Living in the nineties…

I joked to Colin last month that I’m going to be eating like I’m living in the 90’s again but it’s true. I was vegetarian back then and, when I went out, often my only choice on the menu was a grilled cheese sandwich and fries, which isn’t exactly vegan friendly. The vegan option then was a salad. There were no Beyond Meat burgers, Ben and Jerry’s almond ice cream, Haagen Daz almond ice cream bars, or vegan cupcakes.

The grocery store across the street dropped the price of a  three pack of Haagen Daz chocolate peanut butter bars down to $4.99. Tell me that isn’t tempting. It’s far too tempting for me. They taste so good and I can easily down three of them over the course of an evening.

So now I’m eating more lentils, fruits, and vegetables and making sure I get out for a walk every single day. I have a once in a lifetime vacation in March and I want to make sure I can fit my summer clothes.

One thing I’ve done is started a weight loss scrapbook, not to print, just for inspiration. I make a page every couple of days and scroll through when I need encouragement.

blog page

Four of my layouts

So far the scrapbook has been a huge help. I have a tendency to look back and picture myself screwing up. Now I can go back and see that wasn’t the case, I’d done just fine.

Winter is coming early this year and it’s cold, yucky, and wet. I won’t be able to walk my favourite Cedar Valley trail for much longer and today’s walk was simply to drop off Colin’s ADHD medication at the drug store and stop in at Value Village so Colin could see if there was something exciting there. It was a miserable walk, windy and alternating between icy rain and snow, but we did get out of the apartment. I even found two tank tops that I love…

tank tops for Dominican Republic

The one on the left has silver glitter and the one on the right shimmers in gold, burgundy, and purple. They’re both light weight and will be absolutely perfect.

Now, since I didn’t get much of a walk outside today, I’m heading downstairs to the treadmill for a half hour of just me and my music.

It’s my life and I’m going to live it to my fullest!

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Weight…

Every night at dinner time my Mom would fill our plates then pull out her little white scale. Then she would carefully weigh each portion of her dinner before sitting with us.

“I’m fat,” she’d say in explanation. “I need to lose weight.”

Every Friday we would go to the local mall. My Dad would take us for an ice cream cone while my Mom wandered around the mall until we were done.

“Why won’t you have an ice cream cone?” I asked.

“Because I’m trying to lose weight,” she replied. “Besides, I have a treat waiting for me at home.”

The treat was frozen green grapes, which didn’t sound like much of a treat to me but adults could be weird sometimes.

I had losing weight pegged as an adult thing, right up until one summer when my neighbour complimented me on my looks. I felt a little uncomfortable because he was the parent of one of my classmates and I wondered why he’d commented now.

“You’ve lost a bit of weight,” my Mom pointed out. I’d been homesick and barely ate anything that vacation. “If you lost just 10 more pounds you’d be perfect”.

I’m not digging out any pictures but I weighed 125lbs at the time and was nowhere near fat. But teenage me knew what to do, at least I thought I did. I knew counting calories was a part of losing weight so I started looking at boxes and containers. A packet of Bovril soup stock was 13 calories. Was that normal? Too much? I had no idea. I made it anyway and drank it down with some water. Then I went to the garage and got my bike. Exercise was important too. And so I biked farther than I’d gone in a while; uphill and down, all the way to the local conservation area. I loved going there  but I was much too weak and dizzy to go in. Luckily I managed to get back home. Where my Mom lovingly berated me for eating too little and made me eat a real bowl of soup and a sandwich.

And that was how my weight loss journey began, later than my Mom’s journey which started in primary school.

Even now I know I have a bad relationship with diets. The moment I start one I become terrified of food and their calories. Is it too much? Not enough? What if I screw up? Then I snap and eat half a carton of ice cream or a row of homemade cookies.

Back in September I decided to start walking at least 10,000 steps a day and I’ve been sticking to it. So far I’ve lost 31lbs. My pants are pooling around my heels and my shirts are looser. I am not dieting though, that’s just not a good choice for me.

One thing I did when the kids were growing up is tell them they were pretty, strong, and brave… never thin. And I never talked about being fat, I was trying to get healthier. So far it seems to have worked. Hopefully the dieting cycle has been broken in our family.

We need to stop criticizing ourselves in front of our children. They are little sponges, absorbing everything. And we need to stop criticizing them. It’s normal for preteen girls to put on a little weight, they’re growing rapidly and need that weight as fuel. Yet I had other parents tell me I should put Kait on a diet and take away her baby carrots (one of her favourite treats) because they were full of sugar. She was perfectly normal and thinned out the farther she got into puberty. She’s perfectly normal now too.

And we need to stop linking weight with health. There are plenty of thin unhealthy people and fat healthy people. As soon as you correlate fat with unhealthy you start seeing fat as the problem and stop looking for the real issue. You can’t diet yourself out of Crohns or stomach cancer. As the saying goes, if you see every problem as a nail, soon you’ll see every solution as a hammer.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my Mom not to worry so much about losing weight, she looked fine the way she was. That one ice cream cone a week was okay. To pick out an activity she liked and get moving (the bonus being a child free evening).

You only get one life to live, make life count instead of counting calories.

On food babies and brownies…

My jeans are a bit too tight. They’re uncomfortable to sit in and roll a bit at the waist. The same with my underwear and my smaller pair of shorts. My larger pair was already too big.

I weighed myself last year on this day and weighed 168 pounds. Today I weigh 194. A lot has happened this year and my weight reflects it. Severe depression and anxiety, a relationship with my best friend (after 15 years of being single) and the subsequent breakdown of said relationship, plus suicidal thoughts severe enough to be involuntarily admitted. I’m a comfort eater and my stomach reflects that. If I had a food baby, her name would be Double Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies. I have that recipe memorized.

Anxiety makes dieting tricky. It should be easy, just measure and write what I’m eating. I even have a Fitbit so I can track the food on my phone. Two minutes and my meal’s all tracked and calculated. Unfortunately I obsess over diets and the Fitbit tracker fluctuates easily between under calories, “in the zone”, and over calories.

I’d picked up an apple, it looked so good and I was hungry… plus I showed as under calories. The needle swung into over calories as soon as I selected “apple” for an evening snack. And then the panic started. I was so fat, I’d never lose weight. I was horrible at dieting… horrible at everything. How could I do this to myself? I needed to find something with less calories. Fat! Fat! Fat!

Then I looked back at the apple. It was healthy, damn it, and only 90 calories. Why was I panicking over an apple?!? And it wasn’t just the apple. I was panicking over licking a smear of peanut butter off my finger… an extra bit of broth in my soup… a couple of pieces of Jeremy’s popcorn. I can’t live like that. Suicidal and “I can’t live like that” are a deadly combination. I don’t go into that part of Fitbit any more.

What I’m doing is bumping up my fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of water, and walking. I’m dragging Jeremy along with me, although dragging is relative. Zie found a game called Ingress and decided to try it out. The best part is it involves getting out and walking to various portals all over our neighbourhood. The bad part is we have no idea what we’re doing.

“Aren’t you going to help me fight?” Jeremy said impatiently.

I looked over in surprise. We were standing beside a nearby apartment building, in front of a straggly garden. I’d been updating my Fitbit while zie jabbed at zir phone. I thought zie was looking something up.

“I didn’t know you were fighting,” I pointed out. “So, umm, what are we fighting and how do I fight?”

“We’re fighting the portal,” zie replied. “You push the fight button repeatedly.”

“So this is a weapon?” I pointed to an item on the screen. Luckily I had a lot of them.

“Yes… I think…”

Numbers rose up on the screen while my inventory went down. I threw two things that were probably weapons and something happened.

“Start hacking the portal while I fight,” Jeremy snapped. Zie was focused on zir screen, finger pounding the fight button.

The portal said it was unstable. Colours swirled around it. Then Jeremy ran out of weapons too.

“I don’t think we did anything,” zie said dejectedly.

“Do you want to try Pokemon Go?” I asked and zie nodded.

“I’ll have to trick Google Play into thinking we’re in Australia…” zie mused.

I don’t really want to know what zie’s doing to get us to appear down under, although I am proud of zir. Zie could download the game for free illegally but wants to pay for it. The downside will be trying to explain to MasterCard that, yes, we did make a purchase in Melbourne. I wonder if the agent will believe it was a day trip.

Technology is bringing Jeremy out of the apartment and giving me a walking partner. And hopefully Pokemon Go will be easier to figure out. Jeremy needs the exercise just as much as I do.

One thing I have to stop doing is making brownies. I have tried but don’t manage portion control with them. Unless you count a pan as one portion and then I’m doing amazing. Those brownies need to be a special occasion treat, not an “it’s Wednesday and I have chocolate chips in the cupboard and a free half hour”. My food baby is rapidly turning into twins.

Yesterday I walked to group therapy, went shopping with Jeremy (walking from one side of Super Walmart is a good number of steps), then went hunting for portals after dinner. This racked up a serious number of steps. Today I’m going to hit our downstairs gym and go hunting for Pokemon with Jeremy in the evening. I’ll leave tomorrow for when it gets here.

exercise