Welcome to “Onederland”!

I DID IT!!! The last few weeks I’ve been going on and on and ON about a silly number on a scale, but I don’t care if it’s lame because getting under 200 pounds is something I never thought I’d be able to achieve at this stage in my life. AND I FRICKIN’ DID IT!!!

On Friday I hopped on the scale and it read 199.8 lbs, but I saw the digital display weight teeter-tottering around so I wasn’t ready to celebrate just yet. I climbed off, took a big breath in and out, reset the scale, and climbed back on. 199.6 lbs was its stable readout the second time around, and with that, I declared victory. I let out a raucous “Woo hooooo!” and then had to quiet the nerves of my dog, who was startled in the other room (lol!).

You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face!

I was of course eager to purchase my reward – I settled on the Canon Powershot S110. It’s a slightly older model with 24 frames-per-second HD video (it was cheaper, too – bonus!). It took me forever to navigate over to the shopping center, find the Best Buy (it was hidden underground!), pick up the camera and a couple memory cards, travel to another mall across town for another errand, and finally drive home where I could unbox the camera and get the battery charging. If you check out my video above (which I really hope you do because I am quite proud of this particular edit), you’ll see the new camera footage beginning at around the 3-minute mark!

Even after traipsing around (and maybe getting lost at) two malls, I was still at only 6,000 steps. Why am I paying attention to steps? Well, I always try to stay above 5,000 steps per day, but this past Wednesday I began Roni Noone’s #100kSteps Challenge – it’s basically to get 100,000 steps logged in my Fitbit within 7 days. At an average of 14,000+ steps per day, that’s a pretty tall order for me! It would certainly be the most I’ve ever had in a week. I had been kinda slacking off in the steps arena for a bit, so this challenge was a ripe opportunity to kick things back into gear.

I’m pleased to report that I’ve been KILLING IT with the steps so far! Each day, I’ve exceeded my required daily average.

I’ve been working HARD to maintain these step numbers. Dragging myself into the gym for long workouts when I wasn’t feeling it, going on a hike at Saint Edward State Park, parking a quarter mile from any entrance, walking around my living room – even emptying the dishwasher piece by piece instead of stacking types of dishes together (okay, the silverware is done in bulk – let’s not go crazy!). I can’t imagine doing this long term, but I can definitely manage it for a week.

So yeah, things are going well for me right now! The scale and I are taking a little break from our daily morning meet ups and I instead will only be weighing in every Tuesday. The push to Onederland definitely sent me a little loopy with the numbers, and I could use a mental respite from it for a little while. Next goal? Well, I have this challenge I’d like to successfully complete. If I can persist with the good numbers and come in at or over 100,000 steps for the week, I think I’ll pick myself up a teapot with an infuser for brewing loose leaf tea, as I’m quite fond of the new Teavana release of the Oprah Chai Tea.

But as for numbers on the scale, I have no real set goal. You’ll notice in my sidebar that I have an ultimate goal weight of 150 lbs – followed by a few question marks. That’s ‘cuz I don’t know where I wanna ride this train to just yet. I’m going to focus on little goals. Getting into the 180’s, then the 170’s, etc. But trying not to go too crazy about any of it. The important thing is that I’m feeling SO MUCH STRONGER and I have SO MUCH MORE ENERGY now that I’ve lost 70+ pounds from my highest weight. And I have a long way to go, so I know it’s only gonna get better the more I lose.

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. That means if you purchase an item that I’ve linked to here, I may receive a small compensation from the seller.
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The Dark Side of Weight Loss: A Weigh-In Update and Confession

The video above is a read-through of the text below, so either one you pick to read or watch will give you the same info!

Welcome to a very special installment on Julie Loses, lol!

This experiment with a goal reward is not going exactly as I planned. Or maybe just not how I had hoped. If you aren’t caught up on my earlier posts, I decided to attach a compact digital camera as a reward for hitting Onederland – 199.8 lbs or less on the scale. Overall I think the idea of setting goals and assigning rewards is a good thing. I’ve definitely been more motivated over the last week or so, because I REALLY want that camera in my hands!

One of my objectives for this blog is to be completely open about the experience, thus I have to be honest about this goal experience in particular: I do not think assigning weight-based goal rewards is the best idea for me (note the “for me” part, your mileage may vary). While I have been more motivated to push myself in my workouts, and to keep my eyes on the proverbial prize, I am not proud of this morning’s activities surrounding my weekly weigh-in. It’s harkening back to the earlier months on the program when my weekly numbers were a tad too important for me, and I would participate in “intermittent fasting” each Tuesday morning before my dietician appointment. On with the confession…

Yesterday I made the irresponsible decision to taper off my water intake. I drank a bunch of tea hoping it would flush my system and didn’t get in my normal eight or more cups of water. This morning, instead of getting up at a reasonable time and adhering to my normal weigh-in routine, I instead waited to get up until I was ready to (WARNING: TMI ALERT!) have a bowel movement. I find I typically have one first thing in the morning, and then another in the mid-morning a bit after breakfast, so today I waited until noon to weigh myself, to get the “full benefit”. And I refrained from taking in any liquids or food until after my weigh-in. When the number on the scale didn’t quite meet my goal of 199.8 or less, I forced myself to try to eliminate more waste material to reduce by mere ounces – by leaving the faucet running to arouse the need to urinate, rubbing my belly to promote #2’s, running around the house… you get the idea.

I didn’t eat until a half hour ago, after I finally gave up and resigned myself to the number I saw on the scale. That number on the scale, mind you, was nothing to scoff at. I’m down 1.8 lbs this week to an amazing 200 lbs. This may help explain my ridiculous desire to “go” just a little bit more to try to break into the 100’s, but it certainly doesn’t excuse my actions. This is the dark side of weight loss for me. The unhealthy side. Instead of celebrating a respectable 1.8 lbs loss I find myself feeling deflated. And if I *did* achieve that 199.8 lbs on the scale after doing what I did this morning, I don’t think the achievement would have felt as sweet. There’d be some bitterness, some regret. I feel it even now. It’s not a nice feeling.

This isn’t how reward systems are supposed to work, right? I mean, I definitely feel like I should celebrate hitting Onederland in some way – it’s an achievement and it marks, at least in the US where we use Imperial units, a distinctive transition. But I think setting goal-based rewards that aren’t tied to a number (be it weight or inches lost) might be a better system for me. For example celebrating a week of exceeding my Fitbit step count minimum, or getting 72 ounces of water or greater, or exploring new hiking trails, might produce a healthier approach to implementing rewards. It’s clear to me that I have a competitive spirit, but it’s also clear to me that I’m not above exploiting my bodily mechanisms to achieve results. I’m not proud of this, but I have to admit it to move forward.

So what will happen with this current reward? I’m keeping at it. I’ll not be chucking it out and going out and buying the camera for the hell of it – nor will I set a new goal to base it on. I will follow through with this, but I will not again endure the ridiculousness I put my body through these past 24 hours. I’ll get up and look forward to whatever result I see on the scale tomorrow, and the next day – same as usual. But I won’t waste half my day waiting for my biological systems to catch up to my desires. And I think once I hit Onederland, I’m going to taper off my weigh-ins to once per week again, for at least a little while.

But for today, I did reward myself for hitting 200 lbs by purchasing the domain JulieLoses.com for this blog. I had been thinking about it for awhile and decided that hitting 200 lbs was deserving of some treat for myself. I’d be lying if I told you my first reward idea wasn’t a Five Guys cheeseburger, but the domain is a much wiser decision.

This weight loss process, beyond the advantages of being smaller, more fit, and physically feeling healthier, has really given me tremendous insight into what makes me tick – both good and bad. I’m learning lessons and hopefully learning to move beyond some of my hang-ups. The benefits have gone well beyond what I originally imagined, and if that ME that decided to lose weight in the first place was an entity I could actually communicate with, I would give her a hug and thank her so much for taking those first steps. I’m losing weight, but I’m gaining so much more. It sounds silly to say it, but it’s really the truth. Thanks so much for coming along with me on this ride, and until next time – take care!

On Discipline, and Setting My “Onederland” Goal Reward

Setting rewards for hitting a goal – whether that goal is health-related, educational, professional or otherwise – can be a helpful tool in achieving that goal. Rewards can be anything from a quiet, relaxing afternoon at home to yourself, or a pedicure – to a luxury vacation somewhere exotic or a big-ticket item purchase. Anything that’s beyond the norm can qualify, if it’s special to you.

I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it here on the blog as of yet, but it is rather difficult for me to assign myself rewards for hitting goals. The reasons behind this difficulty are three-fold: 1) ideas for “things to consume” or “experiences to participate in” have to occur organically for me (and I’m horrible at remembering what I want), and building a list from my memory at any given time proves impossible; 2) when I do think of something I want, I tend to go after it immediately without any thought of attaching it as a reward; and 3) I have a history of lacking discipline, and waiting to go after what I want is, well see reason #2…

Important Aside: Let me just say here, I totally get that this qualifies as a FIRST WORLD PROBLEM. If assigning rewards to goals is a hurdle in my life then, well, my life must be pretty awesome! 

Lately I’ve been feeling much more lively about producing content for this blog. I get “good feels” from the videos I post – perhaps it’s the old college filmmaking education I exited from a long time ago coming back to haunt me – and at the moment I’m feeling especially driven to achieve improvements in the quality of these videos. So I find myself spending hours and hours looking for other weight loss bloggers, watching a lot of other YouTubers, researching filming and lighting techniques, and digging through online forums for equipment reviews. And of course along with this there’s the inevitable: “Oh, if I had this (insert equipment here), I could make my indoor shots look better”, etc.

So it occurred to me over the weekend, while I was out at Best Buy perusing the point-and-shoot digital cameras, that instead of just buying one merely because I want it, why not use this as an opportunity to earn something for achieving a goal? And I have a long list of videography-related items that I’ve been adding to my Amazon wishlist recently – why not set some reasonable targets to get those items in my possession? Hallelujah! I just resolved reason #1.

Now to overcome the second two reasons… this is where the challenge really comes in. So I’ve had my eye on this particular digital point and shoot camera for a little bit now. Now that I’m hiking, and heck, just getting out of the HOUSE a lot more, I’m finding using my iPhone to shoot photos and videos to be less-than-ideal for reasons of quality, battery life, and not dropping it in a frickin’ LAKE. So after doing a more than reasonable amount of research, I’ve 99.9% settled on this model from Canon, the PowerShot S120.

canon_nowOn Saturday, when chatting with my boyfriend about camera options, I mentioned that I could use this purchase as a reward for hitting Onederland. Because this camera is kinda pricey, and I’m not earning money at the moment, I think it would make a more-than-adequate reward for the epic achievement of getting under 200 lbs. And I’m SO CLOSE, people! I weighed in this morning at 203.2 lbs. I can TASTE IT, it’s so close! But still a couple weeks away, in all likelihood.

…And then Sunday morning I woke up and got it in my head that I would go to my local camera store and look for an in-person model to handle, and MAYBE if I liked it, go ahead and pick it up to use on another park outing that afternoon. Huh?

This thought clashed with my resolution made JUST THE DAY BEFORE to use it as my Onederland reward! My impatience was busting through. After being confronted by my supportive and reasonable boyfriend about the swift shift, I took the opportunity to reflect on my discipline challenges.

Discipline is one of those important personal tools that I never adequately learned growing up. To be completely frank, my parents were awful at it. I would be scorned for a bad activity and grounded for, like, a week, but then the grounding would be quickly forgotten by later the same day. And when things got hard in school, or in an activity I was pursuing, I was never pushed to overcome.

My therapist and I talked briefly about parental neglect in our sessions, and I never really felt I had an issue with neglect in the form I imagined it to classically take. I was fed and had a roof over my head, and even though there were some darker aspects to my childhood, part of me thought I had it relatively good! But I can now admit that this consistent lack of regulation and positive pressure really did a number on me. It has deeply affected me in the pursuit of my education and career goals, the activities I explore, and my health. My wherewithal is nowhere near where I’d like it. So parents out there, take this to heart: if you can, be at least somewhat consistent with your discipline and help your children push to achieve their goals in a healthy way – it really matters!

But I’ve learned that I DO have a sense of self-discipline, I just need to stretch those muscles, and to cultivate it. Hello, perfect opportunity! So as I drove away from my house yesterday – maybe to the camera store, maybe directly to the park – I made the decision that NOW is the time to focus on discipline with these purchases. The camera will wait until I see that “199.8” (or less!) appear on the digital scale, and not a moment before! And I’m backing that up by posting this here. I’m not completely out of my element here – getting out of the house to exercise when I don’t necessarily want to is one way I’ve been strength-training these self-discipline muscles over this last half-year, so I definitely have a good start. I can’t wait to share all the awesome photos and videos this camera can capture, ONCE I’M UNDER TWO HUNDRED POUNDS!!!