July 24, 2018

Day 1 (A fresh start, old-school style)

I'm sure I sound like a broken record by now, but I just can't seem to get out of this funk I've been in for a while. Most recently, it's more anxiety than it is depression. I constantly feel like I've messed something up (but I can't come up with anything specific), and like I'm a bad person in general (something that has caused me anxiety for my entire life, even though logically, I know that I don't have any reason to feel this way).

The worst part is that I've been feeling like I'm "too far gone" to get my life back on track. Again--logically, I know that's not true, but it feels like I'm back at the beginning of my whole weight loss journey. I keep telling myself, "Tomorrow, I'll really get my shit together", just like I used to.

The thing is, I know how to make myself feel better--I need to run regularly and eat in the way my body best responds to. I think those two things would make a world of difference in my anxiety. I miss the way I used to feel when running regularly! Each time I run, though, it just feels so hard. I guess I took for granted the endurance I'd built up for years. I miss it now that I've lost it!

For the past couple of days, I've been cleaning like crazy. Maybe I'm getting hypomanic from my recent medication change (which would also explain the heightened anxiety), but I don't want to give up on it yet. My psychiatrist said to give it about three weeks and then we'll reevaluate.

Anyway, while I was cleaning, I found my old-school running journal and weight log. I used to do everything with paper and pen (my running log, my weigh-ins, and my food journals). It was really cool to look through them today (particularly my running log). There is something that is much more satisfying about flipping through pages in a notebook than looking at a digital log in a phone app.

For my weight log, I just used one of those tiny 2-3 year planners that are a dime a dozen at just about any store. Then, I would write my weight in it each morning.

I don't always weigh every day, especially when I'm not doing so well with diet/exercise (like recently), but this was when I was training for my 10K, and being very consistent with calorie counting and exercise (the "HCD" just means "high calorie day"--I wish I'd marked that down every week, but I always forgot to):

My running log started on March 12, 2010: I ran 5 minutes. I remember being completely stunned that I was able to run for five full minutes (a few previous attempts were 30 seconds to a couple of minutes). My younger brother told me that if I run really slowly, I would be able to go farther. On March 23, I ran 1.54 miles (at a 13:43 pace--although, I had no idea what pace really meant, or what was fast/slow at the time).

Seeing those numbers in my log really made me want to do it all over again--to start from the beginning. And to write down my runs in a regular old notebook. I couldn't care less what my pace is, and if it's 13:-something per mile, so be it! I am just seeking that sense of accomplishment, of actually being proactive in making some good changes in my health and happiness.

Yesterday, I bought a couple of notebooks to track again just like I used to:

The one on the left is a three-year calendar for my weigh-ins, and the one on the right is for my running/food log. For some reason, having the new notebooks, clean of all of my past ups and downs, makes me excited to do this!

Today, I finally faced the scale and I took my measurements and body fat percentage. I am not ready to post it here yet, but hopefully when I start seeing some progress I will.

I think the first real training plan that I followed was Hal Higdon's novice 15K plan, and I thought it would be a nice nostalgia to follow one of his plans again. Instead of doing the 15K plan, though, I'm going to start with the 8K plan (5 miles). It has three days a week of running, two of cross training, and two strength training sessions. Back then, I didn't do the cross training or the strength training; but now, I think I'd like to ride my bike on the cross training days and do some light strength training.

My back has been causing me SO much pain lately, and it makes me wonder if the running had helped control the pain. I'm sure my core strength was much better when I was running, and maybe that was helping. (I have all sorts of problems with my thoracic spine, including a herniated disc.) However, the pain has been flaring up when I run (as of recently), so I could be wrong.

Regardless, I'm sure my core could benefit from some strength training, and I'm willing to try anything to help this pain! It was so bad today after cleaning that I just sat and cried.

The 8K training plan is 8 weeks long, and I'd like to use it as an experiment; when I make plans to experiment with something, I am much more likely to follow through, because if I don't, then it screws up the results of the "experiment". Since I'm genuinely curious about how the running + cross training + strength training may help with my mood, my back pain, and maybe even weight loss, I'm actually looking forward to starting it.

I know I've said this several times recently, as well, but I'm going to make an honest attempt at calorie counting again. I was doing so well with intuitive eating, but intuitive eating while having bipolar disorder is very difficult! My mood plays a big role in my appetite (not true hunger, but appetite). Calorie counting never fails me, so my goal is to do that (the same way I did in 2015-2016).

While I like using Fat Secret to log my calories (it makes it easy to look up the calories in foods without packages), I am also going to log my food with a notebook. Again, I love being able to flip through pages when looking for something rather than search digitally. I think that the newness of tracking that way will be refreshing.

I keep telling myself that if Jerry did nine weeks of Insanity without missing a single day, I can certainly manage a simple diet and exercise plan. ;)

Something else I used to do to give me a boost of motivation was to try on a particular pair of jeans (one size too small) every week until they would fit. And then I would choose the next size down, and continue to do that. I haven't bought any bigger jeans recently, but I can only fit into about four pairs of my current ones, so I'm going to find a pair that is slightly too small and work on that for now.

And in the true spirit of a fresh start, I'll probably have Jerry take a couple of "before" photos as well. It'll be interesting to see the difference (if any!) eight weeks from now! (September 18)  I've been thinking of getting an industrial piercing in my ear, and I may plan to use that as a reward for making it through eight weeks... I guess we'll see :)


  1. Sending you a big hug from DC, Katie. I'm sorry to hear you're struggling. I hope this is the reset you need.

  2. I am excited for you that you are feeling some excitement about your new plan! I have only recently found you. I know your motivation at this point is not necessarily to inspire but I have been profoundly inspired by you to continue my journey and...I went from walking to running last week. I struggle with depression as well and have to say having a plan and showing up for myself often help. Good luck! I'll be supporting you as I continue with my journey!

  3. I really appreciate the "broken record" type posts. I've been in a similar mode for about 18 months, so knowing I'm not alone is a great help.

    Until we get the results we're looking for, let's take solace in the fact that we're not giving up and we keep going after new day ones!

    Best of luck!

  4. Ah, the fresh start....Whether its new notebooks, a Monday, the first day of school, first time driving a new car, or brand new running shoes we all have been there and know the feeling!!!!!

    I don't know about you but it definitely makes everything a live and fun again.....I am not feeling the urge yet ....I am pretty sure I know why and it has to do with lots of changes coming around here with daughter #2 leaving for about 6 months on September 12....life will be different around here and I am sure stressors will go up and down but just not ready mentally to tackle my food issues currently I guess.

    Good Luck to you.

  5. I'm always slightly amazed how much our on course and off course paths seems to parallel. Meaning I am often struggling around the same time you are and thriving when you are. Not exactly of course -- but enough to notice. Which makes me wonder if mercury is in retrograde or something during the hard stretches. haha. Not to diminish your own personal struggles in any way! Just adding a little light to the dark by saying that the moon controls the tides -- no reason to assume the planets can't affect other things as well. Cheering for you (and for me!) as we both find our way back to what feels better.

    1. I'm the same! I thought it was just me. Katie and I even had pretty much the same starting weight. We seem to struggle and have weight gain (for different reasons) at the same time. It's crazy.

  6. I’ve had success lately by changing my goal/intention with exercise. When I was focusing on losing weight, I’d do something for a week or two but then give up because the scale didn’t change or my clothes weren’t looser. Then I decided to do the Couch to 10k app. And I’ve made it my goal to complete it. I don’t care about my weight or my clothes, I just want to be successful at completing it. I’m now on week 9 (of 14). I’m doing it, I didn’t give up the way I have in the past. And lo and behold, my clothes fit better too. This has been a total game changer for me. Hang in there. You aren’t alone in your struggles, mental or physical.

  7. I like the idea of notebooks! I used to do the same thing. This summer I started a strength training diet and it has really changed how I look at food. That might not be ideal for you, but basically I am counting macros instead of calories. Sounds scary, but it's really not that hard! Weight has started coming off again and so has inches. Look up IIFMYM and you can figure out your macro needs (protein, carbs, fats) if you're interested!

  8. I always tend to gravitate back to the old school journal on paper when I need to ‘get back to the beginning’. It is sooo much easier to see progress on paper. For me at least!

    You’ve got this!!!

  9. It's HARD to stick with it...whatever "it" is. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right? :p I have been in this camp for the last year or so, and it was miserable. It's still unpleasant, but now that I'm training for the marathon and actually have GOALS and stuff, it's getting better. I love your journals and wish I had the patience for that kind of thing. Or the handwriting, ha ha!

  10. I also track my weight in a small date planner and have done that for years. It is interesting to look back. Earlier this year I was in the 120's and then came a cruise/vacation that completely derailed me. After that we did a 2 mo. RV trip and that wrecked havoc. I'm now dealing with a 20 pound gain and working to get back on track. I have been watching the docuseries "Real Skinny on Fat" and what an eye opener that has been. So much of the traditional nutrition information we have been given over the past decades is literally killing us and is responsible for the escalating trend in obesity and chronic illnesses. I about flipped when they mentioned that in 1975 the rate of autism in children was like l in 800 and now it is 1 in 44. Really scary. You can check out episode 8 for free today and after that episode 9. Google Real Skinny on Fat for the link if you are interested. The episodes are only free for one day at a time. I got so much out of it that I bought the entire series as I need to watch it again, but I encourage you to watch the what you can for free and see what you think. Hugs to you and your family.

  11. I think you are an inspiration--I think it'd be so easy for me to throw in the towel and stop trying if I were in your situation, and I'm always so impressed to see you coming back and problem-solving and making plans. I'm looking forward to seeing the results of your experiment!!

  12. I am really glad you got on the scales.
    It cant have been as bad as having the dread hanging over you. Do the things that you are putting off if they are stressing you out. Determination. Never give up. One day at a time. Don't expect too much in one day. I have a fresh start as school vacations just started here and I have 6 weeks off work with them. I took the kids swimming yesterday, always scary for the overweight. But they enjoyed it and I actually swam around so exercise for the day. I have a book for daily to do list which turns into a weekly one! To stop the trapped in my head feeling I need to get out regularly and see different places or people.

  13. I just found your blog after watching From Fat to Finish Line twice today. I am at the very start of my weight loss journey and hearing all of your stories on that documentary was truly inspiring. At 5 foot 2 and 280 lbs I have a really long road ahead of me, but I plan on reading through your blog and gaining inspiration. You have a lot of courage to write about your setbacks. I am a new notebook start over type of person too, I hope it works for you and you're on your way to getting back on track. =)


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