Last week was great, last week wasn’t so great. I went into my weekly weigh-in less than optimistic. I had done my strength training workouts and kept to my meal plans, but I missed my lunchtime walks a few times as well as my Thursday night cardio session. What’s more, I was feeling a little down all week which zapped my enthusiasm for workouts. I didn’t have very high expectations as I hopped on the scale but, much to my surprise and delight, I discovered I’d met my goal and lost another 2.2 pounds. From there, I started getting excited for the next week because, barring any catastrophic backslides, I could very conceivably hit Onederland next week.
I looked through my weigh-in history and discovered I am now at my lowest weight since June 2015. When I went to treat myself to a much-needed pedicure on Sunday, the nail tech asked if I’d lost weight … people are noticing! My clothes, jeans in particular, are starting to loosen up and it is impossible not to get charged up when I’m experiencing all of these encouraging and validating transformations and think of the milestone well within my reach.
That said, I have been dealing with some depression lately and those emotions can really sabotage my plans. Dark moods drive me to a lackadaisical attitude towards exercise and, more dangerously, spur desires to soothe those emotions with binge eating. Working through my feelings this week and not giving into unhealthy and unproductive inclinations will be just as vital as workouts and meal plans.
I am feeling good today, feeling inspired and confident and ready to see that beautiful, glorious LCD “1” blinking up at me from beneath my feet.
WEEK ELEVEN CHECK-IN Weight: 201.6 (2.2 pounds lost this week, 13.4 pounds lost total)
I haven’t wanted to post anything this week for fear of jinxing myself. My mojo is fragile, I don’t want to make any sudden moves, any loud noises and scare it off.
I had a good week last week – I met all the goals I’d set for myself. I started my new workout sessions with 10 minutes of rowing warm-up on Wednesday & Friday (sadly, I had to skip Monday’s workout with a strained back). I kept moving between sets to keep the intensity and my heart rate up. I hit the gym for exhausting cardio sessions on Tuesday and Thursday. I stuck to my meal plan and opted for pre-planned healthy meals over the weekend. My efforts paid off with a win on the scale. But I don’t want to jinx it, don’t want to say I have my mojo back, that I’ve defeated my funk. I was dripping sweat last night as we worked out – the signs are good and I am optimistic.
WEEK TEN CHECK-IN Weight: 203.8 (3.4 pounds lost this week, 11.2 pounds lost total)
As I was getting my hair done Saturday, enjoying a little girl talk with my stylist, the topic of weight loss came up. We’d been talking about my goals, about my struggles to regain motivation. Over the course of the conversation, she said something that didn’t seem all that significant at the time – it was something I’d heard before, said before and was admittedly a little dismissive about – but her words have lingered, proving they were not insignificant. She simply said, “just look how far you’ve come.”
This morning, her advice still echoing in my mind, I dug deep – all the way down to Photobucket (anyone remember that?) and dug up an old photo of myself at my highest weight. How could I have been so flippant about my progress? Looking at that photo, remembering all the negative, hurtful feelings I lived with back then (not to mention the negative, hurtful things people said to and about me) and I realized I have been taking for granted how far I’ve come, how hard I’ve worked and how much I have achieved. I have been so focused on being pissed off at myself for regaining some weight that I have been cavalier about the 87 and pounds, 12.2 BMI points, and 5 dress sizes I have lost. I’ve lost 30% of my body weight and I am being hard on myself… really? I have transformed so dramatically and I am questioning whether or not I can go on? Seriously?
What a blessing those words were to me on Saturday. Whether she knows it or not, my stylist gave me a tremendous gift in making me remember, making me acknowledge where I’ve been and where I am now. “Just look at how far you’ve come.”
“I’m not breaking a sweat,” he said Sunday as we sat on the couch, talking about what adjustments we wanted to make to our workout plans moving forward. We had finished the TRX 8-Week Program and, while there were things we loved about it, there were things we felt could be improved upon. David was absolutely right in that intensity was an issue that would need to be looked at as neither of us were experiencing much muscle failure and getting that “you just got hit by a truck” feeling when finishing up a workout. After an hour in the workout room, you kind of need to feel a bit like you’ve had your ass kicked – otherwise, you question whether you’re doing it right.
So, with things like duration, intensity and muscle failure in mind and his words ringing in my ears… “I’m not breaking a sweat”… I sat down yesterday to come up with a new, improved 8-week program for us. We need to put in the effort, no matter how hard, in order to get results and I am starting the week motivated and excited for a fresh, new program. In coming up with a new workout plan, a few things were key.
1. I need more cardio and more intense cardio. My workouts in the past, the ones most effective in achieving weight loss, involved three days of conditioning with some cardio and two days of just full-tilt, intensive cardio sessions. I decided I needed to find a way to go back to that.
2. We can’t schedule workouts for weekends. We just won’t workout with any regularity on weekends. Our weekends are our time to enjoy time off from work, relax, run errands, etc. and workouts consistently got shelved. They say the best workout is the one you do and you have to be realistic about what you will and will not do. Rather than miss workouts, it is far better simply to schedule rest days for those days.
3. Workouts need to be varied, both to stave off boredom and to keep muscles confused. They have to be challenging but not impossible so I have to take into consideration each of our physical limitations.
With these things in mind, I put on my “personal trainer” hat and went to work. I scoured the internet, looking at workout plans on reputable websites and got ideas. I nailed down what muscle groups will be target each day, then got out my deck of TRX exercise cards and started matching muscle groups to workout days. For each day/muscle group I came up with a Workout A and Workout B, which can be alternated each week for variety and muscle confusion. I organized each workout day to keep the intensity up, keep us moving. After a few hours of research and organization, I was pretty proud of what I’d come up with, I gave it a name I’d hoped would prove true: “Workouts to Kick Our Asses.” But would it stand up to the “Sweat Test?”
David had to test Monday’s Workout A with me in a motivational/supervisory capacity as I’m nursing a strained back. It was a fun experience for me to continue playing “trainer” for the night but it was also helpful as it gave me a chance to observe the workout in action from an objective standpoint. David powered his way through Pistol Squats, Crossover Lunges and Hamstring Curls. It wasn’t long before I saw it… the first drop of sweat beaded on his forehead. As he lied down on the exercise matt for Marching Bridge, smearing sweat across the floor, his hairline damp and his legs slick with sweat, he had the look of a kicked dog in his eye and I knew I’d done good. Workout A was a success and, given that I’d planned each workout with the same considerations in mind, I am confident that these workouts will, indeed, kick our asses – kick them into shape!
I wish I had more progress to report, a more dramatic photo to share, but I haven’t done the work necessary for that. I am only down 6/10ths of a pound since last month I am continuing to struggle with righting this ship after losing focus and motivation. I didn’t meet either of the goals I’d set for myself during my Month One check-in. This is the point when, historically, I give up on a goal – when my mental toughness fails, my lack of grit is all-too-evident. But I am not quitting. Instead, I have been looking at where I have gone wrong and making notes about what I need to adjust. I have been thinking back to times when I have had more success and pinpointing the differences between then and now. Moving forward, here are some adjustments I have to make.
Increase Frequency and Intensity of Cardio Workouts: I used to do sweat-dripping cardio workouts five days a week; 30-45 minutes on weight lifting days and 45-60 minutes on cardio-only days. I am committing to starting three mornings per week with 15-30 minutes of rowing as well as two days of 30-35 minutes of cardio at the gym. Eventually, I will work my way back to the duration of past workouts.
Design and Implement New Workouts: With my eight-week TRX workout plan complete, I am designing workout plans. I need to ensure the workouts are rigorous and intense enough to cause muscle failure rather than simply breezing though the five quick reps of certain exercises in the TRX plan. Workouts need to be varied to prevent boredom and create muscle confusion. Additionally, I have to find a way to keep active in the downtime between my sets while David does his.
Addressing Afternoon Hunger/Binge Eating: I am being hounded by hunger in the afternoons, bringing on the manic quests for food of my food addiction. The drive for food is overriding my discipline and I am eating spoonfulls of peanut butter and stopping on my way home for Cliff Bars. Moving forward, I am going to put notes in highly visible places at work to remind myself to sit with the hunger, take a brief walk to take my mind off food.
Meal Planning for Weekends: I have never been good about meal planning on weekends. When I was a single gal in New Orleans, I tended to eat less on weekends – there was little more than staples in the house by Friday night so meals were small and simple. Now; however, weekends are a free-for-all of dining out. While our Saturday Night Date Nights are important for us, the rest of my weekend eating needs to be reigned in.
Sitting at the dining table this morning, talking over a couple of lemon smoothies, David said “you’re in a funk.” “You’re right, I am in a funk!” I replied. We had been talking about my waning motivation and how I’ve been fighting to regain my momentum ever since the fateful weight-gain week on June 13. The Hawaii trip caused a brief spike in my drive but even that excitement was dampened by only having lost 8/10ths of a pound that week. After that point I decided to stop weighing in on Mondays, instead focusing on healthy eating and workouts without the numbers being a distraction. That was both a blessing and a curse in that just as a disappointing weigh-in couldn’t discourage me, a good one couldn’t inspire me.
I feel I am at a sort of crossroads now – our eight-week TRX workout plan wraps up this week and my two-month weigh-in (which I have resolved to do) and progress photo are looming this coming Saturday. After this week, we have decisions and plans to make about our workouts moving forward and I feel, in many ways, that this gives me a sort of deadline to address the issues I know are holding me back from making the progress I want to make.
I don’t mean to discount all I’ve been doing – but, in my mind, I have been discounting it. I have been veering wildly off plan over weekends by both skipping workouts and eating unplanned and untracked meals, including dining out and indulging in desserts. Even during the weeks (it is time to come clean about this and be accountable) I have been climbing-the-walls-hungry by late afternoon and, subsequently, sneaking extra snacks. Three times last week I had to stop at the store for something I either ran out of at home or didn’t/couldn’t get during my weekly grocery shopping trip and each time I left Safeway with a Cliff Bar in hand. It doesn’t seem like much, but an extra 250+ calories a day can absolutely make a difference. It makes a difference in terms of meeting my weight loss goals and it makes a difference in terms of my psyche, my ability to tell myself I am doing my best. That said, aside from unplanned snacks I have been making and adhering to meal plans Monday through Friday for nearly two months and that is an accomplishment. And, even without motivation, we have been working out in the evenings until the weekends roll around again and it becomes all-too-easy to brush them off, promising to make up for the missed sessions later (which we do… I should point out, we do make up for those skipped sessions.)
But I am in a funk and, as hard as it can be to make the right decisions and the healthy decisions each day, it is doubly hard when your heart isn’t in it – when the “why bother?” thoughts ring in my head and, in my minds eye, I see those numbers on the scale that knocked the wind out of my sails three weeks ago. I don’t have any pearls of wisdom, any answers or theories, any inspirational epiphanies. I’m just in a funk and have to share that, get it out of my head and into the world.
WEEK EIGHT CHECK-IN Still not weighing in. Will weigh in on Saturday, July 9 for my two-month progress report.