Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fear. Show all posts

Saturday, April 30, 2016

If these people regain, what chance do I have?

We all hear the stories. People lose huge amounts of weight, and then slowly gain it back. It's commonplace, actually. It happens to people who we perceive as having "the means" to keep it off, like Oprah, or those that had the chance to work with trainers on The Biggest Loser, and it's so tempting to think, if these people can't keep the weight off, what chance do I have?

I know lots of Biggest Loser contestants regained, but I didn't know Ali Vincent had. Ali was the first female Biggest Loser winner, and she looked amazing. Sadly, she's regained almost all of her weight as well. At first I watched this feeling hopeless, but then she really made me feel for her in the end with the positive comments she's getting from people. Yes, it's about trying to get healthy, not skinny, and most importantly learning to love yourself at any size. That's all true. I do believe that. But I don't want to use that as an excuse to let myself give up on my goals and regain, either. What's the point of all this? Were's that fine line? I don't know. I don't have any answers right now.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Will I ever be happy with my weight?

Firstly, the weigh-in. I last reported I was at 76 kg (167.55 lb) but the next day I was back to 77.8 kg (171.52 lb) where I stayed all week! I was that frustrated I returned to Alternate Day Fasting three days this week yet the weight didn't budge. I remained 77.8 kg all week long. Until this morning. Now I'm 75.7 kg (166.89 lb) and coming off a fast day I'm almost afraid to eat today. It's so frustrating when everything that's worked before doesn't seem to work anymore. So many women talk about that same thing happening once they are in their 50s. I'm starting to think my body just wants to stay in the 165 lbs range and I'm never getting back to my low weight of 158 just before my trip home, much less my goal of 150. My husband thinks I should stop obsessing over reaching my goal and just be happy where I am. He's not alone.

At my Halloween Party this year, at least three people said I was skinny now. I often hear I look great or so thin now and shouldn't worry about losing more weight. I am so not thin. I've talked about this before -- part of me thinks people are used to fat being normal, so because I am no longer morbidly obese and look more like most average people, I am fine and can stop now. But still I struggle and am frustrated because I have not reached my goal. My goal is 150 pounds, which is still overweight for me (I'm just under 5'4") but it's the goal I originally set for myself and I feel like if I give up before I get there, I've failed at yet another weight-loss effort. And truth be told, I'm not happy at this weight.

In saying that -- I recall a post from two years ago where I talked about where my struggles with weight first began. Back in high school I weighed about 165 pounds and I was never happy with that, thus starting a life-long battle with weight, and sending me skyrocketing into morbid obesity.

Now in my 50s I find myself frustrated because I've maintained a weight fluctuating between about 160-170 pounds for eight months now. I said two years ago that I was determined to succeed this time and I knew I wouldn't quit. That's why I keep obsessing about reaching my goal. But am I just reverting to that same high school girl who wasn't happy with herself and her weight at 165 pounds? Should I just be happy that I've lost as much as I have, that I'm no longer morbidly obese, and that I seem to be able to maintain at this weight?  I really struggle with wanting to find some balance between being happy with myself and who I am, and being someone who can achieve her goals. And if I'm happy at this weight, will I relax my efforts to continue losing and possibly regain? Is my whole life going to be about what I weight and what I eat from now on? When is enough enough?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Put a stop to limiting beliefs

I started learning to run because I never believed it was something I could do; I wanted to stretch my boundaries, face my fears and give it a go. It wasn't easy and I had to start with my own shorter intervals as one minute was too hard back then, but I eventually completed the C25K program. Once I ran at 8.2 kph, but on average my speed was 7.8 kph. When I restarted the program this year I was running 8 kph for the smaller intervals but as I had to run for longer periods I worried I couldn't do it. I didn't believe I would be able to run at 8 kph for 20 minutes or more, so I'd been setting it for 7.6 the last few weeks.

So for my first run since finishing C25K I decided to start at 8 kph and see how long I could go before reducing my speed. I thought just get to 15 minutes ... then it became just till the end of this song. Before I knew it I had five minutes left and thought I might just make it after all. And I did! Why did I doubt myself?

How do you know you can't do something if you don't try? Limiting beliefs can really hold us back. What might we accomplish if we only believed we could? I don't know, but I'm thinking I might just stay at 30 minutes for awhile and try increasing speed by one point each time ... who knows, in a few weeks I could be running at 9 kph! One of my treadmill programs had me doing a few intervals at 9 kph for three minutes, and it was quite challenging. Why can't I work up to that for longer runs? I'm going to find out by giving it my best go. Wish me luck.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Week 5 of C25K, and changing up the IF

Today was week 5, day 2 of my second round of C25K, this time on the treadmill. I had forgotten that this week they reallly take you up a notch. Previously each week you repeat the same pattern each of the three days. Not this week. I went from three 5 minute intervals, to two 8 minute intervals today, and Friday will be a solid 20 minute run! I am still adding extra intervals to keep building endurance and to keep my total run time at about 20 minutes. I wasn't sure I'd be able to today but I did. But as soon as I finished I was already dreading Friday's 20 minute run. Then I remembered how it was last time. I didn't actually go straight from 5 to 8 to 20 minute runs. I ended up having to repeat the 8 minute day a couple of times first. But this time I think I'm ready -- I'm going for it!

When I did run the 20 minutes last time it was on Anzac Day and I remember using that to motivate me to get through the full 20 minutes. I remember several times wanting to give up during the run as it just seemed too hard. Then I would say no, this is Anzac Day. Today Australia honours its war veterans; now these people knew hard! Running for 20 minutes is nothing! Keep going! And it worked. I made it and I felt freaking amazing afterwards. Here's hoping it goes as well this time.

Now, as for eating, I've decided to go a different route this week with the intermittent fasting (IF). When I've had to fast for medical procedures in the past, I did two days without much difficulty, and I dropped weight as well. Of course I was home those days, not at work. I've decided to switch to a 5:2 schedule, meaning eat normally for five days and fast completely for two days -- I'm trying Thursday and Sunday. So tomorrow will be my first time trying a full day fast while at work. Hopefully that makes it easier, as I'll be kept busy during the day.  Since I technically finished eating tonight at about 8pm, and won't have anything till about 8am Friday morning, it's about a 36 hour fast. I didn't want to fast on a day I'd be running, and on Tu/Th/Sun I've been walking and doing Callanetics. So these seemed like logical days to try my fast.  That's about it for now -- wish me luck!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Facing fears again ... let's get personal

Sorry I haven't been blogging much - the last few days have been a shocker. A very dear friend of mine has suffered a ruptured aneurysm, so I've been worrying and praying for her a lot lately. She's come through surgery but there's still a chance she could suffer a stroke, so I've been praying for a speedy and full recovery. She's uppermost in my mind right now -- my issues and fears pale in comparison to what she and her family are going through.

But I have been filled with anxiety for another reason as well. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. It causes, among other things, fertility issues and weight gain, as well as male pattern hair loss. My hair has thinned over the years considerably, but in the last five years or so it's become noticeably thinner at the scalp in particular. I had hoped weight loss would alleviate PCOS symptoms, but even with 105 pounds gone it's not getting better. So what's a girl to do?

In the past couple of months I've been exploring my options. I visited two salons that specialise in hair replacement. The best option is a hair topper, which is basically an extension that covers the scalp and blends in with the rest of your hair. You can get a clip-in topper like this one, or you can go with a bonded topper which is basically the same except they actually shave your scalp and use surgical adhesive to bond it to your head.  I've had so much anxiety even thinking about this - hair loss isn't something women like to talk about but it was time to face reality.

If I do nothing I'll continue to lose hair and balding is very hard for a woman to deal with. On the other hand, people will notice if I suddenly have thicker hair and might wonder if I'm wearing a wig. Good quality, real human hair toppers are very expensive - especially in Australia where everything costs more. So I weighed the options carefully. The bonded toppers I saw looked really good. They even brought in a customer willing to let me watch how hers was reattached (as you have to do every 6 weeks or so) and I got to ask her questions. She was honest with the pros and cons -- it can feel awkward to sleep on, your scalp can itch and you would have to lift the glue to get at the itch, and it can sometimes loosen up if you take a hot shower, but overall was very happy with her decision.

The second place does bonding, but also offers clip-in toppers. It wasn't a lot cheaper to be honest, but you wouldn't have the cost of reattaching it every 6 weeks. You can take it off when you work out so it doesn't get messed up and just pop it back on again later.  But sometimes the clips can be irritating and they can weaken your hair. Some women don't like the idea of taking their hair off at the end of the night and letting their husband see their real hair. I have no problem with that, my wonderful husband loves me at any weight, with or without hair.

I decided to try a clip-in. It wasn't as big a commitment, I could take it off if I didn't like it. Once you shave your head, if you don't like the bonded topper you'd have to find another solution while you try to grow your hair out again. Having made the decision and paid the deposit, I have been very excited over the last few weeks waiting for it to come in. It finally did, and I spent yesterday afternoon learning how to attach it and care for it. It was cut and styled to blend with my own hair, and ended up much shorter than I had planned but I now think that's a good thing. Instead of having basically the same hair style only suddenly thicker, it's a total and complete style change - the drastic change in style might take attention away from the thicker hair. I left feeling fabulous.

As I walked down the street, no one was looking at me as if I was a freak or wearing fake hair. And in fact a nice-looking guy on the train gave me a lingering look and a smile as he passed by. That gave me an amazing self-esteem boost. I looked good!  But I began to worry. These are strangers. People who are used to seeing my thinning hair -- that's a different story. It's a long weekend and I was grateful to have a few days to get used to it and be sure I can live with it before anyone I know actually sees me in it. Hubby asked me to stop into the store on the way home for something and so naturally I ran smack bang into a good friend and co-worker who did a double-take and stared at me. The moment of truth. She exclaimed, "You look amazing! Oh my God you look so good! It looks thicker!" I braced myself. Will she make the connection?  If she did, it didn't show, she really thought it looked great.

So now I worried again. How do I change my mind now if it's uncomfortable or I have any issues now that she's seen it?  I'm feeling anxious trying to figure out what I'll say when the inevitable questions come on Tuesday.  My husband thinks I'm worried for no reason. 'So what if they say anything, tell them it's a hair extension -- it is, after all.  If you had cancer or androgenic alopecia, no one would think it odd you wanted a hair replacement -- how is PCOS any different?' He's right. But I'm still afraid.

Then I found this blog called OutOfThinHair.com and in particular this post about her 'coming out story' and why she decided to go public about wearing wigs. She had spent years hiding her hair loss problem and didn't want to hide anything anymore. She said after she came out she felt so free. She could now wear different styles whenever she likeed without people finding it suspicious.

I'm still scared of seeing friends, family and coworkers for the first time with this new hair, but I've decided that if they do say anything or ask uncomfortable questions then there's no point in denying it. I can just say I got a total makeover that included a hair extension, cuz that's really what it is. It's just that this type of hair extension covers the top. What else can I say?  I'm happy with the results. The picture on the left shows how noticeable it was in photos. On the right is my new look.


Sunday, May 18, 2014

Onederland, frustration, triumph, getting noticed, and running ... what's next?

This week I've felt both frustrated and triumphant. Frustrated that the gain from last week held steady ALL week long, not budging at all (whereas I usually start seeing a drop by Thursday) and yet triumphant that I ran for 25 minutes straight ... three times! Seriously, Go Me! Each time it was hard, but I made it. Each time I loudly cheered "you rock!" when I finished. That's really important, because as someone who's not always had the best 'self-talk' I've made a decided effort to change that and be more kind to myself - encouraging, even. More about running in a minute, but let's get my disappointing stats out of the way first thing.

Today I weighed in at 90.7kg (199.96 lb) so I'm back in Onederland but just barely! That's a loss of just 200g from last week, which is just .44 pounds. A loss is a loss ... yada yada yada. I know. I know all that but I feel like I've been stagnant for too long. It's feeling like a plateau which worries me because typically in past weight loss attempts if I'm lucky enough to make it below 200 pounds, that's when I tend to plateau and then start going back up. Hubby reminded me this time is different. The changes I've made in diet and exercise are part of my lifestyle now, and there's no turning back. So the only option is to keep doing what I'm doing, and he's right. But you can understand why I'd worry, I mean look at these stats:

  • 19 April - 92.9 kg (204.81 lb) - down 37.4 kg (82.45 lb)
  • 18 May  - 90.7 kg (199.96 lb) - down 39.6 kg (87.30 lb)

That just doesn't feel like much progress in a month's time, especially when I've been having a pretty high rate of loss from week to week prior to that.  I'm grateful that I've lost as much as I have, I'm not being a spoiled whiney brat, really I'm not. But I've promised to share the good and the bad of losing this weight and this is reality. Sometimes you slow down, sometimes you plateau. It sucks, but you just gotta keep on keeping on, right? So enough dwelling on that, I'm reverting back to Phase 1 completely in the coming week. On the menu this week are:


Last Night I Got Noticed!

Ok so hubby had a party with a few of his mates over last night that I haven't seen in awhile. Two commented to me (privately aside) that I'd lost weight ... like a lot. And I said yes, about 40 kilos! It did feel good cuz as much as the girls at work have noticed guys rarely do (or maybe they do but they've learned not to comment on a woman's weight). One of them had also lost a little weight himself and he mentioned he'd been eating healthier and had started running, so of course I said me too. He's running like 8k so definitely in better shape than me, but he was very impressed with my times and said that 25 minutes is like 4k so that's really good.

Of course now I dread having to attempt 28 minutes tomorrow but at every point in this training when I've had to increase the run time it's felt impossible, yet I've done it. I'm nearly at the end of this training program. So 28 minutes three times this week ... then there's one one day left on the app. A full 30 minutes which it claims is 5k and I just do that whenever I like.  I suppose whether or not it's really 5k depends on how fast one runs, and I'm definitely not fast.  Sports Tracker tells me I'm coming close to 5k right now, but that's including my warm up and cool down, each five minutes walking.

So where do I go from here? My goal in this effort has been to (1) conquer my fears and (2) to just make it through this program. I can't believe I'm nearly there. So then what? I can't say I love running. I actually kind of hate it while I'm doing it - but when I finish I feel amazing that I actually did it! So I guess I just see how it goes. Seems a shame to have built up my endurance to actually run 30 minutes and then stop and lose it all. Maybe I have to actually run regularly before I will know whether it's something I love or not. And if not ... what next? My home workouts don't require the same level of intensity. Maybe I mix it up. Run some, and add other forms of exercise as well. Who knows yet. It doesn't help that it's getting colder and darker earlier every night.

Anyway, that's where I am at the end of this week -- hoping for a better week ahead and really hoping to stay in Onederland from here on.


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Evolution in mind ... Facing fears

So this blog is about my personal evolution -- in body, mind and spirit. I've written a lot about how my body is currently evolving, and as I'm at the half way point in that process I thought it was a good time to start addressing the other two areas. Today I'd like to focus on mind. Specifically how the mind, through fears and self-doubt, can hold us back from achieving our dreams and goals which can leave us facing a lot of regrets later in life. This may be a longer post but I feel it's time to talk about facing my fears.

For most of my life I've let fear hold me back from doing the things that I most wanted to do. That's one of the reasons I've wanted to try jogging ... because on the one hand it's something I would never imagine myself capable of, but on the other hand I know that if I don't push myself I will never know what I'm truly capable of. Will I let fear stop me from giving it a real go?

Firstly, I fear that I physically can't do it. My body protests when I get to three or more intervals ... loudly! Not that I expect it to be easy but my lungs sometimes feel like they might burst! I'm a former smoker, having quit years ago, but suppose my lungs can't handle it? Then there are my knees ... my right knee is the worst and bothers me most during lunges and squats, but I worry whether jogging will improve or further aggravate it. I'm still over 200 pounds. Yes, they make Biggest Loser contestants run right from the beginning but not always without injury. Yet Runner 5 said she started at 118 kg and if she hadn't she'd never have learned how much she loves to run. And Leigh said she was 230 pounds when she started and that it was very hard but she persevered. So maybe that fear is unfounded.

Then there's the fear of people heckling the fat lady who thinks she can jog. That's one reason I prefer the trail around the lake where other fitness buffs are, and there are no people driving by watching me. But I can't always take the time to drive there first, and when I try routes closer to home more people can see me, including my neighbours.

Fear is no small thing; it's been the main reason throughout my life that I haven't done things I really wanted to do. If you had asked me in my teenage years what I most wanted to do with my life I would have said I wanted to be an actress or a singer. I’m a Leo – we love being centre stage. But as the years passed I never had the confidence or self-worth to actually pursue my dreams.

When I found the strength to leave my verbally abusive first husband at age 31 I was at a really low point, emotionally and financially. My best friend worked at the bar in a pizza place, so I hung out there most nights while she was working. They had karaoke nights, and one night I heard my name called out to come up and sing. I hadn’t signed up. Turns out my friend signed me up because she knew I loved to sing. I was too scared to go up there, but she kept saying I was good and I should just give it a go. Soon others were encouraging me to get up there as well, so I did. I was scared, but I did it – voice shaking with nerves, but despite that I still got compliments. Without my friend’s little push, I would have been too afraid to even try. But soon I was going to other places that had karaoke.

The bartender at one such place asked me to come with him to meet a lady who had a gig as a lounge singer. Her husband ran the lights and sound equipment, which used karaoke background tracks – but this was no karaoke show. She was an entertainer, and really very good.  She sometimes used props and costume accessories and could ‘morph’ into the person whose song she was singing. A few times during the night she’d let one or two of her friends up as guest singers while she took a short break. The bartender introduced us on one of her breaks, and she soon let me up as a guest singer. It was fun, and I became one of her featured regulars.

Eventually I got offers from people who wanted me to sing with them. There was a duo that had me join them during a song or two at their gigs. Then I met with a friend of my brothers who had a studio in his basement and he recorded me singing some of my favourite songs. I now had a demo tape! My divorce was final by now and to celebrate I went to Glamor Shots and got a professional photo shoot. I used one of the shots as a cover for my demo tape.

So what happened next? Not much. See … I was comfortable singing karaoke because I always had lyrics displayed in front of me. Though I sang songs that I knew very well, I was too insecure to get up there without my lyrics, scared I would forget the words. That fear held me back from promoting myself and joining a band. I gave friends and family a copy of my demo tape, and everyone liked it. I eventually had it transferred to CD, but that’s about it.

When I met my second husband and made the decision to come to Australia, that was about the only time I faced my fears and went for what I wanted. I was afraid to fly, as my friends who drove me to the airport can attest ... they held my hand as far as they could but I had to leave them and get on that plane all by myself! That was scary, but I did it. I definitely do not like flying, but I did it and I'm so glad because I have a good life with a good man and I never thought that would happen. Moving here was scary as it meant leaving my friends and family, my home and my country. But I will never regret facing that fear head-on as it paid off big time.

My hubby was a bass player in a rock and roll band. I would go to his gigs and watch him up on stage and it reminded me of my own dreams. Friends would tell me we should sing together, but of course I didn’t sing much rock and roll, and he didn’t play country, 70s easy listening or soft rock. But I did hit a few karaoke shows, and at one of them I was approached by a man who was looking for a woman to sing with him in a duo. I was excited and said yes ... we actually had several gigs together. It was fun and for the first time ever I was actually getting paid to sing! That was awesome! But I kept my lyric book on a stand in front of me as a security blanket still.

It didn't last long though, partly because we had different ideas about the types of songs we'd do and the venues we'd play at, but mostly because I was obese, insecure and losing what little confidence I had to stand on stage in a roomfull of strangers and sing. I really haven't sung in public since. I miss it though. My greatest joy still comes from singing, though now I'm cranking my favorite tunes and singing along in my car or at home with the jukebox.

There are many things in life that I've not done because fear held me back ... instead I sat on the sidelines watching life pass me by. What got me thinking so much about this lately? Oddly enough it was Robert Conrad! I had the biggest crush on him when I was a teenager watching The Wild Wild West reruns. He looked damn fine in those days, and I've remained a fan over the years collecting some of his movies and shows on VHS. I got the full collection of The Wild Wild West DVDs for Christmas and I've been enjoying watching the show again very much.

These days he hosts a radio show where fans can call in or email him and ask questions. Of course I'd be afraid to actually call and speak to him directly, but I listened to him answer people's questions and some of his responses got me thinking. He was asked whether he had regrets about any particular shows he'd done, whether there were people he'd always wanted to work with but hadn't got the chance, whether he'd taken any risks, etc. While I can't quote his answers verbatim he essentially said he had no regrets because everything he'd done was what he wanted to do at the time, that he'd worked with everyone he'd wanted to, and that of course he'd taken many risks but that's show business. Of course he'd made mistakes in his life (as we all have) but he'd had the confidence (some would say cockiness) to go after what he wanted in life. Now in his senior years, he is happy and has no regrets.

They say most people later in life regret the things they didn't do, not the things they did. So I started thinking about the things I'm likely to regret in the future, and giving up on singing will most likely be right up there. So I talked to hubby about that and you know what? He said he'd talk to a friend of his that has a recording studio and see if he'd help me record another CD. That would be so much fun, and as this friend is in a country band you never know, if he likes what he hears he might ask me to join them for a song or two. If nothing else I would have the joy of singing again as I'd have to practice a lot before I'd be ready to record. So maybe that dream isn't dead in the water after all.

And that brings me back to where I started. Tackling the fear of actually pushing myself to jog. What have I got to lose? I'll either find it's not for me, or I'll find I really enjoy it and it builds my endurance and lung capacity, which could not only make me more fit, but a better singer. At the very least, not having pushed myself to try would be one regret I wouldn't face in my golden years. That alone makes me think I've got to do it. Maybe I can only do 30 second intervals ... maybe less! But that's OK. Whatever level I'm at, it's OK.