Liveblogging a Binge: A Look Inside the Mind of a Disordered Eater

I knew I shouldn’t have. I know what it does to me. I know that having Cascadian Farms Organic Cinnamon Crunch cereal in the house is too tempting. Something about cereal. I want to eat the whole box, bowl after bowl. So I don’t buy it. But today the boyfriend had cereal on the grocery list, and his brand of choice happens to be the Cascadian Farms Graham Crunch, which is RIGHT NEXT to my crack on the grocery aisle. And it was on sale. Bastards.

I picked up two boxes. I don’t know why. I’m a sucker for a sale. Hook, line, and sinker. But there was something else going on. Some rebelliousness, or boredom, or some other unknown emotion driving me to desire the treat. I originally planned to have leftover slow-cooker pork loin for lunch, but now with cereal… plans change. I get home and carefully measure out not one, but TWO 3/4-cup servings (totaling 54 grams), and pour 120 mL of unsweetened vanilla almond milk atop. If I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to play by the rules. Weigh it. Track it. And then other rules, rules that I just made up. More on that to come.

After wetting each sugar-dusted piece by dunking beneath the almond milk with my spoon, section by glorious section, I let them sit long enough to get just the slightest bit soggy. And then it’s on. Within minutes, the bowl is empty. The rule I just made up is I need to drink 24 fluid ounces of water between bowls. There must be order in this deranged universe. So that means one bowl wasn’t enough. Why can’t one bowl be enough? I drink the water and sit for a bit. Checking feeds, tweeting about my sports bra, trying to keep the cereal out of my head. I look at the empty bowl and empty water bottle and rise from my chair with both in hand, ready for Round 2.

If it’s possible, the second bowl is gone even faster than the first. Everything measured, everything tracked. Maybe if I look at my macronutrient totals it will startle me into stopping. So far today, 23% protein, 19% fat, 59% carbs. Oh that’s not so bad. I was thinking it would be closer to 75% carbs. I start to think about blogging about it. Which is where I pick up here. I start drinking the water again. 24 new fluid ounces. 8 ounces gone. I keep looking at my tracker. Hoping something gels and I can be done.

I’m full, but not satisfied. And this rebellious feeling, WHAT IS THAT?!? I feel like my dog, who is constantly scolded for grabbing the flip flops from just outside the garage door, but still bratty enough to make yet another attempt whenever the door is opened. He knows, but he just can’t help himself. He actually looks like he is thinking twice, but oh hell IT’S A FLIP FLOP HE MUST RUN AWAY WITH IT! No one here is going to be mad at me for eating all the cereal in the house. I’m playing this sad game with myself.

I’m looking at this third-empty bottle of water. Considering my options. Considering the alternatives. I am in control of what I put into my mouth, right? There’s no universal order that demands my submission to the cereal gods, and yet I feel the pull. Forty minutes has passed. I’m staring at this blog entry screen trying to feel my way around and past my urges. The water isn’t gone yet. I’m going to leave with my bowl now, but it’s going to get washed and put away. No more cereal for me today.

 

Quick Update: Weigh-In, Steps-a-palooza, and Pricey Sports Bras

Good day, folks! Thought I’d pop in to give you the 4-1-1 on my latest weigh-in results. Yesterday I weighed in at 213.8, down 0.8 lbs from last week. To be perfectly honest I was a tad bit “down” about it for a little while, considering the massive fitness endeavors I’ve been making, but I should know by now that my body doesn’t depart with the pounds in a reasonable way every week. That eight-tenths of a pound is honorable and I’m satisfied that I’m still edging ever-closer to Onederland!

On the subject of fitness endeavors, I’m tired! Last Friday my trainer informed me that 5,000 steps per day no longer held the challenge they wanted for me, so I was to increase that to 10,000 steps per day (above my formal workouts). And dag-nabbit, I’m nothing if not motivated to succeed! Who knew my motto would become that old cliché, “How high? 10k steps is no walk in the park. Well, to be fair, it IS technically a walk in the park, but a DAMN LONG ONE! My poor feet have been grumbling since Friday. Deservedly so, as according to Fitbit’s tracking I’ve logged 28 miles since then.

Maintaining these step levels is going to require constant vigilance. Yesterday, in addition to my 33 minutes on the Adaptive Motion Trainer at the gym (where steps didn’t count, grumble grumble), I also spent about 40 minutes on the treadmill, just trying to get my steps reasonably high. Then I still had about 3,000 more to do at home, where I spent a good deal of time walking in place while watching my stories on the teevee. CONSTANT VIGILANCE!

Now that I’m throwing in some running along with my many walks, I’m finding my sports bras to be – shall we say – inadequate. I found a local store that sells the Enell brand so hurried over before my weigh-in yesterday to try some on. The Enell Sport was the clear winner among all the rest, but I walked out with a debt increase of $75 – FOR ONE BRA. Holy yikes. That’s a lot of green for some adequate chest compression! But I was able to jump without, well, I was able to JUMP – so there’s that. Hopefully the quality is true to advertising and it lasts – until I shrink out of it, that is!

Oh geez it’s nearly 10AM and I have a training appointment in an hour that I’m running late for!! Better motor. Thanks for reading!

Adventures in Hiking: Saint Edward State Park

This morning I woke up feeling kinda blah, so I immediately set some goals to work on in order to make the day interesting.

My training went well. My trainer put me on the Woodway Treadmill and hiked the speed up to 3.2 mph. After a minute she noticed I couldn’t keep up (I believe she compared me to a small dog who had to run fast every few paces to keep up with her owner) and lowered the speed to 3.0 mph. A small reprieve. After a few minutes she asked, “You ready?”, and I should’ve known that she would make me run, as the incline was at zero. She bumped the speed up to 5.6 mph and off I went. I’m kinda sorta maybe working on being able to run a 5K (instead of merely walking with occasional bursts of running), so I’m happy for any opportunity to practice.

3_21_workout

Just LOOK at all them spikes! Afterwards, we did some “floor work” which consisted of some core exercises, including planks. I mentioned that I wanted to eventually get to one full minute. Maybe it was a good thing, but I didn’t try to keep mental count when I started and let her time it. When I fell onto the floor again, she commended me for getting up to 49.35 seconds. A personal best! I’d say that hour met all the qualifications for achieving Goal #1. I’m pretty sure I crushed it.

discovery_passOn the way home from the gym I stopped by a local shop to pick up a Washington State Parks pass, called a Discover Pass. Goal #3, achieved! I purchased it so I could scope out a local state park – Saint Edward State Park – that’s within walking distance of my house. 2.4 miles, to be exact. A little too distant to walk when I’d like to make an afternoon of hiking onsite, but I’ll work up to it eventually!

After lunch I laced up my dusty old hiking boots, packed up a backpack and my Boston Terrier, Benny, and we took a short drive to the park. The weather was perfect. 50 degrees Fahrenheit (on the cool side), but just as sunny as could be. The park is the site of a defunct Catholic seminary and Bastyr University. It’s 316-acres of both manicured grounds and wild forest butting up to the north-east coast of Lake Washington. I familiarized myself with the trail map available onsite and decided to take the Seminary Trail down to the waterfront.

The trail down was gorgeous. I started crossing the grassy grounds of the seminary into a wide, well-maintained (though occasionally muddy) forest canopy-shaded trail, heading about a mile down to a private shore on Lake Washington, accessible only by the park’s trail system. I spent about ten minutes just watching the water, feeling so happy I had ventured down. I’d been to the park a few times before but never got up the nerve to try one of the unpaved trails. I had no idea it was so beautiful and afforded such a pleasantly-peaceful experience.

I knew there were several loops available in the trail system, so decided to find one instead of double-backing on the trail I came up. After making a wrong turn that put me on some very wild trail for about an eighth of a mile, I doubled-back and found two offshoots. One marked as “More Difficult”, and the other marked as “Most Difficult”. As the trail I began on was designated as “More Difficult”, I figured I’d have an okay time with the former. The problem is that the trail, if I had remembered from the MAP, was marked as “Most Difficult” in spots. Awesome! But I was committed by the time I figured out that the path was more challenging, and Benny was a slave-driver an enormous help in getting me up the steep and scary path.

By the time we got back to the car I was well and truly DONE with the hike. It was a little over 2 miles round trip, and that was a perfect length for me considering the elevation gains and difficulty. I decided to give the RunKeeper app a try instead of my normal tracker, Digifit. I was excited to see the option to take photos during the walk, but afterwards found out that my heartrate monitor’s signal dropped early on. Not sure if my HRM’s battery is just wonky or if taking photos makes the signal drop (like it does with Digifit). I’m sure I’ll get around to featuring them both in a future “Appsperience” post, so I’ll troubleshoot that further before making any pronouncements. RunKeeper sure is prettier than Digifit, from someone interested in design elements. I digress…

So Goal #4 can be officially put to bed at this point. And a quick check of my Fitbit confirms that Goal #2 has been smashed as well, as I’m up to over 13,000 steps! My steps will likely be increasing over the next few weeks, as today I was informed that the head honchos of the 20/20 Lifestyles program talked about me during their “grand rounds” meeting yesterday and requested I push my daily step counts up from 5000 steps to 10000 steps (and that’s, ideally, above and beyond any I get during my “official” workouts). For an extra challenge, I guess. Because 5000 steps is too easy for me now, I GUESS. It’s a tall order, but I’m up for at least giving it a shot.

And with this post, I’ve completed Goal #5! I’ve made the most of my day and I’m mighty proud. Now to feed myself plenty, as I blogged right through my snack – whoops!

Upcoming Features

I love journaling about my weight loss experience at a general level, but there are many aspects that I’d love to delve deeper into. While “working out”, “eating right”, and having a “positive attitude” are the key aspects to my current success, each of those is fueled by myriad components.

Sustaining my efforts is a daily sourcing project. I spend time reading other weight loss-oriented blogs, reading articles and books oriented towards weight loss or the psychological issues surrounding perseverance, searching out success stories on all mediums (YouTube, web articles), looking up healthy recipes and cooking techniques (“how to use a food processor” is one of my recent Bing search field entries), and drooling over the latest fitness-oriented gadgets and downloading new apps for my smartphone. It’s like a full-time job!

I certainly run into a lot of junk, there’s A LOT of obnoxious pseudoscience to weed through! But occasionally I stumble across material that really feeds my initiative. A blogger who inspires me on some deeper level, writing that opens up a whole new way of thinking about things, or an app or piece of gear that makes working out or logging my meals a data-nerd’s dream. And now I’d like to spend more time sharing these finds here on the site.

I have a few features in mind that I’d like to announce. First is a series on a book that just keeps blowing me away. Even though I haven’t read it all the way through (though I’ve watched a lot of the available lectures online covering the material), it has opened my eyes to the tools to turn me into something I never thought I could be: a willpower machine! I’m talking about Kelly McGonigal’s The Willpower Instinct, which I’ve mentioned here before. Presently I’m just reading it through for the first time, but it’s also designed to be taken chapter by chapter and turned into experiments and projects to help one towards some goal. Once I get through it, I’d like to start at the beginning and share my experiences working through the chapters as relates to my weight loss experience in some way.

Another feature I’d like to explore pertains to tools – particularly websites and smartphone applications that aide my efforts. I’m a bona-fide gadget freak and have always been stimulated by various apps to increase my activity. It may have gone all the way back to using the Weight Watchers eTools online back in the day, but when I got my Fitbit things really took off. Since then I’ve probably downloaded and tried at least 20 different apps – some not-so-great, some FANTASTIC – and I’d love to share my “Appsperience” with readers. Heh. Maybe I just came up with a feature name!

And lastly, I’d love to promote bloggers (and vloggers) whose stories and sites motivate and inspire me. I know weight loss or healthy living blogs are a dime a dozen, but there are some online peeps who KNOCK IT OUTTA THE PARK on a regular basis. I’d like to share these select sites and highlight just HOW awesome they are. And of course if you have a site you think I should have a look at, you can always drop me a line!

So stay tuned for these few new features. I hope you find them interesting and informative. Now that I’ve mentioned them I’ll be more motivated to actually produce the content, so feel free to call me out if you don’t see something in the coming weeks! Take care!

Weigh-In Update, Six Months, and OW! My Legs!

Yesterday I celebrated six months since my Day 1 on the 20/20 Program by meeting with my dietitian and measuring my current weight. Happy to report my weigh-in showed me at 214.6 lbs, or a loss of 2.4 lbs from last week. I’m also happy to report that I ate a full breakfast yesterday before the weigh-in – another effort in breaking the bad fasting habit I had fostered over those first six months. This brings my total weight lost on the program to over 51 lbs, and the total from my high weight from sometime in July to over 57 lbs. Folks, that’s the most I’ve ever lost on any program ever! That’s serious business!!

Our meetings are less and less her advising me on nutritional methods, and more on me being awestruck by how the food thing is just WORKING. I don’t feel like I’m eating in a way that’s not going to be sustainable for the rest of my life. I’m eating foods that I enjoy, and getting a real feel for what “satiated” means. Fast food no longer has the grip on me that it’s held ALL MY LIFE, and I’m making huge strides in learning to prepare my own healthy and delicious meals. Okay, occasionally NOT so delicious, but nowhere near terrible – and they fuel me, which is what eating is, really. And I’ve dipped into the territory of eating out – which has frightened me in the earlier months of the program – and come away from the experiences with the realization that IT’S OKAY. Going out and having a nice steak dinner with mashed potatoes is not going to send me to the McDonald’s dumpster the next morning ravaging around for scummy leftovers, or grabbing pints of Ben & Jerry’s off the store shelves with a crazed look in my eyes.

I feel so empowered, and continued and LASTING success feels not like a supremely-difficult task to be slogged towards, but a genuine possibility. Not discounting the difficulties that I have/am encountering in this change process – they are plentiful and challenging – but giving myself the kudos that I really CAN and AM DOING THIS! I realize I may be in some weird second-honeymoon stage with this, but I’m grasping it tightly – holding onto all of the positive feelings. Hopefully not to squeeze them dry, but to let them feed the bigger positive feelings ahead.

<<Alert: Rant Ahead>>

One of the challenges I’m experiencing at present is the soreness in the lower half of my body. The 5K took a small toll, but by Monday I was feeling really good. My trainer decided to end our session on Monday with some squats. Ah. Yeah. By the afternoon I was slow. By Tuesday morning I was toast. My legs get DESTROYED by squats. Sitting and standing are THE WORST. Getting onto and off the toilet is a small agony where I must admit, I’ve been mumbling my trainer’s name, following or followed by a short string of expletives. Working out yesterday (40 minutes on the AMT doing intervals, bitches!!) felt okay, and I stretched a LOT afterwards, but a few hours later it was back to as bad as it was in the morning. Yuck.

My legs are HUGE, specifically my thighs. My thighs and my upper arms feel like the meatiest parts of my body. Sometimes I like to think that, for all the soreness, it’s ALL MUSCLE in those wide thighs. A girl can dream! In a few weeks I’ll be getting another DEXA scan, and be able to see with more clarity exactly how my body make-up has changed through these six months. But for now I need to finish my strawberry greek yogurt and get to the gym to give my trainer a piece of my mind crush yet another workout.

1st Annual St Paddy’s Green Day Challenge

I don’t drink Guinness or eat corned beef, guys, so to make St Patrick’s Day festive this year I’ve decided to incorporate a food-related challenge. Today I will include green food at EVERY meal, including snacks. And artificially-colored green stuff doesn’t count, so no pouring green food dye over your bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, even though that’s tempting…

green Day Challenge - Bfast

This morning I started with a spinach-centric smoothie of the following recipe:

– 6oz Fage 0% greek yogurt
– 42g of baby spinach
– 30g of banana
– 35g of frozen mango chunks
– 1/2 cup (120mL) of unsweetened vanilla almond milk
– 1 Tbsp of Bobs Red Mill Ground Flax Seed Meal
– 1 Tbsp ClearFiber supplement powder
– 1 Tbsp Organic Greens & Reds Supplement Powder
– a few cubes of ice

StPaddy_Lunch

Lunchtime! Just a simple garden salad with some diced grilled chicken and yogurt dressing, recipe below!

– 85g mixed romaine and green leaf lettuce
– 4 oz diced grilled chicken breast
– 35g cucumbers
– 64g green, red, and orange bell pepper strips
– 40g cherry tomatoes, halved
– 30g Bolthouse Farms Classic Ranch Yogurt Dressing

Snacktime! Uhhh, I have some cucumbers, so how about this?

StPaddys_snack

Cucumbers count, right?!? Okay so I’ll admit it, the cheese on the cucumbers was weird. Ingredients list below:

– 2 oz sliced cucumbers
– 1 wedge of Laughing Cow Light Queso Fresco & Chipotle cheese
– 100g of red seedless grapes (individually hand cleaned/polished. I have grape OCD issues!)
– 100-calorie packet of Emerald Cinnamon Roast Almonds

Dinner was the most exciting meal of the day, by far…

StPaddys_Dinner

I picked up my very first food processor on Sunday and had a chance to break it in for this dinner. I found this paleo-friendly Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Cream Sauce recipe online and it fit the bill for the Green Day Challenge perfectly! I made a few modifications, like replacing the bacon fat/tallow with a little olive oil spray for cooking the noodles, and I ended up adding about a half cup of lowfat milk because our avocados were not exactly ripe and needed the additional liquid to cream it up. I also added some grilled chicken for extra protein. Very garlicky, but delicious.

Dessert was a bit of an afterthought. After tracking my meals, I found myself to be a little short on the carb and calorie side, so I figured adding in a little green frozen yogurt wouldn’t hurt. A quick trip to my local Menchie’s franchise yielded me a little over 4 ounces of their flavor of the month, Key Lime Pie! As you can see, the puppy was especially intrigued. Artificially-colored, for sure, but c’mon, it’s DESSERT!

StPaddys_Dessert

 

Did you tackle the challenge along with me? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments feed. Who knows, maybe I’ll make this an annual event (hence the post title), and come up with a clever hashtag or something for next year. Hope everyone had a fantastic St Patrick’s Day, and thanks for reading!

Video Update: My First 5K!!! And, a Career Epiphany?

In this installment I gush about my first 5K fun run experience, and delve rather deeply into some career-trajectory thoughts. Have I found my calling?

For those who don’t want to watch right now, but are curious none the less, you’ll find my written comments below.

 

A lot of exciting things have been happening lately, and I highlight a few of them in the video above. These include MY VERY FIRST 5K FUN RUN! This is a big deal for me. A few weeks ago my trainer mentioned the possibility of the two of us participating in the event (the 3rd annual Kirkland Shamrock Run) together, but she had to work and wasn’t going to be able to make it. I wasn’t in the mood to let that stop me, so I gently persuaded my boyfriend to register with me instead.

My plan was to walk most of it, but to jog whenever I could. A few weekends ago I took a 3.2-mile walk which included brief bursts of speed, and my mile-time was approximately 17min:45sec, so I set a conservative goal of getting below 18:00 for this. The route is known to be hilly for the majority of the way (though fortunately it was all at the beginning, giving some reprieve towards the end), so I didn’t want to push my goal into impossible territory.

Finishing results, my first bib, and a smiley post-race selfie with the boyfriend.

Finishing results, my first bib, and a smiley post-race selfie with the boyfriend.

The weather was PERFECT for my first event. It was a bit chilly, and it started to lightly drizzle for a few moments, but I’m very happy I didn’t pick a hot summer day to try jogging on the asphalt for five kilometers! I have, like, zero articles of running-appropriate clothing, and sported a fleece-lined jacket at the beginning of the race. When I finally heated up, my awesome boyfriend was willing to hold it for me until we neared the finish.

finish_line_pics

I found the above two photos of me finishing online amongst thousands of others!

Not only was the boyfriend a helpful valet for my things, but he was the official pace-keeper, and he kept me aware of how my mile-time was averaging. I think the worst part of the whole thing was I started to feel pain in my right hip area that prevented me from running as long as I wanted to. For the rest of the day it was sore, but today it’s much better. 

I finished in time to blow my goal time outta the water, at an official pace of 17:07, and a finish time of 53:04. 9th in my age bracket, lol!

The imperfect Digifit app results. Thinking of using RunKeeper next time, but hadn't tested it prior.

The imperfect Digifit app results. Thinking of using RunKeeper next time, but hadn’t tested it prior.

Afterwards, we stumbled into the nearby neighborhood Irish pub for post-race festivities (including a performance by the Eastside Firefights Pipes and Drums band), where the boyfriend enjoyed a Guinness and I recorded an Instagram video of the band. As you can see from the selfie above, I was very, very happy. I wasn’t prepared for the fun to end, in fact. I wanted to walk/run some more! When’s the next 5K?!? My boyfriend joked that there was a 4-mile run the following day, and I half considered it!

The other thing I find myself excited about has to do with some career thoughts I’ve been having. I left my position as a Project Manager for a medical training company almost a year ago to work on my issues with depression, anxiety, and (later, once I was feeling better) to kickstart my weight loss/lifestyle change. I don’t intend to be living this life of leisure forever, however, so I’ve been starting to put some thought into what it is I wanna DO with my life. I wasn’t happy in my last position, and frankly I haven’t truly enjoyed what I do for a living in a long, long time. And this seems like the perfect opportunity to reflect and ponder and put energy into pursuing a new path.

It’s been difficult. I have interests and proficiencies, but it hasn’t necessarily felt like I wanted to turn those into a career. I love web stuff, and graphic design, but the idea of doing it for a living seems like it wouldn’t be so fun (plus I don’t think I have the artistic chops to pursue it). I am attracted to audio and production- I even went to school back in the mid-90’s and finished a certificate program in audio engineering to work in post production for television and film, but my career never progressed past the stage of assistant, and I ended up being pushed into administrative roles. I excelled in them, and that’s how I worked up to project management, but it wasn’t what I ever dreamed of doing.

I’ve thought about medical imaging, psychology, audio production and editing, UI/UX, psychology, writing, psychology… wait. Are you seeing a trend? For many many years, the thought of becoming a counselor, or involved in the field of psychology has been of interest. Yesterday I had a bit of an epiphany when I was contemplating potential careers. What am I currently MOST passionate about? The lifestyle changes I’m working on to lose weight and learn to live a happy, healthy life. And I feel drawn to talk about my experiences here on this blog, with other weight loss bloggers, and really, to anyone who will listen. I love hearing people’s stories, and I try to absorb as much information on the topic of weight-related health, fitness, and behavioral research.

And of course I’ve had experience with counseling (on the receiving side) since I was a kid. Experiences both good and bad, to be frank, but I find it oddly compelling as a career choice. So I just started thinking that: how awesome would it be to turn this passion for helping myself into a career in helping others work through their own unique issues by providing support and behavioral/emotional resources!?! I start with what I’m closest to, and that’s the 20/20 Lifestyles program, and the counselor I’m working with there. I would love to provide the service she’s providing to me. And a casual web search illuminated other avenues for trained professionals to provide similar support, and I just got really, really energized.

I believe so strongly, with every fiber of my being, that successful, permanent weight management is not possible through diet and exercise alone: one needs to have the behaviors and mental tools to override our human instinct to eat fatty, junky foods and be comfortable (as in, not feeling the temporary pain of exercise). So many of us DON’T have these tools, and I want very much to be a provider in that way.

Of course this will likely involve schooling (I never finished my Bachelor’s, and most positions in the counseling field require at least a Master’s completion), and more critically, the finances and time for schooling, and that’s all really overwhelming to think about. But I’m going to take a careful, measured approach to this, talk to some people I know about the possibilities, and see what makes sense. It’s been so long since I’ve felt like something could be SO RIGHT for me, and I don’t want to chicken out because it feels like it might be too much.

*Whew*, that was a long post! Thanks so much for reading!