Friday, March 8, 2013

Making Some Changes

Guys, I've got to get real about weight today. And since I have no pictures to illustrate, I'm going to use pictures of my pets.

I wrote in January about defining my "best life". In that post, I mentioned that I wasn't trying to lose weight, I didn't count calories, etc.

Well, after stepping on the scale for the first time in a while yesterday morning, I saw a number that's over my happy weight range by a few pounds. Honestly, I've noticed it in pictures as well -- that's why I stepped on the scale in the first place. And I know why I've gained weight.

Mason knows, too. You can tell from his knowing expression here. 
I eat quite healthy and I'd say 80-90% of my diet is very nutritious. But lately, I've also made my servings much too large and snacked too much. I'm almost never hungry, and being hungry is a good thing because it signals you need food. Getting to that point of "hungry"--not "starving"--is important.

The truth is, maintaining a happy weight is a struggle for me (Theodora had a fantastic post on this a few days ago). I love, love, love things like fries and tortilla chips and hard cider and baked goods. And I never want to deprive myself of these things completely. So I have to balance "what feels good now" with "what will feel good in a month." It's a hard thing to balance because you want to enjoy yourself but you don't want to place the cravings and desires of "now" so far above your general wellbeing.

Betty isn't big on balance.
No, for real, she is terrible at balancing and falls constantly. 
Lately, feeling justified by my training efforts, I've definitely been giving my "now" cravings precedent over what's best in the long run (ha! long run -- part of the reason I've been eating too much!).

I could just accept a few extra pounds as consequences of eating and enjoying more food, but there are three reasons I want to lose a few pounds and get back into my happy weight range (which again, is not far off).

First: I'm vain. I can't lie. I like wearing fun clothes and especially with summer coming up, the extra pounds on my hips and thighs are not something I want to be carrying around.

Second: I have specific time goals in mind for my half-marathons this spring and my marathon in the fall. If I weigh a bit less, they'll be easier to hit.

Third: more is not necessarily better. I don't want to restrict my food and I'm not going to count calories (although if you are trying to lose a lot of weight, I know some people swear by that method!). But I do want to pay more attention to portions and amounts for a while.

Bea prioritizes her goals. Like sleeping in nesting boxes.
Feeling good in my clothes and meeting those time goals mean a lot more to me than eating a cookie tonight. I need to keep both of those in mind.

I keep repeating "sub-2:00" to myself when a run gets hard or a strength exercise is tough. Why can't I do the same when I consider eating that extra snack or rummaging my cupboards for dessert?

Mason wanted to be a CEO dog and now he is, see? Because that's a CEO chair. 
So with all that said, how am I going to try to lose a few pounds? For me, it's going to be mostly mental exercises.

(1) Stop feeling justified.
Yes, I just ran 12 miles. That does not mean I can eat a bag of tortilla chips. I can totally eat a bagel or a muffin. But not both and definitely not both and a cinnamon roll (that may have happened between Saturday and Sunday...). Especially since you're taking in calories to fuel during a long run, it is not an excuse to eat everything under the sun. If I want to run intelligently, I need to fuel and refuel intelligently.

(2) Stop snacking.
Snacks are a really great way to avoid binging on meals. However, I've never had a problem binging at mealtime. It's actually more that I get bored and then feel like chewing on something. I used to chew on gum but I find it gets me terribly bloated, which is no fun (sorry, TMI?). So I need to just work on sipping water and brewing more tea, and just stick to one mid-afternoon snack a day.

(3) Stay focused on the big picture.
I have big goals that I really care about achieving. I want to make them happen and losing the weight I've put on recently will only help that happen. A cookie that makes me happy for a minute or a PR at my half-marathons that I will be proud of for years? It's an easy decision when I think like that. Not that I don't get to enjoy cookies sometimes. Just not all the time. Y'know. Balance.

Betty eats the same food as Bea, her biological sister, and yet she is enormous. I don't understand. 

I'm not going to make this a weight loss blog because it's not like a I have a major journey ahead of me. I just want to lose the pounds I've let creep up and I want to be honest about them. So I might mention how that's going, from time to time, and feel free to totally ignore me :)

Do you have a happy weight? Do you sometimes struggle with staying at that weight?


  1. i have a happy weight and I'm still not at that weight, but I'm happy with the fact I lost 30 pounds on my own. Lately I've stopped counting everything I'm eating and instead have been focusing on portion sizes and what is fueling my body correctly for my workouts.

  2. Thanks for such an honest post, Jen. As triathlon training has picked up (and with my first race of the season quickly approaching!), I've been making an effort to eat more consciously: am I really hungry, or do I want to snack because I'm bored/tired/etc.? For me, saying a certain food is off limits will only make me want it more, so I've been telling myself I can eat whatever I want--but is that chocolate bunny on the freebie table at work (yes, there was one!) going to help me swim, bike, and run faster? Usually the answer is no, so I move beyond the craving, but sometimes I'll eat the food in question. It's all about moderation!

  3. I'm a few pounds above my happy weight right now, too, and I hate it. I refuse to diet during training because it's just impossible to balance the two, but I definitely need to get my act together to focus on the types of mental exercises you mentioned. Thanks for the inspiration :)

  4. I definitely struggle with being at my happy weight. I've noticed that my weight has creeped north of my happy weight in the past month, which I attribute to a lot of stress eating. Something to work on for sure.

  5. A very honest post...and something I feel a lot of us struggle with. I have been writing a post about my weight loss journey its been ever evolving and continues to as my training and goals change. I had put on a few pounds for marathon training. I shed them mostly now by not eating everything in sight, but I am now on a mission to eat intuitively and just view food as fuel. Not let emotion into my eating. I genuinely think about each thing I tracking just being conscious. And you know if abs are the end game I am all in for summer ;-)