Toeing a line between excuse and reality

It’s been exactly one week since I started BFF’s plan. Well…I guess almost a week. Last Friday, I was super pumped up with some music I found on Spotify that I got home and decided to go for a run. Not the best run in the world, but a run nonetheless. And then Saturday was when the real ass-kicking began.

I have vigilantly weighed, measured, and tracked what has gone in my mouth, while continuing to exercise (and not increasing calories by whatever FitBit/MyFitnessPal told me I burned). Then my schedule was thus:

Saturday – 2-mile run with BFF

Sunday – 4(ish)-mile run with BFF

Monday – Couldn’t move, so rest day

Tuesday – Short morning strength session

Wednesday – Short morning strength session + evening Vinyasa (super challenging)

Thursday – Short morning strength session

Friday (today) – rest day + cheat meal

Friday is also my traditional weigh-in day. After all the effort put in this week, I was anxious to hop on the scale. I woke up, emptied out (ahem), and hopped on. And…

What…?

Up 0.6#.

I was both shocked and not at all surprised. I mean, what has been my pattern recently, anyway? Exert effort, body works doubletime to shut it off. What it FEELS like is that I’ve just messed around so long with diet and exercise that now just everything is out of whack and nothing wants to work. The level of frustration just exploded.

And then I had what is most likely my final WW coaching call (I ended up canceling/nonrenewing, effective next week). And while Coach LG was very nice and helpful, her reaction to the weight gain was more of “What could be happening?” than going for “What did you do wrong?”

Which is fine. Which is what they’re supposed to do. But I also feel like the “What could be happening?” question just kind of gives you something to blame the gain on that is not yourself.

For example, last week, I had a tough week and was up 1.5#. I was/am super constipated (TMI, sorry). Coach LG’s suggestion? Well, it’s clearly the constipation, and just keep doing what you’re doing.

Okay!

This week?

Well, you have been exercising a lot more than your body is used to. Your muscles are probably holding on to a lot of water right now. And it’s nearing that time of the month. And you’re still constipated. Keep doing what you’re doing, and I’m sure this is a fluke.

Okay!

But I gotta wonder…does this method totally take all responsibility off me? This week, I tend to agree. I’ve been sore beyond belief and I’ve been drinking a ton of water. And my PMS is in full swing (sorry, The Boy). But if you gain and gain and gain…it can’t always be water weight or PMS.

Really, this method toes the line between reality and excuse.

What is reality?

Well…

  • Even double doses of magnesium isn’t helping my….daily rhythm.
  • My period’s due to start in about 4 days.
  • I have worked out hard 3/7 days, and done strength circuits 3/7 days.
  • I have craved salt.
  • I have tracked food, and stayed within budget, but of course can always measure more carefully.
  • This is the first week since March that I have eaten dinner every night.
  • I had four meals out this week: 2 dinners (Saturday + Sunday) and 2 lunches (Tuesday and Wednesday), plus some soft serve on Saturday, though tracked to the best of my ability.
  • I have not slept well on most nights.

And that’s the god-honest truth. What’s most important right now is being honest with myself. I have even sent nutrition screenshots to BFF to keep me on track.

I hope these are not excuses, and I hope that I AM being honest with myself. But who knows…maybe my muscles ARE being shocked and holding on to a crapton of water. We shall see.

In the mean time, I’m trying not to get wrapped up in fads. Facebook is hard. A few years ago everyone was preaching the virtues of intermittent fasting. And now–surprise, surprise–those same people are preaching the virtues of flexible dieting (i.e., If It Fits Your Macros). These sorts of people and philosophies make me SUPER uncomfortable and self-conscious. Like I’m doing something EXTREMELY wrong, and THIS IS THE ANSWER. I really don’t want to fall down that rabbit hole; while macros are important, I’m not interested in obsessively hitting each goal exactly.

The goal here is to live life, be healthy, look hot, and not obsess/encourage further eating disorders.

Triggers, man.

DK OUT.

PS, have a great and healthy weekend, all! ❤

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This one time I made Bacon Toffee; or, This week I gained 3.4 pounds

What kind of baconry is this?!
What kind of baconry is this?!

You guys ready for some massive oversharing? You ready to read your face off? Because this one’s a doozy.

Where do I begin?

So, last week, I reaped major benefits from my new nutrition regime. Recently, I’ve been doing carb-cycling lite. Essentially, that means that I switch high-/moderate-carb days with low-carb days. Every other day is like that. And it works really, really well, but it takes a lot of discipline. The idea is similar to the idea of Crossfit—maximize your benefits by confusing the crap out of your body. Doing this not only kicked me out of a plateau, but it also got me losing at a really satisfying pace.

Anyway, so last Thursday, I go to weigh-in, and I had once again dropped a satisfying amount, bringing me that much closer to my immediate goal. (Here’s where the oversharing comes in: Last week, I got within 2 pounds of being under 200 pounds for the first time in my adult life. Yup, now you know how much I weigh, and if you are sitting there judging me because of that number, go f yourself.) And because I had lost consistently over the last few weeks, my Daily Points Target (i.e., the number of Points I’m allowed to eat each day) lowered by one. Not a huge deal, but enough to notice.

Simultaneously, after three weeks of carb-cycling, I’m supposed to take what is called a “Slingshot” week, during which I eat high/moderate carbs every day, confusing my body further, before getting back on the alternating high- and low-carb days again. This was just perfect because Labor Day weekend was coming up, and I had a lot of fun things planned. (Do you see where this is going?)

I had already planned out my weekend. Sunday would be my cheat day, since I was going to Bacon Fest, and I was 100 percent ready and willing to eat my face off in the name of Pork Belly.

What I hadn’t considered was everything before and after Bacon Fest.

Immediately after weigh-in, knowing that it was a week full of carbs, I decided to kick it off the way any carb-loving lady would: with popcorn and ice cream (duh). The next day, I grabbed lunch with a friend; we had originally planned to go to New World, which I had pretracked a delicious, delicious salad, but the restaurant ended up being closed for lunch. Instead, she took me to the Fountain so she could get a burger. I’m generally pretty good about finding healthy things on menus, but for the life of me…there were NO vegetables on the menu at all! Not to mention the fact that I was hangry, hangry, hangry. So what do I do? Order a pizza, OBVIOUSLY! And then, what? Eat how much? I had a hard time stopping myself at about six pieces. Smallish pieces, but still. Really?!

Then there was Bacon Fest. And granted, as many of us in the area know already, Bacon Fest was pretty much a bust. It would have been a stupendous event, but vendors ran out of bacon by around noon, so I really honestly didn’t eat much there. And I was hanging out with friends, so later on, OF COURSE I’m going to share an appetizer of bone marrow, followed by some tasty, tasty jerk chicken, wine, and then beers around a fire pit. OBVIOUSLY.

And theeeen…and YES, there is ANOTHER then…there was the Labor Day barbecue. Which would have been fine, but…

…I had to bring something, right?…

…and my friend was already bringing a salad, so…

…I had bacon on my mind since I missed out on Bacon Fest…

…and I kinda-sorta…

…decided that making BACON TOFFEE would be a good idea………………………………………..

Yeah.

The recipe for those with strong wills is at the end of this post, but I pretty much immediately regretted this decision as soon as I tasted it.

Because, you see, it’s not a joke when people talk about how the combination of fat and sugar releases the same chemicals as crack in your brain. It’s…addicting.

Now granted, I’m not blaming my poor decision-making skills on some g-d kitchen wizardry or sugar and fat. But it would be a convenient scapegoat.

As soon as I tasted my concoction, I knew I had created a new trigger food. Because I couldn’t get enough of it. And I brought it to the barbecue, and nobody else could get enough of it, either. But unfortunately, there weren’t enough people AT the barbecue to make it immediately disappear. So what happens? I eat more of it, OF COURSE. I eat more of that, and I eat some ribs, and I eat some spider dogs (long story). Oh, and I also eat the salad and my sparkling water (‘cuz I am watching my waistline, after all). And overall, I have a fun time.

Well…next morning is Tuesday, and that’s when I decide it might be a good time to check myself. I hop on the scale, and I almost pass the f out at what I see. I told my leader/friend Jennifer that I had gained five pounds, but in actuality it was 5.8—I was just choosing to round down. She tells me it’s probably mostly salt, and I need to sweat and drink water. Check. I go and work out (and by the by, I never skipped a workout this entire cheat week), followed by walking a 5k (admittedly, stopping halfway for coffee…), and hope for the best. I eat super-duper clean the next two days, and I had definitively decided that I would go to my meeting, but skip weigh-in (OBVIOUSLY).

Then what happens? I wake up on Thursday, and decide to, as my dear bestie Jim would say, nut up, and just weigh in anyway. The bad news was, I gained weight. The good news was, it wasn’t as bad as my check-in on Tuesday morning. This time, the scale indicated I was up by 3.4 pounds. Slingshot week seemed to only slingshot me further away from my little goal, now putting me 5.4 pounds away from it. But I got the sticker, put it on my little weight tracker (yes, I have one), and had my Daily Points Target increased back to what it was the previous week. It was like a punch to my gut.

But I was thinking about it, and this extends far beyond CHEAT WEEK OF DOOOOOOOM, and it extends beyond the pattern of me being pissy every time my Daily Points Target is decreased (historically, every time it is decreased, the next week I gain weight, almost in defiance of the new number, like I’m not ready for it or something, and it’s almost always brought back up for another week or two). And it goes beyond me being irritated that I’m now below 85# net loss (marginally, but still).

This week’s meeting theme was “Believe.” And you know what? I’m not sure where it came from, but I started dropping truth bombs on that meeting, and I almost made myself and Jennifer cry (not because I was bitching anyone out, but because of what I had to say, I guess):

Here’s the thing…I believe I can lose this weight because I’ve already lost a lot. Yeah, that’s not necessarily indicative of the future, but it’s definitely indicative of what I’m capable of, and the fight I have inside of me. So it’s gotta be something else.

Several years ago, I saw a therapist for a few sessions. One of the things we talked about was how I was unhappy being fat, and how I didn’t know the first place to even start because I had so much to lose. We talked for a while about how I should just say no to office treats (this therapist proved to be not very helpful…), but she did ask me one question that’s sort of stuck with me throughout these years: Are you afraid to lose weight?

At the time, I thought to myself, What a seriously stupid and insensitive question. But if it was a stupid question, I wouldn’t still be thinking about it.

My weight, for me, has been used as a shield; it’s always been easiest for me to blame things on my fat.

I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m fat, and all guys like skinny girls. (Or, XXX guy doesn’t like me because I’m fat.)

I don’t like going shopping with friends because none of the clothes fit me, and I don’t want them to go into Lane Bryant with me.

Etc., etc., etc.

Right now, I’m getting to a point where I can’t really blame my fat for the shit that happens in my life. It’s forcing me to deal with things directly, instead of tragically triaging things. It’s requiring me to put on a brave face and pretend to be normal.

And you know what?

I’m fucking scared.

There, I said it.

At the beginning of this post, I said that I’m almost below 200 pounds. Well. Imagine if you had been fat your entire life. The kind of fat where, in grade school, the school uniforms wouldn’t fit me, so I had to get special permission from the principal to shop at a store with similar styles that would fit properly. The kind of fat where you’re given Disney or Nickelodeon workout videos as a kid. The kind of fat where, even at 12 years old, you didn’t want to wear a swimming suit because of the way you thought you looked in it. And the kind of fat where you’ve been over 200 pounds—a lot over 200 pounds—your entire adult life.

I want to put Brave Face on, but let’s be real: I’m scared to be under 200 pounds. I BELIEVE I can get there, but I’m scared to, because I have absolutely NO idea what’s to come after that.

A few years ago, I’d tell people, “Oh yeah, I need to lose weight, but I wouldn’t want to lose THAT much…I think I’d look healthiest as a size 16—12 minimum.”

Well…I’m not a 16 any more, and I’m fitting into 12’s easy peasy. And it’s not good enough.

I’m scared because I have no idea what I’m going to look like and how I’m going to change. I’m only now beginning to know who I am without the extra 85 pounds. Who will I be once I lose another 40? How will I deal with rejection? How will I deal with attention?

And that’s what I dropped on my meeting. I don’t know WHY I said all that stuff, because certainly most of the people there must have been freaked out by my TMI, but it felt right. And it felt good to sort of get it out. It was really emotional, and almost freeing in a way. However, this is still stuff I’m going to have to deal with.

I don’t have a warm-fluffy ending to this blog post, but my point is, I’m scared, and I’m allowed to be scared. What I’m not allowed to do, however, is to sabotage myself, consciously or unconsciously. So I guess that means no more Bacon Toffee….

Bacon Toffee (not for the slight of character)

Ingredients:

• 1 pound (or more) of bacon
• 2 cups butter
• 2 cups white sugar
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 2 cups chocolate chips (or, you know, an entire bag)

Directions:

Cook bacon until it’s crisp. Depending on how bacony you want this toffee, you might want to cook a pound and a half or two pounds. Once it’s cooked and drained, cut or break up into small pieces. Spread pieces of bacon out over a cookie sheet that’s covered in waxed paper.

Next, in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet, covering the delicious and crisp bacon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted.

Place the cookie sheet and toffee in the fridge to set. This might take about 45 minutes to harden. Once it’s hardened, break into pieces, and try to control yourself.

For WW people, don’t even go here. It has a lot of points. Even if you make 32 servings.