Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Caving and Bending

Okay so I caved in and bought a Fitbit on Monday.  I couldn't stand it.  I was going to wait on the new Weight Watchers gizmo that's going to replace the ActiveLink, but as much as I searched for information on its release, I couldn't find anything online that gave me an inkling as to "what" or "when".  And now that I'm trying to get back to a regular exercise routine, I really wanted a monitor.  Originally I had decided against the Fitbit because of the $100 investment.  But once I did the math I realized I had already paid more for the ActiveLink ($40 to buy it and then $5 a month fee over the past 17 months).  With the FB, there is no fee involved.

I really like the Fitbit so far.  It's similar to the ActiveLink- once I clip it on I don't even realize I'm wearing it.  I opted for the one that attaches to my bra strap, because that's where I always wore my AL.  Plus it gives a lot more info than the AL did.  The FB has steps and miles walked, for the entire day, which is pretty cool.  Yesterday I had a typical day around the house, some chores, some cleaning upstairs in the studio, a little bit of stuff in the yard, but also a lot of sitting at the computer which is normal for me.  No real exercise.  I was pleased to see that at the end of the day, even without getting on the treadmill, I had walked almost 6000 steps.  I know they say an "optimal" day is a minimum of 10,000 steps.  It's good to know that with no effort at all, I was well on my way there.  Just think how great those numbers will be on a day where I go walk in the neighborhood in the evening.

The Fitbit also has sleep mode, which I think is one thing that really attracted me to it.  I do have trouble sleeping, as many menopausal women do.  I take a lot of all natural sleep aids every night (valerian, melatonin, etc.) so it does help.  On nights where I don't take anything, or take my pills too late, I do not sleep at all.  So around 8:30 or so, I start taking everything so it can start working its magic on me.  By 10:00 I am ready for bed and can drift off fairly easily.  Staying asleep, however, is the problem.  And I have no desire to go on any kind of prescription medication for it.  I toss and turn a lot, kicking off covers, moving around pillows, swatting cats away, getting up to pee several times, checking the clock, getting a touch of asthma or needing to blow my nose, and of course I have awful restless leg syndrome to top it off.  You name it, it wakes me up, however briefly.

The first night I wore the FB to bed, the results were interesting.  By the way, the wristband for nighttime is so lightweight, I didn't even notice it once I put it on.  So the FB showed how long it took me to settle down and fall asleep (8 minutes), how many times I actually got up in the middle of the night (twice), and how many periods of "restlessness" I had (17!).  It showed I was in bed for 7 hours and 15 minutes, but I only got a little over 6 hours of actual restful, still sleep.  Yet it gave me a 92% efficiency rating.  So I am very interested in continuing to track this information.  I have definitely found a correlation on "how" I slept and how I feel the next day.  I don't just mean waking up feeling tired, I mean if I don't sleep well the night before- I feel like crap the entire day.

I just got the FB on Monday afternoon, so I haven't yet hooked it up to my Weight Watchers eTools account.  I'm curious to see how well it translates my activity points.

I also started going back to my yoga class this week, as I promised myself I would.  Turns out my previous instructor is no longer with the studio due to scheduling conflicts.  Sort of bummed me out, she was a really sweet girl with a soft but encouraging voice, who would come around and help me when I couldn't quite stretch far enough or bend the right way.  But the class I'm going to now- Monday and Thursday- is taught by the actual owner of the studio.  She's older and a very experienced instructor.  And since my class is filled with mostly older ladies- I am the youngest one there by at least a good decade!- the class was gentle and healing and it felt SO good.  I didn't hurt anywhere for the rest of the day.  It may not burn calories, but at over 90 minutes, it's a wonderful class.  And I will keep at it!  That is my positive affirmation for today!


Monday, October 20, 2014

My Frenemy

I know I've posted this before, but I weigh every day and keep track of it on a calendar.  I've done it for several years now.  I know "they" say you aren't supposed to do that, and even my WW leader frowns when I mention it.  I think the experts are afraid daily weighers will somehow become obsessed with the numbers.  I am not.  I just simply do it to track patterns, like my weekly gain every Monday.  Perhaps I should be a little more obsessed, maybe that would help!  It's an exercise in frustration though, because it just goes up and down, up and down, never moving forward.

This weekend was like every weekend of my life.  Even though we didn't go out of town, we did leave the comfort zone of the house, and out there in the world I go crazy with eating.  It doesn't matter how many times I tell myself I will only order the side salad with the fat free dressing, I never stick to that plan.  Hell, I don't WANT to be that person who only ever eats a nasty little lump of lettuce every time we go out.  I don't think my husband would enjoy my company much either if I was that person.

Friday night I had expected him to work late, but miracles sometimes do happen, and he was home at a "normal" time.  But super stressed out.  He hadn't been home ten minutes, and we were out the door, headed downtown to our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Well who ever heard of sticking to a healthy plan at a Mexican eatery, hah!  Luckily I don't drink alcohol, so the lure of a few Margaritas does not entice me.  But I do drink enough soda to make up for it.  Normally I get water when we go out, but there are just some cuisines that call for a nice cold Coke.  The only positive was that we didn't get a second basket of chips!

Saturday we got up early to head off to an estate sale and then an auction, so in between there was lunch out.  I managed to talk James into my favorite sandwich spot, where simple buns are bumped in favor of thick chewy sourdough bread, and sandwiches are loaded with yummy squishy dressings and cheese and olives and all sorts of fattening toppings.  I can't resist, and since the place is "in another town" and I don't get over that way very often, I convinced myself that was reason enough to indulge.  Sunday night my in-laws came through town for a nice visit, and we had Italian out.  Even though my pasta wasn't great, and I barely ate any of it- I did have plenty of salad, bread with oil, and the free dessert they offered in place of the terrible entree.

So this morning, my nemesis the scale showed the two pounds I gained over the weekend.  I expected it.  I always know that, whatever I weighed on Friday morning before WW, I might as well add 2-4 pounds come Monday.  That's been my pattern for years now.  I know I will lose those 2-4 pounds by Friday, which will mean no loss for my meeting this week.  And, once again next weekend, I'll do the same thing all over again.  Gain several pounds with two or three meals eaten out.  Then spend all of next week working it off.  It's why I can't get ahead.

I don't know how to break this pattern.  Easy enough to say stop eating out, but that isn't going to happen.  James and I don't stay home on the weekends.  And I haven't found a way yet to control myself at restaurants.  We enjoy eating out.  We love the burgers at The Brickhouse, the pizza at Fabiano's, the wings at Taco Mac.  I never want to tell my husband "Oh I can't eat there" when he wants to go somewhere in particular.  But I also don't want to sit across the table from him watching him eat chili cheese fries while I poke my fork at a tasteless piece of cucumber with no dressing.  I don't know how to find the balance where we can both have a good time yet do what's right.  That's the answer I need, to make the scale my friend from now on.


Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting It Over With

I kept my promise to myself, and as embarrassing and difficult as it was for me deep down inside, I headed back to my regular Weight Watchers meeting this morning.  When I opened my booklet up last night, I was a bit shocked to see my last weigh-in was back in August.  I didn't realize it had been so long.  But since I weigh and track at home on my calendar, I already knew the results of today's weigh in before I even stepped up to the counter.  15 pounds.  Yep, I gained 15 pounds back that quickly.  Our receptionist just looked at me and said, "Bless your heart".  If you are from The South, you know that is our polite secret code for "Well aren't you just a stupid little moron".  I can't make enough excuses to cover that gain in that short amount of time.  It's like in a simple few weeks, I gained back what it took me months and months to shed in the first place.  So I'm not happy with myself right now.

I had intentions of getting a new ActiveLink today- I've given up on looking for my lost one here at home.  With four cats, that thing could have been batted up under the refrigerator by now.  But my leader informed me they were out of stock.  She said WW is actually revamping them and getting ready to launch something new to replace them, although she said she wasn't allowed to say anything more yet.  Someone told me a few weeks ago, they sold them all out for $5 a piece.  Yes, sounds like they are discontinued now?  I thought about ordering one on eBay, but why pay for another ActiveLink if WW is getting ready to issue an updated version?

A few of the members said they are using FitBit, and said it now links up with the WW website, and can translate into activity points.  I do admit I thought the ActiveLink was a bit one dimensional, but I did like how it kept me honest as far as how many activity points I was earning every day.  I stopped at Target on the way home and looked at the FitBit, but the $100 price tag made me hesitate.  True, with the ActiveLink there is a $5 a month fee to use them, and FitBit would not cost anything besides the $100.  But I decided I would wait and see what new product WW was going to launch.  I am not going to let this derail me, I can certainly exercise without the ActiveLink!  I used it for well over a year, I can pretty much figure out how many points I earn on an average day of not doing much (only 2 points!) compared to an active day that includes the treadmill (maybe 5 points on a good day, 8 on a super great day).  I will use my past experience to start tracking my activity points, until WW unveils their new gadget.

For today, my goal is to get through the weekend without overeating too terribly.  Friday date night is postponed this week, as my husband continues to work late nights due to an audit, so I will have a sensible meal at home instead of the normal Friday night splurge.  We do have a lot of goodies in the house right now that I'm trying to ignore.  This week was Boss's Day and a sweet employee gave James a gigantic food gift basket, which of course he brought home.  It contained a minefield of snacks including peanut brittle, chocolate dipped potato chips, caramel chews, cookies, kettle chips, and a lot more.  I don't really want my husband eating that sort of stuff either, but well, I know we will both get into all of it eventually.  And it makes me sad to know that I already expect myself to fail.

What is that old line from Star Trek?  Resistance is futile?  Some days I really feel that way.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


I have one dangerous pattern that seems to be my undoing.  I start off strong but I can't maintain.  That pattern shows up on so many levels.

If you read my blog, you know that I am a chronic rejoiner of Weight Watchers (my leader jokingly calls me a reoffender).  I never stick to it for long, which is crazy, because I know it works.  The plan has never failed me- I myself fail.  I always start off with guns blazing, I track every smear of mayo, I'm online looking up how many points are in those bread sticks at Olive Garden, I am standing on the sidewalk every Friday morning when they unlock the doors for the meeting, I swap my favorite yogurt (6 points!!) for the 2 point version I can barely tolerate.  I do everything I'm supposed to do the first few weeks, the first few months.  Then I start missing meetings here and there, I don't track on the weekends, I forget to count the butter I put on that second piece of toast at breakfast.

I know some people don't like WW because of the tracking- they don't want to measure or weigh food, they don't want to calculate the points on everything. But that's one of the things that I love about the program.  It does NOT bother me to write down everything I eat, and even though WW has new apps and iPhone stuff, I still like to use the paper tracker and a pen.  I firmly believe that the only real way to lose weight is know your fat and calories, know your proper portion sizes.  If I don't know what I'm eating, or how much, I will continue to overeat and continue to gain weight.  It's that simple really.  I'm a compulsive list-maker anyhow, so tracking fits my personality perfectly.  Having said that, I almost always drift away from it after a few months of tracking faithfully.

The other pattern that I notice is a cycle that, even when I'm following WW religiously, I can't seem to break.  I always start off Mondays fired up and ready to go.  Monday through Thursday, I stick to the plan with perfection. I don't go over my points, I exercise, I eat all my fruits and vegetables, I drink water by the gallon.  Since I'm home alone every day, that's been easy to maintain.  But then comes the weekend.  Fridays I'm usually in town all day, so I stop in for lunch somewhere.  Friday night has become a regular date night with the husband, and that includes a nice dinner out and the movies- where James can NOT go without getting a big popcorn.  Saturday and Sunday we are almost always on the run, here and there, going out, running errands, weekends in the mountains or in the big city.  There is always another lunch out here, a dinner out there, a pizza or two ordered.  Even if we are home, it seems the snacking is ongoing as we watch football games or baseball or car racing.

When I work hard all week to lose 4 pounds, I put it all back on every weekend.  The result?  I go to my meetings on Friday with no loss-no gain.  This has been my cycle for as long as I can remember.  I always joke at the meetings and say I am a part-time member, and that's what it feels like.  I am a dedicated Weight Watcher from Monday through Thursday, then all bets are off on the weekends.

This has been my number one obstacle, and I haven't yet found a way to get beyond this pattern.  It's abusive and wasteful.  It's wasteful because if this is how I'm going to continue, then "being on" Weight Watchers is wasting my time.  Unless I dedicate myself to it every day, I will never make progress, I will always be stuck in this up and down pattern, never moving forward.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Return Policy

I made myself a promise I would get back to the blog.  I need something to help me stay focused on my weight loss efforts.  Those efforts have drifted off somewhere into the ozone lately, and I'm determined to find them again.  So the blog seemed like a good place to start.  It seems that many of the blogs I used to read are gone now, and I'm going to seek for new inspiration and motivation out there.

Earlier this year I was humming along, doing great, down in the low 190's for the first time since before I got married.  I was dedicated to Weight Watchers- tracking, going to my meetings.  I wore my ActiveLink from the time I woke up until I rolled into bed at night, always aiming for those 100% days.  I had started back with yoga again at a new local studio.  I even started buying up TV show collections on DVD because I was doing over an hour a day on the treadmill.

Everything fell apart this spring.  We went on a nice vacation out west.  I hurt my knee on the trip, so once we got back home, I stopped going to yoga "until it healed", which has turned into a continued absence.  I slacked off on my daily treadmill addiction.  The less I moved, the more I started to hurt everywhere, so the less I moved- to a point where I was ready to go to the doctor and ask to be tested for arthritis.  The pounds started to creep back up on me.  I would miss a WW meeting here and there.  Then another vacation at the end of summer, and more weight gain with still less movement.  When we got home, I promptly lost my ActiveLink and have been searching under every piece of furniture in the house.  I know I lost it at home, because I clearly remember that day and I never left the house.  But that was weeks ago, and I haven't yet found it.

So now I'm on week seven of having skipped my Weight Watchers meetings.  I haven't tracked in two months.  I can't remember the last time I stepped on the treadmill two days in a row.  And lately my answer to a hassle free evening has been ordering pizza for our dinner.  I am out of control, and surprise, my weight is back up in the 210's.  NOT where I wanted to go, but the excuses and the lying to myself have taken me there.

I'm ready to get back to it.  I'll return to WW this Friday and face that scale.  I will take out my tracker and get back to writing everything down and sticking to my daily points allowance.  I'll buy a new ActiveLink and start a new challenge.  I will wipe off the cobwebs on the treadmill in the basement, but plan to start walking outside now that the autumn weather is so enjoyable out there.  I will absolutely go back to yoga, since I have 15 more prepaid classes to use before they expire in December!

Back to the blog- I will attempt to post every day, at least during the week since our weekends are normally spent out and about.  I don't know of any other way to continue on the right path.  Weight Watchers has always worked for me, if ONLY I stay on the plan!