After Work Tonight…

I CAME STRAIGHT HOME AND BOUGHT NO PIZZA AND NO COOKIE.

I had a shower, just a rinse off from the muggy day and all the work sweatin’ I did, then I had a TJ’s sparkling water and some Orange Is the New Black in bed (if I’m in bed I’m not tempted to eat).

Success!

XOE

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Steps Forward, Steps Back

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Had pizza and cookie again last night.  Gained .02 lbs. Buh.

But I went to the gym this morning and climbed exactly a thousand stairs exactly in 30 minutes.  I’m still not going to beat myself up about the pizza.  This is my process.  I am trying.

It’s interesting that the stair machine didn’t hurt my back, and I sweat like crazy, and my heart rate was in the 150s most of the 30 minutes I was at the gym but it didn’t feel hard.  I think the stair machine is going to make its way into my gym routine.  I burned more calories and exercised my heart more than just the treadmill walking, and stairs felt better on my back and hips.  Huh.  Who knew?  Probably lots of trainers and chiropractors.  But it’s news to me.

Yesterday when I got to work I felt like I wanted a little something sweet.  There happened to be cookies in the break room, as there is almost always something open to eat in the break room.  I thought, oh, this is great, I’ll just have one, since they’re sweet, but not a kind of cookie I actually like very much.  And it’s true: I did have only one cookie.

But instead of nipping my craving in the bud, I think it just whetted my appetite for more sweets.

For the rest of the day I had a piece of chocolate here, a chocolate covered almond there. I logged every bite on MFP calorie counter, and they were within my caloric allotment for the day.  But I wonder, did those indulgences fuel my pizza and cookie binge later in the day?  That pizza and cookie sure as shit weren’t within my allowed calories–I didn’t even bother logging them.

I still think there is some emotional or mental component to why I got the pizza that I’m not completely clear on.  I wasn’t very hungry, I just wanted to eat it because it tasted good.  I also wanted to stay up and watch some tv before I went to bed, another habit I’m trying to break.  It’s not that it’s not good for me, it’s just that when I watch tv I tend to want to snack.

I talked to my therapist about all this last week, and she recommended I make a list of things I can do for self care to replace the habit of self care with pizza.

Things to Do that Feel Good Instead of Eating Pizza at 11 PM 

  1. take an epsom salt bath
  2. eat some fruit
  3. jerk off
  4. do some yoga
  5. read a comic book
  6. post a blog entry about wanting, but not eating, pizza and cookie

That last one isn’t necessarily something that “feels good,” but it will keep me on the righteous path. Also, my therapist recommended I not stop eating pizza altogether, as it seems like a sure fire way to eat more pizza.  Instead of telling myself I can’t have pizza ever again, she recommends I tell myself I just can’t have pizza after work.  And I do like the idea of having it earlier in the day, on say my weekend, as a treat.  But even then I’ll have to make sure to expend more calories at the gym to burn off the pizza.  Oh pizza, you old troublemaker.

Wish me luck tonight!

XOE

 

Cardio Psychology

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I had the last two days off work, so I gained a little over my weekend, dipping my toe above the 190 threshold.  Oops.  But I’m not that concerned.  If I stick to my sammie/salad/fruit routine I’ll be in the 189s by tomorrow morning.  And by the end of my workweek I should have a little more distance between me and 190.  Weekends are tricky, since I am pretty physically active at work.  It takes some extra planning to burn as many calories and not eat too much on my days off as my days on.  I’m still working out the bugs, but I made better choices this weekend than I did last weekend, so I’ll count it as a win.

I want to write this morning about weightlifting.  But that would be the cart before the horse.  The horse, in this analogy, is writing about why I haven’t been weightlifting, and how I envision a weightlifting routine for myself at this point in my efforts.  And before that, we have to start with my cardio routine. But, why?

I have been doing only cardio since I started this blog, because, well, why have I been only doing cardio?

I suppose I started there because I thought it would be a gentle way to get back into working out.  I have a back injury (and a shoulder injury as well, oh, and a wrist thing too) from lifting heavy boxes improperly at work, and it gets exasperated every time I go to work (and continue to lift improperly).  Also, my feet just generally hurt because I’m fat and I walk/stand on concrete 8 hours a day.  So I’m coming to exercise carrying a substantial amount of extra weight, and I have preexisting injuries.  Because of these circumstances, I wanted to find a way to work out that wouldn’t make my body hurt more than it already does, as more pain seems like the fast track to quitting this whole endeavor.

So has cardio been gentle?

Well, yes and no.  Psychologically, it has been easy to go to the gym and walk on the treadmill.  Before worrying about losing weight from exercise I first just need to start going and keep going: first I need to form a habit of going to the gym.  And in that way this minimal cardio has been effective.  I have gone to the gym and walked every morning I have told myself I would since I started trying.  This is huge for me.  Mentally, I am forming a habit of going to the gym.  I actually look forward to waking up and going in the morning.  I look forward to watching the news on tv and seeing the people that are at the gym every morning at the same time as me.  I don’t mean I’m making friends, I mean I just like the routine.  It is comforting to me.  It feels good.

But walking at a brisk pace actually hurts my back.  My lower back and hips are tight from the injury, and so while I don’t want to run, I think it might actually be better for my back.  I think the gait I keep while walking quickly makes my injury worse.  I also don’t think I should be walking or running every morning.  I think I should be doing it every other day.  And I’m not going to stop going to the gym every day, so weights will be what I do on the non-running days.  I think my body will feel better if I change my routine every other day.

Also, I have always enjoyed weights much more than cardio, so I am looking into a weight routine for the days after my running days.  There is a lot of research to do, if I am to do this properly.

(Side note: I did skip the gym today in order to do this research.  But I went last Wednesday, which was normally my day off, so I could skip today and not feel like I was skipping altogether.  I think that kind of thinking, of skipping a day for no serious reason, this early in my efforts, is another sure fire way to quitting altogether.  I know it doesn’t sound very serious, but too many times I have justified skipping a day during previous weight loss efforts, that then leads to quitting full stop.)

First, what days am I doing what?

I’m going to start with 3 days of cardio, three days of weights, one day off. I want to start my work week with running (despite the pain of walking, and not looking forward to running, I do enjoy the feeling I get from running, and I think that will be a nice way to start my work week), so I’ll run Sat-Mon-Wed.  This leaves Sun-Tue-Thrs as my weight days.  Friday will be my day off, that’s my Sunday anyway, so it’ll be nice to sleep in.

I have run in the past, but have no idea how to start now from my current state.  So I goggled “how to start running when you’re fat” and found the Couch to 5K app.  This isn’t an endorsement, since I won’t start using it until next week, I just wanted to record what I’m using and when I’ll start.

For weights, I am fortunate and have a friend that’s a trainer.  I referenced her in my last post.  We didn’t make it to the gym together that night, but I’m meeting her Thursday at her gym.  She told me to come with lots of questions, so I’m going to ask her to help me figure out a weight routine, including how to start and how to progress.  I have used weights in the past, but they were always the weight machines, and I imagine using free weights is going to be B’s suggested route.  I will start with an embarrassingly low amount of weight.  I have to be ok with that to do it right and to progress.  Ouch, my ego.

If you don’t have a friend and you want to start working out I suggest you check out Nerd Fitness.  They have tons of free info for beginners, and it’s presented in a very approachable way.

So for this week, I will just keep going for my 30 min walk at the gym in the mornings to keep up the good routine I have going so far.  I’ll take Friday off, too, to start my new routine and to give my body a day of rest before my first day of running on Saturday.

XOE

 

 

Back in Business, My Lovelies

Back on track:

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And it only took one night of not eating pizza to get back under 190.  I think little goals along the way to my ultimate 140 target weight will help keep me focused.  So the first mini goal?

Never go above 190.  That feels doable.

Oh, and this honest-to-god text exchange just happened between myself and a friend trying to hash out plans to get together:

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I actually offered going to the gym as a way to spend time with a friend. I’ve never done that before.  And this friend will likely take me up on it.  She’s really good at going to the gym.  Point being, this is a change in habit.  Normally this friend and I would get white girl wasted and I would wind up taking an Uber home at 4 am.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s super fun, and I love getting shitty with B.  But staying out all night drinking will A.) lead to going over my daily calorie allotment by about a fuckton and B.) lead to me skipping the gym the following morning.  And I just got back on the skinny wagon.  Let’s not fall right the fuck off just as I’m getting seated.

I’ll let y’all know how it goes…

XOE

 

A List of Things I Hate About Being Fat

Got pizza and a cookie last night because I had a thousand calorie deficit at the end of my work day so when I weighted myself this morning I was up a half pound.  Cool.

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I wonder if I will someday learn my lesson.  Or if this is it for me.  Just being a fat guy.  My biological father is a fat guy. Most white American dudes are fat guys.  Do I want to be most American white guys?  Nope.  OK.  Time for a pep talk:

SUCK IT UP SHITHEAD. THIS IS THE PROCESS.  STOP FUCKING AROUND AND STOP EATING PIZZA, DICK FOR BRAINS.

Ok. I feel better.  The lesson?  I can’t eat pizza and cookies and lose weight.  Fuck.  I’ve known that all along.  Welp, guess I really do have dick for brains.  Doesn’t mean I have to stay fat.  Tons of hot guys have dick for brains.  So Imma keep trying.

I went to the gym this morning, and I intend on eating my sammie and salad for my meals today, and having fruit, not pizza, when I come home.  The main reason I’ve failed in the past is because I’ve given up.  So this time I’m not giving up.  YOU HEAR ME PIZZA?!  I’M NOT QUITTING!

Let’s refocus by listing all the shitty things about being fat:

  1. My double chin touches my neck when I look down.
  2. The ingrown hair follicle on my inner thigh that is irritated because of the fat that pushes it against my other fat thigh and that I have to put a hot press on it at night because that shit hurts all day.
  3. I don’t look good in the mirror anymore.  I look like a short fat guy because I am a short fat guy.
  4. I snore. I didn’t used to.
  5. I can’t run. I mean, I can, for like a block and it’s painful.  I used to love running.
  6. When I bend over my belly touches my leg way before it used to. I kinda have to shift my fat to the side of my leg to reach the ground. Gross.
  7. My work shirts come unbuttoned because my fat is constantly trying to come out.
  8. I have to tuck in my shirts because if I leave them untucked I look super fat.  But tucked in makes me look like an assistant manager for a Gurnee Mills Outlet.
  9. I have persistent back/hip/knee/shin pain that I didn’t have when I wasn’t fat.
  10. I have high cholesterol that you’ve read me bitch about before.
  11. None of my sexy clothes fit, and I refuse to buy clothes now because I don’t like how I look in anything so getting dressed to leave the apartment sucks.  I have my fat guy shorts, and my fat guy pants, and a couple fat guy shirts.  I look like a suburban dad because I don’t deserve nice things until I lose some weight.
  12. When I stay in, I wear huge house shorts and no shirt.  I used to love being shirtless, but now when I’m shirtless my belly is starting to do the fat guy hang down thing.  It’s a mini hang down, but christ, that’s a lot of fat.  It’s like an episode of Cops in my studio.

That’s a good list.  I feel refocused.

XOE

Head Games

This morning’s weigh-in:

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Last post I wrote a little about how my mental state plays into the choices I make when it comes to food.  Let’s pull that notion apart a little.  THIS IS GONNA BE A BLAST.

It usually follows the same pattern: some negative emotion arises (for example, boredom, anxiousness, and sadness are my top repeat offenders, in order of most common) and the way I most commonly try to dissipate those emotions is with a routine.  The repetition is like a reassuring hug, it tells me, “you are in control.  Everything is going to be ok.  Everything is ok.”  Pizza after work soothes me.  A cookie after pizza soothes me.  It took me a long time to figure this out.  It took me gaining 50 lbs to look at my food habits and try to discern why I do what I do.

I always felt like I didn’t understand people who used food for comfort, but I thought that without spending any time investigating my own relationship with food. Let’s look at a case study from yesterday.  What a lucky boy I am that I fucked up my food habit that recently!

Yesterday I had a migraine, first in my life.  I went home from work with it after asking my boss if he had ever had a headache that messed with his vision.  It felt like I had new glasses, my perspective was all distorted, and I had this weird numbness traveling down my arm, up my neck & into my face.  That’s happened to me before; usually it coincides with a panic attack.  But this time it felt different.  Thankfully my boss let me go.

I was dog tired, despite having had a good night’s sleep the night before.  As soon as I got home I crawled into bed.  I slept for three hours straight.  When I woke up, I had my good lunch in the fridge that I didn’t eat at work–my salad I have every day.  But I was feeling weird and worried and still had a wee headache I was afraid was going to turn into something worse.  I was feeling anxious.  How do I solve that?  Repetition.  I self-soothe with food.  So I went to Whole Foods and bought a veggie sandwich.  Not bad, right? Yeah, not bad.

But I also bought a box of ice cream bars and ate the whole damn thing that night.

FUCK.

F

U

C

K.

But still, I went to the gym in the morning, and so the damage done by the ice cream wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  I fucked up with the ice cream, no doubt.  But I still went to the gym and I chose Whole Foods over pizza spot.  So I am making better choices.   I’m still in process.  I’m still changing my habits.  This is what the middle looks like between the rewarding before and after comparisons.

So how will I try to change this well worn habit of self-soothing with food?

I don’t know.

I could say I will replace my garbage food with healthy food, but that feels too vague to be effective.  I’ll still try it, though.  I think it’s all part of the process.  I think I have to talk to my therapist about this.  (She’s the appointment I have every Wednesday morning that I skip the gym for.  She’s been my therapist for almost ten years.  She’s awesome.  If you have the means, I highly suggest you find a therapist that works for you, and stick with them.)

I think I’ll have to replace the food with something I find just as comforting.  Maybe an activity. Meditation?  It helps me to calm down, but I can’t say I love it.  What I do love, surprisingly?  Going to the gym.  It’s only been a couple weeks and already I look forward to my time there. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it post-migrane, but who knows?  Maybe I’m wrong.  For now, I’m going to try using meditation and walks (at the Lake or at the gym) instead of food to comfort myself.  I’ll let you know how it goes, and what my therapist says about all this.

I know I’m getting better at noticing when I’m eating out of boredom, though.  And I’m better at noticing when I think I’m hungry but really I’m thirsty.  So there are victories here, imbedded in the setbacks.

XOE

Daddy’s First Fuck Up

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A screenshot from my scale this morning.  Obvi I went up by about a pound and a half.

And I know why. I had it in my schedule that I would skip the gym Wednesday mornings.  I have a standing weekly appointment at that time, and if I’m being realistic I won’t have time for the gym then, so why not avoid the unrealistic gym goal, and build in one day a week that I don’t go?  That seems reasonable.  So I didn’t go Wednesday morning. I went to work, and had my Potbelly’s for lunch and my salad for dinner.

Wednesday is my Friday, meaning I have Thursdays and Fridays off work every week.  I came home at the normal time that night, and I wasn’t hungry, like normal, and I had my fruit waiting for me at home, like normal.

But something happened in my brain in the span of getting off the train and walking down two flights of stairs to the street.  Without thinking, or rather, with a little weak justification and then no critical thinking about those justifications or my subsequent actions, I straightaway went into the pizza place across the street and got a slice and a cookie, my regular after work meal before that got me into this fat pickle in the first place.

And then I didn’t go to the gym Thursday.  Or Friday.  And I ate garbage too.  And I avoided this blog.  I basically laid on the couch and watched shitty tv and ate whatever the hell I wanted.

So let’s figure out what the fuck happened.

I made the following justifications that shoved me right the fuck off the wagon:

  1. It’s my weekend, I deserve some treats.
  2. I haven’t lost much weight yet, and I probably will fail this time like I’ve failed in the past when trying to lose weight so fuck it I’m going to eat an entire pint of ice cream because nothing matters.

And I avoided my goals by taking naps and watching tv.  What’s weird is that I enjoyed my mornings going to the gym*, and I felt better eating better.  I didn’t even really enjoy the pizza, and I felt bad for eating garbage I knew wasn’t good for me.

So what I think is happening is maybe a couple things:

  1.  Old habits die hard, and are going to take time to not only rewire my brain with a new habit, but also, and even before the rewiring takes place, I’m going to have to practice some serious awareness with actions that are so insidious they are nearly automatic.
  2. There is a lot of data out there about how our gut microbiome drives our food cravings, and I think my pizza and cookie microbes are strong, because I’ve been feeding them a lot for a long time, and that’s likely where my “automatic” drive to eat pizza and cookies comes from.

So what am I going to do in the future to try and beat back this bad behavior?

Next Wednesday, I will still skip the gym.  I think it’s good for me to have a rest day at this early stage.  And like I said, I can’t make it that morning b/c of a scheduling conflict anyway.  Also, it wasn’t a problem to eat well during the day.  I just fucked up when I came home after my work week and thought I deserved something for completing that task.  And my need for a reward wasn’t even very strong.  The biggest hurdle was that I wasn’t thinking about what I was doing.

I think the answer is to plan to write a blog post that night.  It will give me something to do and it will force me to use my brain and think about what I’m doing as well.  And if I need a treat, I will bring home some different fruit, so I’m staying within my good eating routine but still getting something special.  I love mango, so I will likely bring home some pre-cut mango slices from work, and destroy the whole container, guilt free, because even a whole container will be well within my calorie allotment.  I think the most important takeaway here is to stay the course.  I fucked up.  I will likely fuck up again.  I just can’t give up.

XOE


*I’m not going to lie and say I enjoyed the exercise, because that’s bullshit.  The exercise is hard because I’m fat and out of shape.  But I do enjoy how I feel after the exercise.  I like the shower and the blogging and the water drinking.  And the exercise isn’t as bad as I think it’s going to be when I’m rousing in bed before I go.