Mental

My brain is against me lately.

Not just with regards to my body, with everything. It was an emotional week for me to say the least. I was headhunted again and this time for a company very close to where I am living now. But after a lot of thought and consideration, leaving the company I am at now is, in my opinion, worse than my commute of four hours a week. So once again I then had discussions with my husband about the possibilities of moving and rethinking about the reasons why we weren’t able to move before (which will probably be the reason why we still won’t be able to – and it’s purely financial). I had a lot of discussions about it, cried quite a few tears and felt generally down and confused about my life in general.

With regards to my body, it’s a constant battle. I’ve had to accept that I’m not going to lose weight and move on, eating and behaving like a person who actually cares about health and fitness, not weight. That’s the least difficult of all of this. I know how to eat. I know how to move. I even amazingly have learned how to say “no thanks” or even know when to stop.

But “feeling” my body – I don’t like it. I don’t like how it feels when I’m running for example. There’s a heaviness that holds me back, this proverbial spare tire (which mine is like one of those Monster Truck wheels it seems) that is always there, feeling heavy, jiggling about.

It’s the feeling when I put on my new jeans which are too big in the waist just so they fit the hips and bum

Last week I even started out Monday morning by declaring to my husband that I was just going to have liposuction/sculpture. Trust me, I’m the last person to go for a “quick fix” but this is how desperate I feel at times.

This is just it.

And I’ll never be better. I’ll never be faster. I’ll never be able to run without feeling the heaviness.

I mean, yes, this is a luxury problem. Some people can’t even walk, let alone run. I don’t need to be faster or better, it’s not a requirement to just get out there and do it. My brain wants me to do more, better, faster.

My brain is busy telling me over and over again “you’ll never be any better than this” “why even bother?” “you are going to fail” “you could never run a marathon” “that was stupid, signing up for a half-marathon”

I don’t know where this is coming from. Do I really believe so little in myself? I guess if I fail in the weight loss department, what makes me think that I could succeed in any other area.

Yesterday I knew I needed to go out and get around 16KM since I haven’t really trained according to schedule for the Half-Marathon taking place on April 25th, but the thought of getting out there was driving me completely insane. Like, to the point where I would have rather just curled up in a ball and cried. First I struggled with finding a route (because I didn’t want to get bored with the same routine), then I struggled getting dressed, then I struggled just leaving the house, then I arrived at my destination ready to face it only suddenly I had a full bladder. Then I had to get back in the car and find somewhere to use the facilities. Finally at 4pm I started.

About 8 kilometers in, my brain started to turn on me again. “You are never going to make 16KM today” “you should drop out of the half-marathon, you’ll never manage it” “that was stupid to even think you could accomplish this today”.

And I’m yelling at myself to shut up. That I CAN do it. I just have to keep going. I just have to make it to that next tree/ km marker/ bend in the path. There was a lot of arguing going on.

Ultimately I gave in to the voice. I stopped at nearly 13KM but I still had to walk the rest of the way back. Feeling defeated.

Sometimes I really wonder why I do this. I mean there are days I absolutely love it. Days I don’t care about the chubbiness. Days I don’t care about speed or distance. Days I’m inspired by others to get out there and just do it. I know it makes me feel good and like I accomplished something. But there are other days when I wish I never started this running thing. I was unhappy with myself before I started, but I don’t feel super happy right now either.

I just wish it were easier to fully accept myself the way I am, embrace it and run like it didn’t matter.

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The Diet Mentality

Disclaimer: This is not a happy post, but rather a bitter one. It’s something I realized, while I was on holiday in the States, that I am still completely brainwashed from following Weight Watchers for so long. I know the program does work for most people, and it even worked for me a long time ago when my circumstances were different. Quitting WW has not been the liberating experience that I thought it would be. It’s sort of like breaking up with someone you’ve had a relationship with for a long time; you know ultimately they are not right for you, but it’s incredibly painful and the thought of living without them really scares you. Ultimately you have to do the right thing and walk away. That doesn’t stop the pain but you generally learn something in the process. If you are following the program and you’ve had success, I am truly happy for you, however, that doesn’t mean I think you are exempt from what I believe.

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As you all know, I’ve been on this weight loss thang for a long time now (ok, maybe you don’t know, but now I’m telling you). I have never, ever been on a “diet” per se, because I don’t believe in “diets”, but I have been a Weight Watcher on and off for a very long time (the first time I joined was in 1992). From my experience Weight Watcher members have always claimed that what they were doing was “changing lifestyle” or simply having a different “way of life” that we were not in fact dieting at all. “Dieting” meant a short-term solution to the problem – whether it be calorie-counting, South Beaching, Atkinsing, Low GI, Jenny Craig, you name it, those things are “diets” and therefore NOT sustainable for the long term. I mean who can live the rest of their life without bread or pasta, right?

Dieting meant something negative, it meant restricting yourself, punishing yourself almost, due to the fact that you were whatever version of Fatass that you believed yourself to be. Dieting could mean fasting, or going very low calorie, or even using pills to shed the unwanted lard from your body. Dieting was what you had to do to get into those jeans again, to go to that 20 year reunion, or to get naked in front of a member of the opposite (or hey for some people the same) sex again. Dieting was a means to an end but not, my friends, a “way of life”.

My experience as a Weight Watchers Member made me better than “those people” because this was the way I was going to live for the rest of my life and see how great it works? Totally sustainable! I was totally smug to you “dieters” out there.

So now I’ve quit Weight Watchers. And yet I am totally programmed, as if I am on a diet. How many points in this, what is a serving of that, which one is the better choice, how many pieces of fruit should I eat, ohmygod I had too much rice now I have to exercise for an hour to earn activity points.

Weight Watchers is ACTUALLY part of the diet mentality. Weigh-ins, measurements, food scales, control, loss of control, disappointment, unhappiness, holding back on “real life” until… until … until… I finally get to size X or weight Z.

I am still thinking of this shit every single day. That’s the diet mentality.If it WASN’T the diet mentality, I could have just quit Weight Watchers and moved on with my life, but my reality is totally opposite.

Every single day – did I eat too much? Ohmygod the scale went up again. Jeeze I haven’t moved enough today. I shouldn’t have had that (fill in the blank). I’m never going to be at my goal weight again. I’m so fat. I’m such a failure. I hate my body and it hates me.

You think that because you are “changing lifestyle” that you are NOT part of the diet mentality? You are. Until you truly accept you for who you are RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE you will be a part of it. You are a part of it every time you compare, every time you weigh your food, every time you add up calories, every time you calculate ProPoints (or PointsPlus), every time you restrict yourself, every challenge you join, every new idea (or old idea) you buy into. Weight Watchers is the Diet Mentality as well. I was wrong. I am sorry I was so smug to all of you Non Weight Watchers out there, I am totally programmed and even though I’ve let go of the rope I keep thinking this way.

I am certain many people out there could be offended by what I am saying now. I think many people still believe that Weight Watchers is truly different. You’ve had success, you may even be a lifetime member (well, hey, so am I), you worked hard for where you are at, surely I must still be doing something wrong, clearly I am not working the program properly and now clearly I’m looking for someone or something to blame. But no, I’m not. I have just come to realize that I bought into it. I believed in it. At the end of the day it didn’t work. What am I left with? The reminder of all the stuff I “learned”, all the tricks, all the tips I followed and am thousands of euros poorer because of my belief in a program that at the end of it all really didn’t care whether I stayed or quit.

I spent years counting, weighing, measuring. Some days were great, some days turned into weeks and months. Success was MINE! Some days sucked. Some days I couldn’t eat enough. Sometimes I just had too much. Some days I cared and some I didn’t. Some days I really believed I could do this forever. But honestly, who can count points forever? It sucks thinking about it, it sucks tracking it, it sucks when you do everything in your fricking power and the mechanical beast tells you that you actually suck and you are even heavier than you were last week. I spent years being pulled in by the charms to ultimately get a slap in my face when I wanted to walk away. “Go ahead. Walk away. We don’t need you anyway” Years of my life in this DIET MENTALITY. I thought it would be easy to just quit. Seems it’s actually going to be more difficult to step away than I had originally thought.

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The Results are In

I talked to my doctor today about my blood tests. The Good News: Nothing is wrong with me.

I could say there is bad news. But there isn’t. Nothing is wrong with me.

Am I sad, frustrated, and being driven completely mental by all of this, yes. But nothing is wrong with me.

I have to come up with another game plan. Weight Watchers isn’t working for me. It should, because I’m not only following the program, but also because nothing is wrong with me.

I have received tons of advise. Suggestions. Ideas. I appreciate them all. I have to let go of the goal to lose weight and have a different goal. Losing weight isn’t working. No wonder it’s so frustrating.

So. There it is. Nothing is wrong with me.

In other news (and for the love of all that is holy, this is WAY more important and worrisome that my own issues), my dad started his cancer treatment and he is doing very fine. We talked and laughed for about an hour and he has such a great attitude. I can learn a lot from my dad!! He has cancer! I’m slightly overweight! Duh! I can’t wait to see him in March.

Frustration leads to Frustration

I hate to admit it, but I feel really, really glum.


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As I tweeted the other day:

All of you wonderful people out there, losing weight week after week, yes YOU, even the ones who don’t follow Weight Watchers “fit formulas” or whatever they call them in your country, the ones who don’t actually stay on plan seven days a week, the ones who drink more than a couple of units of alcohol a week, I am truly happy for you, but it punches me in the face and gut time after time after time. Of course it’s silly to compare, “everyone’s different” they say (the mysterious “they”), “it’s such a personal journey” (there’s that word again). Before all of you lovelies think “here she goes on another whinge fest” please hear me out. Don’t stop reading here. Pay attention. Just in case, one day, you find yourself alone in a situation and really need someone to listen or a cyber shoulder to cry on…

Because I feel really, really alone in this.

And I want to say, to those of you who tell me that “it isn’t abnormal” – please explain to me WHAT is normal about THIRTEEN MONTHS ON A PLATEAU. Please point me in the direction of so many others who have been maintaining and not losing for more than a year, people who need to lose weight, who are not just on the last 5 lbs or so. THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

Let me backtrack a little bit. I definitely want to accept. Accepting is quite a challenge some days. Some days are easier. This morning I finally saw my doctor to discuss what I discussed with my dietitian the last time I saw her. My lovely dietitian, the one who actually expressed concern and understanding, who could totally understand why I would be so frustrated, was going to give a detailed report to my doctor. Turns out she did not do this. She was supposed to do this, so that when I called to make an appointment, quite possibly she would already recommend that I go straight for blood tests to see if there was something medically going on with me. She did not do this. I knew it was about to go all wrong when I sat down and my doctor said “So, how can I help you this morning?” with her fake smile. What? She didn’t even know why I was there??? So I explained about the report and the first thing she said was that she didn’t know what I was talking about. Eventually she found the “report” but there was hardly anything in it. I had to repeat myself yet again and she smiled patronisingly at me and said “It’s normal to have a plateau.” I felt insulted. WHY WAS I THERE?? We talked about diabetes, my thyroid, hormones. She asked me if I had eaten already, because if not I should go for blood tests. *Sigh* I had eaten an apple before I left because no one said anything about blood tests this morning. Now I have to go tomorrow. And then of course they won’t have the results back for three days and I’ll have to go back again to hear what the doctor again has to say. And each time I go there I am reminded that there are no answers.

The thing is. I know what’s going to happen. I’m going to give blood. They are going to find nothing. I don’t have issues with my thyroid. If I did, I would have symptoms. I don’t have diabetes. I don’t have high blood pressure. I don’t have any sicknesses. I am freaking healthy as a horse. I don’t even get a freaking cold. I get the flu approximately every 7 years. They will find nothing and I will forever be back at square zero. No one is going to help me through this. No one knows any answers. I have to accept this. I will never reach anywhere close to my goal weight. I will always be overweight.

And that’s fine. I will continue to eat well. I will continue to stay healthy. I will continue to run. I will have good acceptance days. I will have bad acceptance days. There is hardly anything that has been suggested to me that I haven’t already tried. I even plugged in a typical day’s food to Sparkpeople to see what my daily numbers looked like – I was totally on the mark. I have done less carbs, more protein and vice versa. I eat my fruits and vegetables. I get all my healthy fats in. I have done high days and low days to confuse my body. I am now circuit training as well as running and trying to get some yoga incorporated. I drink approx 6 units of alcohol a week (recommendation is no more than 7 for a woman). I do not take medication. There is something wrong with me.

Or maybe there isn’t.

Please, please, please allow me to cry about this sometimes though. Please just tell me this fucking sucks and I have every right to kick and scream and be envious at time (even though it’s totally a unflattering reaction). Please don’t minimalise or trivialise my feelings about it and underestimate just how lonely and rotten I feel about this sometimes. You have seriously no idea how hard this is. Accepting THIS. It’s one thing to work hard and see the actual fruits of your labor. Me, I get to reap only the benefits I can’t see. No one even asks me how much weight I’ve lost. Because people only know me as the one who doesn’t lose and whinges about it all the time. They don’t SEE anything happening to me. I don’t see it. I only have to accept that on the inside everything is running like a well oiled machine. That I am a success in a different way. That, hey, I’m practising maintenance and didn’t even know it, isn’t that just a hoot?

You don’t have to remind me of the other stuff. I know. I’m a runner. I’m reaching goals in other ways. But I’m sad you guys. I’m really really sad about this. This is not what I wanted. I am trying to change now what I want, which is acceptance and moving on, but it’s hard. Some days are just harder than others.

30 Day I’m Not Going to Eat Any Work Crap Challenge

(I actually wrote this on Wednesday 5th of January, after having a stressfun-filled day at work Tuesday)

There is something that pisses me off immensely about myself. Time and time again, especially when feeling stressed I eat things that are “in my face” on the work floor even though I have plenty of healthy alternatives near me.

Yesterday I lost count of how many Italian chocolates I ate even though I had an apple, two mandarins and a kiwi staring at me as I shoveled them into my mouth. And to add insult to injury, I purposely walked over to the biscuit tin and had four cookies. Four.

I wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t craving anything. They were there so I ate them.

Coincidentally yesterday was probably the most stressful day of the month for my job as I’m in accounting and we had to close the previous month and open up the new month. On top of all that, all the questions, all the pending emails, everyone wanting a piece of me – I just went straight for the junk.

I want to say it loud and clear. This is NOT who I am or what I do. I do not eat junk. I do not buy it outside of work. I do not have it at home. I don’t even eat it on the weekends. This holiday period has been an exception of course, but even then I haven’t gone completely insane outside of work.

It’s being at work, the stress, the crap everywhere around me (and trust me, I work at a company where it’s possible to get sweet syrupy chocolaty beverages, pastries, biscotti, shortbread cookies, chocolate bars… yet I don’t BUY that stuff so I don’t eat it.). I have one colleague who fills up the candy jar every single week but it’s quite far away from me so if I do go for it I have to get up physically and walk over to it (the jar is filled AND there is a tin of biscuits there as well) – in times of stress I do this yet I cannot find the logic in my actions!!

I don’t want it. I don’t even crave it. I’m not even sure that I like it! SO… I am going to learn how to deal with my stress in other ways. I am taking on a 30 Day I’m Not Going to Eat Any Work Crap Challenge starting today. Every time I feel compelled to go for the chocolates or biscuits or brownie samples I am going to go up and down the stairs three times (it’s only 3 flights, but still).

I got some great suggestions from my lovely twitter friends, some things I do already but maybe not consciously enough:

1. always take my lunch – I get 30 minutes and I always go away from my desk and eat with my colleagues
2. arm myself with healthy snacks in arms reach – I do that BUT somehow this hasn’t stopped me from shoveling the crap in even whilst staring at it
3. Go outside and take a walk – this I don’t do, but if the stairs aren’t helping then I will try this as well.
4. do some deep breathing exercises / count to 10 exercises
5. look up the calories in the junk and write down how many miles it will take to burn off
6. Run (well, cant really do that at work except on Running Club days and even that I feel stressed and guilty about because I’m away more than an hour)
7. Drink water, tea, coffee & eat “filling” foods (beans, fiber fruits)
8. Allow myself one treat – I would like to save ‘treats’ for special occasions actually.
9. Get to the root of the problem – the stress/ reaching for crap. (my husband said something similar “you’ve got to really check under the hood why you are doing that when you don’t really want that stuff anyway) OK but then I need a shrink!!
10. Imagine the food covered in wriggling maggots – I used to say there were “bugs” or “worms” in food and that would keep me from eating crap. Maggots are extremely gross so I’m going to try this visualization again.
11. Bring a bouncy ball and throw it repeatedly at the wall. Or hit something (I like this one – am afraid I would hit someONE though. Haha!)
12. Coloring books and surf the net – I like this one a lot but I’m sure I’ll get my arse kicked if I start coloring at work and surfing the net! Definitely like this for non-work situations.

I would like to thank you ladies for helping me through: @muffintopped, @SuziStorm, @debroby, @donna_de, @angiejanetads @EMRUK, @tidbits_of_tara, @yogasavestheday, @TeachyBon, @longdoglover, @Mariaelopez, @JewliaGoulia *smooches*

Again, I want to stress that when I am doing this, I am NOT usually hungry. I am not even craving this stuff. It’s funny because I don’t really crave anything at all. I mean, I look forward to eating good food, but that’s something totally different. If I ever crave things it’s definitely more like pizza or döner kebab and that’s almost always in conjunction with drinking (which I normally reserve for weekends). To reiterate: I don’t buy it, it’s not at home, I don’t purposely go out and get it either.

This bullshit stops today. I am a grown woman. I know that no piece(s) of chocolate is going to solve ANY work challenges. It’s not logical and I pride myself for being a logical person. I’m just so done with this. At the end of this challenge, I will win the satisfaction of knowing that I am Lord (Lordess?) and Mistress of the food that I put in my mouth and not a damn cookie or piece(s) of chocolate. SCREW YOU JUNK FOOD!!!

What do you do to combat stress? Do you find yourself emotionally eating often? What’s your trigger? If you have been able get to the root of the crap-eating what were the steps you took to get there?

and now as of this posting, I made it through days 1 and 2 of my 30 Day Challenge. It’s silly, but it works. I haven’t touched any of the stuff!!

Learn Something? Like What?

Why is it that every single time things just get TOO TOO much, I go for sweets and junk?
from http://www.lowdensitylifestyle.com/health-and-wellness/stress/
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Seriously. You would think after SO MANY YEARS of doing this, I would get a real handle on things. Like, NEVER EVER going that route again. Why is it that I can quit smoking, and NEVER TOUCH ANOTHER CIGARETTE AGAIN but I can not keep out of the candy jar at work when things get really, really bad?
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I had two great weeks on Weight Watchers, following ProPoints again. I had a great run on Sunday a GREAT run! Then I went back to work where it was nothing but stress all week. Working overtime, stupid trains, irritating issues, etc. I am so very tired of it! I managed to get all the way up to Thursday when I decided somehow that eating my weight in Chocolate would not only solve my problems, but quite possibly bring world peace as well. Hmmmmph.
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Then I went out, ate a burger the size of Texas, drank 4 Mojitos and then got on a train to go home, where my loving and amazing (like I’m really, really, lucky and I tell him every day how much I appreciate him) husband picked me up at the train station at Midnight. We raced home and I was asleep by 00:30, only to get up and do it ALL over again on Friday (I went in late one hour and left one hour early as well. Take that, deadlines and people off sick!). Of course I ate like hell on Friday because I wasn’t home Thursday evening to plan and prepare and was left to survive on my basics at work plus whatever they had available when the need to eat came upon me.
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My weigh in on Saturday? Back to 81.4 KG. Yes, folks, exactly where I was when I re-started. F*ck.
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I feel like I have to be on program ALL the time, 150% or it just doesn’t work. Of course I didn’t expect to lose weight, but I didn’t expect to GAIN 2 kilos either! I mean, really? And I read constantly people who are NOT on plan, not even 50% it seems, who do NOT follow all the “fit formulas”, who do NOT eat all their fruit and vegetables and who DO eat nutritionally empty junk quite possibly on a daily basis and they lose weight.
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http://www.invictus1.net/bang_head_on_desk_til_unconscious.html
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There is a lesson in all of this, I am willing to learn it. I just don’t know anymore what it is. Maybe it’s patience and acceptance, since I have been saying that all along. Maybe it’s accepting who I am in the package I come in and then moving forward with that. I don’t know. I’m like a little kid having a tantrum at the moment though. Have I not said it loud enough?? I DON’T WANT TO WEIGH MORE THAN 80 KILOS!! I don’t even want to weigh more than 70 Kilos. Why must I stay overweight? You know I don’t even care about my size (clothes) anymore, you know what bothers me the most? That I can not run faster or be stronger as long as I have this extra weight. It doesn’t feel comfortable running at times. Maybe it sounds weird but the jiggling bits really do bother me. It’s like I’m running and 30% of my body is lagging behind. I’m not asking for perfection. I’m not asking for thin. I just want to be a healthy, non-overweight weight and a kickass runner.
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Sheesh.
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Chances Are

Chances of ever learning: 0
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Chances of ever seeing the back of 80KG: 0
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Chances of not feeling jealous when others lose 3,672 lbs in less than a year while I only lose 5lbs: 0
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Chances of not feeling fed up with this whole fucking thing: 0
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Chances of ever getting regular and consistent sleep: 0
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Chances of moving and having less of a commute: 0
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Chances of not hating my body just for one day: 0
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Chances of not being angry at myself for one reason or another: 0
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Chances of not feeling jaded, bitter and envious: 0
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I’m really, really, really fed up right now. The only reason I don’t quit is because I’m too stubborn to quit. I’ve put too much into this. Even though MY BODY REFUSES TO FUCKING COOPERATE WITH ME. I’ve spent too much money on clothes that fit and gotten rid of all my fat clothes. I’ve put myself out there and claimed to be an athlete. Yeah. A FAT athlete. What a joke.
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I’m stressed and MY BRAIN REFUSES TO FUCKING COOPERATE WITH ME. When am I going to learn that JUNK WILL NOT HELP ME!! IT WILL NOT SOLVE MY PROBLEMS. IT WILL NOT DO MY WORK OR THE WORK OF THE PERSON WHO REFUSES TO COME TO THE OFFICE. Seriously. I’m 42 years old. WHY is it so difficult to get this through my thickass skull?!!
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I’m angry. I’m bitter. I want to be happy for others. I want to not compare. I want to accept myself and who I am, regardless of my body size or shape or weight. But I don’t get it! Is there something wrong with me physically, biologically??
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I’m sick of being positive. I’m sick of finding all of the good things. I have given myself all of the pep talks I’ve given to others. I’ve listened endlessly to advice. I’ve focused on other things. I’ve said eleventy billion times that it’s not the number on the scale. I KNOW ALL OF THE THINGS I’M SUPPOSED TO KNOW. I’m tired, people. Tired of congratulating. Tired of being excited for others. I want some of that too. I don’t want this to just be about me maintaining this stupid weight, WHICH BY THE WAY IS STILL IN THE OVERWEIGHT BMI CATEGORY, who just happens to run. Who runs but never improves because she is FAT.

I don’t want to be fat anymore. Give me a fucking break here. I want to lose weight and reach my goal too. Why is that so much to ask?

No(more excuses)vember

I love it when a fresh month starts, don’t you? And funnily enough, today is the 1st anniversary of this particular blog (I have had others but this is the one that has actually lasted this long – the others either petered out or I got way too much spam). So the 1st of November and the 1st Anniversary… a good sign or what??
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I actually wanted and tried to get my shit together a couple of weeks ago and have had the wonderful challenge of too much work to do and too little people to do it. I know exactly what my weak spots are – get too stressed = emotionally eat. The good thing about recognizing these moments is that, while I may still stick my hand in the candy jar, I stop much sooner than I would have a few years ago. Baby steps.
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So a few weeks ago I also planned out some dinners and some exercise time. I’m happy to say that both went about 80% to plan. This is a good thing. Having a plan really helped. I’m sure I’ve said it about eleventybillion times before – planning is a major part of all of this. Some people like to be spontaneous and not be stuck to a certain schedule, but I know myself and I know that planning makes more sense for ME.
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I did get to the gym twice – I went and did my circuit one day and I went to spinning the other day. My intention was to do that again last week, but as it was I got home every night at 8pm or later so that wasn’t going to work at all (gym’s open until 10pm). I can’t say I loved spinning… but I liked it and I feel challenged enough to go again until I can do all of the specific movements required. Maybe eventually I will love spinning… but I did find it extremely hard and I did feel like I was going to pass out during the first 10 minutes! It was really intense! I had asked a girl beforehand who I could see was also attending the class if I needed to bring my towel in and not only did she answer my question, she also took the bike next to me and explained a few things and told me to take it to my own pace (which is what the instructor also said) and then even checked with me occasionally to see how I was doing. Turns out she even lives around the corner from me and usually goes to spinning on Mondays. IF I can get myself out of work on time today there is a possibility I will go tonight to check out that class (different instructor). (latest update is, nope, it’s 8 pm and I’m just home)
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I wanted to go running as well and I did do that – I went with hubs to do some interval training and I went with my running group at work as well. I also went last night and will probably go again Tuesday or Wednesday. Friday is my night race – which I am looking forward to, except for the fact that I didn’t realize it starts as late as it does (10pm!). Usually I’m passed out by this time on the couch after a whole week at work, but I’m going to arrange that I have Friday off so I can sleep in a bit!
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I was trying to think of some goals for the month and I’m not quite there yet, but they include the usual… running, eating well, and dare I even ask for some weight loss???? I weighed in this morning again and of course I am back up to 80.8KG because for some reason my body likes being there. *sigh* there are a few things I want to focus on for sure:

1) drink enough water
2) take multi-vitamin every day
3) food journaling
4) make the decision whether to fully stop Weight Watchers online or not (Credit Card expires this month so I’ll have to set my account up with the new credit card if I’m really going to “go back” and commit to it).
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I originally signed up for Drop Dead Gorgeous by December but to be honest, while I have not given up on myself, I am just not a challenge person and I prove this again and again by joining and then promptly not participating in the challenge. One good thing can be said from signing up though – one of my goals was to finalize (as in make it legal) my marriage in the Netherlands and we have a date set for that of the 19th of November. Hubs and I got married in March 2009 in Las Vegas and we have yet to take our papers to the Town Hall where we live to register, but on top of that because it’s considered an “international marriage” we have to register in The Hague as well. So we literally need to take a day off to do this. And it’s a good excuse to see some friends too. The date has particular meaning – it’s the day we actually committed to be in a relationship exclusively with each other AND it’s the birthday of my friend Michael who sadly died in April 2009. Happy and Sad times. That about sums up my life in a nutshell.
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November will be a good month. I’m ready to have a really good month. Please, universe, can I have a good month?

Apparently I’m the only one

Well. I’m sure I’m not, but when asking certain things out to the twittersphere, I didn’t get much feedback from other heath and weight loss bloggers about plateaus.
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I had a great chat with Samantha and exchanged a couple of emails with Debra. I know that Bitch Cakes had a very long plateau herself and she has two blog posts on the subject from her weekly meetings. Plateaus as “we” know them though, usually don’t last as long as 6 months or more. Mine is now going on 10 months and I think about it every day, what the reasons could be that I’m sticking at this same weight.

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Everyone is different. Every body requires certain things. Sometimes we are on a plateau because we are not really doing 100% in the food and/or exercise department. Sometimes we are on a plateau because of our age; a twenty-two year-olds experience will most likely be much different than this forty-two year-olds experience. Sometimes we are on a plateau because we don’t eat enough or we need to “shake things up” a little bit. Only the person themselves know whether they are really doing everything possible to lose weight in a healthy manner.
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Because that’s the thing, right? I can tell you that I’m doing everything the “right” way. But am I really? Could I be doing it in the “wrong” way? Or is there something else going on? Is it medical? Mental? Physical?

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We hear whining and complaining constantly. “I don’t know why I can’t lose weight” you’ll read and then followed by “Oops, a pizza just fell in my mouth”. I’m not criticizing those people. Everyone has their own responsibility. I try really hard not to complain about non-existent weight loss when I know I’ve had a weekend filled with booze, food, dessert (I never eat dessert) and late-night stop off at the Indian takeaway. I expect to NOT lose weight in these situations. I expect the scale to say “Oh hello one added kilo!” That’s normal. No one can expect to do whatever the hell they want and still lose weight.

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It’s the weeks on end that I am careful. Meticulous. Weighing, measuring, and exercising. Even pre-planning my wine for the weekend. Making shopping lists and food plans. It’s those weeks that it’s especially maddening to see the scale pretty much stay the same. It’s maddening to know that you are losing sleep (literally) to make sure that you are on plan to become the healthiest you that you can be.

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I know my weak areas. 1) Dinner is most likely to be a bit too much food. I am still trying to figure out how to cope with this and how to improve. 2) I do not get enough sleep. Period. 3) I like to have a drink or three during the weekend (I generally am under or right at the recommended max 7 units a week).

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My dietitian mentioned it and I now am nearly convinced that I am producing too much cortisol. I don’t sleep enough, which increases the levels of cortisol over time, which gives a person a hungry signal more often. You all have read me raving like a loon over the fact that I am so hungry at times? Well, this is most likely the reason. I do not know how to solve this except to pretty much find a new job in the town or at least near where I live (since commuting is apparently also something which can increase cortisol levels, and I commute more than 20 hours a week). Getting a new job is not that easy. Not probably in the country that you, dear reader, live in and not where I live either. And certainly not for someone who finds it less stressful to work in an international environment than in an all Dutch-environment (and where I live it’s not super international –those jobs are all in the West). But now I start to digress…

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I’m on a plateau. And I feel very alone in it. I feel like there is no one out there who can understand what I’m going through. No one who can understand just how frustrating it is to hear day after day another person out there in the cybersphere who has another couple of pounds down for the week. I have said it over and over; I know the number on the scale is not the be all and end all of being healthy. I know there are other factors. How do I feel in my clothes? How do I feel about my running progress? How do I feel when I look in the mirror? How do I feel in my head? I measure my success by these things and more. I feel good. I’ve lost weight. I am more confident, but I’m sorry, it’s not enough. I am still overweight and I do not want to be! I can not get my head around what MORE I can possibly do to actually lose weight. I am still at least 22 pounds over the “normal” BMI category. 22 pounds. That’s too much! I can’t even say “oh I’m struggling with the last 10 pounds.” No. it’s 10 KILOS. That is too much. I received some tips about different exercises I can do that would be good for me, but I just don’t know when I could do make time for them. Excuses. I know. I’ve got to get some acceptance here so that I can move on from it. I feel like dropping off for a while so I don’t have to watch everyone else succeed around me. Only thing is, I like seeing my fellow bloggers succeed. I like supporting them. It just feels like there is no one who can relate to me, that I’m truly alone in this.

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So have you ever been on a plateau, a long one, for more than six months? What did you do to break it? What were the circumstances and did you change anything drastically to start losing weight again?

The So-Called "Experts"

I’ve been a Weight Watcher for over 10 years now.  In fact that’s just since the 2nd time I became a member, in September of 1999.  The first time was somewhere in 1991 or 1992, I don’t remember exactly.  Back then I thought I was Lady Lardo and I only had 25lbs to lose.

 Since 1999 I have learned a lot about food.  Or at least I’m interested in learning about food.  There are tons of experts out there.  There’s a “way of eating” out there for every day of month if not year.  So many different “diets”, plans, programs. To be totally honest with you, I never really tried any other “diet” than Weight Watchers because frankly I last like 2 hours and then I’m fed up.  I don’t understand restricting yourself from the things that you like.  If you like them, there should be a way to incorporate them into your life.  This is why I don’t agree with plans like Atkins, because I don’t WANT to not eat pasta, rice or potatoes for however long the induction is.  I want to eat what I want to eat and think about other things like variation, portion size, good fat vs. bad fat, that sort of thing.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I am NOT Dutch and yet I am NOT totally American either.  The way I eat is probably a combination of two cultures.  One thing I have to say (again) – I do not want to eat loads of bread because I do not feel satisfied with bread.  The Dutch love their bread for breakfast and for lunch.  That’s fine for them.  It’s NOT fine for me.  If you detect a tone of resistance in my blogging voice you are not wrong, it is there.

 You probably remember that several weeks ago I tried to eat “Dutch”.  And I was hungry.  Really hungry.  Why should I be hungry? (No, it wasn’t thirst either and I drink plenty of water during the day).

 I don’t like to eat a lot of sugar.  I think this is a pretty healthy habit to have.  Do I eat sugar on occasion?  Yes, I do.  I’m not going to lie or pretend that I am something I am not.  The Dutch like to eat sweet things on their bread.  Jams, honey, syrup, even chopped up strawberries with sugar on top.  A favourite is hagelslag, which is chocolate or fruit “flavoured” sprinkles.  I don’t really want to eat a Sugar Sandwich.  It spikes my sugar up to the Heavens and then I’m hungry again a half an hour later.

I don’t eat a lot of cheese.  There are two reasons for this.  1) It’s a trigger food and 2) I have some issues with lactose;  I’m not completely intolerant, but sometimes I don’t feel really well afterwards.  So why should I eat cheese???  The Dutch love their cheese.  Trust me there is good reason for this – the cheese is absolutely divine here.  I could eat a wheel of cheese in one sitting if you presented it to me. Really.

Yoghurt on the other hand I can stomach which is great because I absolutely love yoghurt.  I could even eat it more than once a day.  After the advice I got yesterday, maybe I should.

So, how does one go about eating and living a healthy lifestyle in Cheese and Bread land?

 I go by what I like, portion control and fitting everything into my Weight Watchers plan, 29 points a day.  I make sure I eat all my fruits and veggies (it doesn’t always work, but during the work week I’m pretty structured).  I eat the dairy products that I can eat without binging or feeling sick.  I eat good fats.  I eat lean meats.  Seafood – good oil fish and shrimp usually. 

What difference does it really make if I eat 100g of rice or pasta or 3 slices of bread, truly?

Well according to the “expert” I spoke to yesterday, my lunches are much too heavy.  I should eat BREAD with various toppings – CHEESE, tomato, sandwich spreads. 

 He asked me “where are your dairy products?”  (I gave him my food diary from last week)  Um.  Right in front of you?  Yoghurt at breakfast, 1 coffee with steamed milk per day, cottage cheese?  Is that not enough?

Eggs – I apparently eat too many eggs.  I shouldn’t eat an egg in the morning, I should eat CRACKERS.  And I should never drink my black coffee on an empty stomach.  I have been doing this for 20 years, I can not imagine what sort of difference this will make, but OK, I will eat before I drink coffee.

 I should eat more vegetables, he said.  So.  I guess 300 – 400g at lunch time is not enough?  I should eat fruit as my snacks.  An apple.  OK.  An apple when hungry actually makes me feel even more ravenous.

Oh and I don’t work out nearly enough.  I have to do a minimum of 2.5 hours a week.  That cycling I do back and forth to the station? That doesn’t count.  That’s just “normal” daily movement.  I have to do 2.5 hours of hard work exercise.

He gave me a list of foods I should eat for my age and to assist in losing weight.  I didn’t really go to the dietitian to go on a diet!  I went for some non-food related advice.  I want to know – is my travel, commute, too-long days and too-short nights standing in the way from losing weight?

This is the second dietitian I have been to that has given me the same standard advice. They are NOT open to other cultures.  They are NOT listening.  They are NOT open the fact that maybe eating bread and cheese doesn’t work for everyone.

I will try this guys list of foods to eat for the next two weeks.  I will take his advice to exercise more.  I will not drink my coffee on an empty stomach.  I have another appointment with him on the 31st of May.  If he still won’t listen to me, then I’m going to check with my doctor if I can go to a different dietitian (one not at the gym, but at the medical centre around the corner from me) and keep trying until someone will listen to me and actually ask me RELEVANT questions and give me ADVICE that fits ME and not every other person in this country.

If it’s not already apparent, I am so very frustrated.  And to top it off, I ate my crackers this morning (with filet americain; it’s on his list) before my coffee at 5.20 this morning;  as I’m writing this it’s now 8am and I am absolutely ravenous.  But what’s new, eh?