Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Just Checking In

I'm just checking in.  I don't have much to say but I'm having a good week so far.  I'm basically out in the real world figuring out how to deal with my stress.  Here's my list so far: Exercise...well, Zumba; deep breathing; physically writing in my journal, which is very different from writing here; and playing spider solitaire.  I'm still not out of Bonkerville but I'm still going in the right direction.

I've been thinking about why I've suddenly started turning to food again and I realized that it takes a lot of mental energy to be healthy when you've spent your life not.  Lately, I haven't wanted to work that hard.  Honestly, I just have felt tired, mentally. Here's what I wrote today, instead of eating a bagel:

"I think too much about food.  I need to focus on the other aspects of my life but honestly, when you're tired you don't have the energy to.  I just want to relax! I don't feeling like working on shit!  I don't feel like TRYING to be a better parent or TRYING to lose weight or TRYING to be healthier...TRYING to go back to school or TRYING to do better financially...I just wish that some stuff could just be what I want it to be.  That's totally realistic right? HA! Ok, so food gives me pleasure at a time when I'm feeling overwhelmed and it's mindless and effortless but it's not painless.  I need to find the other things that bring me pleasure.  Exercise...well Zumba and my class, sex and intimacy, Bboy when he's not over the moon crazy, playing spider solitaire, watching TV, watching the scale move down! achieving and being successful.  Being in control & feeling powerful.

I got great satisfaction from the feeling of "overcoming" and "winning the battle" over food.  I want that back.  I miss not being tempted by food.  I think I don't have the mental energy to resist.  The battle is really raging inside me and I'm really tired!  I just want it to be easy for a minute.  I want all the struggle to leave my head and I think giving in does that.  There's peace for a minute.  Maybe my Zumba class does that too.  I think there is a physical thing that happens by pushing myself in the workout and I feel good.  I feel good after too!  That's different from the eating.  I don't feel good after, when I regain my senses and think about what I've done.

If I could be fat, healthy and happy this wouldn't be an issue!  Why is life so hard?  Maybe I can just write my way through life and not have to make things work...I can just think about how things can work best and never have to put it into practice.  I'm really good at that.  

I guess my task now is getting over this notion that life is supposed to be easy.  Shit happens and I have to deal.  I have to stop feeling sorry for myself and get off my ass and make some things happen.  I've worked too fucking hard for almost a year to give up for a cookie!  I can fight, I'm tough and if I'm not, learning how to be tough is better than being a pussy any day!  Pity party over and when you feel pitiful again...write!  Or breathe or exercise or sing a Zumba song or think about your goal!  Keep watching those pounds come off.  You can do this...Ok, get back to work...you're strong enough until the next pity party!"

I actually like that free writing.  It's my place to work my stuff out.  Whatever comes to my mind, putting it down on paper for no one, just me.  It actually really did help me through wanting to eat naughty things!  I may share more on here or maybe not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things I Learned On My Trip To Bonkerville

Ok, so I'm inching my way back from the brink of insanity or something.  I had a very, very stressful week last week, which was not caused by my usual stress of training weeks.  I just didn't have it in me.  Every thing that happened piled on top of this huge weight that was plopped in my lap (on my heart, maybe more accurate) and just splished-splashed over the top until I went bonkers.

I won't tell you how much weight I gained last week but it was enough to jar me back to sanity.  I won't tell you what I allowed to enter into my body after 9+ months of abstinence either, but it was enough to make me feel the worst I've felt since I said farewell to it.

With each day in Bonkerville, I gave myself permission to eat the things that I had "denied" myself with the promise each evening that I would be back on track in the morning.  In the morning, I would begin as promised until...  Until whatever happened that would push me back over the edge.

I'm back on the road.  I know that I'm not all the way out of Bonkerville, but the big city lights are definitely in the rear view and I feel myself pressing harder on the gas and increasing speed, but the city limits sign is still ahead. I'm back to eating the foods that I'm supposed to, but my portions and timing are off.  I'm working on it, but the weight is coming off, so I know I'm on the road. It was a scary place to visit, but I learned some things.

Things I learned on my trip to Bonkerville:

  •  I have to make it a priority to fill my Stress Management Tool Box.  As I said in a previous post, I thought I handled stress well, but I don't...I ate and ate and ate.  I can't do that anymore...that can't be my solution.  I have to tell you...breathing helped me several times on Friday and Saturday.  I wanted to eat but I took a deep breath and another and another and another until the impulse passed and I could hear myself saying "no."  Exercise gives me solace too...well Zumba.  I always feel better, stronger and more balanced after a Zumba workout.
  • My lifestyle now...the foods I eat, my physical fitness work so much better...make me feel so much better.  I felt icky all week and it wasn't the guilt.  I was stuffed...I felt like food was backed up into my throat and it wasn't even the amounts I used to eat!  My heart was racing, I was hotter (with how cold I am lately, this was the only benefit:-)), I was tired and sluggish, and on top of all of that I felt OUT OF CONTROL!!!!  When you've experienced a since of control over your life or an area of your life that you've struggled with for so long...that loss of control is painful, gut-wrenching and terrifying.
  • When you ask for help, you have to listen to those you turn to...  I realized something when I shared my circumstances with a co-worker and an online blogger friend.   There are times when I reach out for help and don't listen to the help that's offered.  On Friday I reached the peak of my insanity and turned these two people and decided to listen to what they were telling me.  I had been turning to people all week, letting them know that I was in crisis but for the most part what I took from their help was that it was understandable why I was turning to food and not to be so hard on myself.  I didn't hear, get back on track.  For whatever reason, because I felt desperate or awful or terrified, I listened on Friday.  I listened to a friend who told me that I had been through a lot but that "Fat Faridha cannot handle what needs to be handled."  I listened to a friend who hugged me and cried with me and then laid out an action plan to get my ass on the road and out of Bonkerville!  She was amazing.  She was compassionate but unrelenting in her determination that I would make it through.  There were a few times, while we talked, that I wished I had not shared my plight...because she was forcing me to stand up and put int he work to regain control.  But, then I remembered my desperation, how physically awful I was feeling, how terrified I was of not being able to get back on track and I surrendered.    I've talked to her everyday since mid-day Friday and I've taken off about 1/2 of the weight that I put on.  I feel stronger and more in control and grateful.
  • I knew this already but it never hurts to be reminded that I am loved and cared for!  I cannot tell you how totally blessed I feel right now.  Even with all I'm dealing with there is no doubt in my mind that God blesses me every single day.  I am surrounded...I am enveloped by people who love me and will not let me endure struggles alone.  Who will not let me give in to my worst impulses and who will jump into action to rescue me.  Who will move heaven and earth to show how much they care for my well-being.  Who will drive down from Jersey or up from Baltimore just to see in my eyes that I'm okay.  Who will make difficult phone calls and dig in somebody's ass to make sure that I am cared for and protected.  Who will love and nurture my son when I am not able  Who will call me everyday even on Sunday to check in and make sure I'm on track and let me know that I'm not in anything alone!  I am overwhelmed by it, I'm inspired by it, I am blessed by it and I am grateful.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taking a Break

I will be taking a break from blogging, while I get some things in order.  I've really been struggling and need to focus my attention on my life for a while.  Unfortunately, it takes a lot of mental energy for me to process and blog and I just don't have it right now.  Maybe I'll feel differently next week. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Being healthy vs. losing weight part II

I had to add a part II to my previous post about the importance of getting healthy vs. trying to lose weight.  I went to the 1st Annual PUSH* Health & Fitness Fair today, which was a fabulous and fun event.  It was also informative...for me.  I got my HDL, blood pressure, glucose, triglycerides and was measured for my waist.  All of these tests are used to measure something called Metabolic Syndrome. According to the American Heart Association "the metabolic syndrome is characterized by a group of metabolic risk factors in one person. They include:
  • Abdominal obesity (excessive fat tissue in and around the abdomen) [You want a measurement of >40 for men and >35 for women]
  • Atherogenic dyslipidemia (blood fat disorders — high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol — that foster plaque buildups in artery walls) [You want an HDL (good cholesterol) of <40 for men and <50 for women; triglycerides should = 150 but the lower the better.]
  • Elevated blood pressure [Optimal = <115/75]
  • Insulin resistance or glucose intolerance (the body can’t properly use insulin or blood sugar) [Fasting serum glucose should = 100]
  • Prothrombotic state (e.g., high fibrinogen or plasminogen activator inhibitor–1 in the blood) [did not get info about the last two]
  • Proinflammatory state (e.g., elevated C-reactive protein in the blood)
People with the metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of coronary heart disease and other diseases related to plaque buildups in artery walls (e.g., stroke and peripheral vascular disease) and type 2 diabetes. The metabolic syndrome has become increasingly common in the United States. It’s estimated that over 50 million Americans have it."

Now, I don't know what my numbers were before nine months ago, but I will be calling my doctor this week to find out because I'm almost certain that they are way different and further proof that my transformation is a lot more than external.  My waist is 37 (I'm gonna measure tomorrow cause I know it's actually smaller without clothes and I'll also check what it was when I started....I know it wasn't in the thirties!); my HDL is 50; my glucose is 92 and I had already eaten; my triglycerides...are y'all ready for this?...59!  Now, my blood pressure was actually pretty high....139/101 but we had just finished working out and my blood pressure is never high...that's always been something that has been in control.

But, I'm extremely pleased with what this shows about how I'm changing internally, where it really counts.  Is your program helping you to change the internal you?

*PUSH Inc. (Push Until Success Happens) is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children and families in understanding proper nutrition through fitness, healthy diets, and community-based initiatives.

Friday, January 7, 2011

There's Always Something

I had a rough day yesterday and was stressed to the point of wanting to go get a protein bar and drown my sorrows.  I decided, in that moment, to stick with my program.  I ate my snack that I had prepared (another reason to prepare all of your meals and take them with you...less of an excuse to turn to ick.) and enjoyed it.  As I drove home, I realized that I was taking my old route that led me right past my old haunt, Burger King.  There was a twinge of nostalgia but I kept it moving.

I got home and the emotions were in full swing but I had extra salad, extra mushrooms, extra grape tomatoes...I didn't have extra protein or extra carbs.  I wanted a sweet banana or the granola that I make for my PM snack but I had a grapefruit...I had a whole one instead of half like I'm supposed to.  Overall, I think I made better decisions than I used to make but guess what I didn't cope well.

The truth about changing your life (and there are folks who will think that I'm being too hard or strict) but the truth is, there is always something.  There is always something that will push me to want to eat when I'm stressed, just like there is always something in an alcoholic that will push them to want to drink or a gambler to gamble or shopper to shop or a drug addict to drug:-)  I have to learn to cope without using food.  That can't be my solace because a grapefruit today will be a cake tomorrow.

I haven't figured it out.  I know that this morning, for my prework-out meal I wanted to eat 3 hard boiled egg whites, 1/2 cup of granola and 1 large banana (which would have constituted a pre-workout meal)...instead I ate 2 egg whites, 1/4 c granola.  I chose this because I was satisfied and had I eaten the rest I would have been full instead of satisfied.  That's part of it.  Listening to my body telling me I've had enough.

The other thing I know is that, I woke up this morning and wanted to roll over instead of get up and work out like I planned.  Truth is, I did roll over.  I hit snooze and promised myself I'd get in my 5 workouts somehow. A few minutes later I popped out of bed and prepared myself to workout.  As I worked out, I pushed myself to have a great workout and not slack up because I wasn't feeling it.  About 10 minutes in, I was feeling it.  My body was loosening up and my mind was pumping out positive thoughts.  I was coping.

There are other things that I need to incorporate into my coping bag of tricks...I'm doing one of them right now and I'll figure other, healthy methods as I go.  I know the hug my son gave me last night worked:-)  The thing that I do know, in the midst of life's uncertainty is that I there's always something and it's okay because I'm okay.

In other news:  So, something else that I was reminded of last night as I logged in my foods is that it makes a difference what you eat when.  The combination of foods that you eat on a given day impact your overall diet.  That seems pretty obvious, but I've spent almost 9 months just dealing with portions of protein, carbs and veggies and hadn't really counted the actual calories that I was consuming.  Well, I guess for the last month or so, I've been tracking my calories.  I range from about 900 to 1500 calories.  My goal is 1200.  Yesterday, I was up to about 1400+ because of the food choices I made.  Except for in the evening when I increased veggies and fruit, the entire rest of my day was on program.  However, I ate certain foods which are higher in calories than things that I usually eat.  I usually limit higher calorie foods to once a day but I wasn't really thinking about it yesterday.  Anyway, for those of us dealing with our weight I thought this was a point that we should always consider.  Had I tracked my foods as I went along instead of waited until the end of the night, I probably could have made better choices and not gone over.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Losing Weight vs. Getting Healthy

I was talking with friend yesterday about the new Weight Watchers points plan and I was sharing my concern with the notion that all veggies and fruits are considered 0 points.  I think that there is danger in the concept that certain foods don't count or for that matter that all fruits and vegetables are created equal.  When people don't have a problem with food, self-regulation is automatic.  They know how to listen to their bodies cues that tell them they have had enough.  They can be one and done.  People who need to change their relationship with food have long since learned to ignore those cues.  We can eat until our stomachs are ready to burst.  "One and done? What's that?"  Now, it's better to eat lots of grapes rather than lots of cookies but LOTS of anything suggests that hunger is not the issue and that food is being used inappropriately.  Basically, it doesn't promote the development of a healthier relationship with food.  I must say that I'm not on Weight Watchers and I have not read all of the material on the new system, so if lots of attention is paid to servings, portions, eating until satisfied, etc. and not just calculating points that would alleviate my concern.

Then, later in the day, I was talking with another friend who is involved in a 30 day challenge about healthier living.  We began to discuss how there were other people involved in the challenge who had weight loss goals...some where 50 pounds, some 100, some just 20.  The interesting thing about the challenge is that it is sponsored or encouraged by Lean Cuisine and Skinny Cow.

My friend is using this challenge to change some of her eating habits...she's not really looking to lose weight, although she does want to get rid of her "mommy pouch," but she already sees that the products involved in this challenge do not necessarily promote health.  She looked at the Skinny Cow products and saw that they contain 18 grams of sugar in one serving of a little ice cream treat. That's from a product called "Skinny Cow".  If I'm someone who does not looks at nutritional labels and I buy this product thinking that I'm doing better by eating this than something else, I will be wondering in a few weeks why I'm not losing weight.  But that wouldn't be the products fault.  While it's deceptive there comes a point when, as consumers, we have to ask ourselves what our goals are...we have to ask ourselves the deeper questions about what we want for our lives.

I'm not sure at what point I internalized that my journey was to become more healthy and fit instead of just losing weight but it is a concept that I recently had to remind myself about.  The mindset is completely different. Losing weight is easy, you just have to use more calories than you take in.  In all honesty it doesn't matter HOW I do it...if I use more calories than I take in, I will lose weight.  That doesn't mean that what I'm doing is healthy, sustainable or will give me the actual results that I'm hoping for.

If I'm eating Lean Cuisine for every meal, as a couple in my friend's challenge have decided to do, the amount of sodium and chemicals that I'm ingesting is unimaginable.  I may lose weight, if I can truly stick with just eating a Lean Cuisine and not get hungry and eat other things as well but I will not be helping my body.  Further, if I'm someone who has a lot of weight to lose and I'm not considering fitness, I guarantee you that I  will not like the results of my weight loss.  I've been working out since I started and doing toning and I know that I need to do even more.

This is the time of New Year's resolutions.  We've all made them.  Some of us probably made some this six days ago and have already given up on them because change is hard.  We want to see results but we don't think about what we actually need to do to make it happen.  We lie to ourselves and say we just need to lose weight when in actuality we need a life overhaul.  I encourage everyone who is on a journey to lose weight to think about changing that goal to a journey to good health...the weight will follow if you are doing the things that will help you become healthier.  Health is about exercise and drinking enough water and controlling what you put into your body.  It's about getting enough sleep and reading nutritional label and paying attention to how your body reacts to different foods.  It's about establishing routines and systems that allow you to make healthier choices instead of choices of convenience.  It's about making your health and wellness a priority in your life regardless of the obstacles.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Zumba Debut

Ok, so I totally punked out yesterday at my Zumba class.  There was a guy there doing a feature on the teacher and class for a church broadcast of one of the other members of the class.  He did his thing filming the class and then he was hoping that he could interview the instructor.  We were in the middle of a song and she Zumba-d over to me and asked if I thought I could take over...I totally punked out, yall!  I was like..."umm, umm...this song...no way...I'm not ready for that!"  Punk!  I could have had my first experience as a Zumba instructor.  Actually, the truth is I would have totally messed it up...I'm great following along but I rarely remember the order of the movements, that's one of the reasons I like being in the front of the class.  Sometimes I know but most of the time I'm just focused on putting everything into the move...lifting my leg higher, squating lower, pushing through wanting to stop.  But, let me tell, I'm gonna be focused on learning those routines now, cause if the opportunity presents itself again, Faridha ain't gonna be no punk!

I will be having my on-stage Zumba debut (not nearly as "OFFICIAL" as all that.  I'm just gonna join my teacher on the stage and do some of the routines with her and probably 10 other people...lol) this Saturday, January 8th, at the PUSH Health & Fitness Fair.  There will be classes in Zumba & Zumbatomic (kids version), circuit training, belly dancing, line dancing, yoga and obstacle courses for the family.  Breakfast and lunch.  Screenings.  Etc. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for kids.  Click the link for more information.  I will say that if you are in the Philadelphia area and have been muling over how to you can get control of your health, this will be a wonderful opportunity for you to explore your options and have fun doing it.

Anyway, I'm had a great start to the new year.  I feel hopeful about so many possibilities that are opening up in my life.  I've decided that I'm going back to school soon, so that subject will start to pop up in my posts.  Life is good, yall and it's only getting better.