Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Looking back/looking ahead

Lou played Santa Claus for his adoring family - he's standing in the midst of a bright sunbeam pouring through the window here. He's a little late wishing everyone happy holidays! You can tell he's ever so slightly pi$$ed off that we were messing with him. He's quite fun to play dress-up with!

There's a saying in AA (and the rest of the world) that if you keep doing what you're doing, you'll keep getting what you're getting. Well, I'd like to extrapolate on that nugget of wisdom: if you stop doing what you were doing that worked when you were doing it, you'll stop getting what you were getting when you were doing what you stopped doing - results.

What I'm talking about is that for the months I was being careful and committed to a food plan and regular exercise, I was actually losing weight, shaving inches and toning my assorted parts. I lost 30 pounds from early June - most of it through September, by being very intentional about my eating. Intentional in the sense of not just paying attention to and being mindful of the food I ate while I ingested it, but also about meal planning, food purchasing and food preparation. Specifically I made sure to have plenty of good healthy fresh food on hand, and to prepare it in amounts where it was available to take for lunch at work, or to supplement with other freshly made dishes for dinner. I spent Sunday afternoons cooking, chopping, slicing, order to set myself up for easy but healthy clean eating over the course of the week. I surprised myself with such sensible and workable strategies.

In October, I started slacking off on the food prep a bit, and began working on a dysfunctional relationship with my scale. In November, we took a 10 day trip to the Dominican Republic, where food was blessedly not the "Main Event" in my consciousness on a daily basis and we did tons of walking. Subsequently I lost several pounds while there and was aware that a period of normal eating had descended upon me for possibly the first time in my life. Almost immediately upon returning from the DR, I found out about the torn meniscus in my left knee, which effectively sidelined me from the gym. Early December brought knee surgery and sluggish recovery, followed by the "eatin'" holidays; which brings me to the present where I find myself 8 pounds above my lowest weight. Essentially I've averaged weighing 195 (give or take a few) since early September. I started in early June at about 224. Good progress - yes. But given that I'm not 6'5", there is more to do. Episodic binge-ing, playing scale roulette, plateauing myself like a beached whaled in the upper 190s...are just a few of the ways I sabotaged myself and my efforts. Obviously there are emotional issues swarming below my still somewhat dimpled surface; but they were there when I was in the 220s and I managed to get a grip successfully enough to lose about 14% of my weight. I didn't need to figure out my issues in order to do some right things.

There's another AA saying I love: "You can't think your way into right action, but you can act your way into right thinking". I believe this to be true. If I could think, or figure out with my mind, how to be thin without taking solid healthy action in a variety of ways, I'd have done it long ago. I'd be typing this as a size 8. What actually happened was that I finally took some right action one day, and then another day, and another...and even though my issues were present - I still got results because I was DOING RIGHT THINGS. Taking action. I wasn't lying on a therapist's couch vomiting out my dysfunctional past so I could go a day without bingeing. I just went a day without bingeing that coincided with a trip to the gym. Repeat next day, and for at least 5 days a week. Yield: lost of about 30 pounds in 3 months. Translate: Just do it (thank you Nike).

In reflecting on what I did that worked, I didn't have to strain my brain too much. Set myself up for success. Food planning and prep. So I started today by doing a big food shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables. I haven't done this since the knee surgery because I really didn't have the ooomph to traipse the aisles of the produce store. Today, with my ever improving knee - I did. And I've already made a big pot of a very healthy ratatouille - seen here before it simmered for a couple hours
This has green and red peppers, onions, zucchini, garlic, eggplant, yellow squash and tomatoes, along with fresh seasonings, and is utterly healthy and delicious when served with either chicken, pork, a little feta cheese or even by itself. I also plan to do a pan of roasted root vegetables and cook a turkey breast. There fruit bowl is full and I bought packs of reduced fat string cheese. Having this kind of stuff on hand really helps me with the eating.

Also, my gym membership is reinstated from having been frozen while my knee rehab was seeming stalled. I won't be able to do full cardio for awhile yet, but I can do the biking slowly and at no resistance for as long as I have no pain. I can begin some upper body strengthening also. My physical therapy is going well, and in the last 2 days, my knee seems to have improved as much as it had in the entire post op period prior. Apparently lots of rest and care work wonders! I'm truly feeling optimistic now about eventually being able to return to a challenging exercise routine.

All the above may not seem like much to those of you who've been going great guns steadily throughout the months. To me, they feel big, and they feel fantastically hopeful. I love when I'm PUMPED to do and be healthy. For the last 6 weeks, I've felt draggy and droopy and uninspired, and couldn't THINK my way out of it. It seems like beginning the Physical Therapy last week was the beginning of the renewal. Whatever it was, I'm grateful to feel newly and freshly enthusiastic to again be my own best friend and act positively on my own behalf. Even if some of my "issues" are as yet unresolved. The last AA saying I'll bore you with is "Bring the body around, the mind will follow." That refers to attending AA meetings, but obviously it applies in other areas. If I wait 'til I'm "ready" and resolved, I'll die fat and unfit.

I have a family wedding coming up in March in Atlanta which will serve as my first time goal. I haven't quite figured out where I'd like to be by then (on the the scale), but I do know that this will be a goal that I don't blow off. I've not met any goal I've set since I began blogging in June 2009. That WILL change. Just watch.


  1. Act my way into right thinking....I love this nugget. I'm never bored by your wisdom (or AA's). LOVE the picture of the!

  2. I too love your pearls of wisdom whether they are AA or "Leslieisms"

    Try not to compare yourself to other folks. I have been doing that too and it is futile.

    Love your puppers. He is adorable!!

    Happy New Year's to you Miss Leslie!!

  3. Love the doggie pic-- oh, the indignities they suffer for our amusement. Ours were forces to pose with deer antlers. LOL

    Keep moving forward and get ready to kick butt in GA!

  4. Great post...yummy food pics, and the doggie santa cracked me up! :)

  5. I always love the AA sayings - keep them coming!

    Wonderful post. I soaked up every word. I think that you might consider coming back and re-reading what you wrote here about once a week - you captured it very well.

  6. your dog looks resigned lol.
    great food pics and great goals and I have a feeling that before long, you will be going great guns as well.

  7. Your dinner looks fantastic! Would happily eat that on its own (I LOVE my veggies!)

    I've definitely slowed down on doing all the right things to lose weight... It's not that I've lost the drive, I just don't have the same 'fire' I had at the very start of my journey. Luckily, I have the best excuse to restart that fire - the 1st of January! - and I'm determined to get cracking again with my weight loss journey with as much excitement and enthusiasm as I had in July of last year when I first started it.

    Good luck and a Happy New Year! :o)

  8. Leslie - loved reading this post. You know, having knee surgery is a big deal, and I think that alone would set anyone back. Love your spirit of renewal and hope and I look forward to following you in 2010.

  9. Yep, the puppy looks pissed!

    My fave AA saying is "fake it till you make it". Which is just a different way to say the exact same things you were saying.

    After reading about your knee problems, I am glad I decided to wait awhile before I get my tear fixed. You were brave to get it over with.

    You know what to do to succeed. Just Do It!

  10. Even small gains can be huge Leslie. My motto last year (which was a horrible year for me pretty much all the way around) was "Keep on Keeping On." I'm carrying that again in 2010. Here's to a happy, HEALTHY New Year for you and yours.