Day 31: Cutting Back

I’m having some good stuff happen re: energy levels, so want to document it here. On Sunday morning, I officially started to cut back on my coffee consumption. I’d been drinking A LOT – at least 48 oz. of coffee (black, no sugar) every day, but sometimes closer to 72 oz. I just sipped it all day long. So that was possibly adding to my weird energy levels and anxiety, where I was always tired all day but didn’t sleep well at night, either. From now on, I’m going to keep cutting back until I’m drinking maybe a typical 12 oz. coffee mug’s worth of black coffee first thing, end of story. As of today, I had a 16 oz. iced coffee this morning, then drank water the rest of the day.

I’ve also gotten more sleep than usual the last two nights – over 8 hours, both nights! I’m about to put my computer away and try for a third night in a row. Tomorrow I need to go to work an hour early, so I can try to get at least 6 hours of sleep immediately after work, then roll into my second job feeling somewhat rested. We’ll see what happens. I have a feeling I won’t sleep, and the whole next 24 hours will be crazy. But it might work out, who knows? Lol.

As for food, I’ve been eating very basic meals. For the past three nights, I’ve eaten plain old roasted chicken for dinner (not because of any diet rules, just because I’ve been dead tired and the roast chicken was just sitting there in the fridge already). Tonight I added in a baked sweet potato to really spice up my life. This weekend I need to remember to cook up a batch of greens so I’ll have veggies on hand when I get home from the gym. I’ve been getting GNC smoothies for the past two days at lunch. I can’t really afford that kind of splurge, but they’ve also been helping with the energy level. They’ve got this smoothie called the Lovers’ Lane, which has arginine in it. The supplement is touted as having sexual health benefits for women, since it increases blood flow, but I have been getting it because it perks me up and gives me enough energy to get through the rest of my day. Plus, peach smoothies are delicious!

Tomorrow I’m really hoping that I am back in the 180’s. I’m really tired of this weird plateau at the 190 – 192 mark. I knew it was going to happen, as it’s historically always the case that I get stuck at 190 and give up. But I feel like I’m doing a great job of just sticking in there. When it came time to leave work today, it was late, and I typically would have talked myself out of going if this were a couple of months ago. But today I had a little conversation in my head about how good it was going to feel to at least get in a little bitty workout, and I believed myself almost immediately. It wasn’t nearly the same struggle that it used to be.

I play the same mind trick they use all the time in Bikram class. Bikram teachers say that you just have to stay on the mat. Doesn’t matter if you do any of the poses, just don’t leave the room. Just being on the mat gets you all of the benefits. Even if you don’t believe it at first, the longer you work at telling it to yourself, the easier it is to understand that it’s true. I just have to go to the gym. Just make the effort, walk in the door, change into my gym clothes. After that, whatever I choose to do is just fine. The battle has already been won. Some days I’m genuinely too tired to do much but a little bit of weight machine work and gentle stretching. But that’s OK – it’s still more than I would have done at home on the couch. Other days, I surprise myself and end up really pushing it on the elliptical, or attending a class and getting super sweaty ūüôā

Anyway, I just need to have faith that eventually I will wake up and my new plateau will be 180. Won’t that be awesome? I’ll probably still be bitching about it, so you guys need to remind me when the time comes that I just need to stick it out, and I’ll get past that plateau soon enough, too.

Today’s Weight: 190.2 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 15,056 steps (including 35 minutes on the elliptical), and an 8Fit workout.

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Day 19: Sleep

TakingOver

I used to be an accomplished sleeper. It was just something I excelled at – staying in bed all day, sleeping deeply, dreaming something exciting. I love to sleep, and I crave it. It’s one of my top favorite activities, and I’d do it more if I could. In fact, I function best on roughly 9.5 to 10 hours of sleep a night. Sadly, that’s just not possible in my life at this point. To counteract this, I aim for a perfectly respectable 8 hours of sleep each night, and track it diligently each day with my FitBit. However, I seldom actually achieve my goal during the week; on average, I tend to get about 6.5 hours a night. Yes, you heard that right: along with 35% of the U.S., I am sleep deprived.

On the weekends,¬†like many people, I endeavor to play catch up. I know from experience that a 10-hour patch of slumber refreshes me without messing up my sleep schedule, so I try to get that much sleep on Friday and Saturday night. That means no late nights out partying, but it also means that I’m somewhat recharged by Monday.¬†But I hate that, too. I want to be fresh and on my game all week long.

So it’s time to start working on getting my sleep numbers up to at least 7 hours a night. I think I’m going to reset my FitBit goal to 7 hours, and see if I can consistently match that for a few weeks, then up the time a little bit to say, 7:10, then eventually start creeping towards a solid 8 hours of sleep. If the FitBit can help me get in 12k steps minimum a day on a consistent basis, I think I can be using it to work on decreasing my sleep debt, too.

Today’s Weight: 191.8 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 12k+ steps, a 9-minute tabata workout via 8Fit, 20 minutes on the elliptical, some foam rolling & a little bit of an ab workout.

Today’s Interactions: I met a guest at the hotel who was looking for a gym to go lift weights, so I walked him over to my gym and got him a free pass for the day. He was a sweet guy. Also talked with Theo at the gym (of course), and stopped by the boyfriend’s job to say hi and give him a hug. That last part wasn’t as positive as I wanted it to be, but I don’t have the energy to work on it right now. Need a shower and so much sleep, stat.

 

Day 13: …

It was our Ops Manager’s last day before moving on to a cushy sales position, and the office flowed with snacks all day today in celebration of his promotion. There were doughnuts at breakfast, and I was able to avoid the box until they were gone. But then lunchtime rolled around, and they brought out the chicken wings¬†and fried rice, and all bets were off. I ate a piece of cake, and drank a can of coke, too. Oh well, I was planning a gym visit for the afternoon, anyway.

At the gym, I was proud to up my running time a little bit. I’ve been doing 35 minutes on the treadmill, alternating five¬†minutes of walking with five¬†minutes of running. Today I felt a little bored after my first five minutes of walking, so I cut down my walking time to four minutes the next round, then three minutes, and then sprinted the last minute, too. It felt great, though my hip has been hurting since last week, so I really need to take care not to stress it out, even when it feels so good to be running again.

After the gym, I got a text that my old coworkers were having drinks in my neighborhood, so I went out to meet them for a second, and ended up staying for a couple of hours. They offered me a drink, but I had a club soda. It was a nice chat, and I really liked the little bar patio where we were perched up, talking. When they went home, I walked over to the grocery store to get a piece of pizza, then talked myself into a package of smoked salmon, instead. It’s one of my favorite “treats” and so much healthier than a big slice of bread with cheese and tomato sauce slathered all over it.

Man, this is the most boring post ever. I am just flat out exhausted. It’s almost midnight, and I’m yearning to be in bed. Very proud of my actions today, overall, though. I’m also happy that I woke up in the 180’s this morning. I can’t tell you the last time that I weighed less than 190 lbs, but I do know that it was not in the recent past. And for that, I’m going to bed without doing dishes. Woohoo, I’m wild and crazy!

Today’s Weight: 189.8 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 18,782 steps (including a 30-minute treadmill run/walk), 10 minutes of rowing, a 10-minute tabata routine via 8Fit, and some TRX stretching/foam rolling

Today’s Interactions: A 2-hour gym/gab session with Theo, and another 2 hours at the bar with Loc and Vic, talking about all kinds of stuff that would typically make me anxious and possibly trigger a binge – marketing, social media, money, politics. I stayed pretty cool, though, and really enjoyed hanging out outside my apartment, and for free!

Day 9: Period

NewGirlPeriod

I didn’t sleep well last night, and was tired all day today. A few irritating things happened prior to work and at the office that made my day a little more of a hassle than it needed to be, but overall I managed not to let it upset me too much. To be honest, I think I’ve just been too low in energy for anything to make that much of an impression, one way or the other. All day long, I kind of shuffled along, doing the things I needed to do, not thinking too deeply about much else. I just didn’t have it in me, and I didn’t even have the energy to think about why that might be, until I had a jolt of inspiration: oh yeah, my period started this morning.

I’m incredibly lucky to typically not suffer any terrible side effects from the monthly shedding of my uterine lining. When I was a teenager, I had two heavy periods a month, something that was eventually regulated in college with hormonal birth control (thank goodness it never came back). Other than that, I don’t have intense cramps or headaches or nausea. I bloat a little, but it’s not that noticeable (especially now that I’m naturally more plump). My period is so easy to deal with that I have the luxury of basically getting to ignore it, save for having to buy tampons from time to time. For years,¬†I mistakenly thought that I lacked period symptoms, but what I was actually lacking¬†was a connection to my body.

A couple of years back,¬†I was a member at a¬†weight lifting gym called Iron Tribe. Though I can no longer afford the membership fees, the lessons I learned there were vital to my growth as an athlete and a woman. I loved weight lifting. I still do, though I get to do much less of it. One of the things that I learned – even though apparently I keep forgetting it – is that I was physically weaker a few days before and during my period. It was noticeable. One day I’d be doing multiple reps of a¬†160¬†lbs. deadlift, and the next I could barely manage one rep at 150 lbs. A box jump that had been slightly difficult was now completely impossible. Simple kettlebell swings¬†would now have me sobbing in frustration. I’d suddenly get lightheaded, and was easily winded. Then I started to realize that it wasn’t just me. The other women who came in to work out on their periods complained of similar symptoms.

It shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. It’s harder to see when I’m not exerting a lot of physical energy, but I’m weaker and more tired when I’m on my period. Our bodies are complex machines. There’s a lot going on in here, and during my period, I need to learn to give myself a break. I don’t have an excuse to not work out, but I do have permission to be kind to myself. Not being able to do as much doesn’t make me a lesser person. It’s just a measure of where I’m at that day. Some days I need to realize that I’m not being lazy – I’m genuinely tired, and need to take care of myself.

That being said, I ended up forcing myself to walk to the gym (I was so tired, it probably looked like the zombie shuffle). There I met my friend Theo for an invigorating¬†gab session on the ellipticals, followed by stretching and foam rolling. And I think I’m going to go ahead and hit the hay, and aim for a nourishing 9-hour sleep…yum.

Today’s Weight: 192.6 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise:¬†30 minutes on the elliptical, 13k steps, and some stretching

Day 8: Learning The Steps

 

salsa-barbara-ruzzene
“Salsa” by Barbara Ruzzene

In Zumba class this morning, I spent much of the hour avoiding looking at myself in the mirror. Part of that was because I am slow to catch on, and need to watch the instructor’s feet intently to get in time. However, a larger part is because I caught a glimpse of myself at the beginning of class, and was grossed out by what I saw: two left feet and completely out of sync with the rest of the class, sweaty hair plastered limply to my forehead, too-small tank top clinging to improperly propped breasts (also due to a too-small and very old sports bra), the gray of the tank top blending seamlessly into the gray of the workout pants, an already beet-red face adding the only color in the entire picture.

I spent much of the class attacking the moves with dogged determination, considering why it is that I love Zumba when I know I look absolutely ridiculous. The fact is, I might be heavy and plodding, but when I get the footwork right, it makes me feel good about myself. A little less awkward. I get to climb out of my head, and live in a body that’s doing what I’ve asked it to. It’s not Zumba that I love, though the class is a decent enough outlet; it’s the solo salsa steps that I truly crave.

As the class danced, I started to daydream a little. I imagined moving to a place where I could add solo salsa dancing to my weekly routine. In my imagination, I went to the club to dance with everyone else, but I was too sweaty, and had two left feet. Where the other women undulated, evoking passion and mystery, I shimmied and shook in all the wrong places, inviting ridicule, or worse, pity. I resolved to persist, to get better, to fit in with the other women there, the ones who had grown up imbuing their every day motions with a salsa rhythm, that smooth sexiness rolling off of them without a second thought.

Back in reality, at¬†the end of class, one of my favorite songs came on. It’s always the same steps with this tune, and I moved along without thinking about anything much at all. I looked up and caught a second of myself in the mirror. My hips swayed just right. My arm movements looked relaxed, not forced or awkward. My steps were on the beat, and in the right place. An easy smile touched my lips. For a moment, I was beautiful.

Today’s Weight: 193.4 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 1-hour Zumba class, 10-minute 8Fit workout, and I’ll update this once I know how many steps I got in. I’m going to walk to Refuge Recovery tonight, and I’m already at 12k steps, so guessing I’ll hit at least 17k or so.

Day 5: This Sh*t Takes Time

Thoughts this Afternoon:

Let me start by saying that I overate at lunch, and now I feel sick. It happened, it’s over now, there’s nothing I can do to change any actions that have preceded this moment. All I can do now is examine how I feel and see if there’s a way to use the information to work towards not doing this in the future. Well, that, and try not to puke. I seriously feel ill, guys. I did not see this coming.

Luckily, though I ate too much for one sitting, if I look what I’ve consumed over the course of the entire day, I’m well within a normal limit of food. It’s not like I ate an entire birthday cake. The meal in question was¬†a medium-sized wrap sandwich thing, some chips & salsa, and a side of rice and beans, eaten in two sittings, over the course of three hours. Pretty much nothing, by my typical “I’m going to eat this entire Kia, hubcaps and all” standards. Even so, I ate half of my meal¬†at the restaurant, decided to pack the rest up for dinner and despite that, still¬†tucked into the leftovers not even an¬†hour¬†after we got back to the office. Now I feel like you could roll me down the hall like Violet Beauregarde from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

willywonka_rollingviolet

First off, the things I’m proud of:

  1. I was craving a Diet Coke while we were out on errands, but I talked myself out of one by promising that I could have it with lunch if I still wanted one then.
  2. Drank an unsweetened tea with lunch. Considered the Diet Coke and didn’t really want it anymore.
  3. Ordered a moderately healthy meal Рa shrimp & veggie wrap with a side of rice and beans. Not a huge burrito with unhealthy stuffings, nothing deep fried, and nothing smothered in queso. I thought briefly about getting a salad, but it sounded too depressing. This was enough of a shift in the right direction for now.
  4. I ate half of the food, then got a to-go box. It felt like a no-brainer. I was very happy with this part.

Now, the things I’d like to change:

  1. I didn’t want to go out to eat lunch. I ate breakfast a little later this morning, and I wasn’t hungry again yet.¬†But my coworker wanted to treat me to lunch, and more importantly, I knew HE wanted to get lunch, and I didn’t want to disappoint him. I could have found a way to say no if I really wanted to.
  2. During lunch, I was doing a good job of paying attention to how full I was getting, but I still ate a few bites mindlessly while waiting for the server to bring me a to-go box.
  3. Once I got back to the office, I ate the rest of the food out of boredom. I wasn’t hungry, and that would have made a great dinner after the gym.
  4. I ate even though I was uncomfortable.

This feels a little like my subconscious is trying to sabotage my gym trip this afternoon, but joke’s on me, because I’m still going to go. Just maybe a little later than originally planned, because I’m pretty sure I’d puke if I tried to go in the next half an hour.

Thoughts Tonight:

Man, I’m exhausted. Gonna keep this short. I worked my butt off at the gym with a 35 minute run/walk and a circuit training session via my new workout app. Afterwards, I made the executive decision to go and buy groceries, even though I was a little apprehensive that I’d make some impulse buys that wouldn’t fit my budget and might lead to true binge. I didn’t want lunch to merely be the prelude to something larger and shittier, so when I got to the store, I took my time and thought through every purchase. Was $4 over my weekly grocery allowance, but that’s because I bought cage-free/free range/organic eggs and allowed myself a treat at the checkout – a coconut LaCroix. But the things I did get were awesome, and I’m going to have very tasty, healthy meals this coming week.

I was supposed to talk with my friend Trin tonight at 7, but she had to reschedule, which actually worked out perfectly. It let me shower, get a little housework done, make a pitcher of tea, and bake sweet potatoes (now you know how Southern I am, lol) before my friend Danica and I talked at 8:30. I don’t talk on the phone very often, because it’s so difficult to find the time, and I don’t like talking on the phone (or Skype, for that matter). I prefer communicating in writing if at all possible. But now that I’m not on Facebook, I don’t see any of my best girlfriends, since they all live out of the state (or out of the country). So I’m going to have to make time to hop on the phone if I want to do the work of maintaining these wonderful friendships. All the talking out loud really drains me, energetically, but it’s very much worth it. I loved getting to catch up with Danica after months of only communicating via social media posts and the occasional text.

Today’s Weight: 193.4 Lbs.

Today’s Exercise: 18,850 steps (including a 35 minute run/walk at the gym), and a circuit training session on 8Fit.