New Goal Day 1, starting tomorrow

It turns out I’m not dead!  I was just taking a good, loooong break from goal-making, mostly because we welcomed our new baby in May and it turns out that caring for toddlers and pregnant wives and then toddlers and recovering wives and then toddlers and infants makes for a tough time to carve out time to set new goals.  In fact, with a 3 month old, I’m really only making new goals now because my current one should take less than a half hour a day.  This time, I’m moving into dog training.

See, a few years ago, I met with a local dog trainer in order to find out her secrets of how she got what I consider one of the cooler jobs in the world, and while her experience won’t match my own, ever, I became a lot more determined to be the kind of person who can make my own schedule doing what I love…at least part time?  So, I’ve been working on a five-year plan on how to get to that point, and really, the best thing you can do when trying to get experience is to actually get experience, you know?  And…I have a dog…why not start there?  She’s incredibly well-behaved, but not well-trained, per se.  We got a good start on her when she was a puppy, and then left her to her devices because she’s a generally obedient, loyal, easy-going family member.  We mostly got lucky.  But she’s the kind of dog that knows ‘sit’ when it’s convenient to her, and she rushes people who ring the doorbell, and has been known to eat her way through anything left on the counter.  If I can’t make 20 minutes a day to work on this priority a goal now, when I’m poor and busy, how can I see a whole five-year goal through?  My kids and home life will keep me busy and poor for the next…entire foreseeable future, yet people have to get things done in that time.  This is my small start.

So, 100 days of dog training will take me to December 1st.  I was hoping to end at Thanksgiving, the way I did with my running, but oh well.  Here we are.  I did work on training a friends’ dog over the weekend, so it’s not like I’ve been wasting the last week completely.  I’m working using Sue Ailsby’s Training Levels program.  It has four levels, with each command broken down into different levels within, as building blocks.  My goal, after 100 days, is to be passed Level 2, and into Level 3.  I have no idea if this is very possible or not, time will tell, but Level 4 feels very advanced from where I am.  I may add other behaviors in within, but hope to stick to the book pretty strictly.

Within this time period, I hope to have mini ‘tests’ built in to see if progress is being made.  One is a trip planned to Vermont, where we’ll be going on at least one hike, plus generally being in a novel area. One is an option to go to a local historical education center, which offers ‘Dog Days’, September through December, which will be the perfect time to test our training with strange smells, places and other dogs.  And, I’m hoping to find other ways to test in the middle….trips to PetSmart or HomeDepot or other places where she can practice.

Ultimately, I’ve researched different dog sports/competitions, and I think it would be possible to train for a Rally competition.  I’ve never competed with dogs before, but what better way to see if my training is paying off?  I do truly believe that it would take longer than 100 days to reach this place, or if it doesn’t, than I wouldn’t be able to enter a competition before January or February anyway, due to my work schedule, but I love the idea of a big test to see where we’ve come in the short term, and in the long term, I like the idea of having a ‘titled’ dog to show off if I’m ever going to train other people’s.

I suppose the mid-way point between a Rally competition and a where I am now could be the Canine Good Citizen test.  Although I’m generally loathe to give money to the AKC, I believe that it is possible to undertake this test after 100 days of training.  Plus, they only take a few minutes, and are offered all over the place.  Fine, let’s add that to the goal list.

Alright, tomorrow I will ‘officially’ start my training in Level 1, and try to report here as frequently as I can regarding how we’re progressing. With this, I hope to have my first dog, really, REALLY trained under my tutelage, with the proof to show it.  Until then.


Update 2

So, my first update mostly dealt with the good things about slow, moderate weight loss, and this post will deal with the more negative feelings I’ve had surrounding the whole thing.

It can be hard to talk about the annoying parts of weight loss, I think, because even to yourself, you feel like you should just be happy about the whole thing, but, as is with most parts of the human existence, it doesn’t happen that way.  Here’s what I’ve been struggling with:

-Clothes.  Most of my clothes look terrible on me right now.  Big, gappy, just super sloppy.  I’m not a fancy dresser by any means, but some of them are hardly office appropriate now.  Sure, I fit into a few extra things now, but most of my clothes are just…blah.  So, a few problems with that.  First, it’s expensive to replace a whole wardrobe.  I don’t have a few hundred sitting around waiting to be spent on office-appropriate trousers and new shirts.  Secondly, besides living in somewhat constant fear that the weight will all come back and I’ll be stuck with a whole new set of clothes that don’t fit (as I was when I originally started gaining), I have this deep seated fear that I will go to a store, grab some size 14’s, and they’ll still be way too small.  Like, all my progress will have been for nothing, and if even losing 30 lbs can’t move you down ONE clothing size, how fat were you to begin with?  I keep thinking, “when I get to 185, I’ll definitely be comfortably back in size 14 across the board”….but then I get there and I think…”better wait until 180,” or 175 or whatever the next goal weight is.  Because I own almost all 16s, and some are huge on me now, and some are still tight, and for some reason I don’t want to shop if I have to get a mixture of sizes, I want to be one or the other.  It’s terrible reasoning, but there you go.

Secondly, as I started this process, my first goal was 185, a number I hadn’t seen in years.  “I’ll be so happy”, I thought, “to have reached a great goal.”  Well, now I’m there, and past it, and I made my next goal 175, which I THINK would put me roughly where I was in college?  I almost never weighed myself in college, my best guess is that I bounced between 165 and 175, depending on whether it was a sports season or not.  But I realized that I don’t have an end goal for all of this.  If I reach 175, will my next goal be 165?  That feels…borderline impossible.  When 5 lbs took me almost 8 months (total), what will 15 take?  I’m starting to remember that I’ve never been happy with my body, and I’ve never been a small person.  But 165 is considered the highest number someone my height should be to be in the “healthy BMI” range.  We can talk about how BMI is mostly BS, but to think that I’ve only reached that number in the middle of a competitive hockey season at age 22 feels like living at that weight in my 30’s might not ever be my reality.  So what is the magic number where I say, “Ok, I’ve worked really hard, and now I feel ok with this”?  In my fantasy world, I guess my goal weight is something like 150, something I likely weighed in middle school, although not something considered outlandish by the health professional world.  So, I find myself in a project that I would love to have an end date…something I just work to maintain, maybe make some other physical goals like running another 10k, or trying strength training, whatever, but feeling like I’m just getting closer to a weight where I say, “F-this, I’m just a smaller fat person than I was before, my body still sucks but I’m tired of thinking about it”.  But what weight will that be?

Finally, I feel like no one has noticed, besides the one friend.  I don’t really talk about it openly, and actually I generally think it’s in super rude taste to mention someone’s weight, and of course, I’m not wearing terrible baggy clothes that do me no favors whatsoever.  And then there’s the fact that if you lose weight for other people’s approval you have a terrible plan on your hands.  But I can’t help but want someone to be like, “hey, you look great, and I can tell you’ve been working hard”.  On one hand, the people who see me every day probably don’t notice because everything has gone so slowly, so fine, and on the other, I rarely see people who have NOT seen me all the time.  So now it feels like I’m placing a lot of pressure on situations like my friends’ upcoming wedding this Summer, to be “Girl who lost all that weight she gained in Colorado”, or look good in a bathing suit this summer since I’ve 10 lbs smaller than the last time anyone saw me in a bathing suit (which is highly unlikely, as my bathing suit is board shorts and a rash guard; I’d have to gain a six-pack for people to notice a difference).  Anyway, this need for social approval doesn’t look good on anyone, yet I feel like I can’t stop thinking that way.  And then I feel bad for needing this random approval, and it’s so ugly.

ANYWAY, there you have it.  The frustrating parts of a process that I have taken a lot of pride in, and also feel trapped in, and like I will never escape from.  Life!

To leave on any note, I suppose I would leave this post on a note hoping to officially reach 180 soon, to get some new damn pants, and to hope the next 5 lbs takes less than 8 months.  And to work on a balancing factor of the highs and lows. Blah.

Update 1

Ok, so what started as 100 day challenge has actually morphed into….my life?  Which is basically the whole point but still a surprise.  Well, it’s a surprise when you spend a lot of your free time dreaming about things that will probably never happen, as I do.  Anyway, it’s been over a year since I started my challenge, and although I haven’t started other challenges, as is the point of this blog, perhaps an update on my original challenge is appropriate.

First, the good.  My lowest weight, as recorded 2 days ago, is 181.4.  It is…good.  But this all requires a background.  From the end of my challenge until September (5-ish months?) I lost no weight.  There was no “Summer feel-good” thing that happened, despite many goals.  A goal to by 185 by the end of my challenge.  A goal to be 185 by the time we started going to the beach.  A goal to be 185 by my cousins wedding in July….didn’t happen.  Then, in September, for whatever reason, I dropped to 185 in about 6 weeks.  My guess is that it was a combination of drinking less than I had over the Summer and re-committing myself, but ultimately I may never know.  My wedding ring comes off normally now (unless I’m really hot), the size 14 pants I could button previously got more comfortable, and one of my best friends (who doesn’t live locally) noticed that I had lost weight, the first person to mention anything.  Then, I stayed at 185 until….3 weeks ago?  So, 3 more months.  I can’t really complain because this took me through the holiday season, where I basically basked in indulgences, and only really bounced up to 187.  And now, I’ve recommitted again, and found myself dropping again, hopefully to 180 by the end of February.  Funnily, even though making goals in the past has proven…almost completely ineffective, I can’t stop!  My overall goals for this year were about 12 pounds, from 186 to 174, not very big, but now I want to reach 175 by my best friends’ wedding in August (what is it about weddings as goals?).

This time, I set my goals not in terms of 5 lbs, but in terms of 3 lbs, so 186 to 183 to 180, etc.  Now that I’m spitting distance from 180, I might re-think that, but…who knows how I’ll feel in a few months.   It’s funny to me that this has come so much in spurts, and that my weight doesn’t really vary that much, and then suddenly it will.  Clearly I’m not winning any speed races here, reading anywhere online will show you that ~20 lbs in a year is not incredible by any means, but I’m hoping that means the results stick, and I don’t fall into an up and down pattern I’ve heard so much about.  Slow but steady? So, 30 lbs total, and about 12% if my total weight gone.

Another positive that I couldn’t have predicted is the constant learning process that accompanies this journey.  100 days was a great start, but I’ve gone through so many phases, so many though processes, and I’m still finding new ways to find some encouragement.  I’ve found that certain quotes have been helpful, like, “Being fat is hard, losing weight is hard; choose your hard,” which speaks to the fact that this was never going to be easy, and I just have to accept that.  I also read a good article about hunger, which basically spelled out that you will ALWAYS be hungry when your stomach is empty, and to learn to deal with that, like in the case where you’ve completely gorged yourself the night before on a special dinner, but are starving the next morning.  Of course your body doesn’t immediately need a source of energy at that moment (assuming you are a food-secure person), but it acts like it does.  Thinking about this concept sounds….uncomfortably similar to what I believe people with eating disorders probably use to justify themselves, but as someone who has never EVER been at risk for developing an eating disorder, having someone say, “You’ll be hungry sometimes…it’s ok.  You know you’re not starving,” was a good thing.  Some days I feel like I’m hungry all the time, and my constant work is now to say, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”  Eat a real meal, snack, ignore it, choose a piece of fruit, etc.  There are lots of choices to that question, and it does feel more empowering.

So, this is many of the positive updates for this moment.  I can’t update on things like how my bathing suit looks or whatever, because I haven’t been indulging that a ton of celebratory clothes-stuff.  But later, I will update regarding the stuff that doesn’t feel as positive about losing weight, and the struggles that come with feeling like this is now a journey that will never end.

Until then.


Day Whatever

Well, as one could undoubtedly guess by my lack of posts, I didn’t make it to 185, and in fact got disenchanted by the whole thing.  But I don’t want to become disenchanted by taking 100-day challenges and bettering myself, so I’m here to take responsibility for my actions.

Here’s the fast-version roundup:

On Day 75, I was back up to like, 193 or something, and it was depressing and stupid.  As the days and weeks continued, I hovered between 189.5 and 195, and eventually was sort of like, “Well, I guess staying within 5 lbs. of 190 is still pretty good”, and then there I was, complacent.  Since the ‘official’ challenge period has ended, I’ve stayed within those same weight parameters, sometimes a touch higher, never really lower, mostly at 190.  I would still love to see a 185 someday, and I have a plan for the Summer that mostly involves eating more vegetables and also walking a few times a week, plus working outside, mowing the lawn, etc.  No official goal, just more of a feel-good plan.

And you know what happened last week?  I was sitting in my car, trying to warm up, because my office is freezing, fiddling around with my wedding ring, and the darn thing came off!  I was shocked!  Sure, that won’t happen when my hands are warm, but it means that the shrinkage required to have a normal wearing relationship with that ring is not nearly as far off as I hoped.  Then last night we were doing a Spring clothes/Winter clothes swap out (old house, tiny closets, big basement), and I pulled out a pair of pants that I bought in 2013, even though they were too small for me THEN, because I had dreams of wearing them someday (the things we do…).  I thought for sure I would not be able to button them and yet….it happened.  I mean, they weren’t super comfortable or appropriate for the office, but you have to understand that the last time I tried them on the two ends of the waistband didn’t even touch.  So, little things are happening everywhere.

The place I’m in now, I think, is that I still have (and will likely always have) goals to the smaller.  And I think I could reach them with the right motivation and energy.  However, I’m also still kind of surprised at the size I find myself at now, and small victories are making it hard to have the constant motivation required for a tough challenge.  Of course they inspire me, but I’ll have to gather other inspirations in order to make specific changes.  Perhaps another challenge could be exercise related, because it’s probably easier to challenge yourself to actually DO something, than to just avoid something.

I am now working through some ideas for my next challenge, which might be dog-training related.  I think I’ll keep cooking and knitting ones for the Fall/Winter.  And I’ll stay updated with any weird Challenge 1 – related news, of course.

Until then.






Day 61

Well, things are not great.   Can you tell?  I haven’t posted in longer than I’ve wanted to because….ugh.  This isn’t to say that I’m back where I started, it’s mostly like…5 lbs shouldn’t be this hard to take off, you know?  Especially when, even AFTER those 5 lbs are gone, I will still be 20+ lbs. away from what is considered a non-overweight BMI.  Now, I don’t even put that much stock in the BMI, as a personal reference to what is healthy on me, but it means that even if I wanted to get down 10 more lbs. (which, eventually, I would like), than it will take approximately forever.

Ok, drama aside, I’ve been weighing myself every day, which, again…is not ideal.  I think because I knew I had a weekend of a lot of eating, and Monday is apparently my weigh-in day, so it was up to 194, and then 191 on Tuesday, and then 190 Wednesday, Thursday and today….even though I have ostensibly been doing “well”.  Like, brushing my teeth early, no snacking, healthy meals and no seconds kind of well.  The kind of well that is sustainable, it feels like.  The kind of well I wanted to be doing in the first half of my challenge.

The thing is, I’ve read that your body sort of has a natural weight that it sits at most comfortably, and barring some change, it generally equalizes back at that point.  So, from age 15 to 25, that weight was about 175.  Sometimes lower (during hockey season), sometimes a little higher (any other season).  I didn’t weigh myself too often, but it was usually around there and I wore the same clothes for a million years and never thought twice about it.  That’s not true, I always wanted to be smaller, but I never tried that hard, because I was athletic and ate decently already.  Then I turned 25, almost immediately started gaining weight, and sat at 210 for the next 5 years.  Post-adolescent metabolism change?  Probably something like that.  I didn’t like it, but there I was.  So…I decide on this challenge, buy a scale, and have sat at 190 for a few weeks…is this my new normal?  I can’t tell how I got here, or why, or if the effort I’m putting in (though somewhat minimal, in the world of weight-loss), is even making a difference, or if my body has just found a new resting point for the moment.  My question now is…what’s happening?

Ok, I have 38 days left until the challenge is over, and soon after that, I have college reunion (not my year, but I’ll know tons of people there), and soon after that, a wedding.  185 is not a drastic goal, but it’s one worth hitting.  I need to be really ever-present in my day to day to get to that place and be happy for myself when I get there.  It is possible.  I just…want to know now if I’m fighting with my body, or against it.

Day 54

Well, I had sort of been suspecting that my last weigh-in was not totally correct, or….of course it was correct at the time, but not totally representative of what I feel I weigh, so I weighed myself again yesterday with a few days between me and the weekend, and what do you know?  189.6!  Clearly I didn’t lose 2 lbs. in 3 days, so it sort of confirmed my intuition, that I was perhaps a bit bloated or something on Monday.  So…I am now accepting congratulations for reaching the 180’s.

In other positive news, since I fit into that one pair of Kate’s pants that are a size 14, she said, “well, don’t you have any old pairs of 14s you could wear?”, primarily because my clothes are all pretty old (because I hate shopping! Because I feel so fat! and so the badly-dressed overweight lady trend continues), but the thing is that when we moved, I made the decision to throw away/donate all my old pairs of size-14 pants, in what was supposed to be a freeing moment of bodily acceptance.  It’s not that it wasn’t the right move at the time, especially considering that I gained even more weight while living with my parents, but suddenly I wished for some of them back.  So yesterday, feeling confident, I dug to the back of my closet where I found, somehow, like, 4 pairs of size-14 pants…which I ignored, but I also found 2 pairs of size 16 pants, tags still on, that I had purchased who knows when, but clearly have never worn, because they were so tight on me that I felt indecent wearing them to any sort of office setting.  Ok, I can see this story dragging on when you clearly know the ending already….they fit!  Even better, one pair is actually a little loose on me!  I hate that 1 size can vary so much from brand to brand, but sometimes seeing the scale is motivating, and sometimes fitting into clothes I bought for “the day I lose weight” is motivating.  I’m hoping this motivation will keep on comin’ and comin’.

The bad side, naturally, is that I was feeling so good about myself that I ate a TON of mini-chocolate Cadbury eggs last night.  Reward myself for a good job, sure!  How about with candy!  No flaws in that plan!  So….I have to let my relaxation over the weekend not spread to every day of the week.  Also, since I’m not really tracking calories or anything, sometimes I get confused as to how guilty I should feel over certain things.  Like, yesterday I ate a banana with peanut butter right before I left the office, which isn’t unhealthy, and it kept me full until dinner, which was at about 7:30 that night, so 3 hours later, but….did I really need a 300+ calorie snack?  Or….maybe I did?  I know the answer is the actually track this stuff, but I’m notoriously bad at that and not really that interested. Plus, if I’m trying to start routines I can maintain for the rest of my life, that’s never going to be one of them.  But…if I brush my teeth right after dinner…or keep a candy I only like only a little around, so I can have one when I’m feeling a need for sweets, and then not want any more…those are good goals.

I’ve also realized that my next goal mark (Day 75), falls on April 1st, so…that doesn’t seem like a great sign, somehow. But, it’s exactly 3 weeks from now, and I’m hoping to be at 187? That seems reasonable.

Let’s think on reasonableness and meet back here for a reality check in a few days.

Day 50

And here I am, the halfway point.  A strange milestone, it seems, mostly because my mind is constantly trying to balance the importance of this goal with the rest of the very attention-needing things happening in the rest of my life.

As of this morning, I was 191.6, so half a pound up from my lowest, but I still consider this a success.  First of all, because roughly 5 lbs. 50 days in, or 1 lb. per 10 days, feels like decent progress, although it is not exactly on goal.  Secondly, even with the deadline coming up, I had a weekend of kind of terrible eating.  I drank 3 nights in a row, I didn’t measure out my ice cream and ended up finishing the carton (about 1/4 of a Ben and Jerry’s, but really?), and I snagged little snacks here and there, almost no veggies to be found.  Now, back on the weekday end, I’m sticking to my goals.  It’s always easier when there’s a specific schedule happening.  I think my progress is likely to continue during the weekdays, and as long as I’m pretty careful on the weekends, hopefully I can maintain it.  Also, a 1/2 lb up after that kind of weekend seems like a good sign.  It means I’m not eating back several pounds at a time, and since I plan to live my life with indulgences, that’s good with me.

I was hoping to see a number with an ‘8’ in it, naturally, but hopefully I can get there.  I feel like I should be a little happier today, but…honestly, 185 has never seemed quite so close or quite so far as it does now.  And as for the rest of my goals, I don’t think they’ll be reached at 185 either, which is a bit depressing.  This ring is not going anywhere for the time being, and even though my clothes are all looser on me, I’m not quite cleared to move down a size either.  And frankly, I felt all kinds of fat this weekend.  Maybe because mentally I knew I wasn’t eating well, or maybe I am actually bloated or something, but it was a bad feeling after looking at myself and noticing some changes.  Do you ever change enough to feel yucky and just shrug and be ok with it?  Unlikely, and this thought was not very encouraging.  I need something else to encourage me when I’m feeling a bit sad about my body, and that’s not there yet.

I need to find new little things to aim for, and my head isn’t in that space right now.  Hopefully I can focus on this a little more, and keep making the changes that will bring my closer to all my goals, not just the scale goals.

And on to the next 25 days….