April 29, 2018

My Plan to Get Back to My Goal Weight


... AGAIN.

Man, when I look over the last nine years of my weight graph, there are SO many ups and downs. It really does resemble a roller coaster. The first part is the biggest drop, followed by several smaller ones. Thankfully, I haven't even come close to gaining it all back.


After being diagnosed with bipolar disorder, the gains and losses made a lot of sense. Usually, I'll have one or two hypomanic episodes a year and one or two depressive episodes a year (mostly, it's one and one). My weight has become pretty predictable based on my moods what episode I'm in.

Right now, I feel like I'm in a "mixed state" of bipolar--that is when you have both symptoms of mania and symptoms of depression going on at the same time. It's extremely frustrating, and if it continues, I might have to change up my meds. I see my psychiatrist in May, so we'll talk about it then.

Anyway, I really want to get my weight back down to my "happy" weight range (which is about 130-135). My "magic number" is 133. This morning, my weight was at 147.4, so I'm 14.4 pounds over my goal.

Each time I think I've finally hit a peak and I'm going to stop gaining or start losing again, and stop feeling depressed, it just doesn't happen. So, I'm going to try to make it happen by using the same things I've done before that have helped.

Here is my basic plan:

Food/Diet

Count calories. Ugh, I have a love/hate relationship with counting anything. I am guaranteed to lose weight when I count, but it gets to be tedious. All last year, I didn't count a single calorie, and I did really well! I thought I'd be able to live that way forever. But once I started feeling depressed, it's like my body stopped helping me out by telling me when to eat and when not to.

I wrote a whole post about how I used calorie counting to get back to my goal weight, and that is basically what I'm going to do again. Instead of My Fitness Pal, I'm using the Fat Secret app. I like Fat Secret much better.

Like last time (2015), I'm not aiming for a particular calorie goal. I'm going to eat what I feel is a "reasonable" amount of the food that I want most and see what that works out to. Back then, over the course of 15 weeks, it averaged out to 1568 per day--some days I ate much more and some days I ate less. It just depended on what my body was telling me that day.

And like last time, I'm going to have a high-calorie day once a week (NOT a cheat day). I don't believe in "cheat days", because it makes it sound like you're doing something wrong. To me, a high-calorie day involves eating the same VOLUME of food, but choosing more calorically dense foods.

For example, I might order pizza for dinner, which is about 1,000 calories (as opposed to the usual 500 or so I'd eat normally). The volume of food I eat remains the same, but the calories are higher. On those days, I usually end up eating about 2,500 to 3,500 calories.

I feel my best and lose weight my best when I'm eating four times per day: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a bedtime treat. People always ask, "Don't you get hungry between meals?" and the short answer is yes. I do get hungry, but I'm not starving. And I think hunger is good! I want to feel hungry when it's time to eat a meal, because the food tastes so much better.

Binge Eating

As far as binge eating, I'm not sure that I've had a true "binge" in a long time. A very long time. I've certainly overeaten to the point where I'm very full, but I don't think the binge definition applied to those situations.

However, I've been revisiting the old Brain Over Binge mentality anyway, to avoid overeating. Brain Over Binge now has a free podcast that explains the whole concept. The podcasts are short, and I listen to 2-3 episodes over a period of 30-minute runs (I listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed). Of course, the book goes into more depth, and I highly recommend it. There is now a recovery guide to go along with it, which I haven't checked out yet--but I will probably buy one to see what it's all about.

In a nutshell: I'm going to be counting calories again, much in the same way that I did in 2015-2016. For all the details, you can check out this post: How I Calorie Counted My Way Back to Goal Weight.

Exercise

Just like with my weight loss, my running (and exercise in general) has had plenty of ups and downs over the years. I have trained long and slow for marathons, I have trained hard and fast for a 10K PR, and I've done everything in-between. I've been injured and taken time off, I've been injured and stupidly NOT taken time off, I took almost a full year off of running just because I was burnt out on it. I've run for fun, and I've run to burn calories. Hell, I ran in a documentary!

I've even been known to run for cookies ;)


Currently, I'm at the point of running for fitness. Not to be in tip-top shape like I was after 10K training, but to stay healthy and mostly-fit as I approach my 40's(!).

For the last two weeks, I've been running for 30 minutes a day (Monday through Friday). That's IT. I don't even reach three miles in that amount of time! All but one of the runs has been on the treadmill, because when running for just 30 minutes, I honestly kind of like the treadmill. I put on a podcast (I'll share in another post what I've been listening to) and run at an easy 5.0-5.1 mph pace until I reach 30 minutes.

I am thoroughly enjoying this way of exercising right now. It all started with a conversation with my good childhood friend, Lance, when he came over a few weeks ago. He recently became a dad, and his schedule changed quite a bit.

When we were kids, his (affectionate) nickname was "Chubs" because he was, well, chubby. (Looking back, that was a terrible nickname--but because his friends were the ones saying it, and he laughed about it, we thought it was okay.)


As he got older, he slimmed out quite a bit--and he admitted it wasn't in a healthy way for a while. He wasn't diagnosed with an eating disorder, but from what he described, I believe he was anorexic. But now he is at a good weight for his height (still on the slim side, for sure, but in a healthy range). And yes, I got his permission to post about this.


While he was at his thinnest, I was at my heaviest-at-the-time in college:


So now, he eats healthy foods--not too much or too little, and he avoids sweets as much as possible by simply not buying them. I had the hardest time comprehending this--he has a huge sweet tooth just like me, and I never would have guessed that!

See? Two peas in a pod, eating frosting.

And as for exercise, he said that he goes to the gym before work (at 5:00 am!) to do 30 minutes of cardio--whatever he feels like doing that day. Maybe the treadmill, the elliptical, the bike, whatever. It's so very simple! I realized that as close as Lance and I were, we never really had a conversation about his story.

I love this picture from when we were two! We recreate it occasionally; the second photo was obviously from my wedding.


I was very inspired while listening to this (and asking him a trillion questions--"But HOW do you not buy sweets?!"). The simplicity of just eating without putting too much thought into everything and exercising 30 minutes Monday through Friday sounded really appealing to me. Jerry thought the same thing, so we started calling it "The Lance Diet", hahaha. He doesn't count calories, but I think I need to do it, at least for a while, until I re-learn what portions my body feels best with.


Accountability

To stay accountable, I'd like to get back to posting my Wednesday Weigh-ins again. It was really discouraging, because the scale was just going up and up and I stopped weighing myself much at all. I would also like to keep up with my bullet journal as a tracker, because I find it so fun to work on! It's definitely more of a hobby than a chore for me, so the bullet journal will help. I'll share some of my pages here, if that interests anyone.


Some of the goals in my habit tracker are to work toward my 40 Goals Before I Turn 40 Years Old list.



Alcohol

I'm still trying to avoid drinking as much as possible, but I'm not at the point of quitting completely. Logically, I KNOW that it's best to quit--alcohol basically counteracts my mood stabilizer, which can send me into hypomania or depression very easily. Basically, anything that alters one's mood can do that--including caffeine!

The alcohol has been a challenge, because it's such a social thing. I have no problem when I'm just at home doing my usual things, but going out with friends or having friends over here makes me want to be like them and enjoy a few drinks. On Saturday, for example, I'm having a couple of friends and their families over for Cinco de Mayo, and of course I want to make margaritas!

So, my plan is to work on cutting back more and more, until I drink only on very special/rare occasions or even get to the point where I can quit completely.

Mental Health

Because my mental health plays a large role in my weight loss/gain/loss/gain, I am going to continue my journey toward being my happiest self. I want to do the things that make my happy, make the decisions that are best for ME (and my family), and not worry about what others think or have to say about it.

Ever since I had that breakthrough in therapy about a year ago, I feel like an enormous weight has been lifted from me. I don't have to try to be someone I'm not, pretend to enjoy things that I don't, do things I don't want to do, etc., just to please other people. I am comfortable speaking my mind, even if it causes conflict.

This has greatly reduced my anxiety, which has reduced/eliminated my binge eating.

Blogging

Finally, I want to blog more. I always feel good when I write, but lately, I just haven't felt like I've had much to write about. I included a suggestions form on my blog, which can be found here, so if there is something you want me to write about or a burning question you don't mind my answering on the blog, please feel free! I won't use your name.

Actually, I've done a ton of revamping on my blog recently; so, if you find yourself bored, you can always peruse the tabs at the top of the blog.

To sum it all up, my plan to get back to my goal weight is:

  • Count calories without a particular calorie goal in mind
  • Eat four times per day, what I consider a "modest" portion
  • Eat what I want most (listen to my body)
  • Run 30 minutes a day on the treadmill (aim for 5 times a week, but I'd settle for 3-4 times)
  • Stay accountable by posting weigh-ins again
  • Limiting/avoiding alcohol
  • Blog more frequently

And there you have it! Let's hope that sometime in the next 2-3 months, I'll see my goal weight again.


14 comments:

  1. This is great timing! After a month of traveling and up and down swings after my last break up I just meal prepped tonight. Counting calories, lower fat, no fast food, limiting processed carbs and sugar worked well for me. (What do we call that? The no fun duet? Although I drank plenty!) I just need more support from someone who UNDERSTANDS! People at work keep telling me I look great but I’ve gained 30 pounds and I’m not exercising. WTH? Not helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  2. You guys were the cutest little kids! I'm with you on the 5am workouts. Back when I was a front desk girl at the gym and I relieved the graveyard guy/ started work around that time, the gym was already humming along with my pre-work regulars. I'd just sit there folding towels and drinking energy drinks until I woke up!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Check out the book Bright Line Eating ( I first got it from the library) to help you cut back on sweets!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sounds like a very doable, sensible plan! Thanks for sharing and I'm in love with your bullet journal!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I heart your bullet journal, too! :) sounds like a great plan, good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Katie, Why do you like FatSecret better than MyFitnessPal? I'm not one for change so before I take that step figured I'd ask.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you click the link that says, "I like Fat Secret much better", it's a post about why I like it better :)

      Delete
  7. These are all great ideas! I loved all the old pics, you're so cute! And I am like completely in love with your bullet journal. All the pages are so cute!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Awesome post Katie! Thanks for sharing! I LOVE your bullet journal! Swoon!
    I'd love to hear how budgeting/debt reduction is going! I'd also love to hear your thoughts about how budgeting and weight control have coincided (or maybe worked against you.) I have heard others starts budgets and also lose weight unintentionally in the process. I sort of imagine that when you gain self discipline in one area it carries to others. Thanks Katie!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have been struggling with my fitness pal so I just downloaded Fatsecret. Here is to a fresh start! Good Luck to you and thanks for the recommendation.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I just bought a bullet journal to make myself a weight tracker! 😂😍

    ReplyDelete
  11. I LOVE the recreated pictures with Lance! What a treasure to have had a friend so long.

    What you do with your bullet journal just blows my mind. I simply do not have the kind of creative ability, but I LOVE to see what you do with it! Honestly, it's like eye-candy to me, ha ha! But I think I would rather pay someone to make me a pretty bullet journal than do one myself. ;)

    I think this is a great action plan and I look forward to seeing your successes!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love your post Katie! Thank you for sharing your plan for weight loss over the next few months. I'm going to join on my journey to my goal weight.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Random but what pens do you use for your bullet journals? Also, I love your handwriting so much. I would PAY you to make me a bullet journal.

    ReplyDelete

I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :) (I had to turn on comment moderation due to a ton of spam comments; but I will approve your comment asap!)

Blog Archive