emotions, health, mental health

a weighty perspective

I think if I tried to summarize this blog 5 words it would probably be “Sarah Struggles to Lose Weight.” I’m frankly kind of embarrassed that is what the sum of my thoughts have centered upon. It’s pretty boring too.

Anywho, in light of my recent attempts to shed some of the mental and emotional weight of STRESS AND ANXIETY, I’m making some more changes. This time in regards to how I’m facing my body image and what I’m going to do about it.

I’m not going to blather on about how I see or feel about myself, I mean, if you’ve read this blog for any length of time you know homegirl has issues. As I said in my post earlier, if I can get some other things in my life in alignment, some of the other pieces will just naturally fall into place.

I’m going to admit something publicly to you all that I’ve only recently been admitting to myself. I have become obsessive about the number and the scale and the calories and everyone’s perception of me. And not obsessive in a good way. I’ve been weighing every day to track trends and it just brings me down first thing in the morning. I follow my macros/calories 85% of the time, and that other 15%…I don’t (not intentionally). And those 15% I make myself pay – mentally. I lay in bed after the day is over and beat myself to a pulp over the mistakes I made. It takes all the enjoyment out of what might have been a lovely dinner with my friend. I have single-handedly taken all the joy out of food. I love to bake and I haven’t in ages because WHAT IF I EAT IT AND IT HAS REAL SUGAR AND BUTTER AND CALORIES OH MY. That is no way to live. Not everything in life should be all about the calories and nothing else.

So what am I doing about it? For starters, I’ve taken all the pressure off. Over and over and over again, every single day, I’ve started telling myself that I’m an awesome and lovely human being. And if someone can’t see me for that rather than what I [think] I look like, well bully on them. I’m ok. And I’m great whatever size I am. Do I want to look and feel better? Sure, but it’ll happen. It’s not going to happen as I’ve been going though.

Second, I’ve stopped weighing every day. The last few weeks I’ve done it every few days or so, or honestly when I feel pretty good. While I still care about the number, I’m working harder to just go by feel.

Lastly, the “extras.” You can bet your booty I’ve had things outside of my plan in the 3-weeks that I’ve actively tried to change. The difference is in how I’m treating it. It’s a CONSCIOUS decision, not an impulse on emotions. I’m also letting myself enjoy it.

It’s probably a good thing that I’m the only person that lives in my mind. Because if anyone knew just how much self-talk behavior modification I’m doing, you’d think I was nuts. But it is working. It’s so, so very hard. But it is working.

If any of you are in the same place that I am…hang in there. And let’s chat. Let me tell you that you’re awesome and a lovely human being. And you are WORTHY of joy.

TODAY I LOVE: a brand new blank Moleskine journal…oh the possibilities!
SONG OF THE DAY: “O” by Coldplay

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Fitness, health

Black coffee and honesty

acs_0254-1One of my compromises with myself when I started this blog (in deference to my last one) was to be completely honest. You get the good and the bad, the ups and downs, the wins and the losses. Why be fake? Why try to trick everyone into believing that life is rosy all the time and every single goal I set, I reach?

Somewhere out there (if you don’t have this song in your head right now I don’t know you at all)…anyway, somewhere out there I’ve lost my focus and drive. For some reason the journey seems a lot more difficult this time around. And yes, I’m talking about weight loss. I think I’m always talking about weight loss. When you’re uncomfortable in your own skin (and your own jeans) it is always what you’re thinking about.

I keep finding excuses!

  • I’ve had a rough week, I deserve this treat.
  • PMS…give me all the things I’m craving.
  • Whew…I’ve got meetings all week. They’ll feed me. I don’t need to count.
  • I’m cold and I don’t feel that great. I should just eat what will make me happy.
  • I’m going home and nobody cooks like my mom and grandma. I don’t get home that much, I should enjoy it.

Anyone ever say some variation of those? I usually have really great discipline and can bypass all that stuff. Not this last month. Frankly, I’m scared to get on the scale for what it is going to tell me. I know I haven’t lost but I’m terrified to see if or how much I’ve gained. I’m failing at all my self-talk. I’m failing at saying NO.

I’m failing. And I want to leave it at that. Throw a fit. Say that I just can’t do it; the plan doesn’t work for me. I want to tell everyone how hard it is to be me. But guess what? That doesn’t help me either, it just makes me fail…more.

So I’m not going to do that. Because deep down I know these things:

  • I’m not failing at everything. Those are just lies that we tell ourselves.
  • If I fix my self-talk and start thinking about things on a decision-by-decision basis, I can choose to say no and make better choices. I can make choices that aren’t based on hormones, emotions, and circumstances.
  • I’m not failing at workouts (for the most part – I’ve had to miss a few.) I’m pushing myself and not giving in. I like getting stronger and seeing what new things my body can do.
  • It is going to be hard. It just is. I’m not in my 20’s anymore and things are just HARD. Recognize the challenge, say “game on”, and do it. Just do it.
  • Again – don’t look at weeks at a time. One decision, one good choice, one moment.
  • Plan better.

This post was for me. It was public self-talk and public accountability. We don’t always win. It’s so easy to fall down the social media rabbit hole of how all things are perfect. They aren’t. There is no quick fix. It isn’t easy. I haven’t won; I’ve lost this round. I let myself lose this round.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t win the next one.

New moment. New day. New week. New month. As the character President Jed Bartlet says in one of my favorite shows, “What’s next?”

TODAY I LOVE: finally finishing the “Downton Abby” series on BBC

SONG OF THE DAY: “Forever” by Mumford & Sons

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Fitness, goals

tired and hungry and sore

Well, I think my title says it all. It fully encapsulates this week.

I started Phase II of my new year journey on Monday. I jumped in with both feet. Phase II included new programming at the gym (both strength and HIIT), calorie and macro guidelines based on my reading of Fat Loss Forever, and getting up early to do said gym workouts. After two weeks of the head and stomach flu, that 4:30am alarm is BRUTAL. So yeah, this week has been me on the struggle bus. BUT I HAVE DONE IT.

No cheats. I’ve stayed perfectly within my macros and calories. I haven’t missed a day of workouts. I just need to keep this up until it’s a habit and then it won’t be such a struggle. I’ve done it before and I know I can do it again.

Here are some things that are helping me this week:

  • I accidentally changed the setting on my bathroom scale to kilograms. I weigh every morning and then take an average for the week so see gain/loss. I didn’t mean to change it to kilograms but it’s been so much better for me emotionally! I’m much too lazy to remember the conversion to pounds that early in the morning so it’s awesome to weigh without all the guilt and shame of the pounds number. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves? Sure, I still weigh a ton but in my mind it’s just a number when it is kilograms.
  • I’m a nerd. You know this. I created a lovely excel workbook that has all my BMR, TDEE, and macro calculations (based on the book mentioned above.) I also have calculations for all my weights and measurements so that it calculates my averages for me. I am also able to see trends.
  • You can eat a LOT of veggies for little calories.
  • I’m not always going to improve my lifts at the gym. But I’ve been complacent for far too long. I haven’t stopped working out in all this time but if I’m honest I’ve been “mailing it in.” Every day this week I’ve given myself a pep talk to challenge myself. Don’t just do it to do it; make those calories and muscles work. And it has paid off in soreness. ūüôā

I hope all of you are achieving your goals as well! One day at a time, friends. One moment at a time.

SONG OF THE DAY: “Rescue” by Lauren Daigle

TODAY I LOVE: my new pillow…makes a huge difference!

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beauty, emotions, Fitness, health

really real reality

Shootout.jpg.e2ceda5e6854df2c8893abada78336abIf you’ve followed me for very long at all, I write a lot about my weight, exercise, diet, etc. ¬†I like these things. ¬†I like seeing progress and I hate admitting failure. ¬†However, like two sides to any coin you’re always going to have them both. ¬†Last year it was success upon success in my weight-loss and fitness journey. ¬†This year is a different story.

Life has happened to me in a big way this year. ¬†I was depressed for quite a long time and stressed even longer. ¬†Even so, I did the very best I could with my macro guidelines and I exercised way more than not. ¬†Still…no change. ¬†We’ve lowered calories, changed macros, changed again, added and added and added cardio…no change. ¬†I haven’t gained it all back, but I’ve gained this year. ¬†Many of my wins last year have been overturned. ¬†It’s hard not to say, “Sarah, if you just cut your calories more, you have to lost weight.” ¬†Um, yeah, no. ¬†I’ve done that. ¬†I can’t really cut anymore or my body will definitely freak out.

To say that it is defeating is the most gigantic understatement you can utter. ¬†I’m leaving for vacation in a few short weeks and this is NOT the shape I wanted to be in for it. ¬†My poor roommate has had to deal with my meltdowns this week especially as I’m trying to buy a dress for a wedding and purchase clothes for the beach.

WHY JUST WHY.

And sadly, the long and the short of it is this…we don’t know. ¬†Maybe my body is tired of dieting. ¬†Maybe my body has some weird hormone things (hello STRESS) that are hijacking all the good things I’m doing. ¬†Maybe I just need a reset and a change. ¬†Maybe I need rest. ¬†Who the hell knows.

So. ¬†Really real reality. ¬†I’m staring at my beach vacation straight in the eye. ¬†I’m many pounds heavier than I planned. ¬†In my mind it is kind of like one of those old outside-the-OK-corral standoffs. ¬†Wyatt Earp staring down his opponent (before he went crazy – important fact.) ¬†Am I going to let my perception of how I needed to be ruin my vacation? ¬† ¬†As much as it is a struggle to say – no. ¬†I’m not going to let it win.

I’m me. ¬†Despite the outside package and wrappings, I’m quite awesome. ¬† I can lift very heavy things and put them back down. ¬†I have great hair. ¬†My skincare routine is longer than some people’s showers and I love it. ¬† I can spout random music facts on a whim. ¬†I have a really awesome cat. ¬†The older I get I’m finding joy in being myself and surprising people who expect something different. ¬†I smile a lot and I like to make other people smile too. ¬†My fella loves me. ¬†I’m going to PARADISE.

When I wrap my head around all those great things, how can I let a stubborn body beat me? ¬†It is all in my PERCEPTION of me. ¬†And the great thing is…I can work on changing that. ¬†It might not change how my clothes fit or the number on the scale, but if I can find happiness in my happies until the tide turns, the coin flips, or my body decides to listen, well, that’s a big win. ¬†I’ll dip back into my college days, and all those psychology/counseling classes: ¬†I’m taking a mental picture and I’m reframing it so I see it differently.

If you’re in the same spot I am…take stock and reframe the shot. ¬†It is a by-the-minute battle, but if I can do it then you can too.

TODAY I LOVE: Peach & Lily.  I should just sign my paycheck over.

 

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Beginnings, Fitness, goals

Climbing again

It is Friday night and I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of sleepy tea, and watching Grace & Frankie (again) on the TV. (Side note: I’m SO excited for Season 4 which comes out next week.) ANYWAY. I got off work this afternoon and came home and deep cleaned my living room. I tore down the Christmas tree and all the decorations. I moved all the furniture and vacuumed. I bought a lamp (also random.) All that to say, I’m super content in this spot, right this second. Which puts me in a good place to talk about something that I’m not happy about: my fitness.

A week before Christmas I messed up my back. It was AWFUL. I’m too embarrassed to say what I did, but it was a dumb thing and I’ve LEARNED MY LESSON. ANYWAY. I couldn’t bend my spine at all. I couldn’t even sit. I could only lay flat or be in terrible pain. So needless to say my workouts were not fabulous. And then I went home to my family for Christmas. And then I went to California for 2 weeks to be with my fella. My butt has not been in a gym for 3 WEEKS. It’s embarrassing. And I didn’t follow my macros over the holidays either. I wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t perfect.

Confession: I’m absolutely terrified to step on the scale. (I’m not stepping on the scale until Monday morning, but still.).

I feel bloated and chunky and lumpy and likely 10 pounds heavier.

So that’s the bad news.

The good news? I can fix it. I can fix all of it. You know why? Because last year I learned how. I can’t tell you how much that reassures me that this is all going to be fine. This year when I’m looking at my fitness and health journey it is totally different than last year. It’s kind of like carving an ice sculpture. When you get started you have to take off a whole bunch of the bulk before you can even start to shape what you’re really trying to carve. 2017 was getting rid of the excess for me. In 2018 I get to sculpt something fantastic. Isn’t that wonderful!?

I admit, I don’t like that it feels I’m starting this year behind. But you know what? I had a great Christmas and New Years and California dreams. The rest let my back heal. I just…lived for a while. And I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Even if it does feel like I’m starting in a deficit. Whatever I’ve gained will come back off. I’ve proven I can do it.

So with that said…tomorrow I go back to the gym with my best girl. Good things to come.

TODAY I LOVE: my Filimin lantern

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Fitness, health

the post I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to write.

It’s Monday morning on Labor Day. ¬†I’m sitting here on my sofa, having a cup of tea, planning my meals for the week, and gearing myself up to hit the gym. ¬† This last month, especially the last week has been one of the most stressful I’ve had in a while. ¬†Exactly four weeks ago I broke my ankle. ¬†Last week I had an allergic reaction to a dye in a new vitamin I started taking and that turned into some really nasty urticarial welts in spots (don’t google that – so gross) all the while working an 80 hour week to respond to Hurricane Harvey. ¬†I’m hopped up on so many steroids and antihistamines right now I should be resistant to just about everything. ¬†It’s just been a lot of things and little rest.

The broken ankle really messed me up mentally. ¬†I was having such great momentum and progress with my lifting and weightloss and I knew that was going to have to change. ¬†I’m so, so blessed (and I can’t say this enough) with my best friend, who also happens to be my coach and encourager and sister by choice. ¬†She’s brilliant and within hours already had me talked of the ledge and had alternative moves I could do for every single exercise. ¬†I didn’t have to stop. ¬†I’ve had to make lots of modifications. ¬†I cannot tell you how much I’m ready to do cardio other than the stationary bike and row machine.

Back in January I set a goal to lose 30 pounds. ¬†If I’m being entirely truthful, I didn’t think I’d be able to do it. ¬†Why? ¬†Because I’ve said that same goal for the last 2 years. ¬†And I never happened. ¬†This morning I stepped on the scale, as I do every morning, and I’ve officially lost 31.2 pounds. ¬†It took me 7 and a half months but I did it. ¬†That was 7.5 months of working my ass off, fixing my metabolism, losing fat and gaining muscle, getting my dietary calories UP not DOWN, and not giving up. ¬† Looking back at my weight log, I lost 9lbs while with a broken ankle. ¬†Crazy!!

Last week Ash asked me what my new goal is now that I was nearly to my current goal. ¬†I’d already thought about it. ¬†Now I want to get to my goal HEALTHY weight. ¬†Which now, as of this morning, is about 9lbs away.

I’m really glad I got to write this post. ¬†The words I’ve wanted to say for over two years. ¬†Thank you to all of you who have been so encouraging. ¬†Most especially my Ash.

TODAY I LOVE: I get to go buy new clothes for a good reason

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emotions, Fitness, health

gasp! we are all broken in some way.

Don’t let anyone fool you, especially those pretty put-together instagram folks, no one is perfect. ¬†It’s so very simple to take photos or share the one tiny corner of your life that is clean, tidy, skinny, modern, detailed, polished, or beautified while ignoring the other 98% that is “normal.” ¬†(I cannot tell you how long we discussed “what is normal and who decides it?” in my abnormal psych class in college.) ¬†Anyway, today’s post is a raw one. ¬†A real one.

So, if you’ve been keeping up with me at all over the last several months, you know I’m working hard on my fitness journey to lose weight, gain confidence, and be fit. ¬†I’ve made so many great strides. ¬†When I’m having a good mental day, I feel really good about myself. ¬†But then I have those days where I don’t. ¬†Those days where all I see are lumps and bumps, stretch marks, bruises, and just how much further I have to go in my journey.

Those days it’s hard to remember how far I’ve come. ¬†It’s hard to remember that I’m not the only person out there who isn’t perfect. ¬†I posted a “progress” photo the other day on instagram and while most people have been simply wonderful it’s hard to deal with some of the things others have said. ¬†Things I’ve heard:

  • Um, whoa. ¬†I had no idea you looked like that.
  • It’s taken you 7 months?
  • I mean…look at your arm!
  • Still losing that weight? ¬†Lookin’ better.

First of all, yes, I was a lot larger and unhappy with myself when I started. ¬†That’s a known fact to me. ¬†Why do you think I wanted to change? ¬†But some people, when they say these things, it’s not in the “nice criticism” way. ¬†It’s more of the “wow, I had no idea you were so gross and why did it take you so long to get to now.” (Before you yell at me for getting upset over criticism over a photo I willingly put out into the world – don’t. ¬†I opened myself up to it.) ¬†I’m certainly strong enough to smile away the negativity if it were to give someone else out there hope.

Anyway, it is just one of those days where I’m focusing on remembering why I do this. ¬†That not everything I see is perfect for everyone else either. ¬†I could tidy up one corner of my apartment and make it look magazine amazing, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the place looks like a tornado went through it. ¬†Those beautiful people on instagram likely aren’t so polished and lump-free all the time either.

Unbroken people are a rare find. ¬†And I’m ok. ¬†I’m perfectly normal and perfectly me.

TODAY I LOVE:  garden fresh tomatoes

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