Monday, January 4, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

I just got done reading JewliaGoulia's blog and she was discussing what got here to the point she was at. I always felt like I knew why I was fat, so why sit down and think about it or write about it. It wasn't really a conscious decision not to write about, but it's something that I haven't done and I realized it would probably help to write out the reasons why I got where I am, so I can keep those reasons from holding me back in the future.

I guess it started with bad eating habits growing up. I love my mom to death, but she is an emotional eater and a yo yo dieter. Growing up watching those bad habits causes you to pick up those things. Then she also always made sure to cook a full meal with chicken, potatoes and a vegetable. Now I give credit to her for always cooking a vegetable, but we always smothered it in butter or a cheese sauce or something. And then the portions of meat and potatoes were always way more than they needed to be. Then on top of that my step dad always had this thing about not wanting to waste food (and Steve to this day also pressures me not to "waste" food, even though we're trying to lose weight, does this make sense to you?). All of these things combined started me off with a bad relationship with food. I was always active in dance, cheerleading, etc., so the bad eating didn't cause me to be overweight at all so I "looked" healthy all of the way through high school.

Then there was my dad. Our relationship was always up and down up and down. One minute it's fine and the next we're having issues. On top of that he lived in California while I grew up in Wisconsin making it hard for us to form a healthy relationship or deal with any issues that we may have. My step mom is a very petite woman and has never had any weight problems, so it was hard for her to understand my struggles. They would often try to help by talking to me about my weight problem, but since we lived so far away from one another it seemed like that was all they were concerned about. I felt like they wanted me to be perfect and there was no way I could live up to their expectations, so why even try.

Throughout college my weight went up and down. My eating habits were nearly always bad. We drank a lot and had pizza at the end of each night of drinking. This was definitely not a healthy style I was living. Then my two best friends at the time were drop dead gorgeous without any weight issues. One was naturally tall and lean and the other was shorter and petite. It was difficult seeing us all eating the same thing and seeing how differently it affected the 3 of us. I was the only one that was heavy even though we were all eating the same things. We lived together and made meals together, so it felt so unfair that I was overweight and they looked great. My best friend would even joke about how she could eat more than me and I'd laugh it off, but inside it was always so frustrating. She did eat more than me, yet she was a size 2 or 4. Talk about unfair. If you want an experiment in metabolism, just look at me and my roommates in college.

I'd go through periods where I'd try to eat less in college and I'd work out and it would bring my weight down temporarily, but it'd always end up going back up. I was trying to live and eat as they did, but for me and my body that just didn't work. Then on top of that I had to deal with the guys that were interested in my friends always coming to talk to me about them. Every guy I was interested in always seemed more interested in one of them. It just made me depressed and pushed me to continue emotional eating rather than try to get healthy.

Then I moved to California, in part to be closer to my dad and try and improve our relationship and in part to just try something new, start over on my own. I moved into a house with a party guy and we literally had parties more often than I care to remember. At the time I was having a blast, living in a new state, meeting new people, but that lifestyle was not healthy. I was working on finding a job and having more trouble than I had anticipated. I did some temp work and then got a part-time job as a nanny. I was still looking for full time work, but in the meantime the nanny gig didn't pay enough to cover my rent and expenses.

I had to move in with my dad and step mom whom I'd always had a strained relationship. To say it was uncomfortable living with them is an understatement. I just didn't feel at home there. We were still working through some of our issues, but at the time I didn't want to be living there and didn't have any choice. Not feeling comfortable there was a blessing in some senses. It caused me to start going to the gym every day after work (I had found a good full time job) to take up some of the time that would have been spent at the house. I'd shower at the gym, drive home, heat up a quick frozen meal, eat it, go to my room, watch tv for a little while (with the door closed) and then go to bed. That was my routine every day. I got down to 160 lbs, the lowest I had been since high school when I was probably 140 or so.

I moved out and continued with my exercise schedule. Then I met Steve. We got into that lovey dovey mode where we spent all of our time together eating out or watching movies or whatever. My new exercise habits went completely out the window. Over then next 4 1/2 years I gained 45 lbs and he gained weight as well. Now there have been plenty of times where the two of us have tried to be healthier (I even lost 27 pounds at one point), but we are our own worst enemies. One of us will have a hard day and suggest we go out to eat or pick up fast food and rather than the other saying no and trying to keep us on the right path we give in. There were plenty of times where I remember hoping he'd suggest we eat out, literally just sitting there waiting for him to suggest it so it wouldn't be my fault since I wasn't the one who suggested it. And more often than not he didn't let me down and I didn't let him down and was raring to go.

We'd go through this cycle of being frustrated with our weight gain and both truly wanting to change, but neither would really take the reins to improve our situation. We both wanted the other to lead, but unfortunately neither of us are a natural leader in this arena. I feel like either of us were in a relationship with someone who was naturally healthy and would lead us we both would have no problem following suit, but having to be the leader seemed to be a problem for both of us. Steve would always be the one to bring up his frustrations and then I'd try to take the lead but eventually I'd get tired of being the one to plan everything and I'd give up. Then the cycle would repeat itself. We both hate where we're at, but we both have troubles sticking with it and making healthy choices. We love healthy foods, love vegetables and fruit, but we love crappy food just as much and therein lies our problem.

At this point I've decided just to focus on me. I'm not thinking about the bad habits I learned growing up or my relationships that caused me to emotionally eat or whether or not it's fair that I have to be the planner when it comes to bringing healthy food into our home. I've learned that I need to focus on myself each and every day, telling myself to make better choices. Going to the grocery store with a plan on what to buy so I can make healthy choices. Tracking calories throughout the day so there is no lying about whether or not I'm eating too much. There's nowhere to hide with your food choices when you're tracking everything. Steve can choose whether or not to follow suit. I hope he will, but I can't make myself responsible for his successes or failures.

And I'm setting goals for myself as far as my exercise goes. My first big goal I stuck to and achieved it (cycling 300 miles). Now it's time for me to set a new exercise goal. By the end of January I want to have cycled at least 180 miles (roughly 45 miles per week). I also want to have done the 30 day shred video at least 18 times (4-5 times per week). My plan is to exercise Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and to have rest days on Thursday and Sunday. I feel like if I don't have rest days I don't see as good of results as when I do. So the plan for my exercise days is to do the shred video and then 10 miles on my bike. If I stick to my schedule over the next 4 weeks I would actually cycle 200 miles and do the shred 20 times, but I want to give myself a little leeway in case something comes up and I miss a day or two. I'm not planning on missing any days, but in case something happens and I just can't get my workout in I don't want to set myself up for disappointment feeling like I failed. I want to set goals that will push me, but also that I know I can reach.

Setting food goals for me is hard. I don't really know what they should be, but I know I should have tangible goals that I can look at at the end of the month and know whether I've met my goals or not. I guess I need to think about this. What do you think my food goals should be? I know I should keep my calories in the 1400-1600 range. I guess maybe I could say my calories need to be within that range for at least x number of days this month? Or I could set a goal for eating a certain number of vegetables each day for at least x days this month? Or is there a different goal I should set? Help me out here I could really use some ideas on what my food goals should be and I would love some feedback. Food is my biggest issue, so setting goals here would probably help me. So what do you think my food goals should be?

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