The Number Means Nothing

scale

During stressful times, like a break-up, some people lose weight.  Not me.  I gain.

In 2007 after my ex-douchebag-boyfriend got another girl pregnant behind my back, I fell into a spiral of drinking way too much, smoking way too much and working out not at all.  Ultimately, it was this break-up that was the catalyst for getting into running and triathlon.  It had been a few years since I had been to the gym; my work-outs consisted mostly of out-drinking my friends and eating as much as I wanted.  I was always athletic and had a high metabolism so even though I ate, drank and didn’t work out, I also rarely gained weight.  Until this time.  During the course of my unhealthy relationship and the subsequent break-up, I had put on quite a few pounds.

Fast forward to last year.

I once again put on weight during the over-the-top-drawn-out-for-too-long-dramatic breakup with R2.  The difference between 2007 and 2012 is that although I had let myself go between the broken foot and broken heart, was that I luckily had not lost all my fitness.  Oddly enough, when I decided to get my butt back in gear this past December, I weighed the same amount as I did when I started my journey in 2007.   The same exact weight.

compare

                                                                                           2007                                                                      2012

Although I hate both of these photos, I posted so you can see how in both of these photos that I am heavier, but it is also noticeable that even just looking at my face, that I look fitter in 2012.  The scale read the same number but you can easily see how different I looked.  And that is just judging on my face.  (Trust me, it was hard enough to post these photos…no full body shots!)

Now, I am going to post a photo of me currently.  I have been working my tail off since December to get back in shape.  I have been on a nutrition plan and in addition to running and swimming, I have been taking barre and ballet classes.  I knew that I wanted to lose weight and get fit before Mexico, so I really buckled down.

thin

In this photo, taken only a few weeks ago, I am only six pounds less than in both of those photos above.

All my hard work and I have lost only six pounds.  But look at the difference in my face. (I really tried to pick three photos with the same head tilt.)  I am clearly more fit in this current photo.  And that is great, but the biggest difference of all?  In the two photos above,  I was not happy.  In the recent photo, I am.   That is a happy girl.  I am two sizes smaller than 2007 and a size smaller than just 3 months ago.  So while the number on the scale doesn’t reflect necessarily where I want to be weight wise, I know the number doesn’t matter.  When I look in the mirror, I see muscle.  I see toned abs.  I see a body that is being worked hard for.  I see confidence.  I see all the things a scale cannot show me.

scale

More important than all the superficial aspects, is that the scale does not measure my health.  The number tells me little to nothing about what is going on with my relationship with food or my digestive health.  The scale is also no indication of my recovery from activity, my stress level or my sleeping patterns.  If I don’t get enough sleep, it is not reflected on the scale but rather, I know by the way I feel.  These are the factors that impact my health far more directly than my body weight.   Individual weight is personalized and unique.  There is not a one sized fits all number that people should weigh.

With all that said, I will admit, I still weigh myself.  Currently, once a week and only on my own scale.  I do not weigh myself on any other scale, ever.  At the doctor, I get weighed backward.  By weighing only on my own scale, I do not have to question or obsess.  My scale is consistent to what I know my weight to be.  And sometimes, the number does frustrate me.  I am still a work in progress.  There will be confident days and not confident days.  Of course, there will be days I look at myself and say “you go girl!” and days where I think “what am I doing wrong?” but it will be based on how I feel when I look in the mirror, not based on how I feel when I step on the scale.  I will not let the number on the scale determine whether I have a good day or  bad day.  I will continue to weigh myself as a way to monitor my weight in general.  Not as a way to determine my worth.

Do you weigh yourself? 

Do you hyper-focus on the number or are you able to see past it?

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Monday Brain Exchange Week 20- Stay Fit Through Holidays

Links from week 18- Kandi, KitzzyKim and Whitney

Links from week 19- Darlene, Kitzzy and Kandi

*If you are playing, and I am not linking you, please let me know!

Every Monday, at the end of the current weeks M.B.E answer, I will post a question for the following week.  This way you can cue your post for Monday if you wish.  If Monday doesn’t work for you, you can still play along any day of the week that works best. If you want to play along, all you have to do is post the question and your answer on your own blog.  Link your post to my blog so that I know you have participated, and in the following weeks post, I will link all the participant blogs from the prior week.

This Weeks Topic: Staying fit and healthy during the holidays

This Weeks Question: How do you manage diet and exercise during the holidays?

It’s no secret that November and December are tough months; it is hard to get outside and workout (at least for us NorthEast folk!) and even harder to resist all the amazing food.  And everyone knows that the only way to truly stay fit is to eat less and workout more.  so how do I get around the holidays?  Truth?  I don’t stress out about it!

Look, I am not suggesting anyone go ape-shit crazy over holiday foods.  A month of eating nothing but crap will hurt in more ways that just around the waist.  So don’t go stuffing your face and blaming onelittletrigirl.  However…it is also best not to come to me for advice on how to keep away from holiday treats because my advice is, and always will be, don’t deprive yourself!  This is a time of celebration and food/drink is a part of that celebrating.  No reason for you to sit in a corner eating carrot sticks.

Here are a few of my tips for enjoying the holidays without going overboard:

  1. Moderation is KEY!  I like to have a little of everything I want to try, rather than too much of one or two things.  This way, I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything and I feel satisfied.  Additionally, I try to eat the healthy foods first, so that by the time I get to the goodies, my stomach is already somewhat full.
  2. Be a social butterfly.  The more you move around a room and spend time with others, the less time you will spend at the food table.  I find that if I am in a coversation with someone, I am less likely to be shoving my face with food.
  3. Eat before you eat.  You’re thinking: Say what huh???  But really…it works; before attending any event where I know there will be a lot of food out, I eat something small at home.  This way, I am not tempted to eat everything in sight.  Do not attempt to “save calories” by not eating all day…all this will do is result in you eating twice as much as your normally would eat.
  4. Choose alcohol wisely.  A mixed drink is great if you plan to have only one…but more than one and you have just tacked on 300+ calories to your night!  For the record, an ounce of sour mix is 27 calories- AN OUNCE!  I recommend wine or a light beer if you plan on throwing a few back.  Not into wines and beers?  Try a spritzer or  use a low-calories mixer with your drink.  For example, I use a low calorie cranberry juice for my cosmo’s making them very fit-friendly 🙂 
  5. Forgive yourself 🙂  Did you eat more than you planned?  Feeling guilty?  Don’t!  Acknowledge that it happened, figure out where you went wrong and work out a plan for the next time. 

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Next Weeks Topic:  Alternative Activities

Next Weeks Question:  What activities do you enjoy outside of swim/bike/running?  Are you a winter sports person or summer sports person?  Do you enjoy team or individual sports?  Do you participate in more alternative activities during the off-season?

What A Fraud!

(UGHHHHH!!! I just wrote a long, detailed post, and (how, I don’t even know..) it deleted.  It is gone!  Poof. UGH!!!   There is no way I could recreate my post, nor do I even want to at this point.  So what you are getting is a much more condensed version (perhaps that is a good thing) of what I origionally set out to write.)

I watched The Biggest Loser for many seasons; I understand the inspiration part…I really do, and I like seeing the transformation.  And I think it is great that people change their lives through hard work.   However, I also think it gives the public a disturbed view of weight loss.  Much of what they do is unhealthy and unrealistic.  And it is pretty much one big commercial for their endorsement deals.  And don’t even get me started on the marathon bs they pull (if you want to read about that, go here for a good post). 

But this is not about the Biggest Loser.  It is about their trainer, Jillian Michaels.  Jillian constantly preaches about “there not being a magic pill” but low and behold….whatta ya know…Jillian Michaels has a line of calorie control, fat burner and weight loss pills. 

 

I am confused.   I thought Jillian promoted 100% natural way to weight loss.  I thought Jillian believed in doing it 100% on your own.  I guess when you are making bank on endorsements, you change your song and dance.  Sounds like a sell-out to me…

(I found a high volume of articles that advise against taking any of her pills and also found a bunch of articles in reference to law suits being filed on her by people who have had problems with the pills, but I didnt want to clog up my post with links.  If you are interested, simply google Jillian Michaels pills.)

What are your thoughts on a certified trainer (especially one that people look up to nationally) promoting diet pills?  What are your thoughts on BL, Jillian Michaels and diet pills in general?

Let’s Call A Spade A Spade

O.M.G. Taco Bell is marketing a “drive thru” diet??

Please hold on while I throw up.

Those of you who read my blog (whether you eat fast food or not) are probably just as disturbed by this “diet”.  And anyone who is serious about nutrition already knows better than to take their diet advice from a fast food chain.   The problem is that the people who need to read this probably won’t…and the people who need this information most are people who probably aren’t serious about nutrition.  And with obesity climbing at an alarming height in America, this is scary.

There are so many things wrong with this, it is hard to know where to begin.  Here are the four biggest gripes I have with Taco Bell promoting anything as a diet:

  • Results not typical- The girl on the commercial says “Results are not typical but for me they worked.”  By not typical she means they won’t work for you.  And by you, I mean everyone.
  • The small print- If  you have super fast reading eyes you can catch their disclaimer on the commercial but you can also look on the Taco Bell website where it reads: “The Drive-Thru Diet is not a weight-loss program.  The Fresco menu can help people reduce their calories, but it is not a low-calorie food. (You don’t say!) For a healthier lifestyle, pay attention to total calorie and fat intake and regular excercise”  Now THAT’S the spirit Taco Bell!
  • Nutritional Value- They do not give you the nutritional value.  They are promoting their Fresco “healthy choices” but won’t list their nutritional value.  Um, lil fishy dontchathink??
  • Drive-Thru Oxymoron- In addition to calling fast-food a diet, they suggest the drive through (as opposed to, I don’t know…say, walking into).  I suppose this is the excersise program that goes with the diet.

When questioned about the validity of the “Drive-Thru Diet”, Tom Wagner, the VP of Taco Bell’s Consumer Insight had this to say: “We mean ‘Drive-Thru-Diet’ to be a noun, not a verb. It’s not intended to be marketed as a weight-loss program.”  So you call it a diet but don’t intend for it to be marketed as a weight-loss program.  Ah, semantics.

So basically, the drive through diet is not a diet at all. This is just the corporate world playing off of people’s fears about their weight; promoting  products as ‘healthy’ when in reality, they’re anything but.  I made a choice long before I even got into fitness and nutrition to not eat fast food.  I do not like how it makes me feel.  And I would not recommend it to anyone.  But if you have a fast food meal every once in a while, and for the most part make healthy choices, you’ll be fine.  It doesn’t have to be black and white.   Just don’t kid yourself that you can eat this stuff regularly and your overall health won’t suffer.

What do you consider “fast food” and do you eat it?

2010 Goals- Nutrition

Before I begin there are three things you need to know:

  1. I love food.  All food.  And I refuse to deprive myself.  Even on weight watchers I always managed to enjoy my food and treat myself to the things I love most.
  2. I love to eat.  A lot.  I eat for all occasions…happy, sad, stressed, calm…I just like to eat.
  3. Since starting Weight Watchers a little over two years ago, I have come a long way.  But lately, I have been majorly slacking.  I see myself falling into the same habits that got me to Weight Watchers in the first place.  By no means do I think I am fat (at all- and it disturbs me when girls who aren’t at all fat, call themselves fat), but I have put on some weight over the last two months and I know how fast it can spiral.  It took a lot more hard work to lose the 25 lbs than it did to put them on.  This time, I am looking to stop the problem before it starts.  I don’t ever want to be back at a place where I cannot stand to look at myself.  I never want to be out of control again.  But in all honesty…that is where I see myself headed.  Luckily, because I have been down this road, I know I can do this…I know I have what it takes.

Nutrition Goals for 2010-

  • Be more consistent 1- One of the best things about Weight Watchers is that it taught me to eat small meals throughout the day.  I would eat breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, dinner and a snack.  I was never hungry and I ate a whole heck of a lot better.  In the last few months I have been struggling financially and therefore eating poorly.  Either I don’t eat at all or I eat a big meal to carry me through two meals.  This is perhaps the worst habit I have as far as eating goes and it must change.
  • Be more consistent 2- In addition to being off on the timing of my meals, I have also been off in there value.  Again, this has a lot to do with finances.  I haven’t been able to afford the foods I should be eating and therefore I eat much of my food where I work.  Employees get a school lunch for only $2.  It isn’t the worst food, nutritionally they are okay, and I think is is okay to have them once in a while but they aren’t cutting it for me on the daily.  And all too often I find myself eating pasta for dinner because it is cheap and lasts me more than one meal.  I have to be more aware of what I am eating throughout the day, regardless of my finances.
  • Budget for food- This is hopefully the solution I need for consistency.   I often skip food shopping because I don’t have money and then I just make do with what I have.  This year, I am going to better budget my money so I always have what I need to cook healthy meals in the house.
  • No more soda- In the past I have given up soda for years at a time.  It never bothered me.  Then one day, I started drinking Diet Coke at lunch. Eventually it was lunch and dinner and before I knew it I was buying it and keeping it in the house.  Suddenly I found myself drinking a lot of Diet Coke’s throughout the day/night.  Soda is no good.  As of Jan 1, 2010, soda is out.
  • Skip the scale- I do not keep track of my exact weight.  I stopped using a scale over a year ago and only get weighed at the doctor.  I try to concentrate more on how I feel than the number on the scale but it is difficult.  Starting in 2010, when the doctor weighs me, I do not want to know the number.  I am simply going to stand backwards on the scale and request they not tell me.  All it does it make me focus on the negative.  I can judge on my own simply by the clothes I wear and how I feel.  I do not need a number to define me.
  • Go back to the basics- This is quite simple…less fat, less calories, less sugar…and more of the good stuff.  Specifically more fruits and veggies.  Less whites and more whole grains.  More small meals and less huge meals.  More water.  Less bad and more good!

The new year is a good time for resolutions, but this is more than that…this is getting my life back on track.  I did so well for so long and in the recent months I really fell off the food wagon.  And it is time to get back on!!!

What are some of your 2010 nutrition goals?

Breakfast for Dinner

All day I couldn’t decide what I wanted for dinner.  I wasn’t really in the mood for anything and couldn’t decide on a complete meal.  I didn’t even want any of my usual default meals.  To add to the frustration, I wanted something quick because I didn’t get home from the gym until late and after a bike/swim and strength session, I was starving!  Finally, when I exhausted all dinner ideas,  I decided on breakfast instead.  I LOVE breakfast for dinner!  And even better than breakfast for dinner is dessert for dinner.  Given that I was eating later than usual, I made an executive decision and I turned my meal into a dinner/dessert.  This was the best idea I had all day!  The bonus is that the meal was super healthy 🙂   

Have I kept you in suspense long enough?

Tonights Dinner/Breakfast/Dessert:  Two Vans Flax waffles with one scoop of vanilla ice cream, topped with a 1/2 cup strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream.

Best. Dinner. Ever.

Do you ever have breakfast for dinner?  What is your favorite breakfast for dinner meal?

Food for Thought

This weeks TiaRT theme is:  Runners version of Eat This Not That…..what foods you have cut out or reduced? And even better, tell us what “good” foods you substitute for the “bad” ones.

There are two things you need to know before reading this post:

  1. I love food.
  2. I love to eat.

I really can’t think of any foods I have cut out completely but I do (try to) avoid anything high-fructose or that includes hydrogenated oils and/or sugar alcohols.  I also realize that I cannot always be in control of foods that are available (some restaurants, work functions, BBQ’s…etc).  So while I cut them out of my everyday life and I don’t keep them in my home, sometimes they do sneak into what I am eating.  Crap happens.

In terms of reducing foods, the best thing I did was reduce my consumption.  I started this journey on the WW program and by measuring what I was eating, I really began to see what I was eating.  In terms of serving sizes I was clueless.  Being educated on how much I was eating has meant a lot in terms of being healthier.  Often times I cut things in half, ask for to-go boxes before I start eating or I share with someone.  So it isn’t so much that I reduced what I was eating but rather how much I was eating.  I still enjoy most of the foods I have always loved, just in smaller portions.

Overall, the biggest changes to my eating habits were all the new foods I began eating and substitutions I began to make.  Not too many years ago my diet consisted of mainly chicken fingers and grilled cheeses.  I was not adventurous in trying new foods and had no desire to broaden my horizons.  As I got older though, I started eating different foods and finding out how much I was missing!  These days I eat everything from Mexican to Thai to Japanese and I am open to new foods as well.  I also realized that for every food or drink item there were a myriad of choices available.  Everything really could be healthier.  I traded JIF for BetterNPeanut Butter, LightNFit for Oiskos, Iceberg for Spinach and Soda for Flavored Water just to name a few.  Each trip to Trader Joe’s and/or Whole Foods is another chance to find something new.

As far as food in relation to my training, my training plays a huge part in my healthy eating and my healthy eating plays a huge part in my training.  They go hand and hand.  Food is my friend and it always will be.  I will always love to eat.  The only differences are that I eat less of the bad and more of the good and I focus on what is going to fuel me instead of just fill me.  And lastly, I always remember to treat myself when necessary. 🙂