 teaspoons of fat around our middle, waiting to move somewhere else on our body. 1 meal!!!

I’m feeling so discouraged when I should be grateful that for the most part I’ve kept off what I lost over the last year. The problem is I’m not at the maintaining stage yet and still have a ton to lose. And my willpower seems to have taken a vacation.

I don’t know whether I need to go see my therapist again for a booster or figure out what’s really going on mentally that’s blowing my progress. Going to a training session today and hopefully trainer will help put this in perspective. That and planning ahead for this weekend’s meals, making a single layer cake (just use 1 pan), and starting to journal food again. The picture journal is a lot of work and a real pain which is why it was a short lived venture. Trainer has nixed the calorie counting but a simple daily listing of intake seems like the best way to go.

Even bought a book about stopping emotional eating, which I put down after a few chapters and haven’t picked back up. Can’t tell if I’m not ready to face this yet but if I want to achieve my goals I really need to suck it up and figure out how to be the winner when faced with chocolate (and ice cream)! Something has to change and stay changed for this journey to continue and figure out how not to fall back into sabotaging habits. Many of you have inspired me so much and would love your feedback on this. Right now I’m my own worse enemy!

It’s All About Inspiration!

What is the hardest thing about achieving and then maintaining weight loss and any kind of fitness program?

Yep: Staying Inspired and Motivated!

That’s the reason I post videos, motivating quote pics (see above), and reblog great posts from bloggers who inspire me. You can count calories all day, run until you can’t breathe, and spend hours at the gym. But at some point, we all hit the wall.

It’s when we stop caring what we put in our mouths, whether we make it to the gym, and that cool workout and yoga stuff we bought to have at home starts collecting dust. The business world calls it burn out, I call it just plain tired.

Today’s tip is to embrace the burnout. It’s your body’s way of saying it needs a break. You may also be in a weight loss plateau at this point. That’s normal, too. When we have a lot of weight to lose (or even just a little), it’s typical to get to a certain point and stall. And to control how far we fall off the wagon, it’s a good idea to plan ahead for these burnout periods. To build in 2 slices of pizza (but not 4). To allow yourself a weekend off activity wise and let yourself get completely bored watching telly and finally getting up to “go do something”. It also gives you a chance to research a little and make some minor adjustments for when you get back to work. Changing what and how you’re eating a little, switching to a new/harder class, doing cardio before instead of after strength trainer (or the reverse), adding or subtracting a day.

A few posts ago I talked about the cruel truths of long term maintenance and leading an active, healthy life. Mixing it up on a regular basis is one of those truths. Your body gets bored the same as your mind. It gets used to a routine / way of eating and gets complacent. It’s your job in the control room to keep it guessing and challenge it!

In that vein, here’s the perfect example of an inspiring blog from a blogger I admire very much. She’s a Runner. Pre-Service PE teacher. Personal Trainer. Sports Nutritionist. Les Mills Body Pump Instructor. Yogi. Torquay & Surfcoast Lover. Wow! So if you’re feeling sluggish this morning and not in the mood to get in much activity check out what she’s doing today. And get that butt off the couch!

juice-cleanse-day-2

There is NO “I Can’t”

There truly is no “I Can’t” and the only limits we have are those we impose upon ourselves. No one exemplifies this more than South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius, a quadriplegic who is competing head to head with the rest of the those running in this summer’s 2012 Olympic Games in London.

“Oscar Pistorius, running on prosthetic legs, finishes last in race, first in hearts”

(South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius pops out of the starting block in the men’s 400m semifinals during the Summer Olympic Games on Sunday, August 5, 2012 in London, England.)

At the tiny gym I go to now (not sure it’s really a gym, more like a place where serious athletes and body builders train), one of the owners – my trainer Liz – is going to put a huge poster of Oscar on the wall so anytime anyone says “I can’t” or wants to quit when they still have something in them, she’ll point him out as an example. Not only did he make it to the Olympics, and even with all the padding, those prosthetics HURT! He’s in pain and he’s still running! And maybe he came in last in his first race but he still has the 400 to go. Talk about “never say die”!

I’ve posted the “Versus” motivational video numerous times because it is so powerful. Any goal we want to achieve – mental health, weight loss, getting in shape, relationship or career goals, school, whatever – can be daunting, especially if we don’t have a solid ground of support and/or achievement. There comes a time when it’s necessary to become our own cheerleaders. To discover the strength we have RIGHT NOW inside us to start down a new path. If it helps, print out Oscar’s picture and put it where you’ll see it the most. Use his example to remind yourself that anything is possible, anything that can be dreamed can be achieved.

I believe in you. Now it’s your turn. If you’re already there, I’m working my a** off to catch up!

I DID IT!!!

Excited to share with everyone that I officially signed up for my first college class

in almost 12 years!

Why is this a big deal??? Because from 2000 until 2010 I was extremely low functioning, barely able to handle work much less school. Quit halfway through an MBA. Tried a graphic design program through a local community college and that lasted only 2 semesters and I wasn’t working at the time. In 2007, tried to get my Project Management Certification and only got through 2 sections of the 5 prep classes. Did not take the test.

Have been wanting to go back to school to do graduate work for over a year now but when discussing with my p-doc, he wanted me to start by “putting a toe in”, trying an easy class to see if I could handle the experience of going to weekly classes, doing the homework, the tests, etc. Even getting to class the first time will be a challenge. But it’ll be work it as I slowly put the pieces in place to be able to go back to work, doing something I’m excited about.

I know this isn’t weight related, but it’s just as high up on my recovery bucket list! Getting my self confidence back, feeling capable again, all those will help me in every area of my life, including sticking to my rigorous eating program, staying with C25K, continuing to work out hard/smart, and do 2 5k’s before Jan 1. Lots on my plate, like everyone else, but hope this has inspired someone reading to give something new or challenging a try. It’s an amazing feeling!

Happy Monday all!

Dream BIG, No BIGGER!

Reading your wonderful comments, other bloggers, and nifty inspirational stuff has led me to one very basic conclusion, and sure you all know it:

Change is scary, even positive change…

But the scarier it is, the higher probability that it’s something you,

deep inside,

really want to do!

Personally, one of my biggest dreams was not to be scared all the time.

Those of us dealing (or have dealt in the past) with anxiety, especially clinical anxiety/panic disorder, know all about fear. It controlled me most of my life. Early home life was chaotic and toxic, never knew what was coming next, only that it would be bad and I would have to handle it. Anxiety/fear then followed me in adulthood until diagnosed with a mood disorder and then it completely took over. Got so overwhelming I could barely stand to drive or even be around friends, much less other people/crowds. I finally sought out serious help, learned excellent coping skills, started meditation, yoga, exercise, and eliminating anxiety provoking foods from diet. Now it’s going from hourly/daily anxiety/panic attacks to maybe once a month.

One of my most anxiety provoking triggers is going to the gyn, which is no picnic for any woman. It kept me from going for over 15 years and only the last few have been manageable. After the mirena experience (not fun, truly not fun), I found myself in a panic in the office Wednesday afternoon the minute I walked into the office. Serious, full blown panic attack. But using breathing techniques and every coping skill I could think of, I was able to get things under control. That and waiting almost 2 hours for the doctor – fear finally gave up in the face of complete boredom!

I’m still dealing with a bit of anxiety about taking a college class after years away from the books, the C25K program, and two other upcoming decisions/activities. A bit freaked – but like the pretty graphic says- if you’re not scared, your dream isn’t big enough! (No problem there!)

Today’s point is: whatever your dream, whether it’s to lose 20 pounds (or 200), to get in shape, maybe try a 5k even, improve your relationships, get a better job, go back to school, or take down that horrible wallpaper in the kitchen you’ve hated since you moved in, some fear (called “preparatory anxiety”) is normal. After you’ve pushed past it, and pushing becomes a habit, you steal fear’s thunder and it’s replaced with excitement about your new goal / next step.

Congrats to all of you who keep pushing past, trying new things, re-trying old ones, and staying strong and positive “along the weigh”!

Pain, Agony, Hungry, And It’s All Going To Be Worth It!

(Thanks to Erin Says… for the terrific graphic – and grats Lady on the weight loss this week!)

Days of Pain and Ibuprofen

The new trainer gave me – finally – my new “eating plan” and not only is it incredibly strict, I feel like I’m either eating or preparing meals all the time. Which is true because I eat every 3 hours.

She also killed me in the workout side to the point that I had to lay down with my feet elevated. And stopped short of an hour and she had me ride the bike for 20 minutes. Felt like a workout wimp.

So I decided to do another monthly challenge and this one is a “take an hour for you to improve in some area” and of course mine is fitness. In that vein, started the C25K program this afternoon. Then did 20 minutes of strength training and limped to my car. Was Ms. Cranky at home until the worst of the soreness passed. Funny, even my toes hurt. And during the running portions, felt every one of the extra 40 pounds I’m lugging around as they bounced around!

Am contemplating an even bigger challenge but considering that although I finished the first C25K session, Week 1, and went on to work out more, I’m exhausted and will probably go to bed in an hour or so.

Yes, even after a well balanced meal, still hungry, in pain and on to the ibuprofen, but happy to have finished the first workout. Next, will check back in after finishing the first week. That and sticking to the meal plan…am seriously craving a cupcake – evil, bad cupcake!!

This post is a kind gentle warning for those of you considering starting the C25K program – definitely eat an hour before, make sure you do protein plus a carb, and stretch before and after. Good idea to do it on non-strength training days – major tip!

Still considering the “major challenge”!

Love to hear your stories of recent challenges you’ve decided to take on – virtual support can be just as good as the real life stuff.