Thursday, September 2, 2010

Celebrating an Anniversary, Sort Of

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this blog. But I had other things to say so I didn't menion it.  I've written many, many more posts than I ever thought I would. I have to admit, I have enjoyed the outlet.  And before I go on, I would like to give a high five with two snaps and a Z formation to Katie J who was not only my very first commenter (two days later on September 3rd), she was also my first follower.

The reason I started blogging was because it was 6 months before my 50th birthday and I was trying to lose weight and hopeful there would be big changes before the Big 5-0.  I was looking for inspiration.  I found it everywhere, especially from other bloggers.  Now here I sit 6 months before my 51st birthday, pretty much where I was a year ago, weight wise at least.  I have been up, down and all around about a seven pound range but I cannot seem to get any weight off permanently.

I suppose I should be really grateful for what amounts to maintenance because if I'm anywhere close to last year's weight that means I've gotten good at maintenance, right? Too bad it's at an unhealthy weight!!

Unfortunately, no matter how you look at it, reality bites.  And I tend to be very realistic and factual about what is going on and how I look.  Maybe it's vain but I do care how I look.  Maybe I put too much stock in it, but I cannot learn to love my body the way it is now. Besides, (this is an answer for you Chris) I wake up a whole lot of days and don't really feel that great.  I know it's from the extra weight I'm lugging around.

I wasn't always the fat girl.  In 1992 I quit smoking - after smoking a pack a day for 18 years. (Which means I've been smoke free 18 years - woot!)  I did the stereotypical thing and over the next couple of years gained 50 pounds.  In 1995 I went to my first ever organized diet program and lost 60 pounds in 20 weeks.  But I couldn't maintain that without drinking only water and eating only lettuce or other steamed vegetables so I got realistic and gained back around 10 pounds.  I was fine with that because I was older and really didn't expect to be able to maintain a high school weight.  I maintained the "heavier" weight (a whole 140 lbs.) and maintained it easily for 8 years.  Then the whole thyroid business happened and I gained 45 pounds - 30 of them over the course of a summer while training for half marathon.  I've just never been the same since and can't figure out what my body needs to get back to a reasonable weight.

So when I see photos like this, it depresses me, it upsets me, it disgusts me.

That's the bottom half of our historic (or should I say hysterical) vacation photo.  I cropped it upward for the Tuesday Ten because I wanted you guys to see the rain and wind, and not be as HORRIFIED as I was when I realized just how bad I really do look.  I had to buy that outfit while we were on vacation because I only had summer clothing with me and it was quite chilly - around 60 degrees - and of course, raining.  When I tried it on at the store, I thought I looked sort of cute and preppy.  When I saw the photo I realized I'm just an out of shape fat blob of a middle aged woman. No wonder people always look SHOCKED when I say I'm a runner. Which also makes me wonder what people think when they actually see me running!

No matter how grossed out I am, at least for the last couple of years, nothing has changed.  I cannot seem to find the magic. I wish I could figure out how to make something "click." You know the magic click I'm talking about. For whatever reason, it's just not happening -  it's not happening physiologically which in turns means it's definitely not happening mentally.  This immediately makes me consider putting myself on a strict "diet" again.  Yet the thought of dieting and/or tracking and counting food makes me want to jump on the Crazy Train and head straight out of town.

Yes, I'm disappointed. Quite disappointed. So now I'm at a crossroads: what do I do with the blog and more importantly, what do I do with myself and my weight?

There's an answer out there somewhere, I know.  I sure hope I can find it soon.


  1. Helen, whatever you do, don't ditch the blog!! I'm a fairly new follower, and I sure would miss you! I totally feel your dilema, though. But don't give up! I'm a card-totin passenger of the Crazy Train for sure, but i-think-i-can mentality helps me more than anything. Never give up on finding a healthier you, and please don't give up the blog. CathyB

  2. Keep writing...I rarely read a blog because someone catagorizes their daily eating so well. I read because of the person. Like you and your blog. What i was hopeing for last ngiht was that we could all, at some point, like ourselves. I saw that pic and I didn't see some blobby, overweight woman. you pack it close. What you are and what other people think you look like are two different things. I am about to go all biblical up in here.
    Take Jesus, he looked like a homeless preacher....reality. Son of God.
    Helen, middle aged lady who runs and does martial arts....however people might view your weight. You still kick butt.

  3. Great post, Helen, and so honest. First, congrats on a year of blogging, on a successful transition to 50, and quitting smoking 18 yrs ago. Fantastic.

    I also don't see a blob when I see your picture. Reminds me of the notion that one man's trash is another's treasure. I'd kill for your figure, and as Chris said so well, you pack it close. But we feel how we feel. It's funny because I loved Chris' comment yesterday positing that you consider why and if you still need to be struggling with trying to get weight off, given the amazingly healthy lifestyle you live and choices you make. Again though, we feel how we feel. Also, not to go all cliche on you, but you're at an age where hormones can really affect body shape and distribution. I thought I'd always be a pear!

    In AA so often I hear that in order to find true peace, it's important to try to get right-sized about who, what and how I am and cultivate acceptance in the now of myself. Much easier said than done, but a noble individual pursuit, I think.

    I love your blog and hope you keep writing about whatever you want. Your in my top ten!

  4. Can I just say "yes" to what Cathy B, C moursler and Leslie already said.

    I admire your lifestyle choices and how hard you work at being healthy. I understand that your body is not where you want it to be right now. I have been there. It is frustrating.

    I know you have medical conditions that count against you right now.May I share some stories with you? I have two friends with thyroid issues. One kept at her Dr about making changes to her meds since she was gaining weight. She finally had success got her meds changed and started losing weight.
    My other friend decided she might never get back to her pre thyroid weight but she decided feeling healthy otherwise was better than feeling sick as she had before she got meds. She watches what she eats and exercises and has made peace with being 15 pounds heavier.

    I don't have your thyroid issues but I do have the crazy hormones going as I navigate through menopause. I would say that once I passed through most of the hormone craziness (I am 51) the weight started coming off finally again. It has been a slow process. It has taken me 8 months to lose the last 19 pounds with plenty of exercise and portion control.

    I feel your pain, I really do. I think you are awesome and a great role model and I hope you continue with the blog.

  5. Helen, I'm sorry. I can hear the disappointment, feel the frustration. Iknow it well because I'm kind of in the same spot and we almost weigh the same. I've been goofing around for months, not really getting down to the business of eating less. Why? Because it makes me miserable.

    I really don't have any great words of wisdom. Except one. Love yourself for who you are right now. Not who you'll be after losing 40 pounds. You're beautiful and perfect. Yes, Helen, you are...don't read this and shake your head thinking no you're not.

    Have you heard that song, "Just the Way You Are" by Bruno Mars. If not, you need to listen to it. When I first heard that song, I thought gosh, I wish someone thought that about me. Then I realized...I need to think that about myself. That could change my life. Not that I really think I'm perfect, but this is me, I have to accept me as I am right now or I will never be happy. Even if I lose 40 pounds I'll still not like what I see in the mirror. I know because I've been there, many many times.

    So listen to that song, look and the mirror, and realize that you really are pretty amazing just the way you are...right NOW.

    Plus, you have that incredible support system, Mr. Helen. I bet he thinks you're pretty amazing.

    I would say don't be so hard on yourself, but when people say that to me, I want to kick them in the teeth. For some reason their kindness about this annoys me. So I won't say it (I'll just think it :).

    So now go work on this, the inside of your head part. Once you get that part worked out, the rest won't be as big a deal.

    Love you Helen....just the way you are.

    And please don't stop blogging. I'd miss you terribly.

  6. By the way, where is your pretty face that was in your profile? It was a gorgeous picture and now it's not there anymore. Why? And do you even know how really pretty you are???

  7. I know exactly what you mean about "the click". It's a mental shift. Nothing will change with your body, unless your mindset is right.

    Keep up your blogging. I know that blogging has really helped me and the support and ideas from others has been great.

    One good thing, is that you are good at maintaining weight for extended periods of time. With that in mind, a few small changes in the right places, should tip the balance in your favour.

    Hang in there. We're rooting for you :)

  8. I'm so sorry you're struggling. I almost had tears in my eyes reading your post because I've been there so many times. I like what everyone else has said and their advice is spot on I think. The trick is just to try everything you can until you find the combination of things that work for you. The key to success though is to never ever ever give up. No matter what happens, you are the only advocate you have so if you give up...then you're left with no one looking out for you. Never quit on you. You will find that click. You definitely have great support here in blogger land. I'm rooting for you! :)

    My most recent aha moments have come from a book recommended by Big Girl Bombshell. Ever heard of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron? It's meant to unblock our creative person inside but I'm getting a lot more than I bargained for. It's definitely not just for the artist.

  9. :) I love you Helen! xoxo I am so glad I poked my head over here from Jack's blog!

    I wish I had some profound words or words of wisdom for you but all I can say is that I know what you mean sista.

    I have basically weighed the same for the last 10 months. Here I am supposedly supposed to be a WL blog and there ain't much weight loss going on. Yes, I am glad that I haven't gained but it isn't a big consolation.

    I would be heartbroken if you stopped blogging but I respect whatever you need to do. Maybe unplugging from it might be helpful for a little while but please don't ditch us!

  10. {{Hugs}} I don't want to repeat what I've read in the comments above because there's a lot of good stuff up there.

    I would be heartbroken too if you stopped blogging. I read your blog because I need to. You've become my "friend" and I can relate to almost 100% of what you write. We could have been twins you know.... :)

    It sucks you are going through what you are right at this time but I have no words of wisdom really because since I can relate, I haven't figured out my stuff yet - so I'm not one to spout anything off in telling someone else what to do.

    And I liked yesterday's post too - so honest and open - that's why we read your blog.

  11. I agree with all the other commenters - I think your blog is honest, refreshing and I am so glad to call you my friend! (even though my husband thinks its crazy that I call people my friends I haven't even met!).

    I wish I had the magic pill to make everything in your life be the way you want it and for you to be happy!

    I'd miss you if you stopped blogging :(

  12. I'm glad you started blogging and I'd miss you if you stopped. You are the reason I believe that I can run a half marathon, and you know why? It's because you are a (now) 50 year-old woman with a normal body who runs. You look like ME - and not some young chick who runs, eats crap and stays thin. You inspire me every time I go out for a run - it's not easy and we have to work at it, but you are doing it and I am trying to do it and that is pretty freaking amazing in my book.

    I don't know what is going on with your body and it really sucks that something like a thyroid can cause such issues. This definitely falls under the "life is not fair" category, and you have my sympathy.

  13. Please keep blogging. I concur with all the comments before me - you are amazing, strong, gorgeous woman whose hard work leaves the rest of us in the dust.

    I wish you peace with whatever decision you make.

  14. I think you are great no matter the number, but I know it is hard for you just as my damn number is hard for me. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to velcro on everyone else's wonderful thoughts about us and then we would feel so much better.

  15. Helen, while I don't want to see the blog go away, it is the minor point here. You hit the nail on the head when you said, "what do I do with myself and my weight? There's an answer out there somewhere, I know."

    The answer is out there. You can do this. If what you are doing isn't doing what you expect, explore other options. Perhaps the foods you are eating aren't the right foods for you. Perhaps it is the stress of the last year. After all, you have had your share of problems to deal with. Whatever it is, just keep at it. You can do this!

  16. you know me :)
    I wanna say HELLS TO THE NO YOU CAN NOT STOP BLOGGING---but I know what a commitment this all is and I know how for me some days the writing about fitness really can take lots of the time i have to actually DO THE FITNESS :)

    let me know if I can help with the other stuff.
    it's all a journey and many days a frustrating one at that.

    Ive been there...

  17. The previous comments say it all! I know how it feels to be disgusted and in many ways that's why I started my blog. I wanted to love my body no matter what because I knew, deep down inside, that loving my body no matter what would be part of getting my body to release some of the weight it was carrying. And I also knew that I couldn't just pretend to love my body with the sole intent of losing weight. I had to really mean it. I'm not sure if this is something you'd feel comfortable doing or not, but I can tell you it sure has helped me: you know that feeling you get when you see a baby or a kitten or your husband? That googly feeling that's part emotional and part physical? It's like a warmth in your heart? Stand in front of the mirror, naked or not, and get that feeling going and then turn it inward. It's sounds all touchy-feely but there's actual science to back it can change the way you feel about your body and you can release the weight too. It's just a hell of a lot easier to do it when you're in love with your body!

  18. Delurking here to let you know something that has worked for me personally.

    I do not weigh myself, because I tend to be reactionary vis a vis the ups and downs of the scale (plus some ED issues in the past make it a place I don't think it wise to go).

    I too quit smoking (around 5 yrs. ago), packed on pounds, etc.

    For the past few years (with a "bender" that lasted a few months), I've been not eating refined carbs, grains (not tolerant) or sugar. I've made the transition to eating almost 100% clean (very few processed foods, and even those are high quality--good cheese, etc.).

    I've been steadily increasing exercise. I actually ran 15 miles last Sunday, and plan to do the same 2-morrow. (I'm glacially slow, but still.)

    I don't think this kind of progress would have been possible had I weighed myself, because the scale doesn't always reflect effort. But I know I've dropped weight, and more importantly, body fat, and have built some muscle. I feel awesome, and look much better.

    I would still like to improve my body composition, but as corny as this sounds, I'm enjoying the journey, so I'm not too obsessed about the so-called "end-result".

    My point: focus on BEHAVIOR (nutrition and exercise) because you have some measure of control there, not a CHARACTERISTIC (like weight) which you can only change indirectly.

    Just my 2 c's.

    Hope that wasn't obnoxiously didactic and long.