Snowpocalypse 4.5 (Weigh-in)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

So I can’t actually remember at this point how many Snowmageddons and Snowpocalypses and Snowtastrophes we’ve had here in the DMV, but I know that over the past few years, it’s been a lot. Yesterday’s epic snowfall was absolutely no different, with some areas around here getting well over a FOOT of snow in one fell swoop.

I actually LOVE snow, which should probably come as no surprise given the fact that I used to live in places like Canada and Poland (where this kind of snow is like chump change) aaaand the fact that I work from home and so snow doesn’t impact my ability to get to work (sowwyyyy). Unfortunately, along with the snow, Winter Storm Pax has also brought flight cancelations for both my mom and my sister-in-law’s planned trips, as well as dogs who refuse to go more than three feet into the yard.

To be fair, I get that the snow comes up to their chins… but I would still prefer it if they didn’t force me to physically toss them into the snow just to go number one. Luckily, at least one of the schnauzers in this family is enjoying the snow…

That’s my brother’s puppy Pixel (or Daxter 2, since we accidentally call him Daxter so often, hahaha) and at least HE knows how to have a good snow day! 🙂

ANYWAY, enough chitchat about the weather. I know what you guys are all waiting for, so let’s get down to business, shall we?

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 229.6
This Weigh-in: 227.5 lbs
Difference: -2.1 lbs

Whoop whoop! Whaddya know, I guess all that snow shoveling ended up being worth it, eh? My scale is actually kind of an a-hole, because when I first stepped on it said I had lost like 9 pounds and the emotional rollercoaster that followed went something like this:

“OMG!! YAY!”
“…wait. That’s probably not possible.”
*Steps off scale, steps back on.*
“Dammit.”

So yes, my scale kind of robbed me of the initial joy from this mere 2-lb loss, but I now have my head back on straight and I am totally psyched to see it. This brings my total weight lost so far up to 9 pounds and my % lost up to 3.85%! (We’re keeping track of percentages for the Yelp’s Biggest Loser challenge at work.)

I actually wasn’t sure what I’d see on the scale today after a week of kiiiind of uneven eats. Calorie-wise I was still doing pretty well each day, but I fully admit to making some baaaaad choices on the food front nutrition-wise… like how I may or may not have eaten an entire bag of ketchup flavored chips that my friend brought me from Canada for dinner last night. #oops

Sidenote: I can’t decide if it would be better or worse for me if they actually sold ketchup chips here. On the one hand, I’d be able to get them all the time, but on the other hand, I think they would be far less enticing if I could. Hrm.

ANYWAY, the point is I’m very happy with this weigh-in and hopefully will only continue to see steady progress like that throughout this journey. And that’s where I’ll leave it for this week. I’m actually finding that I have to be very careful about how much time I dedicate to thinking about my weight loss progress this time around, because it’s so easy for me to get discouraged… especially once I start thinking about the weight that I had lost before (and since regained). Here’s a tip: don’t go searching through your Flickr archives for pictures to use in a post unless you are emotionally prepared to see how awesome you looked -60 pounds and are able to get past them without fixating, haha.

But! As I know VERY well from past experience, trying to lose too quickly and look for that quick-fix solution ALWAYS ends up backfiring and biting me in the ass, so I just have to keep on keeping on. And hey, on the bright side, this is definitely giving me new perspective as to how fit and awesome I looked at 186 pounds! I feel like when I was at that weight, it still wasn’t good enough for me, and I was always trying to focus on the NEXT 20 pounds. But hot damn, right now if I wouldn’t be happy just to make it back to the 180s and see how I feel after that.

Onward, right?

On With the Show (Weigh-in)

Hey there, neighbors!

I hope you’ve all had an eventful and productive week! I know I have… I’m currently working on planning a large promotion here in Northern Virginia (Yelp’s Passport to Mosaic! — keep your eyes akimbo for more news about it soon, since it’ll be open to ERRRRRYBODY!) and spent the first three days of this week in nonstop meetings and calls. Whew! I mean, I appreciate having a reason to get out of the house (and out of my jammies) as much as the next person, but boy, do I feel like I’ve deserved this weekend.

Except, it won’t exactly be the relaxing, no-plans weekend that I would ideally have laid out in front of me, since things kick off tomorrow with a 5K! My first 5K, in fact, since — hooooo boy — I don’t even know when the last race I participated in was. I think it honestly might have been Reach the Beach… wowzers. Anyway, I’ve been upping my running game little by little over the past month or so, but we’ll have to see how it goes A) running outside (I’ve been doing all treadmill running so far) and B) being back in a race environment again for the first time in over a year. But since this particular race, the Cupid Run, seems like it’ll be on the smaller, more intimate side, hopefully it’ll be a good one to get back in the game with.

Plus, everyone who runs gets a pair of heart-shaped deely boppers! #worthit

Anyway, onto the main event:

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 230.7
This Weigh-in: 229.6 lbs
Difference: -1.1 lbs

Whoop! I’ll take it! Consider me officially out of the 230s and continuing to wind my way dooooown. This week brought with it another bout of eating difficulties due to the metal braces strapped to the back of my teeth, further educating me in the types of things I can and cannot eat.

For example:

Sandwiches made with any kind of delicious, crusty bread are out. So clearly, this is going to be the real key of my weight loss.

ANYWAY. While unfortunately non-Wonder Bread sandwiches may be out, Peking Duck, which we went out for last night in celebration of my mama’s birthday, surprisingly is still in!

To which I say, “Thank GOODNESS!” because Peking Duck is outrageously delicious. And totally worth the 15 minutes I spent brushing and flossing my teeth afterwards to get stuff out of my braces.

Alas, I do think that this uneven eating schedule, as well as the uneven amounts that I’m able to eat — partially due to just physically being able to eat at all, and partially due to the ridonkulously slow speed at which I am able to consume things — isn’t doing me any favors in the weight loss department. Which actually sucks, because I would much rather have easy weight loss as a side effect of these things, over, you know, tongue ulcers and stuff.

Of course, I also have a sneaking suspicion that my body is just being spiteful about making it go through this all again, so there’s that. But after 25 years of weight fluctuations, diets, “diets,” and all the other crap I’ve put it through, I can’t really blame it for not behaving properly. Which is why I just gotta keep doing what I’m doing, try to get back to my regularly scheduled programming, and hope that things even out eventually.

Anyway, another pound down is another pound down, and while it’s hard not to feel like my progress has been slowing over the past couple of weeks, I’m trying to take your advice and stay positive. After all, just as many of you accurately pointed out, weight loss may come down to a “formula” (calories in vs. calories out) but we all know that results don’t always adhere to a schedule.

And so, it’s on with the show we go! Onward, downward, and so on, and so forth. Allons-y!

What’s Different the Second Time Around

Sooooo, apologies in advance that this entire week is evidently full of super heavy posts. I’m thinking it’s like 25% because I have so many feelings about restarting this whole weight loss endeavor, and like 75% because — as evidenced by the tears that welled up in my eyes during last night’s viewing of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse on FX — I am PMSing pretty hardcore.

So last week I finally manned up and openly admitted that I’ve regained the majority of the weight that you all watched me lose once upon a time. And it was probably one of the hardest and most emotionally taxing things that I’ve done in a really, really long time.

I mean, c’mon, it’s hard enough having to admit you’ve gained weight… to yourself. But add in an entire internet audience, and, as I’m sure you can imagine, it becomes just a liiiiittle harder. And as if that weren’t enough, lest we forget, this is the SECOND time that I’m having to admit it. So, we take everything that was difficult about typing out my weight and then pressing “publish” that very first time, then we pile on all of the victories and defeats that accumulated in the following couple of years — wherein I actually LOST 60 pounds and was feeling pretty good about myself — and then multiply it all by the fact that everything I already went through ended up being for nothing. Because here I am again.

So yeah, it sucks.

And I’m going to be honest and admit that I’m already really struggling this time around. Not struggling to get back on track, because I’m actually doing pretty well so far: Tracking all my food, eating well, getting some exercise in, doing a lot of good things in that department. No, instead I’m struggling with all the mushy, icky, complicated emotional stuff. I’m struggling with the HOW. As in, how could I possibly have let myself regain FIFTY pounds? How could I not have noticed, how did I live in denial for so long, how could I not have stopped myself sooner, how could I have let it happen at all?

After everything I went through the first time, after all the progress that I made and all the things I accomplished and all the ways that I grew AND all the ways that I shrunk, how did I get back here?

As I explained in my post last week, I’m not really 100% sure. I think the main thing is that I stopped really caring about maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I stopped prioritizing good choices over easy choices, and I just stopped paying attention to my weight. And for someone like me, someone who loves food entirely too much, someone who is oftentimes physically repulsed by the thought of exercise, someone who has a known history of abusing food, abusing her body with food, and abusing herself because of how she’s abused food… not paying attention is pretty much an automatic precursor to backsliding.

So when I try to think about what’s different now, the second time, I can’t think about how maybe it’ll be easier because I already know what to do, or how because I’ve already done it once before, that must automatically mean I can do it again. No, all I can think about it how much harder it already is. And I’m not even really talking about the actual losing weight part: the calorie counting, the working out, the being accountable. That stuff is honestly all the same, because, yes, I have, done it all before. I do know that I can do it, and while I hate all of it just the same, it really is just like falling back into old habits. It’s the emotional weight that is now attached to every pound I gained, a weight that still remains even as they are starting to fall back off.

The stakes feel so much higher this time. I’ve already failed once, after all. Who’s to say I won’t fail again? Who’s to say that this won’t just be ANOTHER huge waste of time? I mean, no, I know that it wasn’t really a waste of time the first time around. I learned a lot of things about myself, I finally started to really fight back against my addiction to food, my binge eating, my relationship with my body, with myself, blah, blah, blah… but still, when you look at the hard facts, when you break it down to the fact that a year ago I weighed fifty pounds less than I do now, it’s hard not to see it all as a total wash.

One of the most difficult things that I’m having to face is how easy it was for me to gain all the weight back. I mean, it’s not like I was going to the drive-thru every night and cramming fifty pounds worth of Baconators down my throat. I clearly wasn’t trying to gain weight. I knew my eating habits weren’t great and I wasn’t getting much exercise, but it’s not like I was going balls-to-the-walls here, either. It was a pizza night here, a pasta night there, going out for a friend’s birthday here, sharing an appetizer AND getting dessert there. The pounds came back on slowly enough that for the first 10 or 15 I barely noticed anything (since 10 pounds on my frame one way or the other doesn’t exactly make for an earth-shattering different in appearance). And after I did kinda-sorta start to think maybe I was gaining weight back, I was entrenched enough in my habits that I guess I just didn’t want to think about it.

So, yes, the fact that it was so easy to gain all that weight back — and how capable I was of ignoring the gain — is absolutely terrifying.

Because everything about this second try seems hard right now.

I’m really not trying to pull a sympathy plea here. Just like I tried really hard not to come up with excuses in my initial post, I’m not trying to backpeddle and plug them in now either. I got myself back into this situation and I’m the one who wants to change in the first place, so everything that’s happened and everything that will happen moving forward is on me. I’m not looking for anybody to baby me (well, that’s not really true, I actually love being babied, according to the still-growing collection of stuffed animals hiding in my closet), I’m just trying to be honest. Honestly trying to figure out how I got back to this point, and honest about why, even though I’m going through a lot of the same motions, it all feels different this time.

Because now, on top of the shame and guilt for having already failed once, there’s this overarching, pervasive layer of fear. Hell, maybe there always was, and I’m only just now recognizing it. I’m scared, okay? I am scared that I won’t be able to get back to where I was. I’m scared that even if I do, I’m just going to regain everything all over again. I’m scared that even if I don’t regain a single pound, I’ll never be able to stop paying attention, stop prioritizing, stop caring so damn much about my weight. There won’t ever be an end, there won’t ever be any reprieve, and I’m scared knowing that I will continue to have to fight for the rest of my life.

I’m not saying that it’s not a good fight — to fight for your health, to fight for yourself? It’s probably one of the best fights out there. But the thought of fighting, all the time, from now until forever? To have to continue to carefully portion out how much I eat, to count calories, to be mindful at all times of what it is that I’m eating and how active I’m being, not just whilst losing weight but forever afterwards as well? Find me one person on this Earth that isn’t exhausted just thinking about that.

The fact is, I will always love eating. It will probably always be the thing I suggest when there’s something to celebrate, the first thing I want to do when something’s made me sad, the way I like to bond with others. But as much as I love food, I do know — whether due to years of misguided dieting or having a bad body image or maybe just because I’m programmed this way — that it’s entirely too easy for me to take it too far.

And I definitely do not love what overeating does to me. I don’t like feeling bloated or having digestive issues or being fat. I don’t like being out of shape and weak and exhausted. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong, and, as I discussed yesterday, sure, I also want to look bangin’. The point is, I do want this. And so for now, I just have to keep going down this road, and hope that part of the reason that this second time around feels different is because it is also destined to end differently.

Deja Vu All Over Again (Weigh-in)

246.

That’s the number that I found myself face to face with (well, more like face to ground, since I was standing on a scale at that time) back in August, 2010. That is the number that caused my breath to catch in my lungs, the tears to well up in my eyes, and reality to hit me square in the chest. It’s the number that, nearly three and a half years ago, made my life literally come to a halt.

And thank God it did.

Because the life I was living at the time? Just having broken up with my first serious long-term boyfriend (for the first time… but that entire ordeal is, of course, another story)? Fresh out of one job that I absolutely hated, but into another one that was as boring as the last one had been horrible? A couch potato so lazy that I made other sedentary people look like marathoners? The not-so-proud owner of a myriad of serious food issues? That life was not so good.

So, it took me until I reached my highest (known) weight of 246 pounds for me to wake up and finally say, “Enough.” You know the story: I asked my brother to help me create a website, I posted my weight on the internet to humiliate myself keep myself accountable, and I actually — miraculously — started to turn things around.

Slowly but surely, the pounds started to come off and I started to grow up (a little, at least… I think), and one day I found myself 60 pounds lighter than when I started. But I still had the boyfriend issues (shockingly, it turns out, he wasn’t “The One” by a looooongshot), and I still had the boring job, and every day was still a struggle for me not to fall back into my old habits. I had to keep fighting not to backslide.

So when I did finally start to focus on those other, not as stellar parts of my life, it should come as no surprise to you all that I did start to backslide. It was just a little at first. A few extra pounds crept on, and I noticed but I told myself it wasn’t a big deal. Five extra pounds on a frame like mine? Nobody’ll even notice. Except… five eventually turned into ten. And ten turned into fifteen. And before I knew it…

I was almost right back to where I started.

Don’t get me wrong, some amazing things happened while those pounds were silently becoming part of my life again. I found an amazing new guy, I got my dream job, discovered how awesome it is to have unnatural colored hair, and, dude, I wrote a freaking book. But I had stopped making my health a priority — I’d stopped really caring at all. With everything else suddenly vying for my attention instead, the fight for my health just stopped seeming important.

Of course, all of those things are not an excuse for letting myself go, and I promise, I’m really not trying to make excuses at all. What happened happened, and now I’m back here, with my focus once again trained on my health. But, as my very wise and beautiful friend Cassie pointed out in her comment on my weight gain admittance post, maybe since now all those other things ARE right this time, juuuust maybe the fitness and the weight loss and, most importantly, the health stuff will stick around for the long run.

It took a lot of courage for me to post my weight on the internet three and a half years ago. I was terrified to do it. But, I gotta tell you, maybe it’s because hindsight is 20/20 (just like my vision is now, BOOM! Actually, j/k, my vision is 20/15 now. DOUBLE BOOM!), but it feels 80,000 times more mortifying to admitting my weight this time around.

Maybe it’s because I know I have coworkers reading now, or because there are more people reading in general, or maybe (most likely) it has something to do with the whole “I already failed once” thing… but I’m not going to dive too deeply into that now. This post is already heavy enough. The point is, even in my initial admittance post, I was too scared to admit my weight. I used a couple of vague statements to give a little perspective about how much I had regained, but I didn’t use any actual numbers. And, c’mon, you have to admit that was crappy of me, right?! I mean, I’m the girl that posts her weight on the internet so that God and her mother and all of her high school frenemies can see exactly how much she weighs, every week. I’m the girl that wants to help tear down the idea that a number can own anybody. And yet, I’m a girl who was scared of a frakking number?! Boourns.

Well, since you were all way too nice to call me out for that, I’ll do it myself: Gretchen, that was total BS. Own up to your number, and then take it DOWN. Literally. So, here we go. And, let me just say, that while some might consider this to be a sliiiight cop-out, since I waited until my first actual weigh-in (and thus, loss) to post my digits… Well, at least I’m still doing it.

Deep breaths, Gretchen. Deep breaths…

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
This Weigh-in: 233.4 lbs
Difference: -3.2 lbs

Yes, I gained back all but ten — just TEN — of the pounds I fought tooth and nail to lose. I regained FIFTY pounds. And I absolutely hate that I did. I won’t lie, it’s really, really hard not to hate myself for it. But as much as I wish I could time-travel back to every bad food decision and just straight up slap each hoagie, burrito, and pizza slice out of my hands, I can’t. All I can do is move forward, and hopefully downward, as I continue on this journey.

But hey, at least losing 3.2 pounds isn’t too terrible of a way to start, right?

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.