Friday, December 14, 2012

Weight loss update

It’s been a while since I wrote about my weight loss program. There’s a reason for that: I’ve hit a wall! I was doing great before vacation – down 58 pounds and feeling awesome from regular exercise. My weight loss coach gave me a plan to follow, but what she didn't realize is how different things are when you're outside your typical American weight loss comfort zone.

For example, here in Matthews we have sidewalks everywhere. If I wanted to, I could step outside my front door and start walking and walk all the way to uptown Charlotte (and beyond), or to Pineville, Indian Trail, or Mint Hill -- on sidewalks. Well, the rest of the world isn't like Matthews. We've got lots of parks, too, including two within walking distance of my house. There's even a gym and a very nice YMCA just a short distance away. So when I'm here, there's no excuse.

When I'm at the farm, sure, I can get out there and do farm work, but in terms of fitness walking, jogging, or cycling, I put my life in my hands every time I step out there. People drive 55mph (or faster!) on the road leading to the farm, and they're not used to seeing people out there exercising on the road. Now that it's hunting season, I have to make sure I'm wearing some sort of bright colors not found in nature when I'm out there, or risk getting a load of buckshot into my ass. Yet I still get out there.

But I digress.

Before we went to Istanbul, I  checked our boutique hotel's web sit and learned that they didn't have a fitness center. One nearby hotel had one. I contacted them via email about getting a day pass, but they said the facilities were only for their guests.

My point, and I did have one: I knew before we went that I was going to be stepping outside this aforementioned American weight loss comfort zone.

My strategy: We did a lot of walking in Istanbul. One day we walked about 5-6 miles through winding, hilly streets and over the bridge, as we made our way from Taksim Square back to the Golden Horn). I never felt like I overate, and even though I did succumb to the beautiful homemade breads and most delicious baklava in the universe, I never felt like I "overdid" it. (I'm lucky that I have a built-in "shut off" system that prevents me from overeating. I just can't eat past a certain point.) When I got back home, I’d gained 3 pounds. “That’s not too bad!” I thought. “I’ll get that off quickly. No problem.”

Then came Thanksgiving.

I wanted a traditional Thanksgiving dinner this year with turkey and all the trimmings, having not had one for the previous two years. Of course, I could've chosen to leave it at turkey breast and some greens, but I wanted it all: the stuffing, the green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, pumpkin pie. So I told myself things like: "Hey! Thanksgiving only comes once a year!" and "I’m not going to worry about it until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Hopefully by then, all the leftovers will be gone and I get back to my plan.”

And I enjoyed Thanksgiving. At my weigh-in the week after Thanksgiving, I had only gained a pound. It gave me a bit of an attitude, as in: "HA! For three days, I had whatever I wanted, and I only gained one measly pound! I! Am! Invicible!"

Which is a good feeling to have. But not necessily a smart one, if you know what I mean. Overconfidence can kill.

Three weeks ago, I started my half marathon training plan. The first week went well, and I thought: "Hey, I can do this! meaning: I can do my training AND maintain my eating plan.

At some point during the second week, I started getting horrible headaches. They hit me during the last part of the exercise (for example, in the last mile of a five mile walk) and then they literally knock me off my feet. The only thing I can do is lie down in bed, close my eyes, and wait a few hours. There's no food, no pill, no amount of acupressure or massage that will make it go away. They're not migraines, but are almost as debilitating.

Houston, we have a problem.

Turns out, I may not be eating enough, or eating enough of the "right" foods. I’ve done everything my weight loss coach has recommended (such as eating a starch 30 minutes before I work out) -- but IT’S NOT WORKING.

Something's got to give. I'm either going to have to give up the half marathon or the diet, because apparently I can't do both. I do want the scale to start going down again soon. I don't want to become complacent and satisfied with where I am now, when I'm really only a little over halfway to my goal.

Anyway, as of this week I'm officially down 56 pounds, which means that between mid-October and this week, I have a net gain of two pounds. I need to find a way to get out of this funk. I will find a way.

To be continued.