Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Weigh-In Delay

Check back with me on Thursday! Due to a crazy work schedule, I had to bump my weigh-in to tomorrow evening. Lots of fun stuff to report!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Week 58, 163 lbs.

A really awful photo of one of the bikes I looked as
transportation I'll be using during my upcoming bike tour.
I'm still undecided.
I went into the past week thinking I was going onto the athletic protocol for Ideal Protein, was told later NOT to go onto the athletic protocol and ended up on Phase II! 

I went into my weigh-in this week frustrated.  The more I thought about it, the more I didn't understand why I was still on Phase I if I wanted to stay at the weight I'm currently at until after the style show in September ...  or why I was still on Phase I if I'm training for a 34 - 54 mile-a-day bike tour in April and can't do any heavy-duty exercising while on Phase I, especially if the athletic protocol isn't what I should be doing.

After talking to my coaches this week, we've decided I should transition into Phase II andPhase III and then onto maintenance.  I may return to Phase I in September if I decide to start reducing again.   I haven't given up on having my fat ratio at 25-27%.  (right now it's at 29-30, depending on time of the month.)

I have the "maintaining" down really well!  I've been a size 12 figure for months!! I got to thinking about it and realized that when I started this diet, I went into it thinking that I'd be happy if I got to a size 12, because I looked back at photos of myself in that size jeans when I was a lot younger and felt I looked healthy!  My subconscious brain heard me say this to myself and has worked hard to keep me in the current size! 

Over the next few months - between now and the upcoming style show - I'm going to be taking a good, hard look at myself and decide whether I really do want to stay here and if this is the size I'm meant to be.   I think this brief break from Phase I will also give the skin on certain parts of my body some time to shrink up and adjust to my smaller frame.

I had a funny experience this week.  Our town has a local bike shop and I've been in there twice in the past.  Both times the staff was extremely rude and dismissive towards me. At the time I thought they took a look at my close to 300 lb. frame and decided I wasn't really a cyclist and not worth their time.  Back then I swore I would never step foot in their shop again. After discovering that my current commuter bicycle was inappropriate transportation for the upcoming bike tour, I decided to give the bike shop another chance and see what they had that would work.

I was dreading dealing with the people at the bike shop but this time around the staff was a lot friendlier.  I don't know if it was because A. I came to their shop on a bike so they knew I was actually a cyclist, B. I was skinnier and looked more like a "real" cyclist, C. I was shopping for a bike instead of componets, so they were going to make money from me, D. I feel better and more confident than I did on my first visits and I'm nicer to deal with or E.  All of the above.  My guess is E.

I've noticed that people treat me differently than they used to.  I see the biggest change in the way I am treated amongst the ministerial staff at my church.  In the past I was invisible and unacknowledged, even when I was volunteering at the welcome desk for them.  Today I get eye contact and a smile from them and even an occasional "hello" on Sunday mornings.

The old me would look at this change and think immediately that it had to do with my smaller size, but after looking at the bigger picture I think it's more than that.  I think it has more to do with my change in attitude.

I think people respond to me in a more positive way now because I am a more pleasant person to be around.  I like me.  I respect myself.  If someone is a jerk to me for no reason, I take it less personally because I realize their behavior is their issue, not mine.  I'm less reactive.  I'm happy.

I am working hard to be a source of love and encouragement to others, instead of a needy, whining mess, and I think the world around me has responded to that effort.  It's not about my size.  It's about the soul that inhabits my body.... I've shrugged off a lot of the neuroses and hang-ups that led me to build a protective wall of fat around my body. I don't fear the world around me - I am letting my soul shine and I refuse to let fear get in the way of my life's purpose.

There are those who judge others based on appearance, but for the most part, people respond positively to people that make them feel good.  Nobody likes being around a downer for any length of time.

There are unhappy, neurotic skinny people out there - and they're just as miserable as unhappy, neurotic fat people.  One of the most abusive, nasty people I ever worked with had a flat tummy and a tall, beautiful body.  In spite of her physical beauty, she had plenty of conflict and disappontment in her life. She brought it all on herself. She would walk into a room and people immediately put up their defenses, ready for battle.... even people who didn't know her would sense her anger before she opened her mouth.  I even once witnessed her expressing anger at her infant daughter for falling asleep at the wrong time.  What sensible adult gets angry at a baby for doing what comes natural? 

When you decide to let go of your anger, your hurt, all those reasons you grab onto to justify that wall of fat you keep between you and the world around you and connect to the love you are meant to be, the world around you becomes an easier place to live in. 

"The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe." -Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

If you believe that the world is filled with unkind people, just waiting to hurt, anger or disappoint you, then it will live up to your expectations.  If you keep an open heart and mind and allow love to flow through you, then the love will flow back to you. 

Stay open to the miraculous world around you, savor the beauty of our planet and appreciate the people in your life because that's the life God meant us to lead.  (And remember, it is possible to allow the difficult people to move through your life without leaving a mark.)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week 57, 164 lbs.

A photo taken from my bike this weekend!
I love living in the Texas Hill Country!
 My weight is hanging in there, but some things are changing.  My lean mass decreased while my fat mass increased (it's still in the "acceptable" level, thank God)!

What does this mean?  It means I am doing something to cause my body to consume lean mass for energy to keep my body in motion instead of consuming my fat stores.  Not good.

On top of the commuting to work and back via bicycle, I have started taking the bike on longer rides around the Texas Hill Country on the weekends.  On Saturday I rode a leisurely 5 miles and then on Sunday I decided to push my limits and go for a strenuous 10 mile ride.

Why the heck did I do this, you ask?  For a couple of reasons.

1. While my neice was here I ate a lot of things that weren't on my diet. I figured I could work off the added calories with a brisk ride after my neice left my house.

2.  I want to start training for a cross-country bicycle tour that's coming up in April and need to build up my endurance.  (The three miles a day I've been doing daily to and from work just won't cut it.)

I waited until after my neice left my house to get the exercise in, not taking into account that we had gone swimming and biking while she was visiting and I was very active during the week.  I went back onto the strict Ideal Protein Phase I protocol on Saturday, so I caused my body to go on starvation mode this weekend and it started consuming lean mass.  Doh!

So I sat down and talked to my coach (Hi Caroline!) yesterday and when I told her I wanted to exercise more - a lot more - in order to prepare for the upcoming bicycle tour, she put me on the athletic phase I protocol instead of the basic phase I and we're going to see what happens.  I didn't even know there was such a thing as an athletic protocol for this diet!!  Apparently, folks training for triathlons and such are also on Ideal Protein!

Part of me thinks it's time to leave Phase I and work on maintaining the current weight, at least until after the style show in September.  Another part of me (and the IP coaches) think I need to stay on Phase I for a while longer and get my fat ratio firmly in the middle of the "acceptable" range.... another small part of me is worried about what's going to happen when I am off this diet and that brings me to a book I stumbled across last night. 

I was cruising Audible for a new "read" and found Marianne Williamson's "A Course in Weight Loss."  I have read other titles by Williamson.  She's a student of the Course in Miracles and I've learned a lot of wonderful stuff from her.  If you're struggling with self-image issues, she's the person to read.

Even though I've dropped all this weight and have changed my life and the way I look at myself, I still struggle with binge eating from time to time and it's a battle I've fought since I was 12 years old.

I don't want that binge behavior to take over my life once I'm back in the real world, so it's time to take a good, hard look at the part of me that binges and figure out just what's behind it all ...  and knock it out of my life once and for all.

I've only listened to the first chapter so far, but MAN it is powerful stuff!  If you're like me and have an issue with binges or eating to excess, I highly encourage you to find this book and read it (or listen to it like I'm doing)!

I have a feeling that some of my upcoming blogs will be about what I've learned about myself from this wise, loving book. 

Have a beautiful week!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

No Weigh-In This Week!

My bike at the local produce market.  Another miracle: biking
instead of driving when I go grocery or veggie shopping!
Art Camp started at the center this week and my eight year old niece has come for a visit, so I wasn't able to get into Wilson Chiropractic to weigh in.  But that doesn't mean I don't have stuff to report.

Miracles keep happening.  These miracles might not seem like much to someone else, but each time they happen I have to pause, smile to myself and give thanks at how far I've come and how much I've changed.

For example: This weekend my mom and I had a lot of fun shopping in a ladies' boutique in Fredericksburg, Texas.  This might not be a big deal to many folks, but to me, it's amazing that the two of us can go clothes shopping together and have a good time.  We laughed, we tried on tons of clothes, we enjoyed each other's company and there wasn't an unpleasant moment.

Some people may ask, what's the big deal?  Where's the miracle in that?  Well, let me tell you! From the time I was in upper elementary I HATED clothes shopping.  I was full of self-hate, even back then.  I hated my body.  I thought I was ugly and fat.  I wanted to look like the popular girls in school and never quite measured up.  Pair that with my mom's firm idea of what her little girl should wear to school, which never agreed with what *I* wanted to wear (girly clothes versus borderline goth/early grunge look) and you had a recipe for disaster.

Most shopping trips would end with me huddled on the floor of a dressing room in hysterical tears, with my mom frustrated and exhausted.   

Even as an adult, I never enjoyed clothes shopping.  I called myself a "low-maintenance" woman and wore over-sized sweatshirts and sloppy clothes.  Shoes, purses, belts and accessories did not exist in my closet.  I just never invested in my appearance.  My professional wardrobe was a horror. My mom, who loves to shop and can spot a shoe sale like she has built-in radar, would often invite me to go shopping with her and I know I zapped the joy of shopping out of the experience.   She just couldn't get me to "play" with her and have fun shopping.

As I grew to care about and appreciate myself - love myself for who I am, no matter what -  the shopping experience changed. I think the shift happened even before I had lost a lot of weight.  All of a sudden I started buying brighter colored clothes. I started to tuck in my shirt tails and wearing belts! (SHOCKING!!) 

Since the shift in my mind-set I've been shopping with my mom a few times, and the experiences have been a lot more pleasant than the shopping trips of yore, but last weekend was a blast!  We tried on piles of clothes, explored every inch of the shop and just enjoyed each other's company, joking and laughing like life-long friends.  It was a magical-fun day.

But that's not the only miracle!  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was asked to model in a fashion show for a local charity.  The charity has a HUGE thift shop and acres of really nice clothes. I am supposed to model selected items from the thrift store on a big run-way while benefactors and supporters of the charity look on.  Imagine me, the girl who used to hide from her friends and wear dark clothing in hopes of disappearing into the scenery, as a model!  My life REALLY HAS changed!

The fashion show is in mid-September and I went to the thrift store this week to go through the items volunteers set aside for the fashion show.  I was to choose a casual and a formal outfit.  The casual outfit was easy.  I found a pair of jeans in a size and brand I knew looked good on me and paired it with a cute, artsy top.  The formal outfit was a bit of a challenge, but I eventually found a slinky black number that I'll be wearing.  (Me! In a slinky dress!!)  All I need to do is find some accessories to go with the dress and a belt for the jeans and I'll be ready to go!

Here's the miracle: Not once but twice I went clothes shopping and had a blast!

Here's the challenge that comes with the miracle: I have to stay the same size until September!  The volunteer who helped me select my outfits told me that I can change my mind about what I'm wearing over the next couple of weeks, but that I'm eventually going to have make a firm selection so they can write up the outfit descriptions for the event.  The slinky dress would still work if I dropped another size, but size 12s are already hanging off me and I'm not sure those jeans would look very good if I lost more inches.

So when I get to Wilson Chiropractic next week I need to have another talk with my coach and see what she suggests.  My next few weeks of posts may or may not be about maintaining instead of reducing my size.  We'll see what happens.  I'm thinking of switching my posts headers from announcing my weight to announcing my fat ratio.

Another miracle:  I opened my home to my eight year old niece for a full week! Not only have I been having fun playing with her, but we biked to work together this morning.  (She's attending art camp.)  In the past she would have stayed with my mom and might have stayed a single night under my roof.  She was five or six the last time she stayed at my house and I didn't have much energy for her.  She was bored!  Last night, I think I outlasted her in the energy department!  I'm a much better aunt than I ever was.  Today, after work we're going to play in a water feature at a local park!

Have a wonderful, miracle-filled week!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Week 55, 164 lbs.

Well, darn.  My body fat ratio and weight stayed put!

I think the dinner out with family at a Chinese restaurant the night before weigh-in stalled my progress. I tried to stay as true to the diet as possible but ate a portion of fried rice without even thinking about it.  At least I didn't lose any ground!

So I'm staying on Phase I this week.  I told my coach that I'd like to get off Phase I but she advised me to stay the course for a couple more weeks to bring down the body fat a bit more.  Her experience is that most dieters gain a few pounds when they graduate to Phase II and beyond and she'd like to see my fat ratio at a smaller number before I move on.

Deep inside, I know she's right so I am going to take her advise. However, I have to admit to being disappointed with her wise counsel. I am anxious to start a more vigorous exercise routine, take longer bike rides, and get on with life.  Patience is a virtue that has never come easy for me.

So for now, I am viewing this chapter in my life as a growth experience.  In looking at earlier posts on this blog, I have to laugh.  Every time I've said that I've been close to some kind of goal or felt that the end of the diet was in the near future, I've encountered a set-back.  There's a lesson in there, somewhere.

Everything happens when it is supposed to happen and very seldom does it happen on MY time schedule.  :)  Time to channel my inner Zen and let things unfold the way they're supposed to ... and learn a bit about patience.

Deep breaths..... deep, patient breaths.