Thursday, September 23, 2010

Report Card: In Which I Celebrate and Kvetch

Every so often I like to check in with myself… give myself a report card so to speak. I think it’s a very good thing to reflect and be honest about the various goals in your life – in all areas of your life. These last few days I have been specifically focusing on health.

Without further ado, here is an illustration of my current report card:

I know! How confusing is that? How is that even possible? And why didn’t I just give myself a “C” which would be the mid-ground between the A and the F-?

Because when it comes to my health, I seem to have developed two very distinct areas:

1. Exercise/Fitness
2. Food/Nutrition

Of course, the ideal, especially if you’re trying to be your healthiest, would be that the two would work together. In my case, they have not been for a while.

First, the “A” grade. That would be my exercise. I have been and continue to do really well with that. There’s not too much that puts me off… illness of course and once in a while the miscellaneous things that life throws at me. But honestly, I do a pretty good job of running around 20 miles a week and getting in two 1-hour Thai Boxing classes. With winter approaching, if it was like last year, I found myself at Thai sometimes 3 times in a week.

This is an exercise program that fits my life well and I really do not have any problem staying committed to it. Not that there’s not room for improvement. Ideally I would strength train… have I mentioned how much I hate/detest dislike strength training? Did I also mention that I just dropped my gym membership because I hate dislike gyms and hadn’t been there in over a year (since I started Muay Thai)? Actually one of the reasons I started Muay Thai is because it provides body resistance type strength training.

So I think my exercise plan and my faithfulness to it deserves an “A” (if the strength training was in there I’d give myself an A+).

Now to the “F-.”

By now you’ve deduced that it’s the food/nutrition area. How clever of you!

As you know I’ve been trying mindful eating while at the same time having some serious issues with my stomach. Then I had problems with not being hungry. Since I already have a pretty screwed up metabolism and a thyroid problem, I knew this couldn’t possibly be good. So, I decided to take the advice of others and eat a little, even if I wasn’t hungry, especially if I knew hard exercise was I my future. That helped alleviate some of the stomach issues I’ve been having. Good, right? Well, not exactly. As these past few weeks have gone on, I have been feeling heavier. Since I hadn’t been on any scale for those weeks, it was simply a feeling. Then the "feeling" literally translated to my clothing, especially in the waists of some of the slacks I’ve been wearing as it has gotten cooler. This was worrisome to say the least.

I decided this didn’t have to be either/or. I would eat mindfully, then the next day I would input the food into a calorie tracker to see what exactly my body was demanding. I’ve been doing that for the last week. As it turns out, I’m averaging around 1900 calories a day. I’m not going to tell you they are 1900 nutritious calories each day because some days they are not. At all. Even with that number, technically, at 1900 calories a day and my current weight, I should be losing something, albeit slowly.

Tuesday night, in the midst of looking for yet another item I had misplaced (that has got to be my personal worst symptom of menopause!), I found a small notebook I had also been looking for since July. In this notebook, I had written down my starting weight and measurements on July 1, 2009 which is when I started Muay Thai. I figured if I didn’t lose any weight, maybe I’d see improvements in another way.

Finding that notebook made me want to know the numbers.  On Wednesay morning I took my measurements and then weighed myself.

I weigh 6.4 pounds more than I did a year ago. My bust is 2 inches larger; my waist is 2 inches larger (grrrr). The only place I saw any improvement was in my arms, which are 1 inch smaller. This doesn’t surprise me because we do so many pushups in Thai I lose count. (Note: When I whined to told Mr. Helen he said he thinks the bust measurement is also because of the pushups, as he thinks I look more “lifted.” And I did have a girlfriend recently ask me where the boobs had come from all of a sudden.)

Based on those numbers, my conclusion was

Scale + Measurements + Food = BIG EFFING FAIL.

I don’t mean to take up your valuable time but seriously peeps, I AM SICK OF THIS. Actually no, I don’t mean that. What I mean is I AM SICK OF MYSELF and my half-assed ways that are leading to a double ass. I’m tired of out-eating my exercise, I’m tired of being so good at exercise only to make piss poor food and beverage choices that not only set me back, they set me over.

My head knows that I need to change my ways, but my heart and soul can't seem to grasp it. My thyroid is one messed up mo-fo and I cannot play games with food and food choices. As sick and tired of myself as I am, I cannot for the life of me figure out why I continue on this self and body destructive path. Why can’t I realize that I have a medical condition as well as a mental condition going on here? Because I’ve ALWAYS said, if I had to stop eating/drinking/doing something because of a medical condition I would. But here I am and I haven’t.

Here I sit. With my A and my F. One pretty much cancelling out the other.  Yet still I know, for sure that...

...even though I still can't figure out how to make the switch turn on.


  1. Your very hard on yourself about your eating vs exercising hopefully you are blowing off steam here. I can relate I do exercise good but I could do better with my eating choices. I did the Shred over the summer and lost a couple of inches but no pounds actually down 3 back up three which is frustrating. For me it takes focus and writing down & tallying up the calories in order to lose weight. I wish I could help you more but those are my thoughts....

  2. The "medical condition" really stuck out for me - you DO have a very real medical condition, and aren't there other consequences from it beside the weight issue? Sort of like diabetes can be controlled (to an extent) with food, but you still have to worry about eyesight and limbs? Maybe you should revisit the side affects of thyroid disease and focus on eating better for your health, rather than your weight? Which of course we know would be impacted in a positive way (or should I say negative way, ha!) if you do that.

    I am impressed with your exercise, and you lost an inch in your arms? That is really hard to do! And yes, I bet your bust is most definitely lifted due to the chest muscles you work with all of those push ups!

  3. I can SO relate! I would give my self a B+ and maybe an F usually (more like a B this week). It is discouraging. I hate when people turn it around for me or make me look at the bright side, but I am going to do it right now because I think it is important: YOU ARE RUNNING 20 MILES A WEEK!! and taking class and getting a boob job without plastic surgery. That is awesome!! Yes, you have that f-ing thyroid to deal with, I am so sorry about that, but you haven't let it stop your activity.
    But, I do get the discouragement, it is frustrating. Just continue to give yourself the kudos and think about your STRONG legs and arms.

  4. Helen, you are one of my exercise inspirations. You work so hard and it is so unfair that because of your medical condition, you don't automatically or easily see the results of your efforts. Although the organic boob-job is pretty awesome!

  5. I'm with ya on this one Helen! I've been rating a B+ in exercise and poorly on the food. And feeling all the same frustration. But I really love what Laurie said in her comment and you should really be proud of what you do do! You are a strong person and that is just amazing!

  6. Ah, the proverbial "switch." We all have it and it too for the life of my can't figure out once I turn the switch on, how it somehow seems to turn itself off without me noticing.

    I am joining South Beach Steve's hot 100 - I need some motivation through the last 100 days of the year. Although it officially starts today, I need to pick up a battery for my scale (I haven't weighed in since September 1!) and see where I am at.

    My clothes still feel okay, but I am feeling "loose" if you know what I mean.

    I am off to do an 8 mile bike ride at lunch today - punishment for all my good eats this last week - totally worth it though! :D

  7. Love the report card idea. I'm afraid mine is not very good right now. But the good thing is that we have the power to change that!

    We can do it!

  8. Hey Helen - I can totally relate to the split personality when it comes to exercise vs eating. Your exercise is MUCH better than mine, but I am always fairly consistent with getting at least 30 minutes of cardio daily. My food sucks. My split would be B and F-- I think. Like Biz, I'm joining Steve's Hot 100, though my recent history shows that challenges and goal setting do not make me seem to perform any better in any categories. But we keep on plugging - quitting not an option.

    Some of the changes in your measurements make me think of how my own body shape has changed in my 50s, esp. with menopause. Just the nature of your middle thickening a bit and the "organic boob job" that Roxie talked about. Same happened to me, and I can tell you the increase in boobage wasn't per boob - it was thickness in the sides. Anyway - your exercise ethic is stellar. Tracking your calories is also. I have no doubt that you are in this for the long haul and will keep working at it. I hope I do to.

  9. Does Mr. Helen Helen appear "lifted?"

  10. I hate the report card! I hate how hard y'all are being on yourselves and I say that as someone who used to be incredibly hard on takes one to know one, as they say...Helen, ask Kyoshi Olinda about how hard I was on myself...seriously.

    You can't be disgusted with yourself and expect it to lead to a body you love. You may get sick of me beating the Women Food & God drum, but I so believe in its message...and feel that I am living proof that it works.

    Two passages from the book for you:

    “Although the very notion that hatred leads to love and that torture leads to relaxation is absolutely insane, we hypnotize ourselves into believing that the end justifies the means. We treat ourselves and the rest of the world as if deprivation, punishment and shame lead to change. We treat our bodies as if they are the enemy and the only acceptable outcome is annihilation. Our deeply ingrained belief is that hatred and torture work.”

    And then there was this too:

    “If you wait to respect yourself until you are at the weight you imagine you need to be to respect yourself, you will never respect yourself because the message you will be giving yourself as you reach your goal is that you are damaged and cannot trust your impulses, your longings, your dreams, your essence at any weight.”

  11. Lately I have been just the opposite. Would that be A to F-? :-)

  12. I could have written this exact same post. I'm 10 pounds heavier than Jun 2009. I exercise like a crazy woman, but alas, I eat like a crazy one too. I'm outeating my exercise.

    When you figure this out, let me know. I'm making myself crazy.