Month 5, by the numbers
Nov 17, 2013
I know I'm late on getting this posted and I just realized I completely missed my October post (read on for why). It's just taken a while to sit down and get it done! I did not manage to get a photo in front of the front door (yet), but here is a slightly different approach:
This month found me the world traveler - to London and Wales! Partially for vacation and partially for work, it was a good test of whether or not I had internalized all of this into a lifestyle change. The good news is that I believe I have. More on that to come.
Results from October to November:
Pounds lost: 6.2
BMI change: -1
Body fat %: -4%
Inches lost: 7.75
So, if you look only at the pounds lost, this month looks kind of tragic. But, when you put it in perspective with all of the other values, it was a great month. I'm proud of/worked hard for my 4% body fat loss, and nearly 8 inches lost is not trivial, especially when 2.5 of them came from my hips. It put me into a size 12 - the first time I can ever remember wearing that size. So, progress is progress, no matter how you slice it. I looked at a quick comparison from my September to October data where I lost 10.1 pounds, but only 3.75 inches. I had also started more serious weight training at that point, and so I am sure that at least part of that measurement data was from muscle building. What this month's data tells me is that my body is becoming more efficient, and this is a really good thing.
October was a completely nutty month for me. It seemed like I was away from home more than I was home. I was abroad for a while, I was at a work retreat for a while, and I was also at a client event that provided 5 meals a day of really healthy, delicious food for 3 days. Let me tell you, I ate. I wasn't afraid of fish and chips in the UK - I just ate a tiny bit, like 1/4 of the ENORMOUS fish portions and a few fries (chips). Nor was I afraid of what we fixed at our work retreat (it helped that I planned the menu), providing enough variety to keep me from wanting the cookies and ice cream too badly. And, I indulged at the client event. The client event was interesting. It was sponsored by the medical director of CocaCola, and in reality it was 3 meals + 2 snacks per day, but on a sleeve diet, it was 5 meals. We had lean proteins like chicken and salmon - all prepared deliciously, we had fresh fruit everywhere, we had fruit smoothies with plain greek yogurt and chia seeds, we had veggies prepared in the most wonderful ways, and we had Coke sweetened with Truvia (I brought one home; haven't tried it yet. I stuck with Dasani and SmartWater). I didn't want the starchy carbs at all, and frankly don't remember what there was in that department! I indulged on a couple of chocolate covered strawberries - what a lovely treat that didn't sabotage me like a brownie or cookies or cake would have! I can only wish that all the food at other client events was so nicely planned.
In every case, I tracked, and tracked, and tracked, and made adjustments as I needed to. While in the UK, I did relax my carb limits from 40 to 60 grams, but kept protein as A#1 importance and went on with it. And it worked. I had a supply of Quest bars that went with me to serve as a snack or meal in case of emergency, but I didn't need them all that much. I made choices that worked. The hardest thing was actually eating frequently enough, particularly while I was running the meetings in the UK. The rest of the world is on that 3 meals/day schedule, but given the low quantity I can eat at a time, I can usually go 3-4 hours before I need to eat again. I managed by keeping snacks at the ready.
My travel made it tough to really keep up my appointments with Matt, my trainer, but I found I got exercise in different ways. I walked (accidentally, I admit) 3.5 miles in London one night. Some people run the London marathon? Not me, I do the London 5k, but you can bet it was tracked. I walked on the beach at our work offsite. And, we weren't really sitting at the client event, either. So, while I didn't always do great at working out, I feel I made some progress and proved to myself that an active lifestyle is a totally doable thing.
My big progress on the exercise front is what I'm able to do. Last week, I was able to lift 135# in the squat, and I'm over 100# in leg extensions and hamstring pulls. My arm and upper body strength is really improving as well, but I don't remember the weight level there. And, I started what Matt refers to as "big girl ab workouts". I was so very sore afterwards, but I could tell it was an amazing workout. I feel like I'm moving away from modified workouts because of my shabby fitness status to legitimately real workouts that "normal" people could handle and it's a thrill.
I mentioned I'm in a size 12 now, right? I am actually really struggling with this. More on this in the head game section. Since my last post, my image consultant, Karen, and I went shopping, and she picked out some fabulous things to try on. I bought a few of them for London. Here is a photo of me in an amazing dress that she selected for me. Everywhere I went, and every time I wear that dress, I get compliments. In fact, I probably get compliments of some sort or another on my clothing at least once a week, even if it's just jeans and a blazer. My goal in working with Karen was to go from frumpy to fabulous, and if the feedback from others is any indication, I must be on the right track! My big event coming up is our holiday party. The theme is Classic Hollywood. I'm looking for a simply amazing dress. I would like to channel Rita Hayward and have asked my hair stylist to give me a suitable hairdo. Stay tuned for this one - it's going to be a lot of fun. I just need to get out to a store that has high end formals and try some things on.
The head game:
So, this size 12 thing has really thrown me for a loop, unexpectedly. It started when I bought jeans last weekend. The 14s were too large. As sort of a joke, I tried on 12s and they fit. I took a photo of me wearing them and sent them to one of my fellow sleevers, who promptly pointed out that they looked great and the sweater I was wearing was too large. So, I bought two pairs of the jeans and pondered how on earth I ever became a 12. We have our hot tub back up and running, and of course none of my bathing suits fit me, so I needed to get a new one of those despite my husband's attempts to persuade me to the contrary. Guess what size? Yep, also a 12, but this time the feeling I had wasn't pondering, it was almost panicky. It was at this point that I really realized that I needed to get ok with this as quickly as possible because I felt that my reaction to this had the capability to send me into self-sabotage. Here is as far as I have gotten on this topic.
The closest I can come to describing this is that it is almost like I feel like I'm edging into someone else's space - like I really don't belong here, like I'm trespassing. This isn't MY space - I have no definition or memory of myself here, ever. I can remember 14s from my teenage years, so I had some previous identity there. But 12? No way. I think I have seen my sister in this size in the past and she is a tiny person. I know I have seen friends here and they are tiny, too. So, I have been focusing on being ok with this, saying yes, this is me. In a size 12. And I belong here, and I'm going lower, so watch out.
The other part of the equation is what I visually see myself as. As I was snapping photos of myself in different bathing suits and sending them to Karen, I kept thinking, oh, I look like my sister, or my aunt...anyone but ME. It was never me. And it dawned on me, the picture of myself in my head is so totally out of whack and being threatened by the concept of a size 12. So, I started a project called the photo of the day (POTD) project. Every day, I am taking a photo of myself. I'm printing them out and hanging them on my bathroom wall where I can spend time looking at them, absorbing them, realizing, this is YOU, now. I am hoping this helps. I will let you know. The "is" photo above is one of my POTD entries. I am ok with saying, I love the way I look in that photo, but, I don't see me as me, yet. The brain is a funny thing, Indeed. Thank goodness for my therapy sessions, as they provide a grounding point as I move through all of this. My therapist, Deanna, doesn't know about POTD yet. I will share with her when I go this week. I hope she's ok with it.
The other big thing I have had on my mind has been the importance of surrounding yourself with a team. I have talked to others about it, even those that don't know I have had surgery, and I have told them about my team. I really really REALLY think that having my team around me has made such a huge difference in everything. In fact, I'd say that to anyone considering surgery or any sort of major body readjustment, don't attempt it without a team in place. Check out my previous blog posting on the topic if you want to know more.
Other peoples' reactions:
Observations, comments, and compliments were abundant this month. Things like 'you are shrinking!"; "I don't recognize you!" (yeah, I don't recognize me, either, lol); "if you keep losing, you'll have nothing left!" were pretty common. Truth be told, they feel great. I'm no longer invisible to strangers and have caught colleagues as well as total strangers checking out my ass (creepy and funny at the same time). I feel like I'm a normal person just living in the world. I rode on airplanes without issue. No funny expressions from people. I can't help but feel like I'm some sort of undercover agent somehow, but I think that relates back to the head game thing. I have told people about what I am doing (gym, food, working with docs, therapist, image consultant), but not what I have done. I have decided that if someone asks me straight up about surgery, I'll tell the truth, but won't necessarily offer it with a few exceptions. I did tell one person recently, a long time friend who struggles with his weight. I stressed the fact that only one of our friends in common know the truth, and went on to tell him the details because he seemed to be at wit's end with options. I told him that I don't usually tell people about the surgery, only the stuff I am doing now, and he agreed with me, actually. His take: "I have a friend who had the lap band who didn't do those things and she didn't really lose because she didn't do all of those other things." It all comes back to my belief that in the long run, all the sleeve is helping me do is eat less and not feel hungry. Those things are not trivial, I understand, but are just a part of the overall bigger equation.
How I felt:
I loved that I had energy to travel, to walk so much, to do so much. I love not being invisible anymore. I love that I'm doing the so called "big girl workouts". Feeling sore after a workout actually makes me feel happy, because it's a tangible indication that I've doing something good for myself. Weird, huh? I love how I look in my new clothes. I love that Brian and I are traveling this path to fitness together. Life is truly good.
There are some cool things to look forward to like the big party at work - I can't wait to see what I look like! Otherwise, I'm just going to keep on going with what I'm doing with regards to food, exercise, and getting my head in order. See you next month!