Sunday, July 17, 2011

Weight Loss

I've probably lost and gained a gazillion pounds in my life. Every time I lose weight I think that it will finally be for good--that this time my new eating habits will stick. But, they never do and the weight creeps back on until I decide to lose weight again. This time around I'd like to have a different outcome--I'd like to lose weight and not gain it back.

Albert Einstin is credited with saying that the hallmark of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So, I guess I need to change my behavior to get a different result.

With this in mind, I thought I'd take some time to identify what I've done in the past that might have contributed to regaining weight. If I can pinpoint what I do that leads me to regain weight, I can work to change them, right?

So far, I've come up with three big ones, but I'm sure there are more.

I stop weighing myself. When I am losing weight I weigh myself everyday. It helps me stay motivated and regulate my eating. If I haven't lost any weight, then I know that I'm eating too much and/or not burning enough calories. But, when I'm not actively trying to lose weight I stop weighing myself regularly. This means that I might not even realize if I've gained five to seven pounds. Then, once I've realized I've gained weight, I still avoid the scale because it is the bearer of bad news.

Ideally, I think it would be best if I continued to weigh myself everyday or every other day. I don't want to obsess about every miniscule fluctuation, but I do want to be able to catch myself regaining before the amount I have to lose gets overwhelming. It is much easier to lose three pounds than it is to lose twenty pounds. Even if I allow myself to overindulge too much, if I can recognize weight gain and use it as a signal to return to "diet mode" I shouldn't regain all of the weight I lost.

I rationalize anything and everything.

"Peanut butter has lots of protein"
"Nuts are the good kind of fat." 
"A small dessert every night is part of eating in moderation. It isn't good to deny yourself"
"Cheese is good for you in small quantities."
"I have to eat to stay awake in class."
"It is okay to have a huge portion of x, it is homemade and healthy."
"It is okay to indulge, its a celebration."
"It is okay to indulge, I had a hard day."
"It is okay to indulge, we are at a new/special/delicious restaurant."
"It is okay to indulge, I'm going to eat really healthy tomorrow."
"It is okay to indulge, I've been so good all day/all week."
"It's just 250 calories. No big deal."
"A five pound increase is no big deal. Weight naturally fluctuates."

I think it can be tricky to find a balance here. Because its not like it is never okay to indulge in some comfort food after a long day, but rationalizing everything all the time is problematic. I think the first step is to work on recognizing when I am doing this in the moment because if I have to rationalize it to myself, I probably shouldn't be eating it!

I "forget" that its about calories in versus calories out. This is something I did when I first made my new years resolution to lose weight. Instead of focusing on calories in versus calories out, I started focusing on cutting out preservatives, avoiding prepackaged foods, drinking more water and less soda, etc. Eating whole foods is certainly healthier, but eating these sorts of food will not automatically result in weight loss. Pizza is not all of a sudden diet friendly just because it is homemade (unfortunately). Ideally, I think healthy eating is a mixture of being mindful of calorie intake and what the food is made from. I'm pretty good at thinking about what I put into my body, but I need to remember that for losing weight the final number is what counts.

oh avocados, you are delicious and healthy. 
but, you are more than 300 hundred calories

Can you help me think of any other ways that I might sabotage my weight loss? How do you keep yourself from gaining weight? I'm not too far away from reaching my weight-loss goal and I really want to have a solid plan for how I will keep the weight off.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Try This On For Size

Recently, the word "modesty" has been rolling around my head.

The clothes I naturally gravitate towards tend to be relatively conservative in the amount of skin they show. I don't like to wear skirts, dresses, or shorts that go much above my knees and I always wear a cardigan over something that is sleeveless. I'm not into showing lots of cleavage (not that I have much) or wearing super tight clothing. I think wearing leggings as pants (without a long shirt to cover the bum and upper thighs) is too revealing and I'm really not into wearing alluring/provocative/sexy clothing.

 This dress from gap is something I would try on. 
The length isn't too short and it has sleeves. 

I realize this sounds judgmental, but I'm sometimes baffled by how much skin other women choose to show. I swear I see some shorts out there that barely cover more than underwear.

 j. crew's 3' chino shorts show too much leg for me

I wasn't raised in a household that emphasized modest dress and it was never something I really gave much thought to, so I'm surprised to find that I lean to conservative dress. Even though my taste or preference tends to be on the modest side, I'm still not quite sure what my beliefs are on dressing modestly. Is it important? What does it symbolize? Would I give up wearing something I want to wear because it shows more skin? What does it mean if I or someone else dress immodestly?  

What are your thoughts on modesty and clothing?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Blogging Burnout

Is there a blogging burnout support group out there? If so, I desperately need to attend.  At the end of May, I got so burned out on blogging that I considered deleting my blog. Now that I've recuperated a bit, I realize that I don't really want to give up blogging, but I do need to alter my approach.

When I started blogging it was a way for me to write about whatever was going through my mind. I wrote about whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I wrote for myself. As I started reading more blogs and getting a sense of what I liked and didn't like in a blog, I started to approach my blog differently. I started to write for other people and I started to worry about being part of a blogging community.

So, I began to spend more and more time trying to develop my blog. There were some weeks when I probably spent fifteen hours on blog related activities! Do you know it takes probably takes me an hour just to comment on five blogs? (Twitter tangent: I joined twitter to get more connected to the blogging community and I loved it, at first. Then, I started to feel guilty and inadequate when I wasn't on twitter more.  I'm still really confused about how lots of people manage to be on twitter all day every day, but I just have to accept that I do not have the sort of life that allows for that.)

But, as more people started reading my blog (and I realized family members were reading it), I started to censor myself more. It got to the point where I didn't even feel like I could write about what was truly going on in my life.

Spending too much time writing posts that don't even feel real to me = blogging burnout.

I think this was a good wake up call. Quite honestly, blogging isn't one of my primary goals. Unlike so many of the bloggers I read, I have no desire to become a full-time blogger. Nor am I using blogging to break into the wedding planning business, become a wedding photographer, fuel my designs, get my writing discovered, or fill some sort of void. I work hard in graduate school so that I can get my PhD and become a clinical psychologist, the career I've dreamed of ever since I was in seventh grade. If anything, blogging is actually antithetical to this goal.

So, I'm reclaiming this blog and my time. I may not post as regularly and I won't be able to comment as much on your blogs, but when I do it will be real. I hope that you will like this new blogging me, but realistically  I know that these changes will probably mean that my posts will get fewer comments and I will have fewer readers. This is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

How real are you on your blog? How do you manage blogging with everything else going on in your life? Have you ever experienced blogging burnout?



Sunday, July 3, 2011

June: A Month in Review

So . . . hi. My name is Alisha and I used to blog here. And then I stopped and didn’t come back for a long time. 

And, actually I’m not really sure that I’m back. 

But, I promised myself that I would check in about my new years resolutions each month to keep myself accountable. So, here I am. I hope some of you are still out there, reading. 

+My first resolution is to get healthy. For the first five months of 2011 I didn’t make any headway, but I had a turning point towards the end of May. I joined a gym, started working out, and sticking to a diet. I hoped that in June I would continue to work out four times a week and lose 10 pounds. I am quite excited to say that I met this goal! Its been pretty easy to get back into the routine of going to the gym and I like the way exercise makes me feel. Dieting has been hard and I certainly haven’t been perfect (whatever that is), but having Neill’s support has made it do-able. Not keeping junk food in the house and giving up take-out has made a huge difference. My goals for July are to continue going to the gym four times a week and to continue to watch my calorie intake. Next month, I want to be able to report back that I’ve lost another seven pounds. 

+My second resolution is to finish my master’s degree. And guess what? I can officially cross this goal off the list because I am DONE baby. Done Done Done. On June 14th I gave my committee members my thesis paper, on June 21st I defended and PASSED, between June 22nd-June 29th I made the requested edits, and on June 30th I officially turned in my thesis to the graduate school. Now, all I have to do is sit back and wait for my degree to come! 

+Another goal is to make more time for my VIPs. I think the month of June was a big failure in this realm. Between my two summer classes, rushing to finish my thesis, making time for the gym, and avoiding restaurant food I barely saw anyone this month. While there is a part of me that feels guilty about this, another part of me is happy that I took the time I needed. I don’t want to apologize for putting myself first. That being said, I would like to make more time for my family this month. I miss my mom :( 

+ My final goal is to be financially responsible. I don’t really have much to report on this. Money is always tight for me in the summer since I only get paid during the school year so I’ve been feeling extra thrifty. I guess this is the perfect time to give up eating at restaurants then, huh? I did do some online research and found a financial planner to meet with, but than I never actually called him to make an appointment. I guess my goal for July is to finally call this guy and set up a meeting. 

And that’s all folks! Thanks for sticking with me through my new years resolutions updates. Writing these posts really help me stay committed. 

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend!