Quick Update (Weigh-in)

Not a ton of time today (as has been the case every day this week), but I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget to pop my results up on the blog today. So here we go, quick like a bunny:

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 223.7
This Weigh-in: 222.2 lbs
Difference: -1.5 lbs

And the train just keeps on rolling! Huzzah! Let’s just hope that this isn’t some kind of weird streak of stress-related weight loss due to my crazy schedule right now, hahaha.

See you guys on the flip!

Body Love vs. The Desire to be Thin

Howdy, folks! Happy Wednesday! I don’t know about you folks located outside of the Eastern seaboard, but here in Northern VA we got hit with a ridonkulous amount of snow yesterday!

Everything you read on your friends’ Facebook feeds is true. My car is currently buried under half a foot of fluffy white stuff and it literally comes up to my dogs’ bellies when they go outside. It’s kinda nuts, especially when you consider it was almost 60 degrees on Monday!

But speaking of fluffy white things and my pups, yesterday was also Daxter’s birthday!

Can you believe he’s FOUR years old? *sniff* They grow up so fast! I still remember him when he was thiiiiiiiis big:

Anywho, now that we’ve gotten all that adorable feel goodery out of the way, I wanted to dive into something a little deeper. I’m not sure how I got to it, but I recently came across The Militant Baker‘s amazing blog and, specifically, her post about the Smash the Scale Revolution. And, as it will likely do for you, it got my brain cogs movin’. And since this blog is pretty much the place I go to air out all my weird thoughts on the rare occasions that I get them, well… here we are!

So, the Smash the Scale project is pretty much exactly the awesome thing you probably think it is: a movement to try and get women (and men!) to stop focusing on making their bodies culturally and societally appropriate. In The Militant Baker’s words: “It’s about making a conscious decision to detach your worth from that number on your scale. Smashing the Scale isn’t about being unhealthy. It’s about deciding what your definition of beauty is and knowing that it is enough.”

See, I can wax poetic for ages about how I want to get healthy and be strong and how I’m not at my best when I’m being lazy and unmotivated — and all of that is true. But what I don’t say very often, what I don’t even really admit to myself, is that underneath all of those good intentions and righteous reasons for doing, well, this, is still that pervasive, seemingly unavoidable desire to just be thin.

I’ve never been thin. Not really. I mean, I think maybe I was a lanky child between the ages of 5 and 7 1/2, but other than that, I’ve always — always — existed more as a Mindy Lahiri type:

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. I mean, all those times in high school when I thought I was fat? I would KILL to still think THAT’s me, fat. I mean, not really, obviously what I really wish is that I *didn’t* think that being 5’9″ and weighing 160 pounds is fat, but I digress. The point I’m trying to make is that I’ve never really known what it’s like to be THIN. Like, I dunno, wears clothing with an “S” on the label, able to pull off stomach-baring shirts thin. And logically, I think that I know that my body type is not and was never meant to be skinny in the conventional sense. I’m tall, I’ve got wide hips, big bones, big other things that start with “B”, yada yada. But “knowing” that and KNOWING that are two very different things, and the fact of the matter is that even now, even after all the growing I’ve done — or at least thought I’ve done — there is very little I wouldn’t do if it meant I’d magically wake up tomorrow as a size 4.

So, clearly, despite all my best intentions, I still very much buy into the societally-pressured, glossy magazine idea of conventional beauty. Which is why it’s so hard not to hate myself for re-gaining the weight that I worked so hard to lose, because somewhere inside, underneath, below, there’s a part of me that basically equates me being fat with me being ugly. Which is RIDICULOUS. And I know that it is. But, hey, given what the kind of messages blasted at us from every direction, can you really blame me?

I try to focus on the good, the parts of myself that I know that I love. And I try to gain objective perspective about the parts that, while I don’t necessarily consider beautiful, are not exactly grotesque either. But it’s hard to always focus on the positive, to always accept yourself the way that you are. Which is why I so commend things like the Body Love movement and the Smash the Scale Revolution. Because we really need all the support and inspiration we can get when it comes to this. And because it is never as simple as you think.

I really don’t believe in the pressures and demands that society and culture puts on women (and men!) to look a certain way in order to be considered beautiful. But I still succumb to them. I don’t believe that being thin automatically equals being beautiful, or vice versa, but I still want to be both. And as a weight loss blogger, as someone who is actively working to lose weight — yes, to be healthy and strong but also to, well, lose weight (duh!) — am I simply perpetuating the cycle? Broadcasting my specific attempts to lose weight, and thus to become at least slightly thinner, is not exactly me screaming to the world that I am part of the Body Love movement.

In a perfect world, I would be able to love my body as it is AND still be okay with changing myself. It wouldn’t be about rebelling against society and showing the world that Big is Beautiful, and it also wouldn’t be about trying to “fix” the way I look. It would be about being okay with whatever I WANT to do — whether I want to lose weight or I want to stay the way I am. And if I wanted to lose weight, it really would be because I wanted to be fit, not because I wanted to fit in. And if I wanted to stay the way I am, it would be because I really did think that I am beautiful as-is, no changes needed (and because, as we know, fat does not automatically mean unhealthy anyway!).

It’s awesome that there are so many body love/body acceptance/size acceptance movements happening, because obviously the current “ideal” absolutely needs to change. But pressure comes in a lot of different forms, and Hollywood isn’t the only one with opinions on how people should look or act or think. If I’m being honest, sometimes it feels like my only options as a large-and-in-charge lady are to either A) want to lose weight and hate my body or B) stay fat and love my body. Like, if I were a true proponent of body acceptance, I shouldn’t want to change. But I want to be able to both love my body as it is AND still want to change it. And I want it to be okay to want both things.

The fact is, some days, I do hate my body. I tear up thinking about the stretch marks that I will have forever. Some days, I hate the fact that I’m not naturally blonde and I hate that I have arm hair and I hate that the fingernail on my right middle finger is weirdly smaller than the one on my left. Maybe it’s because I caught a glimpse of my pooch in the mirror as I bent down to pick something up. Or maybe it’s because even though I’m a size XX at Old Navy, when I try on the same size at J.Crew, it doesn’t fit. Or maybe it’s just because it’s a Tuesday and that’s how I woke up feeling.

But some days, I love my body. And I don’t just mean when I’m focusing in on my eyes or the cupid’s bow dip of my upper lip or sticking my chin out so you can kind-of-sort-of see my collarbones. I mean sometimes I look at the rolls on my stomach or the fleshy part of my upper arm and I am really, honestly, truly, just like, “Huh. Cool.” It might not be as often as the days when the reason I love how I look is because of my eyes or my cupid’s bow, but it has indeed been known to happen.

There’s no rhyme or reason to how I’m going to feel about myself or my body at any given time, because I’m fickle and I’m emotional and I’m constantly changing and I’m HUMAN. But I would certainly like the scales to tip in favor of loving everything about myself — even if I still want to change some things.

While I won’t be literally smashing my scale any time soon (I still intend to weigh myself as a way to chart my progress, of course), I am really grateful to the Smash the Scale Revolution for opening my eyes and making me really think about my motivations for why I’m doing what I’m doing here. Because in the end, just wanting to be thin is clearly not enough of a reason to make weight loss stick. I’ve found that out the hard way! And maybe if I learn to really love myself at 233.2 pounds, then when I get to 220 pounds or 190 pounds or 160 pounds or wherever I end up, I won’t have to worry about anything other than just being me.

Yelp’s Biggest Loser & New Beginnings

Wellps, Happy 2014, friendos!

I hope that your new years are starting off with a bang. Mine has already gotten off to a pretty stellar start, with a few minor (read: not really minor) exceptions. I’ll spare you the photo details for 2014’s first traumatic event, but it entailed my little pup Daxter getting into a dog fight with a much, much bigger dog and having to go to the emergency vet (for, yes, the 5th time in his not-even-4-year-old life). Thankfully, he’s okay, but since those of you who have been around for a while now know how much I looooove my dogs, you can imagine that it was not really a fun time for anybody involved.

The second big happening of the new year is a totally different kind of traumatic, but it does come with photos, so there’s that. See, you wise readers probably haven’t been ignorant of the fact that I’ve basically been ignoring the topic of my weight for the past, oh, I don’t know, year. Which, granted, is pretty sucky of me because this blog is LITERALLY about weight loss. (Okay, sure, it’s also about food and life and dogs and photos and stuff, but the title of the blog has the word “shrunk” in it, so let’s just face facts.)

I’ve been skirting the issue for the better part of a year, so I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that I have re-gained a lot of the weight I had formerly lost. Almost all of it, in fact. And, honestly, finally admitting that out loud makes me want to crawl into a hole forever and ever and ever. I mean, sure, chalk it up to the new job, or being in a happy relationship, or just the fact that, despite all I’ve done to try and change my mindset, I still just love food too damn much — whatever the reasons, here I am again. And, whether it was because I was in denial, or I was too busy, or I just plain didn’t care, I haven’t done a thing about it. Until now.

happy relationship gut

I used to say that there was no “Aha!” moment that motivated me for my weight loss the first time around. There was no snide comment, no bad photo, nothing specific that finally pushed me into being able to turn my super unhealthy life around, things just finally got to be too much. Well, that’s not really how it happened this time. No, this time, it was more like the entire universe was screaming at me to get going again… while I was sticking my fingers in my ears and going “Lalalalalalalala,” hoping that it would all just go away.

But you can’t fight the universe, bro.

And so when my wonderful Yelp coworker Kimberly informed me that she would be participating in the 2014 Yelp’s Biggest Loser challenge, AND I got asked to participate in an upcoming Cupid 5K run, AND after leafing through all the photos of myself from recent Yelp events, I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t make me want to cry, I finally pulled my fingers out of my ears and my head out of my ass.

hohohorrible before photo

(Sidenote: I don’t really consider it a benefit of the job that I am professionally photographed at least once a month — NOBODY is attractive when they are caught mid-sentence whilst giving a speech. I just want to put that out there.)

Bottom line: Yes, I regained a lot of weight. Yes, it blows. But it’s a brand new year, right? And with the Biggest Loser challenge, the upcoming 5K, my new gym membership (thanks mom & dad!), and the support that I know I can count on from you on… I mean, hey, if I can do it once…

then and then

So, in the end, this long, wordy, loooong overdue post is basically here to say:

I hope you’ll stick around for the ride. Again.

Backtracking (Weigh-in)

I know I say this a lot.

Onward!”

I’m getting back on track!”

Strengthening my resolve!”

Etc, etc, etc.

Well, this should come as no surprise to you all, but I’m saying it all again. Of course, the difference is that this time I actually feel like I mean it.

See, I’ve been skirting around this whole weight loss thing for the better part of the past year, holding on to one not-insignificant, though often-inflated, accomplishment: the fact that I lost 60 pounds once. Hey, did you know I lost 60 pounds? I lost 60 pounds! I used to be obese and now I’m just overweight! 60 pounds!

And while my intentions really have always been to keep going, to lose just a little more weight, to follow through to my original goal, my actions weren’t doing much to prove it. No longer being completely disgusted with the way that I looked naked was making me think, well, maybe I don’t really need to lose any more weight. Or rather, maybe I don’t want to. But I kept blogging, I kept saying that I was recommitting, I kept pretending to strengthen my resolve because, well, I’m a weight loss blogger. That’s what I do. Oh, and didn’t you hear that I’ve already lost 60 pounds?

Then my girl Cassie wrote a kickass blog post earlier this month about facing the truth when it comes to her weight loss (or lack thereof), and it struck a serious chord with yours truly. I had wrapped up my identity so much in those 60 pounds I had already lost, I was blinding myself to my own truth. Under the false pretense of saying I’m content with how I look, or taking tortoise vs. hare metaphors and applying them to weight loss, or saying that I am purposefully trying not to slip back into my disordered eating habits, the truth of the matter is that I’ve just been lazy.

It’s never been that I don’t want to lose more. I do. Of course I do. I know that there are crazy tall and/or athletic women for whom 180 pounds looks like 140, but no average-height, soft, mildly athletic girl will ever tell you that her ultimate, ideal weight is 186 pounds. Even if she “carries it well”, or “still looks healthy”. Even if she really has made some outstanding progress in her weight loss so far. Yes, I started this blog at 246 pounds, and I lost 60 of them. But I became complacent. I stopped actively counting calories. Yes, I started exercising more regularly which is awesome for me, but I’ve also been eating pretty much whatever I want so as a result I’ve been gaining and losing, regaining and relosing, the same five pounds ever since. I don’t want to be stagnant anymore. I want forward motion.

I know I’ve said all of this before. And sure, there’s probably a high likelihood that I will be saying it all again at some point. But I do mean it. I am going to be making some changes. Or rather, making some changes BACK. In addition to the new habit I’ve picked up of actually working out/running a couple times each week (this is big progress for me, guys!), this week I’ve put my actions where my mouth (or rather, fingers) are.

I’m cutting back on my dairy consumption again, since I’ve been in denial about how much it wrecks my digestive system. And upset-tummy-Gretchen is a Gretchen who justifies french fries for lunch and pasta for dinner. I’m eating breakfast again — SO important for me, but something I’ve let fall by the wayside. I’m trying to shift my eating back into day-long grazing/5-6 small meals a day instead of the 3 squares a day that I’ve lapsed back into. I am going to start juicing again so at the very least I’m getting in vegetables SOMEHOW, and I’m going to be limiting my coffee intake (though not today. I really needed it today, haha). And I’m upping the ante on my water intake, since being properly hydrated (over hydrated, in fact) has been crucial in supporting all of the above for me.

Let’s see whether or not these “new” changes have gotten me off to a good start or not, after my post-birthday weight gain from last week, shall we?

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 194.0 lbs
This Weigh-in: 191.0 lbs
Difference: -3.0 lbs

Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t hoping that I would have magically lost all 5.6 pounds I had gained over the previous two weeks, but I will most certainly take it. Here we go again. 🙂

PS: Since this post is starkly lacking in pictures, I offer you the following photo that Ben took of a very fluffy Daxter who weaseled his way into an under-bed storage box. You’re welcome.

Daxter's New Bed

Weigh-in Wednesday

And now, after a short schnauzer hijacking, we’re back to our regularly scheduled programming! Although actually, it’s still kind of irregular, since this is the very first Weigh-in Wednesday (oh how I love alliteration.) The times they are a-changing, folks!

IMG_9636.jpg
So… we meet again.

Admittedly, the past two weeks of my “weigh-cation” (badoom-ching!) have gotten me a little scared. On the one hand, it’s been nice not having my self-esteem ride the emotional roller coaster that is a weekly weigh-in, but on the other… well, we all know what can happen when I don’t have some kind of structure to keep myself in check (no more 5-month plateaus please kthxbai.) So, building off of my pseudo-confidence after my 5 mile walk/run Monday and my 30-day shred from last night (Level 1… let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, haha), let’s just go ahead and do this thing:

Starting Weight: 246 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 187.8 lbs
This Weigh-in: 186.9 lbs
This Week’s Loss: -0.9 lbs

Well hey there, almost a full pound’s loss! Granted, for a two and a half week timespan, it’s not quite Tony-the-Tiger-grrreat, but I will TAKE it. I almost fainted right on the bathroom floor when I saw the 6 in there (even if it’s just barely there, haha.) I’m SO close to hitting my progress goal of 185 lbs!

I’ve been getting pretty down on myself with the looming 5 mile race I have coming up on Sunday, so this little loss is definitely what I needed to feel better about my slow-but-at-least-sorta-steady progress. So after much hyperventilating (and what may or have not have been a fair bit of fantasizing about somehow injuring myself so I wouldn’t have to do it. DON’T JUDGE ME.) I’ve peacefully come to the realization that I am physically capable of finishing 5 miles. In fact, I did it on Monday. Bam. So even if I end up walking most of it, I’m sure I’ll be motivated to run at least PART of it, which means I’ll beat the 15 min/mile required minimum pace. Goodness knows I never set out to actually “race” these races anyway (Heaven forbid!)

Chillin
Bad. (Christmas 2009)

IMG_1209.jpg
Better. (Last weekend!)

I am fully aware that I really dropped the ball when it came to training for this thing, so if I end up being the absolute last person to finish, so be it. At least I’m still doing it, right? And that “it” refers not just to the race, but to this whole healthy weight/healthy living trying thing in general. I mean, if you had asked me if I thought I’d still be blogging, let alone if I’d actually lost any weight, when I started this thing, I would have laughed right in your face. Feel free to pop on over to my “real” mid-way pictures page if you’re in need of a (graphic) reminder of where I really started.

What suggestions do you have to prepare me for the 5 miler on Sunday? I had intended to run-run yesterday, but ended up, y’know, not, haha. I have a happy hour to go to after work so I will be spending my lunch hour on the treadmill today, but what about for the rest of the week? Should I try to run/walk another 5 miles, or just try to run as far as I’m able or…? I don’t want to be in pain come Sunday but I want to be as prepared as possible and I’m clueless when it comes to this stuff… which should be obvious, given how much not-training I’ve been doing over the past, ummm, 4 months or so since I signed up for this thing. I knew I was forgetting something…