Weight loss tracker

Monday, 19 December 2011

All I want for Christmas... (6 months post-op)

6 months ago today – probably right on the dot – I was being strapped to the operating table in a spaceship looking operating theatre in a very old hospital building. Thinking back to the particular memories I have just before and just after the surgery, it is the most surreal experience I've had so far. Sometimes when I think about them it still hits me as something transcendent. Probably because I’d never experienced general anaesthetics before, but being “there” one moment and then “losing it” for nearly two hours and then “getting back” is very emotional for me. (I remember telling the anaesthetic doctor when I came about that he must discuss the financial details of some sort of home improvement deal with my husband...) I do not like losing control. I'm the epitome of a control freak. This emotional upheaval might have been exacerbated by the all the attachment I grew and nurtured regarding the procedure and my expectations about my weight loss.

So, how do I feel now? Well... all that was exactly 6 months ago: 23 June 2011. (It was freaking 40C (104 F) outside. I love heat and summer! – unlike today when I was freezing my tushy off walking the dog)

And here are the results:
Starting weight: 235lbs (pre-preop diet)
Current weight: 186lbs
Weight lost: 49lbs
Goal weight: 150lbs
Weight to lose: 36lbs

Starting waist: 38 inches
Current waist: 31.5 inches

Starting hip: 47 inches
Current hip: 40 inches

In a more  visual way (please excuse my just-washed hair) - top row: 13/06/11 lower row: 23/12/11

Ok, here are two more pictures in my Christmas outfits - sans make-up and hairdo, though (when I think about it, I find it slightly creepy that I post my official pictures in a bikini... yukkkk) - and you can sneak a peak into my wonderful kitchen my wonderful husband built me...

My family is arriving this evening from Hungary, hubby is picking up his boys – we are running a full house until 31st. So this might be my last post for the year... Will see. I might have to do a quick post about the gifts I’ve got (if David seriously got the hint and managed to get the right things from my “list” – on which he insist on every year)
Have I told you about the massive feast we have 24th every year? I’m Hungarian and our main Christmas event is Christmas Eve. It’s sacred: public transport stops at 4pm, all offices close midday, everyone heads home to be with their family; and we dress the Christmas Tree on 24th too. Therefore I always struggled with the Anglo-Saxon way of gallivanting out in pubs and attending parties on the 24th and have the “main do” on 25th. For this reason we established this little party of ours every year on 24th: It’s full of Hungarian food and sweets, traditions (yes, we do open our gifts on 24th, which is brought by the little baby Jesus, NOT Santa Claus, by the way – he’s got his own day on 6th December with its own traditions.) and Hungarian booze – including my home made eggnog. So that’s what I’m preparing for all week. I’m on the home stretch now, and the arrival of my mum and two sisters will probably ease the load somewhat. My mom and I always, since I was very little, stayed up very late on 23rd, like 2-3am in the morning, finishing off all the baking and cooking preparations for the next day, so she had less to do on Christmas eve. I’m kind of looking forward to rekindle that atmosphere again – but this time in my spanking new and big kitchen as opposed to the tiny one in our family home. I’m sure mum will be delighted with this change of scenery too. And nothing makes Christmas as special as a child around the house, so I’m very grateful to have my little nephew with us: he’s just under 5 and his sincere admiration of all thing Christmassy brings out the hidden magic of the festivities.

But what about the title of this post: what it is that I want for Christmas? (beware: some selfishness ahead!)

Well – please don’t hate me for saying this! – some more follower for my blog would be nice! I know, what a vain wish! Also, I do personally admire and love all of you who’s following me currently (BIG THANKS for your time and interest, and for keeping my spirits up and beeping in with so much helpfulness and kindness all the time!!), and I'm well aware that I’m writing this blog mainly to give an outlet to my thoughts (all shapes and sizes) and not to collect an admiring audience... I know. But... It would be nice to see some more faces being interested in what I think and feel and going through. Especially when I see how many people follow those blogs I admire... Is that selfish? Yes, it pretty much sounds selfish... and I’m sorry for that. But I was an awful good girl... So pretty please, Santa???

I would also like to wish all of you a happy and love filled Christmas – please spread some love and joy around, and be kind to Yourselves this Season! It is so important to put ourselves first sometimes – even those of us with families to attend to. Even if it’s just nipping out for a walk on your own, or sneaking down to the gym while everyone else is watching re-runs of Grinch...  And don’t berate yourself too much if an extra helping of Christmas pudding (the most vile thing on earth and will never set foot in my kitchen!) makes its way down your stomach... (please note: I’m not advocating overeating here. Everything in moderation!)

Have a happy-happy Christmas all!
With all my love - Krisztina

Facing facts

I'm not going to meet my Christmas target.
This was my last "official" weigh-in and I fall 6.6 lbs short of 180.
Is it my fault? I bet'cha! Although I'm taking my exercise very seriously and stay under my calorie goal 99% of the days I do sometimes make appallingly bad food choices. They do not creep in on top of my otherwise good food items, they replace them occasionally. Like last Friday: healthy snack were swapped with Krispy Kreme... or half of the dinner with chocolate truffles (yeah, I know it's Christmas...)... You get the picture.

Am I beating myself up about this unmet goal? Yes, somewhat. But nothing like I used to before surgery.
B.S. (before surgery) I would have given up exercise by now and blame my busy Christmas schedule. I would have eaten ALL the chocolate truffles I allow myself to buy once a year, and would be thinking about buying one more batch. I would also have given up my efforts for making good food choices most of the time and would just eat whatever comes to mind or I stumble across during these genuinely busy days.
A.S. (after surgery) I made a commitment to stick to my exercise until the very last: I have two runs this week to complete 2nd week of Bridge to 10K (Monday and Wednesday) and a final Zumba session on Thursday.
I've "only" been eating 3-5 truffles a day from my carefully made selection (like Kir Royal or lemon or blueberry) and not the full load in one go AND they are all accounted for in my food log (and kept within my daily allowance). I'm doing my best to stick to my regular eating regime until the very last day before Christmas, and I probably going to designate two-three days between 24th and 31st when I can eat a bit more freely - the rest will be "usual".

So yes, I'm disappointed that I did not meet my planned Christmas goal. And yes, if I look back to the last 3 months I've only lost 12ish lbs altogether. Which is not great, is it? But then I'm nearly at the 50lbs mark, which IS great; also the fact that I have only 36.6lbs to go to reach my target weight. And all those points above which I'm doing differently will eventually make all the difference - even if I felt somewhat like a failure on the scale this morning. So I'm balancing the two: being incredibly successful on the long term and a disappointment to myself in the short term. But which one is more precious? Which one has the bigger power over my acts and emotions? That again is a choice I need to make consciously: that I will not let my short term failures to effect my long term success. That I will keep my eyes on the ball, even if I want to sit down and cry. Because putting on 0.6lb this week and not meeting my target does make me feel like crying. However, seeing the spark in David's eyes when he saw me in my proposed Christmas outfits cannot fail to bring the trophy home: I'm already winning this game! Every single day! Even if the scale sometimes says otherwise.

Then again: could I have done better? Sure - I could have just banished all those bad food choices I made since October and meet my goal in a jiffy. Would I be much ahead of my game? Probably 8-10lbs. Is that such a big difference? It depends. Did those bad food choices worth not meeting my goal? Well, I might have to admit that I'm occasionally cool with the more scenic route to weight loss so I can allow some not outrageous but less good food appear in my "repertoire". At the end of the day, I don't want to banish baking forever from my life, I love cooking and I like to be able to allow a tiny indulgence (like a truffle) every now and then. I rather get familiar with how to control those portions than going cold turkey on them.

All right, those are my musings to start off the day. I'm planning one last post before Christmas: on the 23rd is my 6 months "surgiversary". I will post my pictures pre-op and 6 months together with some other numbers and festive cheer. I'll might even let you in to my kitchen for a sneak-peak... I have a WONDERFUL kitchen!

Be kind to yourselves!

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Restriction, hello!

Now, I've never had a problem with my level of restriction in either way.
I had my first fill 6 weeks after my surgery and my second - and last so far - one a month after that. That was early September. I do not know how many "cc" is in my band - I honestly do not care as long as it works. I'm losing fairly slowly but definitely steadily. That what matters to me.

Probably because my Doc does fills only under fluoro, my second fill - I believe - hit the fabled "Sweet Spot": I was perfectly fine with it and he also said he doesn't want to see me for a long time... (isn't that funny to hear from your doctor?). I have been very much aware of my band when I did stray off track (like meeting-room sandwiches and my first PB episode, or breakfast muffin from McD, etc.) And I still don't eat rice and pasta, so I cannot pass judgement on that. Apart from these, all kinds of foods and drinks were going down all right. Sometimes, when I'm in a hurry or don't pay enough attention to chewing my food I do get slightly stuck. But it comes up very quickly and solves the problem. I haven't experienced any discomfort (without PBing) while eating anything what so ever. I do notice early signs when I need to stop for a couple of minutes or when I just have to finish eating - but these are very mild and I could easily "override" them if I chose to. I don't.

But something is changing...
In the last week or so, I found it difficult to eat ANYTHING. For goodness sake, I find it difficult to DRINK! All those (good and safe) foods I got used to eating without any problem since September are giving me grief. And not just foods, but even WATER! Yesterday morning I PBd on chocolate truffles! I haven't been able to finish any measured out meal this week.

This is getting crazy - I just finished my fight with a pear... Yesterday a boiled egg were pissing me off... And I cannot drink anything cold, because it just shuts my stoma and I sit there with a good mouthful of fresh water in my pouch... Which is kind of tricky when on the treadmill.

And it's not even TOM... It just passed AND I do not hold any water - Aquaban takes care of that daily.

So what is it then?

I have my 6 months check up with my Doc in mid January - I wonder what he's going to make of it.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I'm plainly curious. And there is a silver lining: if this sudden increase in restriction holds throughout the festive period I do stand a chance not putting on any extra weight during the eating bonanza. That would be sweeeeeeet!

What do you think causes this? Have you experienced anything similarly unexplained appearance of restriction?

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Random thoughts on the go...

I just popped into Pret for a coffee before going to the Dorchester Hotel for a Christmas lunch (yep, THE Dorchester)... Good news for calories: they serve tiny little french portions.

There is no way I can eat more than half of the muffin and sip half of the latte... Good news for calories.

Because of this lunch I'm wearing a pretty little black dress I couldn't wear since early 2009... Good news. Full stop.

David called me "jaw droppingly beautiful" this morning (in my dress)... Even better news.

I have another Christmas do today, in a Persian restaurant with work colleagues... Not so good news on calories. I'm a sucker for that type of food- love the dips and stuffed veggies.

I drew my boss for Secret Santa and her gift hasn't arrived yet... VERY bad and embarrassing news.

Monday, 12 December 2011

What's in your snack(crack)-pot?

Here is what I'm snacking on most afternoons:

  1. L-Carnitine & ALA
  2. Aquaban (gentle Diuretic)
  3. Coenzyme Q10 + Vitamin E
  4. Korean Ginseng & Ginkgo Biloba
  5. Omega3 Fish Oil
  6. VitaBand multivitamin (chewable)
  7. Pro-biotic Acidophilus
Not on the picture - as I take them at home almost every morning
- chewable iron
- sublingual B12

All the tablets are cut in half by pillcutter - I cannot swallow anything big. The pro-biotic capsule goes down most days - although sometimes I have to empty and mix them into my yoghurt.

Obsessive? Over the top? They keep me going (especially when I have a run to do after work...).

So what do you snack on? Anything strange,  larks' tongues, wrens' livers, chaffinch brains, jaguars' earlobes, wolf nipple chips*? 

* = for those who might wonder: this line is in Life of Brian - one of my favourite guilty pleasure together with  the Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and my personal favourite line from it:

**= I would like to apologise profoundly to any English reader this snippet might have hurt. Hurt was not intended, smiling was intended. However, if you do not get Monty Python's humour you're not even real English so no point getting upset over nothing...***

***= I'm Hungarian AND I married an Englishman. So I do like them. I just REALLY dig the humour of MP.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Friday, 9 December 2011

The view from my personal hell

I wanted to share this with all of you before embarking on day2 of the 10k programme and expire on the treadmill.

This view keeps me going on bad days.

Bah, humbug!

I'm channelling Ebenezer Scrooge today... 
Is this the flavour of the week or what? So many of you out there were telling us about difficult patches right now. And I like to be there, giving you a virtual hug and telling you to cheer up, because it's all going to go away and you all are going to feel better. 
Now look at normally sparkly, chirpy, always positive and can-do me... Where did that girl go?

I'm trying to hold my pieces together, but find it very difficult. I'm exhausted. I'm moody. I'm aching all over. But mainly tired. So tired. I'd like to check out for a while... (not in a sense of taking my own life, but in a sense of leaving myself behind and going on a carefree holiday.) 
I'm tired of watching what I eat, I'm tired of making 200 good (or less so) food choices a day, I'm tired of walking the dog in the morning, I'm tired of pushing myself through exercise... I just want to curl up on the sofa and not take any notice of the world around me. I really do.
But I cannot. I made a commitment to myself.
I must start digging and come up with some deeply buried, secreted energy and mood reserve to push me through the next couple of days (I'm being optimistic and I'll plan that this rut will not last longer) until I get my usual chirpy mojo back.

The other day I had a somewhat heated forum exchange with another lapband patient who's 4 years post-op and reached her target weight 2 years ago. I've responded to a newbie's post about her band not working and that after 2 fills she can still eat whatever she wants in quantities she wants. Well, I was gentle and factual in my response, but I gave her the low-down on how she should put the work in and not rely 100% on the band. (not doing any work on your own and expecting results from the surgery alone and then complaining that it's not working seems to be the going theme here in England. I'm ashamed of it.) This other lady the "oldie" bandster, nearly shouted my head off saying what a lot of crap is that, as she never learned anything (good eating habits, better relationship with food, importance of exercise, self-regulating your portions, etc.) throughout her 4 years with the gastric band and she still reached her target weight and maintaining it for 2 years now, and the only thing she believes in and relies on is her restriction.
My first thought was - guess what?: "you lucky bitch!"
But, I don't know, maybe her circumstances were so special that she already learnt all those things before and really just needed the restriction, or maybe she's been doing all the right things without realising that she's doing them... I don't know. Do you know any other really successful bandsters who got to their target weight and maintaining without changing anything about their lifestyle?
I'm sorry, I'm digressing from my Scrooge moment...

The reason I mentioned the above incident, because I'd like to be that lady today: not making food decisions, just letting my band stop me when it cannot cope with any more food, not going to the gym tonight to run another 6.75k, not having a nervous breakdown as I'm shunning the scale for two weeks and last night my stomach seemed a bit bigger than before... It would be ideal right about now. 

But then again: no one, absolutely no one is stopping me to do just that. To throw away everything I've learned - even for a while - and just take everything as it comes. It is me, who stops me doing it.
It's going to be me who talks myself onto that treadmill tonight (with the promise of 30 min sauna when I finish - no food rewards in sight!) It's going to be me who makes good decision about my food today (I'm still sipping my breakfast protein shake) and not letting me dive into the office Celebration box... well, maybe just once...
It is me, who's doing this for myself. And even on very difficult and low days like this I must find a way to push myself to do the right things. No one's going to do this to me.

I believe that's the biggest lesson I've learned so far from my band: I can have off days, but I cannot give up fighting the good fight.

This should be my motto:
Disclaimer: I do not "heart" run - I abhor it still. But I keep doing it because it's does good to my body.

A very moody hug for all readers!! Let the Christmas spirits sparkle on your day!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

10k - here I come!

I've just downloaded Bridge to 10k from the App Store.
They say it's designed for "graduates of C25K" programme.

6 weeks, 3 days a week.
Let's see... ;)

I've got a crappy headache, so I had to fill up on Solphadine. Can you take a puke-bag on the treadmill?

Scale withdrawal and new calories

I know I've been a bit quite lately, but that’s because I live in my little shell normally and it takes some real burning issues/comments to get off my chest, or some really clever point I think I'm making to get my fingers flying over the keyboard.

Little shell won hands down lately, hence the lack of entries. I’m aware that I should put more into this, that might be one of my New Year promises – I promise. (see: witty!)

There is however one major thing on WLS front I’m attempting to change: after much research, consultation with both dietary professionals and just very experienced privates, I’ve made the decision to up my daily calorie intake to 1400kcal (as a start). I’m doing this with the long term aim of reaching a healthy and balanced lifestyle, good fitness level and healthy weight – even if it will take a bit longer than it would have on my usual 1100kcal/day. I mean this next couple of weeks to be a trial period, and according to how will I be and feel at the end of it I will revise my plans.

I know all this should not be a major thing. Many of you told me that I shouldn’t change what was working – but that’s just it: in the last two weeks although I did the same things as before, I just didn’t lose any more weight. So, was this just a “plateau” or I pushed myself into the so called “starvation mode” where my body refused to yield any further.... The jury is still out. I nevertheless will give this new regime a go as I do not think I will be able to exist forever on 900-800kcal a day until the end of my life... I know this would take me closer to my goal weight faster, but that’s just 12 months – what about the 40-50 years following that? I’m a “big girl”: 176cm (5’9”) – I sort of see the point of those who told me I cannot possibly sustain myself with all my workouts on under 1000kcal a day.

Where they right? Only time will tell. However, I’m only two days in but already feeling a bit better in my head, as the obsessive pressure of making my mind up somewhat receded...

Also – how could I forget this – I’m giving up my scale for two weeks. I did not ask David to hide it yet, I’m sort of controlling that so far, but to truly evaluate if increasing my food works I have to lose (if only temporarily) my daily weigh-in habit. I weighed myself on Monday morning and will do so in two weeks time. No sneaky peaks in between – I have the strong feeling that would put me back on my good old regime straight away. I was told that some gain will be inevitable at the beginning, but I shouldn’t get disheartened as I’m doing this for the long term...

Well, let’s see shall we?

Not being devil’s advocate, but I sort of see myself going back on all the above in two weeks time and just carry on where I left it... That’s possible, I’m not saying it’s not. I just feel I have time on my hand to play around with various options and find what really suits me. I have 42lbs to go to my goal weight – that gives me certain wiggle room for experimenting. And anyway, Christmas is coming and with the sudden halt in my weight-loss I wouldn’t have made my Christmas target anyway, so this seems like a perfect time to loosen my strict reins a bit and listen to alternative opinions. Then from January I can decide which works better for moi.

Gosh, I feel better!

while researching scale pictures for this entry, I've found this photo:

Totally weird! It's like MY dog, on MY kitchen floor, laying next to MY scale... Really, it freaked me out - if  I wouldn't know better I might think Hubby started a blog on his weight loss journey... 

Friday, 2 December 2011

Azucar shooting for C4

Okayyy... time for relaxing, non-weight loss (sort of) related entry. Enjoy!

So, 8am this morning I had to turn up in my gym for the “filming of the Azucar class”. (again, Azucar is very similar to Zumba, but as I only do Zumba on the wii so far, I cannot tell you what’s the main difference. Probably more impact – we do a LOT of body popping and jumping around) I did as instructed, changed into my – wait for it! – Spandex and thought I check at the studio what’s going on. And that’s when I had my first heart attack!
Let me break it down for you:
I assumed – and we all know what assuming means... – that this is going to be some filler piece in some health show, you know the sort of short reports you can catch on breakfast shows and the like, where they show the class from  distance then probably interview the trainer. Was I wrong, ladies and gent!!!! Wroooong!!
The studio we work out in (there are two in our gym) disappeared behind all kinds of lights and cameras and black wall covers and microphones... I was mortified to see all the fuss! This did not look like a “light spot of filming”. Serves me right, as when I was invited by my teacher last week to be “background girl” I did not even bother to ask what kind of show she’s talking about.
I’m still not 100% sure, but what I could gleam out from various people tells me that the show is some kind of weight loss show where a panel of 3 “judges” or trainers or mentors will work with fat people to get them become healthier. In the initial stages they are going to “audition” for various exercise classes and trainings to chose they preferred methods – and that’s when my Azucar class and teacher came into the picture. She was “auditioning” her class in front of the judging panel this morning. Now, I admit I’m not a celebrity spotter so I had no idea what so ever who the judges were... yep, major ignorance here on celeb front.
But it gets worse! Read on...
When the set up of the studio was completed we had to stand in for light checks and such. They had 2 hours just for our minute and a half routine. Because that’s what we were supposed to do. Sans music! Count-in-your-head style. I’m not a chicken, but I only started this class a month ago. I attended 4 so far... that should hint to my confidence level in my moves. ZERO! And we didn’t even had a routine! Pauline (my teacher) kept telling us that it’s just easy move which we do in every class. My ass! (well, that body part will take centre stage later on – keep reading!)
Also, about the “other” background girls: one of them were lost – she apparently went to Westfield in Stratford , not at White City... Major error: other side of London. Pauline had to give up on her. The third background girl was a close friend of Pauline AND a Zumba and aerobics instructor herself. Got the picture??? Pauline: hot and very fit Azucar instructor from France/Peru, another French girl who’s a Zumba instructor – and ME! I mean, this is crazy!
Hold on, it gets worse!
Now, it was not going to be as “simple” as doing our sans-music little routine in front of the cameras a dozen times! Oh noooo! They needed other shots too. The first one: us three coming out from the changing room and “trotting” through the gym. They said words like “work your booties” and “make it sexy” and such nonsense. And they were filming the whole thing from BEHIND – firming and toning butts being the topic of this part of the show. Now let me tell you: me, in a spandex short, from behind IS NOT SEXY! And I CANNOT do the sexy walk either. I'm a big girl. 190lbs in spandex does not look good on telly, I’m telling you.
But I had to bite the bullet – and just do it. I could not let my instructor down. She handpicked me from her class – no one else was there from our Thursday class, only me. I might have been her second-third-fourth choice, I don’t know: there are really hot looking slinky girls in our class, but she ended up with me. So I could not let her down – that’s not how I roll. And anyway, how embarrassing it can be showing your big fat ass in spandex on national television? Who’s honestly going to see it? Couple of millions of people? That’s butt fluff! (I was f***ing scared to the bone!)
So, they did their shooting of our butts all around the gym in various poses. On one point Pauline had to do her body-pops on the shaking platform (don’t ask, I don’t know what it is, personal trainers are using it with their clients, it’s a feet tall big black box) while me and the other “background girl” had to do stretches focussed on our butts in the background. Honestly... I should have walked off...
But I didn’t.
Then the time came for facing the panel. And that’s when the main judge (I have no clue who she is) had a major diva-breakdown and left the screen crying. It seemed that the whole cast and technical people cannot calm her down and cajole her back on the set. And I wonder why I do not like reality shows (apart from Biggest Loser)... After half an hour she returned, took her seat and we could commence the shooting of our routine. They had a little chat with Pauline to begin with, then we had to do our bit, then two of the judges (not the stroppy one) tried some moves for fun. One of them was a slightly older bodybuilder type guy – assuming again, looking at his muscles – and he was really funny trying to emulate our bottom shaking.
Then all three of them had to give feedback to Pauline about the “class” and the benefits of this kind of workout. But Diva refused to speak, she started crying again and only said “I cannot do this!” in a very dramatic fashion for a couple of times. So Bodybuilder took up her lines and gave more feedback. Then they had to reposition the cameras, so they can shoot the routine in full (put a big camera right in front of us) and we had to walk out and walk in again and do the routine again and the two communicative judges did their trials again too. That was fun again. Especially as the third judge (don’t ask for name – no clue!): she was a very tall (I mean 6’3”) thin blond girl, with a slight Eastern European accent – believe me I can hear them from afar – and a massive beehive hairdo, wearing turquoise leotard, stripy leggings and a bright red 6” platform patent shoe... with a rainbow belt around her tiny waist. She was a sight – but she seemed to be fun too.

Then they did some closing shots with Pauline and us, and we were told we finished. Thank heavens!!! I just about had enough.

In the changing room I found the Diva, sitting on a bench crying profusely – and completely alone. I offered her some water and asked her if she’s all right. She must be throwing the hissy fit from hell, but she’s still a human being in need of compassion. So I offered. She said no, thank you. So I left it. She kept crying – still alone. I was just on the verge of telling her that although I have no idea who she is if she wants to talk about whatever makes her feel so miserable I’m happy to listen... Because me is that kind of person. But then one of the assistants turned up and they started chatting. From what I overheard her problem is being very exhausted (duhh) and that it is still not 100% sure that the show will ever air. What a downer! All my exploits above for nothing! I nearly started crying. Well, not really. I just wrote that for effect so you can see I have some Diva in me too. I’m not only 190lbs fat in spandex....

Have a lovely weekend all! 
And don't let your WFG (Weekend Fat Girl) rare her ugly head - I know that's going to be my weekend challenge.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Please take a seat on my couch (long one)

Or “Thank you for seeing me Herr Freud”

I’ve got my crazy on these days. There are so many aspects to this craziness, that it looks like a kaleidoscope and I find myself slightly dizzy when trying to make out the whole picture.

I need some clarity. I need a list. Lists bring clarity. Unless you have too many lists, because then you need a list to list all lists... (you see what I mean: maaaaad!)

Ok, ok... basic - and not at all all-inclusive - list then.
  • Chirstmas is only 23 days away (we from around the middle of Europe tend to celebrate on the 24th, not the 25th)
  • My family is coming to visit for a week on 23rd (my mum, little sis, her partner and my 4.5 year old nephew) This is the first time my whole immediate family will be in London for Christmas. I'm very excited and looking forward to it, but also very anxious in the same time... lots of pressure on me, as the host.
  • I've made a decision to change my job - with all the added stress this move involves.
  • David's just started his new job.
  • My weight loss has stalled in the last couple of days. I know it’s a passing thing and I’m getting smaller in measurements, but I cannot help but grieve over the fact that I’m probably not going to make it to my so important Christmas target of under 180lbs. It makes me sad. A lot.
  • This “stoppage” in losage (I made that word up) started to make me micro-analyze what I’m doing and how I’m doing it. That might have been a mistake... Read on.
I have a very analytic mind and also high tendency to anal-retentiveness. Very high... I want things done “just so”, meaning: as close to perfect as possible. Not everything in life, but certainly when it comes to my weight loss this is a huge issue. It's worrying how laid back I am in so many other ways. So, on the path to learn more about how I operate and why, I consumed a lot of info mainly to do with nutrition, calorie intake, calorie balance, exercise, etc – you get the picture. I stumbled upon some real gems in my quest (like Steve Troutman’s website Body-Improvements – check it out, it’s full of sense!) and other just as reasonable sounding advices in books, blogs, forums, etc.
But, my anal retentive personality grew larger with each step, and I dug myself in a deeper hole by the hour...
I’d like to share the problem with all of you, but to be honest I rationally know all the answers – the problem is knowing the answer somehow does not stop my craziness about the topic...
I’ve been on 1029kcal/day for a long time now, and I thought I must revisit that figure to see if it serves me on the long term and if I can improve on it in any way. So I started calculating and of course every calculation comes up with different numbers. But being a born number cruncher (me and my spreadsheets!), I can crunch the same numbers and come up with very different end results.
For example, this 1029kcal/day has been working for me fine in the last 3 months. However, I come across the serious issue of eating back your exercise calories – which I never do. That realization led me down the “starvation response” path (which might or might not exist...), and it led to me seriously thinking about the long term issue of maintenance once I achieved my goal weight. I know I will keep exercising, and I know I will still watch what I’m eating but am I going to be wholesome and healthy with such low calorie intake and huge calorie expenditure in the long term? So I decided to take Steve’s advise and re-calculated my daily calorie intake. I did it very stingily with all the smallest figures he provides and with the greatest deficit he recommends, etc, and the final result was around the 1200kcal to lose 2 lb per week. Reasonable. I still did not account for any of my exercises – I feel like eating back those calories (even in a sensible and controlled manner throughout the day) is wasting the hard work I put in. Crazy? Yes. Do I know it? Yes. Will I change my it? Highly unlikely. And that was reasonable me...
But then... I’m reading Winning by Losing by Jillian Michaels. I love her. I love her attitude. And she makes a lot of sense (in my opinion). I listen to her podcasts during my runs. That’s the only thing keeps me going 3 times a week over 5km. So, in her book she makes very similar and sensible points as Steve does. She also gives you some numbers to crunch. According to her (and if I do not take my exercise into the equation) I should eat about 1600kcal/day for maintenance. Of course to lose 2 lb per week, you have to create a deficit of 7000kcal per week. And that’s where it gets scary: this means around 600kcal per day (if no exercise taken into account). Now that is far too low for my liking! Isn’t it? But let’s add my exercise calories: about 400-500, 3-4 times a week, let’s say 2000 per week. That leaves me with 13200kcal intake per week for maintenance, and 885kcal per day for losing 2lb per week. That is still much lower than the 1029 I’m eating around currently. That’s when the alarm bell started to ring again but much louder: if I’m eating 150 kcal extra per day (1029-885), that’s a 1000 kcal extra a week, which diminishes my 2lb weekly loss – and that’s if I don’t ever go over my 1029, which I do sometimes a little bit. So, shall I go down to 885/day to sustain the desired 2lb loss? Hmm...
But there is a third opinion... and it’s provided by my beloved BodyBugg. What a downer! I can have one of 3 kinds of days: work day with gym, work day with no gym, weekend. On average on a workday with no gym (which I deliberately don’t want to call “normal day”, as normal day should involve some exercise) I burn between 2300-2500kcal a day. On working+gym days I burn anything between 2800-3300. On weekends I’m lucky if  I burn 2000. Now, I have a desk job. Sometimes I do not even stand up in my lunch break. BUT: I do walk a lot to and from work: in a non-gym day it adds up to over 10000 steps easily, and tips my moderate exercise level around 45-60 minutes (even though I increased the minimum limit of moderate from 4MET to 4.2MET in my BodyMedia software). My week involves 4 work+gym days, 1 work day, 2 weekends. If I add that up that’s a lot of burned calories: 17500 per week. With the 7000 deficit for 2lb loss a week, it equates to 1500kcal to eat each day.

So, what do I do? 1200? 885? 1500? I know: my trusty 1029 has been working fine, so why change it? Well, that’s where I need to resolve my anal retentiveness: I have conflicting information in front of me, and I MUST know which one is right... I cannot possibly say – “hey, that’s all fine but I don’t care because I have a tried and tested method”. Nope, that’s not me. I NEED ANSWERS! But the more I dig the more confused I become... Add this to my list above – and embrace craziness.

On a much-much more light-hearted matter:
I'm gonna be on telly! I'm gonna be on telly! (imagine this in a singsongy voice with humming included...) My Azucar treacher (it’s like Zumba, but called differently) walked up to me in the dressing room after class last week and asked me what will I do this Friday. This was strange as I didn’t even know her name and only attended 4 classes so far. So I demanded details. It turns out Channel 4 (one of the 5 mainstream terrestrial channels in the UK) are shooting a documentary in/about our gym (which I know and saw happening before) and they are shooting the bit about her class on Friday morning, and she thought it would be great if I could be one of the background people. She needed 4 of us, and she thought my moves are good and look decent enough to make up the background (well, she didn't say that last bit, but David pointed it out kindly). Hey ho!! What is that if not an unconscious compliment - and it's coming from a woman! I mean she does not know me, I’ve only started Azucar a month ago.... And she – the hot latin American trainer girl – thinks my movements are good AND would look good on film! Some little shaky and very unconfident voice inside me is screaming: yes!yes!yes! You do look good!

I rest my case.

Happy craziness to everyone!