Thursday, April 24, 2014

Another way of saying "When do I stop?"

Note: This post was published a couple of months after the two preceding it ("Brain catching up to the body" and "When do I stop?") even though it was written at the same time as the others. I had a mini crisis during that time when I was trying to figure out my end point. I thought I should publish this post as well, even if it is a bit redundant, because it does touch on some points the other posts don't.

For the past week I've been in the 140s (!!!), meaning I have less than 10 pounds to lose until I reach my original goal weight of 140 pounds. That's insane to me because I really don't think I'm anywhere close to my goal.

I still see myself as "big", not necessarily fat anymore but definitely not the fit person I imagined I'd be at this weight. I don't know why I thought I'd look "good" because 140 lbs is only 7 pounds within the "normal" BMI category, so I'm cutting it pretty close. Although I still have 9 pounds to go until I hit that goal, I don't think I'll be satisfied once I reach 140.

This became very evident to me when I watched the video from a recent rugby match I refereed. I looked so stocky in the shots:

I'm in the yellow.
I love how muscular my quads are, even though they're somewhat atrophied from their peak (damn fat season!), but they're still big and defined. Mostly, I wish I was taller so I wouldn't be so compact and my muscles would spread out over a longer frame. Alas, I can't change my height but I can still do something about my goal weight.

The Roommie keeps saying that I'm tiny, which is true when compared to the person I was 1.5 years and 75 pounds ago. I still don't see it which is why I'm convinced I need to keep losing weight. My brain has yet to catch up to my current size. Even though I see the thigh gap (my thighs don't really rub together anymore) and the size of my clothes, I still don't think I'm normal. So I want to keep going.

At the same time, I'm tired of "dieting", even though I always say I'm not on a diet. Most days, I carefully watch what I eat and even if I have a full day of rugby or do a long bike ride, I still feel guilty if I consume more than 1500 calories. That's not normal. I should be able to eat 2000+ calories on those days.

As a result, I've been looking forward to stopping with this madness in the very near future (9 weeks to be exact), but it looks like I'll have to keep going for a little while longer. Since I'm already in this weight-loss mindset, it'd be a shame to quit now instead of trying to see if I can reach a weight I'm happy with.

So when do I stop? What weight/size/body type is good for me?

Again, this goes back to The Roommie. She recently commented that she used to think that I had a large frame because of my size. But as I've shed all these pounds, it's becoming clear to her that my frame is actually much smaller. She also said that she doesn't think I'll be happy until I'm lean and toned, which the more I think about it, the more I agree with her.

So the new goal is probably going to be 125 - 130, which should give me a lean and fit body. At least that's the hope.

P.S. I just looked at the fat percentage of my legs and I'm at 22.5%, which puts me in the fitness category and gives me a lean mass of 113.5 pounds. In order to reach 125 lbs at the fitness category of fat % (I don't think I'll comfortably maintain "athlete" status), I would have to lose 13 pounds of lean mass, and more fat, of course. Even for a goal weight of 140 pounds, I'd have to lose a few pounds of lean mass.

So dropping from my high of 117 pounds of lean mass in November is simply not sustainable for the weight I want. Now I don't feel so bad about my leg muscles atrophying during fat season. Happy days!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When do I stop?

This is a continuation of the previous post I wrote about not feeling normal-sized even though I'm only a few pounds away from being in the normal BMI category. I've been very unsatisfied that all the work I've put into losing weight hasn't made me much happier with regards to body.

Someone on the 3 Fat Chicks forum wrote to another person who was having the same feelings of dissatisfaction that I've been having. She said, "I'm guessing the "fat feeling" is likely less "I look like [an] elephant" and more "I'm not where I want to be" which can feel just as awful." She is absolutely correct.

Friends say that I'm small and that I look good, but I can't get over the size of my legs and the droopiness of my stomach. I thought I'd be a lot leaner and thinner at this size, but alas I still have plenty of visible fat on me. In my mind, I don't look good and I don't think the extra 8 pounds that I still have to lose to actually reach my goal weight will fix all of that.

As a result, I've been thinking about amending my goal to 125 - 130 pounds in order to reach a leaner physique. The only drawback to dropping my goal weight further is that I'm already wearing size small clothes. Losing even more weight will put me into the x-small category and make it difficult to find stuff that fits and looks good. After-all, part of the reason I wanted to lose weight was so I could buy clothes because I liked them and not because they were the only things that fit. I don't want to go back to that feeling, just on the other side of the spectrum.

The Roommie recently said that she doesn't think I'll be happy until I'm lean and she definitely has a point. I want to have less fat and more muscle, be even leaner than I currently am. However, that sort of thinking is worrying because I'm always going to have fat somewhere on my body. If I continue focusing on that, then I won't ever be happy with myself. That's just not healthy and is definitely not the way I want to live my life.

If you look at the last sentence of the "About me" tab that I wrote when I first began this journey several years ago, it says:

"I don't need to be "hot"; I just want to be happy."

I sincerely hope that at the end of all this, whenever the end may be, I will have accomplished that goal.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brain catching up to the body

Lately I've been very confused about how I feel regarding my weight. One day I'm happy and want to stop losing since I've seemingly reached my goal (size 8 in pants, small t-shirts). But other days I feel just as fat as I did when I weighed over 200 pounds.

I guess all this comes down to the fact that my brain has not caught up to my body. I've thought of myself as a "big girl" for most of my life, so it's hard for my brain to switch from 20+ years of that thinking to being "normal" within the span of a few months.

To illustrate: Instead of celebrating losing the equivalent of a small child, I still see myself as "big" when I look at pictures. I'm not necessarily fat anymore but I'm definitely not the fit person I imagined I'd be at this weight.

When I look at the pictures below, I don't see the progress I've made and the quads I've developed. Instead I focus on my huge calves and stout body, especially when compared to the people surrounding me.

I'm in the yellow/orange.

I "know" I'm fit and have lost a bunch of weight. But this knowledge is based solely on the shrinking sizes of my clothes. I'm still surprised every time someone I believe is normal-sized says something like, "You're smaller than me." It blows my mind because I still consider myself to be the "big girl."

I guess I just need to give my brain more time to understand and comprehend the transformation I've made in the past couple of years. I need more than a couple of months to automatically think of myself as normal-sized. It'll come, eventually.

In short, I need to be patient, which is not one of my virtues and does not come naturally. I have somehow managed to lose all of these pounds slowly and steadily, so I need to continue to practice that patience with how I perceive my body.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Combating hunger

I've been very hungry all the time in recent weeks, and I can't figure out why. I've tried switching up my breakfast and it's somewhat worked. I'm no longer hungry within an hour of eating in the morning. But beyond that, I still find myself very hungry between meals.

I make sure to get enough calories (pushing ~1700 on average right bueno), fiber, and protein.

I think the reason my calorie count is so high is because I eat out of boredom. I was famished for a while in the mid-afternoon. I ate some berries, which are very high in fiber, to no avail. When The Roommie came home and we went to the store to pick up something, I suddenly forgot about the hunger. I even felt full. Perhaps being surrounded by food when I'm at home is the problem and not necessarily what I ingest.

The new strategy to combat that will be to walk around the block (or something equally time-consuming) to get my mind off of food. If I'm still hungry when I get back then I'll eat something but other than that, I'll try to stay busy to avoid eating out of boredom.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Breakfast switch-up

I don't function well in the mornings so since I've started eating breakfast regularly, I've had to find something that can be made mindlessly while I'm still waking up. Other criteria include the following:

  • High in fiber so I'm full until lunch
  • Low in calories (300-400 total)
  • Warm for the cold winter months
  • Requires milk (I get grumpy if I don't have dairy in the morning)
  • Relatively cheap per box

Muesli met this criteria. More specifically, Bob's Red Mill Muesli that's sold in bulk at Costco for most of the year and can also be found on Amazon during the summer.

It's super easy to make: 1/2 cup of muesli, 1 cup of 2% milk, microwave for 3 minutes. And super nutritious: 342 calories, 16 g protein, 8 g fiber. Ta-da!

I've been eating this cereal at least 6 times a week for the past year or even more and it's been ok. It's delicious but some days I get hungry ~2 hours after breakfast. This has been especially bad the last week or so when I've been hungry well into the evening. I just can't satiate my hunger!

A non-negotiable part of this weight-loss journey was not feeling hungry as a result of my "diet". That's why I set my daily calorie minimum to 1,500 even though I could go as low as 1,200 and lose weight so much faster. But I'd rather have this lifestyle change be sustainable and cutting out all sweet and delicious foods from my diet was not going to last very long. So I compromised the speed of weight-loss of happiness and so far it's worked.

Consistently feeling hungry after breakfast goes directly against that pact I made with myself. So it's time to switch things up and get more fiber in the morning to hold me over through lunch.

The muesli I buy is simply a mixture of the following ingredients:

  • Whole Grain Wheat
  • Date Crumbles
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Raisins
  • Whole Grain Rye
  • Whole Grain Barley
  • Whole Grain Oats
  • Whole Grain Triticale (wheat)
  • Flaxseed
  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
There's no special processing or cooking or baking involved, meaning I can make muesli by myself at home and add whatever I want to satisfy my nutritious requirements. I'll also be able to mix up the ingredients to accommodate my various cravings at any given point (I'm on a coconut kick right now).

So after I finish off the 10 pounds of muesli I just bought from Amazon (no joke), I will be mixing and matching ingredients to get something more filling for breakfast. This hunger has got to go!