Reenergized and Motivated

After eating really healthy and working out for over two months I felt so frustrated that I had hit a complete plateau. I was saying to myself, “How much less can I possibly eat?”. I already felt like I was barely eating anything, especially since my schedule means that I often don’t eat lunch at all. So once I had finished my last semester and went on a small vacation I started off good, but by the end of it I was so fed up and feeling burnt out that I started eating poorly. I have to admit there are times in my weight loss journey where I wonder what the difference is in eating clean and eating junk, because either way I wasn’t losing any weight! But after eating poorly for about two weeks now, I have the answer to that question. There is a huge difference. Since I have been eating complete rubbish again I have noticed that I feel foggy, unable to concentrate and more than anything, I just feel lazy and disappointed in myself. Even though I wasn’t losing weight as fast as I wanted to, I should have reevaluated my goals and readjusted what wasn’t working. That’s what you do with any plan. You observe your progress along the way, and anything that isn’t working you have to go in and figure out why. Then you implement a better approach to produce real results. When I look back there are a lot of things I could have improved upon. I recently found a really inspiring blogger called The DMMD Lifestyle Revolution http://dmmddiet.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/weekly-photo-update-week-7/ and he conducted an SWOT analysis on himself. I thought it was a really useful tool in analyzing the efficiency and progress of your goals. So I’m going to try it here myself and I actually found that some of my answers were the same as his.

Strengths

  • Past success with losing weight.
  • Determination to succeed.
  • Available resources to aid in exercise and a healthy diet (free gym, beautiful suburb to walk in, my juicer, steamer, e.t.c….)
  • A partner that often helps support me to succeed.

Weaknesses

  • Not having a set schedule.
  • Having a dog that doesn’t walk well.
  • Anxiety.

Opportunities

  • Make time to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.
  • Make exercise a priority.
  • Lead by example.
  • Eat lighter meals for dinner.

Threats

  • Living with someone who also has their own vices.
  • Anxiety
  • Work overload with school and work.

When I look at this I really realize that I have all the resources to achieve my goal, but I let little things hold me back. I don’t want to say that not living in a completely supportive environment is holding me back. The first time I lost the weight I absolutely did not have a supportive environment. My family and friends weren’t into fitness or healthy food and I actually lost a lot of my friends because they didn’t like that I was losing weight. But I was so dedicated that I focused on my goal and just did it. My mum actually said to me afterwards that she was really inspired by my dedication because I would not let anything get in my way. And now even though my husband isn’t totally into health and fitness like me, I shouldn’t let that hold me back. I think when you’re married or even living with your partner it’s easy to engage in mutually destructive behavior. You justify each other’s actions, and it becomes difficult to separate yourself from them and do your own thing. But I am the only one responsible for my actions and I need to do what I have to do. Even though life would be so much easier with a life coach and a fitness coach 24/7 that is not the reality for most people. We have to be our own life and fitness coach.

My brother shared this video on Facebook today and it really got me motivated to get back into this and turn it up. I must admit that I feel kind of lame for not being able to come on here and say, hey I lost all the weight now, and I’ve arrived. I think the reality with most goals and journey’s is that, it takes time, persistence and dedication. I like other bloggers and people losing weight have made significant progress. Katie Foley from Bringing my Sexy Back did her 5K marathon in Boston which was awesome (http://katiefoley11.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/5k-success/), Rebecca from Healthy Intentions is significantly building up her stamina (http://healthywithintent.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/still-trucking-along/), The DMMD Lifestyle Revolution continues to see weight loss and fitness progress (http://dmmddiet.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/day-52-sub-15-minute-mile/), and even I am able to do more weights and more squats than I ever have and lost 20lbs. ┬áSo I may not be where i wan’t to be yet, but I haven’t given up.

This is a short video about the beauty of hard work and dedication.

Advertisements

Every. Damn. Day.

I haven’t been able to blog in a while because work and school have been hectic. I also had to help my in-law’s move last weekend, which was a 13 hour ordeal. One positive thing from that unfortunate event was that it was definitely the world’s greatest workout. I am considering becoming a mover because I’m pretty sure I’d lose the weight in 2 weeks that way. Thankfully I am somewhat sane, so I’m just going to go with no.

photo-20

1. Progress has been slow but rewarding.

This time around my weight loss has been much different than the first time. It has been almost painfully slow. The first time I was not well-informed and I just wanted to lose weight, fast. It was also when I was into that awful show, The Simple Life with Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton, and used them as body inspiration. I was much, much younger if that helps you understand why. Sadly, this involved trying to look like an 8 year old boy with no figure. As a result I lost a huge amount of weight in 6 months, and gained a new eating disorder.

What I have learnt this time around as I learn more and more about health and fitness is that slow and steady is the best way to lose weight. This is the only way to stick to your diet and make it into a lifestyle, not some task you have to complete so you can move on with your life. That is why my previous weight loss didn’t last very long.

2. The scale is the least accurate indicator of progress.

While the scale also shows I have been at the same weight for almost a month, I have lost 2 pant sizes and today saw that I fit into a skirt when I was at my goal weight. I also notice all around changes like my arms and legs have toned up, and so has my stomach. Another unfortunate indicator is that I have lost almost 2 cup sizes. I am definitely not a fan of that consequence of losing weight, but I don’t know how to set my body to “Only-Take-Fat-From-My-Thighs-Please”.

3. People are finally noticing my hard work.

One thing that definitely makes you feel good when you’re on track to losing the weight is when other people start noticing. When I Skyped with my mum she noticed immediately, which was motivating because no one at work has really said anything. I have lost about 20 pounds and when no one at work mentioned anything it made me feel as though I hadn’t lost a pound. But then when my sister-in-law asked me whether I had lost weight, I really knew I was making progress because my in-laws aren’t entirely expressive people and we rarely talk about personal things.

4. You have to exercise willpower.

Get ready to hear some more of my cheesy philosophy. I have learnt that willpower is like a muscle you have to exercise. The more you exercise willpower, the stronger it gets. Every time you choose to eat something healthy instead of crap, or every time you push yourself to workout, that desire to do those things becomes stronger and overpowers the laziness. I have seen after eating clean and working out for over 2 months now, that I love working out . My walks are not only a workout but it’s peaceful to be outside with beautiful scenery. I really try to take that time to be more present and stop thinking about 5 million things.

5. I don’t crave crappy food anymore.

The other weekend I wanted to let myself have a day off, but I just had no desire to eat anything unhealthy and actually chose a salad. The one weird craving I have now and then is Wheat Thins in the Sundried Tomato flavor. It’s funny when holidays come up and you feel like you should be joining others in celebration, by drinking alcohol and eating unhealthy food. 4th of July just passed and everyone was drinking and having BBQ’s. I had to work, but even after work I didn’t want to use that as a reason to eat. I used to use any reason I could for why I got to eat something delicious, and artery clogging. Now I always stop myself whenever I see myself going to eat for any kind of emotional reason.

Getting into the American spirit.

photo 3-3

6. I am addicted to exercise now.

I love exercising, and I like pushing myself further and further. I have seen several people recently wear the Nike shirt that says, “Every. Damn. Day” and I really like that. I actually really like a lot of Nike’s products and have gorgeous trainers by them that motivate me to get out more. I am definitely one of those people who buys fun workout clothes to get motivated to workout. No makeup though. I draw the line at makeup. Especially in 100 degree weather when I’m sweating a lung going up an incline.

photo-1.PNG

I’m starting to see that even though I’m not seeing results as quickly as I’d like, it has been consistent and I am making progress. Every week I notice changes in my body and my mind, so I’m just going to keep doing this every damn day until I get to the finish line.

tumblr_m84vb0hqgB1r0qmqfo1_400

Procrastination; an unnecessary evil.

Being unorganized and procrastinating is one of the biggest set backs to any goal, or to life period. I really learnt that this past weekend when I left my physiology presentation to the last minute. That meant that I had to sit for 9 hours straight at my computer downloading information into my head Matrix style and then creating that presentation. I can now say that I know more about the speciation and evolution of Polar Bears than I ever thought I would. But, the fact is that procrastinating like that led to me feeling really frustrated and not being 100% proud of my presentation. School is really important to me and one of my goals is definitely to maintain my high GPA.

I have to admit I sometimes leave things to the last minute because I feel like that will force me to do my work. Procrastination is a terrible thing…And it’s weird because a lot of what I’m learning (in science anyway), is pretty interesting, but at the same time, extremely boring. I’ll try to read my text book and then my eyes will start glazing over as I read the umpteenth un-pronouncable scientific name. But the point is, once I had finally finished my presentation, and then had to do my algebra test, I was just beyond frustrated. You know those times when you’re tired and stressed and suddenly all the little things join up like puzzle-pieces and you’re like, “Oh my goodness, nothing is working out, It’s not gonna happen.” It’s really over-dramatic, but you spiral out of control. I was thinking, I didn’t lose weight this past week, I’m not going to get an A on this presentation and algebra exam, I’m never gonna do anything, arghhhhh! I then justified eating tacos because it was Cinco de Mayo, and how could you not eat tacos on Cinco de Mayo? Tacos are still healthy, but probably not when you eat like 30 of them.

Needless to say, this week I am stepping it up and cutting out a lot of things from my diet that I probably shouldn’t be eating. I have been justifying eating low-fat ice-cream or sorbet at night in the right portion size, and it fits in with a logical calorie quota, but I am assuming it is behind my lack of weight loss. Whenever I get close to my finals week at school my stress levels make me crave sugar like crazy, and I’m not even big on sugary food. I am also going to learn my lesson and spread out my schoolwork instead of leaving it to the last minute!

Time management is just very key in achieving your goals and being more productive because it puts you in control. When you’re most in control and organized you can plan ahead better and make more conscious choices. When you’re stressed you tend to go with automatic responses, which is rarely a good idea. Automatic responses are generally linked the bad habits you are trying to avoid. So, although procrastination has an immediate reward of delaying work, the consequences are rarely worth it.

dep_4112344-Robots

One redeeming part of this past weekend was going to San Diego to go to the best Sushi restaurant of all time: Sushi Deli. Pretty much the only time I eat out is when I go to get sushi. I also love visiting San Diego because it reminds me of home and it’s gorgeous even on a gloomy day.

photo.PNG

Outside Sushi Deli 1 in downtown San Diego, near the Gaslamp Quarter.

 

Persistence

One of the hardest things to deal with when trying to achieve any goal is realizing and accepting that it’s going to take time. Most big things you want to accomplish do not happen overnight, or even in just a few weeks. For me it’s hard to accept how much longer I have to be in school for, or how much longer it will take for me to lose weight, or get over some of my other “flaws”.

One of the stupidest things I do when I’m trying to lose weight is get frustrated when I don’t look like the “After” picture by week 3. You know when you’ve been eating really well and working out, and you feel lighter, but then you weigh yourself or look in the mirror and you’re like, what the #$@! I always have to remind myself not to weigh (excuse the pun) too heavily on the number on the scale. I think you see physically that you are changing before it’s reflected on a scale. Or at least I tell myself that to stop myself from falling into a dark depression!

But what I tell myself is the story of the train. I don’t know why I chose a train, but whatever. When you’re working on a goal it really is the difference between being a train that is parked at Central Unfulfilled Station collecting cobwebs, and being the train that is moving along, slowly, but getting closer to its destination. Which one of those trains is going to reach the ultimate goal?

So, even though that is the lamest story ever told, the visualization of it really keeps me on track. Excuse the pun.

When you really think about it, how long it takes for you to get to your goal is nothing compared to the scope of your lifetime; and what’s more, all the years you’ve been unhappy. How many things would you have accomplished if you had just stuck to them and not given up? It could be completing a book, losing the weight, making a movie, or opening a business. A lot of times I stop and think, If I had stuck to the diet I started 3 months ago I would have been at my goal weight by now. I often mark in my calendar when I expect to have achieved my goal, so when I get to that date and see I’m still at square one it’s pretty disheartening, and eye-opening.

photo-4

 

The Vulnerable Hour

I haven’t been able to write anything the last few days because I have been busy with work. My work schedule is erratic and I don’t work the same hours each week, so it is hard to plan things. I also have to balance in my school so things can get kind of hectic for me. One of the hardest things is definitely trying to stay on the right track when you are in vulnerable moments. All weekend I have gotten home from work late, especially on saturday when I got home at 11pm. Not only does an erratic schedule make it hard to stay on track, but my actual job does too. I work retail so not only am I on my feet for hours and running back and forth, but I have to deal with all kinds of people. I actually do enjoy interacting with people and I always try to be really friendly and bubbly, but I do come across my fair share of completely self-centered people. I think anyone in retail or waitressing could have a blog dedicated to all the people you come across and the strange things they do. But on top of that the drive home can also add 30minutes to an hour of traffic. The mix of retail work and being stuck in California traffic are enough to make me want to go home and drink heavily. Over the weekend I did break my no alcohol rule and drank some wine, but I did stick to eating healthy.

Another vulnerable time for me is eating out with other people. It sounds stupid and anti-social but I really try to avoid going out to eat with people from work, because they tend to want to go to the most unhealthy places. On sunday I ended up going to lunch with a lady at work and she chose a 50s style diner. Can you imagine what options you have at a 50s diner? That wasn’t exactly the most health conscious era. You have the option of all American food like hot dogs, burgers and fries that you can wash down with a calorie laden milkshake. Or you can wash it down with a soda that didn’t have enough sugar to begin with, so they spoil you by adding extra cherry flavored syrup.

So how are you supposed to stay on track when you are in those vulnerable moments, where you’re so exhausted, or frustrated, or angry, or even depressed that you just don’t care? If I have a long day at work and then I’m stuck in traffic for an hour, I just want to come home and throw my plans in the trash! But that’s when you see how determined you are to stick to your goals, because the fact is life for most people is usually chaotic. In those vulnerable times I just had over the weekend I had to stop and tell myself, “I really want this. I really want to achieve my goal, and if I let myself go offtrack I know I won’t be happy with myself tomorrow”. Knowing that giving in at that vulnerable time will mean just delaying your goals even further can really help to make you aware of what you’re doing. I did allow myself to have 1 or 2 glasses of wine, but I felt like that would be better than carbo-loading on chips or some other junk food. I have to admit I was still frustrated that I drank because alcohol is a diet’s worst enemy. When you drink alcohol your body has to work on metabolizing the alcohol in your body and stops burning fat, or metabolizing any food you’ve eaten. That’s a terrible thing when you’re trying to lose weight. At the same time I am suprised that I didn’t turn to eating mindlessly after work, but I am just determined to succeed this time around. I have a quote on my wall that says,

fit-stop-giving-up

That quote helps me stay on track because the worst thing is waking up the next day and beating yourself up, wishing that you had just gritted your teeth through the temptations of giving up and held strong. Even when I went out with my friend for lunch, I was the only person in the 50s diner ordering the grilled chicken salad with no cheese. Even though I felt like the whole restaurant stopped to stare at me, mouths gaping open, I was not about to eat my entire day’s worth of calories in a greasy burger. And even though my friend sat across from me eating her second round of fries (they were unlimited at that restaurant), and I’m sure rolling her eyes at my order, I had to stick to my goal.

Tomorrow never comes.

Everyone has their own goals that would make their life better in their perspective. I love talking to people, meeting people, and learning about who they are and what they’re passionate about. I probably get annoying to people because I am very open and upfront, and just outright ask them personal things. I have a lot of goals I am working on like getting my degree and attempting to save money to travel as much of the world as possible. But one of the biggest goals I have right now is to get back down to my ideal weight. Since I moved to the U.S several years ago I had a really hard time leaving everything I knew to just about be completely independent at 21. From there all my bad habits of eating poorly to deal with my anxiety came rushing back to haunt me on a daily basis. So, very gradually I gained a good chunk of weight that became harder and harder to lose. And it’s frustrating because before I moved out here I had changed my entire life and worked my tooshie off to get down to 125lbs and in the best shape of my life. I worked out daily, and ate a very healthy, clean diet. So you can only image how devastating it would be to gain 40lbs and absolutely hating the way you look.

When you gain weight you just feel uncomfortable with yourself, heavy, and fatigued. That’s pretty obvious.

But, it just gets to be a self-destructive cycle of: I’m depressed about my weight, I need to lose weight, I’m depressed though so I’m going back to old tricks, crap I shouldn’t have done that, now I’m still overweight. The worst thing for me is procrastination. I think the biggest reason why I haven’t lost the weight in the several years I’ve lived here is because I keep putting it off. I keep saying it’s not a good time to start, and that I can start next week, or tomorrow, or when Jesus returns. But it never happens. Tomorrow never comes.

It’s definitely related to a lot of other things too like not having a support network around me. The only person I really have in my life right now is my husband. Everyone else I know is back home. I think being so isolated is what makes it easy to just get into this naive frame of mind where you keep deluding yourself and saying, “You know what, I’m not HUGE though. I’m not AWFUL. It’s not THAT bad.” You’re looking in the mirror at yourself sideways, sucking in and going, “I look totally fine!” Yet at the same time you’ve become all but agoraphobic and your life is akin to that of a hermit crab. I think that’s a red flag….