Thursday, December 27, 2012

2013 Plans...

Here it is, folks.  (And I warn you that this is a long one)

My health/diet/fitness plans for 2013!!!!!!!!!!! 

You know me and long term health plans... It's not a good fit for me right now.  I tend to say things like "I'm going to do Weight Watchers for the entire year!" or "I'm going to exercise every day for a month!" or "I'm going to do 30 days of blogging!" or "I'm going to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks!"

These types of goals used to work for me.  In 2010, I actually DID lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks, and had several exercise months.  However, these very rarely work for me NOW.  I think that I'm just not in a place mentally to handle such long term goals. 

However, I do have a couple of plans for my health in 2013.

Sure, weight loss would be ideal.  I am really jonesing to lose the 40 pounds that I gained with grief-related binges between May and July of 2012.

I have a couple of hard-core ideas on how to lose that weight relatively quickly.  But I'm not sure whether or not I will stick to them. 

Here's the diet plan that I think could help me to lose the 40 pounds fast:

1) Follow Eat to Live (first 6 weeks strict phase) Monday through Friday and practice intuitive eating on the weekends.
2) Exercise 5 to 6 days a week, three of them being running days.  Two cross-training days, and one strength training day (optional).

However...  I'm not sure if this is something that I can stick with for too long. 

I do definitely want to work on eating a more whole foods and vegan diet through the week and I want to give myself some more options on the weekend.  This will work nicely for the first 5 months of the year, during which I will be living away from my live-in boyfriend Stacey because of an internship.  We will be spending weekends together, but I will be on my own (well, with roommates!) through the work week.  So having a stricter diet through the week could work for me.

One thing that is for sure about my health plans for 2013 is that I am signing up for a half marathon in October.  And I want to run it, or most of it, if possible.  And at this point I can run for 5 minutes only, and I have no idea how much distance that is.  It's way less than 1 mile...

So the bulk of my health plans will be focused on EXERCISE, in the form of training for a half marathon.

As much as I'd love to lose these 40 pounds of grief wait as fast as possible, I also would love to KEEP them off this time.  So I may end up going for a less extreme route, as far as the dieting goes.

But I really believe that if I'm training for a big run, I will begin to prefer to eat healthier, because it will benefit my running.

I have also begun to read Health at Every Size by Dr. Linda Bacon.  So that may change EVERYTHING for me, we'll see.  For now, I still really want to lose these 40 pounds ASAP, but in a healthy and sustainable way.

I don't know if I will follow a strict ETL diet through the week, but I will definitely be cooking more, and will be a more whole foods vegan.  If I do ETL, I will stop counting calories.  If I don't, I will continue to track via My Fitness Pal.

So... in summation, I'm not sure what my 2013 plans are quite yet.  But what I've mentioned here (training for a 1/2 marathon plus going back to a healthy vegan diet 5/7 days) is the plan for now.

my cousin shared this pic with me on FB, and I love it!
2013 has to be better than 2012 was.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The good parts of 2012...

Since writing my 2012 recap post, which was very depressing and negative,  I have thought of a couple of good things about 2012.  Here are the good parts of 2012:

Mom was alive and well for almost 5 whole months.  Many happy memories with Mom from 2012, including watching the  Young and the Restless every weekday with her and looking through all of my NYC vacation pictures with her.  She loved ALL of them, especially the ones with me and Joel in them.  :-)

Rose was alive and well for two whole months.  Mom was unfortunately not the only family member that I lost in 2012.  But I enjoyed January and February with my best friend, Rose.  She was a member of the New clan since 1997, and it brings me a lot of comfort to think of Mom being with Rose now.

Diva and Jacques moved back in with me.  They are my chihuahuas, who I raised from babies to 5-6 years or so, then they moved in with my parents when I moved to a place that didn't allow dogs.  Then when I found a place that allowed dogs, Mom refused to let me have them back because she had fallen in love.  And I knew that they were better off there, with her home all day to play with and let them outside than with me.  But I decided that they belonged back with me once Mom was gone.  And they have been such a blessing to have back.  They are now 9 and 10 years old.

I ran my first 5K!!!  Okay, I walked/ran it (walked all the uphills), but still.  Accomplishment!  And it definitely gave me the racing bug.

Alright, there you have it.  Even though 2012 will forever be remembered as the year that my life was ruined, a few good things did happen.  And I'm grateful for that.  Up next:  2013 plans!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 recap...

Okay, as most of you know, 2012 has been a whirlwind year for me, full of many changes, most of them terrible.  Okay, all of them terrible.  I cannot think of one positive thing to say about the year, honestly...  It seems like every good memory of 2012 that I have has an equal and opposite bad memory to correspond. 

Anyway...  I decided to look at my posts from the first few months of the year, to honestly see how I was doing with health (weight, exercise, etc.) before my life went ape shit. 

And here's what I found out:  Even before all of these terrible life events happened, my weight was slowly rising.  I had gained a bit back since my low in May 2011 of 144... about 20 pounds to be exact.  There was some fluctuation going on.

May 2011 - me at 144

I was back up to 165 by the time that I took my New York trip in May of 2012.

May 2012 - me at 165
I was still feeling pretty good about my size at that point.  I really didn't like to be overweight by BMI's standards, but felt like I pulled off the size 14s pretty well.  I look at this picture now and wish that I could  have stopped there instead of what came next...

What came next was that my Mom was hospitalized in May and died in June of this year.  What followed was that I quickly gained 40 pounds with a mixture of extreme emotional eating binges and a ton of sitting around all day. 

Since then, I've been wavering around the 200 pound mark.  I got up to 209, down to 197, and have stayed around there.  It's been 6 months now, and that's still where I'm at. 

September 2012 - me at 209.2

But I'm finally starting to turn my eating and exercising around.  The grief is still very much there, but I'm working on FEELING those feelings instead of stuffing them down with cookie dough, Ruffles, pizza, and toaster pastries.

It turns out that what I was doing to feel better (binge eating on junk food and moving as little as possible) are actually making me feel worse.  My mind tricked me into thinking that junk food and inactivity would help me to feel less depressed and pathetic, but the truth is that two of the best ways to naturally improve my mood are healthy eating and exercise.  What a vicious cycle depression eating has been.  Feel crappy, so eat crappy, then feel crappier, only to eat crappy again... 

So in summation, 2012 has SUCKED.  It has sucked personally, emotionally, and physically.  I've never been more ready for a new year than I am right now.  2012 can suck it.   2013 has to be a better year.

I will be back within a few days for a much more uplifting post about my healthy plans for 2013!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

the little things - Stopping my ALL or NOTHING thoughts.

Make smaller goals that are easy to reach.

This is something that I'm working on right now.  This way, instead of feeling terrible that I didn't exercise at all, maybe I will feel good that I got on the bike for twenty minutes.

Instead of feeling terrible that I didn't track ALL my food, I feel good that I tracked dinner.

Instead of feeling terrible that I ate NOTHING BUT JUNK FOOD ALL DAY, I will feel good that at least I at one cup of vegetables.

These are all things that are very hard for me to do.

I'm a very "all or nothing" person, especially when it comes to eating and exercise. 

I feel like if I don't track EVERYTHING, and if my food isn't ALL healthy, and if I can't exercise DAILY or for an HOUR, then I might as well not track at all, eat ONLY junk food,  and sit on the couch all day long.

But wouldn't I be a little bit better off if I ate at least SOME healthy foods, got in at least a few minutes of focused movement, and watched my portions at least a little bit by tracking maybe even only one meal?  

I think so.

I'm going to focus on doing at least one good thing a day for myself, and I'm going to try to celebrate the little victories.

This will include ALL aspects of  my life,  not just diet and exercise. 

Here's what I have accomplished today:
1) I walked the dogs 3 times (10 minutes each time)
2) I took a shower
3) I got on my bike for 40 minutes
4) I tracked my emotionally overeating breakfast on MFP

because a blog entry without pictures SUCKS

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Comfort Eating: I'm doing it wrong.

As you probably know, I'm depressed.

I suffer from a long history of depression, anxiety, and disordered eating.  However, I had it mostly  under control for years.  Then my mom died, and suddenly I'm dealing with copious amounts of "normal" grief.

Because of my aformentioned history of mental illness, I struggle with trying to figure out what is normal grief, and what is extreme of me.  I've come to the conclusion that everything I'm going through is normal grief. 

My depression and anxiety issues have reappeared, but I think that most "normal" people  have issues with these when a loved one dies.  It may be more extreme for those of us who already struggle with these, but I doubt it.  Anyway, I digress.

The third issue... disordered eating?  That has never gone completely away for me, but I had it shoved under the rug for a bit, disguised as a "healthy" preoccupation with Weight Watchers and other various diet plans from late 2009 to early 2012. 

My WLJ in a nutshell:  I lost a lot of weight with WW and other diet programs in 2010 and early 2011 (from 220+ to 144), then slowly gained back about 20 pounds by 2012, but felt pretty comfortable around 165...  Then shit hit the fan in May and I got back up to 209 within just a few weeks.  Since then, I've been trying really hard to at least NOT GAIN ANYMORE.  I lost a few pounds, gained a few back, etc.  I'm around 197 now, after six months of this...

A lot of this crazy imbalance has to do with COMFORT EATING.

This is not a normal thing to do, I realize.  Eating my feelings away, eating to numb myself, eating to supress, eating to distract, eating to remember, eating to forget, eating to ease lonliness, eating to procrastinate, eating because I feel guilt about the procrastination...  etc.

But it is actually normal for grief to affect one's appetite and to change one's eating habits.  Some go to this extreme, of emotional overeating, but others go to the opposite extreme and have to have folks remind them to eat.  (Is it wrong that I'm jealous of those people?  YES, probably.)

But here's the thing:  I'm comfort eating wrong.  If the goal of my comfort eating is to improve my mood, to help make life a little bit happier, or at least a little bit easier, then I'm eating the WRONG things.

According to my extensive internet research, these are foods that will actually help improve mood:
  • spinach
  • whole grains
  • FRUITS, especially bananas
  • walnuts
  • yogurt
  • dark chocolate
  • lentils
  • salmon and halibut
  • popcorn
Nowhere were MY favorite comfort foods to be found!  Nowhere did I read a list like this:
  • potato chips (dip optional)
  • corn chips
  • snack cakes
  • cookies
  • toaster pastries
  • french fries
  • macaroni and cheese
  • pizza
Therefore, I've been comfort eating all wrong.  It's time to actually try to comfort eat correctly.  I'm going to try to work these "happy foods" into my diet, and to say goodbye to the comfort foods listed above (except in moderation, of course).

I probably will not hop off of the vegetarian train to try the fish, but who knows, I may some day.  Not at first though, and I will let you guys know WAY beforehand if I decide to do that. 

At this point, I'm thinking that I'm planning to stay vegetarian for now, and may even go back to vegan eating soon, or at least have several vegan days per week

Also, another good thing for mood improvement:  MOVEMENT!!!

Which is another thing that I've let slip lately. 

It's crazy that to improve one's mood one must eat healthy foods and exercise, and yet whenever I'm in a bad mood I want to do the opposite. 

It's time to do it right. 
Are there any foods that you eat that  you do so for comfort reasons? 
Any healthy foods that you find actually DO improve your mood?

Saturday, December 8, 2012

30DoB - Day 14 - My First 5K!!!

Today I ran my first 5K!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so walked a bit of it.  Whenever we were going uphill, I would walk (except one time when an uphill immediately followed a downhill, so I was able to use that momentum to keep on going!).  The total time for my first 5K was just under 40 minutes, and that counts stopping for a picture once and stopping for a small cup of hot cocoa.  :-)

I call it a huge success!  I really enjoyed this race.  EVERYONE did.  There wasn't a bad mood in the crowd.

Since this was my first race, I have to ask:  Are runners just happy people?  Or was this just because of the fun theme?

In case you couldn't tell by my cousin Jena's and my outfits, this was an Ugly Christmas Sweater Run.  It was a lot of fun.   There were some crazy outfits!  Our looks were relatively tame compared to all of the tutus and reindeer costumes....  I loved it.

There were about 3000 people running!  That's a lot of runners.  It got very crowded, and because of that there was no pressure to run fast, which worked out great for me.  I don't think I'd been running since before Mom died, so this felt great.

I did wish that I could have called Mom about this, because she would have been so proud of me!

All in all, I think that 3.1 miles is very doable for a beginning runner like myself.  I walked up the hills, but otherwise I mostly jogged at a comfortable pace.  I passed some folks, and some folks passed me.  It was very relaxed and judgement free.  I am so glad that I chose such a fun race as my first 5K.

I'm already researching where the next 5K will be...

Sidenote:  Stacey took this picture of me without my knowing it! 

I don't think that I'm as HUGE as I picture myself.  But I do have some work to do!  My newest goal is to be back to a healthy size by next year's Ugly Sweater Run!  Then I can have some real fun comparing pictures.  :-)

 Anyway, I know that the point of my 30 Days of Blogging was to be done in 30 days, but that is sooooooooo not happening.  Still, it has got me back into the spirit of blogging, and I plan to try to blog as often as I can and get the second half of this blogging challenge done by 2013! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

30DoB - Day 13 - My blog's name...

"Leah: The Kind Weight Watcher" is the name of my blog.

The reason that I gave it that name no longer applies, but I am keeping the name because it still applies to me and the blog for different reasons. 

Why "Leah: The Kind Weight Watcher"?  My original reason was that I was planning to combine Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet with Weight Watchers.  Meaning that I was a vegan Weight Watcher.

And that remained true (on and off with the WW part, but mostly on) for two whole years.

Then some terrible things happened in May and June of this year, which resulted in my taking a break from both vegan eating and weight watching of any kind.

And I've decided that for now it makes more sense for me to stick with vegetarian eating instead of going back to a vegan diet. My reasons for this are personal, and I'm trying very hard to not feel guilty about it.  Different eating styles work for different people, and this is what is working for me now.  I hope that all of my vegan readers are understanding of this.

I gained 40 or so pounds quite quickly between May and June.  I tried to get back into Weight Watchers and My Fitness Pal or any other tracking system, and have pretty much decided that they are not for me anymore.  At least, not for now.

So, if we go by the original reasons for the title (vegan eating and Weight Watchers), the name no longer applies.

But, I have new reasons for keeping the name.

One is that I'm working very hard to be KIND to myself in all areas of my life.  I'm trying to give myself a break, not beat myself up for not being the same person that I was before May 27, to not be too hard on myself for being obese again, and recently I'm trying to be kind to myself by introducing healthy foods back into my daily diet.

I don't look like this anymore, and that's okay.

I'm NOT watching my weight anymore.  I've decided to go by measurements, progress pictures, and how my clothes fit.  These are more important to me than the number on the scale, which can be confusing and mean (in my opinion).  So I've put the scale away again.

But, (and this may be a stretch), I am watching my emotional baggage, which could also be called emotional weight.  I see a counselor weekly, check in with family in friends regularly, and try to take time every day to make sure that I am doing okay.

what I look like now - and that's okay

So that's why the name is still the same.  The name of my blog now has nothing to do with food, eating, or weight.  It's about self-love.  My being kind to myself and watching my "emotional weight".

In case anyone was wondering.  :-)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

30DoB - D12 - How day 1 of no-TV eating went

It was very odd to not eat while watching TV.  I did notice that my hunger levels were actually down throughout the day.  I don't know if that was only because of the new rule, or what.

Also, at every meal, there was FOOD LEFT BEHIND on my plate.  Say what?!?!!??!?!

Yes.  Food.  Left behind.  On my plate.  It's true.

I didn't make the healthiest decisions, food-wise, but I was able to truly listen to my hunger signals, so I think that if I had tracked yesterday it would have been an acceptable amount of food to lose weight. 

All in all, I think that this was a successful first day

Today is day two.  I haven't eaten breakfast yet, but I am thinking about oatmeal.  The TV will have to go off when I sit down to eat.

I can really see how eating without the TV on will help me in many ways.  Since I'm so fond of lists, here are the good things that I see coming out of this:
1) I will be able to better listen to my hunger signals.
2) I will not overeat on junk food, because for me, it's only "fun" to do so while watching TV.  Yesterday, when I sat down to eat a junk food snack without the TV, I didn't enjoy it as much, and definitely didn't overeat.  I was able to stick to ONE serving. 
3) Cooking may start happening again, because it is more enjoyable to sit down and enjoy a home-cooked meal than it is to eat something convenient and quick.  When I really focus on the flavor of a lean cuisine, for example, I find that it's really not that great.
4) I can still eat ANYTHING that I want to.  Just no TV.  So, I will finally figure out what foods I actually like.  I figure anything that I can enjoy without mindless TV eating is a food that I love.

I'm sure that I will find more good things later.  For now, I'm still on a roll for day 2.

Stacey is 100% supportive of this, which is amazing!  I thought that it would bother him to turn the TV off while I ate on the weekends, but he is completely fine with it.  We actually sat down and ate together and conversed a bit while we ate last night, instead of our usual eating while watching a movie.  We still ate, and watched a movie, just not at the same time.  It was fine.

I really do miss TV eating, and every time I get hungry, I'm a little sad that I can't eat while watching TV anymore.  But I think that it's like anything else:  I will have to get used to it.  Plus the benefits will outweigh this slight discomfort.

I'm off to the gym later to run 3.1 miles and see where I'm at in my 5K training...  More about that adventure tomorrow.  :-)