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Thursday, July 11, 2013

To put my weight loss struggles in perspective... I started trying to lose weight and regain control over my life/body (changing my diet, beginning to exercise, etc.) in 2005.. I lost a little weight in 2006, but gained it back and another 40- pounds in 2007 and 2008 (net gain of over 60 pounds in 3-4 years). In 2009, I seriously stepped up the exercise and was recommended sparks, which I joined in the spring (so 4 years ago last April). I started working out 5 days a week and tracked my food religiously for years (I stopped eventually because it's really time consuming, entering every ingredient every time we make a new dish--I typically enter probably 30 separate items in a day, and by then I had a good handle on what I was eating. And now I eat even better than I did back then--and when I track, I'm usually where I expect to be, and I double check foods all the time if I'm not sure about them). According, to sparks, I consistently ran a calorie deficit for FOUR YEARS, burning more than I consume. And in the last year and a half, I've GAINED 20 pounds. Some of that is that is muscle gained and some of it is inflammation because of PT and my wrists/arms/hands flaring up etc., but part of that is still fat gain. I should have hit my goal weight by now and instead I'm almost heavier than I've ever been. And I don't know what I can do about it. I'm eating better than ever--I cut pop from my diet last fall almost entirely, I'm eating more vegetables, I'm more active than ever, I mix things up all the time as best as I can, but my stress levels in the past year and a half have gone through the roof. Thankfully, I am not generally one who eats while stressed--if anything, I do the opposite, though I'm working really hard to not skip meals--but still, the pounds just pile up.

It's hard to have a healthy relationship with food when it feels like eating--eating anything--makes me fat. Because I'm gaining weight; obviously it's the food's fault. It's hard to reduce my calories when if I don't eat something of substance (carrots are not sufficient--it needs to be a blend of carbs, fat, and protein) to stay functional. I'm struggling with healthy eating because I still tend to eat half of my calories after 6 pm... not because of night time snacking (I rarely eat anything after dinner, actually) but because I'm not HUNGRY until usually dinner time. I could easily lower my calorie consumption if I just skipped breakfast and ate a really late lunch instead of breakfast, lunch, snack, and dinner.... but I'm told that not eating until 3 pm is not good for me, but eating meals earlier doesn't mean that smaller meals at dinner are enough. Eating more vegetables doesn't help. Eating whole grains doesn't help. I still end up eating about 800 calories at dinner.

It's really hard to keep a positive attitude when your best just isn't good enough. I'm good at positive attitudes, because I feel that if you go in with a defeatist attitude than you are defeated before you even start. I have a lot of practice maintaining a positive attitude. But still, this part year I've been holding on to my motivation by the skin of my teeth. Most of the time, it's only the realization that if I gave up I'd probably gain 50 pounds instead of 20 that has kept me in. But that's a depressing realization.

My old doctor got on my case every time I saw him because of my weight, insisting that I had to do "more" but I I don't know what more I have to give. I have a number of friends who are trying to better themselves, lose weight, get in shape, etc., and of them, I'm the hard core one--I exercise more regularly and more intensely, I eat better than all but one (and that because of food limitations when I'm home and sharing meals with my husband). My new doctor doesn't like the weight, but he says I'm doing everything right and feels that the problem is stress and that once the stress backs off the weight will come off. In the meantime, I'm doing well if I lose any weight at all--in the last year, to be honest, my best has mostly slowed the weight gain or, at best, maintained it.

This is why I focus on positive reinforcement--particularly positive reinforcement that concentrates on living a healthy lifestyle, I can directly control unlike the scale. I can't do anything about the scale if my hip flares up or my hands or whatever, but I can choose to drink water, or tea instead of pop, or eat veggies, or go exercise. And even though I can't see progress on the scale, I can tell from my doctor's visits that I'm getting healthier on the inside--blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood sugar etc. are all good. I'm stronger and fitter than ever.

I have really modest goals this round because I knew going into this round of the BLC that school was going to be brutal and I could only handle so much, but I didn't want to lose the ground I had gained. So far, I have accomplished that. So I'm trying not to let the scale bring me down. Some days that's easier than others, especially when I'm already stressed out, but I'm trying.

This feels like a really negative blog. I don't like writing negative blogs. But I'm really struggling right now--struggling to find time, struggling to find motivation, struggling to stay afloat of my responsibilities, and pretending that everything is okay when it's really not isn't working so well for me right now.

I'm just hoping that things will lighten up after I turn in my final draft of my dissertation and bibliographies for my comprehensive exams at the end of August... or, at the very least, I keep it together long enough to graduate. I'm not sure what will happen after that, other than I want to have a party (not a big party, but a party with the people closest to me who have supported me on this journey) and then probably sleep for a month. After that... well, we'll cross that bridge when I get there.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Obviously it is the stress preventing your body from losing weight. It is just your body's mechanism of protection thinking it is being threatened all the time. So, eat as healthy as you can to keep doing the best you can for the inside of your body and concentrate on ways to deal with your stress (i.e. meditation/yoga/exercise). When you have less stress in your life, then all of your current and past efforts should pay off. Besides, without the weight loss, the healthy habits are adding years to your life and that is what really matters. Stressing about your stress isn't going to help anything. Just try to find happiness where ever you are in your journey right now.
    2939 days ago
    I have to agree with your Dr. that stress has a lot to do with your struggles. It sounds like there is a light at the end of the tunnel with school, and then all those wonderful things you do for your body will be reflected. emoticon emoticon
    2939 days ago
    I know how hard it is to lose weight when under stress. With the 800 calories at dinner, do you think you are in range? I have trouble with dinner too, and eat that many often, but I was told by a dietitian that anything over 500 calories the body doesn't know what to do with, so meals should all be under that. I don't practice that all the time myself, but it is food for thought.
    2939 days ago
  • no profile photo CD4994568
    I feel for you. I have watched/helped several friends get through the dissertation process. It is a killer. But you know that it will be over in 8 weeks at the longest. Then a lot of the stress will go and you can take a slightly more rational look at your life. emoticon And you have a goal--finish and then emoticon with the people who matter to you.
    2939 days ago
  • EILEEN828
    I have another suggestion for you. I followed this diet book many years ago and lost 50 pounds. It's the carbohydrate addicts diet. It's an old book and they've rewritten it but it did work and was pretty simple to follow. In a nutshell, no carbs for breakfast or lunch, eat what you like at dinner as long as all eating ends 1 hour after the first bite. It is designed to confine your insulin output to one release per meal. And lowering carbs induced weight loss. No cravings except for at meal time. So for example for breakfast I would have an ham and cheese omelet, lunch I would have a taco salad without chips, and for dinner I would have the same food as everyone else stopping in one hour. What made me stop? Well this was the first time I had ever restricted on such a regular basis the way and things that I would eat. And while one hour seemed generous at first, it bugged me a lot later. The principles still cling to me though. I truly learned that weight gain is based on carbs and lessening them is essential. I've come far further in my thinking and knowledge about what works for my body, and I now know that I'm allergic and/or becoming allergic as I grow older to certain foods. My goal now is to learn to come up with a way of eating that incorporates all that I've learned and ease off the weight so that my body doesn't really realize it and start craving foods and having a rebound in weight gain. This is difficult because of the specific things I have to avoid are some of my favorites (like tomatoes and peppers and potatoes) and very prolific in my previous diet, and so it's hard to have to learn how to cook all over again. Anyhow pick up a copy of the book and read it it was worth it, and gives a lot of information that answer why and brings results. Try a second hand store, ebay or amazon. Keep going, you can do it!
    2939 days ago
    Don't give up, you have a great plan in place and you know what to do.
    2940 days ago
    I looked through your Nutrition Tracker for the last several days. I noted that your carbs range near 200 g/day, and sometimes more. Since you're doing everything else you can to reverse the weight trend, I just observe and suggest that perhaps you could try to reduce that number a bit. I am admittedly biased; I'm on a low-carb plan per our endocrinologist. But it's worked for me and is having the desired effect on my husband, who's Type II diabetic. It's worth looking into, at least. Visit some of our forums here - Smart Carbing, Atkins, Wheat Belly. Lots of good experience and advice there. You never know where you might pick up some insight.
    2940 days ago
    I agree with your doctor about the stress being a big culprit. I know you are under so much stress (and I still probably can't grasp just how bad it is for you), and it has wreaked havoc with your life. I can feel your frustration over the lack of weight loss, but I love that you can still focus on the positive things that are happening. Even if you are not losing weight, you are gaining so many good things. I'm sending lots of good, stress relieving karma to you, to help you through your final push in school. You can do it, hon!

    2940 days ago
  • POPSY190
    Negative stress is very hard to deal with and it has all kinds of effects on idividuals. From the sound of your preferences Stonecot's suggestion might work for you. emoticon
    2940 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13886868
    Just saw this and hope you're doing/feeling better! emoticon
    2940 days ago
  • MARUKI52
    My suggestion to you is.....is there anyone near you who is a masseur/masseuse? I think you would find a massage very helpful in your situation. I'm not talking sports massage here but just a gentle, relaxing massage. It doesn't have to be a whole body massage either as masseuse offer many kinds of massages but a back massage would be good for your circumstances I feel because you would be lying down and could completely relax whilst the masseuse worked just on your back. Barring that, how about a face massage? Have a look in your local area and see if there is someone reputable with qualifications available. Do check the qualifications.

    BTW a masseur is male and a masseuse is female.
    2940 days ago
    It is great that you keep going and you are focusing on a healthy lifestyle and not so much on the scale. Keep going. Fake it till you make it.
    2940 days ago
    Do you have any hobbies you can use to help lower your stress? I knit. This way my hands are busy and I get something out of it.
    2940 days ago
  • no profile photo CD8634484
    I don't know why there's this idea about missing a meal being bad for you, or that not eating till 3pm is bad to you either.

    Since March, I have been fasting twice a week. Nothing other than water, green tea etc, from dinner at 5pm till dinner the next day at 5pm. Then I eat about 500 calories and nothing till next days breakfast. In all that time I have been exercising a lot on my fast days, finishing with two hours karate in the evenings. I have never felt faint or wobbly, never suffered from headaches, or had any other bad symptoms, in fact people have commented on how well i look, and I can tell them how well I feel.

    I do this not as a weight loss tool, but for the reduction in cancer risk that research into fasting has shown, as I am a breast cancer survivor. But as a side effect, I have lost 14lbs since I started.

    Why not give it a go, I can assure you that the idea that it's somehow dangerous has been totally disproved, and what have you to lose other than the weight?
    2940 days ago
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