Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I'll Never Reach My Goal

On the season of no excuses, today's theme on the Biggest Loser was "I'll Never Reach My Goal". When I began my weight loss journey at 360 lbs there about 95% of me who believed I would never reach my goal weight. In the past I had never been successful, so really why should I believe that this time would be any different? As time went on and I started to prove to myself that I was actually capable of being strong that percentage started to shift. Especially when I got under 300 lbs, for the first time in my journey I began to feel proud of what I had accomplished and was proud of my body even though I was still 299 lbs. Over the last four years I started to believe more and more that I would reach that goal and I still believe it. The funny thing is, the closer I get to it, the further away it seems. I am 14 lbs away from my goal weight, which is so very close when I was previously looking at losing 200 lbs, and it feels like it is so far away some days. Don't get me wrong, I am thrilled with where I am, I am proud of myself, but I think a huge theme of my journey has been "finish what you start". When I started I had to force myself to do this every single day even though I wanted to eat the crap. Most days I just wanted to give up, but my daily reminder was "finish what you start". Because this has been the main theme of my weight loss, and my original goal has been to lose 200 lbs, I feel like i'm not done.

I am resigned to the fact that it will happen in time, but what I am not resigned to is allowing myself to continually sabotage myself. The buck stops here! No one is forcing me to take the chips or the chocolate, I am choosing to eat it, I am choosing to accept the sabotage. It's strange because i'm used to feeling so focused, feeling as if nothing can stop me and I don't NEED the food. But the closer I get to the number, the scarier it gets. Scary? how can something you have wanted for so long be scary? I am scared to stop focusing on losing weight because like I said a couple weeks ago, who will I be? I think subconsciously I am also scared that I will revert back to some bad habits and if i'm focused on losing weight then I can focus on avoiding those habits. So I guess what that means is I shouldn't focus on losing weight, I should focus on leading a healthy life right? Now how will I do that?

1. No more daily weigh ins, only sunday
2. Focus more on fitness ability, for example holding my plankes for longer and doing sit ups without using my arms.
3. Drink all my water, eat all my veggies and protein EVERY DAY
4. No excuses, make all my workouts and give 100%
5. Don't accept the sabotage, say no

Like I said, I will get there, I will, I know I can I know I can I know I can...Patience and persisentence, it will happen.

On a closing note, my favorite quote from tonight's Biggest Loser episode "A trainers 10 seconds is the longest 10 seconds you'll ever experience!" or that can vary depending on who is training you or keeping time or not keeping time LOL.

MEXICO in 18 sleeps!!!!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

My Two Cents

Watching TV the other day I heard a preview for an upcoming news story on a man who was denied skin removal surgery. Curious about this I looked up the article, you can view it here. Kevin Carter, a resident of Newfoundland, lost 175 lbs through TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly). He did it all himself, no surgery, no gimmicks, just hard work. As a result, he has excess skin which was causing recurring infections, and was referred to have surgery to have the skin removed. The government is now refusing to pay for the surgery, even though his doctor has deemed it medically necessary.

This story really hit home for me as I also struggle with having excess skin, let's say "wings" of skin, that haunt me. I am confident in my body and can wear clothes to hide it well, but I will always know it is there. Its like your body holding onto that old part of you which at times can sometimes be very taunting. I've even heard significantly overweight people say that they don't want to go through losing all the weight because they will be stuck with all the skin, well that's just an excuse! I would never change what I've accomplished, I just work around what my body is now.

Granted i'm slightly biased on this issue on if the government should pay for the surgery or not, but the decision was made. The thing that really bothers me though is peoples comments on this article. One person says "Not on my tax dollar. People like him have burdened our health care system and tax payers for long enough and now they want to burden it again? Ludicrous. If you want to pity him and support him that's fine, but again, not on my tax dollar.". Granted, many people disagreed with this statement, and the vast majority of people indicated that they think the government should cover the surgery, but this comment still bothered me.

Even though I don't know Kevin Carter, I can absolutely relate to his struggle and know just how hard it is to imagine losing 175 lbs. The commenter says how Kevin has been a burden on the health care system for long enough, well I disagree. Obviously he didn't lose 175 lbs overnight, in the time from when he started his weight loss journey he was already less of a burden on the health care system than before. Kudos to Kevin for doing this and accomplishing such an amazing thing. The long term benefits of him going through this weight loss journey will make up for any cost incurred on the health care system. The government offers no incentives for people to get healthy on their own instead of "burdening" the health care system as this commenter says. Instead of option for gastric bypass surgery that may have been covered and be just as costly to taxpayers if not more due to complications, Kevin opted to lose the weight the natural way. In BC the province offers a smoking cessation program where they will pay for prescription smoking cessation drugs or nicotine replacement therapy for any BC resident yet there is nothing in place to assist adults who are improving their health in other ways.

I hope that they reconsider Kevin's request, and maybe the media attention that this story got will be of assistance to him. If not, maybe in the future we will see better incentives for those of us getting healthy and taking an active role in avoiding "burdening the health care system".

Sunday, January 22, 2012

BW Inspiration: Lisa M

The biggest thing for me in staying accountable to this journey is sharing it with other people who know exactly what i'm going through. Each has their own struggles, their own accomplishments and their own path to follow but it is so much more enjoyable when you can share that with others. Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with Lisa to talk about her journey. Lisa has been a part of the Biggest Winners since April 2011 and has always struck me as a confident and proud woman so I was excited to hear what she had to say about what her story was.

Here is Lisa before...

Lisa shared with me that weight and body image has always been an issue in her life, even as a young child. Looking back she now realizes that she wasn't really fat at all, she was healthy. Influenced by her mothers poor body image Lisa was put on numerous diets all which created a negative body image of herself. Something that to this day is a struggle for Lisa, as it is for most people who struggle with weight. I asked her she does with managing the body image? How does she change the mental tape? Lisa says her secret is focusing on things that are tangible. The number on the scale isn't necessarily tangible but she can see and feel a difference in her workouts and feel herself getting stronger. This allows her to become more and more self assured of her progress.

Lisa and her husband Stuart are currently both members of the Biggest Winners. I asked Lisa how it has been doing this together with Stuart? Do you keep each other on track? Or is it a downfall? She confessed that she has yo-yo dieted her whole life. She joined Weight Watchers by the age of 27 and lost 70 lbs but ended up gaining it all back. She then re-joined Weight Watchers with Stuart and again was successful and again gained it all back. This time she is trying again. The difference with this time is that she feels this is a truly sustainable way of living and losing weight and is confident that she will be successful and conquer the yo-yo dieting pattern. I asked her how she plans on making this the last time she loses the weight? Lisa said that the difference between this time and the previous times is that she is doing something that is sustainable, she is teaching herself how to eat healthy and maintain her lifestyle through exercise. With Weight Watchers she never changed the types of food she ate, she just ate less of them, now she is eating healthy and exercising - doing it the right way, the sustainable way.

A benefit of going through this journey with your spouse is that you can keep each other accountable, but there is also a pitfall to that... you are far more likely to enable your spouse to make excuses than you are a friend....for example, Id have less guilt about cancelling a 5AM workout with my husband and stay in bed then I would be to cancel that same workout with a friend. From what I can see though Stuart and Lisa seem to keep each other accountable. The biggest way they make this work is that they recognize each has their own process and journey to go through. Lisa said to me that the hardest thing for her was when she first joined Biggest Winners and Stuart was not participating, she was forced to go outside of her comfort zone and do it alone. She was forced to unhook herself from always doing it with her spouse but in the end this has made her stronger. I asked her how she did this? How do you go from being emotionally dependent on needing to do it with another person to finding the strength to do it on your own? Lisa shared that prior to joining Biggest Winners she had struggled with depression triggered by the sudden death of a close friend, and was told by her doctor that she may need to go on anti-depressants, this was not something she wanted to do. This coupled with recent open heart surgery was a huge wake up call for Lisa. After doing some research, she discovered that she could possibly avoid going on medication by trying exercise. This got her into the gym, combined with the realization that she was given this gift of life through open heart surgery and she could not waste it.

Lisa inspires me every day I go to the gym to continue on. She has also struggled with a knee injury, which required recent surgery. I was curious how she has managed to overcome all of this and keep going given that I haven't done so well at it lately. Lisa said the injury happened about five years ago at work but she never took care of it because the need was never there. Once she started exercising she realized it had to be dealt with. When it initially happened back in April she was crushed, she had just got her mental focus back, she had made the decision to do this for herself, and then wham, injury. What amazes me the most is that she kept on going, only two workouts in she could have easily given up but she didn't, and now nine months later she's still here. Lisa said the first thing she had to do was to tell herself STOP, stop the negative self talk, she put up a mental image of a stop sign and reminded herself that she could overcome this. Lisa said initially she felt like an outsider in the group, she was new, and couldn't keep up but she forced herself to keep coming. Part of it was also forcing herself to open up to others in the group and get to know people which isn't easy. When she started building friendships and relationships and seeing herself getting stronger in other ways, that kept her going. Thank you Lisa for not giving up - you show us all that it is possible to work through an injury.

Look at her now...happy, confident and STRONG!

In summary here is what Lisa has to say about the Biggest Winners program and how it has helped her.

"In March of 2011 my husband commented to me on a link he had seen on a friend’s Facebook page referencing the Biggest Winner program. I was intrigued and thought I’d look into it myself. My weight had yo-yo’d over the past twenty years, but as soon as I’d lose it the weight would creep back on. More than this, though, my health was significantly impacted by my chronic lack of exercise and unhealthy lifestyle. Even serious heart issues had not been enough to jolt me into action. But by March, 2011 I had finally reached a tipping point, and the Biggest Winner program seemed the first program I could feel safe enough to venture into. I met with Michele and Lovisa of BDHQ, and they were welcoming but also matter-of-fact. Funnily enough, it was this matter-of-factness that was most comforting, because it implied that my extreme lack of knowledge and poor fitness level were not barriers to the program. And they weren’t. I never felt stupid or that I stood out in the group. Everyone took me under their wing, and would pass along helpful hints as I navigated the new and unknown world of exercise. My confidence grew as my abilities changed. I began to go for hikes, or ride a bike, or kayak – things I had never done before or ever dreamed I would WANT to do – and the BWs were there for that too, arranging outings in their own time and welcoming all who wished to attend. More than fifty pounds later I am nearer to my goal weight, but have achieved much more than that. I have strength, stamina, lower cholesterol and blood pressure. I sleep better, eat healthier, and enjoy my life so much more than I had been for years. I am so glad I found the Biggest Winners program, as it gave me the entry point into this new world, something I doubt I ever would have been brave enough to do alone. I feel the trainers really care about me and are willing to go out of their way to help me in this process. Thank you, BDHQ!"


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Finding Stability

I've been doing alot of reflecting lately in terms of where I want my life to be. I'm in such a weird place right now and trying to figure out who I am and where I want to be. Part of this is that my life has been weight loss focused for the last four years, and now that isn't my focus - so where should my focus be? You would think that would be a relief and a good thing, but to be honest it's kind of overwhelming. Don't get me wrong I am super stoked to not have to worry about losing weight, just staying healthy, but I'm almost needing to feel like I have a purpose and a direction and part of me feels lost.

The way I look at it is I have all these different quadrants in my life: health, career, family and finance. The way things sit right now I haven't had total stability in any of those quadrants for the last few months. My goal for 2012 is really to find peace and stability in all of those quadrants.

HEALTH Obviously i've had stability in the sense that I have my health, I am strong, but i haven't had stability in the sense that my fitness goals seem to be getting further and further out of reach and that frustrates me to no end.
My plan for stability: do everything that my doctor and physiotherapist are telling me, show up for my workouts, and just continue to do what I can do....I figure eventually it'll just click

CAREER As many of you know I went through a huge job transition process which ended up being in its entirety nearly two years. It was stressful and there were many unknowns throughout the entire process but then I was finally settled and in my job. Now i'm settled, but I can't necessarily say I have the same level of job satisfaction I had prior to this whole thing, I can't say that I actually enjoy going to work every day but I could say that for the most part in my previous job. The stress came also from being the only stable income earner in the family and feeling pressure to make decisions that would keep me in a stable job instead of the job that I maybe enjoyed more. Now I am being asked to make the decision all over again, and again with limited information and no answers to necessary questions that may or may not effect me. Basically it's just not giving me any sense of security in this quadrant right now.
My plan for stability: do not listen to the rumors, make an informed decision, and weigh the pros and cons when the time comes....really I have no control over this right now, I have to wait for higher ups to make decisions

FAMILY Having a family is something that I have wanted for a long time. It is one of the main motivators that has kept me going throughout the journey. Because I worked so very hard to get where I am right now, I thought that it would just happen, not necessarily in one or two months, but I didn't exepct to sit by month by month as friend after friend started having babies and I congratulated them but was torn up inside. I have finally been able to get answers because it has been so long and am working on this with the doctor. As we sat at the fertility clinic last week the doctor asked "why do you think you can't get pregnant" and I said, with tears streaming down my face "I think that I have damaged my body by being overweight so long, I'm scared I broke myself". The response was obviously the logical one that I tell myself all the time, but not the response that my heart tells me. The response was "you didn't break yourself, if anything all this hard work you've done is only going to benefit you".
My plan for stability: it's a work in progress, John and I will both do all the test that we have to do and try to continue to be patient

FINANCE I know some of you may put career and finance together, for me it is different. For me, having financial stability doesn't mean that I can go out and buy whatever I wants, it just means paying my bills every month, having money left over and not feeling like i'm living pay cheque to pay cheque. It ties into career for sure, and that is in part why I have felt trapped in continuing in a job that I don't necessarily love. This quadrant is the only quadrant that I feel that the stability is coming, we just found out that John was granted his leave without pay to go do his ICBC speaking tour, this means that he will have a stable job to come back to - at least until July and then after that, who knows. But at least I know until July we will have steady income coming in.
My plan for stability: continue to live within our budget, putting money away, and the stability will come

Like i've said many times before, I will continue to take this journey day by day. 2012 is really about working on making myself a stronger person on the inside, not just the outside, and to be honest it is almost harder than the exercise.

"Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience."

Monday, January 9, 2012

Working Through Frustration

A new year is here, already over a week in, and I am so happy to have entered 2012 in the best shape of my life. There is a new sense of energy in Biggest Winners, everyone seems so focused and driven. I see people changing in front of my eyes and it brings me back to all these different places in my journey. It keeps me accountable and on track to continue with my success, knowing that others are struggling just as much. My food, apart from a couple hiccups, has been on track, I feel on track.

I have been continuing with physio from my knee and was so excited - like couldn't stop smiling excited - when he told me last week that I could try running again. Four years ago I couldn't imagine being told I was allowed to run would make me happy. I had to remind myself that I had to start slow and listen to the doctor even though my head tells me I can do so much more. I RAN, just a little, last week and it felt amazing and no pain, then I ran on Saturday for one block basically and it hurt again. It's hard, it's really hard, I feel like I've been so patient and done everything i'm supposed to do but my body isn't responding. I'm frustrated hearing people tell me that I can do other things, I know I CAN do other things and that's exactly what I've been doing these last three months, but that doesn't mean it's what I want to do. I recognize that those people who are saying those things don't say it with the intention of hurting me, and I don't get mad at them for it, it just stings a little (or a lot). I guess it's like i'm not getting validation for what i'm feeling, it's as if the fact that i'm frustrated doesn't even matter and is silly - I should just get over it. Imagine being told you can't do the one thing that you absolutely love to do and give you enjoyment and relief from stress? And I know this is all ME, this is all something that I have to work through and I can't blame anyone else because I alone am responsible for how I react. One day at a time, that's all I can do right now.

I've found because I've been so emotional with not being able to get my energy out by running or sweating like i'm used to the emotions have slowed my weight loss. It is so true how emotions and progress are connected, I know this, which is why I haven't really focused on the number so much, I know it will change in time. Everything in life is interrelated the frustration around not running leads to frustration at home and other areas of my life. Like I said, one day at a time, really one moment at a time. I am focusing on other things, my want list (updates to come), and being the best ME I can be for 2012 - healthy, strong and happy.