Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The pot of gold at the end of the road

When I was overweight, I had the tendency to blame all my problems on my weight.

  • "I don't have many friends because I'm overweight"
  • "I didn't get the job/promotion because I'm overweight"

I imagined what life would be like if I was a "normal" weight.

  • "I would be so popular and outgoing" 
  • "I would wear a bikini on the beach"
  • "I'd be as fashionable as a Hollywood celebrity if I could shop in regular stores"
  • "I'd be so happy"

As I neared my weight loss goal, I kept waiting to magically reach the pot of goal at the finish line, but t he things I'd imagined didn't automatically come true. Even though I had reached a "normal" weight, I was still the same person emotionally. The weight loss was simply a physical change.

None of this clicked, until I read this passage in a book, This is How, that I randomly happened to pick up from Target:

" Often the pursuit of being thin lasts a lifetime and the goal is never reached.

For these people, thin isn't really about being slender.

Thin is about being more beautiful than you are. Thin is coming from a wealthy family. Thin is a bigger chest. Thin is a smaller nose. Thin is more followers on Twitter. Thin is a more popular channel on YouTube. Thin is more friends on Facebook. Thin is famous. Thin is a perfect score on the SAT. Thin is your first choice college. Thin is an iPhone not a rip-off. Thin is a better singing voice. Thin is being from somewhere better. Thin is being respected. Thin is loving yourself...

Because your actual desire is only dressed up in the costume of thin."  

It's amazing how one passage in a book can completely transform your way of thinking, and understanding yourself. 

I had this type of idealized notion of what life would be like at a "normal" weight. I came to realize that as it turns out, I'm still the same person. I've changed physically, but it's still me. I still have the exact same personality, fears, and thoughts. And I still have the same challenges in life, fat or "normal". 

I was chasing this idealized vision of thin for most of my weight loss. It was going to be so great. Life changing. In reality though, nearing my goal was a little disappointing. There are no parties at the finish line. There are no pots of gold or magical transformations. I've heard from others that this type of feeling is common for people who lose a significant amount of weight. 

And then there is also the disappointment of having excess skin. I do not look like a model, I do not look like a celebrity, I do not look like a "normal" person (in a bikini at least).

Now that I'm aware of this disconnect between what I thought weight loss would mean and what it actually is, I'm working on resetting my expectations and priorities. I'm trying to define meaningful new goals and find new sources of motivation. 

Making the mental shift from a goal like losing 2lbs this week or reaching 135lbs on the scale, to a goal like running a faster 5k or getting a new snatch PR , is proving to be a lot harder of a mental shift than one would think.

I enjoy pushing myself, and doing all kinds of workouts (personal training, running, racing, Crossfit, yoga, spinning, bootcamps, etc.) but deep down I know that I still exercise for the sole reason of losing weight. This leads to quantity over quality of my workouts. I lack focus and the ability to follow a training plan.

I want to exercise to reach specific fitness goals, like an athlete does. I want to make a goal and follow a plan to get there. I want to be more proud of myself for lifting 20lbs more than for reaching the 130s on the scale. I'm not quite there yet though.

I should get rid of the scale. I know this. But I am not ready to part with it yet. It is my security blanket. 

The thing I think is going to help me make this mental shift is the Crossfit Opens. No one cares what you weigh. They care what you can do. But if the open workouts help me lose the last 5lbs, I'm not going to lie, I'd be seriously happy.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Goals for the week

So how did I do last week? Pretty poorly. I was going to recap why, but it doesn't matter. Last week is in the books. I get a fresh start this week. The whole secret to weight loss is learning how to get yourself back on track after a rough day or a rough week.

Moving forward -

Ed went grocery shopping while I worked today. I'm loaded up on lots of fresh fruit and hard boiled eggs for breakfast. Salad, turkey, apples and walnuts for lunch. Peppers and guacamole for afternoon snacks, and ground turkey for dinner. I won't eat the same thing every day, but that is my meal structure for the week.

This is not all of our food, pictured above. We usually shop a few times a week.

I'm going to focus on my workouts this week, since I'm not leaving town!

Monday - run 400m x 6, personal training in the morning. Crossfit at night.
Tuesday - Crossfit at night
Wednesday -  Crossfit at night
Thursday - run 1 mile x 3 in the morning. Yoga at night.
Friday - Crossfit at night
Saturday - Crossfit

Oh, and my big news? I signed up for the Crossfit opens. One competitive workout for five weeks. While I haven't put enough time into Crossfit to be truly competitive or even prepared, I know that the competition aspect will help me push harder and give me something to be passionate about.

What are your goals for the week?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

"It's Impossible to..."

"It's impossible to eat healthy while on the road."

True or False? Fact or Fiction? Reality or Excuse?

I had another business trip this week. It was only a 2 day trip with one client meeting. Much easier than last week's 4 day trip with 7 client meetings. My coworker and I were flying from Boston to Memphis. Right at my gate was a Legal Seafood. I ordered grilled haddock and broccoli to go.

Great move for the diet, but little did I know, our plane was a small regional jet. It was actually the broccoli that smelled more, but I'm pretty sure I got some looks of disgust from other passengers for smelling up the plane. At least I fit in the seat. 

I used to use the entire seat belt. Physically, I hardly even remember what being this big feels like. I will never forget what it feels like emotionally.

I love taking off and seeing Boston, with the deep blue ocean surrounding it. It reminds me of how, in just a month or two, we will be able to take long walks on the beach with Jaxson and Mario.


We landed and it was dark in Memphis. Surprisingly, it was just as cold as in Boston. We took a shuttle to our hotel, and ordered salads for dinner from the hotel bistro. A completely healthy day of eating while on the road.

The next morning, I attempted a short workout in the hotel gym. I ran some intervals (1 minute on 1 minute off) for about 12 minutes. Then I made up a circuit. The only dumbbells they had were 15lbs, which is very light for me for a chest press, so I did 3 sets of 40 reps combined with 12 tricep dips in each set. I ended with 48 jumping lunges. At least it was something. Always better than nothing.

We ordered the scrambled egg breakfast "with no bacon, no home fries, and not toast". The waitress exclaimed "so, basically, $10 for nothin'?!"


Our client meeting went very well. Each time I present in front of executives, my confidence increases. I am really actually starting to feel comfortable. I'm glad my job constantly gives me the opportunity to develop and grow in so many areas.

Back at the airport, we found a Moe's Southwest Grill for lunch. I ordered a steak and chicken bowl with veggies and lots of pico di gallo and guacamole. I was so hungry, I did not stop to take a picture of it. Disclaimer: I am not a food blogger.

And then, things took a turn for the worse. It was announced that our US Airways flight had a mechanical which would result in an 30 minute delay. Then it was and hour. Then it was "we will give you an update when we know more". Then it was "if you have connecting flight come see us". We ended up being delayed enough that we would miss the last connecting flight back to Boston out of DCA. 

Our company got us re-booked on Delta. As we were about board, they announced that plane had a mechanical. And before we knew it, we missed the last connecting flight back to Boston out of Atlanta. Eventually we did fly to Atlanta that night, landing at about 10:30pm.

A Delta agent gave us a voucher for a night's stay at what she described as the "fancy Best Western" as well as a $6 meal voucher for dinner. In total we spent 8 hours at the Memphis airport! We were spent. Tired, hungry, and at least I know I was very cranky as well. I told my coworker "Don't worry. We will make this right."

We found a bar and I promptly announced to the bartender that I wanted a very fruity martini after the day I had had. He delivered. He muddled real strawberries with some triple sec and 2 oz. of vodka and of course sugar! He also sugared the rim. It was a work of art - the perfect pink color and tasted amazing. I wish I could have taken a picture, but both of our phones were completely dead at this point.

The bar closed, and now we were even hungrier. Which is how we decided on Burger King. I had a Whopper and small fries. Please note that prior to this, the last time I had Burger King was over 3 years ago. It was good, but not that good. Please also note that the $6 Delta voucher did not cover my $8 Whopper. Cheap-azz-b!tches.

We finally made it to the fancy Best Western, where I only got an hour and a half of sleep to due a combination of train whistles, airplanes taking off, thunder, and my room being right off of the main lobby. It was safe to say that my eating the next day was out of control, and not paleo, because I was so tired. Being tired is always a trigger for me in terms of eating poorly or eating too much.

So, can you eat healthy while on the road? 

Yes, you can, most of the time. My philosophy is that you should when you can, because you don't know when you won't be able to or won't want to. 

When you get to the terminal, survey your options, and don't go with your nose (freshly baked bread and Cinnabuns always smell the best). Ask yourself, which restaurant is going to have the best protein options? Then get some healthy sides of fruit or vegetables. For snacks from the newsstand, raw nuts work the best. Just make sure to read the label and that there are no oils like sunflower seed oil or cottonseed oil added (read more here in this article from Mark's Daily Apple: Healthy Oils).

When traveling, sometimes things will happen that are out of your control, and you will splurge, just make sure to enjoy it and realize it's part of the 80/20 deal. Our evening in the Atlanta airport turned out to be quiet fun and memorable. 

And I leave you with a picture of Jaxson at doggy daycare. I love that his daycare constantly posts pictures on facebook so I can see what he is up during the day. Jaxson gets the concept of "balance" and not stressing out too much. Here he is taking some deep breaths and just smelling the air.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Goals for the week

This is a tough one because I'm not sure what my long term fitness goals are. For so long I have focused on losing weight - working out as hard as I can while eating a little as possible (while still being healthy obviously). But increasing strength and endurance while eating less is not sustainable long term. So what are my goals? Weight loss? Long distance running? Gaining Strength? Crossfit Open? I don't yet have an answer. Sometimes, I wait until the question answers itself.

There are 3 more weeks of the Paleo challenge at Crossfit. I'm very tempted to give up, since I've been less than perfect. However, 3 weeks is still enough time to meet my final weight goal. Since I'm still recovering from the flu, so I am going to focus on my eating this week, above my workouts.

Tonight - prepare for the week by boiling eggs for breakfast, and cooking meat, pack for business trip

Tomorrow - Crossfit at night

High Bar Back Squat
3 – 3 – 3 – 3 – 3
For Time
500 M Row
50 Burpees
500 M Row

Wednesday - Run 400m x 6 and personal training in morning, Go to Wholefoods on way to airport, Crossfit Memphis at night

Thursday - business meeting and flying home, will have to be a rest day

Friday -  Run 800m x 3 and personal training in morning

Saturday - Crossfit

A summary of the week

Goal wise, it was a rough week. Traveling is always hard. I had a four day work trip, which involved switching hotels every night. I started out in Chicago and then flew to Minneapolis. It was even colder in Minneapolis than Boston, by far.


We had to have 8 client presentations ready in one week, but thankfully I have some great coworkers and a whole team was involved in making this happen. Despite my best intentions, I only got one workout in on the road. It was only 30 minutes, but it was enough to get nice and sweaty. I ran 400 x 6. My highest speeds were between 7.5 and 8mph.

On Thursday night, Valentines Day, my coworkers went out to dinner in downtown Minneapolis. It was a nice restuarant, and watching them drink wine proved to be too much, and I had to join in. I didn't even care about the points off in my competition. After all the stress, client presentations, and traveling, chilling with a glass (or 3) or wine was well deserved. However, I then repeated the wine drinking on Friday night. When Ed picked me up at the airport we went out to a late Valentine's day dinner. One slip up often leads to another...and another. After dinner, we headed to Walgreen's for 50% off Valentine's Day chocolate. Sometimes it's better just to celebrate the holiday with the "pretty" candy and then move on.

On Saturday, we went to Crossfit. It was 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 reps of hang snatches and burpee pull-ups. I used 45#s for the snatches and finished in 22:22. After Crossfit we took the dogs for a walk around Castle Island. Jaxson thought the birds looked extra delicious.

On Saturday night we went out with my sister to a restuarant I had been wanting to try. We got dressed up, which was fun, but the restaurant was a total let down. It was very small inside and the atmosphere was cold. The waiter said our order got "lost" and it took the food an hour to arrive.


And then I woke up on Sunday morning and threw up 3 times. I couldn't even keep water down. I slept all day, and never got out of bed. It was either food poisoning or norovirus round 2 (I just had it 2 weeks ago). Today I feel better, but am stilling drinking Gatorade and Ginger Ale. That makes 4 vacation days lately when I have had the flu. Big bummer.

So my eating has been all over the place, and I have missed a lot of workouts this week. I'm just focused on getting better, and then I'll be back at it.